What is the career discovery process and how does it apply to career change?


Answered by: ByVirtualist career experts

Many people know they need to make a career change but may not know about the “Career Discovery Process” or how to begin. If you’re in this situation, don’t worry, it’s very common! Knowing the process and how to move forward can generate momentum while giving you control over your choices. 

The Career Discovery Process is broken down into four phases. Moving between the phases may not be linear and circling back for further exploration might be an option. Confidence and being open to exploration can help as you move throughout the process. 

Read on to learn about each phase (or view the graphic to the right)!

Phase 1 – Self-Reflection and Assessment

Putting yourself at the center and focusing on what you want from work is the first step. Spend time learning about your interests, work motivators, and skills to see how you can be the focus of your work life. CareerOneStop has some great free resources to explore:

  • Complete career interest inventories
  • Figure out your work motivators
  • Identify your skills

Phase 2 – Generating Options

Research career profiles and industries through various resources to expand your ideas, potential pathways, and possibilities for this change. CareerOneStop can help kick off your research to generate your list of possibilities and options. 

  • Explore career profiles and job descriptions
  • Develop a list of employers and industries to target
  • Conduct informational interviews

Phase 3 – Focusing Your Options

Narrow down your options to a few (two to three) based on your research and priorities. Start evaluating where things stand as you gather information about each job or career idea. The questions you ask yourself about each one should be based on the motivations, skills, and interests you developed in Phase 1.

Phase 4 – Executing Your Job Search

Develop a job search plan for positions you have identified in Phases 1 and 2 and execute your search. 

  • Resume and cover letter: View your resume and cover letter as marketing materials crafted for a single application. Update your resume to align with current trends. Learning why and how to tailor your resume is key
  • Practice interviewing to secure job offers through interview research, preparation, and mock interviews
  • Incorporating our Job Search Action Plan interactive worksheet can help create structure and keep you focused during your search

Our FlexJobs Career Coaching team is here to support you as you move through each phase of the Career Discovery Process. Consider speaking with one of our professional career coaches to discuss your activities!