Q: I’m a Computer Science graduate. For the first two years I began teaching Computer Science, but I resigned later to work in the field of marketing. Right now I work in the Sales and Marketing Department as a Subscription Officer. It’s confusing because I came from a computer background, and now, I’m into marketing. I want a new job. What field should I apply in: computers or marketing? I really want a new job.

– Cecille

A: Before you move into a different job and field, take the time to ask yourself a few questions. This might ease your confusion and lead to good career decisions. Why did you study computer science? After two years of teaching computer science, what prompted you to go into marketing? Is your present organization IT-related; do you sell and market computers, software, or IT solutions? Or are you in a totally different industry-which leads to your confusion? Are other fields, aside from IT and marketing, an option for you?

Now that you “really want a new job”, I have two more questions for you: What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? These two questions highlight your competencies and your motivations-important things to consider when looking for a new job or a new field to get into. Competencies and motivations go hand-in-hand when you’re on the jobhunt. When you answer these questions, you can go beyond your experience in computers and marketing; think of your experiences in high school or university, in your extra-curricular activities, and even in your personal life.

What are you good at? Your competencies go beyond your technical knowledge of computers or your work-related experience in sales and marketing. Are you good at planning and organizing your projects or activities; do you prioritize, schedule, and maximize available resources? Do you meet your deadlines? Do you make good decisions? Do you communicate well? Are you articulate, confident, and do you maintain the attention of your audience? Do you present your ideas well, whether in a formal or informal setting? How well do you manage conflict? Are you innovative? Do you respond quickly to concerns or issues at hand and take responsibility for your actions? Do you learn new skills quickly and are you able to apply them back at work?

The answers to these questions can help determine your competencies. Competencies are the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that are necessary for success in a job and an organization. Some examples of competencies are: Planning and Organizing, Managing Work (including Time Management), Decision Making, Communication, Formal Presentation, Managing Conflict, Innovation, Initiative, Customer Focus, Practical Learning. Some competencies, like Persuasiveness/Sales Ability or System Design, for example, are more specific to the jobs of a Medical Representative and an Engineer, respectively. When looking for a new job, you should match your competencies to what the job requires-the better the match, the better the chances the company will hire you, and more importantly, the better the chances for your success. Try not to limit your options to IT or marketing; think of your competencies and match these with available jobs.

What do you enjoy doing? You may be good in either computers or marketing; but have you asked yourself if you enjoy your work? What you like or dislike (or find satisfying or dissatisfying) in your job and organization define your motivations at work. Are you looking for a job that offers many promotion opportunities, formal recognition, and high levels of interpersonal support? Are you looking for an organization that is lean and mean, values diversity, and promotes personal growth? Match these motivations with what a position or field offer. Again, try not to limit your options to IT or marketing. The better the match, the greater your motivational fit; the greater the fit, the happier (and less confused) you will be.

The quadrant below might be helpful when you plot out your options. When you’re weighing the pros and cons of a particular job or field, try to plot it out on two axes: one for your computer or technical skills, and the other for your motivational fit.

There is a greater chance for success and satisfaction in a job, organization, and/or career, when there is a greater “match” or “fit” with your competencies and motivations. Give yourself ample time for self-reflection on these two areas; hopefully, you will discover 1) why you’re in the IT or marketing field, 2) which field you really “fit” in, and 3) what you need to do to get a new job in that “best fit” field.

All the best in your career, Cecille!

Yours truly,

Nikki Dy-Liacco works with SGV-Development Dimensions International (SGV-DDI) a joint venture between SGV and Company, a management consultancy firm and Development Dimensions International (DDI). SGV-DDI specializes in aligning people systems with business strategies to improve business performance