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20 Key Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Career Change

Making a career change is a significant decision that requires careful consideration and planning. So, how do you even tackle a career change?! Our advice: determine what you want. You can't achieve a goal if you are not clear what you are working for.

To ensure a successful transition, it is essential to ask yourself the right questions that will help you identify your career goals, create a roadmap, and hold yourself accountable.

The following outline is our go-to exercise: the 20 key questions that can guide you through the process of evaluating your career aspirations and making an informed decision.

1. What do I want from my career?

Understanding your career aspirations is crucial in determining the direction you want to take. Reflect on your passions, interests, and long-term goals to identify what you truly want to achieve in your professional life.

2. What skills do I have to offer?

Assess your current skill set and determine the strengths and expertise you possess. Consider both hard skills (technical abilities) and soft skills (interpersonal and communication skills) that you can leverage in your next career.

3. What talents and skills do I want to utilize most in a future job?

Identify the skills and talents that you genuinely enjoy using and would like to focus on in your future role. This will help you find a career that aligns with your interests and allows you to excel.

Example: I want to utilize my creativity, strategic thinking, and analytical skills in a job that involves developing innovative marketing campaigns.

4. What skills do I want to develop or improve?

Consider the areas in which you would like to grow and develop your skills. This could involve acquiring new knowledge, expanding your expertise, or honing specific abilities.

Example: I want to enhance my digital marketing skills and gain proficiency in data analysis and interpretation.

5. What work brings me fulfillment? What work will make me feel professionally satisfied?

Reflect on the type of work that brings you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Identify the tasks, projects, or responsibilities that you find meaningful and enjoyable.

6. What do I value in a job?

Consider the values and principles that are important to you in a work environment. This could include factors such as work-life balance, autonomy, creativity, collaboration, or opportunities for growth.

Example: I value a work environment that promotes collaboration, encourages personal growth, and provides a healthy work-life balance.

7. What do I value in a company? What would make me proud to be associated with a company’s brand, product, or service?

Think about the attributes you value in an organization. Consider the company's mission, culture, ethics, and the impact it has on society. Determine what aspects would make you proud to be associated with that company.

8. What specifics do I want in a job or organization: industry, size of company, ownership of company, company growth trajectory, etc.?

Define the specific characteristics you desire in a job or organization. Consider factors such as the industry you want to work in, the size and ownership structure of the company, and its growth potential.

9. How do I want to spend my workday – name at least 5-7 areas you are spending your time.

Outline the activities and tasks that you would like to engage in during your workday. Identify the areas of focus that would bring you fulfillment and enjoyment.

Example: I want to spend my workday collaborating with a diverse team, engaging in problem-solving, conducting research, implementing creative strategies, and analyzing data.

10. What are my working hours? What flexibility do I need?

Consider your preferred working hours and the level of flexibility you require. Determine if a traditional 9-to-5 schedule aligns with your lifestyle or if you would benefit from more flexible working arrangements.

Example: I prefer flexible working hours that allow me to manage my personal commitments while ensuring productivity and meeting deadlines.

11. What is my desired work environment – location, type of environment?

Evaluate the work environment that suits you best. Determine if you prefer a traditional office setting, a remote work arrangement, or a combination of both. Consider the location and atmosphere that will foster your productivity and well-being.

Example: I thrive in a collaborative work environment where open communication is encouraged. I am open to both office-based and remote work, depending on the nature of the role.

12. Does my workday change frequently or remain consistent?

Consider whether you prefer a dynamic work environment where each day brings new challenges and tasks, or if you prefer a more consistent routine with predictable responsibilities.

Example: I enjoy a mix of routine tasks and projects that require problem-solving and adaptability. A balance between consistency and variability keeps me engaged and motivated.

13. What is the best pace of work for me?

Determine the pace of work that suits your working style and energy levels. Some individuals thrive in fast-paced, high-pressure environments, while others prefer a more steady and methodical approach.

Example: I work best in a fast-paced environment that challenges me and allows me to utilize my time management and multitasking skills effectively.

14. What goals am I working towards in my job?

Consider the short-term and long-term goals you wish to achieve in your career. Identify the objectives that will drive your motivation and provide a sense of purpose.

15. Who am I interacting with on a daily or weekly basis – customers, clients, internal teams, etc.?

Reflect on the individuals or groups you prefer to interact with in your work environment. Consider whether you enjoy working with customers, clients, colleagues, or other stakeholders.

Example: I enjoy a combination of internal and external interactions, collaborating with cross-functional teams, and building relationships with clients or customers.

16. What specific technologies or systems do I want to work with?

Identify the technologies, software, or systems that you are interested in working with or learning more about. Consider how these tools can enhance your efficiency and productivity.

Example: I want to work with cutting-edge marketing automation platforms, data analytics tools, and project management software.

17. Are opportunities for promotions and career growth important to me in a role?

Evaluate the importance of career advancement and growth opportunities in your decision-making process. Determine if you seek a role that offers clear paths for promotion and professional development.

Example: I value opportunities for growth and advancement within an organization. I want to work in a company that invests in its employees' development and offers a clear career progression framework.

18. What do I need to understand about a role before accepting a potential job offer?

Consider the critical aspects of a role that you need to understand before accepting an offer. This could include responsibilities, reporting structure, team dynamics, performance expectations, and potential challenges.

19. What do I want from my career long-term (think 3-5 years in the future)?

Think beyond immediate goals and consider your long-term aspirations. Define where you see yourself in the next 3-5 years and align your career change decision with that vision.

20. What salary, compensation, and benefit package do I want?

Evaluate your financial expectations and consider the salary, compensation, and benefits that are important to you. Determine the level of financial stability and rewards you seek in your next career.

Asking yourself these 20 key questions when considering a career change can help you gain clarity about your career goals, identify your priorities, and create a roadmap for success. By evaluating your aspirations, skills, values, work preferences, and long-term ambitions, you can make an informed decision and find a career that aligns with your professional and personal fulfillment. Remember to reflect on these questions periodically to stay accountable to your goals and adjust your career path accordingly.

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