Many people want to jump in the car and head directly for their destination.  If you jump in your car to take a trip, without even filling up with gas, eventually you will have to stop. Isn’t it better to prepare beforehand?

This also translates into how you approach your career.  You apply for a job.  Any job.  Anywhere.  You send resumes anywhere and everywhere.  No time has been taken to check out your current state or take stock of what you bring to the table.  You need to look at your current status before you begin your career journey.

Here are the steps you need to take to assess your career:

Career Inspection Report

  • Career Stats
  • Where are you in your career?
  • How many years have you been in the workforce? In your industry?
  • What is your career level (corporate professional, supervisor, manager, director, VP)?
  • How long have you been in your current position?
  • As you take stock in this area, look at how many industries or companies you’ve been with. Look at how long it has been since you have had a promotion. Look for a pattern or trend (or lack thereof).
  • Is your resume up to date? Check!
  • Do you possess sound interviewing skills? Check!
  • Are you good at networking? Check!
  • Education and training
  • What degrees do you hold in your field?
  • What certifications do you hold?
  • What coursework or classes have you taken?
  • Are there any other pieces of professional development that you can include here?
  • Personality
  • What personality type are you? If you’ve already taken a personality assessment like Myers Briggs, DiSC, or Peoplemap, this is the perfect time to pull that out. Write down what type you are. There are some definite strengths that your personality bring to the table – calmness under pressure, organization, vision, creativity.
  • What are your weaknesses? Note what growth areas or Achilles heels might be lurking in the background. They can sabotage your strengths if you don’t recognize them and tackle them.
  • Career values – Values are your beliefs about what’s desirable, valuable and important. Most people have personal values that are important to them. I’m sure you’ve heard of family values. You also need to consider what your career values are. It may be stability vs. risk taking; structure vs. variety; working as a contractor vs. full-time employment. Once you have determined your career values, you can measure how they align with your career path.
  • Mission statement – Your Company has a mission statement.  One sentence that captures what they are about. A mission statement gives you direction and clarity.  It helps you know what to say yes to and what to say no to. Laurie Beth Jones once said, “You are either living your mission or living someone else’s. What shall it be?”

Take some time out of your schedule to sit down and really go through these steps so you know and are confident that you are making the right decision for you at your current state in life.