Thursday, August 18, 2011

Career Planning

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

There is a serious amount of fear among college students over the issue of selecting a career path.  This is why many enter undecided and why many keep switching majors.  As noted earlier, switching majors is a core reason why college takes longer; thereby reducing the likelihood they will complete their degree. According to Itamar Gati in an article for Career Development Quarterly this indecision is a result of three major areas: a lack of readiness, a lack of information and inconsistent information.  A student may not be ready due to a lack of motivation, an overall indecisive personality, and a belief system that undermines success.  They may not understand who they are or how to go about looking for a career.  In addition they may be getting inconsistent information about careers.   
            What can you do?  There are a number of career inventories.  I have found the collegeboard.com website to be a good one, but there are others.  The problem of personality inventories is that people often do not understand themselves or the questions.  Either of these issues will lead to a list of careers that would not be a good fit.  I would suggest sitting down at the computer with a parent and doing it with them.  This can lead to much better results, but resist the urge to argue.  Note:  I run into a lot of students who “think” they know what they want, but are not aware of the realities of that job.  Please force yourself through a truly objective career search.
Once you have a sense of some options, get to work looking at these careers deeply.  Talk to people who are currently doing what you want to do to find out what the job actually entails, what training is required and the most efficient way to get there.  Ask what new hires now need in order to break into the profession, because requirements change continually.  I have a friend who is a physical therapist.  He got into the profession with a bachelor’s degree.  According to the Bureau of Labor Staticistics masters degrees are now required and doctorates degrees are recommended.  Not too long from now the doctorates will probably be required. This is the changing nature of the career market.  Since new careers are being created continually, it is highly likely you may slide into a career that doesn’t exist at this point.  This may or may not require you to do more schooling.