New career? PDCCC center can help

Published 7:45 pm Monday, July 8, 2013

“When I grow up…”

Remember those words from elementary or middle school?

Increasingly these words are uttered by individuals who visit the Career Development Center at Paul D. Camp Community College. With International Paper’s closing a few years ago, many of us were forced to find a new career pathway. Unfortunately, some of us were not prepared for such a ground-shaking change.

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Quite often these days, people are contemplating a career change in their 30s, 40s or even older. We congratulate those who do! Who wants to stay in a dead-end job or a job that we dread going to for eight or 10 hours a day, where they’re underpaid and unappreciated?

Ask the shift worker who is tired of working strange hours or the single mother of two who is working for minimum wage. Many of us have been in a job for 10 to 20 years. If given a choice, we would leave and never look back. However, there are mortgages, car payments and more to worry about.

There is a way to get that dream job — actually, not a job but a career. There is a world of difference between the two. Millions of us have jobs, but very few have careers that we enjoy. How can we obtain a career?

First, we must do some exploring. It is impossible to quickly choose a career that is right for us without thorough research, self-reflection and serious thought. All options and choices have to be explored. This is important, whether we are choosing a career for the very first time, or whether it is one of many career changes.

Career exploration is not the same as job searching. Job searching is a short-term pursuit of a position that matches financial and career goals. Career exploration is a long, progressive process of choosing education, training and careers that fit our interests and skills. Career exploration is one of many steps to take on a successful career pathway.

Paul D. Camp Community College’s Career Development Center can offer guidance in this area. We administer self-assessments through the Virginia Education Wizard, a free tool located at www.vawizard.org. The wizard is a wonderful tool that helps individuals explore specific careers and get real-time details about the demand and salaries for those careers. It helps people find out a great deal about themselves and about the career that best suits them.

The Career Center also identifies the type of training or education needed to pursue a career. More importantly, people will find that the Career Center will provide much needed support and encouragement.

Once someone has begun a career exploration and is prepared for a dream career, PDCCC’s Career Development Center can assist with resumes, cover letters, internships, and the job interview process. Visit www.pdc.edu/career-development-center to learn more.

Start planning your future today, A little research and career preparation goes a long way on the path to success.

Alan Scott is an Adult Career Coach for PDCCC’s Career Development Center. Email him at ascott@pdc.edu.