Before moving full steam ahead into a new career, consider these 12 questions to help ensure the move is a good one. Write down your answers to help you think through your possible transition:

1. Do you want to pursue a new job, or a new career?

2. Why do you want to make a change?

3. List the things you LIKE about your current job/career.

4. What do you want your next job to do for you that your current job doesn’t. In other words, list what will be different about your next job.

5. Instead of asking yourself “What do I want to be when I grow up,” ask yourself “What problem(s) do I want to solve?”

6. If I could wave my magic wand over you and it’s five years from today, what are you doing in your job/career?

7. Think about your dream job. What are the kinds of things you’d be doing each day if you were working in your dream job?

8. What are you most proud of in your past work experience?

9. How much do you need to make in your next job/career (each year)? How much do you want to make in your next job/career? Does your next career provide that opportunity?

10. Do you have the skills, experience, and/or qualifications necessary for the job or career you want to pursue? What skills or education do you need in order to move forward?

11. What other tools do you need to move forward? Updated resume? Create or update your LinkedIn profile? Broaden your network?

12. Who can help you with ideas, information, and leads for your job search? Write down their names (If you have a holiday card list, start with that.)

Doing the necessary work upfront will help you make that transition you have in mind.

The Department of Labor says that most people change careers 3 to 7 times during their life. Make your change a good one!

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Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.