How to redesign your career now!

Last month I wrote about the importance of good wellbeing and restoring the balance in your life between five areas (health, contribution, learning, relaxation and relationships) to make your job search easier.  This month we are placing your career into the balance by considering the importance of taking the time to think about how you can find a job you enjoy that fits in with these five areas of your life.

The work mug!

hot-cocoa-clip-art-clipart-best-JEMUqX-clipartNow I know many of you will own a work mug and feel a strong attachment with this mug, especially when others request to use it.  Often it is the design of the mug reflecting part of our personality that forms this strong bond.  It becomes part of you and who you are!

I want you to now imagine you have two work mugs.  Although they are different mugs, the design of each reflects information about you.

The first mug is plain and simple.  It has your previous and current job titles written on it in big, bold writing.  Your attachment to this mug is strong because you have worked hard for these positions.

The second mug is colourful and has the word ‘Me’ in big, bold writing across the centre.  The detail surrounding the word ‘Me’ includes information about your skills, knowledge, personality and interests.  However, it does not mention your previous job titles.

You are now going to give two people you don’t know one of your mugs to look at.   You give your first mug to Person 1 and your second mug to Person 2 and ask both individuals which careers they think would best suit you based on the design of the mug they have been given.

Who do you think was able to give you the most useful and comprehensive answer?

Perhaps Person 1 was able to give you a good answer.  From your previous job titles, they could work out what experience you had. You would also prefer this to be the answer as you have worked hard to get to where you are now and would like your previous job titles to feature in your decision.

In fact, it was Person 2 who came up with the best suggestions.  Despite not knowing your previous job roles, they were able to provide you with the most comprehensive answer based on detailed information about you and your life.

The challenge for Person 1 was that a job title says very little about who you are and what you want.  Person 1 didn’t know about your interests, the skills you enjoy using, the environments which suit your personality and the extra knowledge you may have.

The second mug is now your focus.

When looking for the best job for you that fits in with your life, it is important to take the time to understand who you are, what you want and what makes you be at your best.  Ideally, you want to find a job that uses your most enjoyable skills in a field based on your favourite subjects.  Without this information, this job is hard to find.  Take the time to understand who you are and design a mug that reflects everything about you. This will enable you to discover suitable career options that best suit your personality.

The easiest way to find a job you actually enjoy

Work-life-balanceAt a wedding I attended a few years ago, I started chatting to a lady during the reception. The reception was taking place in a marquee in the beautiful countryside and, as expected, everyone was in good spirits.  The lady I was talking to was extremely friendly and, having introduced myself to her, I asked:

‘What do you do?’ 

She looked slightly embarrassed and hesitated.  She eventually responded by saying that she didn’t do anything.

Really?  Can this be right?  Did she do nothing at all?

Baffled by her answer and unsure how to respond, I moved the conversation on as I continued chatting with her.  During our conversation I discovered that she of course did do something.  In fact, she did lots of things!  She was a mother of three children, a housewife, volunteered a lot of time to her local community and enjoyed running.

This lady’s response is not unusual.

For many, work has been such a dominant part of their lives that it dominates their thoughts, feelings and lives.  When asked ‘what do you do?’, the only thing they think of is work.

Does this mean without work, we do nothing?

There are risks involved in allowing work to dominate our lives in this way.  These risks are created from the presence of a huge imbalance in our lives as we give lots of time and energy to work, leaving little time to attend to all other aspects of our lives.  This imbalance is barely noticeable when work is going well.  During these times you feel strong and good about yourself.  You are achieving.  However, we all know that work is rarely good all the time and there is a risk that when it is not going well, or you are not in paid employment, the imbalance can make you feel fragile, unhappy and stressed.  It is left to the weaker areas of your life to make you feel good about yourself.  While you feel like this, the possibility of finding a career you enjoy moves further and further away as you become increasingly despondent and stressed.

I may be painting a bleak picture, but I want to highlight to you the risk of allowing work to take over your life and the impact this can have on a job search, or even your performance at work, when it is not going well.

If you find that work is starting to dominate your thoughts, feelings and actions, it is time to restore the balance in your life. Take the time to think about all areas of your life, such as health, contribution, learning, relaxation and relationships, and work out how you can establish a healthy balance between them all each week.  Perhaps make some time to learn something new or to help others.   Also, ensure you allow enough time to exercise, see friends and to relax.  You want to be able to provide a range of answers to the question ‘What do you do?’ so that when the strength of one area in your life is under threat, other parts of your life can help to strengthen and restore it again.

Restoring the balance in your life will improve your motivation, confidence and happiness, making it easier to continue your job search and find a job you enjoy.

Further reading:

Top ten tips for finding a work-life balance

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Spotlight career interview: Creating your dream career through a portfolio career

My spotlight interviews return to help and encourage those wanting to find a fulfilling and rewarding career.

toni 1My third interview is with Toni Sharp who talks about how she created an inspirational portfolio career spending part of her working week in her role as an Employment and HR solicitor whilst also spending time working as a travel consultant.  Portfolio careers are a great way of creating a career which matches your interests and provides flexibility. The increasing range and variety of jobs available allows for a more creative and flexible approach when designing your career path.  Toni’s journey in creating her portfolio career is an inspirational read as she details how she made her decisions to find different roles which match her passions, skills and interests.

 

Spotlight career interviews:

Read Toni’s interview here: Solicitor makes leap of faith and creates her dream portfolio career

 

Previous interviews:

Returning to work:  Suzanne talks about how she made an exciting career change and successfully returned to work after a two-year break to start her own business. Read her interview here: Engineer and Mum returns to work and makes successful career change following career break.

Career Change: Radha talks about how she changed career from fundraiser to setting up her own travel company.  She shows how taking control of your decisions can lead to amazing career opportunities.  Read her interview here: Fundraiser follows passion and sets up travel company

 

Relevant help sheets:

Could a portfolio career be right for you?

Career options for lawyers

Transferrable skills for lawyers

 

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

CV Pitfalls/Setbacks and how to get over them By CV-Library

cv-clipartJob applications can be time consuming and it can be tempting to throw everything down on paper and get applying! However, if you’re keen to perfect your CV there are a few pitfalls to be wary off. Avoid these and you can write a brilliant CV that stands out and impresses recruiters in no time. Below CV-Library explains what these pitfalls are and how you can get over them with some helpful advice.

Lying

It might be appealing to lie on your CV in the hope of securing an interview. Especially if you feel that you lack experience or the right qualifications. However, not only is this morally wrong it could also damage your chances of securing the job.

If something doesn’t seem right to the hiring manager they may investigate it further and you could be caught out. This could affect all future applications with that company so it isn’t worth the risk.

Instead, you should focus on the transferable skills that make you great. Think about how you can sell these to the hiring manager. For example, using figures is a good way to stand out from the crowd and show what you can bring to the company results. You might include the number of people you managed, the revenue you made or the percentage of targets you hit in your previous job.

Unexplained gaps

There are a range of reasons why someone might take a break from work and there’s nothing wrong with this as long as there’s an explanation. Unexplained gaps can ring alarm bells with recruiters. For instance, when there’s no given reason why you haven’t worked for over a year they may assume the worst.

To avoid this, add information about your career break or employment gap in the ‘employment history’ section of your CV. A brief explanation that you were travelling, studying or on maternity leave will do.

Overused phrases

The recruiter will be reading a lot of CVs and will be familiar with the cliché, overused words that don’t mean a lot. Phrases such as ‘I’m a team player’ or ‘I have great organisation skills’ don’t prove anything about your real talents.

Therefore, think about what you’re writing carefully. Any statements you make must have evidence to back them up. To do this follow the show not tell rule, this means you need to pick apart everything you say on your CV and check that you’ve given examples.

For example, you might show how you successfully lead a team through a conflict or organised a challenging project.

Too long or short

A lengthy CV of four pages might send the hiring manager to sleep. Equally, a mere half a page may not be enough to convince them you’re right for the role! It’s all about balance and including the most relevant information.

To ensure you get this right, aim for two A4 pages that include only the relevant information so you can keep the recruiter engaged. This means you should cut out anything that may be deemed irrelevant, such as the Saturday job you had at 16 that isn’t related to the role you’re applying for at all.

In summary

CVs can be difficult to perfect and do require a lot of time and thought. However, putting in the effort will get you results and is definitely worth it. Follow the advice above to help you out and you could be shortlisted for an interview in no time!

 

By CV-Library

 

How to tackle the changing job market

‘It has been estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today ultimately end up working in completely new jobs that don’t yet exist.’

I have recently been providing career coaching sessioDream Job on Green Highway Signpost.ns for secondary school students.  Working with this age group is always a good reminder of the importance of being prepared for the evolving job market by initially moving them away from choosing specific job titles and instead creating a career vision.  As these young people may not be entering the world of work for another 7+ years, a vision will enable them to be adaptable when faced with different and changing options for progressing their career as well as focussed when making the best decisions for them.

In the same way, when you started thinking about your career the job market probably looked very different to how it looks now.   However, at school you were probably presented with a limited list of jobs to choose from: a nurse, a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, an engineer, the military. Did this list prepare you for the vast array of jobs that are available today?  Did any of the jobs really suit you?  Did this careers advice prepare you for the inevitable changes that are occurring within the world of work?

Tackling the job market today

Picking a job title, going for it and hoping you like is no longer the best way to start thinking about the best career options for you. There will be all sorts of new types of jobs and career sectors now available (this article may interest you, 10 jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago) and the best way to discover these is to create a career vision that helps to focus your search.  This vision can be adapted to suit you and your circumstances and enables you to remain open to new ideas, rather than limiting yourself to specific jobs.

As you use your vision to search for the best job or career to suit you, your role is to discover and investigate what is available, moving you away from the traditional job search to a more creative one.  There will be a job that suits you and, by keeping an open and inquisitive mind, you will find it.

When changing jobs or career, keep an open mind as you look for opportunities that best suit you.

….just one more thing before you go…

My blog was recently selected as one of the Top 10 Career Development Blogs on the web…check out the list.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

 

Spotlight career interview: it is possible to change career following a career break!

Last month I launched the first in a series of spotlight career interviews to help and encourage those wanting to find a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Version 2

My second interview went live this month with Suzanne Wigmore talking about how she returned to work and made a successful career change following a career break.  Career breaks and returning to work is currently an extremely popular topic and many of you are wondering about the options available to you.  I know you will find inspiration in reading about how Suzanne returned to work and discovered a career that would provide her with enjoyment and fulfilment as well as the right balance with her personal and family commitments.  It is possible!

 

Spotlight career interviews:

Read Suzanne’s interview here: Engineer and Mum returns to work and makes successful career change following career break.

My first interview was with Radha Vyas.  She talks about how she changed career from fundraiser to setting up her own travel company.  She shows how taking control of your decisions can lead to amazing career opportunities.  Read her interview here: Fundraiser follows passion and sets up travel company.

 

Relevant help sheets:

6 tips on how to make a smooth transition when returning to work after time away

Resources for working Mums

5 steps to discover whether a career change is right for you

 

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

FIND CAREER INSPIRATION NOW FROM OUR NEW SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS

How do you make the first step towards building a fulfilling and rewarding career?

Over the next few months I am inviting others to tell you about their careers in a series of spotlight career interviews.   I hope these interviews will provide interesting and inspiring reading to those of you who are feeling unfulfilled by your careers.

I decided to launch this series of interviews because many people I speak to lack the confidence to change career or are finding it hard to work out what they want to do for a job, frequently asking me for true examples of career changes to help them progress with their ideas.

I hope this series of interviews will encourage you to make the first step towards building a fulfilling and rewarding career as well as providing you with new job ideas.

The first spotlight career interview

Radha_profile pic

I am launching the series with an interview that will show you how taking control of your decisions can lead to amazing career opportunities.

By making the first step and trying out ideas, Radha made a successful and inspirational career change from fundraiser to setting up her own adventure travel company, Flash Pack. Do have a read of her interview below.  She gives some great advice for those wanting to change career and you may also be inspired to take a holiday!

FUNDRAISER FOLLOWS PASSION AND SET UP SUCCESSFUL TRAVEL COMPANY

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk