Career Planning Strategies- Part 1

The type of job that someone has is strongly related to their personal finances. A job determines income, fringe benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings opportunities, and where people choose to live. Generally, the highest-paying and fastest-growing jobs require advanced education, technical training, or skills that are in great demand.

Continuous inservice training is a necessity in many fields. Many younger workers will change careers four or five times during their lifetime and hold a dozen or more different jobs. As their employment situation changes, workers face a variety of decisions related to career transitions, income, benefits, and relocation. Financial implications also need to be carefully considered. For example, a raise in pay may not amount to much if someone has to move to a high-cost area.

Below are three career transition recommendations to consider:

  • Prepare Yourself for Career Advancement– Stay current in your field with trade journals, professional meetings, certification courses, college degrees, and the like. Develop a reputation as a leader and a doer and cultivate mentors who can provide advice, feedback, and role modeling. Think of yourself as a self-employed contractor who must constantly demonstrate value to each new employer.
     
  • Assess Your Employability- Start a file to document job performance successes (e.g., promotions, awards, publications, and successful projects). Make a list of experiences, transferable skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Seek opportunities to learn new skills, take risks, join visible project teams, and fill in job experience gaps. Prepare a one-page resume that emphasizes your skill set.
     
  • Look Before You Leap– Calculate the impact of a new job on personal finances. Items to consider include: changes in commuting costs and time, flextime and telecommuting policies, fringe benefits offered by a current and new employer, retirement savings plans and employer matching, pension vesting requirements, and opportunities for future advancement. Many career development specialists advise against changing jobs without a pay raise of 30% or more, especially if it involves relocation.