The Career Path

Finalizing your education and making the transition to a rewarding and fulfilling career is no easy task, but with the right preening, you are certain to land a position about which you are passionate.

Alexandra Levit (2014) wrote a career guide specifically for people in their twenties, although the wisdom imbued in the pages applies to anyone leaving the school system for the workforce. LevIt’s book is called They don’t Teach Corporate in College and provides many scintillating facts to help propel any job campaign to its maximum potential.

Peripheral to her thesis is her stat on career changes for people prior to age 26: “the average young American has more than seven different employers before she reaches age 26” (Levit, 2014, p. 213). With an ever-circulating doorway to the working sphere, Levit presents some timely advice on how to manage the present-day career landscape.

Graduate Studies
Levit (2014) argues that going to graduate school may incur a massive debt while leaving you no more marketable than you were prior to the additional education. With this caveat in mind, she advises that the graduate candidate research and get in-depth, hands-on experience in the prospective educational field prior to entering the respective graduate program. You should have a stellar plan on how the graduate education is going to enhance your career goals prior to making such a financial and time-related commitment.

Starting A Business
When considering starting a business, Levit (2014) alerts the reader to personality traits that are central to entrepreneurship, which include leadership ability, optimism, sales orientation, and related traits. She advises that you serve as an employee in the field prior to committing to a business initiative. Plus, taking business-oriented coursework is vital to ensuring the success with tasks such as accounting, marketing, and the like. She also advises on claiming a mentor or possibly joining an industry association related to your respective field of interest. Of course, writing an exceptional business plan and securing financial backing are two fundamental tasks for any entrepreneurial visionary.

Irresistible Resumes
When creating your resume, Levit (2014) recommends you embellish it, wherever possible, with plenty of statistics, particularly if the data sounds in the slightest bit impressive. For instance, when divulging your last position managing budget spreadsheets, redefine the activity as financial management and allot a dollar value or estimate to the funds to which you attended. Adding statistics provides meaningful fodder for employers on the lookout for exceptional resumes.

Not at all superfluous to your career goals is an assessment of what you want from a prospective job. Levit (2014) reports that, ideally, you should assess your value system, your passions, your preferences, and your definitions of what it means to be successful before scouting out a particular career field. She suggests that you go online and find listings of careers that fit with your “skills, interests, and personal mission” (p. 21). She even goes so far as to recommend taking internships and courses related to the field to get a better sense of the fit in your life. If you were to pick a dream job, what would it be? If you were to pick a job that you would continue to be passionate about within a five to ten year span, then your assessment of which career path to choose is on the right track.

Work For Free?
The issue of whether to work for free or not is particularly vexing for recent graduates. Levit (2014) exhorts that you should evaluate whether you have the financial freedom to work for free, while ensuring that you limit your total free work hours to 25 hours per week maximum. She also recommends that you ask for large, meaningful tasks that expand your horizons rather than relying on menial ones that don’t get you any further ahead. When the free work stint comes to end, Levit (2014) urges you to maintain communications with your former colleagues either through email or in person.

Goal Setting
Establishing goals can form the crux of your professional development if done correctly. Levit (2014) outlines how you should focus on the big-picture when allocating your goals, and then break down each goal into the following questions/answers: “What I’m going to do?”, “Why do I want to do it?”, “When am I going to do it?”, and “How will I measure my success?” Using this template, Levit (2014) formulates a system for establishing meaningful priorities that address your foremost agenda for your professional growth.

Levit (2014) also highlights the value of taking professional development courses, accepting “job rotations and temporary assignments in other departments” (p. 95), joining committees, taking on projects outside of your job scope, and seeking “additional education in the form of certifications or online courses/webinars” (p. 95).

Periodically reassess your goals with the big picture in mind. Priorities change over time?and so should you.

Levit, Alexandra. (2014) They don’t Teach Corporate in College. Career Press; 10th Anniversary Edition edition. New Jersey.

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