Making the best career decision is based on gathering enough of the right information.
This includes information about yourself and the marketplace in which you want to
work. You need a competitive advantage and it all starts--with you. Career planning
leads to better career decision-making and is a life long process. The sooner you
begin, the better. It's been said that college students spend more time planning their
Spring Breaks and Summer Vacations, than they do planning their careers. Does this
sound like you?
Our professional staff in the Career and Academic Counseling Center are well prepared to give you a head start towards planning your career, so you can meet your educational goals. NOTHING WORKS 'TILL YOU DO!
You will benefit from Career Planning through better decision making. Career Planning can be described by five phases. Each phase adds important information to your self-knowledge, along with providing critical factors relating to your occupational goals. In particular, this process uncovers and clarifies your strengths, values, interests and personality characteristics as you explore your best career options.
If you're feeling stuck right now and not sure where you're going, or why you are in college, check out our Career Planning Checklist (pdf). Print this form, check the boxes, and make an appointment to see your major advisor to get your career planning efforts on track.
If you're wanting to dive in and get started, take some time to set up a personal portfolio using UtahFutures. You will need to create a username and password. It's quite comprehensive, so plan on setting aside about two hours to explore, take and save the various assessments and exercises. You might think that's a lot of time, but you're worth it? When you're done set up and appointment to talk with your major advisor and review your results. Go ahead and get the ball rolling. This is an excellent resource that will help you begin the journey.
This step of the process is often overlooked and yet, it forms the foundation for the rest of the process. Know Thyself is the main objective here. Gathering information about yourself--personality, interest, values, talents, skills and experiences, along with education helps complete the picture you have about you. Two Career Assessments used to help you gain this important knowledge are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Strong Interest Inventory (SII). Both of these assessments are available through the UVU Career and Academic Counseling Center. You might be approved for a complementary assessment. See an advisor / counselor in the CACC. Otherwise there is a small fee for both UVU students and non-students. Printing and discussing your results requires an academic counselor appointment.
Take some time and discover the Career Exploration Resources (pdf) guide. It has many resources to help you discover more about you and potential careers options.
2. Career Exploration
Along with knowledge of self, being aware of the myriad opportunities for employment gives you a huge advantage in making the right career choice. Do you know how much education you need, to earn the income, to live the life you want? UtahFutures is a web-based program that can quickly generate this information for you. It will also help you find schools/colleges that have the major you want to pursue. Career planning is not a one time effort. It is a continuous process that gets refined the more you know about career, employment, the market place and your education goals. The objective here is to expand your knowledge of the available career opportunities. Take time to talk with your academic advisor about this important step. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is an excellent website to check out for further exploration. If you have ever asked yourself, "What Can I Do With A Major In," the University of Delaware offers a sample overview of majors for your review to help answer this question. Also, spend some time looking at O*NET Online. A very comprehensive site for all occupations.
3. Focus and Goal Setting
As important as it is to become aware of the possibilities for careers is the need to narrow down your choice to the best fit for you. Here is where your ideal occupation meets the realization of what can be achieved given personal realities. Factors to consider here are: age, readiness for college, finances, marital status, physical and emotional limitations, time, family status, culture, learning styles and more. Print and complete the Student Career Planning Guide (pdf) to help get started toward narrowing down your major or occupational choices. Good planning involves making sure you include your academic advisor during this effort.
4. Job Search
Here is where opportunity meets your education, skills and experience. It's also been said that college students spend more time planning their summer vacations than they do preparing their job hunt campaign. Your college experience will go by faster than you can imagine. Get ready for graduation in advance and being prepared for landing that first real job. UVU Career Development Center is the place to begin this all important activity. You will want to put as much, if not more effort into your job search than you did to graduate with your degree.
5. Career Management
What's important here is knowing that your first job and subsequent jobs are temporary. Hard to swallow, but true. No one will manage your career for you. You're in charge. The average job tenure today is about 3.5 yrs max. Where do you see yourself in five or even ten years down the road. The smart individual has a plan for this reality. To measure your current job satisfaction answer this 12 Question Survey by Marcus Buckingham.
Managing your career is simply being accountable for your progress in each and every position. It requires having a solid plan and working that plan. Keeping track of your major accomplishments, concentrating on your work strengths (including your natural talents), and knowing what environments / people energize you, are just a few of the key components of a rewarding career. And, it goes without saying, staying connected within your profession is a must.
A career is an occupational journey with many twists, turns and decision points. The challenge is navigating the journey with confidence, clarity, realistic goals and expectations. Whether you are new the the workforce or a seasoned professional, come and see us in the Academic Counseling Center. We are all about helping you with your future.
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