Planning Your Career Part 2
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In part 1, we examined the importance of your career in God's view, and why it's critical for you to start planning and managing your career now. We then looked at how you can begin assessing your natural God-given gifts as a beginning point to mapping out your career path.
Let's now take a look at the different types of jobs and where you might best fit. There are about 30,000 job titles listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles! Explore http://online.onetcenter.org to begin to grasp the vast array of possibilities.
An easy and effective way to navigate the many job types is to look at the six general occupational themes as described by the Strong Interest Inventory. It would be a good idea to take this inventory to determine where your interests match the general career areas. Most schools, colleges and career counselors can administer this tool.
As I describe the six different career paths, evaluate yourself in light of what your values are and what you really enjoy doing. Remember one is not better than the other. Read 1 Corinthians 12 to see how we all have a valuable and distinct function within the body (church), and that each one is vital to the overall working of the body. Verse 14 says, "For in fact the body is not one member but many." Verse 18 adds, "But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased."
God has truly made us to function as a team, contributing our individual strengths, in accomplishing His work. We should therefore identify and develop our God-given gifts to His glory and to the benefit of our fellowman.
First, there are realistic jobs. These are mainly skilled trades or technical jobs using tools, equipment or machines, such as construction, mechanics or farming. Quite often these jobs are outdoors, and the people who enjoy this kind of work are practical, have a commonsense approach and have good physical coordination. They take a straightforward approach to life, enjoy seeing the quick results of their labors and value tradition. They are "doers." Jobs could include those in production, engineering and facilities/plant management. Does this describe you?
Second, there are investigative jobs. This type of career usually involves scientific research, investigation, theories, ideas and critical problem solving. People in these positions enjoy solving puzzles, coming up with solutions through scientific, systematic analysis. They have a curiosity and a love of learning, often enjoy math and working with data. Investigative types value independence, freedom and creative troubleshooting. They are "thinkers." Some jobs in this area are research and development (R and D), management information systems (MIS) and quality control. How do you fit this profile?
Third, there are artistic jobs. These tasks involve the creative and innovative use of words, music, various art forms and design. People in this area are imaginative, inventive, original, nonconforming and can be somewhat introspective. They value freedom, beauty, aesthetic qualities, self-expression and enjoy producing something distinct and unique. They are "creators." Jobs in this area include all art forms, advertising and communications. Is this talking about you?
Fourth, there are social jobs. This career area is all about people helping people—teaching, training, supporting, coaching, counseling and serving. People who enjoy this area are sociable, friendly, cooperative, team builders and generally have great communication skills. They value service, helping solve problems, making the situation better and facilitating an improved condition for their fellow human beings. They are "helpers." Jobs in this area include training, human resources, customer service and human/social services. Can you see yourself doing this type of job?
Fifth, there are enterprising jobs. These careers are about persuading, leading, managing people and developing and building organizations. Typically these jobs involve sales, marketing and require good presentation skills. People in this area are effective speakers, leaders, energetic, confident and enthusiastic. Their values emphasize achievement and the sense of getting things done. They enjoy motivating, influencing and directing others to get to the "bottom-line results." They are "persuaders." Are you the leader/manager type?
Sixth, there are the conventional jobs. These job types involve working within organizations doing such functions as accounting, finance, administration and operations. People who enjoy this kind of work value organization, systems, policies, accuracy and efficiency. They achieve a sense of satisfaction in being a part of a smooth-running organization. Generally, they are dependable, stable, detail-oriented and enjoy organizing data, records and information to enable effective decision-making. Does this sound like you?
Besides comparing yourself with these short descriptions, you may want to ask people who know you well (parents, teachers, friends, etc.) to tell you where they think your talents, interests and values lie. Books on career planning can give you much more detail, and career tests like the Strong Interest Inventory can be very helpful. Over time you can begin to assess the top two areas that match your interests, values and skills and focus on those types in your career search.
Another helpful tool is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Taking this inventory can add beneficial insight to assist you on your career journey. A similar, simplified assessment, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, can be taken at www.keirsey.com. Combine that information with the above job types taken from the Strong Interest Inventory to achieve a more comprehensive picture of your fit into the job market.
Also, a very helpful book is Do What You Are by Tieger and Barron-Tieger. The book shows how your personality type enables you to succeed in certain career areas. The information can help direct and guide you in your career search.
Some helpful job search Web sites to begin finding out what's being posted in the marketplace include: www.wantedjobs.com, www.jobsniper.com and www.monster.com. Explore these sites by typing in key skill words you find interesting and see what comes up! This can be a helpful market research method.
In Part 3 of this career series we will examine how to effectively enter the job market. We will consider the most successful ways to find that great job.
In the meantime, remember the importance of your career to God and to the rest of your life. Be proactive and take responsibility to do your very best. As you grow and develop, you will become a more useful servant to your Creator and will be able to more effectively serve and help those you care about. YU