Change Your Career Now and Have a Better Future
First. Understand that for most people, most of the time, a career is a sequence of jobs each of which lasts from three to six years. The thirty year career in one organization or one occupation is part of our past history. Therefore, in getting a better job now, you will likely have to change careers now and again in three to six years from now.
In this job you'll be focused on four activities: performing at an excellent level, upgrading your career related skills (technical, managerial and interpersonal), continuing to build a network of well-connected friends and learning to master the difficult and complex 'meta-job' known as a 'job search'.
Second. Purchase the latest edition of Robert Nelson Bolles' What Color Is Your Parachute? Follow his structured qualitative processes of self-assessment and identify your "Dream Job". It is worth the weekend it takes.
Third, engage in a thorough quantitative self-assessment. No one process or 'instrument' can tell you everything that is important about you and your work related interests, skills, orientation, values and personality. Several can be a great place to start. In my view, the best one is The Campbell Interest and Skill Survey. The other good one is the Holland Self-Directed Search(presented in Bolles as "The Party Exercise")
Although the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is widely used in career counseling, it was not designed for this purpose and is not as supported by scientific research as are the others. However, used with the popular book, Do What You Are, can give you some very good ideas.
The most valid and reliable job-related personality instrument is the BigFive WorkPlace Profile. It can help you discover the extent to which a specific job is likely to fit your unique personality. This is more important than your technical 'skill set'. You offer the world more than your technical skill set.
Fourth. You can decide in which industry, occupation and in which position you'd love to work. You can go to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2002 2003) (Print and/or on-line) and read all about those 20,000 occupations. Become good friends with an experienced reference librarian.
Fifth. Build a network of friends to help you conduct information interviews and later on do your job search. Make a list of all the people you know whom you'll feel comfortable asking three questions: "Whom do you know that does X job? Whom do you know that might know someone who does X job? Will you introduce me to those people?"
Sixth. Conduct 'information interviews' with at least 5 people who do X job. Do not ask them to give you a job. (Use the interview questions in the parachute book). Find out what it is really like to do that kind of work and decide if you want to do that kind of work for the next three to six years.
Seventh. Get a 'job search buddy,' join some job search support groups, several job search list serve groups; learn how to do a job search on the world wide web (even though this is the least likely way to get you the job you want), plan and execute your job search strategy --- 90% success is networking.
Finally. Enjoy your next 3 to 6 year job
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