Category Archives: Clarify Your Career Choices

DEFINE WHAT MATTERS BEFORE YOUR NEXT CAREER MOVE

by Joseph P; Liu

Sometimes, knowing what you don’t want in your career is easier than figuring out what you DO want.

After you’ve decided your current job is no longer right for you, how do you even begin to tackle the question of what should come next?

Maybe you’re in a situation where you’re actually good at what you do, but have gotten a little bored with it all. Or a reorg at work has made you question where you really belong? Or you just have this sinking feeling that something better out there awaits you, but you just can’t quite put your finger on it.

THE PARADOX OF CHOICE

Choice is a funny thing. On the one hand, choice is incredibly liberating. Having choices is a privilege. You can have the freedom to choose what you want for your career, for your life.

But on the other hand, too much choice can leave you feeling paralyzed.

Should you continue down the same career path you’ve been on but just make a tweak? Should you pivot toward something else that’s always interested you?

There’s a great book out there called The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz, where Schwartz talks about how having lots of choice actually leads to anxiety.

I’ve definitely been there. When I was trying to decide what to do after I walked away from my planned career in medicine, I felt so overwhelmed by exactly what I could and should do next. I thought about becoming a dentist, pursuing a career in technology, heading to business school, going into medical research, even heading back to a different medical school. There’re so many directions I could take my life, and need process of narrowing it down to one single choice let me feeling fairly paralysed.

After walking away from a phase in m career that didn’t exactly go as I had hoped, I was feeling especially nervous about what to do next for a few reasons.

First, because I wondered if my professional judgment itself just wasn’t that sound. After all, if I had been astute at what my career should be in the first place, I wouldn’t have ended up in a situation where I was unhappy, right?

Second, I was very nervous about making another mistake. Leaving my medical career behind was incredibly disruptive, and I didn’t know if I could stomach making another wrong move that might result in another disappointing disruption.

Finally, and most of all, I was struggling to figure out what I DID want to do instead. I knew what DIDN’T feel right, but I didn’t know how I could tell what would actually make me happy.

START BY FIGURING OUT WHAT MATTERS

When I was feeling confused, first re-grounding myself in what really mattered to me was very super useful. I decided I needed to talk with someone completely objective who did not know me. So I started seeing a career counselor, and during our biweekly sessions, I eventually came to a point where I got very clear on what really mattered to me—my values, my principles, my priorities.

Amongst other things, I decided that entrepreneurship, having a healthy lifestyle, and making a positive contribution to people were key values of mine. Knowing what mattered to me help me figure out what would be right for my career. My values gave me criteria against which I could evaluate the various options I was considering. So instead of haphazardly looking at every option out there, I only considered those options that aligned with my values, those that would allow me to serve my values. When you force yourself to prioritize what matters most, it can help narrow the options.

Throughout my career, I’ve always made my best decisions when I first clarified what mattered most to me.

Taking one example from my own life, after business school, my priority was to establish some corporate credibility and experience, which I knew would serve me well in my career and also provide me with some concrete knowledge I would leverage when eventually coaching others in the corporate world. So I went and worked for one of the largest consumer packaged goods companies in the US. Now, I didn’t exactly grow up aspiring to market trash bags or drain opener for a living, but during this chapter in my career, I was able to learn the dynamics of what it’s like to work in a larger organization and also develop some functional marketing expertise along the way.

THE QUESTION YOU MUST ASK YOURSELF

If you’re about to make a career change, before you do anything, you really owe it to yourself to start your journey by first asking yourself a very important question:

What’s the most important thing for me to have during the next chapter of my career?

Let’s break that down into two parts.

The first part is getting clear on what’s most important to you is all about prioritizing. We all want careers that make us happy. That could be driven by many factors. For example, working on projects you care about. In function you find stimulating. At a reputable company. With a great culture. And a good salary. In a role that makes the most of your skills. In a city with a nice climate. That’s affordable. And close to family. Oh, and . . . You get the point.

Every career decision you make will involve trade-offs. It’s hard to have everything. They have to find a way of prioritizing what single factor matters most to you.

In talking with many people who have navigated a career change, I’ve noticed what people find most important is often a reaction to some aspect of their last job they found especially dissatisfying. In our most recent job, if you felt like you were working excessive hours, maybe finding a job that offers you better worklife balance is the most important factor. If you felt underpaid or undervalued, earning a fair salary might be what matters most.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU

Putting this all together, deciding what matters most for the next chapter of your career is the first step toward finding work that leaves you feeling truly satisfied.

If you decide that work-life balance is the most important thing for you to have in this particular chapter of your life and career, maybe you need to be okay with taking a role with a lower salary but a better lifestyle. If you decide that beefing up your credibility is most important right now, maybe you take that role at the blue-chip Fortune 500 Corporation that may not allow you to live your life passion, but certainly allows you to build up your reputation within your industry.

At some point, you have to be willing to make some tradeoffs. And you also have to be willing to invest the time in clarifying what unmet need you now want to fill in your career. This way, even if you don’t manage to get everything you want during the next stage of your career, you can at least know you took a step in the right direction to address what matters most.

DEFINE WHAT MATTERS MOST TO INFORM YOUR NEXT CAREER MOVE

If you’re struggling to figure out where to take your career, start by defining what matters most to you. Download your free “Define My Professional Priorities” worksheet to clarify which professional components matter the most to you during the next chapter of your career.

Joseph P. Liu is a Career Consultant, Podcast Host and Speaker.   Contact him at

https://josephpliu.com/blog/

FIND OUT WHERE YOU FIT – Featured on Bublish

The following excerpt from Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work by Halimah Bellows MA, MS is now featured on Bublish at

https://bublish.com/bubble/stream/10116?share=email

Bublish (www.bublish.com) is a publishing technology company that offers cloud-based tools, metrics and resources.

 

Author Insight

Although the internet is a powerful tool to add to your job search arsenal, don’t neglect traditional strategies such as networking, company research, a winning resume, and thorough interview preparation. Take advantage of resources such as Professional and Trade Publications—There are thousands of magazines, journals, and newsletters with information about specific fields or industries which may also contain job listings.

 

Book Excerpt

The previous sections of this book have focused on helping you, the reader, to consider some basic questions: “What are my skills, talents, strengths, values, interests, and personal qualities and how will they fit into the workplace?” The answers to these questions help you define who you are in relation to your search for the career path that will bring you the most fulfillment. The next part of this journey is finding out what actually is available in the world of work. This is the time for occupational research and exploration.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-ASSESSMENT – featured on Bublish

The following excerpt from Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work by Halimah Bellows MA, MS is now featured on Bublish at

https://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/8989?share=email

Bublish (www.bublish.com) is a publishing technology company that offers cloud-based tools, metrics and resources.

Author Insight

Whether you are a college student with little or no work history or an experienced worker seeking a new career direction, finding your way through the maze of career options available today can be daunting unless you have clarity about the choices that are appropriate for you. This clarity can be gained only through careful and honest self-assessment of your personality, your values, your strengths and your skills.

Book Excerpt

Now is the time to begin a self-assessment process that will give you more choices, broaden your options, and give you the confidence to know you are on the right career path. A self-assessment will clarify your characteristics, interests, values and skills. It will define your strengths and your weaknesses. Looking for a match between these and the work you are considering is the most important step you can take before you write a resume or begin the search for a job. In fact, when the time comes to write your resume and prepare for a job interview, you will find the task easier if you have completed the self-assessment process firs! You are the place to start, so ask yourself, “What do I do well?”

The Perfect Job

By John Benson

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you have to take as your future is entirely dependent on it. Most people spend half or more of their waking hours five days a week at their jobs. While selecting a career can be a difficult process, the following tips if kept in mind shall make it easier for you.

Detailed analysis about potential careers is vital. You will discover details about careers that you were not aware of. It’s important to collect vital information such as career descriptions, career scope, employment opportunities, educational requirements, and potential earnings.

Communicating with people in the field is an excellent way to learn about the various aspects of a career. Doing this may also help you develop a network. Informational interviews often change a person’s perspective about an occupation. You can find interview candidates by asking friends, teachers, members of an alumni association, and neighbors. You can also contact relevant professional associations and societies and visit appropriate social and professional networking sites online.

Internships provide excellent opportunities for acquiring a realistic, clear picture about the daily duties and job satisfaction in a particular occupation. Also, internships provide valuable networking opportunities that may lead to a job. Further, companies often hire interns that perform well. Volunteering also provides many of the advantages of an internship.

Find a mentor. Many colleges and employers have a formal mentoring program. Also, formal mentoring organizations are available that match mentors with individuals. It’s a great way to learn about a career, and a mentor can provide valuable networking opportunities.

The possibility for a job being outsourced to foreign countries is an important consideration. Job outsourcing information and forecasts can be collected from sources such as articles on the Internet, magazine articles, college counselors, career counselors, professors, employment agencies, and relevant professional associations.

Search the Internet, Magazines and News Columns and make a list of jobs in your niche. Do this frequently since these lists keep changing. A “hot job” today may not be “hot” next year or the year after. When evaluating these lists, keep in mind your interests, skills, and job satisfaction requirements.

Many community colleges have career centers that provide free individual and group career counseling. Stay in touch with a good Career Counselor. Career counselors can provide assistance with the self-evaluation process, career selection process, and the job search process.

Take into consideration the number of job opportunities in your area for each career you are considering. This is vital if you intend to stay in your current location.

The skills required for a career are an essential factor for an individual’s potential for success in that career. Write a list of the skills needed for a particular field. Place a check next to each skill you possess. The more checks you make, the more likely this field is right for you.

Your aptitudes should be a vital factor in your career selection process. A gratifying career is often built upon a match with what you are naturally good at. Natural strengths allow an individual to work with ease and to acquire expertise faster.

Explore the advancement opportunities of each potential occupation. Does advancement require additional education? Will additional education and certification provide you with a significant advantage over the competition? Are supervisory and management opportunities available?

John Benson (https://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-benson/52/223/41) is a Senior career Advisor at Accenture, based in Orlando, Florida.

How your personality can help you land or lose a job

By Miriam Salpeter

It’s difficult to find a job if you don’t know what you want to do. Sounds obvious? Have you really focused on your skills and accomplishments and whether they help qualify you for the jobs you seek? One pet peeve of recruiters and hiring managers is that job seekers often apply for positions ill-suited to their requirements. Don’t be one of those job seekers. Before applying, take some time to figure out what you want to do – and what you’re good at – and it will be easier to get hiring managers to notice you.

Kerry Schofield, chief psychometrics officer at Good.Co., a self-discovery platform and network serving professionals who are looking for more meaning in their careers, suggests the following reasons why knowing yourself better will improve your job prospects:

  1. You’ll narrow down your options. Don’t focus on the most general factors about the job, such as whether it has the right pay grade, prospects and location. These are all important variables to consider, but many positions fit these basic, practical criteria.

Schofield notes: “Self-assessment can help us move beyond these questions to make more informed selections from the possibilities available, based on our individual personality and how it fits with the culture of the organizations we’re considering.” For example, do you prefer a more structured environment with hands-on guidance, or a flexible one where initiative is rewarded? Is it more important to have a supportive, friendly team of co-workers, or the opportunity to work as independently as possible?

Your personality will dictate your answers to these questions. “When you narrow down the options, it allows you to focus on quality over quantity – a smaller number of more tailored applications with a higher probability of success,” Schofield explains.

  1. You’ll know yourself better. You may prepare to discuss your strengths and weaknesses at an interview, but how well do you really understand them? “You’ll want to assess any gaps in your skills, but when you look at these from the perspective of your personality and values, you can gain a realistic, genuinely insightful understanding of your true pattern of strengths and weaknesses,” Schofield says. The result? You will appear more sincere, mature and self-aware in applications and interviews. “Everybody has weaknesses; if we can demonstrate that we already recognize ours, and know how to ameliorate or channel them in a positive way, this will come across much better than a half-hearted stock-phrase.”

You will be better prepared for interviews, and when you’re honest about whether you’re a good fit for the job, you’ll have a better chance of landing the interview.

  1. You’ll avoid applying for unsuitable jobs. You can be more confident when job searching if you understand what has gone wrong in the past. If you keep missing out on positions that appear to be perfect matches, you’ll want to put your finger on what went wrong.

Get my free white paper: 5 Mistakes Preventing You From Landing a Job This Week 

“Self-assessment and an understanding of organizational culture and cultural fit can help us recognize the reasons why previous applications or positions may not have worked out,” Schofield says. “This knowledge gives us the tools we need to make changes next time around – we can learn more about the organization’s culture and our fit with it before applying for a job, for example, identify any potential mismatches in personality, goals or values, and plan for how to deal with this at the outset.”

  1. You’ll avoid surprises. Companies know the cost of making a poor hiring choice, and they are increasingly trying to identify and parse individual differences and match for cultural fit. While not all companies include a personality assessment as part of the application, it is not unusual for potential and existing employers to expect applicants and current to complete some kind of psychometric test, Schofield says.

If you understand the information and processes involved in psychometric assessments, you’ll have a head start on answering difficult questions and assuage concerns employers might have about your fit. The best way to do this is to take self-assessment tests yourself so you’ll be well-informed and prepared.

  1. You’ll improve your communication skills, and be a better candidate. Communication skills are key to qualifying for most jobs, and they’re important when job seeking, too. “From reading between the lines of a job advertisement to presenting oneself effectively in an interview, self-assessment brings awareness of the way in which we naturally prefer to communicate,” Schofield says. “Are you bubbly, energetic and accommodating, or serious, thoughtful and straightforward?”

Understanding others’ communication styles and how they interact with you is just as important as knowing about your own. When you have a firm handle on your own skills, personality and interests as they relate to your job search, you’ll be a better candidate and more likely to land the job when interviewed.

Miriam Salpeter, owner of Keppie Careers, is often quoted in major media outlets for her job search and social media expertise. Author of three books and a sought-after speaker and coach, she leverages her extensive background and successes to teach job seekers and entrepreneurs how to easily use social media marketing to accomplish their career and business goals.

Originally appeared on U.S. News & World Report

A quiz to see if you are in the right job

To find out what career is right for you, take this interactive quiz by clicking HERE.

Real Career Help for Teens

Teens—discover your career path with JobsMadeReal, a site for teens by teens!

Go to:  http://www.jobsmadereal.com/ 

Jobs Made Real is a website developed and owned by Chop’s Teen Club, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Santa Rosa, California. Jobs Made Real is part of the Chop’s Teen Club Workforce Program, designed to aid teens in discovering their career path.

The website features videos of people describing and engaged in doing their jobs. The idea for the website was created in response to teens saying they do not know what people really do in their jobs, and therefore find it difficult to decide on a career direction.

“We have taken that information and created a database that links thousands of selected YouTube job/career videos to their respective job title. Filtering of videos can be done based on salary and education goals, personality type and city/zip code.”

Top Contributor: Janet Wall, Career Development Professional/NCDA CDF Instructor/Online Course Author /Trainer /Teacher /Author

SOME WISE  WORDS ABOUT  CAREER CHOICES

“A very good career choice would be to gravitate toward those activities and to embrace those desires that harmonize with your core intentions, which are freedom and growth—and joy. Make a ‘career’ of living a happy life rather than trying to find work that will produce enough income that you can do things with your money that will then make you happy. When feeling happy is of paramount importance to you—and what you do ‘for a living’ makes you happy—you have found the best of all combinations.”

–Abraham-Hicks Paradise Found

NOW AVAILABLE FOR iPHONE, KINDLE FIRE OR ANDROID–A UNIQUE AND AFFORDABLE CAREER STRATEGY FOR JOB SEEKERS OF ALL AGES!

Career counselor/coach Halimah Bellows, MA, MS, CCC, CPC has now incorporated her innovative CAREER QUEST CARDS TM© into a convenient format that can be instantly downloaded on any connected iPhone, Kindle Fire or Android device.  The app provides a distillation of 30 key career-coaching exercises in a colorful, fun, easy-to-use package designed to enable busy users to take it with them on the go as they explore possible paths to career success.

To download CAREER QUEST CARDS TM© on your Kindle Fire or Android device, go to:

www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=career+quest+cards&sprefix=career+quest+%2Caps%2C409

or

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To download on iPhone or iPad, go to:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/career-quest/id781946447?mt=8

For more information about , go to www.careerquestcards.com