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There are Few Things as Personal - 10 Questions to a Better Career Search

When it comes to thinking about our careers, ambitions and goals there are few things that compete for the mental bandwidth that we give to these topics. Certainly, our health, relationships and faith are all near the top of the list. However, our career drives success in so many other areas of our lives. In exchange for our services we are compensated, in most cases. Our financial lives and careers are so finely intertwined it is hard to think of one without the other. That job makes shelter possible. Our yearly family vacation needs funding and our vehicles need gasoline (or maybe electricity) regularly. Occasionally we may even want to buy a few bottles of good wine! We seek an education to better ourselves with the optimism that we’ll be valued in the marketplace and land a great, stable opportunity.

Uncertainty Will Come

I have heard a few bad jokes like, “I just lost my job as a Psychic. I did not see that one coming.” What happens though when it is not a corny joke and we find ourselves in a situation where our career, our very livelihood, is cast into a state of doubt? The only certainty that a professional can rely on without exception, is to expect uncertainty in their professional lives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in August 2016 that 3.2 million professionals were displaced from jobs they held for at least 3 years from 2013-2015. For millennials things get even more interesting. Today’s greenest professionals are likely to change jobs at least four times before they are 32 years old according to recent research by LinkedIn.

Preparation and structure are the keys to surviving and even thriving in the midst of a career change. For the last 8 years, my company has been fortunate to work with all levels of professionals who have found themselves in a career transition. Greater than 80% of our clients at Barton Career Advisors have the same thing in common. They have been so busy doing their jobs that virtually no time has been invested in planning or critical thinking for their next job. Unfortunately, our formal education rarely includes coursework in long-term career management and personal professional marketing.

Ten Critical Questions

I was fortunate to recently launch an eBook entitled, “10 Questions to Better Success in Your Career Search” to help professionals manage career change. There are 10 critical questions that every professional should be asking (and answering) when it comes to a career search. It is ideal when our reflections around these questions are not forced or coming from a place of fear and uncertainty. Taking some time each year to reflect on these questions throughout our career helps to maintain a sense of proactive energy and confidence over our pathway.


The Top Ten Questions to a Better Career Search

  1. When is the last time I had to deal with a significant professional change and how did I handle it?

  2. Do I have access to records regarding my professional history and accomplishments like performance appraisals and other reports?

  3. How strong is my social media presence on virtual networking groups like LinkedIn and do I have a plan for how to use these tools to support my search?

  4. Do I have a complete sense of my skills, values and desired work to succinctly articulate my unique selling proposition to anyone who might ask including hiring managers or referral sources?

  5. Do my resume and search materials reflect the most current trends in professional branding and have I adequately conveyed transferable skills that can be leveraged in other industries or roles?

  6. Is my network strong enough outside my current company to help me if I end up in a career transition?

  7. What should my approach be for identifying target companies and target roles for my job search?

  8. How comfortable am I with speaking about myself frequently and sharing stories about my specific accomplishments, projects and areas of expertise?

  9. What is my plan to share my job change or transition with my personal relationships including my family?

  10. Do I have a sense for my top 5-6 professional relationships and how those individuals can assist me in my search?


Start Now

Today is a great time to begin preparations for the next phase of your career, because it will likely come much earlier than you think. Set a goal to get to a place where you're thinking about the most critical questions for your career and where you have the confidence to take action. I believe that each of us was created with gifts and capabilities, that when correctly positioned, enable the work and careers that we deserve.

Get It Free Now - Chris Barton’s new eBook “10 Questions to Better Success with Your Career Search” is out now and it is available FREE at for a limited time.

“I'm qualified to tell you that your career search is about to get a little easier. I know this because over the last 8 years, my firm, Barton Career Advisors has helped thousands of professionals find their next career opportunity. Second, you were proactive enough to download this book seeking answers to those nagging questions about what to do next. Finally, I believe that each of us was created with gifts and capabilities, that when correctly positioned, enable the work and careers that we deserve. I founded Barton Career Advisors in 2009 on the premise that we wanted to make career transition services available to everyone. This is also one of the reasons that we wrote Better Career Search. This book represents the 10 most critical questions you need to be asking when it's time to make a career change.”


Chris Barton, MBA, SPHR, is an Adjunct Faculty member in the Graduate Programs in Human Resource Development at Villanova University. He is the President and Founder of Barton Career Advisors, an outplacement, training and consulting firm. Chris has more than 25 years of experience working in operations and HR executive leadership roles with professionals of all levels. He can be reached at

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