General personal review
The purpose of this review is to gain insight into some key dimensions of your work and life to give you more clarity in career development decision making. It is useful to start here if you are unsure about your future career direction.
Your career priorities change as your life and learning progress. Regular review is integral to continuing professional development.
Questions to ask yourself
Here are some initial suggestions. Some questions may be easier to answer when you have used other tools such as the career priorities tool, Prospects planner or skills audit. Try to get feedback from others in addition to your self-evaluations.
Your career motivators
Recognising the factors most important to you helps you make career choices founded on what motivates and satisfies you. You are then much more likely to achieve career fulfilment.
- What are your career priorities?
- Does your current job match your career priorities?
- What if anything is lacking?
What could you do to address the missing dimension(s)?
For example, in research work you could:
- contribute to setting the research agenda or bidding for resources to increase your autonomy if this is a key priority
- ask for more supervisory responsibility if managing others is an unfulfilled priority
- look for a longer-term contract or ‘permanent' position if security is an issue for you.
What do you consider are your most significant achievements so far?
What did you learn from them?
What have been your most significant disappointments so far?
What did you learn from them?
Your work tasks
The following questions help you identify your levels of accomplishment and work preferences. They could provide insight into how you might develop areas that are weak. They also help you make career choices that capitalise on your areas of strength and enjoyment, whilst reducing involvement in weaker or less enjoyable areas.
- What are the main tasks of your current work?
- Tasks you perform well are...
- Tasks you perform less well are...
- Tasks you enjoy are...
- Tasks you do not enjoy are...
- What are your key areas of expertise?
For example, considering your work as a researcher, relate the above questions to the elements of the research cycle (based on the Research career builder):
- Winning research income
- Using expert knowledge
- Data collection and analysis
- Generating research output (papers, reports, etc)
- Exploitation of the research
- Understanding the research environment
- External recognition
- Managing the project
- Managing people.
Which of these areas do you need to develop further to enhance your effectiveness and career prospects? How could you do this? (Look at career development methods for ideas)
- Compile a list of skills that each of your work tasks requires.
- What are your strongest skills? (If it is difficult to identify these, try the skills audit and/or look at the Research career builder)
- What are your weakest skills?
What are the skills you need to work on to ensure you can do your current work effectively?
See career development planning for ideas on how to develop your identified skills needs.
- Are you content with the balance between your work and life outside work?
- Are you content with the time you have for leisure, sport, relaxation?
- Do you have sufficient time for friends and family?
- What could you do to gain a better work/life balance? (For example, could you ask for flexible working arrangements?)
- Review your network. This is your key development resource, whether looking for a new job or looking for ways to develop within your current role. Advice, insight and information and support are all available from the people around you.
- What can you do to develop your network?
Are there any internal constraints or demotivators, pressures, negative thinking, health and fitness, or time issues holding you back from reaching your full potential?
How could you overcome these?
Who can you rely on to support your career development?
- What are your short-term career aspirations?
- What are the skills you need to develop to ensure you reach your short-term goal?
- What are your longer-term career aspirations?
- What are the skills you need to develop to ensure you reach your ultimate career goal?
- If you are currently unsure about your future career direction, you will not be able to answer these last questions specifically. For help, look at ‘Where do you want to be?'
- If you are clear about your aims and ready to begin planning, go to how will you get there?
- For more information about career reviews, see help and support.
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