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Chart a Smart Course To a Great New Career

By Deb Koen

Question: I have wanted a career change for the past eight years. I have worked for different employers and in different states, thinking that the change of atmosphere would fill the void. I have researched a variety of careers and would love to find one where I can use or build on my skills. How do I begin this quest for a new path?

-- Denetric, Ripley, Tenn.

Denetric : You have already begun. Researching careers will give you an overview of options and a cursory look at life in a variety of work settings. To find a meaningful application to your own career, however, you will have to dig into your personal motivators.

As you journeyed through states and employers, which features attracted you and which were you happy to escape? What were the rewards in your career, and what is driving you away? If you can identify the skills you most want to use in the environments you find compatible with your personality and style, then you can begin to create a profile of the ideal positions and work settings for you.

To identify patterns, write out a list of "satisfiers" and "dissatisfiers" for each position you held. Selecting particular populations (for example, artists, business executives, health-care professionals, investment bankers) that you would like to affiliate with will help to focus your efforts, as well.

With greater clarity about your goals, you will gain more from talking directly with people involved in the career areas of interest to you. Explore with them, beyond your research on the Web and in print, the realities of their day-to-day work lives, and seek their advice for changing into their fields. This approach initially will allow you to explore broadly, and then narrow your options to prepare for a targeted job search of positions, employers and geographic locations in alignment with your desired profile.

Article from – January 2005