The daunting reality of career choice. Time to turn things around.
50% of us choose the wrong careers.
This is a worldwide reality. A Gallup report confirms that about 70% of Americans are not engaged at work. And younger generations care a lot about their jobs, more than their parents. No surprise. We spend about ⅓ of our time at work. It better be time well spend. Over 60% of US companies say that it is harder to retain people than to recruit them.
Check this CareerContessa blog with some nice checks to see if you are at the right job yourself.
50-70% of students choose the wrong majors.
The number varies over majors. Numbers in certain reports even go up to 80% of students changing majors. If you take the average annual college cost in the USA of $20.000 (public in state) and $47,000 (private), these are expensive errors.
40% of undergraduate students drop out of college.
Student loan debt is topping $1.6 trillion in 2020.
There are 45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – behind mortgage debt – and higher than both credit cards and auto loans. The average student loan debt for members of the Class of 2018 is $29,200.
Case for change?
We think so.
The existing support systems don’t seem to work well. 78% of students rarely or never talk to their career services offices.
And things already go wrong at the high school level. With a national average of 1 school counselor to 482 students it can’t be a surprise that students are ill-prepared to choose the right careers. The current economic realities are not likely to recover these numbers.
It is time to change things around with career choice.
What is needed.
What is needed is not rocket science. It is to support students to perform a more effective self-discovery, combined with a more effective practical acquaintance to careers they have in mind. Work-based learning should more naturally be included in the career services that students at college and high school are being offered.
This is how.
We examined existing practices in high schools, and at career services at colleges and other organizations who support people getting ready for career choice.
These are the 4 key steps to take.
1. Identify your competencies, interests and talents.
There are several career tests available online. Some are available through your career or guidance counselor.
FindMino developed a simplified, but professional ‘swipe quiz’. The quiz is based on the renowned Holland career test, used across the US and internationally. We made it more attractive and effective to perform.
The quiz offers a personal profile that details your competencies, interests and talents. We also offer a suggestion of matching career paths, and a pleasant user interface to further explore adjacent career fields.
2. Take a real ‘look inside’ careers.
It is essential to browse for info on what careers are all about. What are requirements, what do jobs look like on a daily base. How do studies look like in real life.
When looking for a new TV show or considering to buy a book, we are used to previewing them to get an impression. So, we created ‘look inside careers’. By browsing either Jobs or Majors you will find a multifaceted view of careers, watching YouTube ‘Day in the Life’ videos, listening to podcasts, viewing forum discussions, reading informative blogs, and even finding relevant books or online courses to get a taste of a career.
3. Meet people to check your ideas.
A critical step in setting your career direction is to bounce off your ideas with people who matter to you. People who you believe know you quite well could offer insights you overlooked. This could be parents, a friend, a favourite teacher or professor, a career counselor.
Share with them what your interests are, the things you care about, as well as the initial idea you have about career direction. Ask them to challenge your thinking. Remember to take their advice for what it is: advice. In the end, you should take the decision yourself.
FindMino created a Personal Report feature that captures all of the above: your interests or personal profile, the jobs or majors you would consider, and it includes an Action Plan to get ready for follow up. The Personal Report can be printed or shared with people you would like to meet with.
4. Meet people who know: job holders, students.
‘Work Based Learning’ refers to the activities to explore a career area in real life. This typically concerns job shadows or (summer) internships.
Participating in such a program is invaluable in your career exploration journey. It allows you to directly experience what a career field feels like, looks like, senses like. It is a critical component to checking if your career ideas actually feel right.
Your school may organize such program. If so, make use of it!
FindMino started a community based initiative to offer not only job shadows and internships, but also a lighter version called ‘Coffee & Careers’. This is an informal chat with a job holder or (retired or active) professional wh you meet (online or off line) for a coffee, and where they share their careers and insights with you.
This Career Exploration Initiative (CEI) could be set up for your school or alumni-student organization also. Ask your counselor, CTE teacher or coordinator to connect with firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Check our blog on the CEI for more information.
Let’s do it.
It continues to amaze us that a large number of us happens to land into careers by accident. ‘Accidental careers’ sometimes work out wonderfully well. But let’s start taking career choice more seriously. Spending time at your job should bring fulfilment, satisfaction, engagement, and much more.
It is time to change things around with career choice.
Over to you.
Want to know more?
Sign on to Findmino.com. Free access. No need to download. FindMino is a web app that offers an inspiring place to get sorted on career choice. In a pleasant way FindMino helps to find your competencies, and to make up your mind on where you want to go. And it pre-sorts quality online information around careers, saving you tons of time to find it yourself.