Assess Your Skills Before Considering a Career Change

Recent surveys and news stories are addressing the issue of how many people are changing careers due to the recession. For many this is turning out to be a very positive experience. For some it is an opportunity to do something they have wanted to do for years, but never had the chance. Regardless of your reason for wanting to do something different, it should start with an assessment of your skills and which of these skills is transferable.

Jumping into a career change is tough enough, but not knowing what skills you bring to the party and how you can leverage these skills will make the transition even tougher. Many candidates believe that just because they have a skill it makes them marketable. This is not necessarily true. You are  only marketable if a need exists for that skill. You can’t assume that there is a market, and that the market is willing to pay what you are asking.

Also, others may have the same skill, and some additional experience using that skill, that makes them more desirable.

A suggestion would be to first conduct a skills assessment. We suggest that you do this, but also that others do it for you as well. Those that know you the best will see your skills from a different perspective.

Once you know what skills you have rank them. The ranking should not only be based on how strong a skill this is for you, but also if it is a skill you really enjoy using. Just because you have a skill and are good at it doesn’t mean you enjoy it. For example, you may have a skill that allows you to really get into details, quickly grasp the issue, and come to a conclusion. However, if you hate getting down into the details, have dreaded it every time you have had to do it, it may be a strong skill, but not a skill you want to base a career change on.

Next you will have to determine if there is a market for these skills, where the market is, and the value of these skills in the market. More specifically not the value as a whole, but as it relates specifically for you. You can’t forget others that have these same skills. If they have some additional or unique experiences that you don’t, then your market and value in that market is decreased.

You can do some of the market research on the Internet. Go to the job boards and search open positions seeking these skills. This will give you an indication of market size and value. For example, if 100+ job openings appear and the compensation is in line with your expectations, you are more likely to be able to make that career change than if there were only one or two openings.

Don’t ignore the colleges and universities that have majors in the functional area in which your skills align.You might even discover some additional education you need to be successful.

Finally, I believe too often candidates don’t even explore the opportunities to buy a business or start a business. I would recommend contacting a business broker and at least having a conversation with them to discover if this is a viable option for you.

Making a career change isn’t easy, it takes time, planning, and the right set of transferable skills to be successful.

To download the free chapter on Conducting an Effective Phone Interview from our book “This Is NOT The Position I Accepted” CLICK HERE and then click on the Free Search Resources link.

If you would like to know if your job search is fully utilized and you are doing the right things, download our free 8 Matrix Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. CLICK HERE and then click on the Free Search Resource link.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.

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