Building Your Career Part 2 - How to Aim High
20 July 2016
When you are thinking of your next job, promotion or new career possibility, sometimes your dreams and your reality can pull you in opposite directions. And whilst I am a huge believer in the power of positive thinking, I believe you need to harness that power to establish a career path that is not only inspiring for you, but also realistic.
Build Your Confidence
When you think about a significant change in any part of your life, it is natural to lose your normal confidence levels. The fear of the unknown causes you to be uncomfortable and nervous. Ironically, if not handled correct, this can be to the determinate of the change. The less confident you are about it, the less likely it is to be successful.
To resolve this, think about your previous experience. Speak to people who have undertaken this change successfully already, and learn from what they did right and wrong.
Do You Know What You Are Good At?
Do you actually know what you are good at? Take a look at our previous post if you are not sure how to work this out.
Most normal human beings are quick to pinpoint areas of weakness, we aren’t as quick at highlighting our strengths. So you need to identify what those strengths are. What do you enjoy doing? What do people come to you for help with? Is it your ability to problem solve? Do they ask for your help in prioritising a busy workload? Are you a technical expert? Likewise, know what you don’t enjoy doing. If it is a dreaded task you won’t want to seek a job that includes that task.
Do You Know What Your Weaknesses Are?
Everyone has blind spots. Learning your weaknesses can sometimes be a painful experience but it is important to do if you want to guide your career in the right direction. Ask for feedback. Speak to peers, colleagues, bosses and mentors. Ask them about what your positive traits are at as well. It is a great way to earn constructive criticism, whilst hearing the positives.
Start To Join The Dots
As recruiters, we always look for the transferable skills. We look beyond the actual duties or tasks to see what the core skill is, and is it transferable.
Instead of thinking ‘I am great at sales’ or ‘my operational knowledge is my above and beyond my colleagues’, think about what makes you good at these things. What makes you stand out in these areas? Perhaps you have excellent communication skills. Are you an expert negotiator? Is it your ability to multitask? Identify what the core skill is. Once you have done this, you will be able to open up your job search based on these transferable skills.
What Is Best Way to Start the Search?
Job boards are a fantastic way to gather information before you start applying for jobs. They will give you a sense of what positions are available, what companies are recruiting, who competitors are, salary information, what the key requirements and qualifications are etc. Knowing this information helps you gauge where you are in terms of your transferable skills, and it allows you to target the right opportunities and speak - with confidence - to the right people.
Remember though, not all jobs are posted on job boards. Think about social media, LinkedIn, Twitter. Aim to follow the right companies, groups etc. and this can help guide you in the right direction as well as help build your knowledge.
Often roles are filled via referral or word of mouth, so grow your network, both in work and socially. Get into the habit of finding out what people do for a living – who knows what it could lead to.
Dreams vs Reality
It is a challenge to consider a complete career change. It doesn’t come without some element of risk, and often this is led by your financial stability. Can you afford to take the time you may need to start a new career? The same can be said for a move in your industry or a promotion in your company, you have to believe you can do it!
Give yourself a timescale a time frame and stick to it. When you decide what roles you want to be looking for, explore the market, apply for roles you feel are right for your transferable skills, and listen to the advice & responses you are given. Don’t let them put you off, however allow them to guide your next step.
Your dream job is hugely important to you. Whatever the next step for you, do the research, know your strengths and weaknesses and set yourself some realistic timescales. Know what you want, what you are good at and aim high!
Written By Jackie MacGregor