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Here’s some simple tips on how you can plan ahead to improve your career.
We're fast approaching the time of year when most of us start to take stock of the past twelve months and re-evaluate our lives. Time off over the Christmas period, spent with family and friends, or spent in solitude, and fuelled by excess food and alcohol, can leave us contemplating life more consciously than usual. Yet, the fact remains that most of us spend more time planning and preparing for our next holiday than we do looking at shaping our lives.
Let's face it, our jobs affect many facets of our lives. From where you can afford to live or go on holiday, to how satisfied or frustrated or stressed you may be, which will usually affect your interactions with your nearest and dearest.
When I first left University I got a job in a car dealership in sales. I loved it at first. I loved meeting new people and helping them choose the right vehicle, learning about the different technical specifications, and honing my sales skills. I worked with a friendly team who also took the piddle out of each other relentlessly (not everyone's cup of tea but I like this – so long as it's done with respect). I had a new car every three months and I made good bonuses. I was also in my early twenties and spent every weekend at the dealership.
So, after two years, I took a big drop in salary to move into recruitment, but I got my weekends back, surpassed my previous earnings within eighteen months, and still had all the things I'd loved about my sales role in my new career. I also got to help people change their careers and get temporary work when they needed it. Which is much more satisfying than supplying a new car, in my opinion.
I kind of fell into recruitment, following in the footsteps of a friend who had quit the motor trade to join a high street agency. I was lucky. I loved the move and worked from a trainee to eventual Head of Corporate Sales & Public Sector Division before starting my own business in 2009. Other people are not always so lucky, and I often hear about people that made bad career decisions and feel trapped in a role, or environment, that really doesn’t suit them.
The good news is that the simple systems we use to plan our holidays can be used to help you plan and shape your career.
Decide on a destination
You usually choose a destination before booking your holiday and people have different ways of doing this. Some feel more comfortable going to the same place every year as they know what to expect and can relax straight away. If you feel the same way about your job, in that you're relatively happy there but want more, then the solution might be to “upgrade". Perhaps a promotion, additional responsibilities, or working in a new area with your current employer is the way to go.
Some people just know where they want to go. It may have been recommended by a friend, be something you've seen on the TV or internet, or you may have had a hankering to go since childhood. Just like people who know exactly what they want their next career move to be. The next step is to decide how to get there.
Some people have no idea where they want to go. Sometimes they will take pot-luck. This can lead to excitement, and amazing discoveries, but it can also result in massive disappointment and setback. Some people will decide what they want from the holiday and then make a list of potential destinations.
This is a great way to plan your next career move:
Asking questions like this will help you decide on the types of roles to apply for and the kind of organisation that you want to work for.
Once you know what you want to do then you need to tell the people who need to know and effectively “book your flight”. If you want to progress within your current employment, then ask management what you will need to do to demonstrate that you’re ready. If it’s time to move on, find a Recruiter you can work with to be introduced to the right-fit employers.
Pack what you need
Do you need to train in any specific areas or gain a new qualification? Do you need to gain more experience or hone a certain skill before making the move? Does your CV need some work? Spend some proper time talking through what you’re really looking for with a professional recruiter or a career coach, if you want to spread your net wider.
Please be wary of agencies who just accept your CV and only have a cursory conversation about salary and location etc. Our industry is rife with recruiters who will shoehorn you into any role you can do, and this may not always be the right move. Work with somebody who is interested in getting to know what really makes you tick and understands the sort of role, company culture, and career prospects that will satisfy your needs.
If you’re keen to improve your career or job prospects now, or in 2019, please give us a call to see if we can help you out - 01902 763006.