Manage Your Career

Change is constant, especially when it comes to your career. Whether you are a first time job seeker, in career transition, or face getting laid off from your current position, the information and activities provided in the Job Seekers Guide can help you. By utilizing this guide, you will gain a greater understanding of the career process and be provided with online resources that will assist you in this next step in your journey.

The Job Seekers Guide is simply another tool in your career toolbox and is not intended to serve as a replacement for any resources or services provided by your local career programs. The layout and structure of the Job Seekers Guide will provide you with a comprehensive listing of local and national online resources relevant to each step in managing your career.

It is important to remember that each individual manages their career differently. This handbook has been separated into five sections that reflect each step in managing your career. Below are brief descriptions of each step. Candidates should review the descriptions to determine which step to begin with.

If you are new to career planning, it is recommended that you follow all the steps in order the first time you utilize the Job Seekers Guide. Please keep in mind that you can revisit the steps in any order and that you can work on more than one step at the same time.

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 Careers
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 move 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, developing vocational skills, and options for financial aid.

Step 5: Find a Job
Are you ready? You are going to need an updated resume and a compelling cover letter. You are also going to have to present yourself during interviews. In some situations a portfolio of samples of work may be required. Knowing how to use your contacts, or network, to tap into that “hidden” job market is another crucial skill. This step will provide you with information and activities to help you diversify yourself from your competition.


What is Career Management?

This section shows you what you need to think about before you start to job search. It gives you strategies on how to manage your career. 

What Is Career Management?

Career management is more than just what you do to find a job. It’s 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.

It sometimes seems like the terms "job," "occupation," and "career" mean the same thing. In fact, they have very different meanings. For this guide, we will be using them in the following way:

Managing your career includes all of the steps in this guide. A person that manages their career effectively revisits all of the steps many times throughout their life.

Here’s an example of a career path.

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. This impacts what employers want from workers. Typically, people don’t get one job and stay in that job for their entire career.

The following list includes some of the certainties that you CAN expect from today’s job market:

  1. More jobs today call for a college degree or training beyond high school.
  2. In order to remain competitive, everyone (even those who are employed) needs to keep their job search skills up to date.
  3. Job seekers compete for jobs with people all over the world. Employers can move to another country. More workers can and are willing to live away from their work.
  4. People tend to change jobs every few years. This should not be viewed as negative as each career move may offer more skills and opportunities.
  5. Lay-offs are more common during a recession and/or when a business is in trouble financially.
  6. Workers need to see employers as customers who they may be of service to.
  7. Employees take their retirement plans with them when they change jobs.
  8. Employees are in charge of their own retirement plans.
  9. Workers have many jobs in many occupations throughout their lifetime.
  10. Workers need to create their own career paths.
  11. Job duties often change to match projects.
  12. Employers want workers who think for themselves, are flexible, self-motivated, and participate in continuous learning.
  13. More jobs are in the service or knowledge industries. Workers need to be creative. They need to provide good customer service and possess technical skills.
  14. Employees need to be open to working full-time or part-time. They might be short-term or contract workers.
  15. Employees may work for more than one company at once.
  16. Employees need to work hard and take charge of their own career goals. They can not only get paid, but can receive additional training from many employers.
  17. A successful job search is more dependent on using your network of personal contacts to find hidden jobs.
  18. During a recession, be prepared to accept a job that offers less pay and/or limited opportunities for growth and advancement by adjusting your expectations.


Time of Transition

This is the time to accept that you are in a transitional stage in your life. Embrace the transition!

The Donkey Story:
One day a farmer’s donkey fell into a well. The farmer frantically thought about what to do as the stricken animal cried out to be rescued. With no obvious solution, the farmer regretfully concluded that as the donkey was old and as the well needed to be filled in anyway, he should give up the idea of rescuing the beast and simply fill in the well. He tried to persuade himself that hopefully the poor animal would not suffer too much.
The farmer asked his neighbors for help and before long they all began to shovel earth into the well. When the donkey realized what was happening he wailed and struggled, but then, to everyone’s relief, the noise stopped.
After a while the farmer looked down into the well and was astonished by what he saw. The donkey was still alive and progressing towards the top of the well. The donkey had discovered that by shaking off the dirt instead of letting it cover him, he could keep stepping on top of the earth as the level rose. Soon the donkey was able to step up over the edge of the well and happily trot off.
The lesson: Life tends to shovel dirt on top of each of us from time to time. The trick is to shake it off and take a step up.

Sometimes during a transition, individuals need to utilize community resources. Below is a list of resources that can help you take care of yourself during this time in your life. JFS also has a number of programs and services, which may help to offer support during this time.

Do you need: Resources
Transportation Amtrak
Palm Tran
Child Care Florida Department of Children and Families
Child Care Aware
Health Care Health Care District Palm Beach County
Florida KidCare
Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services Caring Doctors Project
Housing Boca Raton Housing Authority
Boca Raton Housing Assistance Programs
Legal Help Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc
Public Assistance/
Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services
The Salvation Army


Deal with Changes

Transitions in life can be stressful for anyone. The information here can help you to lower the stress associated with employment challenges.

It is notable that job security is never certain in this new world of work. You may lose your job through no fault of your own, or with little or no warning. Other life events like losing a loved one, a growing family, or having to move to a new city may also cause a lot of stress and affect your career.

You may have parts of your life that you are not sure how to handle. Support services can help you with child care, health care, transportation, and other needs. Always remember that you do not have to face these changes alone. There are many resources available to help you.

Use the Identifying Barriers (pdf) worksheet to help identify areas that you may feel are keeping you from where you want to be.

Use the resources listed in this guide to help you:

Click on the links below for further assistance:

Job search support services:

To access other resources: