Developing Your Career


Think You’re Ready for a Career Change? Take Our Test

By James Greenway on July 11, 2014

Time for a career change?  Now might be the time to start considering it.  The US Labor Department reported last week that the economy accelerated in June, adding 288,000 jobs and beating expectations. Unemployment also dropped 0.2 percentage points, to 6.1 percent.  As job opportunities begin to open up, many people will be considering not just a job change, but a major shift from one occupation or industry to another.

While the appeal of a fresh start is undeniable, changing careers can be challenging—requiring a high level of focus, tenacity, research and networking.  Still, with deliberate planning and a healthy dose of determination, it can be done.  You just “gotta know the territory.”

Whether you’re considering a new role, a new industry or a new location, before you take the leap, you need to understand the value of your skills in the current job market.  The following questions will reveal your “career IQ”—and help you determine if you’re ready to shift careers:

  • What occupations are expected to experience the most growth in the next five years?
  • What occupations/industries are becoming obsolete?
  • Have I conducted a skills inventory lately?  If so, what are my most marketable skills based on projected trends?
  • What industry sectors are projected to grow?
  • What regions of the US are experiencing the most growth?
  • What is the average salary for the position I want?
  • Have I talked to someone currently in this job or industry to separate myth from reality?
  • What educational level and specific skills are in demand in my chosen field?
  • Could I afford a pay cut if necessary?  How much?

Generally, the wider the skills gap, the longer the search, so recognize that a career change may take longer than a typical job search and may require a little more flexibility.  To get started, check out the US Department of Labor’s mySkills myFuture website. It’ll help you match your skills to jobs with similar requirements.  Or download LHH’s 2014 Salary Guide and 2014 Job Markets Perspectives for more market information.

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