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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 6, 2006

Dream jobs do exist, if you look

Gannett News Service

Maybe you're bored with your current job, or figure there's no real future in it. Whatever the reason, you have decided you just can't stand another day in your current situation.

So you've decided not to just get another job you've decided to change careers.

But before you take that leap into the career unknown, it's important to plan ahead and do your homework.

Do you know what the high-growth industries are? Do you have the necessary skills to get your dream job? Do you even know what that job is?

Growing careers currently are in healthcare, biosciences and technology. As baby boomers age, more demand will be placed on the healthcare system, which means employers from hospitals to occupational health companies will be looking for workers.

As companies strive to fulfill the demands of an aging population desiring new products to meet their changing lifestyle needs, salespeople and marketers will be needed, and strategic thinkers will be sought to help companies keep a competitive edge.

At the same time, technology will continue to be hot.

Do you see yourself fitting into any of these industries? If so, do you have the needed skills? If you desire to go in another direction, do you know if that industry is hiring, or will face cutbacks?

While you find the answers to these questions, also consider:

  • The happiness factor. Many people want to change careers because they find that they just don't enjoy going to work. If you enjoy interacting with people, for example, sitting in a cubicle and working on a computer all day may not be the right career for you. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What about that particular activity makes time pass quickly for you? Dream big don't rule anything out.

  • Assessing all your skills. You may already know that you're a top-notch accountant, but also look at the skills you enjoy using. Are you a savvy negotiator, which makes you successful in hunting down bargains at garage sales? Do you have a beautiful home because you bring so much creativity to every project?

  • Exploring your boundaries. If you jump to another career, can you take a pay cut? Often, your salary will drop when you're just getting started in a new career. What are the downsides of the new career (frequent travel, few benefits, harsh environment)? Do the benefits of a new career outweigh the hardships in the short as well as long term?

  • Drawing a road map. How are you going to get that dream job? What skills, education, training, contacts, etc. do you need? Do plenty of research find out the top employers, the skills needed, if the industry is expected to grow and if certain training or educational degrees are required.

  • Be flexible. As you read industry publications, meet others in that field and learn more about job demands, you may need to alter your original vision. That's OK nothing should be so written in stone that you find yourself once again stuck in a career you don't like. Try to focus on what skills you need that can be useful to different employers, so it gives you some flexibility.

  • Taking the plunge. If you've done your homework and armed yourself with the right skills, taking that leap of faith may not be so daunting. The dream career may be right around the corner.