At a Career Crossroads? How will you know which career path to choose?

Still not sure of your career direction? Scared of taking the wrong path? Many people wrestle with the issue of career choice and the pressure of making the ‘right’ decision. Often people, when faced with this sort of pressure, yearn for a lightning bolt of clarity, when they will ‘know’ suddenly and instantaneously what they should do for the rest of their lives.

Very few people just wake up and know what it is they want to do. Working it out requires hard graft and takes time and energy, and rightly so. This could be one of the most important choices you will ever have to make in your life, and forensic research and analysis should be undertaken in equal measures to instinct and intuition.

Embrace the research phase

It may be that you will run with 2 or 3 options when in the research phase which may feel time consuming. But believe me, it is better to put the time in now rather than find in 2-3 years time that your career is not how you imagined and does not give you the job satisfaction you crave.

At this time you can also start preparing yourself for making a decision about your direction once you’ve completed the research. If you’re not sure what kind of decision maker you are then read my blog on making career decisions.

What should your research cover?

You need to’get under the skin’ of a job so consider the following:

  • Do you really have a clear view of what it is you would be doing? Look at job adverts and descriptions – imagine yourself doing the tasks listed on a daily basis; find people doing the job and if possible talk to them about the realities of the work and if you can work shadow or volunteer to see the job in action. Look at job profiles on websites such as Prospects or The National Career Service and read as much about the career as possible.   Check out icould.com where you can watch videos from people doing the job and telling stories about their work experience.
  • Is the industry in growth or decline? And which companies are viewed as the best to work for and why? Carry out due diligence on the companies you would like to work for so you can feel confident you are joining a financially stable company. Websites such as glassdoor.co.uk can be useful.
  • Is there potential for learning and growth in the job? How can you develop in the role and will it take to where you might like to be in 5 years (and if you’re not sure where that is then you need to spend some time working that out too.) Use LinkedIn to find people who did the job you are considering and check their profile to see how they have developed their career. This will also give you important information about the kind of skills and experiences that employers value in these roles.
  • Does it meet your financial needs? is there potential to increase your earning potential?
  • Think about the criteria you have for work that satisfies you such as meeting your values, using the skills you enjoy, interests, recognition, etc.  and check as far as you can that it meets as many of these as possible.

So, if you are stuck at your career crossroads put your planning ‘hat’ on and start scheduling lots of research time, it will be so worth it in the end. Need help? Just get in touch for a free clarity call.

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