March 21, 2017 (c) Amy Geffen

Let’s say you’ve been doing the same job for a long time and you are tired of it.  You need a change but you don’t know what you want to do or what opportunities are out there. Or, if you are a recent college graduate and you majored in marketing in college, or accounting, or English, or psychology, and you just don’t know what it is you want to do with the rest of your life. Well, as they say, nothing is forever, and the decision you make today for a career may not be the only one you will make in your lifetime.  I have changed careers (not jobs) four times and changed jobs 14 times in my lifetime.  So how do you figure out where you want to land now?

Take stock – SELF ASSESSMENT.  If you have been reading my blogs you know how important it is to figure out what are your best skills, interests, and the environment you like to work in.  What have you enjoyed doing? Learned from? Felt good about?  Look back over your life (whether you are a recent college grad or a mid-career or late career professional).   Remember things you enjoyed from school, summer jobs, volunteer work, paid work, special projects, camp…..Make a list of those accomplishments.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR SKILLS – What do you notice about those accomplishments?  Is there a common theme, a thread, or a skill or characteristic that is repeated time and again?  List your top 5-8 skills you have from those.  Use an active verb – created, wrote, analyzed, developed, spoke, organized, led, etc.

BRAINSTORM….What goes with those skills?  Are you a people person or an idea person or a numbers person?  Do you like making money or serving a social or political cause? Do you like working alone or in a team? Do some research into the jobs that are available with those particular skill sets.

TALK TO PEOPLE…find out what they really do on the job.  Nothing takes the place of talking to someone with the job title or career path you would like to follow.  You can get a feel for what they all day, what it takes to get the job done, what kind of additional education or insights are necessary.

THEN DECIDE – You can choose one, two or even three job targets…not more than three. Each job target consists of a job title, a geographic location and an industry.  You may find that one job title exists in different industries.  As you start to pursue your job search and learn more about the requirements, qualifications and actual job functions, you may narrow down your search.

Once you have decided on the job targets, then you can create your job search marketing plan and start networking, writing directly to companies, talking to everyone you know.

Amy Geffen is a Five O’Clock Club Certified Career Coach with over 30 years of experience in management, non-profits and associations. She has worked with finance, insurance and engineering professionals, as well as lawyers, editors, marketers, students, and those over 50 experiencing ageism. She has a Master’s Degree from Harvard University and a PhD from New York University.

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