5 Ways to Guide Your Career Back on Track
By Rebecca Ferlotti
Maybe you’ve recently been laid off, quit your job, or your career has stagnated – you’ve become too comfortable at your company, and your responsibilities no longer seem challenging. Even though employee engagement is at its highest since 2000, only 34% of employees are engaged. This figure has steadily risen over the past five years, but still remains low, which is why career guidance at any stage is useful in getting your career path back on track.
Take a career assessment.
Career assessments, or aptitude tests, will aid you in identifying your strengths and weaknesses. The results might spark ideas for a new career entirely, cause you to think about the different types of roles you could do within your current company, or even prompt you to start your own business. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ®, CliftonStrengths by Gallup, and 16Personalities are a few low- or no-cost tests you can take to get you started.
Consider your goals.
Dive deep into what is going on with your career. More than understanding what you want to do, verbalize (and be honest with yourself) the values you want the company you work for to possess, as well as picture the work environment, promotional opportunities, and even what your office space might look like. Write down your professional goals and, when given the chance in job interviews, question your interviewer to make sure the company meets your non-negotiables.
Look back at your experiences.
Think about the past jobs you’ve had and what aspects of those jobs you enjoyed. Compile a list of those responsibilities, and do your research to see if there are positions that exist that match your talents. You may find an entirely new career path to pursue. Or maybe you can find a job that almost fits those requirements, which can be adapted once you’re in the position.
Find the right career coach.
An effective career coach, first and foremost, should be certified and experienced. It’s okay to meet with multiple coaches to find the right fit; after all, you need to feel comfortable sharing personal information with them, much like you would with a mentor or therapist. Get in touch with your alma mater’s career office for recommendations, talk with your friends, or reach out to local professional organizations to see if they have referrals.
When you meet with potential career coaches, have an honest conversation about your professional needs. Ask them for references or testimonials. Don’t be afraid to check their credentials with the National Career Development Association. This is an investment in yourself, and you should do your due diligence to find the right coach for you.
You can also work with an experienced recruiter like the ones at Nelson to help you beter position yourself for the right jobs that match your skill set and your career goals. Nelson’s approach to recruiting is holistic: our recruiters seek to understand your skills, matching you with careers that would fit well with your desired job qualities and past experience. Our recruiters are here to support you every step of the way: through the interviews, the onboarding process, and post-hire.
Get out into your city.
Attend networking events to meet a wide variety of people with different jobs. When you speak with someone who has a career similar to what you might want to do, try to find time outside of the event to meet with them or ask them if they would be willing to talk with you on the phone for an informational interview. Remember: as you build your network, you also might be able to access your connections’ networks. If someone in your network knows a professional in your desired field, request an introduction.
Once you determine your career path, you can guide it back on track with a little introspection and outreach. Whether you keep your thoughts to yourself, find solace in sharing with others, or seek out a career coach to help you along the way, career check-ins are important to propel you forward at any stage in your profession.
Read our blog about career assessments here.