Seeking a new direction in your career? These helpful hints could help you on your way.
If "burnt-out," "unsatisfied," and "boring" are terms you use to describe your job, then you might want to consider adding "new career" to your vocabulary.
But there's some good that can come from being disgruntled at a job. This might be a great opportunity to re-evaluate your marketability and happiness in your line of work.
And with a little guidance and hard work, you could find a new career that won't make you drag your feet to work every day. Read on to discover five tips that could help you prepare for a more satisfying career.
Tip # 1 - Think About Your Interests, Skills, and Values
When you sit down and think about what you would like to do for a living, you might draw a blank at first. This is completely normal.
One helpful exercise might be to write a mini autobiography, notes an August 2011 article on Fox News Latino's website entitled "Figuring out the Best - and Worst - Careers for You." This autobiography could include writing about important experiences and "aha!" moments in your life.
The article also suggests asking yourself:
- What do I like?
- What do I do well?
- What activities are less interesting to me?
- What do I find frustrating or difficult?
Knowing the answers to these questions can help you synthesize exactly what you're looking for in a career, and ultimately, what will make you happy.
Tip #2 - Research Career Alternatives
Now that you've figured out what you like, dislike, and desire in your life, you can begin looking for a good career fit.
One option is to consider taking a career aptitude test, which could help you determine what careers complement your personality and skill set.
You can find career aptitude tests online or seek out career resources in your neighborhood. Schools and community centers often offer career services, including aptitude tests and career counselors to help you interpret your results.
From there, it's time to do some research.
Websites like the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Career Guide to Industries (both published by the U.S. Department of Labor) are great places to start. These sites can provide information on jobs that you're considering, including details on educational requirements, median salaries, and job descriptions.
Tip # 3 - Look into Advancing Your Education
If you're hoping to embark on a whole new career path, you might want to consider going back to school. Why? Because some career fields have specific education requirements, according to the Department of Labor.
For example, the Department of Labor states that those wishing to pursue a career as a computer programmer will likely need a bachelor's degree in computer science or software engineering.
Regardless of the industry, more education could mean more job prospects, according to statistics from "Education Pays," a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Labor.
In fact, the report notes that the unemployment rate for bachelor's degree holders was at 5.4 percent in 2010. When compared to the 10.3 percent unemployment rate for people with just a high school diploma, advancing your education might not be a bad idea.
Tip # 4 - Network and Develop a Reference List
Have you ever heard the phrase, "It's all about who you know"? Well, this can be especially true in the job market.
Your professional and personal networks - basically, the people you know - could give you the extra push toward the job of your dreams.
Spread the word far and wide that you're looking for entry into a new field. Tell your family members, past colleagues, college professors, fellow alumni, and anyone else who might put in a good word.
You could also use professional social networking sites like LinkedIn to make connections, too. LinkedIn can help you get in touch with professionals in your desired field, which could be a great way to gain a sense of the people who have achieved success in that career.
Tip # 5 - Don't Let the Economic Downturn Discourage a Career Change
Although the economy may not be ideal when it comes to job hunting, don't give up on your new career goals.
Bear in mind that many industries are still healthy, despite the poor economy.
According to a CNN Money 2011 article entitled "Where Jobs are Booming," some industries are still hiring and even adding jobs. Some of these thriving fields include health care, education, and information services.
So, don't let the negative economic news get you down. The future is far from bleak, and with the right combination of education, self-knowledge, and determination, you could be on your way to kick-starting a new career.
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