Career planning provides the ability to see yourself, where you are now and where you want to go in the future. It helps you decide what type of work you want, determine the skills you need and discover the ways to get those skills. When considering what he wants to do, a person needs to understand himself through self-assessment, exploration of occupational prospects, making a choice, then setting goals and actions to build his experience, skills and knowledge. A job applicant needs to be able to prove her value to an employer if she wants to be hired. Choosing the right career fit for who she is and dedicating herself to the journey will make all the difference.
Although career planning is a rational systematic process, one also needs to be aware of the influences that affect career decision making. Lack of knowledge of career options and the world of work, the economy, one’s socioeconomic level, expectations of others, beliefs and attitudes we learn from our family, unrealistic self-expectations and career myths can derail the process.
What are career myths?
They are fictional statements or thoughts that can lead to career barriers or undesirable actions. For example:
- The world of work is changing so rapidly that I can’t really plan for the future. Think about this. You wouldn’t start a trip without an idea of how to get there, would you? Have a plan.
- Money is the most important factor when choosing a job. If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing just because it pays well, is that the life you want? When you need money sometimes you don’t have a choice, but think about the long term career plan.
- I should choose an occupation based on my strongest skills. You may be good in Math but what if crunching numbers all day is boring to you? You need to also factor in what interests you when making a career decision. What’s your passion?
- Family members and other adults know what career is best for me, better than I do. No one knows you better than you do, but you need to do some introspection to tap into what makes you tick.
- Making an occupational choice is irreversible. A career decision is not irreversible. If you find you’re unhappy in a profession, go back to the drawing board and go through the steps of career planning again. Career development is a continuous process that recycles throughout our life as we consider the pros and cons of making changes. This generation will have several different careers over their lifetime.
- There is one perfect occupation waiting for me somewhere out there. There are actually many different occupations that may be a good fit for someone. Consider job shadowing to find the right fit.
Beware of career myths, as there are more out there. Unfortunately, people buy into them and let them affect their decision making.
****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Sharon Gilbert!!****
About the author: Sharon Gilbert is a licensed career counselor and a former university career advisor and college recruiter. She has recently published Beyond Tuition: Career Coaching Your College Kid. More information can be found at www.beyondtuition.com.