Career Counseling for Change – Five Important Keys to a Successful Direction and Transition

Are you unsatisfied with your career and want to make a change? Do you feel like you are not achieving your full career potential? Do you want to make a change, but want to make sure it is the right career this time? Don’t know what you want to do, but know its not what you do now?

People are most fulfilled and successful when they find work they love to do and that suits their talents and abilities. This article shares five important keys to making a successful career change. Some concepts may be new to you, some may not. I encourage you to read through them either way, and let them stimulate your thinking. The exercises included are optional, but you are invited to reap
the full benefits by participating in them.

Key #1: Establish a career direction based on excellent self-understanding.

The first stages of a career change involve thinking, self-assessment, exploring, and planning. You can embark on these steps now–without disrupting your current employment situation. After you know more about your new direction, you can decide when to make your move. A career-direction goal should always aim for the ideal career and job fit for yourself. The first steps to identifying the ideal career involve self-assessment and generating insights into what career will make you most satisfied while meeting your needs. Research shows that people who are most satisfied and motivated in their careers are people who have a career that reflects their values, interests, skills, and talents plus their ideal work environment.

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How can you clarify these kinds of self-understanding insights? You can do this first of all through a process of reflection on your favorite passions, skills, and interests as well as preferences. Career tests or assessments can also provide help here, and lend some objectivity to the exploration. There are a number of reliable and valid career-oriented tests that are widely available through career counselors and coaches.

Career counseling is geared exactly for this purpose. You may enjoy and benefit from the guidance of a counselor or coach to facilitate the development of a career direction based on who you are. This kind of self-understanding then translates into identifying specific careers that match up with who you are, and are likely to bring you the most satisfaction and motivation.

Here are some tips:

* Think ideally. What do you really want?

* Listen to your longings and desires.

* Pay attention to what attracts you.

* Stay away from things that repel you.

* Understand fully your unique style.

As you go about a career change, it is important to realize you cannot do everything well. You must choose a career direction and a job based on your best abilities and strengths. There are businesses that very much need the capabilities that you are able to provide.

Key #2 to a successful career change is to take stock of your skills, natural talents, competencies, and strengths, and to be able to articulate these well to potential employers as well as others.

Go with your strengths, and be able to communicate them impressively.If you think you have already identified your skills, talents, and strengths, and are looking for work that emphasizes these, great.

Take this opportunity to ask yourself, “Am I successfully saying no to careers and jobs that do not focus on my favorite skills, talents, and strengths?”

Focus your career direction into a career and job for which you are especially equipped. Each person has natural talent and intelligence in one or more areas. The idea is to be very clear on what you are naturally gifted at and let your talents guide you to your next career.

To further discover or clarify where your strengths and talents fall, think back on your life and previous work experience. What tasks and projects came easiest to you? What were the most important accomplishments in your life? What have you received the most recognition for?

You may want to ask several friends what they see as your greatest professional strengths. Career assessment can also yield good information. Take stock. Write down a list now. What themes emerge as you reflect on this?

This is a valuable exercise for self-understanding and career direction, but also when it comes to getting a job. The better you can articulate who you are and the talents and skills you bring to a business, the better impression you make on a potential employer.

There are a number of variables to consider in choosing a career or a job, including the market realities. This brings us to another concept that is necessary to be successful in your transition.

Key #3 is to identify a career that involves what you love to do, can be the best at, and for which you can be well compensated.

Imagine a Ven diagram consisting of three overlapping circles. One circle represents those activities, tasks, functions, and roles that you love to do. All of us at one time or another have experienced doing work that really did not seem like work because we enjoyed doing it. That’s what I mean by work that you love to do.