Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Letter to Shy Young Person in Search of a Calling

Students Are on a Career PathSeveral young people I know are embarking into adulthood and careers. They do not know what they want to do with their futures. They have worked at low-paying jobs. They want more for their careers and their lives. They don't know where to start, and they are shy about asking for help. Here is my advice.

Check Out a Nearby American Job Center

First, I suggest you visit this U.S. Department of Labor site and locate the nearest comprehensive American Job Center. American Job Centers (they are called different names around the country) are supercharged unemployment offices with free job search and career services sponsored by Uncle Sam. It may help to make an appointment first, letting the center know you are a young person in need of career and job search help.

You may be able to
  • Take career assessments to learn what you are best suited for.
  • Get labor market information to discover jobs in demand now and in the future.
  • Obtain resume help.
  • Take job search and interviewing workshops to learn how to stand out to employers.
Most centers should have a career coach on site. If you can talk with one of them, all the better. Spend some time before your meeting to write down questions for the coach such as "How can I discover the right career for me?" "What career and job search help can you provide?" "What advice would you give me?" and "Do you have any programs for young people?" Any guidance is free because it's sponsored by the government.

 Consider a Career Counselor

If you want to ramp up your counseling, you may want to consider a paid career counselor. You can find a list at the National Career Development Association's website. Be sure to ask about fees ahead of time. True career counselors have degrees and experience in counseling. While the cost may seem expensive, remember we are talking about your success in the long future ahead of you.

Think About More Training and Education

You may want to consider more education, even if you don't feel like it. Consider talking to a counselor at a community college. Ask if the counselor can help you assess your career interests and provide information on in-demand careers that pay well without a lot of training. Such careers exist, and you could be working after six to twelve months of training.

Find Career Clues in Past Experiences, in Books, and Online

Look for career clues in your school, work, and volunteer experiences. What did you like? What did you do well in? Perhaps some clues exist about your future career.

Spend time reading books. Many people like What Color Is Your Parachute? Go to the library and take out a career exploration book. Spending time with a career book may be very helpful.

Of course the Internet offers tons of information, some of it not so good. I suggest you try these sites:

These sites include government data on jobs, tasks, training, pay, demand, and outlook. The sites are sponsored by the federal government, so they require no registration, are offered at no charge, and are scam-free. 

Talk to Others and Try Volunteering

 
Then ask yourself this question: Do you know anyone in jobs that interest you? These people could be friends' parents, neighbors, and even your peers. Talk to people with different jobs to learn what they do and what kind of training they had. This step may even help you network into a job.
 
If a certain field interests you but you aren't sure about it, try volunteering to gain work experience and to test out the career.

 

Expect Career Planning to Take Time--But It's Worth It 


Most people spend more time playing video games and reading Facebook than they do planning their careers. Career planning is a process, so you should expect it to take some time.
 
Feeling shy about talking to people about your future? Don't be! Most individuals are happy to help sincere young people seeking advice.
 
Make an effort to find the right path, even in your shyness. The prize will be a career you love, and that will make a huge difference in your life.






 

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