Career planning is an often-neglected aspect when students are looking up top universities abroad, or in their locality. Properly deciding on a career path, and hence selecting the right universities that could bolster your chances of success is crucial to your long-term success in life. The following is a four-step method of finding the right career path for you:
- Knowing Yourself
- Exploring Careers
- Short listing Decisions
- Taking Action
Step 1: Knowing Yourself
On a piece of paper, draw two parallel lines across the page, dividing it in two. Next, further divide it into three equal portions such that the paper has 6 boxes. Mark them as “past”, “Where I am now”, “Where I want to be”. Start working on where you want to be based on your passions and your dreams. Ask questions such as:
- Where do I want to be?
- What do I want out of a job or career?
- What do I like to do?
Write short answers to these questions above the line. Next move to the current “where I am now” and answer the following:
- Where am I at now?
- What are my strengths?
- What is important to me?
Using these answers, you can easily search for various occupations and find the skill sets that they demand, or look for, in their employees. This will greatly help you select the right universities and university programs to build those skills.
Step 2: Exploring Careers
This step is about exploring the occupations and learning areas that interest you, and which you have stated in the previous step. The occupational preferences that you have gained from the research will tell you the required skills you have to work for now. Ask the following questions:
- Where do I lack?
- What skills do I need?
- Where is the work?
- Do my current academic and financial options limit my choices of universities?
At the end of this you will have a clear idea of the skills that you have to focus, the specific university options that you should be looking for (types of scholarships etc).
Step 3: Short Listing Decisions
This step involves comparing your options and narrowing down your choices. Ask the following questions:
- What are my best work/training options?
- Are they realistic: How do they fit with the current market?
- What will help and what will hinder me? Moreover, what can I do about it?
This step will give you a laser view of the options you should focus on and have more of an idea of what you need to do next to help you achieve your goals.
Step 4: Taking Action
By now you will have researched about different facets, so ask yourself:
- What actions/steps do I need to take, do I need professional assistance?
- From where can I get help?
- Who will be able to support me?
Now, compile all the work into a comprehensive plan. Then check out the top undergraduate universities on www.scoolist.com
Top Careers in the US for University Grads
Recent college graduates may be worried about finding a well-paying job that also has good long-term career prospects. To help them, we have compiled this list of top jobs and careers for university graduates in the US. For this list, we used four criteria namely median annual salary, workplace atmosphere, projected growth in the future and current employment details including remuneration.
Another important factor we took into account is bridgeability i.e. whether a university graduate can gain the necessary skills for a career with an extra year or two of re-skilling or study. In our top 10 list, five are related to computers and information technology. Read on to learn more about the top careers in the US for college graduates.
#10 Insurance Agent
Baby boomers are living for longer which means there is increased demand for insurance sales agents. There are about 337,000 insurance agents in the US, earning an average of $63,400 annually. You don’t actually need a college degree for this job as even a high school diploma can get you an entry position.
#9 Public Relations Officer
Though there are only about 201,280 public relations officers currently in the US, this field is projected to grow at a healthy 23% rate by the end of this decade. The average annual salary for a public relations specialist is $61,980.
#8 Management Analyst
Currently there are around 540,000 management analysts nationwide. This position’s unique expertise is required for all industries including nonprofit and government organizations. Projected demand is also high till 2020. A management consultant earns an average of $88,070 per year.
#7 Computer Systems Analyst
This is a hot career which scores high on all of our criteria. Currently about 482,000 systems analysts are employed nationwide and the average annual salary is $83,800 making it one of the more remunerative professions on our list.
#6 Elementary School Teacher
For sheer numbers, this job is unmatched. There are around 1,360,300 employed teachers in the US which is the highest number for a single occupation. Unlike other fields, a teaching job offers a stable career path. There is significant demand for teachers nationwide. In this decade, a large percentage of older teachers of the Baby Boom era are expected to retire which increases the job prospects for applicants.
#5 Computer/Network Systems Administrator
High salary and expected growth rate mark this out as an exciting prospective career. Offices and homes are relying more and more on technology creating a need for graduates with the requisite skills to excel in this job. Currently, there are about 350,000 systems administrators in the US earning an average of $76,320 annually. Additional manpower will be required given the growing importance of cyber-surveillance as well the need to tackle security threats.
There is great demand for this job nationwide. There are around 1,129,000 auditors and accountants currently employed in the US and the field is expected to grow by 16% this decade. The average annual salary for audit and accounting jobs is $71,040 and this amount has increased by about $10,000 in the last three years since 2010. Graduates with financial aptitude can expect to excel in this promising career field.
#3 Marketing Specialist/Market Research Analyst
Currently there are about 392,800 marketing research analysts working in the US, earning an average salary of $67,380 per year. Though the pay may be less than the top jobs in our list, there is an urgent requirement for qualified candidates with an expected growth rate of 41% by 2020.
#2 Applications Software Developer
Application developers focus on the user side and they test and modify the software to get the desired results. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or computer science and strong programming expertise to excel in this job.
#1 Systems Software Developer
There is higher demand for systems software developers and they earn more too on average ($102,550 per year) which is about $5,000 more compared to an applications software developer.
We hope our list of top careers for college grads helps you choose the one for which you are qualified and have the requisite skills and aptitude. More than the remuneration, it is one’s passion and desire to excel that will ensure one is satisfied and happy at the end of a long work day.