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Career Planning

Location: On the Internet.

Prerequisites: The motivation to learn.

Required Text: None.

Objectives: Learn how to effectively plan your career.

Before embarking on the career of your dreams, you need to spend some time figuring out what those dreams are and how to turn them into reality. Thatís where career planning comes in. You need to figure out both your short-term and long-term goals and what you must do to accomplish them.

The first step in career planning is self-assessment. Think about what skills youíve developed and the types of things you do well. Think about what you enjoy doing and the kinds of environments you like. Are you an outdoor person who will go crazy in an office, or do you enjoy working on computers? Are you cut out for a job that requires a lot of physical activity, or would you prefer something more stationary?

Once you have an idea of the kind of work you want to do, you need to evaluate the job market to figure out how hard it will be to get into the field. You also need to determine what training is required, as well as get an idea of what kind of income you can expect.

Finally, you must figure out what steps you have to take to achieve your goals. Do you need to get specific training? If so, how do you enroll in the program, and how long will it take to complete? You should outline the specific tasks you must complete to make your goals attainable.

Choosing a career is a huge decision. If you act hastily, you may end up in one unsatisfying job after another. There are a number of common misconceptions about selecting a career:

  • A career counselor can choose a career for you. No one but you can decide what career is right for you. However, a counselor can offer guidance and help you through the decision-making process.

  • I canít turn my hobby into a career. Many people find ways to make a living doing the things they enjoy. Besides, youíre probably already skilled at your hobbies.

  • I should use a ďbest careersĒ list to choose a career. Articles and books often include lists of top careers. But that doesnít mean that these are right for you. Your interests and skills are much more important factors in selecting a career. Besides, whatís hot one year might not be so hot the next.

  • I have to stay in the same career forever. If you choose a career and you donít like it, you can always do something else. Plenty of people change careers more than once.

  • If I change careers, I wonít be able to use the skills Iíve already developed. You might not use all the skills in the same way, but youíll find many skills that transfer from one career to the next. No skill is ever wasted.

  • If a trusted friend or relative likes a career, I will too. Even if you have a lot in common with someone, you might not enjoy the same career. Even similar people take to the same jobs differently.

  • I need to actually work in a field to learn about an occupation. Print and online resources can tell you a lot about a career, as can talking to other people in it.

Your career choice is too important to take lightly. Spend time learning about yourself and your career options before diving in. It will be time well spent once you find the career of your dreams.

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