New Career Path?

By Normandale Community College - Continuing Education

Today’s job market is full of opportunities! Unemployment levels have never been lower allowing people to consider and make job changes at record levels. In 2017, 27 percent of private sector employees made a switch, which is the highest level ever according to the ADP Research Institute. Whether you are looking for a new job, a promotion or an entrepreneurial venture, now might be the time to try a different path! That thought might come with a bit of trepidation. With careful planning, new tools and a positive mindset about exploring the possibilities, you could be well on your way to the job of your dreams.

Job searches can feel overwhelming and impersonal.

Anyone who has embarked on a recent job search knows that the process can feel intimidating and overwhelming. Businesses today rely upon the utilization of online application tools to collect information on applicants. These tools have made the process of applying to jobs very convenient. But these same tools also make it harder for applicants to stand out from the online crowd. Applicants complain that they never hear back from employers. Businesses complain there are not enough qualified applicants. This cycle plays out every day, widening the gap in the job market. Even so, there are great strategies to help job seekers stay positive and move forward to explore new paths of employment.

Turn obstacles into opportunities.

The good news, you are in the driver’s seat. You get to navigate the course of your career. Sure, the road may be long and windy. Take time to calibrate your compass. Even if you detour, keep moving forward. Step by step, you’ll learn valuable lessons about how to remain resourceful and resilient along the journey—which are the keys to your success—clearly differentiating yourself from others and demonstrating

It’s never too late to start, but you must take the first step.

In every small decision you make each day, you can choose a path of being curious. Overtly seek out new ways to challenge yourself to explore things you don’t know. Talk to people who are not yet friends. Learn things that today seem unknowable. And don’t forget to ask for help along the way. There are people you know and people you don’t know who would happily provide bits of encouragement and information, but you have to be willing to ask.

Here are some tangible steps you can begin today:

Build your personal brand – Study the top people in the field you want to move into. What do they have in common? What do they do that makes them successful? Then consider the inventory of your own skills, talents and abilities. Practice telling others about what makes you you. Show others what difference you can make and how you can contribute.

Collect your people – Develop a personal network of individuals who can help you see your strengths and weaknesses and encourage you to take healthy risks. Your network can include people of all ages, professions and walks of life. What they should have in common is a willingness to support your growth and next steps.

Embrace technology – Figure out what tools are relevant to the work you want to do. Then dive in. Whether you do the work yourself or collaborate with others, the more you understand the technology involved, the more you will contribute.

Pursue what you don’t know – Accept and embrace that you will need to willingly learn, practice and develop new skills. Listen to a podcast on a topic of interest, watch a popular TED program, or find a free lecture in your own neighborhood. You never know where inspiration might find you.

Move closer to the tomorrow you are seeking. Normandale Community College offers dozens of options for you to consider. Whether you are thinking about an encore career, squeezing coursework in between work and family obligations or just getting started, it’s always the right time to learn something new.

We offer credit and non-credit based learning opportunities that you can complete online, in person, during the evenings, on the weekends or at your own pace. Check out our website at for more information on class listings. Or give us a call at 952-398-8343 to talk with someone who can provide ideas for next steps.

Human Services Pathway

Human Services Pathway In June 2018, 22 adult learners decided it was time for a change. Together, they overcame many challenges to complete essential workplace skills training and earned college credits. Today, many of them are working as human services representatives for Hennepin County. Another cohort will start this fall. Call for more information.