Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to plan your career change

photo by graur razvan ionut

A very good friend of mine has recently quitted her daytime job as a teacher and is launching  her business in tourism. My other half is cutting and polishing his CV, thinking laterally how to best transfer his skills and experience to completely new areas.

And so I am, considering my career options and digging out notes from a career guidance course I attended (a little absent-mindedly) a couple of years ago.

This is my DIY Career Guidance:

1. Set aside
regular time to think about your career

2. Make a list of things you want from your career. Make another list of things you want from your personal life. Be as specific as you can, e.g. 'want more job satisfaction' is too vague - get to the bottom of the problem and name the specifics aspects you want improvement in. Don't worry if what you want seems too ambitious or impossible - write it down anyway; you may not be able to become an astronaut but you may find a profession in which your need for adventure will be satisfied better than in your current job.

3. Make a list of your achievements in both, professional and personal life. Don't forget to include your achievements in sport, community work or hobbies.

4. Make a list of your skills - be as generic as possible when naming your skills, e.g. a doctor who is a good at diagnosing is a fabulous data gatherer and analyst; a tour guide will be a great organiser with excellent communication skills. Again, don't forget about your 'outside the workforce' skills, gained in household activities, hobbies, or voluntary work.
Here is a checklist of transferable skills gained outside the workforce.

5. Reflect on your personality and working styles - what you like and dislike at work. If you find it difficult, take a personality test (one of the most popular is Myers-Briggs Type Indicator).
Here's an activity to help you reflect on your working style and here's an article on career choice and career development using MBTI).

6. Think about career options, which match your skills with your wants. If you find it difficult, ask family, friends, colleagues, or a career advisor (check your local uni or search the web). Keep expanding this list until you find something that appeals to you.

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