How to choose a career direction
Deliberately, Decisively, Confidently

How do you choose a career direction so that you are:

  • Doing work that brings you high levels of job satisfaction
  • Working for the right level of pay and compensation
  • Having a good boss and working conditions
  • Finding a career opportunity that results in an enjoyable lifestyle balance
  • Taking advantage of opportunities for continued career development or advancement

The answer......follow a process for making decisions. Break your career decision making down into a series of small steps!

How to choose a career direction - 3 simple steps

Here is a really simple, thorough process to help you to choose a career direction. First it involves some research, and then you do some action planning for making a career change that you've identified:

Here's the process:

  1. Fully review the question - Where are you now? - answer questions which relate to where you are in your career, and more broadly in life, and your career change motivation
  2. Next, find answers to the question - Where are you going? - what are your options, fully analyse each of them so that you are sure about your future direction
  3. With a clear direction - now the question - How will you get there? - your answers to this question will clarify your targeted job search strategy

If you prefer click on one of the 3 links above to jump ahead

These three steps link to each other in a logical progression:

  • Thinking about where you are now will focus you on what is important to you in your life, what is working well, what might need to change, and what you'd like to change in life and employment.
  • From the information gained in the first step you can begin to determine where your career fits in your life, and the options available to you......and the career change opportunity that will help you meet important life needs - which job/s, which employer/s, location etc.
  • Knowing which jobs and which employers you are targeting you can then focus on the search.

Job search tip

When you are dealing with how to choose a career direction, one that's right for you, you'll probably realise that this involves doing some homework.

In too much of a hurry to do all this? Here's a shortcut to finding your next job

How to choose a career direction - where are you now?

Your career choices will be greatly informed by what you have done in the past.

Considering making a complete career change for example? Before you leap you would ideally know what you have liked in past jobs, what you didn't like, and why.

Also, it would be a good idea for you to spend some time reflecting about your past needs, values and motives. Are these still relevant today? How have these changed?

Where are you now? - Key questions

Here's some more career change advice......find as best you can answers to these questions:

  • What is most important and satisfying to you in your work, or about the work you've done?
  • What is least important and least satisfying to you in your past work?
  • What is most important to you in other parts of your life - for example in your relationships, family life, health, and finances
  • What are your key skills, especially your strengths? Not sure what these are - review what's involved by answering these questions to identify skills that can assist you in making a career change.
  • What skills would you prefer to use in the future? Which skills would you prefer not to use anymore?
  • What key words and phrases best describe your personality, and approach to your life and work? You may benefit from completing a career personality test.
  • What are your key values, belief and motivators in life?
  • What are your needs and preferences in relation to career life balance?
  • What have been your most significant career achievements?
  • Can you also describe how you able to achieve these results?

These key questions deal with situations where you still intend to work in some form of traditional employment. That is you are working for, and want to continue to work for a boss.

But have you considered your suitability for self employment? There are many ways that you can become your own boss. For example, have you considered starting your own small business as a way to use the knowledge and experience you have acquired over the years?

Making a career change - Why?

This is an important part of the whole topic of where are you now in life and career - why are you considering making a career change?

This page on making a career change will help you to fully explore your career change motivation - make sure that you are implementing change for the right reasons.

A relationship breakdown is a common trigger for people making a career change. Divorce, for example, often causes people to re-think their career choices and life priorities - but in this state of stress people sometimes make very poor choices and decisions.

With regard to career change motivation, some people might need to explore their reasons for staying in a job, or career - a decision which might not be in their best interest.

If this is you, do your reasons for staying where you are really stack up?

man in midlife crisis considering how to choose a career

If you are a man in mid life and mid career, another potential trigger which might send your scrambling for career search info is mid life crisis......and yes, this is quite real, and quite serious for many men.

There are some excellent sources of information about what mid life crisis is.

If you are suffering a mid life crisis, ensure that you aren't hasty in making a career change decision.



Where are you going?

When you have completed your career and life review you have the necessary background information to start investigating your career choices.

What you'll do next is:

  • Explore your career options. This involves taking into consideration what you have to offer, the skills you want and prefer to use in your career, and your other life needs and preferences.
  • Develop a list of your employers of choice and begin to research them in considerable detail.
  • Develop concise written statements about your job target/s.

All of these actions are related to preparing your career development plan. Armed with such a plan, decision making about your future suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.

Job search tip

The career research you carry out when doing the steps suggested above can be likened to conducting due diligence on your next career move or job opportunity.

Given how your career impacts on so many areas of your life, not to mention that your work is where you'll spend a lot of your time...do your due diligence so that you choose a career direction that is right for you.

How will you get there?

Once you know where you are going as a result of your career development plan, you can then begin to think about and prepare your job search strategy. In particular:

Reminder - Need a job in a hurry?

I'm a big fan of step by step approaches to getting things done. Especially if, by following all the steps, you actually get things done!

If you need a job in a hurry, perhaps try this!

How to choose a career direction - summary

The whole purpose of this page on how to choose a career direction is to give you some free, and important career change advice - don't make hasty decisions about your future - especially about your job or career.

Making a career change, changing your job involves......well, change.

The question is.....will the changes you decide to invite into your life be in your best interests? Follow some of the simple steps outlined here and I'm confident you'll be in a position to make well considered decisions about your future,, decisions that will set you up for a future of your choosing!.

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Related Links

These aptitude tests are available to assist you to choose a career direction
What are your career interests? - these tests uncover careers associated with your passion in life
What's important to you in your career? These tools to help you clarify your career values and what is important to you in life and career
Is your career choice compatible with your personality? - discover how well you are suited to various career paths and types of work
Can you really make a career change? How to identify if you have sufficient skills to make a career or job change
What are your career change options? - look at the options you have for your future career direction