I talk with a lot of people looking for career advice. It might be millennials early in their career who are thinking about their next opportunity. It might be mid-career management positions who are looking for that next step up. Or it might be people late in their career who are thinking about stepping off the permanent track for a less than full time work situation and a more balanced lifestyle to spend time with family or travel.
Regardless, the questions to consider are similar for everyone:
- What are you passionate about?
- What are your key strengths and areas of expertise?
- What new skills do you want to develop?
- What new areas do you want to learn about and develop expertise in?
- What kind of organization and culture do you want to work in?
- What family situations do you need to consider? Are you starting a family, do you have young children at home or teenagers who need a different kind of support? Are you caring for elderly parents? What are your spouse or partner’s work hours and flexibility?
- Do you want to and are you able to relocate to another part of the country? Are you open to anywhere or specific regions?
- And last, but not least, what are your financial requirements?
Until you have clarity on these questions, it will be hard to seriously consider what’s next. If and when you do decide you are ready for something new, you have some work to do:
- Be sure your resume is current and highlights the right experience
- Be sure your social media profiles are current and show you as the professional you are
- Research organizations and opportunities that fit your answers to the above questions
- Reach out to people who work in those organizations or know someone who does
- Find recruiters or search firms you trust and who focus on your industry and level of position
- Talk to people in your network who you think can be helpful
Be patient as you go through this process. It can take a while. Learn from every opportunity, even the positions you go for and don’t get.
And always remember, you own your own career and be open to the possibilities.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” Steve Jobs