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Career Planning: Choose Your Path

Common Career and Workplace Terms

New Terms/Common Terms 

These sites and articles provide listings, definitions and examples of common terminology used in job descriptions and job postings. It it helpful to familiar yourself with this vocabulary to have a better understanding of how that job is being offered and details that relate to the work overall. 

Important Elements To Consider In Your Research

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Putting the Pieces Together

Crossword puzzle of career related words - education, interests, goals, planning, vision, values, skills

Researching Your Career

In Module 1, you identified your skills, interests and values and can use those as the starting line to begin to understand your personal identity. (If you have not completed the self-awareness assessments in Module 1, we highly recommend doing so). The next step is familiarizing yourself with details about the many possibilities career opportunities you have available to you. .

What Career Should I Pursue?

The answer to that question comes with career research. You can read books, review reliable websites, attend career-related events, conduct informational interviews, and participate in experiential learning opportunities.

With career exploration as a research project of its own sort, it is often helpful to keep the details of your investigation in a notebook or folder to document any findings and record self-reflections. It helps you piece together the details you learned in the assessments and how they compare to the professions you investigate. You apply your understanding of your top skills, interests and values to the variety information you have collected and align them with what you learned about yourself to determine 'fit'.

What Is Career 'Fit'?

For a lucky few people, figuring out what they want to do as a career is simple. They lock in on something they like to do early on and then build the skills they need to be great at doing it. But it's not so easy for the majority of us. To avoid spending time job-hopping as you look for a career that fits, anticipating what a career offers is essential - from what a day at work is like, to salary, to opportunities for advancement. 

It also requires finding a career that provides personal satisfaction. You will want to ask questions such as: “Does this career allow me to frequently perform responsibilities or tasks that I find interesting?” “Do I have the skills, or the opportunity to develop the skills, needed for success in this career?” “Would I enjoy working with the people I have met in this career?” “Do jobs and organizations in this field support the professional values most important to me?” Hopefully the self-awareness assessments helped you to clarify what is important to you and that would contribute to your overall job satisfaction in the long run. 

Even if you feel confident that you know what occupation you want to pursue, through career exploration and research, you may find new information that takes you from your expected course and reveal that your original goals may need re-evaluation or require more questions.. The research process will help you learn about your options. That means you'll be better prepared for the road ahead once you begin your chosen career. And in the long run, there's no better way to make sure you end up with the fulfilling career you want without having to go through too many course corrections along the way.

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Staying informed about trends, as you interview or even once you are in a position, is important to help you establish your credibility and value and to show that you know where your field is heading in the future. Successful people spend time every day keeping up with the latest news and developments in their field, so make time in your day for these strategies. Use the tabs above to learn more about general employment trends.
5 trends shaping the future of work - New behaviors shaped by social media/web, technologies (shift to the cloud, collaboration, big data, internet), the Millennial workforce (new attitudes, expectations & ways of working), Mobility (work anytime/where on any device), and Globalization (no boundaries)


The articles described below provide more information about why you should be aware of trends and how you can personalize your awareness of trends for your field of interest. 
In Five Trends Shaping the Future of Work (Linked In), it describes how the trends in the image above are affecting how employers consider potential candidates and what those candidates expect from those employers. Keeping up with general employment trends and trends in your field not only keeps you current, but it also makes you aware of additional training you may need, potential new positions to consider, and even the need to move to follow the demand (or availability) for your desired work
In  11 Trends that Will Shape Work in 2022 and Beyond addresses many of employer/employee workplace culture related attitudes and behaviors that are continuing to shift post-Covid, such as quit rates, competition for talent, and volatile economy/inflation.
Though this article, How To Stay Current With Technology Trends, focuses on technology, the recommendations of how to stay current apply to any skill and/or profession. They include (read the article for more detail about each suggestion):
  • Joining a professional organization
  • Finding a mentor
  • Attending industry conferences and events
  • Devoting time daily to the news
  • Connecting with social media
  • Prioritizing learning
  • Sharing ideas with your peers
  • Watching TED talks
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Watch start-up businesses
  • Being willing to experiment
  • Branching out
  • Avoiding fads

Additional Trend-Related Resources 

  1. BLS Career Outlook
  2. BLS Beyond the Numbers
  3. Indeed Labor Market Trends
  4. Indeed Future of Work
  5. Indeed Video Playlists
    • Work Well Being
    • Unconventional Hire
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The Current Employment Statistics (CES) program produces detailed industry estimates of nonfarm employmenthours, and earnings of workers on payrolls. CES National Estimates produces data for the nation, and CES State and Metro Area produces estimates for all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and about 450 metropolitan areas and divisions. Each month, CES surveys approximately 131,000 businesses and government agencies, representing approximately 670,000 individual worksites.

The video below highlights 2021–31 projections, including the fastest growing occupations overall, the occupations expected to have the most new jobs, the fastest growing occupations that require a bachelor's degree or more, and the fastest growing occupations that require some postsecondary education. (This video has background music but no spoken words.)


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Beyond the Numbers is a BLS publication that strives to bring interesting data related headline stories to you. These articles bring perspective to the statistics to help you understand why those numbers may impact you and your life.

Here are some examples of some archived articles that you might find interesting. They give you a sense of the types of information you will find on this site:

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The Indeed Labor Market Trends page provides current articles that address employer trends (benefits being offered, desired backgrounds and skills, changes in the work environment) and the Future of Work has articles that examine cultural, demographic and technological trends shaping the world of work.

Generations, Careers and The Workplace

Generational Differences - Relationships, Authority and Work Style

Currently there are 5 generations in the workforce, each having unique characteristics related to their behaviors and perspectives related to careers and the workforce. Depending on your source, the age range may vary by a few years, but all fall within a range of 2-3 years difference.These are broad scope explanations, but nonetheless are helpful in understanding how not only age, but the era of your background will affect your perspectives and behaviors related to careers and the workforce. Just remember, anyone could relate to or fit into these points of view and behaviors - it is not solely attributed to age/generation. For the following descriptions, let's assume that someone entered the workforce at at 21. 

Traditionalist (born between 1925-1942) 

Those in this age group have a strong sense of loyalty and respect for authority and seniority. They find meaning and value to history and legacy, experience and following the norm (conforming). They have a strong work ethic and tend to have a heightened sense of community, and civic duty. Because they respond to authority and seniority, they are rule-followers. They have a tendency to resist change or balk at new ideas, much like the saying "If it isn't broken, don't fix it". This group provides valuable contributions as mentors. They also are still in the workforce due to limited income streams from their previous positions and limited Social Security income. 

Baby Boomer (born between 1943 - 1960) 

Right now, baby boomers make up almost half of the global workforce, but many are exiting due to retirement and health issues. They still feel viable and valuable members of their teams because of their experience and their willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. They derive personal satisfaction and self-worth from still contributing. They often want to prove themselves, looking for opportunities to demonstrate their talents and abilities. Additionally, they are not afraid to voice opinions or concerns and to challenge ideas or those in charge. Many are still satisfied with what they do, even after decades of doing so because they have focused a great deal on personal goals and accomplishments. Some have only had one job or one employer for the duration of their work cycle. This perspective has promoted labels such as the 'me' generation or workaholics who live to work versus reaping the rewards of that labor. This generation is attributed with being judgemental towards younger generations, accusing them of being lazy or unwilling to 'put the work in' to not only reap the reward of accomplishment, but to help reach a common goal. "Boomers" tend to be comfortable working in groups or teams. 

Generation X (born between 1961 - 1981)

'Gen X' makes up about 30% of the global workforce and will be the Baby Boomer retiree replacements for the most part. This generation doesn't demonstrate the longevity in one position or with one employer like the 'Boomers'. They often 'job hop' to seek new opportunities and to accommodate shifting interests. They are often loyal to an immediate supervisor, but not necessarily to the institution or employer. They demonstrate flexibility on the job, but also want the opportunity to change what isn't working, such as as processes, procedures or rules. Change is not scary or intimidating to this generation - they see it as an opportunity for growth, development, and learning. Authority and seniority does not impress Gen Xers. There is often a perspective that the talents and competencies they bring to the table should be publicly and/or financially recognized and respected.Gen Xers often 'go the extra mile' but recognize that one's career is only one dimension in a work, life balance and definition of self. 

Millennial/Gen Y/Gen Next/Tech Generation(born between 1982 - 2000) 

This generation makes up approximately one third of the global workforce. Because they grew up with technology and its constant growth and change, they are much better understanding and applying tech and adapting to shift and change. They have been bombarded with formats that require constant shifts of attention from computers to streaming, gaming to social media. They are very lifestyle conscious and that contributes to many desiring to work from home to provide flexibility of schedule and location. They often seek a blend or integration of work and lifestyle. They see an occupation as a means to an end to live a desired lifestyle, spending time with family or pursuing interests and hobbies. This is the first generation that became social media influencers, for example. Millennials tend to foster their relationships and loyalties to their colleagues versus those in charge. They will recognize the worth and value of an authority figure typically only when they are of the opinion they demonstrate capability and the ability to see the big picture to get things done. This generation is comfortable with a fluid work environment, with overlapping roles and responsibilities or continuous adjustments. They do, however, expect that when there is change, it will have a meaningful consequence - the rules and guidelines need to result in improvement for a Millenial to feel 'buy-in'. 

Generation Z (born in 2001 and after) 

Gen Z makes up about 25% of the global workforce. This generation expect to use technology in most aspects of their work and personal lives.  This group tends to focus on more about the engagement than the money. They recognize that there is a need for process and directions, but do not just blindly follow. This generation does not respond well to being talked at by authority. They want to be talked to, being a part of the process or conversation, which can sometimes create conflict. They respect rules but they will question them if they find them unbalanced or inequitable. Generation Z are focused on the experience.This general sees change as a reality - a part of everyday life. 


Society for Human Resource Management - Generational Mindsets Affect the Workforce

Sukiennik, Diane, and Lisa Raufman. The Career Fitness Program: Exercising Your Options. 11th ed., Pearson, 2016. pp. 5-7.

Understanding Generational Diversity: Why It's Important To The Future Workplace

This article provides a perspective and explanation of why businesses need to consider the differences among generations and how those traits and characteristics impact the work environment. The chart below, that highlights differences, is from the article, which goes more in depth of the benefits and challenges employers face with generational diversity. Understanding Generational Diversity: Why It's Important To The Future Workplace