Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and director of this practice, wrote an interesting article on this blog “stress and the economy” where he examined many of the mental health issues that arise during bad economic times. Often, people’s social and emotional problems are, in some part, linked to the occupational and academic problems of their career path.

It can be hard, when it comes to career, especially in these times, to put all the puzzle pieces together on your own.

With millions of jobs being lost since December 2007, it can be difficult for a college student to select a major that they will enjoy and where their will be opportunities when they graduate. It can be difficult for a early career or mid-career employer to see the opportunities for change. It can be equally as hard for executives contemplating a job to the top job to figure out how to make the next move up.

There is no question, bad economy or not, that there are career-related opportunities for everyone. The surprising part might be that some of these opportunities are created by the poor economic times themselves. Here is some general advice for trying to figure out your career during these heady economic times:

  • Start early. Don’t procrastinate. It might take longer to get a job than in the past, so if you start figuring out what you want and who you are now, you will be in the application pool earlier.
  • Talk to a career coach about your aptitudes, strengths, weaknesses, resume, cover letters and the types of jobs and work environments that are best for you. Consider career-related motivation, aptitude and personality testing. This will give you an idea of the jobs you’ll be targeting and a rough estimate how long it will take for you to get a shot. This can be equally as helpful to a top executive or a mid-career employee as it is to a earlier-career employee or a college or high school student.
  • Network, talk to friends, neighbors, parents, uncles and aunts, alumni from your schools, faculty and anyone else who might have a job idea for you.
  • Since its unlikely you’ve interviewed we’ll consider reaching out to a career coach to help you find someone to do mock interview preparations with you.
  • Go to career fairs, company information sessions, corporate open houses and any other events that allow you to develop face-to-face connections with people involved in the hiring process. If you are in high school or college, this is a great reason to do an internship or apprenticeship.
  • Have your resume reviewed, edited and strengthened to highlight the qualities that recruiters are now looking for now that the career market has shifted.
  • Career coaches can also help you hold onto jobs that you don’t want to lose or make strides to move up in your company.
  • Talk to recruiters, career coaches and others who understand the nuances of this economic market, and who can pick up on things which companies are expanding or which ones have begun hiring because they realized they had laid off too many people.

If you have anymore career questions or would like to set up a career consultation, you can contact me at (703) 723-2999, Ext. 711 or read more at www.ashburnpsych.com.

~ Jayson Blair, Certified Life Coach, APS