Making your dream career a reality

Dream Job on Green Highway Signpost.

Today I am going to take you on a journey to experience your dream career and discover how to make it a reality…

Many of you will be familiar with the mad hatter’s tea party in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Alice falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world where she meets lots of weird and wonderful creatures and one of her adventures includes becoming a guest at a ‘mad’ tea-party.

Like Alice, imagine for a moment falling down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world.  This world is a fantasy world of careers, within which you are only allowed positive thoughts.  Everyone behaves positively, thinks positively and feels good about themselves.  Furthermore, everyone loves their job and you do too!  In fact, you have just started a new job.  This is your ideal job and is a dream come true.  It is what you have always wanted to do, combining your skills, interests and values within an environment where you will thrive.  Life is pretty good right now. You are feeling confident, enjoying life and achieving in what you do.

After your first day at work in your new job, you have been invited to a tea-party.  This tea party has some very special guests attending who are really interested in what you are now doing and where your career path has taken you.  Before you arrive, they wonder what you have achieved.  Have you had a career change?  Have you returned to work?  Have you progressed successfully in your current role?

It’s time for the guests to find out about your dream job…

During the tea party you are served your favourite cup of tea and given a comfortable arm chair to sit on.  You feel relaxed, yet still full of excitement about your new job.  The guests are keen to hear every detail about your first day and so you proceed to tell them.  Remember, you are only allowed to be positive and you must give your guests every detail!

Take the time now to write down what you told your guests about your first day.  Include detail about your day such as what you were wearing, how you got to work, what the surroundings at work are like, who was there, what you did in the morning and in the afternoon. Where did you go and who did you see?  The guests are also keen to hear about what you hope to achieve in your job so write this down too. Remember, this is your ideal job and is a dream come true.

What you need to do after the tea party to make your dream a reality…

When returning to the real world, you feel excited having imagined being in your dream job and would love to start making steps towards making it a reality.  However, there is a risk your dreams will be shattered, preventing you from trying careers that suit you.  The main risk factor to look out for is negative thoughts.

Conquer your negative thoughts

As you step out of the rabbit hole, you are immediately knocked sideways by a voice shouting:

‘I WILL NEVER GET MY DREAM JOB’

You realise it is your own voice.  It didn’t take long for the protection of your negative thoughts to kick in, did it?  The thoughts that protect you from trying new things and risking failing.  The voice that might as well be saying:

‘I CAN’T DO IT’

The first thing you need to do to minimise the negative impact of this thinking on your chances of achieving your dream job, is to replace your ‘I can’t do it’ phrase with ‘I can do it’

‘I CAN DO IT’

The more you say, ‘I can do it’, the weaker your negative thoughts will become, and you will increase your chances of success and be free to start taking steps towards your ideal job.

(To find out more about tackling your negative thoughts, do have a read of my article ‘Four simple words that can transform your career’ where you will find four steps to help you transform your career.)

Keep fantasizing

The next thing you need to do is keep your end vision in sight.  Keep reminding yourself of what you wrote down about your dream career and keep taking small steps towards it.

Your vision combined with an ‘I CAN DO IT’ attitude will help to give you the best chance of achieving the best career path for you.

‘I have heard it said that the first ingredient of success – the earliest spark in the dreaming youth – is this: dream a great dream.’   (John A. Appleman, lawyer)

 

(If you are finding the fantasy exercise tricky, have a read of my blog ‘How to redesign your career now!’, to help you discover suitable career options that best suit your personality.)

 

 

The key ingredient for making a career change

i love my jobDo you enjoy a relaxing cup of herbal tea to ease the worries of the day? Which combination of ingredients would be your perfect choice of tea?  Perhaps your favourite is green tea with strawberry and vanilla or perhaps it’s apple and ginger.   There are so many types to choose from, all with a unique flavour made from a combination of different ingredients.

What would happen if you made yourself your favourite green tea with strawberry and vanilla, but there had been an error and the vanilla ingredient was missing?  It would be a different flavour, wouldn’t it? The tea would have a slightly different taste.   Each ingredient of your favourite tea has an important part to play in balancing the flavours to make it unique.  When an ingredient is missing, the balance of flavours is disrupted, and it will no longer taste like your favourite tea.  You may not enjoy it as much and feel slightly disappointed when you take your first sip.  It has done very little to ease your worries.

You are also made up of a combination of ingredients which make you unique.   These ingredients are your values, the fundamental principles you live by and are of absolute importance to you. They make up who you are (your unique flavour) and motivate you to achieve what you want to achieve.

Ensuring you are living your life in accordance with your values is an important consideration when considering a career change.  This is because when a value is not being fulfilled or an ingredient is missing from your life, the balance in your life is disrupted and you will become less motivated to achieve your goals.   You become stuck, feel stressed and lose some enjoyment of life.

If you have lost motivation, now is the perfect opportunity for you to consider your values.  Take some time to think about what is important to you right now.  You may wish to use headings such as wealth, health, family, work, relationships and fun and recreation to help you.  When thinking about each area, consider what positive values you get from this area and start identifying repeated values. Examples of values include love, wisdom, purpose and fulfilment.  Remember, each value will mean something different to different people.  What is important is what it means to you.

Once you have your list of values, you can identify any that are absent from your life right now and identify ways to incorporate them into your goals, including your career ambitions.  Any frustration you have felt in the past may have been due to a conflict with one of your values.  You will be more motivated at work if the content of your job and the environment you work in are aligned to your values.

Tessa’s 2018 career blog round-up – something to help everyone’s career!

CareerIt doesn’t seem that long ago when I was writing my 2017 round up and already we are looking forward to our next Christmas break.  I wonder what lies ahead for your career in 2019.  Will it be a career change?  Will you be returning to work?  Are you facing any uncertainty at work, perhaps through redundancy? Perhaps you are contemplating having a break from work?  Is there a promotion you have your eyes on?

Whatever your situation at work, I hope my 2018 blogs and articles will provide you will some helpful and insightful information to help you. There is something for everyone…

BLOGS

Unpacking an inspiring career in 2018 (Jan)uk_career_development_1000px

Hidden careers you never knew existed (Feb)

How do you choose the right career coach for you? (Feb)

Aiming for perfection is not realistic (Mar)

How to explain a career break (April)

Stop procrastinating and just do it! (May)

Find career inspiration now from our new spotlight interviews (May)

How to tackle the changing job market (Jul)

The easiest way to find a job you actually enjoy (Oct)    

How to redesign your career now? (Nov)

 

GUEST BLOG

CV Pitfalls/setbacks and how to get over them by CV-Library

 

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS

Fundraiser follows passion and sets up successful travel company

Discover how Radha made an inspirational career change from charity fundraiser to setting up her own company.

Engineer and Mum makes successful career change following career break

Find out how Suzanne made an exciting career change and successfully returned to work after a two-year break to start her own business.

Creating your dream career through a portfolio career

Discover how Toni Sharp has created a portfolio career, combining work as an employment solicitor and her love for travel.

 

ARTICLES

Three action points to help you change career (Jan – Life Coach Directory)

Taking a career break from work (Jan – Jobsite)

What to do when work gets you down (March – Life Coach Directory)

How to find hidden career opportunities (May – Life Coach Directory)

Top 10 UK Career Development Blog (June)

The secret to finding the best career path for you (Aug – Life Coach Directory)

Getting the most from your career search when times are tough (Oct – Life Coach Directory)

Four simple words that can transform your career (Dec – Life Coach Directory)

I look forward to being in touch again with more blogs and articles in the New Year!  In the meantime, I wish you a very merry Christmas!

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

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

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

Stop procrastinating and just do it!

career-coaching

Do you procrastinate over making decisions about your career, leaving your success to chance? 

A few years ago, I did a seminar for the Coventry and Warwickshire Young Professionals titled ‘A great way to get ahead in your career and it’s much better than leaving it to chance’.  It was about developing the ability to step out of your comfort zone and take control to enable you to achieve a fulfilled and successful career, full of opportunities and enjoyment.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  All you need to do is take control and you will be successful and happy.

If only it was that simple.  If it was, I would certainly be out of a job!  This is certainly a case of ‘easier said than done’, but why?  Why is it so hard to take control of our own lives?   Why do people need my help?

Procrastination, procrastination, procrastination…

Yes, we procrastinate.

I am sure you have been guilty of procrastinating, finding it creeping into your decision-making process and casting doubt on your great ideas.

Think about it.  What was the last big thing you wanted to achieve in your career?

  • A promotion at work?
  • A better work life balance? (Given we spend 70% of our waking energy on work, unsurprisingly I hear this one a lot.)
  • A career change?

What happened next?  Did you achieve it?

We all want things from our working lives, but often it stops there.   Procrastination takes control and we do nothing about it.  We leave success to chance.

However, it doesn’t have to end there.  You don’t have to leave your career progression to chance.  If you want to get ahead, there is a more beneficial and reliable way….

 Just do it….

  • Do something about it: Become aware of the challenges you face at work and the resources available to overcome them– don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do (it may never happen).
  • Do try different things: if what you are doing is not working, try something else. For example, if you are constantly running out of time to complete work – research different time management techniques and adapt the way you work. It could be as simple as turning off your emails for parts of the day as emails are a big distraction. 
  • Do think long term – Think to the future. What are you aiming for? Make an action plan to help you to move forward in the most efficient way.  

Needing more inspiration? Have a look at this:

Art Williams: Just do it speech

As Art says, just do it!  Take control and do it – this is much better than leaving your career to chance.

If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view (Harvey Mackay)