The best kept secret to career success

secret-1

Would you believe me if I said the best career idea for you may be your best kept secret?!

We often reach a crossroads in our career when we have to decide on the best possible career path.  To help you decide, you research lots of different ideas and apply for lots of different jobs. You get to the point when you have a list of career and job ideas and need to decide which to pursue.  These ideas will be similar to the jobs you have done in the past or may complement these jobs, but I can guarantee there will be one idea missing from your list and that is…

YOUR BEST KEPT SECRET

This is the one wacky idea that you have had in the back of your mind for years.  The idea that is your fantasy dream career.  The one that excites you the most. The one you dream about on a sunny day.  The big idea that you can only dream of because in reality it is completely impossible to achieve and unrealistic.  This is why you have kept it a secret.  It is your own crazy idea that no one needs to know about as it will never happen, will it?  There is no point telling anyone about something that will never happen, is there?  However, you do want it to happen.  You would like to explore it…..is that so crazy?

Keeping a secret like this is stressful.  It takes up a lot of your thinking time and stops you from actually achieving it.   You would love this career idea of yours to be real, but you are actively hiding it from people.  Even worse, you are putting a lot of energy in to not achieving your ideal career, something that could be the best career decision you ever made.  Your best kept secret eventually leads to frustration, unhappiness and poor wellbeing because you are not being true to yourself.

IT’S TIME TO TELL PEOPLE YOUR SECRET

Imagine if J K Rowling kept her book ideas a secret or Monet hid his paintings.  Aren’t we glad all those who have wanted to research and discover vaccinations actually did it? We are certainly thankful to Marie Curie for her contribution to cancer treatments.  Her humble beginnings didn’t stop her following her passions.  Her passions were clear, they were not a secret.

Go back to your list of career and job ideas now and add your secret idea to the list.  (Until you have done this your list will remain incomplete.)

Once your list is complete, you are ready for the next step which is to evaluate your ideas and that is ALL OF THEM, not just those that seem the easiest, the most obvious and the most accepting of others, evaluate them all.   Ask yourself:

What do you really want?  

What more do you need to do to clarify this further for you?

These questions will help to guide you as you evaluate each option:

  1. How much will this cost me? Pursuing a career change can have an impact on your finances.  Prepare a budget so that you are aware of any financial limitations.
  2. Will this be a hobby or career? What does work-life balance mean to you?  When considering your motivations and interests, distinguish between those you want to include in a job and those you would prefer to keep as a hobby.
  3. What experience do I need? Many people worry about lacking experience.  Focus on what you can do and on your transferable skills.  If you lack specific advisable experience, consider doing some work experience or voluntary work.
  4. Who can I network with? Carry on networking and asking people for their advice and opinion.  This is the best way to increase opportunities that will come your way. Use Social media networking tools to help.

There are going to be lots of questions going through your mind as you evaluate the options and start making decisions about your best fit career.   It is therefore really important at this stage to make time to plan and investigate and…

…Remember…

The get out of this rut quickly career idea isn’t always the best one.  The best career idea for you is often your best kept secret.

Please do browse through my free career resources for further help.

Evaluate all your career ideas to discover the ideal career path for you (even the secret ones!)

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.

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.

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