How to Identify Your Next Career Move

As entire industries continue to transform and reinvent the way they operate, this can be a time of great opportunity for advancing your career. If you’re considering a voluntary career change, you may not immediately know which direction you want to go. Before you take action, it’s helpful to reflect on where you’ve been and whether the path you’re on is the right one. 

Review what you have been doing day in and day out and determine if those things play to your strengths or align with your goals. Consider the direction in which you want to move and the possible outcomes and solutions that could result from your newly chosen path.

Here’s a roadmap that can help if you are motivated to explore new directions: 

Identify the drivers prompting you to look for a new position. 

Before you embark on this path, ask yourself these questions: What objective am I hoping to achieve? Am I frustrated with my boss? My pay? My role? Is there specific experience I’d like to gain? Is there a different industry I feel drawn to? Is there some issue or difficulty pushing me away from my present job — and have I done everything I can to fix the problem?

Answering these questions is a critical first step because without knowing the answers, you risk bringing your frustrations to a new company and a new position. Looking at yourself objectively is key to understanding what you want and need from your next position.

Create a personal scorecard to identify what you want out of life.

Professionally: What type of company values are you seeking out? What type of role would you ultimately like to achieve? What kinds of work are you most passionate about?  

Personally: What are your objectives outside of your career? Do you want to train for a marathon? Rescue a dog? Plan a specific vacation?  

Financially: Is it your goal to save for a second home? To put your kids through college? To retire by a certain age?

Verbalizing these desires will help you prioritize the elements you’re looking for in a new role and determine which ones are non-negotiable and which are more flexible.

Build your personal brand.

Engage with LinkedIn and professional associations to gain the awareness of key recruiters, business leaders, and hiring managers in your domain. Make sure that your profile truly represents your brand and positions you for your next move. Write an article on a topic you’re passionate about. Connect with friends of friends, colleagues of former coworkers, and members of college alumni networks. You may find that after years remote working and forced isolation, people are very willing to connect with you and pass on referrals.

Although jobs have been lost in some industries, companies are still hiring and new positions are opening up in other areas. Be aware that you will need to be more flexible about where you can fit in and what your new role will look like. Take this as an opportunity to add new skills and experience to your background and to grow your career.