Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Making the Best Career Decisions

Those who make the best career decisions will be the most successful. Making the best decisions includes weighing each option carefully, doing your research, and not accepting the first tempting offer that comes along.

For example, many people are currently looking to make a career change. Maybe they were laid off during the recession and there simply aren't a lot of jobs in their field anymore. Or they are looking to change careers and give themselves more of a challenge. They say the average person changes careers several times during their life, so it's best to be informed each time this comes up as viable option.

If you are looking to change careers, do your research, and do a lot of it. You'll want to know if you'll need more education and what level of education is preferred or mandatory. You'll need to know what kind of licenses or certifications is mandatory. Sometimes the extra educational requirements could take years and plenty of money, so you'll need to be prepared to commit the time, cash, and effort. Healthcare, law, science, and engineering careers, for example, will definitely require a redoubling of efforts and tenacity to complete the education portion. A full career change might not always be the best option if you are leery of the commitment. Changing careers usually takes a lot of time and money. Often the person isn't any happier in the new career, especially if the decision hasn't been thought out well. Take the time to analyze whether it's just the job/employer/boss that you hate, or whether it's the career/skills/work that you dislike. Before considering a career change, try a new position within your current career, or try to get your job description changed to suit your strengths.

After you've done your research and pulled enough career information that you are comfortable with proceeding, it's time to develop a plan of action. Outline exactly how you will achieve your goal and in what time frame. There will be time for edits later, but a rough sketch is necessary. Having a detailed action plan (including items such as strategies, finances, research, and education/training) is essential to your success.

Next you'll want to search your network to find contacts that can help you in your quest. Maybe you have a doctor or lawyer friend, or a family member works for a nonprofit. Having connections will ease the transition and can help open doors. Don't be afraid to ask for advice or referrals; remember, they were in your place once and someone helped them succeed.

Then you'll want to do some basic research on the job prospects, outlook, and the opportunities available in the line of work you are seeking. If the jobs are limited, consider ways you can begin working to differentiate yourself from other applicants. If the outlook is poor, maybe there is a similar job that has more openings.

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