Changing careers is not an easy undertaking. It usually comes with lots of mixed emotions, doubts and second guessing.
If you are in this season of your career, taking some time to do a thorough personal inventory is best.
Hereunder are 15 questions that you should ask yourself when changing careers:
What skills do you believe that you have that can easily transfer to another job/ career?
This requires doing some introspection to identify your current skillsets. Reflection and taking deep personal inventory is required. Therefore it is advisable to complete this exercise in an atmosphere where you are quiet and still.
Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the best-selling book ‘What Color is your Parachute” states that the higher your transferable skills, the less competition that you will face for whatever job you are seeking.
Bolles also explained that people often confuse transferable skills with traits. Traits are one’s attributes such as attention to details, has lots of energy, gets along well with people and shows determination.
Therefore in asking yourself this question, ensure that you differentiate your traits from transferable skills.
A useful personality test that you can use if you want to change your career is the Holland Code Career Test. This test contains 48 questions and takes about 5 minutes to complete.
Developed by American Psychologist John L Holland, this test provides a 3 letter result which tells career best suits you.
This theory states that generally people are a combination of six personality types which was described using the acronym RIASEC. The acronym RIASEC stands for realistic, artistic, enterprising, investigative, social and conventional.
I have written an article extensively on theoretical frameworks to choosing a career should you want to explore Holland’s theory in detail.
What are your favourite interests?
During your self-reflection ask yourself what are your interests? Do you like make up, blogging, writing, science or gardening. Make a list of everything that interest you. Feel free to include activities that you do as a hobby as well.
If you are having challenges identifying your interests, then ask yourself to name one thing that you would do everyday joyfully for free.
Your degree of mastery in the field is irrelevant. As an example, let’s say that you have an interest in blogging and you just started a blog.
Despite the fact that your page views may be minimal with no email subscribers, it is still a field that you have an interest in and you are learning. So, consider including this on your list.
If you will like to learn more about starting a blog, there is a free blogging quickstart guide available in our free career resource library. click HERE to access.
What skills do you enjoy using the most?
From your previous roles, what skills gave you the most satisfaction? Looking back was it typing, writing, or putting together promotions? Add these skills to your list for consideration.
If you are having challenges identifying this, then a useful free personality test that you can take is called the Values in Action (VIA) Character Strength.
This free personality test contains 100 questions. I was able to complete this test in 10 minutes.
The test results provide a list of 24 area of strength for your consideration.
Alternatively, what skills do you enjoy using the least?
What were the areas of your previous role that you did not like? Is there anything that you have said that you would never ever want to do again?
Then include this on your list. Careers where these skills may be required should be eliminated.
Who do I know who I can speak to get more information about prospective careers?
Informational interviewing is the process of identifying a job/ career that interest you and setting up a meeting with persons who perform these roles day to day with the aim of understanding whether or not the job or career really interests you.
By exploring your list of contacts or reaching out within your current network, you may to find someone who could provide you will useful information to better advise your career change.
Where would you like to work?
Geography is an important factor to consider when changing careers. Would you prefer a job within the local community?
Are you more drawn to working in the city? How long would you like your commutes to be on a daily basis? Are you interested in working abroad or you want to remain in your current location?
What type of working conditions do you prefer?
Reflect on what type of working conditions you will prefer. Is your preference fast paced or more slow-paced? If you prefer a more slow paced condition then working at a start- up business may not be an ideal match.
How many hours are you prepared to work on a daily basis? Are you willing to work on weekends and bank holidays? Would you prefer flexible dress code? Would you prefer a family friendly working environment?
What type of people environment do you prefer?
Think about the people environment that you feed off best. Do you like working with individuals who enthusiastic include others, do you like working with persons who think outside the box or do you like innovators.
Think about these people environments and make a list.
What type of level of responsibility would you like in the organization?
Reflect on how much time that you want to contribute to an organisation. All factors remaining equal, the higher the level that you occupy in the organisation then the longer the hours you will be required to work.
As an example, if you are seeking a role as a manager then depending on the industry you may be expected to work 10 hours everyday and sometimes on weekends.
Does your family commitments allow you to do this role effectively? These are some of the questions that you need to reflect upon.
What are your values?
Think about some of the things and causes that you value the most. Would you like what you do to make a difference? How do you believe with your skillsets that you can have an impact?
Are these jobs or careers though you may be fond of them may not align with your values? Therefore, write a list down of what you value the most.
What would you like to be remembered for after you die?
This is a question that really forces you to dig deep to pull out all the things that you will like to be remembered for.
Our careers take up a valuable portion of our lives
Some examples of what you may want to be remembered may look like:
- Had an impact and initiated change in the field of gardening
- Creating and pioneered new equipment that improved the speed of planting flowers
- Brought people closer to God.
Do you require additional training for the new career that you are interested in?
If during your informational interviewing you find that you require additional skills to get into this line or work, ask if they know any individual who is doing this type of work who does not have the skill.
Then try to set up a meeting with them to get an idea of how you can enter the field without the required experience.
How will this change affect my remuneration?
Salary scales differ from sector to sector. Therefore, it is worthwhile doing your homework to ensure that you have information on the salary. Will this change lower or increase your salary.
How will this career change affect other areas of my life?
Changing your career unless you are single will also affect other members of your family. Do you have your family support? Are there any challenges that you can foresee when you are making this change?
As an example, will the change require me to work on weekends and public holidays? How will this change in my schedule affect those around me? These are examples of how a career change could affect other areas of your life.
Is this really the best decision for me?
This question is quite possibly the toughest of them all. After answering all the questions above, you really need to dig deep. How do you feel about the overall decision?
If you are considering a career change, there are other articles on this blog which you may find useful. Feel free to click any of the following links below to explore:-
How To Change Your Career
How To Write A Resume
How To Write A Cover Letter
How to Resign From Your Job
How To Prepare For A Job Search
21 Inspirational Career Change Quotes
Changing careers is not a decision that you should take lightly. Take as much time as possible to reflect on your career vision and how you will like your career and life to unfold. Trust these 15 questions above have been very useful in making this pivotal career decision.
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