Where can I find help identifying new potential career paths?
June 8, 2019 1:58 AM   Subscribe

I need to switch jobs some time in the next year or two. I have no idea what my experience and skill set qualify me to do. Is there a resource or service that can take my qualifications and suggest some good alternative careers in which I could ACTUALLY get a job with a future?

I was recently told in no uncertain terms that my job is in fact a dead end. This came as a surprise to me. Whoops.

Well now I need to find another career. Right now I am the records manager at a medium-sized state agency but I have some other skills from past lives. My question would be HOW can I identify other career paths that I can jump to. I am thinking there has to be a service or something that can use a lot of knowledge I lack to suggest a few. Maybe even suggestions that require just a little bit of reskilling, like "get this certification and with your experience you could do X".

Does this exist? I hope it does, because I am at a loss about how to do the work myself.

*note: anonymous due to others at my organization having mefi accounts.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Are you an alumnus of any college, university, trade school, etc.? Start with their career services office.

A resource I direct my students to is mynextmove.org. You can search their database in several ways. The results will show you career paths, along with the skills and education required. It uses recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics for data like average salary and job prospects.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:49 AM on June 8 [5 favorites]

You might want to search using the terms “headhunter” and “career counselor.” Or honestly, you might get some significant help if you posted another Ask here listing your specialties and experience and asking for suggested career paths. I’ve seen threads like that go very well and in unexpected directions.
posted by sallybrown at 6:41 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]

Sorta like SuperSquirrel's career services office, there might be a government/state job retraining/placement program of some sort that you qualify for. My slightly jaded view is they really want you to be working and paying taxes as soon as possible and if you have some random combination of skills they'll invest some time and effort to get you somewhere so that in a year or two you'll have repaid that investment and be a gold-star success on their report.

my job is in fact a dead end... records manager at a medium-sized state agency but I have some other skills from past lives Look for State job retraining/placement programs. This is prime area for them to know what they need to know about you and prefer that you start working somewhere else asap.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:23 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]

Electronic records / document specialist is a job I see all the time! (See also “document controller”, “document coordinator” - check indeed.com for job descriptions and requirements, any certs that have currency will show up more than a few times). Companies in the private sector need your skills, even if your current employer doesn’t.

If you want to explore a more radical career change, check out o*net online. That will give you ideas, and will help you think through aspects of your ideal work environment etc. You can see what labour market projections are like for different occupations, too. Start with your Holland Codes (I mean you probably already know if you prefer working with people, things, numbers, but it’s good to be clear about that). Also check out What Color Is Your Parachute.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:52 AM on June 8

Or honestly, you might get some significant help if you posted another Ask here listing your specialties and experience and asking for suggested career paths. I’ve seen threads like that go very well and in unexpected directions.

Speaking as someone who is a week away from graduating a master's program to become a speech-language pathologist because of a question I asked here, I very enthusiastically endorse this approach. I had never considered this career path before asking the question but am so happy with where I am.

You could certainly try other approaches, too - though my university's career counseling center wasn't much help, yours might be; there are definitely professional career counselors out there; and as I noted in the linked question, you might even be able to take a community college course in finding the right kind of field for you - but I found that getting ideas from a variety of people of different backgrounds and knowledge was the key to getting me out of my career rut. Good luck to you!
posted by DingoMutt at 8:47 AM on June 8 [6 favorites]

If you're looking to go into something like IT (data science, UX/UI design, etc) I'd recommend taking a test like this one to get an idea of what IT career path best suits your skills + work style + personality. I found it helpful, and pretty accurate as far as what it suggested as an ideal IT job for me.

My next recommendation would be to see if your local university / public library system gives patrons free access to a job training website like Lynda.com. I know both the US and Canada (Ontario at least) have many libraries offering this.

Somewhat similar to you, I'm working in a field where it's hard to see what other career fields I could enter with my current, highly specific skill set. I do think developing one to three IT or IT adjacent skills, or general project management skillsets (Agile or Scrum, as examples) may give you something of a boost in your versatility, but YMMV depending on what project management styles - as well as what types of projects - your prospective new employer handles.
posted by nightrecordings at 10:11 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]

Do you enjoy the work? I saw quite a few jobs listed when I just googled your job title, so it appears you could get the same job somewhere else. I’m not absolutely sure what the job entails at a government agency, but at my corporation there are people who manage legal documents (both paralegal and non legal background) and people who seem to manage the disposal and retention of documents (policies, etc.) is that interesting? I imagine all large companies have a similar role. Contracts Manager or Document Retention Specialist might be titles to search, if so.
posted by rainydayfilms at 4:02 PM on June 8

I have a similar background and was an FOI officer for several years and ended up job sharing with the corporate archivist. On my phone; me mail me if you want to know more or uh, commiserate.
posted by jrobin276 at 5:12 AM on June 9

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