“To thine own self be true.” It’s more than just a line from Shakespeare! Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone who worked had the luxury of spending their work hours doing something that they enjoyed and was true to their values and skills? If you are considering a new career, have you done any thinking about how that career intersects with who you are (or want to be)?
Focusing your your values is one way to help direct your search.Â Check out the University of Minnesota’s Values Inventory to get you thinking about your values and what you really want in terms of work.
Another strategy is to focus on skills.Â So many job seekers can’t really identify what they have to offer in the way of skills.Â This is a real problem when it comes to the self-marketing, self-selling and interviewing aspects of the job search.Â I’ve said it before:Â If you don’t know what you have to offer, who does?
There are many ways to approach figuring out your skills.Â There is a basic one that I advise my clients to consider: look at a skills list.Â Highlight all of the skills you’ve EVER used or could remotely be related to you.Â Then, go back and check off the skills that really resonate and feel like “you.”Â This is a basic, not time consuming and free way to get you thinking aboutÂ your skills.
Another idea — look at job descriptions that interest you. Highlight the parts that you know you are qualified to do. If most of the job is highlighted, you will have an idea of a direction you may want to go with your career.
Another suggestion is to use an on-line skills profiler tool.Â This instrumentÂ allows you to identify and match skills used in a variety of different jobs with specific occupations.Â You can search by skills or start with occupations.Â This tool may give you some new ways of thinking about how you can use your transferable skills.
Personality and occupational tests are tools to help focus your plans.Â John Holland’s Occupational Test functions on the belief that people who have similar interests may prefer the same types of work environments.Â It aims to categorize your interests, abilities and personality into themes that may then be grouped to target careers.Â This is one of many personality driven assessments available that may help focus your goals.
Another tool to explore is the Myers-Briggs personality test. This is a free, limited version, but every time I take it, I wind up with the same result as the full-blown test I took in graduate school, so it can’t be too bad!
While taking a lot of skills inventories on your own is not an ideal way to decide on a next step, you may learn a thing or two, or be compelled to seek coaching. (I don’t do this type of coaching, but I would be happy to refer you to a qualified colleague!)
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