When changing careers, as with anything in life, it is important to set goals and visualize where you want to be so that you can define what you want to do next. The first step is to take inventory of your values, interests, strengths, personality, and ambitions.  This will guide you in exploring options and research industries and occupational functions.

Interests

‘Why do I want a career change?’. This will help you determine what you liked and disliked about your past positions, whether you have interests in another industry. Is this something you want to happen immediately, or something you’re planning on for the future?
You will also want to factor in what you enjoy doing! What are you drawn to outside of work? Being passionate about your work will have a great effect on not only your output but your overall happiness. Ask yourself ‘If money were no concern what would I be doing?’ Its important to know where you want to end up in your career change so you can plan the best route to get there.

Strengths

“What are my strengths?’ Your past accomplishments let your future employer know why you are valuable. They will also help you understand where you are best suited and where you can excel. Think of your biggest career accomplishments: what roles do they qualify you for? What do others praise you for? List your top 5 hard skills and top 5 soft skills, think about where those skills would be most useful. Your strengths can also come from your experience if you have significant knowledge of an industry.

Values

Sharing core values with your employer is important to a happy work life. The more you have in common in these fundamental areas the more likely you are to work harder and enjoy doing it. Think of the 5 most important values to you. Do you value adventurousness? Accountability? Calmness? Competitiveness? What companies share these values?

The first step to changing your career and improving your life is knowing where you want to end up. Set goals for yourself by understanding the best qualities about yourself and where you’d like to utilize that skill and knowledge.