Career Tips

Mid Career Job Search Part I: Evaluating Your Career

By Dave Isbell and Kim Medlock

Evaluating and establishing a career change after several years in the field can provide a sizeable advantage. At this point you have gained the experience and knowledge to effectively compete for desirable positions. There are several steps you can take to increase your marketability and land the perfect position for your career goals.

Don’t apply for just any position, and don’t start hunting before you know what your ideal job factors are. Take a moment to consider the following before applying

What job title do you seek? Check out the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics to see the variations of what may be out there for your skill set and degree. Another option, and a great database for a variety of employment information, is O*Net OnLine

 What salary do you hope to earn? Again, there are several resources to help you determine what is average; check out and to get started.

 What are the major skills you would like to utilize? You can search skills and competencies

What is your preferred company or work environment? Browsing LinkedIn company profiles and O*Net OnLine can lead to a wealth of company information. From there, you can begin to research the particulars of the places that stand out to you.

 Jot down a few notes of your own job buzzwords and seek out positions and companies with similar ideals. The employer is looking for the right fit for the job, and you should be seeking out the right fit, too. So should you. Make sure to consider your competencies and strengths as you’re deciding where and how to reach out and apply.

Job hunts aren’t exactly what they used to be, and taking a new approach is a key portion in finding the right place for your next dream job.


Dave Isbell is the Alumni Career Service Coordinator at Michigan State University. He has been a Career Coach since 1999. He is also pursuing a Master’s in Social Work/Family Studies at MSU.  When he is not working or studying, he is enjoying domestic bliss with his wife and kids, or playing rock music on his bass guitar. You can find him on Twitter (@helpingspartans) and sometimes he writes about compassion, collaboration, and career for this blog, which he owns and begs other Spartans to write for.

Kim Medlock is a Michigan State University alumnae with degrees in Professional Writing and English. She works as a marketing writer by day, but fancies herself a creative writer by weekend. As a Lansing native who has always preferred writing as an artistic medium — she remains passionately in love with both of these things. 


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