Reviewing your career? Here’s a five-step guide

Over half of adults are likely to be reviewing their careers this month, according to research for the Careers Advice Service, which is offering a five-step guide on how to take control of your future.

Its research found 57% people said they were thinking of their careers options in early 2010. It suggests taking the following five steps towards a new career:

Step 1: Identify your priorities and goals

A good starting point is to take a look at your current situation and be honest about what you want to change about it. Try to understand where you are and where you want to be in the future. Identify your goals, what you want to achieve, and when you want to achieve it by.

Identify what you value in life: Ask yourself what your priorities are at this stage of your career and what makes you tick. It could be finding a healthy work life balance, taking more responsibility in your role, gaining that promotion, or earning more money.

– For more advice, go to Career Values Tool, which is available on the Careers Advice Service website and is aimed at helping you structure your thoughts and improve your self-awareness.

Step 2: Review your skills and interests

It will become increasingly difficult over the next ten years to secure a job without any basic qualifications, so why not take the time to assess your skills and interests.  Think about what you like and don’t like because that will ultimately determine the type of career that’s right for you.

Julie Clare, a Careers Coach at the Careers Advice Service, adds: “It’s not just about what you can do; it’s what you want to do that matters. It’s really important that you try to find a role that will be satisfying and fulfilling. It might sound simple, but think about what’s important to you.”

– Jot down what you imagine to be your current skill set, this will help you determine what skills you have and what skills you might need.

– Consider learning something new or refresh the skills you already have by training, taking a qualification or volunteering. For additional advice, try the Careers Advice Service’ s Skills and Interests Assessment Tool.

Step 3: Focus and gain direction.

Once you have identified your goals, skills and interests, the next step is to start thinking about specific roles that might suit you. It is important to focus on one or two roles that appeal to you and are achievable.

Julie says: “It’s quite nerve-wracking when you start thinking about all the jobs that are out there. Gaining some direction is invaluable. Our advisers can work with you to start drawing up a plan of action, helping you to focus your efforts and pull everything together to make an informed decision.”

– The Careers Advice Service website has access to over 700 job profiles. Go online or speak to an adviser to find out more about each role and what they might involve. also profiles specific jobs with examples of working parents who manage these jobs flexibly. See our Focus on section.

– The Job Profiles will help you gain a better understanding of your chosen path, helping you to identify the gaps in your skill set and give you some suggestions about how you can fill any gaps.

Step 4: Be informed.

Whether it is an industry, sector or a specific role that interests you, it is critical that you understand the requirements and qualifications that will allow you to progress in your chosen field. Do as much research as you can and get to know the industry inside out.

Julie says: “A lot of people struggle to find a career that is right for them. Once they find that career, people can struggle to turn their dream into reality. Our advisers will talk you through the routes into each role and give you advice on the skills, experience and qualifications you might need.”

– Talk to a Careers Adviser or people who work in the industry. The Careers Advice Service can put you in contact with the relevant Sector Skills Councils and help you identify the skills required for the role. You can also speak to your local nextstep advisers, who can provide face-to-face advice and provide on-the-ground information on local labour markets.

– The Job Profile section of the website will help you understand the routes you can take into an industry, whether it is your first step towards securing an entry-level position, or whether you are looking to progress your career by taking a relevant qualification.

Step 5: Confidence is key

Once you have found the career, job or qualification that is right for you, you need to have the confidence in yourself to make it happen.

Julie adds: “Our advisers can help you to take the final steps towards pursuing or securing a new and hopefully rewarding career. It’s sometimes easy to feel like you are ‘stuck in a rut’ simply because you might not realise that there are different ways of doing things – whether it’s finding new ways of re-selling your experience to a new employer, looking at how you can re-write your CV, or just keeping in touch with your friends more. There is so much you can do.”

– Persevere and have patience. Things might not happen straight away, but have the confidence to follow your chosen path.

– It might not be possible to secure a position immediately. If you are studying or have recently completed a course securing work experience will help bolster your CV.

– If you have been made redundant, remember that brushing up on your existing skills or training to learn new ones, can give you an advantage when looking for work and can get you noticed by employers.

The Careers Advice Service is open seven days a week from 8am to 10pm. To speak to a Careers Advice Service adviser call 0800 100 900 or visit

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