How to decide on a specific career?
The sooner you can narrow down a career trend (I use the word trend because you can trend towards something or away from something, but use the same skill set— for example, you decide on a marketing trend and then want to trend toward social media—it’s a similar part of the same thing), the sooner you can get appropriate experience and direct your college course load.
But keep this in mind; this is a very difficult time for college grads to find jobs. It’s not that jobs don’t exist; it’s that students are not gravitating to the jobs that are open. One reason is that some of skill sets rely on advanced math (engineers) and some of these career choices are more vocational (I’m not going to college to be that!), but many are not.
For example: I just read an article in the NY Times that featured two women who were running their father’s machine parts business and were given a big government contract. They had a hard time filling this contract because they didn’t have enough skilled welders—high level welders who could work on complex projects. They ended up training someone who is now dedicated to being an internal training person. It’s unlikely you need to go to college to be a welder (a vocation school is a better bet) but this particular article shows that it pays to research where opportunities lie and perhaps there is another opportunity (the trainer) where one opportunities ends and another begins.
Look up the yearly reports on the professions that need the most amount of people and are growing. Perhaps none of them interest you or you don’t have the math/science skills to be an engineer. The Health care field is a growing field. Think broadly: if health care people are in such demand, perhaps a career in HR or Public Administration in a health care environment might be the way to go. What about marketing for senior living centers? Look at alternatives that fall into the spectrum of what you want to do and what’s needed.
Here’s how to start:
- · Look at the most needed careers and see if your skill set can fall into one of them or a tangential type of career.
- · Come up with a list of companies you are impressed with and think you’d like to work for. For this first pass, it’s okay to have Apple and Google on the list.
- · See where they are located geographically. Are you willing to move/work there? If not, look for similar companies in an area you are willing to live in.
- · Take a look at the company career sections. Almost all big companies have that on their website—many even have an entry level section. Go through the job descriptions and see what sounds interesting to you. Do you have the job skills for this—can you get the skills, do you want to get the skills? Don’t pick something that sounds good but you’re no good at. Are you choosing a career with stiff competition?
- · Figure out what work experience you can get to match the qualifications of these jobs. At the very least, what similar skill set can you get; how can you adjust your course load to get some of that experience.
- · Finally, how can you get work experience in the summer or during the school year to achieve your goal?