The world of work is Darwin at its’ best…survival of the fittest. Ask any recent college grad or professionals that have lost their job within the last 6 or 7 years. As a student career coach (and in adult coaching sometimes as well), most high school students and many college students are challenged to engage in researching and planning for their future. For some, lack of confidence or fear makes the entire idea of investigating and planning for a future to be very intimidating. I use the following questions when I see a person struggling to engage or seems to have a lack of confidence:
Low level of confidence/lack of engagement
- What makes you think this isn’t the best time to do career exploration and planning?
- What makes you think that you have a low confidence level?
- What do you want to do about it? Something? Nothing?
- If you are not going to do something about it, who will?
- If you are going to do something about it, how will that help you reach your goal?
- What are your goals?
Help for those that don’t know what they want to do
- Know that a goal without a plan is merely a dream. Dreams rarely become reality. Plans almost always become reality.
- What DON’T you want to do? There may be options or a “plan B” that others are suggesting you pursue. Think with integrity about what you don’t want to do. Own it. Move on.
- Examine the current job market supply-and-demand ratios. Within Student Resource Central, we offer several excellent career research sites that provide quick information about high growth jobs and industries.
- How does your current interests and background fit with these ratios. Use assessments (for high school students or for college students) to provide a more structured and valid approach to examining your interests and “fit” to different career possibilities.
- Choose a career field to research – research it thoroughly. You aren’t making a decision here, just research.
- How can you gain more insight (talk to people in the career) and experience (internships) to further investigate the career of interest?
It should be reinforced that even if a student does everything above (as well as much more) there is no guarantee of employment today or tomorrow. Be prepared to reexamine and reinvent as you walk the path.
Carl Nielson is Chief Discovery Officer of Success Discoveries and Managing Principal of The Nielson Group, an organizational development consulting firm that provides executive development coaching, team development and assessments for hiring. As creator of the Career Coaching for Students program for high school students and Career and Success Skills Mastery for College Students and Recent Grads, Carl and his team of licensed facilitators across North America have helped thousands of students find a better way through a career exploration process that works. Assessment and coaching packages start at $399. Local public workshops, distance-coaching and in-school programs available. Call for more information at 972.346.2892.