Career Planning! There is so much involved with this that trying to plan a future can be overwhelming and stressful. Finding the perfect career is more than just finding something that interests you. It’s also finding a job that will provide a comfortable lifestyle. But once you find the perfect job, how do you get hired for it? Is there a trick to impressing prospective employers? The answer is yes. This career planning guide will answer all of the questions for moms trying to reenter the workforce, as well as high school students getting ready to enter college and college students on the precipice of graduation.
Picking the Perfect Career
High school and college freshmen will need a lot of parental guidance when selecting a college major. Career planning starts in college when students are narrowing down their college majors. Here is a list of questions to consider when choosing a program:
- How long will it take to graduate from this program?
- How much student loan money will be needed to pay for college?
- What is the national job outlook for this career field?
- What is the national average annual income for the chosen career field?
- How long will it take to pay off the student loans?
- Where does the student want to live after graduating?
- How much does housing cost in that area?
These questions might seem daunting for a teenager to answer, but knowing the answers to them before they commit to a career field will save them a lot of grief later. There’s nothing worse than spending four years in college only to find out that the income that comes with the job title won’t cover a monthly mortgage. Career planning will help prevent this from happening.
Read Job Descriptions Carefully
Read job descriptions carefully and pay attention to what the employers are looking for. A criminology degree is not the same thing as a criminalistics degree. One is a sociology degree. The other is chemistry-based. Employers in fields that require a college education will often list the specific course work that must be completed as well as other work experience that position requires. If you aren’t a perfect match for the position but you have taken the courses they’re asking for, make sure you list those courses in your resume or on the application.
Sometimes the human resources department will have different hiring protocols than what’s desired by specific departments. Many years ago there was a coroner’s office looking to hire new investigators. The human resources department advertised that the ideal candidate needed to be 18 years of age or older with a valid driver’s license and the ability to pass a background check. Once the job posted, chaos ensued and over 500 people from all over the country applied for the position. The problem was that the people doing the actual hiring had more specific qualifications in mind and chose the applicants based on those.
Students have the unique opportunity to get into the heads of future employers! Make a list of places you want to work and then call those places and ask a supervisor with your dream job title what qualifications and experiences they’re looking for in applicants. Is an associate’s degree enough or would they prefer the full four-year degree?
Be Prepared For The Interview
The interview isn’t just about determining qualifications. It’s a test to see how bad the prospective applicants want the job. How much do they know about the company or agency they’re going to work for? Know who you are going to work for! If you’re interviewing for a sheriff’s department – whether it’s working as a dispatcher, police officer, or crime scene investigator, make sure you know the name of the county sheriff. The same goes for metropolitan police departments. Could you give the interview panel the name of the police chief if asked?
And here’s another tip. You’re always going to be asked why you want the position. Never tell the interviewer you want the job because of the money. Even if it’s true, it’s the worst thing that could be said during the interview. Most employers are looking for long-term employees. Someone who only wants the job for the money will resign as soon as a higher-paying opportunity comes along. Employers are not going to knowingly higher someone who’s only there for the money. They want someone who is looking for a place to call home.
Depending on where you interview and the position you’re applying for, you might be offered a tour. Use this opportunity to show a genuine interest in this company or agency. If the job you’re applying for is working for a place like a medical examiner’s office, you might be asked to attend an autopsy to see if you have the stomach for it. Use this opportunity to impress the pathologist. Put on a plastic gown and some latex gloves and get right in there! Ask if there is anything the pathologist will let you do. Show them you’re not squeamish!
ATTENTION COLLEGE STUDENTS! Please be advised that if you want to work for an agency that requires a Top Secret Security clearance you might be asked to list every address you’ve ever lived at as well as the name of every roommate you’ve ever had. If you’re living in a dormitory or an apartment with multiple roommates this is the time to collect their information. Name, date of birth, phone number and off-campus address. Keep this information in a place where you won’t lose it.
Background checks often ask applicants to go back ten years. Even if the job doesn’t require a Top Secret Security clearance, police departments hiring for dispatcher and crime scene technician positions will still conduct a thorough background investigation that will ask for this information.
Read More: Tips For Preparing Your Student For College
The earlier you being career planning the better off you will be. Get into the head of your dream employer. Find out who they want to hire and then plan your college courses around those qualifications. Career planning doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start answering these questions early and you’ll save yourself a lot of grief later.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Tips for Finding College Scholarships.
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