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Matching Your Skills With Your Career

The right skill set helps you compete in the job market

Let's be simple and honest: your education is an investment toward getting yourself into a higher earning bracket. You want your education to be a broad experience to provide a good foundation for a wider variety of job titles after you earn that degree. The thing to think about as you formulate your degree path is that it might be a good idea to build a blend of technological abilities and people skills to help you truly succeed. This will also help as you work your way into a new career that might not be everything you had at first hoped.

If you find you are headed in the wrong professional direction, start by examining your skills, work values and personal interests. Linking work to personal interests is the best way to find a satisfying job that you look forward to performing everyday.

Some facts to consider as you contemplate the switch
It's easier to use your transferable functional skills to change industries than to make a radical career change - switching both your work role and the industry you inhabit. If you decide you want to work in a different industry, find out all you can about it. What are the technological requirements for performing the work? Who are the major players? Who are the suppliers? What is the client demographic? What's the state of the business to business service sector? After identifying the answers to these key issues, you can start thinking about potential jobs and how you will fit in.

Consider these facts:
• Information and communication technology skills are becoming more important for most jobs. The ability to find, organize and communicate effectively is an invaluable skill in today’s business world.

• Focus on verbal literacy, mathematical literacy and document literacy.

• Interpersonal and self-directional skills: Learn to work both independently and with teams to maximize effectiveness on the job.

• Global awareness: The rise of the international market demands cross-cultural awareness and language skills.

• Business literacy: Think of every job as a business job.

• Civic literacy: Learn about the social issues that affect your area to help your business be a leader in your community.

Be honest about your change of heart
Once you've got some insight into the skills and abilities you most enjoy using and industries you might want to enter, it's time to get practical. Career switchers often experience a pay decline. Decide if you can make this adjustment. If not, you must acknowledge the difficulty you will have adjusting to a more financially restricted lifestyle. Otherwise, if the primary thing you want from your job is compensation, then you forfeit the right to say the job isn't stimulating as you earn the level of pay you desire.

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