Characteristics of a Career Explorer

Several years ago, I decided that I was ready for a career change. I had worked in various positions within my field for over ten years. Despite my interest in a career change, my only movement towards making it was to think about it. In fact, I thought about making this change for two years. Every time I believed I was ready to make a move, the voice of security and the fear of the unknown would lull me back into complacency. After two years of waffling, I decided to hire a career counselor to help me through this process. As a result, I learned a few things about myself and the tools I needed to make a successful career change.

Listen to Your Heart and Gut

My mind sometimes has a committee that weighs in on most of my decisions. Usually the committee is quick to point out “Why that wouldn’t work!” or “How I couldn’t possibly do that!” Through the process of career exploration I learned how to listen to my heart and gut, following my intuition in the most suitable direction. When I can quiet the committee in my brain, my heart and gut give me some great insight.

Be Curious

Part of the career exploration process is gathering information about career areas that would be a good fit for your particular strengths, values, skills and interests. I approached this with an attitude of curiosity. I met with people and asked questions such as: “How did you get into this field?”, “What are the rewards and challenges?”, and “What happens on a typical day?” These conversations helped me to get real-world information about the particulars of a role or industry rather than relying on my incomplete understanding of the profession.

Celebrate Successes

Although this process was frustrating, I also met some awesome people. I started to build networks that would serve me in the future. I stopped and gave myself a pat on the back for having the courage and open mind to explore the possibilities.

Career exploration is not a linear process. It can, and usually is, very nebulous. I wanted to know the “answer” to my next career move right away, jumping from point A to B directly without detours. Little did I know the detours would bring me to the opportunity to be a career counselor! I get to support clients through a process that I know works.

Are you looking at making a career change and exploring some new paths? Email us at We offer free initial consultations and have helped hundreds of job seekers make successful, meaningful transitions.

By: Leslie Arnold, Career Solutions Group