Today's workers change jobs and careers more frequently than their parents did. How do young workers make decisions and educational choices that will lead to the careers they want?
With career assessment, exploration and planning you can:
- Identify your interests, values, skills, personality and goals
- Create a clear pathway
- Make informed adjustments as you develop experience and preferences for careers.
Make good decisions! MDC can help you.
- Identify questions to ask and information to gather
- Give you options to consider
- Share the steps in a career exploration process
- Give you the tools to plan your career
- Ask good questions
- Search for relevant answers
- Analyze the results
- Plan the next steps
Be sure to use the Career Exploration Resources to help you with your process.
Career exploration is a lifelong process
As we progress through life, we discover additional things about ourselves, such as a passion for a career we didn’t know we had or career choices we thought we would like but don’t. As a result, we want or need to change careers. It’s never too early to start that process.
Whether you are
- Currently in high school
- Just beginning college
- In college
- Returning to college to finish your degree or returning to college to prepare for a new career
You should be exploring your career options now so that you can use your time in college to master and apply these key skills in your chosen career area:
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Ethical mindset
Career exploration also helps you have more success in college now.
Career exploration helps you
- Set and achieve appropriate goals
- Be more directed and focused—you become more determined to succeed
- Make good academic decisions, including the program you chose to major in, whether you want to transfer to earn a baccalaureate degree or enter the workforce after graduation, which courses best prepare you to be successful, etc.
- Spend less time/money to earn a credential
- Stay on track towards graduation and increase the probability you will complete your degree
Career exploration now will help you in the future.
- College graduates make an annual average of $17,500 more than their peers who are not college graduates
- You can make an average of $1 million dollars more over your lifetime if you have a Bachelor’s degree
Once you have a clear idea of your career path, you can begin to think about the next steps.
- Will your MDC degree enable you to find a job of your choice?
- Should you continue your studies to earn a baccalaureate degree at MDC or at another institution?
- Visit the MDC Transfer Planning website for a step-by-step guide to this process.
Let's Bust 16 Common Career Myths
1. Choosing a career is easy.
Choosing a career is a complex process that takes time and attention. To be successful, you need to learn about your skills, interests, work-related values and personality type before you gather information about the careers you are considering.
2. A career counselor can decide your career for you.
No one can tell you what career to choose. A counselor can help you formulate good questions and identify where to get answers. You will have to do your homework and make the final decision after considering everything you have learned.
3. You can't make a living from your hobby.
A lot of people have turned their hobbies (music, video games, social media) into careers. Consider turning something you love doing into a career.
4. If you don't find your passion, you'll never be happy.
Many people learn to be passionate about the work they are doing rather than finding a job they are passionate about. Watch Dirty Jobs host, Mike Row's video about passion.
5. You should rely on "Hot Jobs" lists.
Each year, different organizations predict what will be the hot / in-demand jobs. These lists change frequently and their predictions aren't always correct, but they may give you some ideas that you might not have thought about on your own.
6. Earning a lot of money will make you happy.
No question; you have to pay your bills, but once they are paid, more money won't necessarily make you happy. Many corporate executives have resigned their high paying jobs to work at much lower paying jobs that brought them more personal satisfaction.
7. Once you make a career decision, you will be in that career (for better or for worse) forever.
The average person changes jobs 10-15 times, many changing the type of work they do, or even their career pathways when they change jobs.
8. Your skills will go to waste if you decide to change careers.
Many of the skills that you acquire in one job can be transferred, or build on, sometimes easily, to another.
9. My parents' or my friend's dream career will be great for me.
You are not your parents and you are not your friend. You may not enjoy doing the same type of work. It's much more rewarding to find something that's a good fit for you.
10. Once I choose a career, everything else in my life will fall into place.
Once you choose a career you need to be proactive in developing a career action plan that will help you reach your goals. It's a lifelong journey.
11. You have to work in an occupation before you can know if it is right for you.
It's true that there are things about a career that you won't know until you work in that occupation, but there are ways to make some informed decisions beforehand. What are your talents and skills? What do you enjoy doing? Are you willing to travel or even relocate? You can speak with individuals who already are in the career. Consider volunteering or interning in career areas that interest you.
12. Completing college alone will lead to that dream job.
Half of the US population over 25 has some college education and about 27% have Bachelor's degrees. More and more, a college degree is required for an entry level professional position, but it's not a guarantee of that dream job.
13. You will begin working at a company and after a few years you will be promoted.
Promotion often requires changing companies or work settings and that change involves risk. Promotion may mean administrative, supervisory or leadership, with greater responsibility and accountability.
14. You will work for one company for most of your life.
Fewer than 10% of all employees stay with a company for more than 20 years.
15. Your career choice will make you happy.
Many things determine our happiness. Even if we have a dream career, there is no guarantee of happiness. Unrealistic expectations can lead to career dissatisfaction.
16. You will only need one area of expertise.
With today's evolving technologies and organizational restructurings, it is often necessary to be able to multitask and have expertise in multiple skill areas.
Most students get the greatest benefit from career exploration by starting at the beginning. If you've done this process within the past couple of years, then find the step that matches where you are today. Let's get going.