Kick Start Your Career in 2021!

I hate my job – what can I do?

This is a question I hear many times from my coaching clients. That feeling of dreed before going to work each day. I know – I have been there.

The following 10 tips well help kick start your career and manage the job you hate:

  1. Undertake a Career SWOT analysis

This is a great way to do a quick risk assessment on your career. Here are my top tips for undertaking this:

  • What are your career strengths?
  • What are your career weaknesses?
  • What are your career opportunities?
  • What are your career threats? 
  1. What makes you truly happy at work?

There have been times in the past where going to work has been a chore. In these situations, it is usually because the work environment was toxic and there were bad things happening that either indirectly or directly affected me. Once I got past these situations I had moments of career zen, where I could articulate what things make me truly happy in a work environment. It is a shame that it took these horrible experiences to make me realise what meaningful work means for me. Here are a few questions to help you determine what makes you happy at work:

  • List 3 of the best experiences you have had at work
  • List 3 of the worst experiences you have had at work
  • What achievements are you most proud of?
  • When were your happiest at work?
  • Who has been your best manager/leader? What were their best qualities?
  • What type of environment do you flourish in?

This is not a finite list but rather a guide to thinking about who you are.

  1. What is your dream career?

I believe that in our modern, fast-paced world majority of people no longer have one dream career. Rather in our working lives, we will have multiple career goals and probably multiple small (or large) career changes. What our career goals are today may not be what we want in five years time. When thinking about what your dream career is, you only need to consider what is important right now – leave the rest to the future.

It is refreshing to know that it is very unusual to have a ‘light bulb’ moment about your dream career. People don’t commonly have sudden full clarity on what their dream career is. Instead, it is usually a series on small ‘ah ha!’ moments that join over time to fill in the picture.

Here are a few activities/questions to help you identify what your “right now” dream career is:

  • Take a quiz: Sokanu has a free quiz to help you discover your perfect career
  • What types of career families are you drawn to?
  • What is your passion?
  • What do you love to do?
  • What are your core values?
  • If someone offered you the chance to do something new what would it be?
  • Read this article from Mark Manson: “7 strange questions to help you find your life purpose”
  1. What skills does your dream career require?

Landing your dream career will take dedication, patience and perseverance. This is especially true if there are specialised skills involved such as in vocational careers. Researching the skills required for your dream career is an important step in moving forward. Here are 3 tips to find out what skills your dream career requires:

  • Use your network to find people that are currently working in role like your dream career. Talking to people about their skills and experience will give you an insider’s guide for what is important and how they got recruited for their roles.
  • Research job advertisements on Linkedin, recruiter sites and job posting boards. These sources are great resources on the skills and experience organisations are seeking for your role.
  • Research industry and professional organisations sites for further information
  1. What are your skills?

It is important to understand your current professional and personal skills and to match them to your dream career. The gap between your current skill level and what your dream career requires, will become your action plan.

Here are 3 tips to identify what current skill level is:

  • Undertake a skills audit
  • Ask for feedback from your manager and work colleagues
  • Review previous performance reviews
  1. Invest in your skills

Dream careers just don’t happen. Once you have established your dream career action plan, it is time to action the plan! Your action plan should be realistic, with achievable goals. There is no point having goals and timeframes that are unrealistic as you are likely to feel disheartened.

  1. Invest in building and nurturing your network.

A strong network is vital to a long and vibrant career. Building and nurturing your network is great way to meet and get to know people across a spectrum of industries and occupations. Here are my top 5 tips to building and nurturing your network:

  • Spend most of your time listening – Have a handful of open questions you can ask that invite valuable conversations rather than simply struggling through small talk.
  • Make the first move – be the one to introduce yourself 
  • Look to make connections with people outside of your typical network – it is a great way to learn about different things
  • Remember to follow up. 
  • Be generous with your knowledge and network
  1. Improve your Linkedin profile

It is amazing how quickly your Linkedin profile can go stale. Here are 4 quick tips to improve your Linkedin profile:

  • Update your current responsibilities
  • Add skills and endorsements to your profile
  • Add a professional looking profile picture
  • Update your summary to reflect your achievements and what you are seeking in your next role

If that sounds all too hard, engage a professional to update your profile – it is worth the money to help you kick start your career.

  1. Improve your CV

Like your Linkedin profile, your CV can get become outdated easily. This is especially true when you have been making updates to your CV throughout the year. Here are 5 quick tips to improve your CV:

  • Ensure the layout is simple and the text is easy to read
  • Ask a friend (in a similar industry if possible) to read your CV and provide feedback
  • Ensure your CV has a skill summary / career overview section
  • Include your achievements
  • Take time to amend your CV to reflect the job you are looking for
  1. Have Fun

While careers are important to some, it is also important to have a well-balanced life. Having fun and enjoying your life is important to feelings of wellbeing!

Remember to take time to enjoy the things that make you happy, and try not to fixate on things that you are not able to influence. Above all – have a fantastic 2020. May it be everything you want it to be. Now get out there and kick start your career in 2020!