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How Do You Determine the Next Step in Your Career?

How Do You Determine the Next Step in Your Career?

Deciding on the next step to take in your career can be a challenging task. By taking a deeper look into what drives you and analysing your strengths, motivators and needs, you'll be better equipped to identify the ideal career option for you. OCG’s Stefanie Pollard discusses, here.

Whether you’ve been made redundant or are simply considering the next step in your career, there are plenty of reasons to think carefully about what kind of work is the right fit for you. To be most satisfied in our work, it is important to align what we do with our skills and motivations.

But how do you determine exactly what is best suited to you? Most people tend to fall into their careers without too much thought into their drivers and motivations. Or, perhaps you did consider these, but they have changed over time and you are now different from when you first started your career.

The process of deciding what step to take next involves introspection to help identify where your skills, interests and passions lie. This can be done by utilising formal exercises, questionnaires, contemporary tools and psychometric testing to analyse your goals and motives more deeply. These self-assessments can then be used to figure out what kind of role would suit you best, as well as to think about the culture of the company that you would like to work for. This can be really valuable in terms of helping you end up in a role that you love. Here are three questions to ask yourself before considering the next step in your career.

What Are You Good At?

Do a brainstorm to find out what you are good at, and then follow this by considering whether or not you also enjoy doing these things. You might pinpoint some skills that you are really good at but just don’t like doing, and others that you aren’t very adept at yet but still take pleasure in. Tapping into these potential development areas could help you to upskill into a rewarding role.

Identifying your motivated skills helps you to recognise what you are good at as well as which skills you enjoy using, and aligning your work with this will help to maximise job satisfaction, morale, productivity and success.

What Drives You?

It’s also important to reflect on your career drivers. A career driver is an inner force that guides what you want and need from your working life. Different people want different things, and being aware of what you want from work will help you to evaluate your options. Some people are just looking for a role that will pay the bills, whilst for others, their work is something that is deeply rewarding and closely tied to their personal identity.

Considering your career drivers will help you to answer the following questions. How important is it for you to have security in your job? What about creativity? Or is it more important that you have the opportunity to help others through the work you do?

Think About the Practicalities

In addition to thinking about your skills and motivations, there are also practical concerns to bear in mind. This involves matters such as financial and personal commitments. Do you need to earn a certain amount to meet your lifestyle needs? Is flexible working something you need (or want)? Through actively weighing up your options you can become more aware of what you really desire when it comes to work.

Once you’ve analysed your key skills, drivers, and the practicalities, use this information to determine the career option that ties together what you can do, like to do, and where you will fit. Knowing what your ideal career looks like will help you to evaluate jobs with a critical eye. And when you’ve found the job that is the right fit, you can pursue it with energy and drive, as well as be able to articulate precisely why the job is right for you. This passion will be a real asset when it comes to making the next step in your career.

OCG offers career transition support to candidates across New Zealand, so if you’re seeking a change, get in touch with myself or Julie Cressey. Or if you’re looking to take the next step in your career, get in touch with the team – we’d love to help!

Stefanie Pollard | Senior Consultant Psychologist

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