The final part of the ‘What Do You Want To Do?’ series is here! We are wrapping it up with a call to action, and some simple steps you can take to kick start your journey to a more fulfilling and happy career. Enjoy!
Following on from the last two posts in this series focusing on identifying what direction you want to take your career in, you have probably identified what aspects of previous jobs you have liked doing, what you don’t want to do again, and hopefully deconstructed and pulled apart your vague, hazy dreams and discovered ways to better understand yourself, how you tick, and some great ways to move forward. Now that all the self-reflection has been done, you should be ready for action!
You may be super excited about your new found sense of clarity...but resist the urge you may have to stay floating around in how stoked you are, and start to put some of that energy into making stuff happen!
It may be overwhelming and it can be hard to know where to start. By taking small steps and breaking things down into achievable short term goals, (for example, writing down all the things you want to do and the order and timescales to do them in), you will discover that the whole process does not have to be as scary as you think!
A good place to start is by updating your CV and your LinkedIn and profiles on the job boards (Indeed, Reed, Total Jobs, etc) you use the most. The best way to make sure you are representing yourself in the best possible light is to show your CV to one or two people who know you well. They can see you from outside of you, which you will never be able to do, and so will be able to point out areas you are blind to.
A couple of weekends ago, me and my work bestie got together in a cute coffee place with the purpose of getting ourselves inspired to make some cool job stuff happen. The first thing we did was exchange CVs.
I noticed that she was severely downplaying her summer work experience, and the amazing skills she had gained through it. She noticed that my CV uses a lot of language geared towards the sales industry, probably due to having worked a lot of customer-facing roles. This is ironic, as I absolutely do not want a career in sales, and am trying to go in entirely the opposite direction. When I last updated my CV, I was going through a weird phase where I thought I needed to use that kind of language to make myself seem driven, possibly to make up for my lack of solid leadership experience. It made me realise that there are ways of presenting my past work experience that can draw more attention to creative things. I could work on maximising any writing I have done, and things like great team working and intuitive communication; skills I want to develop more.
So, the takeaway is, promote yourself for the job you ACTUALLY WANT! Not the job you think you should want.
Also, look at your LinkedIn profile. I have not updated mine in a whole year! More and more employers are using LinkedIn to find candidates. And in the spirit of networking, I found out that another good friend of mine has been professionally trained in maximising LinkedIn profiles, so I intend to meet up with her and get some tips. Which leads well onto the next point...
Network, network, network!
To get yourself unstuck from the internet job search vortex of doom, networking is a great way to get more exclusive insights into industries, and maybe find people who can give you a leg up. This does not have to be as cringey as you think it is, at all! You might be thinking you have to tag along with people always asking for jobs. Not at all! As mentioned before, LinkedIn is a great way to do this. Just start following the people who you already know. Your current and past bosses, colleagues, lecturers and people you studied with, as well as acquaintances and people you know socially.
An action I have set for myself is to join up with my university’s alumni network. I graduated two years ago, but it is never too late! Most universities will have an online group you can join, and they can be very helpful. You can sign up for reunions and alumni events, and these can be priceless opportunities to get some new contacts…
Do Not Panic!
You are at a real advantage where you are right now. You might be sick of your job, but you can now afford to be picky! You have a regular income and are able to pay the bills. Never take that for granted. You don’t need to rush to find a job to survive, so don’t panic and do 50 random ‘one-click’ applications of an evening. That’s one way to get into a job you will hate just as much, if not more!
Take the time to target and tailor your application as best you can, both to the individual company and to yourself. Apply for only the jobs you think you would absolutely love, and put lots of care and effort into each one.
So let’s stop freaking out about our next steps. Let’s slow down and get clear to ourselves with what we want and how we want to move forward. And let’s have loads of fun in the process!