How to start a new career on the right foot

Are you looking to change your career path but are feeling stuck? Maybe you are just out of college and not sure where to start? According to career coach and workshop facilitator Dee Kane, the first step to planning your future is doing an in-depth interview — and not with a potential employer, but with yourself.

"When you do a self-evaluation you can really hone in on the jackpot job," said Kane, whose client base ranges from high school seniors to adults looking to shift gears. "You need to know yourself. Do people excite and ignite you or do they drain you? Do you like working with numbers or being creative? Do you want to work with people, information or things?"

If interviewing yourself sounds challenging, Kane said to ask friends and family to do it for you.

"They can help reflect back to you what you do well and where you excel," she said. "They can also help you look at things you've done in the past. The biggest piece of information is what you don't do well and what you dislike. This will tell you a lot."

Once you've finished your self-interview, Kane suggests making a checklist.

"Take a look at what tasks would really motivate you to go to work the next day — whether it's understanding complex physical systems or creating and designing," she said "Do you want to be in a place that's fast-paced or slow-paced? Casual or business? Look at the physical environment and find an environment that you fit in."

Kane said it's also important to do research—to help you get a better understanding of the job, as well as the starting salary.

"A lot of jobs might sound glamorous or you may think they pay really well, but once you look into it this might not be the case," she said. "I tell my clients to look at This site gives a ton of data on all aspects of a job."

The final step before applying for jobs, Kane said, is doing an informational interview with someone working in the field that interests you.

"The key is you never do this with someone who is going to hire you, but with someone who is doing the job you want to learn more about," she said. "You're just there to get a picture of what your day would look like and whether you would like sitting in their shoes."

Here are the five questions Kane recommends asking during the informational interview:

•How did you get started?

•What do you like most about your work?

•What are the challenges you have with your job?

•What advice would you give someone like me who is interested in this field?

•Do you know anyone else I could talk to in this field, and may I use your name when I make the contact?

Kane said learning the details from someone who is working in a desired field will help narrow the options.

"Doing an informational interview can either really excite you—or terrify you," she said. "Then you'll know if it's worth pursuing, or time to move to another potential job on your list."

Twitter: @jenweigel

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • The Kids These Days family tree

    The Kids These Days family tree

    From its 2009 beginnings to its 2013 demise, Chicago's Kids These Days seemed like one of the most promising acts the city had seen in years. While the band split up at the height of its hype, its members have since gone on to do bigger and better things—seriously impressive considering the hip-hop/rock/jazz...

  • Chicago sues red light camera firm for $300 million

    Chicago sues red light camera firm for $300 million

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has sued Chicago's former red light camera operator, Redflex Traffic Systems, for more than $300 million on grounds the entire program was built on a $2 million bribery scheme at City Hall that has already led to federal corruption convictions.

  • Solid 'Gold': How ex-Kids These Days members came back stronger as Marrow

    Solid 'Gold': How ex-Kids These Days members came back stronger as Marrow

    After the dissolution of Kids These Days, the much-buzzed about Chicago fusion-jazz-rock-rap septet that split in spring 2013 just a few months after releasing its only album, “Traphouse Rock,” some of its members spent what seems like all of 20 minutes bandless. "We were driving back from the...

  • Mr Twin Sister's 'In the House of Yes' is one of last year's hidden treasures

    Mr Twin Sister's 'In the House of Yes' is one of last year's hidden treasures

    Welcome to RedEye's "Song of the Day," an ongoing feature where music reporter Josh Terry or another RedEye staff member highlights something they're listening to. Some days the track will be new, and some days it will be old. No matter what, each offering is something you should check out. Check...

  • GrubHub's weekend customer-support issues made people hangry

    GrubHub's weekend customer-support issues made people hangry

    Technical difficulties at GrubHub and Seamless over the weekend drove hordes of hangry would-be customers to air their grievances on social media. The food ordering and delivery sites, which merged in 2013 and use GrubHub’s back-end technology, errantly accepted payments on Saturday evening without...

  • One dead in Heart of Chicago after being shot by police

    One dead in Heart of Chicago after being shot by police

    A 29-year-old man died after being shot by police on the Lower West Side early Saturday, police said.