Early January, did you make resolutions – lose weight, stop smoking, learn a language, but already struggling? why is it so hard to make a success of this?
Is one of your goals to get a new job? Let’s talk through a structure to help you get the change you want in 2013.
Review your goal – What do you want – a new job or is to change how you view your current job?
Some people live to work, it’s the main focus of their life and provides satisfaction and their identity. Other people see work as a means to an end, it gives them an income for the lifestyle they choose. If you need a certain income level to meet your needs then you may need to continue with a job you have trained for, and have the expertise that people will pay for. A choice to do something you prefer could lead to a significant drop in income. Can you live with this?
If you need the income level then you may need to change how you view your job and/or make some changes to your job.
Choose an approach – Decide if you want to move towards or away from something.
You may want to choose something new – you know the job you want but may be unclear how to become successful. Or you may seek to move away from a job you hate, or a difficult boss.
If you want something new you need to work out what. There are different approaches you can take:
- Look on job sites, but if you don’t know what you want you could be overwhelmed by choices.
- Take time to think about your strengths, your talents, your interests and to identify some options you can research
- Do creative exploring, see below.
If you want to move away from something you hate, be really clear what it is so you avoid getting into the same situation again. It can help to write down everything you dislike about your current work situation, see if you can address any of this right now and make sure your next choice won’t put you back in a similar situation.
Take time to relax, and close your eyes. Get thinking of all the things you would love to do if money was no object. Don’t worry about the practicalities at this time. Then open your eyes and start writing as fast as you can and get every idea on paper. Write everything down, you can edit later. You can keep adding to this list too.
Now review your list. Look at what you have, can you group some together? Then think about why these options are important to you. Not all of them may be conventional careers so how could you find out more about turning these into a job? Some people find it easy to see how dreams can become real so if you are more likely to think of the reasons why something won’t work you may need to get some support from friends or a career coach, choose someone who is creative and will inspire you.
We now need to add some realism, which are possible and which will remain as dreams? Now time to narrow things down, think of the reasons why not. You should now have some new ideas to explore.
Once you make a decision you can dig deep through online research and talking with people. You will want to identify your likelihood of success – are you likely to be a credible candidate? If not it’s time to review your plan and either develop new skills and expertise or rethink your goal.
Review your CV
When you know what you want to do, give your CV an objective review. How well does it sell you for the job that you want? Ask people who work in HR or recruitment for advice, would they shortlist you? Look at the requirements for the jobs you seek, make sure you include evidence on all these areas. You may need to get yourself ready for this job through gaining extra experience or think of an interim job change step.
Set a SMARTER Goal – A resolution is not enough
You know that a goal should be SMART, but often we forget to check it out. Make sure your goal is not just Smart but SMARTER. Is your goal
- SPECIFIC – Clear on what you want to achieve. If job hunting are you clear on what job?
- MEASURABLE – Getting ae new job is a clear measure of success but it helps to break it down into sub steps such as: revise CV, research the current challenges in the industry etc;
- ACHIEVABLE – Whilst stretch goals can be perfect, perhaps you need an interim step firstly to get a job as a Marketing Assistant, then Marketing Executive as you work towards being a Marketing Director;
- REALISTIC – most things are possible if we set our minds to them and focus, but if we struggle with science will we ever pass the exams to qualify as a physiotherapist?
- TIME BOUND – find out how long it will take to move from x to y. You can then list the sub steps and create a time line;
- EXCITING – Is it something you want to do. Make sure it makes you want to get on and get there;
- RECORDED – we need to write it down and monitor progress. Then we can do things differently if it’s not working out.
Love your job more
Possibly you are not going to be a perfect match, you may lack certain experience or need to get a qualification. That’s when you may need a new perspective in your current job. You could
- Decide to like your job, and identify 5-10 positive features such as a nice work location, close to home, you can finish early on a Friday. Get writing now;
- Each lunchtime make a note of one positive event from the morning, such as you stayed calm with an angry customer, and wrote a report 15 minutes quicker than last week, do the same before you leave work at the end of the day;
- Think about how you can help your boss, look for ways that you can improve your job, or save the company money or get more clients. These will be great examples for your CV and should make your job more interesting.
Prepare yourself for the job you want
- What books and articles will help you learn more about the industry challenges?
- Start talking to people who work in the area you seek and find out what you can do to improve your chances.
Use Social Media
If you aren’t using social media you are stuck in the 20th century and missing out on many ways to enhance your knowledge and increase your chance of success. At the minimum you should be on LinkedIn to connect with others, network via groups and find answers to many questions. You can also follow companies using Twitter and Facebook. Making comments on their sites can demonstrate your interest and intelligence and help build your reputation.
Use different ways to search for a job
Don’t just focus on using online job sites. Also connect with others, get yourself known through having articles published and identify organisations to contact direct.
If your new year goal is to get a new job, be realistic, it will take time. You can help by identifying mini steps to move you towards your goal.
In the meantime stay focused on your job, list all your achievements, both to help improve your CV and to be ready to share at interview. Look for how you can help your boss. This will help improve your CV and can be used as examples at interview but it should also increase your motivation. Who knows, your boss may see a new side to you and give you more responsibility which could lead to an internal job change.
To your success in 2013!
Brought to you by Denise Taylor, double award winning career psychologist with Amazing People (www.amazingpeople.co.uk) and the author of ‘How To Get A Job In A Recession.’ My 7th book ‘Getting the Job You Want’ published by ICON books is now on sale.
This article was also published in Changing Careers Online Magazine.