Today is the first day of school for those attending Western Technical College in La Crosse. Welcome back Students!
So, speaking of fresh starts: This blog is all about Careers 4 U, right? It is about “Finding Your Path.”
Choosing a program at Western is easier for some than others. Speaking from years of experience, i.e., struggling through many years myself, I am here to say that choosing the right path is all about Career Development. The word development here means: to grow or progress gradually.
Choosing the right career path is about learning enough to make a decision. If you were to break down the steps to decision making, you would find that one of the steps is gathering information. When we gather information about the careers we are thinking about, we are learning enough about each one to help us make a decision.
Put all that together and realize that we all develop at our own pace, but we can speed things along by choosing to spend some time thinking and learning about our career choices. So I have two suggestions along that line for you to consider.
Here in Career Services we recommend that you do an “informational interview” for each of your top choices. After all, we learn from other people.
How to conduct an informational interview in four easy steps: 1). Sit down and make a list of all the people you know who are already doing the job; make a list of those who you know who would be willing to help you find someone who is already doing the job. 2). Pick up your phone and call these people. Your goal: To find someone who is already doing the job and talk to them for 20-30 minutes. 3). First ask them if they have the time. If they are in the middle of something, ask them if you can schedule an appointment to talk with them for 20-30 minutes (and remember to respect this time limit….if they extend this time frame that is fine….if not, do not overstay your welcome…you can always schedule another time that is better for them). 4). Have your questions prepared ahead of time: We have a handout here in Career Services that you can pop in and pick up, but you probably have a good idea of what it is that you want to ask.
You can ask questions such as:
Tell me what a day on the job is like.
Can you tell me what percentage of time you spend on various duties?
What are your favorite parts of the job?
What do you wish you could change?
What steps did you take to get where you are at today?
Do you have any advice for me?
Do you think there will be plenty of hiring taking place in the future for this kind of skill?
So, maybe you are wondering how to come up with “top choices?” Career Services is all about helping you narrow down career choices and we use a career assessment called, “Typefocus” to help you do this. Be a walk in at Career Services. Just look to your right when you enter the Welcome Center at 400 7th Street North, La Crosse, WI. You will see the big “Career Services” sign. We are open from 8-4 Monday through Thursday and 10 to 4 on Fridays. I can guide you through our career assessments so that you can narrow down your choices to 4 or 5 top picks. Typefocus measures your interests, personality type, and values – PLUS the tool gives you information about whether the career has a bright outlook or whether it is considered a “green job” (meaning a job that helps sustain our earth’s resources). Next you can sort occupations nine different ways. You create your own account and you are able to save occupations that you are interested in in your own “portfolio,” which allows you then to narrow down your choices. I have had numerous students tell me how helpful this assessment can be. If you prefer to schedule an appointment, you can reach me at: 608-785-9257.
I promised two suggestions. The other suggestion that I have: Take Western’s one credit “Career Development” course #20890202. Several sections are offered each trimester. Taking a course in career development will force you to take the time to collect information and reflect on your career choices, which leads to “Finding Your Path.”