The global economy has drastically changed within the past decade to say the least. High unemployment rates remain and the path to one's career goals has shifted dramatically. Not long ago, a college degree was good enough to jump start the journey to the white collar world of management and executive positions which provided compensation and benefit rewards for education, interning, and progressively climbing the corporate ladder.
If inclined towards blue collar work, obtaining a high school education or completing a GED along with vocational training and experience could secure a person with a long-term future as part of a corporate family. This included corporate care for the employee's family with health insurance, day care centers, employee assistance programs, credit unions and secured pensions. What one gave to a company for decades of dedicated commitment was returned by a company's promise to take care of the employee after retirement.
Drastic changes in both the white and blue collar worlds have forced families planning for college, current high school and college students, and new graduates to assess their career management in a whole new way. The simplicity of testing the waters of multiple college courses has become much too expensive as higher education is projected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete a bachelor or master degrees for the infants of today and in some fields, those numbers are being tallied today. Students spend most of their lives paying off financial aid loans for educations that are not returning nearly the investment.
Career management is becoming a more valuable process in coping with the dynamics of a changing economy and how this affects one's professional and personal life. Having a plan in mind will let one maintain control over work and life environments by adopting strategies and tactics developed within a career management plan. A combination of assessing one's personal characteristics, values and goals; exploring careers that make the best of one's talent, education and abilities while attaining financial objectives; and learning and implementing the best methods in searching for employment is a good, basic outline in designing one's career management plan.
Reflecting on what one likes to do, finds interesting, or motivates one to achieve a prospective task or objective is a good place to start. Since over one-third of the day is spent at one's career, liking one's employment situation makes for a happier life, but also makes adapting to change easier. One is more accessible to change if it means continuing in a profession which provides a great deal of satisfaction.
Once a specific field of interest is determined, the next step in career management is researching the ways to learn or train for a position in that field. Will a college degree be necessary? Will certifications or board reviews be required to practice? This step takes into account self-assessment as well. If one likes structure, autonomous jobs can lead to failure. However, flexible days may be appealing to good time managers. Volunteering or job shadowing in one's field of interest is a good way to determine what a typical day would be like.
Searching for a job in the tight job market the world is currently facing is difficult at any stage in one's career. Having one resume up-to-date is essential throughout a career. Interning, volunteering, and researching Internet job boards and sector-specific sites are good places to find opportunities. Making contacts and building a network of people is extremely important in career management. Word of mouth continues to be the best way to get one's foot in the door whether selling a product or selling oneself to an employer.
With volatility present in the workplace, maintaining and restructuring career management plans may be necessary. Having the flexibility to evolve or adjust one's objectives must be factored in when developing strategies to succeed. As long as one is in the job market, career management should never cease.
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