Most of us take a trip to the grocery store every week. Sometimes we need more things than we can remember and to make sure nothing is forgotten, we make a list. By doing this, we use a visual aid to focus more on the task at hand.
Lists can also be handy when you’re at a career crossroads. Rethinking your professional situation usually involves many steps, and it’s possible to overlook or forget something important along the way. By jotting things down in an organized, linear fashion, the potential for what you can discover about yourself is endless.
If this sounds like you, we recommend to start by making three lists. One should thoughtfully identify what you enjoy doing at work, and the another what you don’t like about current or past jobs. From there, write down several job titles or companies that interest you and make sense to your background. This thought process and these lists together should help you channel your focus, and narrow your efforts.
As an example, we will introduce Bruce, a job seeker. He graduated from college with a degree in business. Desperate for a job out of school, he accepts a position as a sale specialist for a local manufacturing company. He may be making money, but after a while his position becomes stale. So Bruce takes a moment to reflect on his situation and brainstorm some valuable lists:
As a result of this exercise, Bruce identified accounting as a field he would like to pursue, and concentrated his skill building, networking, and job search on the accounting field. After much hard work, he was able to successfully reposition himself in a new job and in a new industry – at a local accounting firm.
Lists can be so practical, but are commonly overlooked. But by adding a visual to your thoughts and goals, they become a valuable career tool.