The Top 5 Questions to Jump-Start Your Job Search

Find the clarity you need to move forward with your job search

Job searching

As a career coach, I know that making a career change is never easy. The many challenges of the past year may make it especially hard to take the next step in your career.

Though things may seem uncertain, the increase in remote work has vastly expanded the possibilities within the job search. Reports show a 92% increase in available remote jobs from 2019.

While this may be heartening, it doesn't change the fact that beginning a job search can be very challenging and often confusing. Here are five questions that will help you find the clarity you need to move forward proactively with your job search.

Am I happy in my current field?

We all spend nearly one-third of our lives at work, but how often do we really stop to think, "Am I headed in the right direction?"

Your career is a matter of the heart, and for so many, we lead with our mind. Before I started my journey as a career coach, I worked so hard to achieve my dream job in counterterrorism. It was one of the hardest days of my life when I realized that the path I was on wasn't leading me to where I truly wanted to be. It wasn't that I wasn't proud of my achievements or the work I was doing. I just got the clarity I needed to understand that the work wasn't for me.

Statistics show that 53% of Americans are not happy in their job. If you've found yourself daydreaming about the weekend, maybe you're just not in the right job or field.

Ask yourself, deep down, are you contributing to something you are truly passionate about? Do you derive satisfaction from working in your current field? If the answer is no, even if it's hard to admit, it's time to begin redirecting.

What do people tell me I'm good at?

It's extremely important to evaluate feedback that we have been given by others. The key is to dig deep and compare the skills you value in yourself to the strengths others have praised in you.

Here are 10 core skill sets I believe exist in the workforce:

1. Words: If this is your core skill set, you may be a stellar writer or an amazing public speaker.

2. Innovation: Your strength lies in your forward thinking and out-of-the-box ideas.

3. Building: You have the skills and follow-through to execute a plan or vision from start to finish.

4. Technology: You have the innate interest and smarts to truly understand and innovate with computers and technology.

5. Motion: You are most comfortable using your body and physicality to express yourself in your work.

6. Service: You feel compelled to help, nurture and support others through the work you seek out.

7. Beauty: You seek out and create beauty all around you, whether through artistic expression or design.

8. Coordination: You see every step of a process — all the pieces of the puzzle and how they come together.

9. Analysis: You have the drive to answer the question, "Why?" This critical lens makes you amazing at analysis.

10. Numbers: You excel through your understanding of the complexities of numbers and numerical problem-solving.

So, what is your core skill set? Are you in a role that amplifies and rewards your skills?

Research shows that people who use their strengths every day have triple the quality of life and are six times more satisfied at work. You should be focused on finding a job where you can apply your golden skills.

What brings me joy?

Often, my clients are aware of their core skill sets but find themselves unsure of the best place — meaning the industry — to direct them. To this, I ask the simple question: What brings you joy?

I love this question because it often yields unexpected answers.

Keep a daily journal for a month, and each evening, write down what lit you up the most that day. You'll start to recognize where your joy lives. This could lead you to a whole new career path you may never have considered.

Only 13% of employees report that they are passionate about their jobs. You deserve better than that. Direct your talents toward something that brings you joy.

What do I know that I wish I didn't?

Often, we avoid hard truths because they may require reworking our lives. But who you truly are will always shine through, demanding that you eventually face the truth.

Maybe you feel that you're not in the right field or that you've put years into a company that doesn't value your contributions.

While it can be tough to admit to ourselves when something is holding us back, facing our blocks is the first step toward reaching what we truly want and need in our career.

Where do promising industries and my skills and passions intersect?

Once you have found clarity about what your core skill set is and what's holding you back from finding your ideal career, you can start to make sense of what your next career move should be.

So much feels uncertain right now, and you want to steer your skills and job hopes toward a growing industry that is likely to provide stability and upward mobility into the future. Consider what your ideal day-to-day might look like, and from there, imagine where your ideal job might fit within a growth sector.

If you feel your career would be best served as a freelancer, take advantage of resources on in-demand freelance jobs. Maybe you value the enrichment of working alongside teammates and would benefit from exploring collaborative industries that are projected to have steady growth over the next decade.

Asking yourself these questions and digging deep into what is right and what is wrong about your career will give you much greater clarity. Good luck leveling up in your professional life this year.

The Newsweek Expert Forum is an invitation-only network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.
What's this?
Content labeled as the Expert Forum is produced and managed by Newsweek Expert Forum, a fee based, invitation only membership community. The opinions expressed in this content do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Newsweek or the Newsweek Expert Forum.