Are you on track?.
November is National Career Development Month, and it’s time for your annual check-up.
Whether it is your home life or physical condition, a healthy career often means a healthier life. A careful examination today will help you avoid toxic spillover later.
Use the checklist below to ensure that you are on track for discovering and achieving your professional goals.
• Do you know what evokes your interest and is most important to you? Have you confirmed that you excel at these activities? Your college major and chosen occupation should match your values, interests and skills. If you are disengaged in the classroom or uncertain about your career, contact your campus career center for immediate assistance.
• Have you sought out experiences within your field to confirm your goals? If not, it is time to test drive the car. Get in the driver’s seat by pursuing volunteer experiences, relevant part-time jobs, summer employment or internships. Speak with or shadow a professional in the field to gain insider expertise on occupations.
• Are you investing in professional relationships? Networking is more like gardening than hunting. Join a professional association, stay in touch with former colleagues or friends and collaborate with classmates to expand your circle of support.
• Are you ready if opportunity knocks? Make a quick list of your recent accomplishments. Update your resume, elevator pitch or LinkedIn profile to ensure that it contains current content and maximizes your marketability.
• What current trends in your industry or profession could have future implications for your career? If you are not sure about the desired qualifications or anticipated outlook of your field, view O*Net or the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Conduct a mock job search through any commercial job board to identify the qualifications preferred by employers. If you do not possess these qualifications, create an immediate game plan to enhance your knowledge and skills.
• What compelling qualifications set you apart from your competition? Craft a unique career identity and earn credibility by reviewing the evidence in your career portfolio. What work samples can you produce? What feedback have you received during performance appraisals, class projects or internship evaluations? Emphasize the outcomes and results of your activities to demonstrate the value you provide to organizations. Advance your training and expertise by reading a journal in your field, learning a foreign language, following respected bloggers, mastering new technology or attending a conference in your area.
• What goals do you have to advance your career development during the remaining academic year? Stretch yourself. Write a blog post, present at a local conference or submit an article for publication. Whether you are a first-year student or graduating senior, career development is a lifelong endeavor. Formulate measureable goals that you can use next November to assess your success.
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