Careers For Dummies book cover

Careers For Dummies

By: Marty Nemko Published: 06-19-2018

Feeling stuck? Find out how to work toward the career of your dreams

If you’re slogging through your days in a boring or unrewarding job, it may be time to make a big change. Careers For Dummies is a comprehensive career guide from a top career coach and counselor that will help you jump start your career and your life. Dive in to learn more about career opportunities, with a plethora of job descriptions and the certifications, degrees, and continuing education that can help you build the career you’ve always wanted.

Whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time or a career-oriented person who needs or wants a change, this book has valuable information that can help you achieve your career goals. Find out how you can build your personal brand to become more attractive to potential employers, how to create a plan to “get from here to there” on your career path, and access videos and checklists that help to drive home all the key points. If you’re not happy in your day-to-day work now, there’s no better time than the present to work towards change.

  • Get inspired by learning about a wide variety of careers
  • Create a path forward for a new or better career that will be rewarding and fun
  • Determine how to build your personal brand to enhance your career opportunities
  • Get tips from a top career coach to help you plan and implement a strategy for a more rewarding work life
Careers For Dummies is the complete resource for those looking to enhance their careers or embark on a more rewarding work experience.

Articles From Careers For Dummies

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Careers For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-25-2022

Choosing your career can be daunting, not to mention the training for it, landing a good job, and succeeding in your career. That’s darn hard and, okay, even overwhelming. This cheat sheet can make it easier.

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How to Unearth Your Work Life’s Core Principles

Article / Updated 09-25-2018

There’s no one-size-fits-all set of work-life principles. You can adjust yours as life proceeds, but it can’t hurt to think about them so you can try to live those principles rather than be buffeted by external events. The pay continuum Many people overestimate money’s importance: Beyond a middle-class income, money doesn’t buy happiness. In many locales, you end up paying half of your income above $75,000 in taxes, so you generally have to earn $125,000 or more a year to significantly improve your material lifestyle. For an employer to pay you big money, you need to make the employer bigger money, and that can bring ethical temptations. Few careers pay big money, so your options are limited. Unless you have a shot at being the next Madonna, you may need to forgo artistic careers as well as nonprofit work, unless you’re a major fundraiser or director. For some people, however, major money is important: It’s tangible evidence of how much the world values your work. Big money buys things like a nice house in a nice neighborhood. All things equal, it’s better to go for more money than less. For example, if you like selling and can land a job selling a great product, and if you’re committed to not cutting ethical corners, why not? How much money would you like to make near-term? In five years? And how important is that amount to you? ←---------------------------------------------------→ $30,000 $200,000+ The people-contact continuum Some of my clients complain about being isolated at work — they crave more people contact. On the other hand, some of my clients would rather work mainly solo. Relatedly, some people like workplaces with lots of social interaction, even if work productivity suffers. Others prefer a minimum of chitchat, let alone interpersonal drama. There is no right or wrong. The question is, “Where on the people-contact continuum would you like to be, and how important is that to you?” ←---------------------------------------------------→ No people contact Lots of people contact The status continuum Even though status is ineffable, many people are driven by it. After all, why would someone buy Gucci, Pucci, Coach, or Chu when they could buy less tony brands that look and perform essentially as well, still looking good by the time most people decide to change styles? Status. Why do people buy a “Beemer,” Mercedes, or Jaguar that costs oodles more than a Toyota, even though they break down more? Even though there’s no status in standing on the side of the road and waiting for a tow truck, many people buy designer-label cars, even going into debt to do it. Why? Status: It makes some people feel good to be associated with a status name. Of course, that concept extends to career. It feels good to know, and for others to know, that you’re a physician rather than a physician assistant, or a lawyer rather than a haircutter, even though surveys find that haircutters have higher average job satisfaction. Oh, and physician assistants and many haircutters do make a solid living. The question for you is (be totally honest with yourself), how important is status? ←---------------------------------------------------→ No importance Great importance The workload continuum Work-life balance is high priority for many people. They want to be able to succeed while leaving plenty of time for family, fun, and personal maintenance. For them, a 40-hour workweek is pretty much tops, and it’s even better if those hours are flexible, that they can take lots of breaks, and that when they leave work, they’re done with work. Rarely will they engage in professional reading or attend professional workshops or answer their email after work hours. Other people find work more rewarding, contributory, and even pleasurable than what they otherwise might be doing. Where are you on the workload continuum, and how important is that to you? ←--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------→ Fewer than 20 hours; not unduly productivity oriented More than 60 highly productive hours a week The ambition continuum No one blames a person for wanting to climb the status-and-income ladder. If you say you’re an individual contributor and your goal is to be a vice president, the response is usually “You go, girl” or, I guess, “You go, guy,” although I’ve never heard that sentence uttered by anyone. But some people strive upward more because of praise than because they simply want to. Privately, they’d rather trade the money, power, and prestige of a big-time job for less stress and more free time. Or they may realize that if they push upward, they’ll rise to their level of incompetence. You spend too much time at work to let societal pressure dictate your level of ambition. Consciously decide how ambitious you want to be: ←---------------------------------------------------→ A basic job is fine. I want to rise as far as I can. The ethical continuum Most people claim to be ethical, but in real life, as in most human characteristics, there’s plenty of variability. For example, some people believe that any sales or fundraising job is unethical because, in order to be more than an order taker, you have to manipulate the prospect into buying when he otherwise could buy from another vendor or donate to another charity. On the other hand, some people, as long as they don’t commit egregious ethical violations (like overtly lying about a product or the benefits a charitable donation will yield), prioritize putting bread on the table. Another example: For one person, anything this side of selling tobacco or mind-altering substances is ethical. For others, ethics requires clear societal improvement. Of course, that can occur in all sectors: for-profit, nonprofit, and government. For example, someone who works for a company that makes best-in-class products such as Toyota, Apple, or Google, as long as their day-to-day behavior is ethical, can lay their heads on the pillow with pride. So can someone who works for a nonprofit that has demonstrated it makes a bigger difference than do peer nonprofits. A person who works for a government agency that belies the stereotype “Government does everything poorly but expensively” can, of course, also be proud. So now I again turn to you. Where on the ethical continuum do you want to be, and how important is that to you? ←---------------------------------------------------→ Anything more ethical than selling addictive drugs Mother Teresa The redistribution-versus-merit continuum The New Testament urges us to prioritize “the least among us.” Indeed that’s the core principle of liberal/progressive politics and economics: “How can we sit by when some people live in mansions while others live in squalor?” Other people operate from the battlefield medic’s triage principle: When you have limited resources, you help more people by allocating medical supplies not to the sickest but to those with the greatest potential to profit. Translating that concept to the career world, some people want to be social workers, inner-city teachers, community activists, or nonprofit employees, who usually focus on “the least among us.” Others are dissuaded from that view, arguing that, despite significant funds set aside by the United States to close the achievement gap, in their opinion that gap remains as wide as ever. Such people choose to work in organizations that employ and serve high ability/high achievers: high-quality companies or private schools serving intellectually gifted kids, for example. So, what about you? Where on the continuum do you want to focus your career efforts, and how important is that to you? ←------------------------------------------------------------------→ On “the least among us” On high-achievers, the “best and brightest” The hedonism-versus-contribution continuum This continuum is embedded in some of the previous ones, but is central, so it deserves separate attention. This continuum spans three philosophies of life. One end on the continuum is the belief that the life well-led is about the pursuit of happiness: Strive to do as little work as possible so you can have as much fun as possible. On the other end of the continuum is the belief that the life well-led is defined by spending as many heartbeats as possible making the biggest contribution possible: Work long hours using your best skills, even if some of the work is unpleasant, because greater good accrues from that than from spending discretionary time, for example, watching TV, playing video games, or even having family time. Between those two lies the most commonly held value: balance, the Aristotelian golden mean. It’s often referred to as work-life balance. So, where on the continuum do you want to aspire, and how important is that to you? ←---------------------------------------------------→ Hedonism Maximum contribution Your choices are cast in Jell-O Of course, your choices aren’t cast in stone. They’re cast in Jell-O: You can change them, although it may get sticky. But thinking consciously about your core principles may give you a head start on living the life you want to live now and a life you’ll look back on feeling good about how you lived it.

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10 Ultrafast Ways to Land a Job

Article / Updated 09-25-2018

The approaches outlined in this list could help you avoid a long job-search slog and enable you to jump right into the workforce. Just Walk Right In Imagine that you’re awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call from a stranger asking if you would take in a baby. If you’re like most people, you’d decline. Yet if the doorbell rang and you opened the door to find an infant on the threshold, you’d take it in. Right? The power of showing up applies to job seekers. Today, when ads for good jobs attract gobs of applicants, walking into workplaces can be a faster way to land a job. It won’t get you a CEO gig but it can work for jobs other than burger-flipper. But what if there’s a gatekeeper? This story may be inspiring. A client wanted to work for a large employer in Oakland, California. She showed up outside its doors a few minutes before 9 a.m. and approached a friendly person who was about to walk in. She said something like this: “I know this sounds weird, but I’d love to work here, and applying the traditional way is a brick wall. I’m wondering if you’d be willing to tell the security guard that I’m with you so that I can perhaps find a nice person willing to give me some insider advice.” After three negative replies, including one who said “Are you nuts?” one person said yes. When the job-seeker advanced past the security guard, she asked her escort: “I’m interested in being an analyst. Is there a floor you think I should try?" She got off the elevator at that floor, looked for people who looked friendly and not busy, and told them her tale. No, she didn’t get a job on the spot, but she formed a relationship with one person who gave her hints. A few months later — that’s fast for large employers — she was hired. Another example: A client wanted to work at UC Berkeley. She didn’t care much what she did there. She was a soft-skilled person: friendly, detail-oriented, bright. She simply went to department offices that she found appealing — alumni relations, physical education, English, and student housing, for example. At the student affairs department, she was told of an upcoming opening, given tips on what to say in the application, and — voilà — two months later, given a coordinator job in a favorite department at her dream employer. Get Outrageous Most people have seen a job seeker’s outrageous tactics on TV or in a YouTube video. That’s just what the job seeker wanted: Media coverage for a job-search shenanigan yields exposure that he couldn’t buy with a lifetime premium membership in LinkedIn. Common outrageous approaches are to stick an enlargement of your resume on a sandwich board and then, in your would-be work getup, parade up and down a street crammed with rich people — for example, in the financial district or on a Pucci, Gucci, hoochy-koochy block. An even more flamboyant variation would be to wear a costume — for example, prison stripes while holding a sign: “Unemployed — I’m a prisoner in my parent’s house.” Pitch a half-dozen TV and radio stations, newspapers, and local websites such as NextDoor, and maybe one will pick up your story. Even if none do, your eagerness to work will be on full display for lots of well-heeled passersby. And to boost the potential benefit, have a friend record your pitch, edit it to the best or funniest clips (all lasting a few seconds apiece and no more than 1 minute total), post it on YouTube, and send the link to your immediate universe. Or try the standard desperate-job-seeker’s tactic: Include a gift with a mailed-in job application, perhaps sent overnight so the packaging stands out. Its potential innards might say, “I’m a hotter salesperson than this salsa.” Or an envelope full of Hershey’s Kisses might state, “I’m sweet to work with.” A vertically challenged person could send a photo of himself, taken atop a box of nuts, saying, “I may be a peanut, but I’m not nuts. Interview me and you’ll see.” Such audacity might (or certainly might not) also work at the interview stage. Imagine that you’re interviewing engineers and an applicant comes in with a coffeemaker he has designed. He offers to make a pot for the interviewers and, as the final touch, pulls out yummy pastries. You probably wouldn’t want your entire team to be gamesters, but mightn’t you want one? Call-Email-Call Walking in may be the fastest way to get hired for an entry-level job. The call-email-call tactic may be the fastest route to a not-so-entry-level job: After hours, you leave voicemail for, say, a dozen target employers, immediately email them, and three days later, phone to follow up. You select those employers without regard to whether they’re advertising an appropriate opening. Starting to get cold feet? You’re imposing no more than if you asked a stranger on the street for directions. If the person doesn’t want to help you, she can (and often will) say no. Nor should you let your fear of sounding stupid stop you. In the worst case, you flub — there are so many other employers. Just start with your least desirable employers so that if you do blow it, you’ve lost only your worst prospect. It may also help to remember that many sales reps make 50 to 100 sales calls a day and are usually selling something they care less about than about themselves. You, the job seeker, are selling yourself, and if you close just one sale, you make thousands of dollars. So, can you suck it up? I’m asking you in one shot (yes, one shot) so you can get your job search over with, to call-email-call the 10 or 20 target employers. Don’t know who those people might be? Search LinkedIn on those places of employment. Look for people with a job title that might hire someone at your level. For example, if you’re looking to be an individual contributor, you might look for people in a large company with the title of manager. If it’s a small company, director might also be an appropriate title. Do prefer someone from the desired division rather than HR. For example, if you’re looking for an analyst position, you might look for a title like director of research rather than HR director. Here’s an example of how you might use call-email-call — of course, employers may well press Delete before you finish your first sentence, but you’re calling umpteen possibilities, and you only need one: “Barbara, I suspect that you hate unsolicited calls but against the odds, view my assertiveness, as a plus. I’m a recent computer science graduate, and I seem to have a knack for explaining technical topics to nontechnical people. I’d imagine that your company trains its paraprofessional staff on, for example, the elements of software development, and I’m wondering if you might be willing to talk with me about the possibility of being a trainer of such topics for your employees. I’ve made a little YouTube video called “The Internet of Things For Dummies” to give you a sample of what I can do.” “Of course, I’d love it if you called me to discuss a possible job, but I’d also be happy if you simply had some advice for me or a referral. I’ll email you that video. Hoping to hear from you. My name is Nate Green, my phone number is 510-555-2368, and my email address is [email protected]” Send that video and a nice note immediately, and if in three days you haven’t heard back, phone again and — whether speaking to the person or to voicemail — say something like this: “Hi, this is Nate Green, that CS grad who’s eager to become a trainer. Not having heard from you, I assume you’re not interested in talking with me, but I know how things can fall between the cracks. So, like any good employee, I’m following up. If you’re open to speaking with me about how I might be of help to you, or even if you just have advice for me or a referral, I’d love to hear from you. But I won’t be a pest. If I don’t hear from you, I won’t bother you again. My phone number is 510-555-2368, and my email address is [email protected]” Phone a Friend (Okay — 10 Friends) Reach out. Your friends may even welcome the chance to help. Phoning is more powerful than email or text. It’s harder for even your marginal friends to turn down the sound of your voice than to ignore the disembodied bits and bytes of an email or text message. So list a dozen or two people who like you who could possibly hire you or refer you to a potential employer — everyone knows people. Sure, each person is unlikely to have something for you, but if you phone a bunch, you put the numbers game in your favor. Then call them all in one (okay, two) sittings, leaving voicemail as necessary. Here’s an example: “Hi, this is Greg Michaels. I’m trying to find a first job in database management, but because job searches these days can take months, and because I could use the income and structure, I’m open even to interim jobs of whatever sort. As you know, I like work that requires good reasoning skills. By any chance, might you know someone who might want to hire someone like me or refer me to someone who could? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Actually, I’d like hearing from you, even if it’s just to chat; it’s been awhile. My phone number is 510-555-2368.” This method may yield only an interim job. That’s okay. You wouldn’t be reading a chapter on ultrafast ways to land a job if you wanted to hold out for the dream position. Many people would be wise to take such a job. Just don’t work there so long that it vitiates your motivation and energy to look for something better. I had a client, a UC Berkeley grad who worked as a Starbucks barista for seven years. When I asked why he stayed so long, he said, “Just inertia.” If you have to take a low-level job but aspire to something loftier, start developing relationships with higher-ups at your workplace and perhaps at headquarters — after all, many employers give employees a directory of internal phone numbers. Plus, continue networking and answering ads for good positions elsewhere. Blast Your Social Media An even faster and wider-reaching version of the phone-a-friend tactic from the preceding section is simply to send that email to all your LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends — you’ll see how good these friends really are. If you’re on Twitter, post a few-sentence version. If your friends are on Instagram or follow you on YouTube, you might even make your pitch on video. Need to expand your social media network, and fast? On LinkedIn and Twitter, follow ten or more organizations that interest you and individuals there who could hire you. In inviting to connect with someone on LinkedIn, don’t use the standard invitation. Rather, in a sentence or two, explain what you like about the person or organization: for example, “I am an avid user of Evernote and would certainly consider working there. Might you add me to your LinkedIn connections?” Over the next week, post a few smart, occasionally flattering comments and questions on the Evernote feed. Then ask for an interview as described in the previous paragraphs. That should add some fresh folks to that blasted email blast. Make ’Em an Offer They Can’t Refuse Imagine that you’re an employer and someone comes to you, describes her skill set, and says, “I’ll volunteer for a week for free. At that point, you can hire me or not. No risk. At minimum, you will have gotten a week’s worth of volunteer work to make your life easier.” Of course, there are a million reasons an employer could say no: She doesn’t need anyone; that place of employment doesn’t allow volunteers except for college students; the organization’s insurance wouldn’t cover you if you slipped on a banana peel. But the fact is, the stars occasionally align: The employer is drowning in work and there’s no prohibition against volunteers. So you’re manna from heaven. Use the Government All those tax dollars that you or at least your parents pay are used for something. One is the labyrinth of federal, state, and local entities whose mission is to get you a job. In fact, the long arm of the law often strong-arms businesses wanting to expand to give government job-search entities the first crack at finding new-hires — that would be you. Fortunately, there’s a one-stop that knows about lots of those government agencies and programs, cleverly called CareerOneStop. They’re all over the United States. Pitch Parishioners Religiosity is in decline, but many people still participate in religious institutions, if only for a sense of community and to support each other in times of trouble. Well, your needing an ultrafast way to land a job may qualify as trouble. Give your pitch, striking the balance between confidence and humility, to parishioners and pastor alike. Strongly consider lay leaders, especially those in charge of fundraising. Usually, they have money and know people who do — the kind of people most likely to hire you or to know someone who can. Start at the Bottom I’m not saying that you need to take a McJob, although many successful people, looking back, were glad they did. But nearly always, there are can-you-start-now? openings in retail, especially around the holidays, as sales clerk, security guard, janitor, and warehouse person. Some may even be career launchpads: Plenty of pooh-bahs started as receptionists or in retail. Delivery services such as UPS and FedEx also hire for the holidays. Even if you omit that job from your resume, lest it restrict your career options, even a low-level job can be worth taking: It gets you out of the house and feeling better, if only because of the confidence you get from doing a good job. I had a client who was a chemist and needed out. She took an interim job as a Starbucks barista and loved it because, as she says, “I succeeded with every customer.” And, of course, you get paid — and low-pay jobs are minimally taxed. Start an Instant Business Let’s say it’s a few weeks before a holiday for which people buy stuff: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day. Rent a well-located space for a month, or simply set up in an outdoor space near a busy intersection with a long traffic light, and sell. You can choose cool masks for Halloween or for Valentine’s Day go traditional with flowers, candy, or teddy bears, or get personal. (Use your imagination.) The following idea takes a special kind of person, but is even faster and simpler and costs little to start. Find a manufacturer of the hot local sports team’s caps. Buy 100 at a good price, perhaps $2 apiece. You or a friend stands where fans will be walking to the day’s game, for example, in or near the train station near the stadium or in the parking lot, if allowed. On the head, stack as many caps as can stay steady, maybe 20. The caps sticking up will be seen from all around and attract attention, and you probably can sell lots at $10 a pop. As your stack gets low, add more from your warehouse (your plastic bag). You could clear a few hundred bucks in a few hours. Once you’ve polished your system, build a team of people doing hat sales for all the major local teams. Or branch out: When that superstar performer comes to the stadium, sell the swag. I’ve saved the perhaps most offbeat instant business idea for last. This one is for counseling types: Set up a table on a street with busy foot traffic and, like Lucy did in the “Charlie Brown” cartoons, post a sign: “The Coach Is In. 5¢.” Try $5 or even $10. Nothing to lose. Of course, most people find jobs in traditional ways, but especially if you’re feeling desperate, one of these Hail Marys could give you a prayer.

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Becoming a Beloved Employee

Article / Updated 08-16-2018

Most people want to become expert at their career and be appreciated for it and for the human quality they bring to their work. Here are keys: Make people feel good about themselves. Most people want to feel good about themselves and certainly not feel embarrassed or stupid. Of course, there’s time to disagree and to criticize but recognize that you pay a price with each negative statement. Err on the side of positivity: Give earned praise, ask for advice, and, at the risk of sounding like your parent, say thank you. Get technical but be a good explainer. Ever more jobs require technical chops but the beloved employee is able to explain the technical so clearly that even tech-averse people understand it. A mindset for doing that is to pretend you’re explaining it to a smart 6th grader. Take your work seriously but retain perspective. No one respects and few people like Slide-Bys: people who do the least they can get away with. You needn’t work 12 hours a day but you might aim to be modestly more productive than your workplace’s average performer. Also, try to retain perspective — How important is that issue in the larger scheme of things? Hey, even Congress members discussing terrorism demonstrate concern but rarely fury.

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Getting Plucked: A New Way to Land a Good Job

Article / Updated 08-16-2018

Through the 1970s, most people landed their job by answering ads. Then, the dominant approach became networking: informational interviews, pitching friends, even cold-contacting target employers that were not advertising a job. But today, networking has a competitor: an online presence that’s attractive enough that recruiters pluck you out and invite you to apply for jobs. Here are three keys to becoming pluckable: A compelling LinkedIn profile. Your headline should contain keywords that recruiters search on, for example, Fundraising Infrastructure Specialist: Donor management |Raisers Edge|Planned Giving. Your employment history should also be rich with keywords. Make your photo head-and-shoulders, no shadows, yes smile. Have at least three stellar references. Everyone has good ones. See if you can get three great ones. Impressive posts on Groups. LinkedIn, Yahoo!, and perhaps your professional association probably have one or more forums on which you can post ideas, links to others’ articles or your own, and where you can answer group members’ questions. Recruiters often invite solid participants to apply to jobs. Priming LinkedIn hirers. Many job seekers ask their LinkedIn connections for a job lead prematurely. That’s like asking someone to marry you before you know each other. When you’ve identified a Recruiter or hiring manager whom you’d like to consider you for a possible job or refer you to someone, read their LinkedIn updates, make an intelligent and/or kind comment or question, and then write a personalized request to connect with them on LinkedIn. If accepted, write a personalized inMail or email that explains why you’d appreciate the opportunity to chat about a possible job or for some counsel. Careers for Dummies includes such specifics as sample reach-outs to potential employers.

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Your Career Training

Article / Updated 08-16-2018

Most people can and do train for their career the traditional way: a college or graduate degree. But increasingly, people are getting some or even all their training with a certificate program or individual courses: in-person and online. These tips can help you get the most from them: Curriculum matters. A program’s curriculum is key to choosing a degree program that will fits your career goal. For example, a psychology program could emphasize Freudian psychology or physiological psychology. An MBA could focus on entrepreneurship or on international business. Choosing a degree program with a curriculum that matches your career goal can make all the difference Your advisor matters. In a degree program or even a certificate program, your advisor can be your mentor, help you choose the right courses and culminating project, and give you job leads and a reference that can open career doors. For each program you’re considering, check out the professors’ bios, which usually are on the institution’s website. Then for one or two professors that are intriguing, phone or visit during office hours. Choosing courses wisely. So many courses are available in-person and online. For example, prestigious universities offer courses that are open to anyone, often at low cost or even free. Thousands of such courses are aggregated on coursera.org and edX.org. Additionally, many practical courses are offered through university extensions and on websites that aren’t affiliated with universities, for example Udemy.com, Lynda.com and Udacity.com It’s easier than ever to vet such courses because syllabi and student reviews are usually posted. The section in Careers for Dummies, Getting Trained, offers much more, for example, how to convince an employer that a You U “grad” is at least as worthy of being hired as a degree-holder.

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A Streamlined (But Good) Way to Choose a Career

Article / Updated 08-16-2018

In finding a career, many people take career “tests,” struggle to get informational interviews, and even take career workshops. And despite all that, they end up far from sure they’ve made a wise choice of career. These steps can help you pick a career wisely: What career type are you? Which one or two of these are you: a word person, people person, Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) person, hands-on person, or entrepreneurial? Scan the options. Most people consider only a small fraction of worthy careers. A fast way to broaden your options is to scan books that profile lots of careers. Careers for Dummies provides a scoop on 340 good careers plus self-employment ideas. Also, the federal government publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which offers more detailed (if drier) introductions to 250 careers. Embrace Google Search. Because Google Search is free, it’s easy to underestimate its potency. But it’s a remarkable curator of incomprehensibly large amounts of information. So do use Google Search to find articles and video introductions to careers that pique your interest. Particularly look for those that focus on a day in the life. These articles and videos are often more valid than an informational interview or three because each article or video may distill the experiences of multiple people in the field. Use a pros-and-cons list with a twist. Make pros- and-cons lists of two or three careers you’re now considering. Pick the one that feels best. How are you feeling about that? Now imagine that you picked the other career. Feeling better or worse? Now pick. Even if your top-choice career doesn’t feel perfect, it’s usually wiser to start preparing for that career. Most people who end up happy in their career feel that way after only they’ve become competent at it and have tailored and accessorized it to fit their preferences and strengths. If you wait on the sidelines for the perfect career to hit you upside your head, you may be waiting a long time. It’s wiser to pick a career sooner than later and then tweak as you go. Of course, the devil is the details. Careers for Dummies gives you all the details you need to wisely choose your career.

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