Take Time to Assess Your Career

March 30, 2017

Many people think it’s time to change jobs or careers only after a bomb drops on them such as a bad review or in danger of being downsized. Don’t wait until you’re in a desperate situation to make a life changing decision. Instead, take time to assess your career often in order to see where it’s going.

According to the Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, February 15, 2017), assessing your job should be done on a quarterly basis and be considered a “Fitness Plan for Your Career.” It’s less daunting than creating a 10 or 20-year career road map and consists of small steps rather than large leaps. The WSJ suggests you:

  • Take stock of what’s working well in your career and what’s not
  • Ask yourself what you could add or change on your current job to do more of what you want
  • Consider learning new skills trying freelance gigs as a way to discover new positions
  • Keep a career journal to help you recall details of your skills and accomplishments
  • Build your reputation by writing or speaking publicly about new developments in your field
  • Expand your network beyond past and present colleagues to include others in your field, industry, and region

If after creating the fitness plan, you decide that you definitely want and need a change, don’t be reckless about it. Try to follow these key steps:

  • Know what you want. What does the new job or career look like? What doesn’t it look like? Will you be able to leverage your current skills for a successful transition?
  • Find out what it takes. In order to transfer into a new role or field, will you need additional training, education or certifications?
  • You still have to eat and live. Will this new position pay enough to cover the rent/mortgage and put food on the table? Does it fit with your family life and lifestyle?
  • Create a plan. Put together a timeline of what you need to do and by when. You will need a financial plan as well. Don’t try to just wing it without the proper planning.
  • Shift your brand. Change your resume, online presence and profile so they make sense to your new target audience that you’re trying to reach. Make sure they “get” you and your aspirations.
  • Network. Network. Network. You need to get to know the influencers and successful people in your new field. Ask people you know for introductions to them. Also, find out what associations they are members of. Spend time on LinkedIn, Twitter or their company website to obtain more information and make connections.

Your career is one of the most important assets you will manage in your life. Therefore, you have to give it the proper time and attention it deserves. It’s in your best interest to take stock every quarter to make sure your career is still on track and if it’s still what you want.

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