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Questions to Ask Yourself for Good Career Management

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
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As busy as your life may be, it’s essential that you include career and professional tasks on your priority list and integrate them in your daily planner.

At the ASTD conference held recently in Dallas, Caitlin Williams and I did a presentation, based on our forthcoming book, Career Moves, 3rd edition, (ASTD Press), which includes a handout listing career-focused questions for participants to ask themselves. 

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The purpose of this exercise is to help you identify key elements of a career strategy and action plan.  Your responses serve as the basis for decision-making and will help you stay on target.  Some questions can be relevant to the present, while others can be more applicable to your future work.  

The handout questions included:

  • If you have not familiarized yourself with the new ASTD Competency Model  you need to do so.  What changes or revisions do you feel are most relevant to your T&D career?
  • Have changes occurred in your organization that are or can impact your job or career?  How are you preparing yourself for a transition?
  • Do you feel you are up to date with your skills, knowledge, and tools?  If no, why not?
  • Do you have written short- and long-term goals?  If yes, list them.  If no, why not?
  • How do you approach planning for advancement along your pathway? 
  • Deliberately?  Lackadaisically?  Do you believe that outside forces control your destiny?  Other?
  • If because of job loss, for example, you needed to change direction or make a shift in your T&D career, how would you reinvent yourself?  What would be your first step?
  • Do you understand the importance of having a brand that projects an ideal professional image?  If yes, can you describe yours in an introduction? If not, what do you think is the impression people have of you as a T&D professional?
  • Have you developed an array of updated accomplishments to use for specific situations and audiences?  If no, why not?
  • What is your professional story, who is your audience, and why should they listen?
  • If you have decided to make a career move or professional shift, what is the work modification and where are you in carrying out an action plan?
  • Do you review your job and career satisfaction, status, and progress? If yes, how often does the assessment occur?  If reviews do not take place, why not?
  •  Do you think your work/life balance is in good shape?  If it tilts too much in one direction, which way does it tilt, and what can you do realistically to return to a more even keel and maintain a balance?
  • What do you think are your best career management skills?  What are your poorest?
  • Overall, how do you feel about the level of your career management skills?  Are your skills, great, good, average, poor, or nonexistent?
  • What actions will you take in the next few months to improve your career management skills and practices?

I am interested in your feedback.  Did these questions help you to envision your T&D pathway, and clarify your goals with a more distinct focus?  How and why were they useful? What other questions would you add to the listing?  Please email me at anreitman@verizon.net.

About the Author
Annabelle Reitman has more than 40 years of experience in career coaching and counseling, specializing in résumé development that targets clients’ individualized professional stories. She also does short-term coaching for people in work transitions, enabling them to successfully continue their career journey. Reitman is an established writer and author in the career and talent management arenas. She is a co-author of ATD's Career Moves (2013) and contributed the Take charge of Your Career: Breaking Into & Advancing in the T&D Profession Chapter to the  ASTD Handbook, 2nd edition (2014). Reitman holds doctorate and master’s degrees in higher education administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.
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