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Charting Your Career Alternatives


Enda Goodwin
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Completing a Career Alternatives Chart helps you explore options and possibilities. It also helps you see how to transfer skills into other functions or industries. By identifying what you want and do not want in the way of functions or tasks (your professional objective), field or industries (your target market) and other factors (work environments and logistics related to work), you can define short-term and long-term career goals.

The job responsibilities and tasks you have performed in the past are not necessarily the best ones for you in the future. A job should make use of your best skills, but you should also consider other important factors, including your values, interests and preferences.

The following example illustrates how one person explored his options. The job Howard ended up taking is not one he would have considered initially. By exploring his options he became more aware of the opportunities available to him.

Read the following case study and then look at his Career Alternatives Chart.

Case Study: Howard

For the last 20 years of his career at a leading computer hardware company, Howard steadily worked his way up the corporate ladder, earning an MBA in marketing along the way. In his last position as a Regional Vice President, he was responsible for one of the largest and most profitable units. Running his unit as a small company, Howard enjoyed the autonomy and the diversity of his responsibilities. He considered himself a hands-on manager, capable of wearing many hats, and prided himself on his ability to motivate and challenge employees to achieve and excel.

When it was announced that the company had been acquired by another firm in a different location, Howard was faced with the decision of whether to move his family or stay in his current location. A community leader, active in many civic and charitable groups, Howard decided not to relocate, accepted the separation package and turned to the task of finding another position.

He had enjoyed a successful career, but was uncertain about which direction to take. Combining his management and marketing experience and expertise with his desire to stay involved in community activities, Howard accepted a position as chairman of a large charitable organization headquartered in his hometown.

Howard's Career Alternatives Chart 

Professional Objective Do not want Might want Want
  • Job functions or tasks 
  • What kind of work do I want to do?
  • Heavy sales
  • Financial responsibilities
  • Consulting
  • Managing
  • Supervising people
  • Marketing
  • To run the show
Target Market Do not want Might want Want
  • Field or industries
  • Where do I want to work?
  • Automotive industry
  • Insurance company
  • Mega Company
  • Computer industry
  • Non profit
  • Own business
  • Small-to-medium-sized company
Other Requirements Do not want Might want Want
  • Work environment
  • Logistics relating to work?
  • Relocating
  • Excessive travel
  • Moderate travel
  • Make a difference
  • Remain in current location
  • Challenge
  • Time for outside activities


Explore your options and possibilities by mapping out your career alternatives using our Career Alternatives Chart template.

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