How To Find a New Career: 7 Questions to Consider

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 19, 2022 | Published March 20, 2020

Updated May 19, 2022

Published March 20, 2020

Related: How to Change Industries or Careers With No Experience

In this video, Jenn, a certified career coach, shares advice for making a career change including the best way to address it on a job application.

Finding a career that you truly love and enjoy can have a significant impact on your overall job and life satisfaction. If you're thinking about a new career, there are a number of things to consider. In this article, we review some common reasons why you may want to find a new career and the questions to ask yourself when making a career switch.

Why do people make the change to a new career?

People change careers for several different reasons, including:

  • Lack of career satisfaction: One of the most common reasons a person makes a career change is that they are no longer satisfied with their current job. Whether your responsibilities no longer challenge you, you have reached the limit on job advancement or you no longer enjoy your workplace, all of these factors can contribute to the desire to find a new career.

  • New interests: Some people start one career path only to realize later that they are interested in something else. For example, maybe you began as a technical support specialist but are now interested in computer coding. After gaining the necessary experience and expertise, you may choose to pursue a career in coding.

  • Desire for more flexibility: Job flexibility is becoming more common in today's workforce. If you're interested in more flexibility within your job and your employer doesn't offer any, you may want to switch careers.

  • Salary limitations: Another common reason for a career change is reaching your salary potential. If your current career path has limited opportunities for salary increases, you may want to find one that accommodates your expectations.

  • Unhappy with current management: Some people may consider a new career if they are dissatisfied with the management at their current job. This could mean being unhappy with their direct manager or with the management of the company as a whole.

Related: Midlife Career Change: What To Do Next

Questions to help you find a new career

Changing careers is a big step and can have a major impact on nearly every facet of your life. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you find the best new career for you:

1. What are my current skills?

When looking for a new career, it's important to first assess the skills you currently possess. Are you a good artist? Do you have advertising experience? Do you write great content? Brainstorm your best skills and make a list for reference. These skills can be skills you use in a professional capacity (such as marketing) or skills that you don't necessarily use at work (such as drawing skills).

You should also consider your hard and soft skills to see if any might transfer to a new career. Soft skills could include communication, creative problem-solving and emotional intelligence. Hard skills could be any abilities that are specific to your job or industry, such as computer programming languages or bookkeeping. Some of these skills could help you easily adapt to a new career.

Read more: 10 Top Job Skills for Any Industry: Transferable Skills You Need

2. What am I truly interested in?

A primary reason many people change careers is to pursue a new interest. What interests do you have, both in a professional and personal capacity? What gets you excited? What do you enjoy spending your time doing? Make a list of your interests and see if you can find corresponding careers. For example, if you like figuring out how parts and machines work, you could pursue a career as a mechanic or engineer.

3. What kind of personality do I have?

Your personality can have a significant impact on the type of job you enjoy and are good at. Taking time to better understand your personality can help you when determining a new career path to follow. Take an online personality test, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, to learn more about what drives you. Many of these tests will also provide suggestions as to what job you'd excel at. For example, if you're an extrovert, you could enjoy a job in sales and marketing.

Read more: Guide: 16 Personality Types

4. What are my salary goals?

Another important question to consider is what goals you have in terms of salary. Different careers have different salary ranges and salary caps. While how much money you make may not be the deciding factor in the career you pursue, it's still something to consider to ensure you are able to continue affording your lifestyle.

5. Does my ideal career require additional education or training?

Some careers require you to obtain additional education or training before you pursue them. For example, if you want to make a career switch to nursing but have no background or education in this field, you need to go to school and get a nursing degree first. Understanding the requirements of a new career path can help you decide if the job you want is worth it and the timeline you can expect when pursuing it.

6. What are my strengths?

You should evaluate your current strengths and how they may assist in your career change. Your strengths don't necessarily have to be professional. If you are unsure of your strengths, consider asking friends, family members or coworkers. You can then use this information when narrowing down potential new careers.

Related: 10 Key Strengths To Develop for Career Advancement

7. What kind of schedule and work environment do I want?

Another important question to ask yourself when trying to find a new career is about the type of work environment and schedule you want. Do you want to work in an office or would you prefer to work from home? Is a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule best for you or would you rather work nights and weekends? Do you prefer a quiet space to work or an open office environment? All of these factors contribute to your overall job satisfaction, so consider each one carefully.

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