Survey Questions: Have you thought about the work you do?

Survey questions sounds like a silly title for a career blog. But think about it. What is it that you really do? If you don’t know, be a surveyor of your profession. Asking and answering the right questions can help you test the water before you make the wrong plunge. Here are some ways to examine and define your vocation.

Survey Questions: The first step is assessment

Begin with an examination of your work experience and expertise. If your past experience does not fit easily into a professional category, ask yourself these questions:

  • What would my ideal work be? AND What profession is it in?
  • What are my passions? AND What professions do they suggest?
  • What comes naturally to me? AND What professions do they suggest?

Why is this important? Because the job market—the world, is changing at breathtaking speed. Particularly if you have not searched for a job in awhile, it’s a different hiring world. You need to know what you offer today’s workforce. Don’t go by job titles alone.

Survey Questions: Technology’s role

Technology keeps moving and there is one certainty; it is not going backwards. Hiring managers consistently echo that it is a challenge to find talent with the right skills. There really isn’t any field unaffected. New skills are expected and old skills are evolving around new technologies. You must know what impact technology is having on your profession.

Survey Questions: Your work and the marketplace

Each industry or organization needs certain professionals to meet its goals. Know what a profession means in the marketplace; particularly if you are thinking about changing industries. What’s this mean in practical terms? Look at your profession and make decisions about your future work life and the types of companies and industries that interest you and need your professional expertise. Here’s how:

  • Review your work history and the profession(s) in which you have worked.
  • Explore advertised positions, in print and online, particularly looking at industry and profession profiles. Some sites have “real people” profiles that give you a glimpse of professions within the industries.
  • Dig for online information for your profession. Use online comprehensive job sites or occupational handbooks. They describe working conditions, training and education requirements, earnings and expected job prospects.
  • Ask friends, colleagues, family, previous customers etc. what they see as a profession for you in the future.
  • Review associations that you have joined or want to join.

Survey Questions: Scrutinize your fit further

It’s your future. You deserve a good fit. This, in part, depends on what is happening in your profession; and how current you are with it. Questions to ask include:

  • How viable is my profession?
  • Will it become obsolete?
  • What is the probable length of time I can continue to work in my profession?
  • What are the compensation ranges of my profession?
  • What continuing education and training is required in my profession?

Survey Questions: Do more homework

Once you’ve defined your profession in terms of what you do and where you want to do it, educate yourself on the latest development in your profession. What’s next?

  • Study print and online job postings—again. Make a note of all the companies and industries that need your services or expertise.
  • Read industry newsletters and professional journals. Check out articles in your local and national newspapers; research relevant websites. Use this information to generate more questions and to share in your conversations.
  • Once you are farther along in your preparations and are gathering marketplace information, as well as starting to get your message out, develop sources – people with whom you can discuss your findings about your professional environment.
  • Talk to professional organizations and to general contacts on the phone. This is a highly productive way to gather information.

Surveying your profession and industry helps you better understand the overall environment in which you will be conducting your search. You’ll be in a better position to avoid dangers, identify opportunities and make the right decisions about where you will fit in this ever-changing world of work. When you are able to summarize the current state of your profession and industry, including the key trends shaping the future—and how these trends will directly affect your career goals—you are ready to start full-tilt-boogie networking and marketing.

Do you have more ideas to share on this topic? Please do!


Photo:  Argyleist