Making good career choices is a complex process and requires careful planning. Most places in the developing world have witnessed a huge shift in the labour market recently. Although warnings that the job will soon be a thing of the past have been a little exaggerated, it’s now much more likely that everyone, irrespective of career, will move from job to job before they reach retirement age – and even afterwards, as more and more people struggle with finances as they get older. So, making bad choices is definitely something you want to avoid if possible. Having said that, finding your vocation is not an exact science, whether you are just starting out or embarking on a second career. So look at mistakes in a positive light – they can help you identify what you really do want to do and what you most definitely want to avoid!
So, what is the best way to go about making a career decision? Is it advisable to go after a post in an expanding market or should you stick to what you love doing? You can take the following steps to maximize your chances of securing an interesting job which gives you some measure of security in an uncertain world.
First of all, watch out for trends. With career change an inevitable part of life, this is becoming more and more important. Advances in technology are also leading to new jobs – careers you’d never have considered because they simply didn’t exist! So your ideal career may have just been invented. Or perhaps you can invent it yourself – increased flexibility in the workplace now allows individuals to work part-time or freelance more easily and this gives you the opportunity to create your own portfolio. So don’t discount the possibility of developing a new work style.
Next, you should think about training and education. Change is happening at a much faster rate than it did in the past and if you want to keep on top of your game, you need to be involved in lifelong learning, whether that means keeping up to date in your present industry or learning new skills which could help you find a post in another one.
Another good strategy is to develop expert status in your field. New developments and discoveries are happening in every field and the more you know about a subject, the better your chances of getting hired. You can narrow this down a little by focusing on one or two aspects of your area, particularly those in which demand is highest now or will be in the future. And of course, make sure that your computer skills are constantly updated. Most jobs involve computing these days and if you can add some extra relevant IT skills to your resume, you’ll open up more doors.
Don’t forget the element of job satisfaction. It’s really important that you enjoy what you are doing, or at least enjoy the majority of tasks you have to perform. Do you feel that it’s vital to be passionate about your work? Some people will sacrifice money and security for a job they feel passionate about, while others feel that it isn’t realistic to work in a job you love and that it’s better to choose something realistic which is relatively secure. You need to find the balance which works for you.
You can never know 100% if a career will be right for you – until you’ve actually done it for a while. Remember that good career choices are different for everyone and the best career choice is the one that gives you what you want.