Thinking About a Career Change in 2017: Three top tips

Have you been thinking about a career change or curious about a particular career? The start of a new year is a perfect time to explore new careers. Whether you are satisfied with your current position or ready to move on, it is always a good idea to be proactive and plan for the future. Career exploration will keep you informed and help you stay connected. Start the career exploration process now by following these steps.


1) Self-Evaluation

First, take some time to reflect upon your career and work experience. Evaluate your skills, strengths, and interests as well as values important to you in your professional life. If unsure, reach out to your supervisor, coworkers, or even friends for their take on your top skills and strengths or look back on your past performance reviews. Online assessments, such as the Strengths Finder and Strong Interest Inventory, can help identify your top strengths and career interests. Develop a list of preferred skills or job activities important for your career.


2) Career Research

Now that you have your list of top skills and interests, you will need to do some career research. Use your local library, bookstore, or online resources to research different career fields and positions. The O-Net is an excellent resource for online career research. LinkedIn is another tool to research companies and people in careers or jobs that interest you. Look online for a professional organization or association specific to your career interest for more detailed information. Find out job requirements to determine if you need further training or education. Develop a list of questions specific to your career of interest to continue your research.

3) Network for Information

Following your research, use your network to gain more hands-on information on careers or jobs that interest you. Reach out to your contacts through social media or email to set up an informational interview to learn more about the position and its requirements – either by phone or in-person. Utilize LinkedIn to find connections in positions of interest and review their background and job duties. Use your college alumni group to connect with others – LinkedIn has a tool to search for alumni. Consider volunteering in an organization to gain more information about that career field. Networking and talking with people in your career field of interest is key.


Career change and exploration is a process that takes time and a commitment to the steps of self-evaluation, research, and networking. Contact your AthLife Advisor for assistance with exploring your career options.


January 31, 2017