Choosing a career in any given field can be daunting. Knowing what you want and getting what you want are two entirely different things. For career paths such as in the medical and healthcare industry, reaching certain positions can seem nearly impossible!
Between all the different courses, work experience opportunities, internships, and training sessions, it’s easy to get a bit lost. Suddenly, you can feel boxed into something you may not have even wanted.
That is why knowing how to unlock as many doors as possible in your chosen field is so important. Keeping your options open and following the best career path for your chosen position will help you to reach your goals faster, more efficiently, and from a much happier place.
With that in mind, here are some insightful tips to bear in mind to unlock more doors for yourself in your chosen field!
Choose your career carefully
The first step in opening doors to what you want is to simply decide where you want to be – and what you’re really passionate about.
Careers such as nursing – where there have been recent shortages in specialists – can take some time to grow in and require hard work, dedication, and patience. You need to be comfortable with what you want before you embark upon a journey that, halfway down the line, you may choose to leave behind.
However, getting to know what kind of career you truly want can take time and effort. That’s why following a few simple steps from the start of your journey will help you better grasp what it is you plan on doing, how to achieve it, and what you can expect as a result. It’s not selfish to think deeply about what you want to do – and even less so to spend serious time creating a roadmap.
It is also wise to bear in mind that what you plan on doing may change. It’s perfectly fine to embark on one career and decide to change it down the line, providing you’re well-prepared. Never rush into any career or discipline because someone else suggests or even tells you to.
Remember, too, that you don’t need to have every single answer right away. But it’s good to know what you really want to do before you embark.
Once you’re clear on where you want to head, it’s time to start unlocking those doors.
Get some work experience
Getting some real-life experience in your chosen field or career is not only a great way to help you realize if this is the path you want to head down, but also to learn more about what you need to do to find opportunities.
Of course, certain courses require you to do internships, which means work experience is already a given. However, these usually take place a few years into the course and when you have already committed to working in the field – meaning, again, you’ll need to be sure about what you want to do!
That’s why getting work experience as early on as possible is a great idea. There are plenty of agencies and job opportunities to be found online that will give you the work experience you need. If you’re heading into nursing, you can even ask your local hospital or care center for permission to shadow the professionals in the area.
This will ensure you better understand what to expect from daily duties in the position in question. You will also undoubtedly learn lessons from the professionals that you will keep with you as you progress.
When it comes to unlocking career doors and opportunities, work experience is a massive boost. On your resume, it shows recruiters that you’re willing to dive into your field and that you’re keen to go beyond the classroom as soon as possible. That will put you in great stead for all kinds of opportunities.
Talk to professionals in your field
There’s no better way to gain insight into different career options and doors than to actually speak to professionals who are already making waves in the industry. In many cases, professionals will be happy and may even be flattered to offer advice to students who are willing to go the extra mile to learn.
Ideally, you should interview as many professionals as possible – though try not to overdo it! This will give you a much broader idea of what to expect, but it’s important to try and do plenty of research and gain experience of your own while you explore what experts in your field have to say.
By creating a network of professionals, you will also go a long way in creating valuable contacts for yourself. These are people you may need to turn to one day for help getting a job, a reference, or they could even be your future colleagues.
In fact, you may even be working with them sooner than you might think, during an internship for school or work experience. Either way, having as many people by your side as possible is always a good idea. Building a network is the key to ensuring your name’s the first on as many lists for job openings as possible. All it takes is to show a little initiative and the willingness to speak with people you look up to.
Speak to a career advisor
While many believe that speaking to a career advisor is only for those who have yet to learn what they want to do, that is by no means the case.
A career advisor can carefully guide you through all of the various opportunities and specific careers for your industry, some of which you may not have even considered. It is essential to know that even in nursing, for example, the number of specialist careers opening up and available is astounding.
You could train to be anything from an independent traveling nurse, or a military nurse, to a local hospital nurse or a pediatric specialist. The list of positions really does go on. Knowing what is available to you will help you to make a more informed and better decision.
However, beyond that, a career advisor will have all the information regarding reaching a certain position. They will be able to advise you regarding which courses to follow, which schools are accepting applicants, where you could get good work experience and when you should apply for certain positions.
Using their professional knowledge and research can only be beneficial and can help you to reach goals at a pace that benefits you. It’s wise to keep details for career advice close at hand, no matter when you graduated, or where you are in your career path at large.
Be willing to learn
It’s a fact that to open career doors, you’re going to need to learn specific skills as well as show initiative and passion. For example, specialist and highly technical roles will rely on both your knowledge of how to apply certain techniques as well as your appreciation for the industry you’re in.
Therefore, don’t be afraid to try and learn more. Whether through online courses or even free tutorials you can watch and digest on the web, there are always ways you can enrich your knowledge and therefore boost your skill set.
It’s also good to dig deep into what the knock-on effects of studying specific disciplines will be for your career niche. For example, what can you do with a master’s in nursing that takes you into the career niches you desire? You could take the time to read through Elmhurst University’s guidance, for example, and make notes on how each of its nursing course modules could get you to the next important stage of your career.
It’s easy to assume that education can only get you through certain career doors, and that, eventually, you may even stop learning altogether. This really isn’t true! Even those of us in roles and jobs we love still find opportunities to learn and grow.
If you’re serious about opening multiple career doors, don’t be afraid to boost your knowledge and to keep growing. You’ll be taken more seriously, and the more skills you have, the more jobs you can do – it’s simple math!
Have a clear roadmap
Just as it’s vital to know what you’d like to get into – even if it’s just a rough estimation – it’s just as crucial to have a flexible roadmap laid out ahead of you. Try and keep an open mind, it’s not always possible to walk through the perfect career door even after years of work, meaning it’s healthy to have a few routes laid out just in case.
When mapping out your various career routes and doors, try to sketch out what you might need to head to the next stage. Can you start preparing now, reaching out to people in your industry who can help you, or can you start looking for educational resources to help you take adequate stepping stones forward?
The sooner you set up a flexible roadmap, the sooner you can start stepping up to open new doors. The more doors you open, the more choices you’ll have!
Don’t close doors!
While having your mind set on your goals, it’s always wise to keep other options open. That doesn’t mean that ‘you’re never going to get there, so have a plan B’. What it means is that a lot can happen during the time you spend trying to reach your goals. A lot can change within your career path and within yourself, too. You may find halfway down, or even near the end, that the thing you most wanted isn’t so desirable anymore.
The best action you can take is to keep those relationships strong, take as many opportunities as you can (within reason), and never close any doors. Just because your chosen path may seem clear doesn’t mean that you won’t necessarily need other options down the line.
It’s another reason why creating a flexible roadmap just makes sense. Heading straight for one or two very specific doors may, sadly, result in disappointment. Keep your options open and your chances of growing in your desired industry can only increase.
Take your time
Career progression, as they say, is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take a few years to get where you want to be. Seeing the time that it takes can be disheartening. But the truth is that all the best things take time – and that includes finding and using ideal career doors that take you to where you want to go.
Taking time means that you don’t rush into your chosen field too blindly. You’ll have the chance to explore different ways to learn and grow, meet people who you can network with, and can find the breathing space to step back and look at where you’re heading.
To open the most career doors ahead, you’re going to need that time and space. Even if you’re a mature student, there are still going to be plenty of doors that you can open. Some of the most successful people don’t find out what they want to do until they reach their 40s, 50s or even their 60s!
It makes sense to use the one chance you have in life to grow in your career very carefully. Consider your options, reach out to people who can help you and don’t glue yourself to one specific path.
The more open and willing you are to educate yourself and to take the time to analyze career doors before you open them, the more successful you’ll be. Focus more on how you can find those doors and then network, learn and practice to get them open.