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5 positive steps to help guide your career path

By Rosa Ritchie | 11 May 2018

The pressures of modern life leaves little room for spontaneity when it comes to your career. While it is possible to alter the direction of your career path (after all, it’s a path entirely built by you) it does require some careful thought and consideration. If you’ve been feeling bored and frustrated by your job, don’t be tempted to react negatively to your situation. Instead, switch your mindset and empower yourself by taking the helm of your ship to guide it down your desired career path by using these five positive strategies.

1) Rank the things that excite you

Write down all your passions, the things that get you fired up or excited. They can be serious as well as silly. Let it be a stream of consciousness, chuck down whatever springs to mind. Looking back on it you should be able to identify some activities or subjects that you really care about, and that interest you. This list might also point out some of your talents and abilities. 

excited colleagues

2) Roll play your ideal working day

No - not that type of role-play! But you do need to use your imagination. Do you dream of working in the wilderness or on the 40th floor of a skyscraper? Are you a night owl, are you’re sick of early morning wake ups? And would you like to work within a team or autonomously? Do you want to be in charge, or do you wish you had less responsibility? Do you like working for big companies or small businesses? Envisioning yourself in your daily role is a great way to shape your goals into something more likely to keep you happy in the long run.

3) Set short and long-term goals

For the time being you might just be really sick of working in retail. A short-term goal could be to try to make the transition into hospitality or office work. In the long-term you might have a much bigger dream or aspiration. Write them all down, to get a sense of the landscape of your career and how you want to approach it. Make yourself accountable to this ‘plan’ by adding it to a calendar with reminders set monthly and even yearly. This way you can actively track how you are doing and adjust if life throws the occasional curveball (i.e. opportunity).

writing goals on notepad

4) Identify your skills and set out to learn something new

This can feel a bit egotistical, but it’s time to write down all the things you’re good at. Evaluate your organisational skills, your interpersonal skills, technical skills, what you’ve previously studied, and other and topic areas you know a lot about.

If you have an idea of where you want your career to go, think about what skills you need to make that move. It might be that you don’t actually know what is expected of employees in the sector you’re keen on. If that’s the case, ask your boss, or find a knowledgeable friend or family member. Take them out for a cup of coffee and pick their brains.

Another good tool to use is LinkedIn as well as recruitment websites. From there you can find the role that you want, and using your detective skills, reverse engineer the paths people took to get to their current career. You can also devise what the skill-sets recruiters are looking for in a particular role.

The next step is to start the process of gaining the experience needed, as well as perhaps upskilling yourself to become the perfect candidate for that dream role. It won’t happen in one day, but you can certainly take the first step today.

learn something new on calendar

5) Email 5 friends about your plans, for feedback and opportunities

Nepotism is the name of the game. This is where utilising your networks becomes really important. You probably have connections with people who can help you in making a career change. They might hook you up with a friend-of-a-friend for some work experience or know of a relevant course of study you could take. Often these things aren’t what come up at family dinners or drinks with your mates, so you’ll never really know unless you explicitly ask.

An email is more formal than a text and this is a good thing as it means the recipient will take it more seriously. Pick five people who you suspect have knowledge and connections that could be useful to you. Write them a friendly, polite email, explaining what your plans are and asking if they have any feedback for you or know of any opportunities. Make it personalised, so they know you didn’t just spam your contacts list. The worst thing that could happen would be that they don’t reply, the best would be that they offer you an invaluable leg-up.

Life is too short to hate your job. If you’re working full-time you’re liable to spend a huge chunk of your life doing paid work and it is so important that it’s something you enjoy. If you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut or bored at work, it might be time to consider a career change. Play with the idea, have a look at what opportunities are out there and what skills you would be excited to learn. There is no time like the present to shake things up, and move your career in a new direction. Apply for a new job, or hit the books and study for the career of your dreams.

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