Preparing for a career requires setting goals and working toward them with everything you do. The old adage “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” can be misleading in the modern world of work. Today, career planning is complicated by a mercurial economy and the high cost of college. In “What Color is Your Parachute? 2014,” Richard N. Boles recommends preparing for more than one career to be able to take advantage of opportunities and have a backup plan for things like downsizing, employers going out of business or offshoring. You don’t always have to decide between preparing for a high-paying career or something that makes your heart sing. Become versed in a few different fields and watch your dream job offer eventually roll in.
Get an Education
The first step on a career path for most people is getting an education. Most careers require specific areas of knowledge, such as nursing degrees, law degrees and business degrees. Some people know what they want to do and so deciding what to study is easy. But for many others, it’s difficult to figure out and may not be easy to afford or manage. In “Getting from College to Career,” Lindsey Pollak advises exploring all interesting options. There are many avenues for busy people who are career planning in today’s work world, including employer-provided training programs and online and self-paced study for certifications and diplomas from schools like Penn Foster. Whether you take a career aptitude workshop in high school, study for a two-year degree at your local community college, join a medical billing and coding program while working full time, or apply for a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship program to study abroad, additional learning in multiple areas never hurts.
Working in Your Field
Working in your chosen field is the goal of almost every college student, but attaining a job isn’t always simple. University of Hartford finance professor Mitchell D. Weiss advises graduates to think about their education in terms of different work roles. Prepare for the possibility of not being able to work in your most desired field right after college, and consider other jobs you would also like to explore. Apply for internships, volunteer and work part time if possible. Internships provide the best avenues to work in your field with professional contacts, references and work experience.
Advancement and Changing Careers
As also noted above, advancing or changing careers will probably require returning to school for an advanced degree. Eduventures principal analyst Heather O’Leary says credential creep means that career advancement requires a master’s degree. Master’s degrees, PhDs and other higher education prepare mid-level careerists for strategic and higher management opportunities and roles. If you’ve tired of the career you prepared for and have new interests, you may want to change careers but find you lack some knowledge, skill, or experience. Use all your free time to learn as much as possible about business news, medical news, media news…you get the point. Act like a sponge and take in all the information you can, because you never know when it could benefit you.