By Dominic Wake
If you were asked right now what your career goals were, what would your answer be?
In today’s tough economic climate, those of us who have been in the same job for years are probably more worried about losing it than looking for a new job. After all, competition in the job market is fierce, with more people going for the same job than ever before.
However, that shouldn’t put you off looking for a new job if you feel trapped and want a new challenge. With that in mind, here are five simple tips for working out your career goals and deciding whether or not it’s time to move on.
1 – What are your skills?
Your skills are unique to you. What are you good at? What are your talents? For example, are you a good speaker? Are you a good organiser? Perhaps you are an excellent writer or problem-solver. Discovering what you are good at is the first step in working out your career goals because they are transferable skills.
Write down your five key skills now in order of importance.
2 – What are your interests?
Your interests are things you like doing. What activities do you enjoy? For example do you enjoy working with people? Are you a number-cruncher? Perhaps you are a brilliant speaker or presenter. Whatever your interests are they are incredibly important in working out your career goals because they make you happy.
Write down your top three interests now in order of importance.
3 – What are your values?
Your values are unique to your personality. What is important to you? Is it money? Is it helping people? Is it providing leadership? There is no right or wrong answer here, because your values are what keep you motivated to go to work each day. Your career goals are dependent on your values because it leads to job satisfaction.
Write down your main values now in order of importance.
4 – What’s your perfect work environment?
Your perfect work environment is unique to you too. Do you prefer working alone? Or are you more a team player? Do you like being in an office all day, or would you like to get out more? Your perfect work environment helps your efficiency, so jot down your perfect work environment now.
5 – Bringing it all together
Now you have your four lists, it’s time to bring it all together to work out your career goals.
Out of your whole list, what are the top five things that make you happy. Is it writing? Working with people? More money? When putting this list of five together, you need to think about how they will improve your life. Is more money important for you to buy a house? Is working with people important because you’re sociable? Take some time to visualise the pleasure you will gain from your success.
Mismatch of career and career goals
Once you have your list of five, compare them to your current situation. If your job doesn’t meet these needs, it may be time to change your career path.
Start by researching specific careers combining your interests and your skills. You can find lots of information online – from job specifications to average salaries. Typing in your top skill into SimplyHired.com will bring up a list of jobs posted that require that skill – you may be surprised at the results that come back. If you feel you’re not qualified to apply for that position though, do some research into what further study you may need to achieve in order to make the move.
If only two or three of your career goals meet your current career, it’s probably time time to re-assess your situation. It’s likely that you’re in the right sector, but it may be time to move on. Sign up to job alert email newsletters on career websites, and be sure to check your local press. It could also be worth updating your resume as soon as possible and sending some speculative letters to companies you’d love to work for.
I love my career!
If your list meets your current situation you’ve definitely found a career you are happy with. However, there’s no harm in keeping track of current vacancies in your area. Life’s exciting with new challenges – and there’s always a chance you can grow as a person by finding a new job – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it’s worth keeping an eye out. Good luck!
Dominic Wake is Director of ETS plc where he is responsible for leading human resource projects across performance management, development and engagement. ETS plc provides employers with the tools to conduct 360 degree feedback surveys.