Have you been thinking about finding a new job this year but don’t know whether it’s possible?
It’s no secret that employers are ramping up their recruitment this year but are you ready to seize this opportunity to land the job of your dreams? Do you even know what that job is? Are you sitting in your current role treading water, perusing the job boards with a lacklustre eye?
You may be a graduate with very little work experience looking to identify a career or you may be half way through your working life wondering whether this is as good as it gets. Wherever you may be on the ladder, it is always important to choose a career that you enjoy. Sounds so obvious, you’re probably wondering why I even mention it but the majority of individuals are in careers that either they didn’t actively choose for themselves or don’t enjoy. In fact, only 37% of people are satisfied with their job – if you’re one of those people, it’s never too late to change that. Job satisfaction is so important to our general wellbeing that it shouldn’t be ignored. And did you ever stop to think that regardless of whether you are in a well-paid industry, if you enjoy your job, you are more likely to excel in it and if you excel in your job, you are more likely to be well paid.
Other factors that can impact employee satisfaction include having opportunities to use their skills, enjoying job security, and maintaining an open line of communication between employees and management. Basically, if you have a job where you are unable to use your training, could be fired at any minute, and have a terrible relationship with your boss, you won‘t be happy. Well-run organizations focus on improving these aspects to ensure that employees know that they are respected and appreciated. If your current organization doesn’t make you feel like this, now is the time to find one that does.
Related: How to Stand Out from the Crowd
So what can you do to set the wheels of change in motion?
Review how you got here
It is so important to look back and analyse how we got to where we are today. Look at your jobs to date and write out the pros and cons of each, what you learned, bosses, working environment, everything you can think of. Then write out what your ideal role looks like including as much detail as you can. Don’t just focus on the content of the job but think about the environment, the people etc. If you’re a grad, use your work placements and extra-curricular activities.
This is about building a profile of what you have to offer. Think of it as your career capital. Write out a list of your key skills, achievements and where you have added value in your roles. This not only helps remind us that we do indeed have much to offer but is also a great source of information to draw upon when it comes to the all-important interviews!
Strip it right back: think back to your childhood and what you wanted to do then. What hobbies or activities did you enjoy but never pursued? Any subject areas that you love talking about? If all jobs were paid the same, what would you do? The sky’s the limit: write down as many ideas as you can think of. Is temping or work placements an option? They are both great ways of road-testing a job without having to fully commit.
Research, research, research!
We are so fortunate to have the internet as a research tool so use it! Trawl through industry types and roles until you narrow it down. Once you’ve done this, speak to anyone you know who may work in that field. If not, see if you can arrange a meeting with someone who does. LinkedIn makes it much easier these days and talking to people who are actually working in your industry or role of interest is the most valuable tool for assessing whether it would be right for you. Just make sure you are always courteous and thank people for their time, offering up yours if it can be of any use to them.
Assessing the situation
If you’re having trouble deciding between certain areas or jobs, draw up a list of your key priorities for your ideal career and then rate each industry/role against them. Create a scoring system to keep it easy to assess at a glance. Alternatively, if you are wondering whether it would be worth the change, why not draw up a Pros and Cons table but take it one step further: under both pros and cons, make a list of short term and long term pros and cons. You may be surprised to see how it looks when completed. Remember, your dream can take dedication and may result in short term losses but the long term gains can be so much more!
Make it happen
Once you’ve decided what you want to do, put a plan together which includes action points with dates attached. Again, think about what you want to achieve in the next year, then break that down into the next 6 months, next month, next two weeks and so on. Don’t worry if you have to adjust the deadlines along the way but it’s better to have some dates agreed up front as you’re much more likely to remain on track with them in place. Once your plan is in place, you’re now ready to start getting yourself in a position where you’re ready to apply!
Photo by: Mary