Four rules you need to know for career success

rocket

If Neil Armstrong can land on the moon, you can do it too!

Imagine if, on 16th July 1969, Neil Armstrong sat in his spaceship and refused to launch on completion of the countdown.  Doubts had crept into his mind; he had lost his confidence and he could not bring himself to press the final launch button.

‘I can’t do it.   The moon is approximately 239,000 miles from the earth, and we have to travel safely – there and back.  This is the farthest anyone has ever travelled.  Is our equipment good enough?  How can this ever be possible? I feel so worried.  Let’s leave the launch for another day. ‘

What would have happened if Neil Armstrong had refused to launch into space that day?

Someone else would have been the first person to land on the moon.  Neil would have been the person who sat in his spaceship on the ground at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A and went nowhere.

What may have stopped Neil Armstrong from launching into space?

Neil and his team had completed all the learning, preparation and training they needed to do to complete the mission, but Neil had forgotten one thing.  He had not worked out how he was going to overcome the doubts in his mind.  He was unaware of the power his negative thoughts would have over the achievement of his dream.

Great news!

Fortunately, this didn’t happen and on 20th July 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man to land on the moon.  Despite not having smartphones, the Internet or GPS and landing on the moon with only 25 seconds worth of fuel left, Neil and his team did it.  They faced challenges, overcame these challenges and achieved their mission and their dream.

OVERCOMING DOUBTS IN YOUR CAREER

Astronauts are just like us and will have times of doubt, questioning their ability to succeed.   They are also just like us and have a choice.  They can choose to let these thoughts and feelings prevent them from achieving amazing things and sit stationary in their spaceship or they can choose to press the launch button.

Wouldn’t you just love to press the launch button in your career now?   You may want to launch a career change, apply for a promotion or move towards self-employment.

Follow these rules to keep you on track and help you move forward.  After all, no one wants to sit in their spaceship on the launchpad for ever.

  1. Recognise that it is OK to experience times of worry and doubt. Sometimes things happen in our career that make us feel this way.
  2. Notice how you react in times of worry and doubt. Perhaps you ignore it, become irritable and distracted or withdraw from the situation.  Does your reaction help you move forward constructively?
  3. Understand that when you are thinking and feeling negatively, these thoughts and feelings are likely to eventually stop you from doing the things you want to do in your career.
  4. Trust that you can take action. Do something about your negative thoughts to make you feel better and enable you to achieve what you want to achieve in your career. You can practise changing your negative thoughts into positive thoughts, you can ask for help, you can try new and different ways of achieving things. Just remember, you can do it!

You have everything within you to achieve, you simply need to press the launch button and do it.  Learn to overcome the challenges you face and keep going until you have achieved your mission.

 

 

Finding the best career and job ideas when feeling stuck

 

CareerYou are struggling to enjoy your current job and are feeling a bit stuck for ideas of what to do next.  The big question you keep asking yourself is,

“Shall I change career?”

However, you can’t seem to find the answer, and this is making you feel miserable.  To cheer yourself up you have decided to throw a party.

The party

This party is a party with a difference.  This is because the aim of this party is to help you find an answer to your question, “shall I change career?”.

The guest list is going to be key for this party. You will need to invite carefully selected individuals who you think will be able to help you answer your question, focusing primarily on people who work in fields of interest to you.

You will need to be able to ask these people about their jobs so that you can start identifying different job and career ideas that best suit your personality and broadening your awareness of your marketability for alternative employment.

These discussions should provide you with enough information to decide whether your current job is worth pursuing or whether a career change is the answer.

The guest list

To work out the guest list, you need to make a list of 15 jobs or careers that you would like to do if you had no restrictions. These jobs may be similar or related to the jobs you have already done, or they may be completely different. Write your ideas down using the following tips to help you:

  1. Think about your personality, skills and interests (read my November blog to help you) to help you think of ideas that will best suit you.
  2. Think about when you last thought to yourself ‘I would like to do that’ or ‘that sounds interesting’ when hearing someone else talk about their job.
  3. Use career books and trusted internet career sites. Cast your eye down lists of jobs and write down ones that jump out at you.

Remember, this is a list where you have no restrictions.  You may simply be curious at this point and that is OK.

Research

You have decided you would like to limit your invitations to 5 individuals and so your next step is to work out which 5 ideas most closely match your personality, skills and interests.  To do this, start researching your different jobs and career ideas and identify which ones most closely match.

Mark each idea from 1-15, with number 1 most closely matching your personality, skills and interests and number 15 being the one that least matches your profile.

The invitations

Now you have your 5 ideas, you now need to find individuals who work in these areas so that you can identify who you are going to invite.  Your guest list may include people you know and people you don’t know.  If you can’t think of anyone you know, start researching organisations that employ people in your areas of interest and identify employees you think would be useful to talk to.  These are the people to send invitations to.

Conversations

Now, in reality, I realise this kind of party would be difficult to arrange!  However, what you can do instead is use this technique to enable you to start having useful conversations with people as you work out what to do next in your career.  Contact people you have identified using the approach outlined above and ask if you can have a chat with them to find out more about what they do and the area they work in.

Speaking to as many people as you can is the best way to expand your knowledge about different jobs and careers and decide whether they are a good fit for you.  You will then be able to start finding an answer to your question:

“Shall I change career?”

 

If you are considering a career change, do read my career change help sheet for further guidance.

What do you do when your current job doesn’t suit you?

i love my job

 

 

In November 2019, I wrote about designing a personal work mug that reflects everything about you to help you to discover suitable career options that best suit your personality. (Do spend time to read this blog as it will help your understanding of this month’s topic.) This month I am going to write about what to do when cracks start to form in your personal work mug, and you are beginning to dislike your life at work as it no longer suits you.

Jobs that do not suit your personality

Cracks will start to form in your mug when you are in a job that does not match your work mug design and therefore does not suit your personality.  As written in my November blog, you want to find a job that uses your most enjoyable skills in a field based on your favourite subjects.  The design of your personal work mug is crucial as it reflects these things about you.

When cracks start to form, it can be miserable.  No one wants to drink from a cracked work mug but, unfortunately, these cracks will not mend themselves and can keep on forming if you don’t do anything about it, making work extremely stressful.

Reality check – does your current role suit you?

Take some time now to review the design of your personal work mug.  Compare your personality (the skills, interests and knowledge you wish to use and environments that suit you) to your current role.  What is missing from your current role that is included on your personal mug design?  Does your current role match your skills?  Does it include your interests?  Is the working environment one where you can be at your best?

From this information, you can establish whether your current role suits your personality or whether there are any discrepancies. If there are discrepancies, work out whether it is the content of your current job or the working environment that is not suiting you? It may be a mixture of both.

Working environment

If it is the working environment that you are struggling with, first decide whether the issues you face can be resolved.  Perhaps you find you are happy with your day to day role but are struggling with team management.  Does anyone at work know what you are having difficulties with and can anyone help you?  Would a different role within the same company suit you?  Alternatively, is it an option for you to look for a similar job within a different company or industry?

Job Content

If it is the content of the job that is not suiting you, you will want to consider alternative jobs or career options.  Perhaps you already have some ideas.  Perhaps you want to concentrate on your interests more.  Perhaps you want a complete career change.

These are all areas to consider as you work out what is your best next step in your job search as you identify what is missing from your current job and explore different ideas that will best suit your personality.  Make sure you review all these areas to prevent future cracks appearing in your work mug.

If you are considering a career change, do read my career change help sheet for further guidance.

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

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