The Road to Success: Building a Career Journey
By: Fatmir, redwigwam
As Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a-changing.”
And when it comes to changing careers, nothing can be closer to the truth. If we have a golden opportunity to be whatever we want, where do we start?
Our careers are often filled with detours. Family obligations. Fear of failure. Not getting that new job or exam result. We feel we’re everything but what we want to be.
But times, they are a-changing.
Now that we are on the other side of the COVID 19 pandemic, job opportunities are rife, with many employers desperate to hire additional help.
This opens choices that many job seekers have not witnessed in years. If you ever wanted to change careers, now is the time to not just think about it, but to do it.
But how do job seekers start down a road that leads to the job of their dreams?
This article will provide the steps that to take you on a journey to additional opportunities and a change of careers.
What exactly is a career journey?
A career journey is an inventory of positions and experiences that comprise your work history. This can span everything from your first job to your current status. Add a college degree and other post-secondary credentials, and that is your career journey to the present day.
How do you choose?
The steps to building a new career are standard, but if you haven’t pursued a career change in a while, the process might seem very new.
Follow these steps if you are hungry for a career change right now:
1. Create and answer your own career journey questions.
Before making a career change, you need to understand why you want a change.
This means going back to answering some basic questions about what you want your career to look like.
A period of self-reflection.
Ask yourself questions about what you want your new career to look like, what core values comprise your new career, what your professional likes and dislikes are, and whether you wish to go technical or creative.
Once you’ve answered these questions truthfully, your career change should be better defined.
2. Build a five-year plan
While it would be great to jump right into a new career, it doesn’t always happen that way.
So, develop a realistic idea of where you want to be in five years’ time – and what steps you need to take to achieve that.
Then compare your plan with other professionals who are five years along in their own career plans. See if your plan can be accomplished. Your plan may bring some surprises, like going back to college or taking advantage of work experience programs. And remember to be realistic.
Schedule regular time to conduct an evaluation of your progress. If need be, extend your five-year plan.
Don’t give up if your plan takes longer than anticipated.
3. Recognise your personality type
There are multiple personality types, and your ‘type’ is defined as how you react to specific situations.
What type of thinker are you, and what traits do you use to build success?
Do you use creativity to solve situations?
Are you an analytical thinker?
Your strengths here can translate into a successful career you love. There are several personality tests that can identify personality types. They include Myers-Briggs, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and the Jungian Index.
4. Review your previous experience
Review your work history and experiences. Think about all the jobs you have done through your career.
Remember what you liked about each, and what left you feeling fulfilled. Identify trends in your work experience, and the ability to learn new skills and ideas. Do you like to build your skill set or remain complacent with tasks that are about the same every day?
These work evaluations can be important to defining your career move.
5. Compare job requirements with your educational background
Job requirements often ask for educational experience.
If you wish to make a radical career change, that’s great. But does your educational background support the change? If not, you may need to go back to school and get an additional certification or degree.
Many jobs have specific education requirements for applicants. Read the job description carefully – if a specific qualification is needed, think about how you are going to achieve it, and ensure this goal is covered in your five-year plan.
Importantly, don’t give up on your dreams. It may seem intimidating, but there are many routes back into education, and advice and support on how to do so is out there.
6. Review your current skill set
Evaluate your current skill set. There are many websites that can assist you with this. You may be surprised to find that you have skills and expertise you never realised before.
Take your skill set and then search for jobs and occupations and see what the system highlights as great jobs to match your skill set.
Don’t let it side-track your dreams, but it may force you to re-evaluate what’s necessary for a career change.
(And have a look at this article to find out how to Super-Charge your CV)
7. Analyse your interests
Your interests may be useful for multiple careers. And we spend so much time at work, it makes sense to follow a career that interests you.
Create a list of activities to help you narrow down your career path. If you like to meet new people, pick a career that takes you on the road to meet new contacts. If you’re good at problem solving complex scenarios, an IT or technical job may be something to consider. This approach usually works.
8. Core values
Always be aware of your core values. If you stay in touch with your feelings on what’s important, this will help you find a career that is more fulfilling. Make a list of attributes and find companies that offer jobs that support these values.
9. Show me the money
It’s last, but certainly not least. You can’t ignore salary.
Of course, it’s great to have a job that pays well. And salary is often a motivator for a career change. If the salary is not liveable for you, you may have to change your career or your budget.
Some say the career journey is more important than the career outcome. That may be true, but the goal is to find enrichment with a new career.
Let’s hope the journey is worth the wait.
Any tips you’d give to someone looking at mapping out their career journey?