How to move on and create your dream career

You wake up feeling disinterested and lethargic at the thought of going to work.  Procrastination and dreaming of a brighter future have become your life and you find yourself contemplating ways to avoid work.  At work you feel unproductive, potentially undervalued and you have lost the desire to actively participate.

These are the classic signs of someone stuck in a job and who wants to change. Yet for so many of us, actually taking action and moving on to a new job can seem overwhelming and almost impossible. For some it is a sense of failure at quitting a position others may dream of, or perhaps it is your determination to stick to a plan that keeps you trapped.  Maybe you just can’t think of anything better to do.  After all, work is meant to be work, it’s not really supposed to be enjoyable.

There is an alternative solution.  You can take control of future and create your dream career. It may not be easy, and it will definitely require some effort, but it is totally worth it.

NUMBER ONE –  STOP LOOKING AT JOB BOARDS

The first thing most of us do when we decide we need a career change is start scrolling through job listings hoping to stumble upon the perfect position or indeed any position available to get out of the current situation. You may get lucky… but it’s more likely you will find something that sort of fits, but doesn’t really make the most of your talents or more importantly does not match what you want to do.

Instead of looking at job boards, start with some proactive reflection.  Ask yourself:

  • What do I have to offer?  
  • What is my value? 
  • Why would someone employ me? 
  • What do I want to do?  
  • What value do I want to create and for who? 
  • What contribution do I want to make?

These questions may sound simple, but by taking some time to truly work out your answers, you will begin the journey to take control of your career.

Start with a brain dump by simply writing all your thoughts down on paper. And yes, write on paper.  You will be far more creative with a blank piece of paper and your favourite pen or pencil rather than sitting in front of your computer typing.

What do I have to offer?  What value do I bring?

To answer these set of questions, start by listing  your qualifications, your natural talents, your skills, experiences and the tasks you do in your current position. Some things like a university degree and certifications are obvious inclusions, but take it further by listing all of the things you learnt to do while obtaining that qualification.  You might include things like critical analysis, report writing, cash flows – think of all the hard business skills you have.

When listing your natural talents, remember to include things that are not directly related to your current position. You may be working as a personal assistant and have no intention of retraining to work in human resources, but for this exercise you should still list your natural strengths of high emotional intelligence, managing challenging conversations, negotiation and effective communication.

Now grab a new piece of paper and move on to the second set of questions.

What do I want to do? What contribution do I want to make?

This one also sounds easy. You could just write down your dream job title.  However, another way is to start this exercise by listing all the things you want to do in your work day to day. Think about how you actually want to spend your day. All too often we get caught up in the idea of the job title, but overlook what that actually means as a job and the specific duties, responsibilities and key performance indicators involved.

For instance, do you want a job that involves lots of travel? How do you feel about spending lots of time sitting around an airport or driving for long stretches? How do you feel about being away from friends and family? Or seeing new cities and constantly meeting new people?

As an example, if you don’t like connecting with new people by phone – write it down. You may not be able to avoid it completely, but you can start creating a position that doesn’t involve this activity every day.

Once you have filled up your pages with answers to these questions, go back and read what you wrote down. You may wish to prioritise your answers, or cross out some things that just don’t seem important to you, now you have undertaken some reflection. The goal is to narrow down your answers until you get a clear picture of the type of role you want to do, the value you want to create and the impact you want to make.

YOU HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE

Once you have identified what your dream career looks like, you may find there are gaps in your education and that you need to retrain.  Remember though, your education, your skills, your experiences and natural talents are transferrable to different industries and positions.  By using the right language and connecting the dots for potential employers, you will be able to position yourself for the success you are looking for.

You can create your dream career, but remember it is a journey and for most of us you cannot start at your final destination.

HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT

Once you have figured out what you want, the next step is to go for it!  There has never been a better time to be bold and to chase what you want. Chances are your dream position is not listed on the job boards, but that’s okay. The key to creating your dream career is turning your value proposition into a new job by showing a potential employer how you can add value and make an impact.

If this sounds overwhelming, you should consider attending one of our Activate Your Career three-day workshops. This program upskills participants in the hard and soft skills needed to stand out in a highly competitive employment market.  The program shows you how to navigate the employment process with purpose and intent, gaining the confidence to capitalise on your strengths, reach for your potential and develop resilience. You’ll benefit from the experience of a range of experts and access to industry connections.