As an academic adviser, I worked quite often with students in regard to choosing a major and looking at future careers. Deciding what to do for a living can be hard. In fact, as you probably know, people are changing careers far more frequently in today’s society than ever before.
I’d like to share with you the foundations of a career exploration model I often used with my students. CARISM is a program designed by career management conultants to help students, professionals, and anyone discover career possibilities that are right for them. This program covers all aspects of career from Choosing a job path to Maintaining your skills. I’d like to give you a quick overview of the program as a jumpstart to your own career exploration process. You can then take the brainstorming you’ve done to your school’s career services center for more in-depth guidance.
Choosing a Career
There are a variety of aspects involved in choosing your ideal career. It’s not a good idea to just pick something out of thin air to pursue for a living, yet that’s exactly what many students do. When choosing a career path, consider your interests, aptitudes, and skills. These are some obvious considerations. You’ll want to do what you like and what you’re good at for a living, but there are other things to consider as well.
You’ll want to think about your motivation and values. What things are personally important to you in a job? Also, look at all sides of your potential career. What are the tasks involved, the job prospects, earnings, and work conditions? Is it likely this is the kind of environment you’ll enjoy working in, and are there jobs available in this field in the area in which you hope to live?
What kind of training is required for your proposed job? Are you on the right track at your college? Will you need to attend graduate school? Is this something you’re willing to do? Are there specific skill sets involved in this job? You’ll want to know if you’ll need to obtain particular certification or learn a different language to move forward in the position. What about personal qualities? You need to assess whether you possess the temperament for the job you’re hoping to pursue.
Researching Job Options
There’s so much involved in researching beyond just reading about possible careers. You’ll want to take time to look at your personal goals. Knowing where you want to be will help to determine if this job will take you there. Look at the classifieds in your area or online job boards to see what kind of positions are out there. Your career center can help you find information on job demographics. This is also where networking comes into play. If you’re pretty sure about your career path, now’s the time to start making connections in your desired field.
Integrating the Job Market
This section of the program focuses on what to do after you’ve gotten the job, but it’s important to mention here nonetheless. Integration involves understanding the expectations of your workplace, the attitudes and the culture. It’s also about creating good working relationships, meeting performance goals, and preparing for evaluation.
Satisfying Career Aspirations
What will bring you happiness at work? We usually spend at least 8 hours at work each day,so you’ll want to find a job that satisfies you as a person. Criteria to think about include appreciation, work/life balance, earning, challenges, work environment, and your future. What kind of work will make you feel fulfilled? You may find personal pursuits to be just as important as career goals, so you’ll want a job that doesn’t take over your life. Money isn’t everything, but the reality is that it probably plays a role in your career decision. Is a job that challenges and stimulates you intellectually important to you or do you prefer to have a regular routine that won’t stress you out much?
Will the professional position of your choice require continual training? For example, teachers need to receive Continuing Education Units to keep their certification current. Is this something that you’re okay with or would you rather look into a job that doesn’t have such requirements? What about updating your skills? In so many careers, things are changing regularly. Look at technology, medicine, and business. People in these fields must always be learning.
So has this overview given you anything to think about? I hope it has. My intention in presenting this information is to make you aware of the various components involved in choosing the career that’s right for you. You may want to ask your career counselor if your school participates in the CARISM program. If so, you can get a CARISM workbook to complete that will give you a good map of your career path. If not, you should still be in good shape if you keep these things in mind.