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New year may be time for new job

If this year involves making major decisions about your future, don't worry about taking a wrong turn. Whether you're a student seeking a career path or an employee at a career crossroads, here are tips for choosing the right road: How to pick a ...

Image: Thinking about a new job

If this year involves making major decisions about your future, don't worry about taking a wrong turn.

Whether you're a student seeking a career path or an employee at a career crossroads, here are tips for choosing the right road:

How to pick a college or a path after high school

- Take a look at what you want to do and then determine what kind of education is needed. This will help determine if a two-year or four-year institution is best or if you need training elsewhere.

- Visit Web sites for the different schools or training you wish to attend. Research what they have to offer.


- Plan campus visits. This is critical. Although a campus may sound ideal online, you need to know if you will feel comfortable there.

- Arrange a meeting with a faculty member in the field(s) you want to pursue to learn what is required and what courses are offered.

- Talk to alumni or current students and ask them what they like about the institution and what advice they have.

- Think about what size campus you'd like to attend, study academic programs and consider the cost to attend.

- Consider what your parents suggest, but realize the ultimate decision should be what you want to do.

- Think about where you want to live. Visit the state's Job Service Web site to look at what jobs are available and what skills and training are required. Perhaps a four-year degree isn't needed to achieve your goals. Also look into what the job outlook is for the area where you want to live.

- Visit with employers in the industry you're interested in and ask what special skills and training are needed to be competitive.

If you're uncertain about a major or what to do after high school


- Get involved in career days or career fairs to learn more about the different options and see what might fit you.

- Try internships, job shadowing or entry-level jobs related to your interests to narrow down what type of job you want.

- Students should contact their school counselors to talk about their uncertainty and to get advice.

- Visit with college admissions' staff to get more information about majors you may be interested in and courses you would need to take.

- Think about what your interests or hobbies are and what careers are related.

- Take a variety of general education classes to determine what field interests you.

How to get a job

- Don't expect job opportunities to come to you. Contact companies to see if there are openings. Do research on the Internet to find available jobs. Spread the word to contacts that you're looking for a job, in case they know of openings or can get you an interview.


- Attend job fairs or look into jobs posted at your campus career center.

- Present yourself professionally in person and on paper. Make sure your e-mail address and other resume items reflect a professional job seeker.

- Show that you can meet a need of the employer.

- Do your homework. Know a company's products and/or services, its main competitors and its issues.

- During an interview, don't be afraid to talk about everything you've accomplished.

- Follow up to find out the status of your application after sending a resume or after interviewing.

- Find out if employers would be willing to consider an internship for you. Perhaps the company will have an opening in a few months. If not, you will still have gained experience to help with your job search.

- Follow the rules in the job posting. Don't call if the ad says no phone calls. An employer wants to know an employee can follow instructions.


- Network, network, network. Find ways to meet people in your industry who could help you with your job search.

How to decide if it's time to change jobs

- Consider your skills, attitude and personality. Do you have the skills to do your job? Do you like your work? What are your beliefs about what you're doing? Is your job a fit with your personality?

- Do you wake up in the morning feeling like this is the kind of work you want to go to?

- Do you feel empowered to make decisions and have an influence at your job?

- Is your industry doing well, and do you see chances for promotion?

- If you aren't enjoying your job, is there a way to change your approach to make it better?

- What do you consider to be an ideal job? Does it exist or is there a way to create it at your present company?


- Think about what your ideal job is, and how you may go about doing it. Would it involve a total career change or could you stay in the same industry?

- What is your intuition telling you?

Sources: North Dakota State University Admissions, Minnesota State University Moorhead Admissions, Concordia College Career Center, The Village Business Institute, Job Service North Dakota, Careersandcolleges.com and Careerbuilder.com.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Teri Finneman at (701) 241-5560

New year may be time for new job Teri Finneman 20080102

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