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Are you feeling lost on your career path?

By KELLI K. NICHOLAS, Marketing Coordinator –– Michigan Works!

“Lost” is more than just a former TV show. I had some very interesting conversations with people who were “lost” in the truest sense of the word … searching, wandering and wondering. These strangers, far apart in geographic location, had similar stories.

They each have spent numerous months job searching, painstakingly crafting what they hoped would be a well written cover letter to pique the interest of a hiring manager. They anxiously waited by the phone for calls that never came. They are now sending resumes for jobs that are not their first choice of work but would give them some sort of satisfaction and a badly needed paycheck.

They wonder what is wrong with them. Has there been too much time away from the work world since their layoff? Is she thought to be too old and set in her ways to fit in a new environment? Is he marked as wanting too much money because of his past wages? Will any employer want the skills they have to offer?

Questions — many are asked and few are answered. These stories are not uncommon for the staff at Michigan Works! throughout the state to hear on a daily basis.

There is hope, however, for the frustrated job searcher no matter the age, background, skill level and interests. A good place to start a renewed job search is to look inside yourself and complete an inventory of what skills you have to offer an employer and what you are interested in. Many times, people turn into robots at work, completing tasks but never taking a true inventory of what they did in a typical day. This inventory is the beginning to crafting a new career direction.

Another task is to use a “career interest survey” such as O*net. This is available for free at www.onetonline.org. You can search for careers by typing in only a few words. For example, typing in “love dogs” generates 20 occupations that may involve something with animals.

O*net will show if the occupations are in demand, green or have apprenticeship programs. The O*net Interest Profiler asks questions about job activities you might like to do. These interests can point a job seeker into a career path they might have never considered.

“Lost” is much more than just a TV show or a four-letter word. Sometimes by getting lost, people can be found again. They can find a new career goal, a new passion for something different than their past job or hope to begin again.

Visit your nearest Michigan Works! Service Center to see our Job Posting Board, which lists numerous local jobs that might interest you. Speak with our trained staff to go over different interest and skill profilers offered. Get rescued and start a new life. We will throw a life jacket in your direction. Are you ready to catch it?

(Mid Michigan Career Outlook is a regular monthly feature of The Laker Current.)

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