Career 101: Planning Your Next Move

Are you stuck in the crossroads of switching your major?   

Are you finding yourself enrolled in classes but having no clear direction of where you might be heading after graduation?  

Has a significant other inquired with the dreaded question: “What are you going to do with your life?”

If you had a head nod to any of these questions then I hope to offer some quick advice on career planning to get you stepping in the right direction.   For 6 years I worked as an Assistant Director of Career Services at another Georgia institution.  I have many memories of students who would come to my office the Monday after graduation and remark “Hey, Mrs. Karen, I need a job!”   Some of those students had never taken advantage of the fine services we offered previously.  At the conclusion of many an appointment I can recall that most, if not all, of the visitors emphatically declared, “Man – why did I not come here SOONER?”

As an online student, I know you are super busy.  You’re juggling coursework, maybe a part time or full time job, family obligations…. just LIFE!  However, are you putting “2 and 2 together” that the whole purpose for your education is to find out what you might want to do with that LIFE?   It is crucial that you spend some energy and time exploring your options.  

Taking the time to investigate and decipher your strengths/skills along with possible career fields and actual jobs is foundational to your post-graduation plans.  Many students think this can be done pell-mell.  In reality it deserves significant time and focus. 

I wish I could say that there is ONE pathway to take but the truth is there are many fabulous ways to glean knowledge.  I would be remiss if I did not direct you first and foremost to a most logical spot. Valdosta State University’s Office of Career Services  is where I found this direct link to virtual career related concepts.  Here, you’ll find practical resources including putting together a resume and preparing for a job interview. It is also wise to take a look at the steps outlined for career planning, which includes a handy outline of what to pursue during different intervals of your post-secondary experience.

If you are the one who has no earthly idea what you might like to do “when you grow up,” I will suggest that you begin with some fundamental questions as put forth by Debra Davenport (Executive Professional Mentor, Licensed Career Counselor & Employment Agent). "What do I really feel passionate about? What do I love to do so much that I would do it for free?"   Answering those questions will help drive your search.  She goes on to state that “Your career should be a natural extension of who you are as a human being.”

Another career expert, Marty Nemko, Ph.D. (Contributing Editor, Careers, U.S. News & World Report) asks different yet just as compelling questions.   “What do you think you would prefer in your ideal job?  Working with data?  Working with people?  Working with words?  Or working with concrete objects?”

This blog post was designed to get you thinking about how to begin career exploration steps. Do your research, and let us hear your plans in the comments below!

Karen M. Lingrell, M Ed
Assistant Director of Collaborative Programs
USG eCore and eMajor
klingrel@westga.edu
678.839.5278

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