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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What is your career path?

This blog article said that "The US Department of Labor has actually said that people born in the 80’s and 90’s will have 10-14 different jobs by the time they turn 38." read article  Personally, I have had 7, some simultaneously, some while still employed with the same organization.  But the days of my parents or grandparents who worked at the same company for 45 years and retired with the gold watch are becoming few and far between.

Learning what a new career path is can be a challenge.  If you are going to select an initial career or a new career path, you need to look into your magic ball and envision what jobs will be available when you are finished with your training that could take 6 months or possibly as long as 8 years (if you want to be a doctor).  No one can really see into the future, but there is a plethora of resources available to help you sort through what path you may want to follow.  I would like to share a few options with you.

Assessment -  there are tests on-line available for you to take so that you can understand your likes and dislikes.  They will survey your skills and talents.  One option for this is through the award winning Illinois workNet website.  Once you have completed this, you may have a better understanding of what draws you to a certain type of job over another.

Labor Market Information - You don't want to find yourself having spent a significant period of time training for a job only to find out that there are no jobs available in that field.  To help prevent "dead-end" training, you should investigate labor market data surrounding the career path you have chosen. Illinois, as well as other states, have information to help you determine growth and wages for certain occupations or groups of occupations. Check here.
Career Information - Once you determine your interests and selected several jobs that have anticipated growth into the future you need to research the career to make sure that it sounds like something you wish to pursue.  A couple of resources for that include Illinois workNet and O*NET online. Both give you the opportunity to find out the basic duties, educational requirements and so much more about a particular area of employment.  If you are interested in researching areas that are high-growth, high-demand positions you may turn to the Key Sectors section of Illinois workNet.

Education - Now that you have figured out what you want to do, do you possess the skills required to do that job?  You may need job skills training, or a full degree.  You can find out the types of training needed from the career information sites listed above. All of the options are identified on Illinois workNet under the "Learn" tab.  Local schools are identified on KCDEE's webpage. You can also reach the approved list of statewide training providers who offer classes to those receiving Workforce Investment Act training services.

Skills - sometimes your education is adequate but you may need to enhance your soft skills or other minor job skills like typing or update your computer software skills.  We have resources for that as well. You can find soft skills information in this blog, on KCDEE webpage, or on Illinois workNet.  Maybe you need to type better or faster. helps you with those skills. Or you can improve your computer skills here. Goodwill Foundation offers software training for free.

No matter what the assessments say about you, there are a couple of other things that you need to take into consideration and that is your personal feelings.  One example I recently found out about was a woman could not work for any business associated with the tobacco industry because her mother had died of lung cancer from smoking.  How will your personal beliefs impact your decision to follow a particular career path?

How many careers have you had in your life and what is your next one going to be?

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