Eliminate The Negative

A Career Change Checklist

career-changeMany people are clueless about what they want to do in their next career. They know they don’t want to stay in their present position. But, they can’t decide what their next move should be.

If this sounds like you, know that you are not alone. Also know that with a little work you can figure out how to change your career.

The trick to getting unstuck is to change your approach. Instead of trying to figure out what you do want, establish what you don’t want. Begin by listing all the jobs you’ve held.

Then consider each aspect of every position. Write down everything that made you unhappy. Pretty soon you will see some patterns, patterns that will help you plan your new career.

Use this checklist as a jumping off point. Be sure to add your ideas as well. Before you begin your next job search, it’s important to answer several key questions:

  • What skills have you used in your previous positions? Which adaptable, transferable and job-related skills? Which of these activities didn’t you enjoy?
  • What type of people did you work with? Strong, assertive individuals? Creative sorts? Which personality drove you crazy every day?
  • What type of atmosphere did you work in? Fast-paced, goal-oriented? Relaxed, easy-going? Does the phrase, “There’s nothing that can’t be done tomorrow” make your hair stand on end?
  • Were you in a position of authority with a lot of responsibility? How did you feel about being in charge? Are you tired of being responsible for everyone else’s work?
  • Did you work in a structured or loose environment? Did you hate seeing your colleagues come and go as they pleased? Did you promise yourself you’d never work on the weekends again?
  • Were you autonomous? Or was your boss always looking over your shoulder? Did you want the option of prioritizing your own work?
  • Did you most often work by yourself or as part of a team? Did you like collaborating? Or where you happier working on your own?
  • What type of atmosphere did you work in? Did the “open office” environment make it impossible for you to concentrate? Or did you feel claustrophobic in your cube?
  • How much money did you make? Did you always feel that you were underpaid? Did you think your boss probably had the first nickel she ever made?

As you work on your list, your values will begin to emerge. This will make it easier to see what’s important to you. Maybe you’re happiest working alone. Perhaps you need to work in a flexible environment. You may find that the salary you make determines your self-worth. Whatever your values are, it’s important to be true to yourself. This means eliminating any values you think you “should” have.

Maybe you come from a family of healthcare professionals. But, you find working with people all day drains you. Now is the time for you to be honest. Focus on what’s important to you. What ideas or values do you want to incorporate into your professional life? As you go through this process you may find that some of your values conflict with one another. If that happens you’ll need to make a choice. For example, you may want to make more money, but find you need a flexible schedule right now. Take your time. Think carefully about each answer.

When you’re finished use this information to write a brief statement describing what you don’t want to do on your next position. Now you’re ready to think about what you do want. Sometimes the best way to accentuate the positive is to begin by eliminating the negative.

About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.

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