How do you know if now is a good time to change career direction?

The reality is that job loss and job creation are natural components of the world of work. It happens all the time to varying degrees.  So there probably isn’t one perfect time to change jobs or careers. The decision depends a lot on your personal situation and perception.

The best way to launch a job search or career change is to take a step back and give some careful thought to what you want to have in your career. This can be done through a formal career assessment process (such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator –MBTI) or many others skills and values inventories which can give you insight into what you want in a career. You can do visioning exercises that will create visual images of what success and happiness mean to you. You can volunteer or take classes to meet people, learn new skills and explore industries. Whatever approach you take, do something proactive. Therefore, before actually launching your new job search or career change, though, there are several important steps to take:

Gaining Personal Insight
Before you change careers, you need to figure out what you want. Your and not the social pressure to succeed, not your. By assessing your current situation you can determine what you need in your career to be satisfied. Analyze your values, skills, personality characteristics, interests, and lifestyle preferences. It’s also useful to take inventory of your financial situation, especially if the career you’re considering might require additional education and training or relocation.

Getting a Reality Check
A critical mistake in making a career change is making the leap without getting enough career information. By exploring career possibilities you’ll be able to identify options that are best suited to your personal attributes and preferences. There are online and print resources you can use to learn about job outlooks and industry trends. The people in your network can also be great sources for information about trends and opportunities in various career fields. In addition, they can make introductions and give you referrals.

Charting Your Career Path
After you’ve done some self-assessment to learn what you want in a career and done career research to generate options, you have to make a decision about next steps. Your transition and job search plans will guide you to successfully getting the job you want and expanding your professional network. You’ll also need to update your resume, cover letter, and other social media profiles and fine-tune your interviewing and networking skills.
People change jobs or careers in search of greater satisfaction. It is often a transformational journey that requires some time (to grieve, digest, explore, doubt, decide, take actions). Be patient and gentle with yourself, it will increase your chances for finding a career that better suits your personal goals and uses your talents in meaningful ways.

What you learn about yourself and the possibilities will be the foundation of career exploration and planning.