Looking for a new career direction? Start at the end

10:55 AM, Jan 02, 2018
10:22 AM, Dec 12, 2018

Do you feel stuck in your job? Undervalued? Underused? Or unappreciated? If you have negative feelings toward your organization or role it could mean that you’re ready for a change. Just like many things in life, there may come a time when you outgrow your position.


To plan your next career move you need to know where you’ve been, what you’ve learned, and what skills you offer to potential employers. Regardless of where you are in your career, chances are you have one of the following types of jobs:


Survival job

  • Typically a low-paying job that requires limited training.
  • Usually taken on a temporary basis, or to cover basic living costs.
  • May not be a job you want to stay in for long.

A survival job can serve its purpose when you need it, but try not to get too comfortable or allow yourself to feel like you’re stuck there. Stay motivated to continue along your upward path.


Entry-career job

  • Foundation for bigger and better job opportunities.
  • Allows you to work within your chosen industry, and is an initial step toward your dream job.
  • Helps you better understand how to get where you want to be long term.

Transitional job

  • In between your entry-career job and dream job - where you gain skills, knowledge, and experience in your industry while continuing to network and make connections.
  • May be the turning point to shift your career goals if your interests have changed.

Dream job

  • A job that aligns with your long-term career goals and vision.
  • Utilizes your skills, knowledge, connections, and experience.
  • Supports your values.

A dream job may be exactly what you wanted all along. Some have a change of heart and adjust their path along the way. Others may never find their dream job, but are satisfied in their career.






The backwards career path to your dream job


Now that you have a better idea of what a career path may look like, consider this: what if you now start with your dream job and work backwards?


Map your career path starting with your dream job, and step backward through the process to where you are now. This may help provide a clearer idea of the path you need to take, or help you reevaluate your career direction.


Step 1: Evaluate your previous work experience

  • List your last three to five jobs.
  • Categorize each job based on the descriptions above.
  • Identify any patterns regarding the type of work you did, the industry, the culture of the organization, schedule, pay, etc.

Step 2: Create your backwards career path

  • Start with your dream job and work backwards, using these tips when mapping your path:
  • Do industry research to find out what level of experience, education requirements, and skills you’d need to succeed in your dream job.
  • Consider your education, skills, and work experience to determine whether the job is realistic and achievable from your current situation and what is needed to get there.
  • Identify where you can enter your backwards career path - you may be able to apply your skills and experience to the transition job. Maybe you feel more comfortable starting at the entry-career point to gain more experience.

Maybe you’re on a steady career path headed for victory. Or, you’ve changed industries but maintained a similar skill set. If you don’t notice a pattern, that could mean this is the perfect time to chart the course of your professional life.


If you want one-on-one advice to make your career work for you then come see meet with a career counselor at the Denver7 New Year New You Expo, sponsored by Colorado State University-Global Campus, on January 27, 2018. The expo is at Southwest Plaza in Littleton from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and admission is free!



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