The Career Search Process: 10 Steps to Finding the Career That’s Right for You

Thanks to my friend and colleague, Linda Robinson, the President of New Choices, for sharing this guest blog post answering your questions about re-entering the job market.  Linda will also be presenting at the DivorceTown Help & Hope Fair in Atlanta on September 27, 2013.  

If you have decided to return to the job market, or enter it for the first time, you may feel overwhelmed. How do you make a choice?  Where do you find the best careers, the latest career options, the ones that will be growing in the future?  How can you find your passion?   As a career coach who has worked with thousands of career changers, I have developed a step by step career exploration process. I tell my clients that if they stay with it, it is almost a sure thing that they will find a career they love, where they can be the successful person of their dreams.  I offer these steps for career exploration.

STEP 1:  Take time out to learn about your interests, values and priorities, as well as your aptitudes and skills. Consider the work environment that best fits your personality style.   Career testing using assessments such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory can help you learn about occupations that might be a natural fit for you.   Having a supportive career professional to interpret these tried and true assessments is very valuable.

STEP 2:  Generate a list of career options for you to research.   This can come from the career assessment, your own ideas, brainstorming with a career coach, savvy friend or family member to come up with occupations that you would like to learn more about

STEP 3:  Research those career options.   Set specific goals with small, achievable steps along with way. For example, if you are interested in investigating the career of physical therapist, start by reading about this career on line and then interviewing a physical therapist or making a site visit to observe a physical therapy unit.

STEP 4:  Focus and narrow down your options.  Decide what you need to have in your career and measure those options against those criteria.   In career coaching we use a decision matrix which can be very helpful in the process.

STEP 5:  Reality test.  This is a step that people often want to skip, but it’s critically important.  What actions can you take to learn what this career would really be like on an everyday basis? Could you take a class, visit a job site, or volunteer or intern?

STEP 6:  Decide. Once you have taken the above steps, you know what you need and what the options offer. Then, making a decision is much easier.

STEP 7:  Plan.  What are the logical things that you must do to act on your career choice?

STEP 8:  Act on the plan. For example, if you had decided to become a physical therapist you would want to begin taking as many science classes as possible and maybe volunteering at a physical therapy unit to gain experience.

STEP 9:  Re-evaluate.  As you act on the plan, new information is bound to come up that will cause you to modify or change your goal. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a Plan A, Plan B and even a Plan C!

STEP 10:   Remember the process! Since research shows most of us will change careers multiple times in our lifetime, you may well be using this proven process again.


Linda Robinson

Linda Robinson

Linda Robinson, M.Ed., is a Career Coach in Atlanta and online who specializes in Career Coaching and Testing for Youth and Adults in Transition

To learn more visit, call Linda at 404-939-0153 for a free consultation or email her at

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