Most of us have a variety of jobs throughout our lifetimes. Each one can be a learning experience. But if you’re not happy in your current job, it’s never too late to look for a new career. Here are a few myths and realities that may help inspire you to seek a new profession. All it takes is a first step!
Myth: There is one perfect job for me.
Reality:There are many occupations—and many jobs—that you would enjoy. Focusing on ﬁnding a single, perfect career is not only intimidating, it’s limiting. If you’re like most people, you will have several jobs and careers in your life, and each will have positive and negative aspects to it.
Furthermore, your job preferences are apt to change over time as you gain experience, skill, and self-knowledge. Keeping your options open is a position of strength, not weakness.
Myth: I will use all of my talents and abilities in my job.
Reality: No one job uses all of your talents. And trying to ﬁnd one that does will derail your job search. Learning a variety of tasks helps you to sharpen abilities that might not be needed in one job but could be invaluable in another. Especially at the start of your career, you should expect to spend time acquiring experience and skills.
Myth: My job has to match my college major or vocational training.
Reality: You need not restrict your job search to careers related to your degree or training. Most jobs do not specify which college major is needed, even if they require that workers have a college degree. Many computer specialist positions, for example, are ﬁlled by workers whose degree is in a subject unrelated to computers.
Vocational training is often more closely related to speciﬁc occupations. But even this kind of training can open the door to a wider array of jobs than people think. Consider that electrical technicians are now repairing fuel cells, for example, or that veterinary technicians become pharmaceutical sales workers. Often, technical skills are applicable to many settings—and most workers learn the speciﬁcs of an occupation on the job.
Myth: No one will hire me because I lack experience, have low grades, have gaps in my work history, etc.
Reality: People overcome all kinds of challenges to find satisfying work. Experts say that how you handle adversity is a good indicator of your ability to persevere. Need experience? Get it! Volunteer, work in a related occupation, or focus on school projects that are relevant to your desired career. Low grades are the problem? Highlight other parts of your resume, and remember that grades usually matter only for that ﬁrst job after graduation. Gaps in your work history? Overcome them with a well-designed resume that focuses on skills rather than chronology, and then get a little interviewing practice.
For most entry-level jobs, employers are looking for general attributes such as communication skills, interpersonal abilities, and enthusiasm.
Myth: It’s too late to change my career.
Reality: It’s never too late to change careers. Workers who change careers come from many backgrounds, age groups, and situations. There’s the doctor who decided she’d rather be a chef, the retiree who enrolled in college to become an accountant, the construction worker who wanted a steadier income without moving to a warmer climate. For each of these workers, the desire for job satisfaction outweighed the desire for status quo.
To make the change easier, look at your past work and education to see what skills relate to the job you want. Most jobs’ entry requirements are more ﬂexible than people think. Gain needed skills with volunteer work, internships, or a class, and don’t be afraid to start at the bottom to get the career you want. If you are out of school and want expert advice, consider a local One-Stop Career Center or the counseling center at a nearby school.
Visit www.careeronestop.org for more information.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor