Self-Assessment: Taking Inventory

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

  click to return to Index

Self-Assessment : Taking Inventory
As published in The Flightpath News - October 23, 2002
By Kevin T. Buckley, CPC

Self-Assessment : Taking Inventory

You want a new challenge. You need a change. Perhaps you've recently left a job. How do you move forward calmly and decisively?

Shift the focus to mapping out a new future instead of dwelling on a negative present or past. Review your strengths, weaknesses, talents, and limitations. This requires courage, strength of character, and a willingness to see yourself without illusions.

Define your value and worth to your employer:

- Where have you made a real difference in your work?

- What strengths and skills do you demonstrate in your work?

- What sort of problems are you good at solving?

- How are you at building good working relationships with other people--
  customers, colleagues, and superiors?

- How effectively do you organize, initiate, improve and/or increase value for     an employer?

- What are you drawn to doing?

- What gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction in your work?

- What are you passionate about?

Identify those issues that are most important to you:

- Are you more people or task-oriented?

- Do you like to lead or do you prefer to follow an established leader?

- Are you a risk-taker or are security and more predictable working conditions   a better choice for you?

- What do you expect from an employer in terms of support, training, and       opportunities for advancement?

Your family and friends may provide more useful insight about you. Determine what they respect and admire about you. Gather different views and filter them through your sense of who you are and what you have to offer. Compare this feedback with information or advice you've received from managers and coworkers. What are the common themes emerging? This exercise in self-assessment helps to clarify what you do next.

You may choose to continue along your present career path, or you may realize that you have now come to a crossroads in your career. New options may begin forming in your mind about taking a different career direction. Self-employment, or partnerships have their advantages and drawbacks. What suits you best?

People have different levels of tolerance for uncertainty. Consider the demands that will be made on both your finances and your personal/family time. How much of each are you prepared to invest and for how long? There is a certain appeal to being your own boss. Are you prepared to accept the sacrifices required in exchange for the greater freedom and potential rewards in the future?

Contractual work may interest you due to the different exposure and experiences you can gain from working with different organizations. Remember that while there is variety in contractual work, there may be a trade-off in the form of less employment security or benefits coverage.

Weigh the pros and cons of these options. Discuss them with your family. Their support, encouragement, and ideas will begin to give you a clearer picture of the type of work and working environment best suited to your experience, skills, needs, and expectations.

Ask a recruiter or counselor for guidance. Their opinions are likely to be objective. Better counselors will provide a good reality-check about what you can expect from taking a proposed course of action.

Family and friends may not consider or be aware of what is required when it comes to self-employment or partnerships. The views of experienced people around you whose opinions you trust are valuable guides to assist your decision-making. Surf the Internet for related sites. Numerous books exist on the subject of career change. Check your local library's Careers section.

Finally, trust your own intuition. The process of self-assessment helps you to understand yourself better and to plan your next career steps with confidence and a renewed sense of purpose.  

   Back toTop

Bookmark and Share