Have you ever changed jobs or switched career paths? It’s common to change employment. Some changes are intentional, like getting a promotion and moving up in a career pathway. Other changes are not expected, like getting laid off.
Most people experience many stops and starts, and adjustments in their career. Knowing that you will have many twists and turns in your work life might help you to handle it when changes happen.
Remember: Where you are now is not where you will always be. Be hopeful and work towards a better future. In addition to thinking about on and off ramps in your career, think about your short-term and long-term plans.
Do you think that most other people know what they want to do for work and know how to find their perfect job? They don’t. You are not alone. You might not know what your “perfect job” is, but you can make moves to figure it out.
For example, a cook working in a restaurant is laid off works as cook in medical facility discovers that nutrition skills are needed in health care positions. explores options as nursing assistant employer pays for nursing assistant training.
Here are some ideas to create your own pathway:
- Try new things to find better work options. This is called “closer approximation.” As you experience different work settings, you move closer to the job that best meet your needs.
- Expand the number of work and job training options you look at. Instead of thinking about one “dream job,” think about a few occupations that match your skills and the work setting you want. New opportunities are presented when and where you least expect them.
- Update your skills and adjust your career plans for the changing work world. There are many ways to do this. Some people may start their own business. Some may seek additional training through apprenticeships or other on-the-job training. Plans also can include gaining certificates, licenses, or degrees.
- Get help with your career moves. You can go to a college career services office if you are a current student or alum. Most career services offices are meeting with job seekers virtually or over the phone during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not many career paths are straight and narrow. Think of your career pathway as having as many turns and off- and on-ramps that you will navigate. For example, getting laid off is a common “off-ramp” in people’s careers. An “on-ramp” might be when you return to work after dealing with health issues. Career pathways often include turning toward training to prepare for new opportunities.
Are you not able to work in your career pathway because of the COVID-19 pandemic? This is an unexpected turn in your career pathway. It is also a chance for you to find that your skills may help you succeed in a different career. Now might be the time for you to change or find your own career path.
At any time, you might need to take an off-ramp to explore other career options or seek assistance. People who have lost their jobs unexpectedly can use that off-ramp to gain skills employers want for good jobs.
Make a career plan to choose your on and off-ramps. Having a plan will also help you to navigate unexpected turns in your career pathway.
Stackable credentials are a series of credentials that you can gain over time to build up your qualifications and help you move along a career pathway or up a career pathway to different and possible higher-paying jobs.
“Stackable credentials” can also be thought of as “leveling up.” This means you start with one credential achievement and work up to a higher or next level of credential achievement by building your skills. You build your skills though short-term training programs. You also build skills through work and other experiences that may qualify for credit for prior learning.
Learn how "stack" your credentials to make the most of your training.