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How to Find a Career That Celebrates Your Background

Research can make all the difference when you’re at a turning point in your career. A number of things could have led you to this point …  wanting a career in a completely different industry, moving to a new city, retiring from a long-time career, or just looking for a better opportunity. Regardless, it’s crucial to find a company that is a good match for your values, background and goals.

Finding the company where you love getting up and going to work every day is easier said than done. There’s a lot of research to do up front. Here’s just a few tips to get you started:

1. Compare your values. 

The things we care deeply about aren’t always part of our careers, but when you’re seeking a career change, you have the option to work for a company that values the things you do. For example, if you’re extremely patriotic, you may want to work for a company that actively honors veterans. If you’re service-oriented, you may want to adopt a career that involves giving back.

First of all, with any company you are considering, check out the company’s website. In the “About” or “About Us” section, you often will find information on the company’s mission, vision and values, as well as corporate giving and community service.

This information is great, but this is also language that the company has officially approved. To see what the company is actively doing, turn to social media. Check out both the company’s corporate page and pages for any local offices. This is where you’ll see how the company acts on those things you’re looking for, like giving back or supporting certain causes. This also will help you see how actively involved those that work for the company are in these efforts.

2. Line up your personality traits.

You are likely very skilled at the work you’ve done in the past, but the traits you’ve developed may lend well to another type of career. For example, if you are a military veteran, you may excel in a career as a sales representative.


Military Veterans      Successful Salespeople
Solve Problems Take Initiative
Work Well Under Pressure Don’t Give Up
Respond Well to Training Respond Well to Coaching
Willing to Learn Ask Questions
Demonstrate Strong Work Ethic Manage Time Well
Adapt Easily Want to Do Right by People
Lead Others Listen Well
Work Well Independently or in  a Team Exercise Independence and Resourcefulness
Act Politely Act Respectfully
Focus on Values Exhibit Passion
Act Persistently Hold Positive Attitudes

As you can see, traits you develop in one career can lend very well to another. You can learn new skills, but good employers actively seek certain personality traits. Also, it is likely that you developed many of these personality traits on the basis of strongly held beliefs, so it’s important to choose a company and a job that are on the same page. You can determine some of these things by looking at a company’s career website and job descriptions.

3. Determine your priorities.

Most people talk about the perfect career or work/life balance, but that means something different to everyone. Perhaps you missed out on family time in a previous career, so a flexible schedule is most important. Or maybe you’re at a stage where medical or retirement benefits matter most. Maybe you need to make a lot of money, or thrive with great recognition. Regardless of your priorities, when you align them with the company you choose to work for, it can make all the difference in how happy you are with a new career.

First, decide what the top three “must haves” are for you and your family. Any time you look into a company or a specific position, see if they mention these three items in job postings or company materials. If you don’t see them, and you’re still very interested, contact the hiring manager or the company’s human resources department to ask about your top three wants. Take this step before you even apply, and save both yourself and the company time if the situation won’t be a good fit.

4. Get the inside scoop.

One final way to research what a career or a company is actually like is to talk to someone who’s living it. Connect on LinkedIn with someone who works at the company you’re curious about. Try to choose someone who began working there at least a couple years ago. Also try talking to someone in a position different from the one you’re interested in, to help find out more about the company in general.


Don’t just jump into your next career. Do the research first to find out if companies line up with your background, values, strengths, and needs. If you love your country, are looking for ways to give back in your local community and want to build your business with the support of a dedicated team, WoodmenLife might be the right match for you. Let’s start the conversation.


Let’s start a conversation

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