When you plan a vacation – you think about what that vacation is going to look like and plan and pack accordingly. You pick a destination based on what you enjoy or want to see. You pick a date or season ensuring good weather. You pack the clothes and items that you will need when you get there. You get the tickets that will transport you to the destination. In short, you prepare so that your trip runs smoothly and is as stress free and enjoyable as possible. This same procedure can be applied towards our career plans. By beginning with the end in mind, we can maximize the chances of our career being as successful as possible.
The traditional mantra in America has been “Just go to college and you’ll do fine.” Unfortunately, this is just not always the case. Many college graduates go to school, get good grades and a diploma, and then find they are not really prepared for a job and have no marketable skills to get hired at the end. Some very successful careers don’t require a 4 year college degree at all. No matter what path you choose – 2 year, 4 year, trade school, or apprenticeship – in the end we all need to get a job. By figuring out the end first, in other words, the job or career we want to prepare for, we can intentionally inform our decisions and experiences to prepare us for that specific outcome and maximize our employment outcomes. Here are some things to consider as you plan .
First, pick a destination you’ll like. Everyone knows someone who went through a training or educational program and then found that they really didn’t like the job on the other end. There are many great print and video resources that can help you get a good picture of what a job is like so you can find a vocation that fits your interests, skills, and values.
Second, verify a positive employment climate. By pursuing a field that is growing – you can maximize the number of job opportunities available and anticipate career level and pay growth over time. Sometimes demand varies based on location – so you can find a location where your career field is in demand, or find a career field that is in demand in your location.
Three, pack the right experiences. There are many opportunities through internships and volunteer work to get a taste of a career field before jumping in all the way. These experiences can help you ensure you’ve picked the right destination! As an added bonus, these same opportunities can help you build your resume and make great employment contacts that can be integral to landing that first job.
Four, get the right tickets. Once you know your destination, you can find out what employers are looking for in the field and make sure that you have the right training, degrees, and/or certifications to get you where you want to go. Along with job listings and career-information web sites, the career services office at your school is a great resource for finding out this information.
Thanks to modern technology, there are amazing internet resources to assist you in your career plan. The Match Up is a great place to start! By beginning with the end in mind, you can take intentional steps to increase the chances of a smooth trip to your destination. BON VOYAGE!