Decision Making Tips For Career Changers

Tools To Help You Make The Best Career Choice

Now that you have spent some time exploring who you are and what you want, you may feel you need some decision making tips that will help you to make your mind up about your career change.

scale and hand

There are lots of approaches to decision making and some will work better for you than others. A lot will depend on the kind of person you are.

If you are a very left brain, rational person, you may like the kind of decision making where you objectively weigh up pros and cons.

If you are more of a right brain, intuitive type, you are likely to prefer following your instincts when you are assessing a career change.

What you will find here is a selection of decision making tips for you to try and you can dip in and see which ones work for you. Some are quite rational. Others tap into a more intuitive side of your brain. And you will find 10 more techniques to help with decision making here.

What if…?

The first of my decision making tips is useful if you are stuck with a ‘shall I, shan’t I?’ dilemma. Try these four questions:

  • What will happen/what will I feel if I do…
  • What will happen/what will I feel if I don’t…
  • What won’t happen/what won’t I feel if I do…
  • What won’t happen/what won’t I feel if I don’t…

Take your time over these and try to think through all the consequences of your action – or inaction.

Just asking these questions may be enough to make you realise you just have to do something, that you have got past the point of hesitation. Or alternatively you may see that you are not willing to take the risks involved in a change.

Get together with your Career Change Buddy and ask him or her to talk through the answers to the questions above
and help you understand the issues involved in your career change decisions.

Force field analysis

This is one of the more rational, left brain decision making tips. Start off by drawing a diagram like this:

force field analysis
  • In the centre block, describe the change you want to make.
  • In each of the upward pointing arrows, describe the factors and issues that support and favour the change.
  • In each of the downward pointing arrows, describe the factors and issues that may work against the change.
  • Add extra arrows if you need them.
  • Give a weighting to each arrow on a scale of 1(low importance to you and the issue) – 10 (high importance to you and the issue)
  • Add up the scores on the plus and minus side to see which side wins out.

Consider the weightings on each side for you personally. Are you prepared to tolerate the negative factors in order to get the benefits of the positive ones?

Your personality and decision making

Have you tried the simple personality test on this site? Once you have identified your preferences, you will find that they can influence the way you approach making decisions and solving problems. These decision making tips are based on the fact that we all use our preferred modes first.

If you prefer Sensing

You take a realistic and practical approach and avoid wishful thinking. You ask:

9What are the facts of my current situation and of the option I am considering?

If you prefer iNtuition

You trust intuition and are unlikely to rule out a possibility on the grounds that it is impractical. You ask:

What are the possibilities this option could open up for me?

If you prefer Thinking

You detach yourself from the decision and carefully weigh the consequences of action. You ask:

What are the logical consequences of me pursuing this option?

If you prefer Feeling

You like your decisions to be in line with your values and you consider their impact on others. You ask:

What is the personal impact of this option on me and my family, friends and colleagues?

However, it is a good idea to actively engage your less preferred functions too. So if your type includes Sensing and Thinking, make sure you consciously spend time checking out possibilities (N) and impact (F) too before you decide.

Toss a coin

This might sound too flippant to be on my list of decision making tips, but it can be a great way of checking your gut feeling about something.

Decide to toss a coin with your two options eg stay in my current job vs retrain to become an osteopath. As the coin spins in the air listen out for what your heart is wanting the outcome to be.

You may find that deep inside you, you are wanting one outcome more than the other. Or perhaps when the coin has fallen, instead of accepting the result, something in you says – well may be I’ll try best of three!

Pay attention to these quiet voices. They are coming from your more intuitive, less rational side, but they may be shining the spotlight on the right answer for you.


Another intuitive approach to decision making is to intentionally switch off any attempts to weigh up a rational solution.

Instead you just take up a pen and set yourself 10 – 15 minutes to just write at random about your issue. Don’t censor what you write or worry about correct spelling or grammar. Write odd words or broken phrases if that is what flows from your pen. Jump around from topic to topic rather than try and finish off a line of thinking.

The idea is to, in effect, take a dictation from your heart and see what comes up for you.

What does your heart tell you?

The perfect decision?

But at the end of the day, don’t look for a perfect solution. Probably the most important decision making tips are:

  • Don’t expect your analysis to add up to 100% in favour or against. All change involves gain and loss – what are you prepared to lose in order to gain a new career you will really love?
  • Expect to waver a bit! You are stepping into unknown territory and that is bound to feel a bit scary. If you wait to feel totally confident, you may wait for ever.
  • Remember that decisions are not set in tablets of stone. You can revise and adjust your career direction as you go along.

So don’t allow yourself to be frozen into inactivity by thinking this is the be all and end all of your life.

And most important of all, take action, however small, to get you moving!

‘If you keep on doing what you have always done,
you’ll keep on getting what you have always got.’

More decision making tips
Check out this great source of advice to help you
develop confidence in your decision making

Read more decision making techniques here

About the author

Amy Thomas

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