Articles & Insights

Should you trust an algorithm to decide your next career move?

Added - 12/11/2020

There has been much coverage – not all of it positive – around the career assessment tool offered by the National Careers Service.

The 50 question multi-choice tool takes just 5 minutes and offers users the opportunity to answer a series of questions relating to their workplace skills and strengths – it then delivers a range of alternative career choices that may be suitable – and offers food for thought when considering options for retraining in the current, difficult climate.

With some rather niche – and some may consider low security – roles, such as actor, boxer and football referee being offered by the tool as viable career options, many have been scathing of the true value of such a resource.
Are assessment tools worthwhile?  Should you put your faith in an algorithm? Or is it mumbo jumbo that you could really do without?
It’s important to remember that many assessment tools are firmly rooted in science – well researched and validated, offering valuable insight into your personality and preferences. However, these are rarely of much use without the insight behind the results.  If you’re working with a career coach who can talk you through the findings and how you might translate these, it can be a very useful foundation for a valuable career conversation.  However, reading results in isolation without the background information is unlikely to offer more than a little light entertainment!
Many people facing career change automatically target jobs, companies and sectors that reflect their current or previous roles and do not take time to ‘explore something different’ that they might have always wanted to do. It might be practical to stick to what we know, but exploring alternatives is a good idea – and may be essential in the current climate.
Rather than rely on a well-intentioned career quiz, you may find your time is better spent thinking about your career anchors and what you do and don’t enjoy in your current or previous role.  It may sound simple but few of us take the time to really think about what we enjoy and what we’d like to do more of – but it can be invaluable, particularly when you are thinking about a change of direction.  Developing a clear career vision statement can be the best way to ensure the achievement of goals
Follow these steps, from Randall S. Hansen of Quintessential Careers and our team of 200 career experts, and you will be on your way to creating a career vision statement that inspires and energises you.

  • Create time. Career visioning cannot - and should not - be rushed. It is also something that may take several efforts and starts before things begin to clear and you start getting a grasp of your ideal future career
  • Review your career goals and core work values – what do you enjoy / not enjoy about your current role? What about previous roles?
  • Suspend logic – just for the time-being! With a career vision, anything is possible to accomplish, so find ways around potential barriers. Try one or more of these ‘blue sky’/visioning questions to help your creativity. Reflect on each of the questions and answer them as fully as you can:
  • How do you define career success? Have you been achieving some level of success in your current or previous job? What job will help you to achieve complete success?
  • What would you want to do today if all your bills were paid and you had unlimited cash reserves?
  • What would your career be like if you had the power to make it any way you wanted?
  • What would you like your obituary to say about your career accomplishments and the types of impact you had on the people you worked with?
  • Removing all obstacles, what would you most like to attain in your career?
  • Imagine yourself in the future at a point where you have achieved career success. What is it that you have accomplished? What does your life look like? How did you get there?
  • What is the one activity you most love? Is it part of your career? If not, how can you make it part of your career?
  • Where would you like to be in your career in five years? In ten years? In fifteen years?
  • Put it all together. Using one sentence or a concise paragraph, write your career vision. Consider writing a short vision statement along with a short description of how you currently see yourself accomplishing it. Write everything in the present tense, as if you already have accomplished it. This creates the right frame of mind - confidence about your future - rather than keeping your vision in the distant future
  • Keep your vision visible. Once you have created your career vision statement, post it in various places and read it and say it aloud, often. Imagine yourself achieving your career vision. Constantly reinforcing the image of you in your career vision will help you both consciously and subconsciously develop goals and action steps that will lead you to success.

Working Transitions support organisations and individuals through change and transition. Get in touch to find out how we can support your employees to move onto a bright future. 

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