By John Groth
Many times college students, and individuals with years of working experience, decide on careers without critically examining their own impressions and understandings of a particular career. To often they rely on someone else’s attitude toward a specific career without finding out what is true and what is not.
Career planning and their choices to often is made with limited and many times inaccurate information. Rare is the person who takes the time for self analysis and gathers information to develop viable career options. If your view is limited you may be overlooking a hidden but ideal career situation.
Career myths are everywhere and the key is to test assumptions, and critically examine the information you know about a job or industry. There is considerable risk in allowing assumptions to be the basis of a career choice. The consequences can lead to a career where you have little interest and lukewarm passion. A recipe for disaster.
Some abandon work aspirations based on misconceptions about the career. They don’t look into the career because they were told there was, “no money in it.” Listening to others without challenging their inaccurate beliefs can cause you to rule out a possible dream job.
Career choices or changes should be approached in a critical and unbiased way. Here are four guidelines to follow to help you make the best informed choice:
1. Test all your assumptions: You may only have a fraction of the right information along with comments from family and friends. Examine everything and do comprehensive research to learn as much as possible about the career. Also, remain flexible as your research will undoubtedly uncover other promising leads.
2. Get your career information from a variety of sources: If currently in school discuss the career with a counselor or your professors. Look in the internet for relevant information. Find someone who is currently working in the prospective career and phone them to schedule a short interview. Attend job fairs and discuss the career with recruiters.
Follow-up on resources that you uncover in your basic research. Go back to your sources as you put together additional questions.
3. Critically analyze all your career information. Be a critical thinker in analyzing your research. Carefully put some thought into the sources of information, are there contradictions? Maybe some more research is in order. Think carefully about your sources of information on careers. Who can give you a better sense of what it’s like to be a CPA: a couple of CPA’s working in the accounting field every day or your uncle who got audited by the IRS 15 years ago due to his CPA’s misjudgment?
4. Try out your career ideas: If still in school consider applying for internships in your chosen field. If possible, a part-time job in the industry will give you a better feel for both the job and industry. If you still have concerns about a career continue your research. If the proposed career looks less than exciting, your continued study will point you in the right direction.
Above all don’t chose a career based only on anecdotal evidence or hearsay information. When you do make your career choice based on solid information, you’ll go much farther in the career, enjoy it more and be happy you spent the time doing proper career research and analysis.
John Groth is a Career Coach and former HR executive. On his site find Career Choice Ideas, valuable articles and a Free seven day career planning guide. Discover up to date career and recruitment strategies at his Job Search Guide all to assist you in advancing and managing your career.
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