How to Predict Your Career Future!
The future can be intimidating. When it comes to our careers, most of us try to concern ourselves just with what is happening now. We tell ourselves that we can worry about the future as it comes, perhaps out of blind optimism, maybe out of avoidance. Unfortunately, if you want to be smart about your career and plan your next step accordingly, strategically, you should think about the future now. In this post, we will explore some ways that you can assess the future of your current career and how you can go about making any needed changes without feeling helpless and directionless.
1. Salary matters.
At least, it should to you if you want to ensure that you are getting the most out of the opportunities that your career has to offer. That is not to say that you should worry about wealth and prestige above all else. That is not even to say that money should be among the top five on the list of things that matter to you most. But paying attention to salary trends in your area of interest and ensuring that you aspire for the best does not mean that you are obsessed with getting rich. It simply shows that you value your own skills. If thinking solely in dollar signs about the future of your career makes you uncomfortable, consider more intrinsic motivators and what your prospects may be: personal growth, work/life balance, stress management, general satisfaction, and so on. The point here, though, is that you should not feel guilty for wanting your career to provide for you financially, offering you a comfortable and meaningful life.
2. Tackle the future head-on: look five years ahead.
In her article published on Ivy Exec’s career blog, entitled “Is Your Career a High-Growth Stock?”, Elaine Pofeldt points to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook as a good place to start your research about your career, its present state, and its predicted health for years to come (Pofeldt: “Is Your Career a High-Growth Stock?”). This useful resource profiles careers and looks at their projected wages all the way up until 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also lists the fastest growing occupations and industries and what they pay right now (Pofeldt). As extensive as the BLS’s information may be, however, it should not be the only source you consult if you want to make sound judgments and plans for your professional future. Pofeldt also recommends reading at least one trade publication in your industry—and make sure it is current. Sometimes government reports lag behind, Pofeldt explains. It is good to consult other trustworthy sources that update regularly.
3. Be aware of career trends.
While keeping up with the current trends of your profession is certainly prudent, also consider and explore how your career had fared in the past. You do not have to go too far back in time to get an accurate picture of what may be in store for the future—perhaps just a month or two, no longer than a year ago. Pofeldt also recommends looking at the Payscale Index, which illustrates a detailed profile of which industries “saw the biggest raises in the past 12 months” (Pofeldt). Not to mention, you can also personalize your Payscale search with a unique “What am I worth?” feature, which will show you the pay range for a particular position. It also offers useful information such as salary range for particular companies or for a certain job title in your own city (Pofeldt).
4. Location, location, location.
Now that you have studied and considered recent trends in your career as a whole, it is time to narrow your focus, at least on a local level. In other words, how do your career prospects look in your current city? As Pofeldt stresses it her article, while you may technically be making a decent salary, where you live and the cost of living in said city will affect your spending power. If you have the means are and are looking for a chance in pace and scenery, you might consider moving from an expensive city like New York or San Francisco and move someplace where your career still have a notable presence but a lower cost of living. This move could result in what Pofeldt calls a “raise” of sorts. Of course, determining whether a move is smart for you will require additional research and even further self-reflection. Whatever your decision, just remember always to think ahead about your career. As frightening as it may seem at times, it is better to know what to watch out for and be prepared for it than to weather the storm as it hits.
Pofeldt, Elaine. “Is Your Career a High-Growth Stock?” Ivy Exec Blog. Ivy Exec, 06 Feb. 2015. Web.
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Are you looking for a new position or a new career? Do you need some assistance in improving your career prospects? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. If you are interested in learning more about finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are interested in attorney or other roles in the legal industry, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.