Testing Career Options

Career Myths and Mysteries

 By Marti Benjamin, MBA

Professional Certified Coach

Certified Career Management CoachCertified Professional Résumé Writer

Where do I even begin to make a career change?” I hear that question frequently from career transitioners. Many people recognize they want to do something different but what they want to do is not always as easy to identify.

Rule out what you don’t want

One place to start a career re-design is to list the jobs and work conditions you don’t want. Think about the components of your current (or past) position(s) that have drained your energy and left you frustrated. Those are clues that you weren’t playing to your innate talents, regardless of the skills you used.

Perhaps it’s a time in your career that you want to be home to help your children with their homework, rather than traveling for business every week. If your priority is family time and your work doesn’t accommodate that life style, you’ll be unhappy with your choice, regardless of how interesting and rewarding the position might be. Include in your “don’t want” list those conditions and requirements that you want to avoid in your next career.

 Reliable and objective assessments

The Internet is full of surveys and assessments that will provide you with some analysis of your personality or preferences. Buyer beware! Avoid assessments where the vendor is unwilling or unable to describe their statistical reliability and validity measures.

If the assessment leads you to a site that sells classes or other products, be skeptical of the results. For example, if you’re asked to draw a figure to see if you have talent for art school and you’re then accepted into an art program for several thousand dollars in tuition, it’s likely that the assessment was meant to encourage your enrollment and has little or nothing to do with your future career success.

Professional career coaches use assessments with strong validity and reliability features and that stand separate from any specific vocational service. (Contact me for more information.) I avoid surveys that dictate specific, narrow occupations because I know that the same assessment results can lead to many different career options.

Assess your interests

Beyond the specific job role or industry, your personal interests play into your career satisfaction as well. Identify what you value the most in your career: money, status, working with facts, aesthetics, achievement, teamwork, adventure, efficiency, routine, imagination, change and variety, social interaction, contribution.

One reliable, no-cost interest survey is available at onetonline.org, under the heading, “I want to be …”

Talk to those doing the work

Use your network to identify people who are actually doing the job(s) you’re considering. Arrange an introduction and request an informational interview. Learn about the position from the perspective that only someone performing it can offer.

Prepare for this interview; develop questions about the growth forecast for the occupation, the critical success factors, qualifications for entering the field, best route for growth and promotion and typical tasks, duties, responsibilities, work conditions, challenges and rewards.

Try on the job

If possible, find a volunteer opportunity that allows you to perform the same or similar work so you can truly see what it would be like for you in that job.

You might also consider a temporary position to try on a job role.

What’s next?

If you’re ready to explore your career options, don’t miss this Career From Here special offer! During February 2014 only, the Jump-Start Career Package—including two career assessments and two hours of career coaching—is discounted for readers of this blog. Normally $490.00, for February only, the price is $425.00 when you request, “Jump-Start 0214”. Contact me for additional information at 775.337.0661 or Marti@CareerFromHere.com.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career and business coaching practice. While enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com


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