As spring comes into full bloom, now is the time to re-assess your career advancement or career transition plans.  While recent surveys indicate that U.S. employees are still not fully confident about their job security, it is important to weigh your options, in order to find a best fit job.  You may feel frustrated or stuck in your current career path or job, and are not sure how to break out of your rut.  The following are some tips to quickly jumpstart your career action planning and head toward career satisfaction:

1)    Personal Inventory– many individuals are suffering from a lack of confidence, demoralized by a dearth of opportunities or absence of recognition, and feeling no sense of hope or ability to leave a miserable job.  However, it is important to take a personal inventory, including identifying your strengths, special skills, interests, values, areas for development, and the challenges of transitioning to a new position.  This inventory will enable you to bolster your confidence, to help you to realize that you have value in the labor marketplace, and to consider your next steps.

2)    Goal Setting– Studies have demonstrated that the mere act of setting goals, can increase motivation and improve task performance.  However, those goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely).  For example, a goal of finding your dream job in a month, may not be realistic.  However, revising your resume and identifying job options in a month’s time may be more manageable. Set 5-7 short-term and long term goals to increase motivation and focus.

3)    Short term action plans– a major life or career change can feel overwhelming, and beyond reach.  However, if you think about change in phases, it may be more manageable. Create 3 month action plans.  Set SMART goals for 3, 6, and 12 months, and then evaluate your progress. If you are stuck, consider what you need to motivate yourself, or seek further assistance to do so.

4)    Amplify your ambitions- while you may not want to let everyone know about your desire to change jobs, the key to finding a great opportunity is networking.  Identify and speak to key contacts about your interests and goals.  Be specific and be active.  Rather than say, “I am looking for a new job, keep me in mind,”  say, “I am looking for opportunities in public accounting at a Big 4 or mid-sized firm, and would be interested in any contacts you might have.”  Be visible on LinkedIn and make suitable connections to set up informational interviewing opportunities. Such amplification will fine tune your brand, and increase the probability that opportunities will come your way.

These tips should allow you to launch into finding your ideal job or career, and increase your job satisfaction.  Don’t settle for good enough, seek the best fit career or job you deserve!