Personal Career Development

Throughout an individual’s working life, developing personal and work skills is important in furthering a career.

No matter what stage a career is in, taking the time to learn new skills and get the right training can help in developing and meeting career goals. Establishing career goals or figuring out what they are is the first step in identifying your career options.

Advancing Your Career

Moving forward in a career looks different for every person. For some, it might mean a new job title or a raise. For others, it may mean acquiring certain credentials or skills related to their field or receiving more family-friendly benefits. Advancing in a career may mean looking at the opportunities for upward movement within a company, or perhaps even finding a better opportunity elsewhere. As you begin your career or start to look for a new job, it is important to keep your career goals in mind, as well as any desires you have for your new job, whether it be an intellectually challenging position or a flexible schedule. Finding out more about a position within a company before applying can help you determine whether the position is fits your needs and wants. If you are applying for an entry-level position, find out if advancement is possible and what steps you can take to get to a higher position in the company.

If you are looking for a new job that allows you to maintain a good work-life balance, find out what the schedules are like for the positions you are applying for. While it may not always be possible to ask an employee of the company, there are many online employer review websites that may help you gain some insight into what working for that company may be like.

Changing Careers

Every year, many Americans choose to change their careers for different reasons. According to the U.S. Current Population Survey, about 6 million Americans, roughly 4 percent of the workforce, changed their occupation between 2015 and 2016. Some choose a new career when they have become unhappy in their current field or want to pursue their dream career. Others choose to switch for financial reasons, searching for a career that provides greater earning capabilities.

Switching to a new career usually involves leaving a job or company, but this does not always have to be the case. A change in career can be done from within the same company. For example, a customer service representative could study accounting and move to the company’s accounting department once he or she has graduated or gotten more training.

For most, a new career also means a new job. Planning a career change ahead of time is the best way of ensuring a successful switch. However, it is still possible to switch to a new career successfully with little to no time to prepare. Those who have been terminated from a job may not have been given much time to consider a change in vocation, but it may be a good opportunity to think about a switch.

A smooth transition into a new career looks different for every person, but there are some tips and tricks that can help make the change as easy as possible. Finding a new job in a new field often requires some networking. Making new contacts with workers in your target field, or speaking to family and friends can help you find leads to open positions or give you an idea of what skills employers are looking for. Knowing what skills employers want or what skills those who hold the position you want have can help you identify skills you have that are transferable to your new field. Using career-based social media is a great way to do this, as these sites can give you access to information on other fields and provide countless networking opportunities.

Dealing With a Job Termination

Losing a job is a difficult and stressful event, which can lead to many negative effects, including sadness and a sense of hopelessness. This is especially true of unforeseen or unexpected job terminations. However, it is important to know that a job termination does not have to be a negative experience, as it can provide a great opportunity for career advancement and life improvement.

Perhaps the scariest part of losing a job is the loss of a steady paycheck and the possibility of financial instability. Unemployment insurance benefits may be able to help you pay necessary expenses, if you are eligible for benefits. It is also a good idea to ask your employer if severance pay is offered. In the event of a wrongful termination, you may want to take a legal course of action, especially if the termination was due to discrimination, harassment or the refusal to partake in any illegal activities occurring at the workplace.

After the loss of a job, the first and most important step in finding a new job is setting a reemployment plan. Conducting an organized job search can keep you from becoming overwhelmed. Setting aside time each day to fill job applications and keeping track of all the applications you have submitted and interviews you have attended is a method that may shorten the amount of time you spend unemployed. A job termination also provides a good opportunity to go back to school if that is something you have been thinking about or have been planning on doing. Continuing your education after the loss of a job can give you an advantage in your job search once you have graduated.

Career Development Resources

Developing your career requires a clear vision of the path you wish to take and a clear set of career goals you want to achieve. Setting your goals and figuring out where you want to take your career is important at any stage of your career, especially as your life and interests change. Perhaps the path your career has taken is not what you originally thought it would be. Maybe you have never really set any concrete goals for yourself. Whatever the case may be, there are many resources available to help you develop your career.

If you do not know where to begin in developing your career, help is available through many different organizations, both government and private. These organizations can assist you in figuring out your career goals, choosing the right field, finding the proper training and searching for a job. While many employers offer in-house training and learning opportunities, there are also many of these opportunities available online. Some universities offer free, non-credit online courses for free. Other websites, such as Udemy and edX, offer free and relatively low-cost professional development courses, some of which may offer a professional certificate.

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