- Create a list of short and long term goals.
Whether you’re interested in returning to school, obtaining licensure or certification in a field, or gaining on the job experience; establishing goals for the short and long term will put you on the right track to achieving them and increase your chances of personal and professional success.
- Complete a Thorough Self Assessment.
Assessing your personal interests, strengths, values, & personality traits is the first step in the career development process. You may accomplish this assessment by looking closely at your interests, accomplishments, and past decisions; speaking with a career counselor; or taking several valid and reliable career assessments. Online career assessments are not recommended because there are so many choose from and it's hard to know which ones are valid. In addition, reviewing the results with a career professional is a crucial part of the self assessment process.
- Develop a Plan.
Develop a detailed plan to follow and carve out a period of time each day to accomplish at least one or two of your career goals. The job search process can seem like a job in and of itself because the time it takes to network, review online databases, and prospect with companies of interest can take a good amount of time each day.
- Research Job/Career Options.
You can always reduce the list of career options over time, but identifying all of the opportunities that meet your individual needs and expectations will ultimately help you to make a better and more informed career decision. Taking a class or attending a lecture might open up new possibilities or interests you never knew you had. Speaking with people currently working in a field that may be of interest is always a great way to learn more about career options plus an opportunity to network with people who may be able to offer you suggestions and individual advice.
- Network with People Currently Working in the Field.
Speaking with people who are doing what you think you want to do will give you a heads up on what it’s actually like working in the field. By establishing a professional network of contacts, you will increase your chances of learning about new positions as they open up. Since approximately 85% of jobs are never advertised, networking is one of the key strategies for uncovering unadvertised jobs.
- Take Action.
Once you’ve creted your short and long term goals, completed a thorough self assessment, researched career options, networked with people working in the field, it is now time to become engaged in the decision-making process by taking positive action and begin applying to educational programs or jobs that meet your expectations.
On a Personal Note...
If you are currently engaged in the job search or career development process, keeping yourself healthy during these stressful times is extremely important. Eating healthy, exercising, and meditating are very low cost ways of maintaining your physical and psychological health during times of stress. Taking time for leisure activities and spending time with friends and those you care about can be helpful in recharging your spirit and moving closer to your present and future goals and expectations. Maintaining life balance will help you to thrive and achieve success as you face the challenges of finding that first full time job.