Manage Your Career

Any transition in work life can be very stressful. The information and activities provided in the Job Seekers Guide can help you through this stressful transition. The purpose of the Job Seekers Guide is to provide you with a step-by-step process that can be started at any time in your transition.

Managing your career is a process, and it can be different for each person. For the purpose of this guide to work for you this handbook has been separated into five sections that reflect each step in the Manage Your Career wheel. Below are brief descriptions of the five sections that reflect each phase of the career management process.

Step 1: Assess Yourself
How do you know where to go if you don’t know where you are? This step helps you discover and organize all of your skills, interests, and values that are necessary to explore the world of work and present yourself to a potential employer. It is a good idea to do this step every year, even if you have a job, since you may have gained new skills, or your interests and values may have changed.

Step 2: Explore Careersl
Learn how to take all of the information you have learned about yourself and explore occupations that fit the person you are today. Find out how to research the educational requirements, tasks, outlook and growth, average salaries, and skills necessary for occupations that interest you.

Step 3: Create a Plan & Set Goals
Now that you have narrowed down the direction you want to go in, setting goals and making a plan will improve your chances of getting there. Setting goals helps you focus on your career path instead of just looking for jobs. People tend to be more successful when they set short and long-term goals. They think about what they can do now to achieve their goals in the future.

Step 4: Expand Skills
List the skills you need to learn and determine where to get them before you start the job search. Learn about resources for going back to school and options for financial aid.

Step 5: Find a Job
Are you ready? Finding a job involves many components. You are going to need an updated resume, a winning cover letter, and know how to present yourself during interviews. In some situations a portfolio of samples of work may be required. You will also need to know how to use your contacts to tap into that hidden job market. This step will provide you with information and activities to really make you stand out.

Don’t forget that we are always here to help you.




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What is Career Management?

Career management is more than just what you do to find a job it is about how you approach your work and your life.

How do you manage your career?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions you have qualities that will help you manage your career and find success in what you choose to do.
Sometimes people think that the terms "job," "occupation," and "career" mean the same thing. In fact, they have very different meanings. We will be using them to mean the following:

Why should you manage your career?
The job market is not the same as it used to be. Today's economy is global; this means that local jobs and occupations are affected by the economy of other countries, not just locally. This impacts what employers want from workers. The types of work and training that were available to you in the past may have changed as well.

New World of Work

Sometimes people expect that they will get one job and stay there for their entire work life. Or they expect their employers to take care of them. Be prepared for the new world of work.

The Job Market

Relationship between Employers and Employees

Employment Realities

Take Care of Yourself

How serious are you about being successful? Successful people know the importance of taking care of themselves. This means taking care of your personal life. Get enough exercise and sleep. Eat healthy foods. Belong to a social or faith-based group. Spend time with your family or friends. Set a regular schedule. Get regular health checkups. Below is a list of resources that can help you take care of yourself during this transition.

Do you need: Resources
Transportation Metro and Metrolift
Child Care Workforce Solutions
Health Care Harris County Gold Card
Housing HUD Housing
Houston Housing Authority
Legal Help Lone Star Legal
Food Assistance SNAP
Work Attire Dress for Success (referral, women)
Goodwill Industries of Houston
Mental Health Mental Health Retardation Association of Harris
Other community assistance City of Houston
United Way of Greater Houston

Deal with Changes

Transitions in life can be stressful for anyone. The information here can help you with work changes to lower the stress.

Job security is not certain in this new world of work. You may lose your job through no fault of your own, and with little or no warning. Other life events like losing a loved one, a growing family, or having to move to a new city can cause a lot of stress and affect your career.

You may have things in your life that you are not sure how to handle. Support services can help you with child care, health care, transportation, and other needs. It's a good thing that you do not have to face these changes alone. There are many resources available to help you.

Use the resources listed in this guide to help you:

Don't be afraid to ask for help by using the resources below.

Online job search support services


Manage Your Finances

Do you know how to make good choices with your money? Do you have the skills needed to save or make a budget?

No matter how much money you have, you should keep track of how much money you have coming in and where you spend your money. It is also important to know how much you need to save for the future.

Tips for staying financially healthy while looking for work:

How to create a personal budget
Make plans for your money that fit your needs today and in the future. If you are not working, make a budget anyway.

See how your money plans change when you add or cut expenses. You can also change your income to make a different budget.

Look at your current budget
If you have a partner or children, plan your money together.

Budgeting Tips & Resources

How to Create a Personal Budget

Early in your job search you must determine your financial survival needs. Knowing how much money you need to make to cover your monthly basics will help you avoid financial disasters, feel confident in establishing a minimum salary requirement and give you a better understanding of where you can afford to cut corners during difficult times. When planning for the future, you should look at both short term costs and long term potential expenses. Using a Personal Budget (pdf) will help you do both.

Now that you have completed the Manage Your Career section, you are ready to move on to Step 1: Assess Yourself.