APU Careers Careers & Learning Original

7 Questions to Ask Yourself before a Career Change

By Susan Hoffman
Edge Managing Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to rethink their lives and careers. In fact, millions of workers are quitting their jobs as the pandemic eases, according to Andrea Hsu of National Public Radio. This shift is becoming known as the “Great Resignation.”

Hsu notes, “As pandemic life recedes in the U.S., people are leaving their jobs in search of more money, more flexibility and more happiness. Many are rethinking what work means to them, how they are valued, and how they spend their time.” Consequently, some people are thinking about a career change.

Making a Career Change Requires Considerable Thought and Effort

If you’re considering a career change, however, it is essential to do your due diligence and think through all of the elements involved for the transition into a different career or industry. Here are seven questions to ask yourself before a career change:

  1. Why do I want to change careers? Consider why you want to leave the job you currently have. Do you want to leave an unpleasant work environment or gain a bigger paycheck? Are you seeking a job that will offer you a better work-life balance and utilize all of the skills you possess?
  2. What hard and soft skills do I have that would be suited to a different career? Ideally, you should have both hard and soft skills, such as a knowledge of various software programs, a high degree of organization, and oral/written communication skills. Also, think about whether you have transferable skills that could prove useful in a different job or industry.
  3. Have I done all of the necessary research? If you have your heart set on a specific type of job, have you done research on all of the knowledge, skills and abilities that job would involve? Having a good LinkedIn network can be helpful in this situation; you can reach out to people who already hold the type of position you seek and ask for their advice about the day-to-day realities of their work life.
  4. What will be the short-term and long-term effects of a different job? If you’re seeking a job with a higher salary and more responsibilities, for instance, you may have to put in longer work hours. That, in turn, can affect your work-life balance. Some positions may require a longer commute, or you might be able to work remotely either full-time or part-time, depending upon your employer.
  5. What type of work am I passionate about? Think about what brings you the most satisfaction in your professional life. Do you like solving problems, helping people or other similar work?
  6. What employers offer the type of position I’d like to find? Do you want to work for a big corporation, or do you prefer small companies that feel like a family? Would you rather work for the government at the local, state or federal level? The responsibilities of the job you seek will vary, depending upon the type of employer and the employer’s needs.
  7. What are the everyday realities of the job for which I’m applying? Typically, a job advertisement is a wish list of the knowledge, skills and abilities the employer seeks in a job candidate. But it’s also important to consider all of the elements of a job: its benefits, the commute (if the position is not remote), the internal culture, work-life balance and the potential salary. Again, having a network on LinkedIn comes in handy; you can reach out to current or previous employees at an organization to get their thoughts about the internal culture at the company.

Consult Career Services for Help with Your Research and Job Hunting

The University’s Career Services Department offers multiple complimentary career-related services for current AMU/APU students and alumni, including:

  • Career exploration interest assessments
  • Career coaching
  • Mock interviews
  • Resume reviews
  • Virtual Career Fairs at intervals throughout the year
  • Career guides
  • Job boards
  • Social media reviews

To learn more about how Career Services can assist you, send an email or log into the student/alumni ecampus.

Susan Hoffman is a Managing Editor at Edge, whose articles have appeared in multiple publications. Susan is known for her expertise in blogging, social media, SEO, and content analytics, and she is also a book reviewer for Military History magazine. She has a B.A. cum laude in English from James Madison University and an undergraduate certificate in electronic commerce from American Public University.

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