Search
Advice » Job Hunt Strategy» Career Assessment » Time for a Career Assessment?
Time for a Career Assessment?

Time for a Career Assessment?

After a few years in which jobs seemed at best tenuous and at worst just plain gone, more people than ever are reexamining their career choices, making career assessment big news. 

According to a December 2009 poll by CBS News and the New York Times, 70 percent of people looking for work have considered changing careers. The poll shows that 44 percent of unemployed job seekers have pursued job retraining programs or other educational opportunities as a result of being unemployed.

Anyone Can Benefit from a Career Assessment

Two camps of people brave the process of career assessment. In one, the pursuers hope to expeditiously transfer their skills to new industries. Amid layoffs and cutbacks, they’re motivated to reevaluate their work in order to pay the bills. In the other camp are individuals intent on grabbing the brass ring of employment: work that not only feeds household coffers but also their sense of satisfaction.

The good news is that you’re closer to finding the answers than you may think. There are plenty of free or affordable services to guide you, and experts say a modest investment of your time can yield sharp insights into a new career.

Career Change Answers Are Close at Hand

So how do you assess your career, exactly? “The best assessment tool you can get is an honest one-on-one feedback session with a colleague or close friend,” says Marci Alboher, senior fellow for Civic Ventures, a San Francisco-based nonprofit focused on assisting 50- and 60-something professionals into second careers. Ask in which areas you excel, and where you need to improve. Are your skills sought out by colleagues? Would your skills be put to better use in a different department? A frank discussion will underscore your strengths and deficits.

So will a long look in the mirror. Barbara Safani of Manhattan-based Career Solvers suggests creating a list of the qualities you need and want from a job, and then prioritizing the list. What’s the most important aspect of work for you? Is it income? Is it giving back to the community? “All of those things need to be explored,” says Safani.

“A big part of what’s going on in this economy is being honest with ourselves,” observes Alboher. If you’re not where you want to be in your career, she suggests taking stock by posing a few questions:
  • What can you do to beef up your skills? Is there training or skills you’re lacking? 
  • You’ve probably heard about social networking in your industry, but are you doing anything creative about it? Is it time to start a blog or an online profile page and begin promoting your expertise?
  • Are there books written by thought leaders in your field that you should be reading?
Where to Find Outside Career Assessment Tools

Free online tools like CoachCompass and the University of Waterloo Career Services can help you with the process of identifying your skills, motivations and preferences. For a more social and local aspect to your evaluation, plenty of community colleges, alumni centers, libraries and churches offer no-cost drop-in career assessment and counseling services. And if you prefer a more personalized approach, career counselors and consultants typically charge hourly rates from $50 to $150.

Do You Really Need a New Career?

Sometimes frustrations that appear to indicate a needed career change are really indicators of job dissatisfaction. In a tight job market, that’s a key distinction. Safani recalls a director of operations who disliked his function’s round-the-clock nature and hoped to find a new career.

“But the job tasks -- working with vendors, managing staff and finances, dealing with customers -- were all things he liked,” she says. His job search included examining other operations roles that offered similar responsibilities yet more predictable work hours. In the end, he accepted a position as a financial advisor in which he could apply his skills in finance and customer service.

What to Do with Career Assessment Results

Successful career switches are about making connections. How does any new career you’re contemplating relate to the skills you already possess? When you begin your job search, be prepared to help a potential employer connect the dots.

In today’s job market, employers care about tangible results, and that’s a dramatic break from the past, when candidates could sunnily promote their ability to learn on the job. “Understand your own value and accomplishments and be able to articulate them to the new employer,” says Ford Myers, president of Career Potential, a Haverford, Pennsylvania-based career assessment and consulting firm. “The new employer has to see a direct connection between what you did in your old jobs and how that will be successful for you in the future with them. It’s a profound difference.”

Latest Jobs

Spanish Peaks Mental Health
Posted: 04/20/2014
Colorado Springs, 80903
Spanish Peaks Mental Health
Posted: 04/20/2014
Colorado Springs, 80903
Bear Staffing
Posted: 04/20/2014
Richmond, VA, 23219
Company Confidential
Posted: 04/20/2014
Saint Louis, 63101
Central Transport
Posted: 04/20/2014
Saint Louis, 63101

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.1.40.6-301
eTrustLogo