As a career coach, I’m often speaking to people who are at a crossroads when it comes to their career. They want to be ready for what’s next but often, they’re not sure what is next. Many times – when it comes to redundancy and working through outplacement programs – individuals are facing a career change that they did not plan. To effectively tackle a career change, you need career clarity.
Finding career clarity through values
There are many different factors that will help you to find career clarity as you look to take on the next step in your career. Perhaps the most central factor is finding your values and letting them guide you effectively.
Successful onboarding into any new role requires different commitments from both employers and employees. One of these commitments is understanding the values shared by both parties. For employees, it’s about understanding where your values overlap and identifying the behaviours that underpin these values.
Why is it so important to understand your values?
Simply put – anyone who hasn’t scrutinised their own values is putting themselves at risk of finding themselves in a job that isn’t a good fit for them and needing to start the process all over again, going through offboarding, outplacement, recruitment and onboarding again. For those who are particularly unwilling to examine their values may find themselves going through this process many times.
Naturally, it’s flattering to receive job offers but it’s important to deeply understand your own values so you’re not being unwittingly manoeuvred or cajoled by recruiters. At the end of the day, many recruiters aren’t invested in your personal journey – their success lies in how many people they can find employment each week. Job seekers must have their wits about them so they can take values-aligned opportunities and avoid anything that might not be the right fit.
How to uncover your values to assist in the job search
In determining your own values, consider both professional and personal settings and what’s most important to you across the board.
Be specific as you consider these values. For instance, you may value ‘loyalty’ but what does this look like when it plays out? Think back to times in working situations where you have acted loyally and others have acted out of loyalty so you can understand what this might look like in action.
One technique I often use as a career coach is asking individuals to cast their mind back to a working environment that they enjoyed. What made this environment so good? A particular manager? What are the behaviours they displayed that helped you to thrive?
For example, one of my coaching clients shared this with me: “Many years ago I had a manager who was easily the best manager I ever had. When I remember back to this time, I remember how respectful he was, how much autonomy he gave me over my own work, the direct accountability he fostered and his clearly communicated expectations. I worked well there and enjoyed my time – it’s clear that I value these things that were present in this environment. To this day I use these things as a guiding light in understanding what my next move will be professionally.”
You can also use social situations outside of work to understand these values – who are the people in your life that you are most comfortable around? What makes it easy to open up and be your best self around them? What are their attributes?
Identifying these people is key to knowing if a job offer is right for you. If you are clear on your values and the kinds of environments you do your best work within, it’s easier to see clearly when a new role might not offer you the same.
As is often the case, work is very rarely about the work itself – it relies on the people you work with and the culture you are working within. Career clarity relies on you understanding your values and using them as you determine where you will go next.
Are you tackling the job search now – or thinking about it for the near future? Preparing your LinkedIn profile for the task is one of the most valuable things you can do to put your best foot forward. Take part in my mini course that gives you the best tips and tricks to showcasing your expertise and capabilities. Secure your place now.