Making critical career decisions are right up there on the list of life-changing moments, but we usually make them based on gut-feel alone - which is not ideal for such an important decision.
Now that we no longer have a job for life, uncertainty and change are commonplace. We all go through such periods in our careers, especially when returning to work or looking to move to a part time job or flexible role.
The good news is that there are ways to help make these phases more manageable. Research has identified there are four distinct styles of career decision-making*. Getting to know your inner careerist will help you learn more about yourself and help you switch to a different mindset when making choices throughout your career.
This is the most common careerist profile because it is the easiest mindset to adopt. Opportunistic Careerists always make the most of a situation. Exploiting available opportunities, rather than make active choices, is what they do best. Fate and intuition help shape their career. Stepping out of this, however, to think in a different way can help you see your career differently and in a new light. Can often be heard saying: ‘let’s see what happens’.
The Evaluative Careerist makes choices from a more personal perspective. Decision-making is a very self-reflective process and very well thought through. They are aware of their skill sets and use this to assess whether a job is a good fit or otherwise. Even when a decision is made, they are still apprehensive due to concerns about how the choice will work out. ‘Thorough’ is the Evaluative Careerist’s middle name.
The complete opposite of the Evaluative Careerist, Strategic Careerists make decisions based on objective analysis of their career to date, combined with where they want to be in the future. Each choice is assessed from a purely strategic perspective, as they always have one eye on their ultimate career goal, so every decision is based on this. They can be described as gutsy and ambitious.
They have a dream or goal and their career is a means to an end to achieve this. This is a particularly strong profile among people who want to spend more time with their families and want to work part time or flexibly. Work/life balance is important as personal circumstances and career decisions are inextricably linked. As a result, Aspirational Careerists will take jobs purely to help finance their dream or goal. Commonly heard saying: ‘I only do this job because…’
Who should I be?
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong profile, but there may be times throughout your career where you need to step out of one profile and adopt another to get you to where you want to be. Identifying your profile will help put you in control of career-defining moments to get you the job you want.
*Research carried out by The Institute for Employment Research in Warwick