A career is a long-term pursuit of a livelihood, usually associated with the development of a skillset with the intent of being employed in such a manner as to put the same skills to use. A career is usually chosen by an individual when they are young, though they may decide to change their career later in life. A person's choice of career is often a deciding factor in the type of job that they pursue or accept. Many career pursuits are more successful with a form of post-secondary education, such as college.
Why pursue a career?Edit
People spend about a third of their lives sleeping, and a third of their lives working. Because of this, it's important that you marry someone that you love, and find a career that you enjoy doing. However, a career can affect who you marry, the kind of bed you sleep in, the kind of car you can drive, the size of the house you live in, and the kind of hobbies you have. Some jobs don't pay as well as other jobs, and this tends to make some jobs more desirable than others. This doesn't necessarily mean that you should pursue the highest-paying job. After all, if you enjoy what you do, that's a third of your life that turned out well. However, it's a good idea to not settle for a difficult job that doesn't pay very well. To this end, one should choose a career with careful research.
How to choose a careerEdit
Perhaps you are still in school, expected to get a job soon after you graduate. Perhaps you already have a job, but aren't fond of it. Perhaps you have an entry-level job that doesn't have an educational requirement, and pays minimum wage, or close to it. If you're in a position like these, and aren't happy with it, it's time to get your rear in gear and pursue a career. It can be difficult to determine the kind of career you want. When considering a career, there are a few important points to consider:
- Would this be a job you wouldn't mind doing five days a week, fourty hours a week (or more), possibly for the rest of your life?
- What skills are needed to do this job?
- What are the educational requirements?
- Is there much demand for people who can do this job?
- Is the pay for this kind of job sufficient to maintain the lifestyle you'd prefer?
You probably know at least a couple people who work at McDonald's. How many of them are married, have four-bedroom houses, two or more cars, medical and dental insurance, and a menu that consists of something besides macaroni? How many doctors do you know that are single, live in one-bedroom apartments, live within walking distance of work because they have no car, are uninsured, and eat ramen five times a week? You likely don't know any McDonald's crew members or doctors that fit precisely within the respective specified criteria. There's a reason for that: fast food jobs don't pay very well, while doctors are very well compensated. Now, why would this be? Perhaps both jobs are about as difficult as one another, that's hard to tell. However, one job requires a specific skillset and an extensive education, while the other job doesn't require much of any education at all. A doctor faces major hurdles in the form of an education that can continue as long as eight years, and once they start doing their job, it's demanding, at times dangerous, their skillset often requires updating, and they can be held liable for the mistakes they make. Perhaps the most serious hurdles a McDonald's crew member faces is living off of their meager salary (assuming that they could manage to move out of their parent's home), and completing their GED so they can get a better job.
Your choice of career can determine your personal success, and could bring with it a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Being lazy when it comes to your career can lead to continual difficulties, a sense of defeat, and enduring feelings of failure. It's because of this that one should choose their career with care. Generally, nearly any career choice is better than attempting to coast along with a minimum of effort.
What do you have against McDonald's?Edit
Nothing. I respect people who work at McDonald's. They prepare my fries hot and salty, and they lamp-heat my cheeseburgers, just how I like them. Someone out there has to do it, and I respect someone who chooses to do so. I've even worked there for a few months, a long while ago. The high school students may not have always been professional, but it was a fun place to work, and I found out that even ex-convicts can be nice to work with. However, it didn't take me long to discover that it's not a rewarding job, and the salary was pitiful.
Simple skills to learn that may change your careerEdit
If you're looking for a career change, there are a few skills one can obtain that can make the process easier. Listed here are skills that could make it easier for you to find work:
- Customer service - People skills, such as the ability to clearly communicate, can greatly help. Even in non-customer service jobs, you're going to be communicating with people, and having people skills will make your employment (as well as the process of becoming employed) much easier.
- Truck-driving certification - If you already have a driver's license, you can go for a certification for commercial truck driving with relative ease. Truck drivers are paid pretty well. Just keep in mind that a clean driving record will make you easier to employ.
- Microsoft Office - Your computer probably comes with a trial version of programs that are used in offices everywhere. Some people attend classes on how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. You don't have to. Go to YouTube and look for some tutorials.
- Foreign language - Learning a foreign language can make you far more employable. Many employers are looking for people who can reach out to a workforce or clientelle that speaks a foreign language. A few suggestions: Spanish is gaining popularity in America, Chinese is the most popular language on earth in terms of the number of people who can speak it, French is the most widely-spoken language in terms of global surface area, and you probably already know a little Japanese from watching anime.
How to search for jobsEdit
Have you ever heard someone complain about their job, but they don't spend any time looking for a new one? No one can expect their career to change without some forward effort. Here are a few things you can do to get your job hunt moving:
- Prepare a resume. There are guides online for how to do this, and once you've looked over a few examples, you may have a general idea of what you want your resume to look like. It's simple to make one with MS Word, and save it in .PDF format. The idea is to sell yourself, so be sure to include your work history, along with your responsibilities in a way that presents you positively. Also include a list of skills, certifications, accomplishments, and what you're good at. It can seem tricky at first, but you probably have more skills and talents than you're immediately aware of, and you may realize what they are if you think about it. Also, be sure to include contact information such as your name, address, email, phone number, etc. If you don't, it won't matter how nice your resume looks because your potential employer won't be able to get back with you. If you're aiming for a specific type of job, it helps to keep the skills you list to those relevant to the position.
- Fill out applications. Some employers don't take resumes, and prefer that you fill out an application for consideration. Filling out applications can get pretty boring, but it's not difficult. Just fill out the fields on the application to the best of your knowledge.
- Search for jobs online. Many retailers that you visit in person will ask that you fill out an application online. If you search sites for job postings, and you have a resume in .PDF format, emailing them with it may be all you need to do. Just be sure to specify the position for which you are applying.
- Be persistent. I'm surprised that so many people believe that an effective job search is to only apply for one job and pester the company for months. A job hunt is a long and sustained effort. You could very well be sending out dozens or even hundreds of applications/resumes. The average job hunt nowadays is about 6 months, and it could go on much longer. Some get so desparate, that they reduce their standards, and find themselves with a job they regret accepting. Job searches can take a while, and the search itself can be hard work.
Don't get discouraged simply because you don't get a call for a while. It can sometimes take a while for someone to notice your application. Maybe someone just skimmed over it. Be sure your resume is short and to the point, many employers don't like reading long ones. HR personnel can read as many as 5 resumes per minute. Because employers can get a lot of them, they tend to not give unimpressive resumes another look. Your solution is a sharp-looking, well-written resume, and persistence. Finding a job usually takes time.
NOTE: Many companies utilize software that filters resumes sent to them electronically. These filters automatically remove resumes that do not meet specific criteria. Resumes missing keywords that could potentially indicate a specific level of education or experience can likely be filtered out, and not even be seen by human eyes after they have been sent. If you have relevant education or experience, it may be helpful to indicate such.
How to succeed in interviewsEdit
After a while of sending out resumes, you may finally get a phone call or returned email, and the potential employer wants an interview with you. The interview is viewed by the company as an opportunity to learn more about you to see whether you'd be well-suited to the job. It's also your opportunity to make a good first impression.
However, just because you're being interviewed doesn't mean you've got the job. The employer is probably interviewing a number of people for the same position. Your goal is to stand out. Here are a few tips on how to do just that:
- Many people get so giddy about the prospect of being able to pay some bills again, that they fall into the trap of developing the attitude that the company is there to do something for them. Remember, the company is looking at you in terms of what you have to offer.
- If you're feeling nervous, get over it before the interview itself. You look better to employers when you exude confidence, so be sure to let on that you're energetic, fast-learning, hard-working, and if possible, have some familiarity with what you'll be doing.
- It may be beneficial to connect with your interviewer on a personal level. One way to do this is to learn their hobbies or favorite sports teams, and engage them in a discussion about their interests.
Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, you don't hear back from the potential employer, and you don't get the job. Rest assured that acts of revenge aren't the remedy when it comes to such an absurd travesty of justice. Some interviewers aren't qualified, and those happen to spite the efforts of the well-intentioned. So what can you do? Continue looking for work. Don't get discouraged, and don't let up until you find a job you're satisfied with. A job search is often a long campaign, and sometimes it ends up taking a little longer than originally anticipated.