Defining Your Goals
The most difficult part of finding employment is figuring out what you actually want to do. Earning a degree in a particular field or working many years in a specific industry should not limit your options. It is not at all uncommon for one person to have five or more careers over the course of a lifetime. As cliché as it sounds, you learn something new every day about your strengths and weaknesses and your likes and dislikes.
When choosing or changing careers, there are two very important questions to consider: First, while a particular industry or job title may seem glamorous or enticing, are you really prepared to take on the day-to-day duties that such a position entails? Ask yourself whether you are actually ready and willing to meet the demands of this job or whether it is just a job title you think you could impress your friends with.
Second, are you prepared to live the lifestyle that this job demands? For example, while the idea of becoming a talent agent or a personal assistant to a celebrity sounds like a dream job, are you willing to be at somebody's beck and call 24 hours a day? Are you ready to deal with belittling comments and the occasional difficult personality? Many high-profile and/or high-paying jobs do not leave you much free time.
If you are not sure of the customary duties and tasks of a position, try to speak with someone in the field or to a career counselor so that you can learn more about them. Make sure you research the job, its duties, and the company before accepting a position. You never know, that dream job could turn out to be a real nightmare.
One job seeker sat down and made a list that drew on every work, personal, and out-of-body experience she'd ever had. She circled her likes and dislikes, and used the list as a reference guide in her job search. For each job she considered, she took out the list and checked to see if the job's duties coincided with it.
Career planning is really a science of its own, and you shouldn't hesitate to seek out the help of career planning professionals when you are trying to figure out your next steps. If you are a college student, chances are there are plenty of these professionals in your school's career planning office.
If you have been in the work force, there should be career planning centers in your own community. Pick up the phone book and schedule an appointment to meet with someone. Career planners may also be found online and many now do their work virtually, allowing you to connect with planners in other locations.