Feel Empowered to Make Difficult Career Decisions!

Feel Empowered to Make Difficult Career Decisions!

Are you feeling the anxiety of changing of majors, or even changing your career direction? Are you struggling with the pressure of selecting the right graduate program or internship? These are just a few examples of tough career decisions that cause stress and anxiety. The important thing to know is that, though these types of difficult decisions are common, the weight of the world likely doesn’t rest in the outcome of your decision (though it may certainly feel that way).

What do I want to do when I grow up?

As a student or recent graduate you might be thinking that it’s time to figure out the answer to this question. The truth is, it’s not an easy one to answer. Even if you have had a very certain idea of what you want to do professionally, that idea may change and evolve over time as your interests and passions shift. Stephanie Denning, a guest contributor to Forbes, suggests that career is like a marriage, “We want to spend our 20s trying to figure out what we don’t like, so we can settle on something that we do. Hopefully settling down to a career we really love in our 30s.” This perspective may, or may not resonate with you, but as careers and job markets evolve, it’s helpful to be open to changes that may come. Luckily, The University of Denver offers career help to students and alums in the realm of career exploration. Whether through value exercises, career assessments, or in-depth conversations with career advisors, you have the ability to start looking at possible answers to the question “What is my passion?” (See blog post from Assistant Director of Career & Professional Development and exploration expert, Carolyn Sommers).

I’ve been working for a while, and now I want to completely shift directions.

Perhaps you have discovered a passion or interest area that is completely different than the work you’ve been doing or the degree that you’ve earned. It’s great that you have uncovered what you want to do, now how do you go about making a radical career shift? Though it may seem daunting, it’s very, very possible. In fact, according to Alison Doyle of The Balance Careers, “… the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times (with an average of 12 job changes) during his or her career… (and) the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average employee tenure was 4.2 years….” So people are making these types of changes all the time. You will want to meet with your career advisor to discuss:

-How are you branding yourself for this new line of work on your resume, cover letter, and social media? In other words, you want to make sure you are effectively highlighting transferable skills that this new employer will value.

-How are you telling your story in your application documents and in the interview?

-Are you building strategic connections in the field that will help you make this transition?

Though none of these things are easy, the Career & Professional Development team here at the University of Denver are here to help. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment in Pioneer Careers to discuss with your advisor.

I have two competing offers, how do I make a decision?

First, you want to congratulate yourself for getting to the offer stage with two different employers! This is typically not an easy thing to do. Keep timing in mind and make sure you are keeping lines of communication open with both employers. Here’s a great blog about various things to keep in mind when considering offers of employment.

Some additional questions you might want to ask yourself are…

  • Which employer/job aligns better with my values?
  • What impression do you get from the people at each organization? The hiring manager, teammates, etc.? How do you think you would fit with each team?
  • If you’re comparing salaries and career stability, something else to consider would be which employer presents more long term growth or potential?

All of these items can and should be discussed with your Career Advisor. If you’re struggling with offer management, or any difficult decisions related to your career direction, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your advisor in Pioneer Careers. We are here to help!

By Andrew Gupton
Andrew Gupton Career Advisor Andrew Gupton