4 booming career paths to secure your future in 2022
You wake up, brew your coffee, and like clockwork, take a few steps to your home office to put out a fire in your workplace.
It’s like a big shampoo commercial in life: lather, rinse, and repeat.
Something else must be there for you. You know. But when these thoughts bubble up, it doesn’t seem clear where to start or how to begin to act.
If this sounds familiar to you, you are probably ready for a career change.
I recently wrote an article with my prediction of the top five growing career areas for 2022… backed by research, of course… But if you’re just starting out or changing careers, how do you know what to do first ?
As the author of a career book, it’s no secret that I believe that intentionally choosing your career path is essential for growth. A career path follows a generally linear sequence of jobs to meet your short and long term career goals. Often, this path can also include continuing or advanced training. While many companies offer a career path framework, there are definite benefits to being intentional in creating your own plan. You are the boss of your own career.
Start by honestly assessing your skills, values, and interests. You can divide an article in half and on one side list all the skills, values and interests that you currently have, and on the other side list those you aspire to have or maintain. During this process, keep the short term and the long term in mind.
Based on your skills and interests, look for careers related to both. Then look for job openings within those careers. A key career advice I often write about in my book Your turn, is the importance of understanding your basic skills even more than knowing in which industry you work. I joke that while I love the fashion industry, I wouldn’t make a great designer. However, I could write articles and speak publicly (my greatest skills) about fashion all day long.
As part of your research, learn about the desired skills, education requirements, and role experience preferences you may need. Identify the trajectory for the given career. The knowledge will help you create career goals and identify your career path.
Don’t skimp on this step. We spend 90,000 hours at work in our lifetimes, or a third of our lifetimes. Don’t let this step cripple you. Remember, you can always change your mind. The skills and experience you gain will almost always benefit you along the way. The important thing is to get started.
To help you get started on your 2022 career plan, consider these 4 types of career paths: knowledge-based, skills-based, entrepreneur-based, and self-employed. In each of them, I’ll show you how to create your own career path.
1. Knowledge-based career paths.
Knowledge-based career paths build on knowledge gained through experience. Some areas following a knowledge-based path include human resources, marketing, accounting, information technology, and engineers. Creating a career path based on this type will depend heavily on progressing up the corporate ladder, using each position as a stepping stone to the next.
For example, a career path in health care might look like this: home health aide to nursing aide to registered nurse. This career path includes successive positions as well as graduate studies.
Developing a knowledge-based career path will almost always require training or upskilling. Skills upgrading is strategic learning to fill industry gaps. When you are the candidate with specialized training or experience in a niche industry, you will set yourself apart from all the competition.
Begin a knowledge-based career path with a job before diving head first into years of study and course expenses. Use this job to test the waters of your career choice. Not only will you gain experience, but you will also learn whether you want to stay the course or turn in one direction or another.
Remember, if you love an industry, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck with a job option. For example, a career in healthcare doesn’t always mean patient care. If you deeply enjoy working in healthcare but don’t want to be in an operating room, explore the knowledge-based roles that work behind the scenes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roles such as hospital administrators are expected to experience 17% employment growth through 2024. Not only that, careers in healthcare are excellent for mid-life career changes.
2. Professional career paths based on skills.
Competency-based career paths are often physical, practical or service-oriented. Careers that fall into this type require a comprehensive understanding of how a specific function works. Skill-based careers include construction, the performing and visual arts, and chefs.
The construction sector is experiencing rapid growth. Yet the BLS reports that the industry has lost 115,000 jobs. In view of this, a career in construction will be secure for some time. A skills-based construction career path may begin with a job as a carpenter, followed by a superintendent, project manager, and end with a general contractor. One skill has the ability to stack on top of another and snowball into a successful career with plenty of opportunities.
When building your skills-based career path, spend time researching the experience required for the position you want to help you identify the roles you will need to get there. In each of these roles, identify the skills needed and create a plan to acquire those skills either through experience or through continuing education. In skills-based careers, experience is your best friend.
3. Entrepreneur-focused career paths.
Entrepreneur-based career paths focus on solving a problem or meeting a need with the help of a self-created product or service. Entrepreneurs work independently or start a business and hire employees. The premise behind entrepreneurial careers is that they solve a problem for consumers. Examples include everything from inventing a product to sell to providing writing services to niche industries.
Just as the entrepreneurial opportunities are endless, so too are the career paths to get there. While some entrepreneurs are just born this way, many take a winding road that includes working in the corporate world, just like me. What I tell my career coaching clients is to focus on their skills and values. Your skills will help you determine what you can do, and your values will help you determine how you will put your skills to use. If you find that you always solve a problem or enjoy solving problems at work, the entrepreneurial path may be right for you.
My own career path included working for the Pentagon before realizing my value as a career coach. It was the skills I learned while trying to find a job in the national security field that gave me what I needed to be successful today. Be open-minded and use your instincts to find out if this path is right for you.
4. Freelancers or independent contractors follow a varied career path.
Freelancers are hired by individuals or businesses to perform a specific job or project. Many freelancers offer services such as graphic design, copywriting, consulting, home repair, and photography. In the aftermath of the pandemic, self-employment has grown in large part because of choosing a work-life balance rather than the perks of the business. The largest number of working freelancers are found among Gen Zers, accounting for 53% while Millennials represent 40%.
Most freelancers start out working for a company. In fact, their first customer is often their last employer. The best freelance jobs include writing, software development, digital marketing consulting, SEO consulting, ad management, sales, and lead generation. Self-employment in these fields can bring in an annual salary of $ 200,000 for experts.
If you are interested in a career as a freelance writer, do your research. Many freelance or contract positions require someone with agency experience. For example, if you want to be a digital marketing consultant, you will need to have agency experience in a marketing company. Your career path will likely also include upgrading the skills to take on niche positions within a company on a project basis. Freelancers need to stay one step ahead in their respective industries. It is therefore essential to keep abreast of trends in the sector.
Designing your career path around jobs that are expected to remain in demand in the future will provide a level of job security. While most career paths follow a relatively linear trajectory, this is not always the case. A sideways or even downward movement along the way can always lead to an overall successful career. Having career goals will allow you to assess each opportunity to see if it makes sense for you in the long run.
Now is one of the most opportune times to explore your options in new career areas. You got this.