Friday, September 30, 2005

Where it starts: career research

I met with a student yesterday who had plans to head towards the same career as his father and older brother. Trouble is, he’s not either of the two. His interests, passions, and gifts are distinct and not typical of others happily employed in that field.

But, the student didn’t know much about other career options, which resulted in his very valid question: how do people find out what’s out there?

That’s an excellent question indeed. How do you go about locating career possibilities? Especially when new options arise, seemingly overnight. 

I have to admit that, even though this is what I do for and living and even though I’m constantly on the lookout for opportunities, I don’t even pretend to know them all.

But there’s one place I’d start: Sunday’s classified ads. Used as a research tool, they provide a wealth of information.

Here’s how it works:
1. Grab a cup of coffee. If you’ve chosen a major newspaper, this could take a while.

2. Cut, clip, copy everything of interest. Without self-censoring. So, no thoughts like….“wow, I’d love to do that but it would take too long, or I’m not smart enough, or I wouldn’t know where to start.” Nope. Just cut, clip or copy.

3. After a few weeks of this, take a look at your collection. You’ve gathered enough information to start asking some pithy questions, to begin looking for similar themes and consistent threads in your choices, and, finally, to construct an elementary plan designed to move you from Point A to Point B.

4. And finally, if you’re a student at Calvin College, take your list along on your visit to a career counselor.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 09/30 at 10:33 AM
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