Are you looking to find that right next career move but you are not quite sure about the best path for you? Here are some tips I use with my career coaching clients around making career choices that may be helpful to you.
Good career choices are ones which align with your needs and values around work. To identify your needs and values, I suggest you start by asking yourself some questions… what excites you about work and past jobs, what do you like to do, what are your strengths, what do you know you want to have in your next job, what do you know you do not want in your next job, how much money do you need to make, etc. I suggest you write out the answers to these questions…writing them out will help you sort through what you think and start to create a clearer picture for yourself of what is important in your next career choice. There are a lot of career choices, and often I see people tend to take the path of least resistance. We either take what comes at us, or what we can find easily. This is OK and can work out, but the more critical thinking you do up front the better chance you will make career choices that you are happy with in the long term.
Once you’ve written this out, it is time to brainstorm possible career choices. Play around, don’t be afraid to put lots of possibilities, or even talk to some friends or families to get ideas. Then match the career choices you’ve come up with against your needs and values…how do they stack up? Sometimes we kid ourselves, for example we may realize when we write out our needs and values that working with a great mentor is critical to us, but then a job comes along and there is no great mentor. So then we convince ourselves that this is fine. Sure, there is some give and take and we cannot always find 100% match to what we want, but the more you gloss over what you want, the more you can expect to have pangs of dissatisfaction later. And the more you can distinguish what you want, the better chance you will seek the right career choices and the better chance you will notice it when they present themselves.
Next- get out and meet people. Talk to anybody about what you are looking for. Consider sharing with friends, family, people at networking events, charity events, community functions, etc. This doesn’t need to be a sales pitch, think of it like you are sharing with a good friend what you are up to. It should be casual. You never know who you are talking to, and who they know. And don’t be afraid to ask them if they know anybody you should talk to. Many people shy away from this sort of networking; but it is very important and does not have to be as painful as people think, especially if you can look at it as just meeting people and sharing. Another good tip to balance the karmic scales is to always think about how you might be able to help or support someone you meet. Then you are not just asking for your own good, but you are supporting them too if needed.
In addition to meeting lots of people, make sure you set out to particularly meet people who are doing what you are interested in. Often our vision of what a particular job or set of career choices will be like is different from what it is actually like. We always tell our clients to get out from behind their computers and start meeting actual people who are doing interesting things. In addition to learning from these people what that career is actually like, they may end up being your connection into your new job!
And lastly and from a somewhat biased perspective, consider hiring a career coach. A good coach can support you to put together a game plan to put yourself in the best position to successfully navigate your career transition and make the right career choices for you. Whether working on networking, working with a head-hunter, job boards, etc, a coach can assist to put together the best plan for you.
Good luck and may you find work that is so well lined up with your needs and values that it never feels like work!
To learn more about career coaching with the Institute for Coaching, call 866-686-3116 or fill out our contact form.