How to Make Smart Career Choices in Today’s Job Market
There is no doubt, that today’s job market is full of great potential. Despite this potential, the job market is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate through, especially if you don’t understand the new rules of the marketplace. In the past, job seekers faced a “come as you are” job market, where skills obtained at one job easily transferred into a new job of greater or equal value.
This straightforward career path is a thing of the past. No longer can you assume the on-the-job skills you obtain will help you advance your career. In order to find success in today’s market, job seekers must be able to make smart career choices.
Why a “Reliable” Career Path Is a Thing of the Past
Not that long ago, employers valued skilled and loyal employees above all else. Unfortunately, the rapidly changing economy has forced employers to look beyond these admiral traits and require people who can change or adapt a new set of skills fast. For example, technology has transformed nearly every industry over the last decade or so. In order to stay competitive, companies must bring on employees that have the tech-savvy skills needed to move the company forward.
Since these sought-after skills are changing as rapidly as technology is changing, most HR departments have a hard time overseeing all the possible growth opportunities for their workforce. This makes it more important than ever that you manage your own career and know how to make smart career choices.
What Will It Take to Find Success in Today’s Job Market
In order to find success in today’s new job market, you must realize your own value and understand how your skills and talents fit into the market. You also must be willing to change your career path to meet the evolving needs of the market and manage your career as if you were managing a business.
Ultimately, this new way of career management will lead to more choices and more career options. Making informed decisions today will not only help you achieve your career goals, but it also will help you stay marketable in a constantly changing job market.
Understand How You Make Choices
Life presents us with different situations and infinite choices. Some decisions are simple and others life-changing. An easy career decision is where one alternative is clearly better than another. For example, working closer to home, a higher income or a better work-life balance are clearly desirable choices. Unfortunately, most career choices are not so easy because they have numerous advantages and disadvantages that must be considered. When faced with these dilemmas, it’s important to understand what influences our decisions.
Research in the field of economic behavior provides fascinating insights into why humans make the choices they do. The first important finding is that humans tend to make most decisions based on opinions that they have formed long before presented with a difficult choice. It’s common for people to form quick conclusions, or to actively seek out information that supports their decision while downplaying the information that doesn’t. Most people tend to assume they have all the information they need to make a sound decision. The reality is that most people forgot to take everything into consideration - they fail to see the big picture.
A second valuable study shows that decision-making is based on two cognitive biases: risk aversion and the framing effect. Risk aversion influences people to make decisions in order to avoid loss rather than in order to gain something new. The framing effect, on the other hand, makes people evaluate things differently depending on how they are described to them. These two cognitive biases can hinder your ability to make sound career decisions, especially in a new economy.
Thinking Fast and Slow Helps You Make Better Career Choices
In his fascinating book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Nobel-prize winner, Daniel Kahneman, explains that every human being has two thought systems: fast and slow. Fast thinking is our gut feeling, which leads to impulse decision-making. The fast system prompts one to indulge in an ice cream without any thought for the long-term health consequences. Slow thinking takes more time. It’s the system people use when they’re reading complex literature or when they need to make a difficult decision. Fast thinking is useful when you need to make quick decisions. But fast thinking is full of misconceptions and cognitive biases. When it comes to career choices, it’s important to have the discipline to use your slow thinking, evaluate your options and consider the long-term consequences.
5-Step Plan to Strategic Career Decision-Making
Now that you realize that many the decisions you make are based on pure instant and without considering the bigger picture, you can understand why a different thought process is necessary when making career decisions. In addition, with so many factors influencing how you think and make decisions, it’s important to learn how to objectively analyze your career choices.
At Tulsie, we use a five-step plan to help professionals develop a strong decision-making process. This process will help you slow down your thinking and understand how you make your choices, as a way of improving your ability to make the right decision for you.
Step #1 – Long-Term Thinking
Most people have no problem thinking about short-term outcomes when it comes making decisions. However, if you want to make the right career decisions, it is vital that you consider the long-term consequences of your choices. Start by determining your objections and set both long and short-term career goals. Consider where you want to be in your career in the next six months, one year, and five years.
Step #2 – Stop and Listen
Take a step back and slow down your thought process. Stop and evaluate your thoughts. Jot down both the positive and negative things going through your mind in regards to the decision at hand.
Step #3 – Organize Thoughts
Organize your thoughts and try to determine which thoughts have merit and which ideas are based on your emotions or bias opinions.
Step #4 – Group Thoughts into Themes
Learn to identify your different thought patterns, biases and emotions. Group these thought patterns together into themes.
Step #5 – Challenge Your Thoughts
After identifying your biases and various thought patterns, it important to challenge those thoughts by widening your scope of thought. This will give you a more realistic perspective of your various options.
In order to be successful tomorrow, you need to make smart career choices today. Switching careers or expanding your skillset is a big decision which shouldn’t be made based solely on emotions, salary or proximity to home. You must look at the bigger picture and how your choices today will affect your career in the years to come.
As a trusted resource for professionals who seek career satisfaction, not just another job, Tulsie works as a mentor to help you make our career goals a reality. We will help you see the job market from a different perspective and break down the mental barriers that may be preventing you from achieving career success. Learn more about how to make sound career decisions, by contacting Tulsie today.