Career Guidance

Career Guidance

Building a career

Today, and more than ever, most people are responsible for building their own careers.

Whether you are just starting, or you have several years of experience, these paragraphs might help you advance your career.

The 9 most important career planning tips are listed below:

1. NEVER STOP LEARNING

LIFE-LONG LEARNING IS YOUR KEYWORD.

The world is constantly changing, and everybody is looking for new ways of doing business.

If you have decided that your current skills are good enough, you have also decided that your current job is good enough. But if you want a career in the future, you should add regular updates to your skills and knowledge.

2. ASK, LISTEN AND LEARN

A GOOD LISTENER CAN LEARN A LOT.

Listen to your co-workers, your boss, and your superiors. You can learn a lot from their experience.

Ask about issues that interest you, and listen to what they say. Let them tell you about how things work, and what you could have done better.

Most people will love to be your free tutor.

3. FULFIL YOUR CURRENT JOB

YOUR CURRENT JOB MIGHT BE BEST PLACE TO START YOUR CAREER.

It is often very little that separates successful people from the average. But nothing comes free. If you do your job well and fulfil your responsibilities, this is often the best way to start a new career.

Talk to your supervisor about things you can do. Suggest improvements. Offer your help when help is needed. In return ask for help to build a better career. It is often possible right inside your own organization especially if you have proved to be a valued employee.

4. BUILD YOUR NETWORK

YOUR NEXT CAREER STEP MIGHT ARISE FROM YOUR CONTACT NETWORK.

Did you know that more than 50% of all jobs are obtained from contact networks?

If you have a good contact network, it is also a good place to discover future careers, to explore new trends, and to learn about new opportunities.

Spend some time building new contacts, and don’t forget to maintain the ones you already have.

One of the best ways to get serious information from your network is to regularly ask your contacts how they are, what they do, and what is new about their careers.

5. IDENTIFY YOUR CURRENT JOB

YOUR CURRENT JOB SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED, NOT ASSUMED.

Make sure you don’t work with tasks you assume are important. This is waste of time and talent.

When you start in a new job, talk to your superior about your priorities. If you’re not sure about what is most important, then ask him. And ask him again. Often you will be surprised about the differences between what you assume, and what is really important.

6. IDENTIFY YOUR NEXT JOB

YOUR DREAM JOB MUST BE IDENTIFIED.

Before you start planning your future career, be sure you have identified your dream job.

In your dream job, you will be doing all the things you enjoy, and none of the things you don’t enjoy. What kind of job would that be?

Do you like or dislike having responsibility for other employees. Do you like to work with technology or with people? Do you want to run your own business? Do you want to be an artist, a designer, a skilled engineer or a manager?

Before building your future career your goal must be identified.

7. PREPARE YOURSELF

YOUR DREAM MIGHT SHOW UP TOMORROW. BE PREPARED.

Don’t wait a second. Update your CV now, and continue to update it regularly.

Tomorrow your dream job may show up right before your nose. Prepare for it with a professional CV and be ready to describe yourself as a valuable object to anyone that will try to recruit you.

If you don’t know how to write a CV, or how to describe yourself, start learning it now.

8. PICK THE RIGHT TOOLS

PICK THE TOOLS YOU CAN HANDLE.

You can build your future career using a lot of different tools.

You can add a lot to your career by studying books and tutorials. Doing short time courses with certification tests might add valuable weight to your CV. And don’t forget: Your current job is often the most valuable source of building new skills.

Don’t pick a tool that is too heavy for you to handle!

9. REALIZE YOUR DREAMS

PUT YOUR DREAMS INTO ACTION.

Don’t let a busy job kill your dreams. If you have higher goals, put them into action now.

If you have plans about taking more education, getting a better job, starting your own company or something else, you should not use your daily job as a “waiting station”. Your daily job will get busier, you will be caught up in the rat race, and you will burn up your energy.

If you have this energy, you should use it now, to realize your dreams.

How to secure a veterinary job

HOW TO SECURE A VETERINARY JOB USER RATING:

There are four components to landing that fabulous veterinary surgeon, nurse or veterinary locum job you have seen advertised. It doesn’t matter if the advert was online or in a professional magazine or journal: the principles of impressing your future employer are the same and can be broken down into these four components:

1. THE APPLICATION: There are two ways generally offered for veterinary surgeon or locum vet nurse applications these days: completing an online form or sending in a written application. These tips apply to each of them:

a) An online form is not more than a formatted application; make sure that you answer each question 100% honestly. Not only can you not then be caught out in your lie later, but honesty tends to show through, and a future employer will be more impressed if you admit to certain failings than if you tried to be Mr. Perfect.

b) State your qualifications without trying to place yourself a grade higher.

c) State your experience accurately and if asked for referees provide them.

d) Choose referees or references that will be positive about you.

2. THE CV: Your veterinary CV should be professionally written, and if you cannot do it yourself have it written by a professional – there are plenty online. Here are some tips on how to put a professional looking CV together for a veterinary surgeon position:

a) Give your full name at the top, followed by your address, telephone number and email address on the left under your name and a passport-size photograph of you to the right. Don’t use that dour scowling passport photograph, but have a friend or relative take a smiling one for you. An online CV should be exactly the same as a physical CV.

b) State your qualifications, starting with the most recent and working back down the page.

c) State your previous employment, again starting with the most recent. Offer a reference contact for each. Try not to leave unexplained years – people get suspicious with these. Focus on any experience as a veterinary surgeon or locum.

d) State the reasons why you want to work as a vet in that area or even with that practice. Do your homework and look the practice up online. Get some salient factors about the veterinary practice to discuss. Let your enthusiasm shine through.

These are the main points of a CV – don’t make it too long and format it so that it is easily read. Separate sections with a dividing line. Make sure you send your application to the address (email or postal) provided. Don’t try to pull a fast one and send it to the practice owner or manager. Your application might just disappear.

3. THE INTERVIEW: If you are asked to attend an interview then start the homework. Find out all you can about the practice and if you see a weakness in their staff you can focus on how you can fill that gap. Try to find out how many veterinary nurses and surgeons work there and how many locum vets have to be employed. You can save them from that. On the day of the interview dress well and be yourself. Offer a firm handshake and smile when you shake hands. Look professional if you want to be considered such. Answer questions honestly. Do your homework first and have stock answers ready for stock questions. Why did you want to be a vet? Why did you become a veterinary nurse? Why small animals/a rural practice/a zoo practice? Never run down or ‘bad mouth’ any previous employers or colleagues. Ask questions yourself: ask the size of the veterinary practice, the main type of animals involved and anything else you can personally think of, but don’t overdo it – your interviewer might be on a tight schedule.

4. THE FOLLOW UP: It is very important that you follow up your interview with a ‘thank you’ letter. For example: “Dear Mr. Vet, Thank you for offering me the opportunity of an interview for the position of locum veterinary surgeon. I am passionate about veterinary surgery, and am extremely thankful for the opportunity you have given me.” Then offer your professional services free of charge for a period. Explain that would enable the practice to evaluate your work as a veterinary nurse or veterinary surgeon. Maybe a few days work free of charge. That will show the practice that you are serious and determined, and also let them assess your work – better the devil you know. . .

Then if you have been unsuccessful, write a similar letter, but add something along the lines of “I appreciate that I was not the best candidate this time, but will work harder and should another vacancy become available within your practice I would welcome the chance to be considered”. You have to stand out from the crowd to be selected, so do that. Stand out, offer your free services, let them see how good you are and underline your CV with practical proof. What better way. . .

The 10-step plan to career change

Are you facing that career change plunge? Take it slowly and make sure what you really want to do is a change career. Then use this 10-step plan, and you will be on much more sure footing and on a path towards career change success. Finally, remember that career change is a natural life progression; most studies shows that the average job seeker will change careers (not jobs) several times over the course of his or her lifetime.

STEP 1: ASSESSMENT OF LIKES AND DISLIKES

A lot of people change careers because they dislike their job, their boss, their company. So, identifying the dislikes is often the easier part of this step; however, you will not know what direction to change your career unless you examine your likes. What do you really like doing when you’re at work and when you’re at home – in your spare time? What excites you and energizes you? What’s your passion? If you’re really unsure, consider taking one of more of these career assessments. The key is spending some time rediscovering yourself and using your self assessment to direct your new career search.

STEP 2: RESEARCHING NEW CAREERS

Once you’ve discovered (or rediscovered) your passion, spend some time researching the types of careers related to your passions. Don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit unsure or insecure it’s a natural part of the career change process. How much research you do also partly depends on how much of a change you’re making; for example, changing from a teacher to a corporate trainer versus switching from a nurse to a Web designer.

STEP 3: TRANSFERABLE SKILLS

Leverage some of your current skills and experiences to your new career. There are many skills (such as communications, leadership, planning, and others) that are transferable and applicable to what you want to do in your new career. You may be surprised to see that you already have a solid amount of experience for your new career.

STEP 4: TRAINING AND EDUCATION

You may find it necessary to update your skills and broaden your knowledge. Take it slowly. If the skill you need to learn is one you could use in your current job, see if your current employer would be willing to pick up the tab. And start slowly. Take a course or two to ensure you really like the subject matter. If you are going for a new degree or certification, make sure you check the accreditation of the school, and get some information about placement successes.

STEP 5: NETWORKING

One of the real keys to successfully changing careers will be your networking abilities. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. Even if you don’t think you already have a network, you probably do consider colleagues, friends, and family members. You can broaden your network through joining professional organizations in your new field and contacting alumni from your college who are working in the field you want to enter. A key tool of networking is conducting informational interviews.

STEP 6: GAINING EXPERIENCE

Remember that, in a sense, you are starting your career again from square one. Obtaining a part-time job or volunteering in your new career field not only can solidify your decision, but also give you much needed experience in your new career. You might also want to consider temping in your new field. Work weekends, nights, whatever it takes to gain the experience.

STEP 7: FIND A MENTOR

Changing careers is a major life decision that can get overwhelming at times. Find a mentor who can help you through the rough patches. Your mentor may also be able to help you by taking advantage of his or her network. A mentor doesn’t have to be a highly placed individual, though the more powerful the mentor, the more success you may have in using that power to your advantage.

STEP 8: CHANGING IN OR OUT 

Some people change careers, but never change employers. Unfortunately, only the very progressive employers recognize that once happy employees can be happy and productive again in a different capacity. It’s more than likely that you will need to switch employers to change fields, but don’t overlook your current employer. Remember not to start asking about a job switch until you are completely ready to do so.

STEP 9: JOB HUNTING BASICS

If it’s been a while since you’ve had to use your job hunting tools and skills, now is the time for a refresher course. Consider spending some time with one or more of our tutorials. Key tools include:

  • Guide to researching companies
  • Resume resources
  • Cover letter resources
  • Interviewing resources
  • Salary negotiation resources

STEP 10: BE FLEXIBLE

You’ll need to be flexible about nearly everything, from your employment status to relocation and salary. Set positive goals for yourself, but expect setbacks and change and don’t let these things get you down. Besides totally new careers, you might also consider a lateral move that could serve as a springboard for a bigger career change. You might also consider starting your own business or consulting as other avenues.

Prime your presentation

Many of us spend a substantial amount of time making presentations to senior managers in our own or in client organizations. Sometimes the presentations that we make seem to become the deciding elements of our success.

How many times have we heard of people getting plum positions and responsibilities based on one good presentation to the senior management? It’s not that the presentation is what got them the job, but it helps create a perception regarding one’s comprehension and insight on the subject in discussion. Also, the quality of the presentation at times determines the extent of support that we get on our key projects or initiatives, etc.

So, how does one go about and make good and effective presentations. Adding a movie or going to a designer is not a foolproof solution, as your presentation should reflect your work and your thoughts and not somebody else’s. There are some basic skills and tenets that will ensure that you develop and present the right material in an effective way.

PLAN AND INTENT

Determine the reason why you are making the presentation and what you are expecting from the audience (to make a decision or to be informed). The presentation that you prepare for your superiors could be different from the one that you prepare for your colleagues or subordinates.

The purpose of the presentation may be different for these groups, but the goal is the same – effective and persuasive communication. Be sure of the purpose that you are aiming to accomplish. Is it simply delivery of factual data or do you need to garner support for your ideas?

STRUCTURE THE CONTENT

There are many ways of structuring a presentation. Sequential structure where the issue is discussed as a sequence of points; hierarchical treatment where the main topic is broken down into topics, subtopics and further headings; and pyramid that is a related way of breaking down the issue into subheadings till the points get exhausted.

Another structure that one can give one’s presentations is the question oriented structure where one furnishes the answers to the question that could arise while discussing a particular project.

DETERMINE CONTENT

Plan how you will tell your story, and organize your information accordingly. Communicate your intent at the outset; let your audience know what you expect to accomplish, or want from them.

Find out if the issue has been addressed before in your organization. Identify the most contentious points and deal with them upfront. Focus content on what your audience would want to know, not what you want to tell them. Frame the issues in terms of decisions to be made, actions to be taken and the resulting benefits to the business.

KEEP IT FOCUSED

Keep slides simple and focused. Maintain a high thought to word ratio. Give one key message per slide. Limit the number of supporting points to 3-4 per slide. Have a separate slide that summarises the value and clarifies the action.

Aim for a core presentation of no more than ten slides; prepare a back up binder of facts available as needed.

UNDERSTAND THE AUDIENCE

Frame your information keeping the audience in mind. How they need to understand vs. your need to explain function, position and geography. Understand what your audience needs to hear; know what they already know so that you do not waste time repeating it.

Determine what criteria they will use to evaluate your recommendations. Have the ability to predict questions, concerns or challenges that your audience could have.

Most importantly, preview the information with the right people in a room so that they are able to murmur acceptance at the right moment. Don’t surprise people in a meeting; they will surprise you with the result.

PREPARE DELIVERY

Prepare and rehearse. You cannot over rehearse. Internalize the content so that the audience feels it is coming from the heart and you are not reading it out from the slides. Determine how you will express your own voice or style. Know the order of your slides and transition from one to another as if reading a story.

DELIVER

Ensure that your communication is consistent. Prepare yourself to shift your plans to make your point. Know what you will say and what slides to show if your time is shortened. Use slides to facilitate a discussion. Stay focused on the topic. People will try and get you off on tangents. Be succinct and direct.

Instead of saying, “I’ve got a slide coming up,” answer their question and say, “More will follow in the next couple of slides.”

An effective presentation will get you into the eye of the management. In addition to whatever role that you may be performing in the organization, it will project you as an effective communicator. An effective presenter understands not only the subject but the audience and the environment as well. Apply this while preparing for your next presentation.

Job search going nowhere?

SEVEN WAYS TO GET JOB SEARCH ON TRACK:

Do you feel like you’ve done just about everything humanly possible to find a job, but nothing has worked out?

Have you sent out so many resumes or gone on so many interviews that you really think you should’ve gotten an offer by now?

If your patience and savings are wearing thin, don’t give up hope.

TRY FOLLOWING THESE SEVEN STEPS TO JUMPSTART YOUR STALLED SEARCH:

THINK QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY

I don’t want to hear that you’ve answered 200 ads or listings or that you’ve mailed your resume to 500 companies. That just shows you’ve mastered your word processor’s mail merge function. A job search is not about numbers – it’s about quality contacts. There’s no way you can personalize and customize your resumes and cover letters to appeal to 500 employers. So, keep the number down to a manageable amount. You’re better off contacting 20 employers per week than 200, if those 20 contacts are quality ones.

YOU CAN ENSURE THAT THESE ARE QUALITY CONTACTS BY:

  • Taking the time and efforts to carefully research the organization before applying.
  • Writing a cover letter that is tailored to the employer’s needs and the job requirements, and shows your knowledge of that organization.
  • Altering your resume slightly to better and you can highlight what that employer or position calls for.
  • Following up after you apply by calling or emailing the organization to confirm that your resume was received, to reiterate your interest in the position, to restate why you’re well qualified for the job, to find out what their timeframe is for reviewing resumes and interviewing and most important to make a human connection.
  • Successful job hunters take an active approach, rather than a passive one. So, don’t sit back and expect the invitations to interview and the job offers to pour in. You have to expend some energy and be strategic before you can expect the phone to start ringing or your email box to fill up.

TROUBLESHOOT THE TOOLS OF YOUR SEARCH

Make sure that the tools of your search are up to par. Problems with your resume, cover letters, references, interviewing technique, or phone manner can turn off prospective employers in a flash. Go back over your written materials to check for typos, misspellings, and other errors and to make sure they’re strong marketing tools, not just dry documents. Get other people to look at them and pick up on any problems you’ve overlooked. Do the same critique of your interviewing style and phone communication techniques. Ask trusted friends or colleagues to conduct mock interviews or phone calls with you to try to identify any flaws in your approach.

 

JUMPSTART YOUR NETWORKING

Sometimes job hunting can feel like exploring the dark side of the moon. You’ve launched hundreds of resumes into cyberspace and left countless messages in the never-never land of voice mails, but you’ve found no signs of life. What your job search need is some old fashioned human contact. Get up off your duff and go to a meeting, conference, seminar, party, or any event where you can talk to people who might be able to give you advice or leads to jobs.

If you’ve already been doing that, then try to be more visible. Run for office in a professional association (even if you’re new to a field, you’ll be welcomed with open arms if you want to help out and take an active role. If official leadership is not for you, then write an article for the association newsletter or offer to volunteer at an upcoming meeting or conference. You’d be amazed at the boost such an effort can give to your search and your career in general). To find a professional or trade association in the career field or industry in which you work or would like to work, use the Encyclopaedia of Associations or the National Trade and Professional Associations directories found in the reference section of most libraries.

CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE

If your job hunting is dragging on and you’re starting to get a negative attitude, do what you can to nip the blues in the bud. You may not realize it, but your anger, bitterness, apathy, or negativism can show through in your written and oral communication with prospective employer. Try not to internalize the rejection or to dwell on failures. Instead, try to learn from each rejection and move on. If you’re not even getting to the rejection stage because you haven’t gotten any nibbles, don’t wallow in self-pity or start blaming the world. Instead, take matters in your own hands to come out of the negative situation.

REVIVE DEAD LEADS

Just because a lead didn’t pan out doesn’t mean you can’t contact that person or that organization again. If you received the name of someone to contact and it turned out that that person didn’t know of any jobs for you, don’t be afraid to call them back a few weeks or months later to see if anything has changed. You have to stay fresh in people’s minds in order for them to be on the lookout for opportunities for you.

Do the same with places where you interviewed but didn’t receive an offer. Most people are afraid to contact organizations that have rejected them, but that’s a big mistake. It could turn out that the person who was hired didn’t work out and left after a few weeks or months. If you happen to call again, you might be in the right place at the right time to step into the newly vacant slot.

GET PROFESSIONAL HELP

Job hunting can be a lonely and confusing process. You may not have the knowledge required to troubleshoot your resume and brainstorm new search strategies. You may need some moral support before you venture out into the intimidating world of networking. If you don’t want to go it alone, or think you could benefit from some expert advice, consider meeting with a career counsellor or professional job search coach.

CONSIDER GOING TO PLAN B

If you’ve exhausted all possibilities for finding the job you want and are running out of time, money, and energy, it may be time to go to Plan B. Plan B could be changing your career direction, doing temporary work or an internship, relocating, or taking a somewhat alternative path.

If you put some thoughts and efforts into these seven steps, you may see that your job search is not so hopeless after all. Some simple adjustments and corrections or a new attitude may be all it takes to get the interviews and offers coming your way. And, whatever you do, don’t give up hope.

How to stay happy at work

Many of us find Sunday evening blues very often without fail. If it is the latter, maybe you should think about moving on. But lots of people find themselves in a situation where they are not ready to move jobs just because they have only been in the role for a short time, or because they want to gain more experience. So if you find yourself in a situation where you are in a job that is ok but not brilliant, or that you really need to see through for a period of time, what can you do to make it more interesting.

Here are some suggestions:

POSITIVE THINKING

Focus on the positives – what do you really like about your job? How could you incorporate more of that into your working day? Remind yourself of the other positive aspects of your work – your friends and colleagues, for instance.

CHALLENGE YOURSELF

Find new challenges. One of the reasons that we can get restless in our job is, quite simply, boredom. Think about ways in which you could make your role more interesting. Perhaps you could volunteer to mentor new staff, or spend some time every week shadowing people in other departments to get a broader perspective on the business. Discuss your ideas with your manager.

FLEXIBLE WORKING

Is there scope for you to work more flexibly? Working from home one day a week, for example, could give you more variety. This is not an excuse to get up late and lie around watching daytime TV, though you will need to be able to show some output for your time away from the office! Again, discuss the options with your manager.

LEARN MORE

If you feel you are not being stimulated enough mentally, consider doing some training or a course that is work related. It will give you new insights, help to keep you fresh and will be a useful addition to your CV when you are ready to move on.

NETWORK MORE

If meeting new people is not already part of your role, find ways to incorporate it. Meeting people and getting fresh perspectives can help you to keep yourself interested and interesting. If there do not seem to be many networking opportunities where you are, create some! Organize a team outing or arrange for you and your colleagues to meet up with staff from another part of the company.

HAVE SOME FUN

Inject a bit of fun into your workplace. That could be as simple as croissants on a Monday morning or a team drink on Friday afternoon. Or it could be a more structured social event. Your work colleagues don’t have to be your bosom buddies, but you’ll enjoy your working day much more if there is a bit of banter and humour around. Just because your work is a serious business does not mean you cannot have fun while you do it!

IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL LIFE

Make an effort to do more interesting things outside of work. If your working week consists of getting up in morning, going to work, coming home, having dinner, slumping in front of TV and then going to bed, your job is going to have a disproportionate impact on your overall mood. Try to fit a couple of social engagements into your week – a dancing class or an art exhibition, perhaps, or just a catch-up with friends you haven’t seen for a while. Having something to look forward to during the week will help to make it more bearable.

PRIORITIZE YOUR WORKLOAD

If you find that your problem is you are working such long hours that you do not have time to have fun outside work, let alone in office, you need to tackle this. Get used to prioritizing your workload and negotiate extensions to deadlines if necessary. Make yourself leave office on time at least 3 nights a week. Most of us have periods when we are extra busy and end up working long hours, but if this is happening to you routinely, you need to get out of that rut.

How to reinvent your career

If you work long enough, something along the way will probably happen to you. You will work with a co-worker who drives you crazy, a boss that doesn’t get you, or an employee that keeps you up at night.

It’s all a part of the working world.

At other times, things will happen to you that will throw you for a loop. Your job is eliminated. You are fired without reason. Your industry goes away. This is when it’s important to take stock in who are you, what you want out of life and where you want to go next.

So, how do you get yourself back on track find your passion and purpose again, and reinvent the next phase of your career? You soul-search and ask lots of questions.

HERE WHERE YOU BEGIN:

YOU MAKE TIME TO THINK

Reinvention cannot happen without thought.

A clear picture of where you want to go next cannot come to you unless you create time to think about it. This time is what will allow you to get in touch with yourself and your priorities.

One of the main reasons your off track right now is because you’ve been “busy”, too busy to make time for you. This does not mean that you have to allocate days or weeks of thought to nothing else. But regularly taking an hour here and there will make a tremendous difference.

Ask yourself, “When will I make time to think about what I want?” Notice that I am not saying to ask yourself whether you will find time, but rather when you will make the time. It is essential to be assertive with yourself.

Once you have made the time, find a quiet place. Sit down and take deep breaths, as many as you need to infuse a sense of calmness. Your mind will want to wander, but you must bring yourself back. Remind yourself why you are doing this. You want something better in your career. Focus on the importance of this to your career and channel your thoughts in this direction.

YOU ASK YOURSELF WHAT YOU WANT

Reinvention happens when you decide what you want, and then take action to get it. Without an end in mind, you will wander aimlessly; and as long as you are aimless, you will be wasting time. You will feel lost. You will be like a stray leaf, going wherever the wind takes you. Ask yourself the following questions: If it was impossible to fail, what would be different in my career? What type of job would I have? What would I be responsible for? What type of boss/co-workers/team would I have? What kind of hours would I work? What type of company would I work for? What sort of culture would the company have? What city would I live in? How much money would I make? How would I handle stress, my workload, and deadlines? How would I successfully be balancing work and life? There is no right or wrong answers to these questions. The answers are what are true for you-not what someone else wants for you, but what is in your heart. Listen to yourself, and your answers will be the perfect ones for you.

In addition, don’t let past mistakes or choices cloud your answers. It’s not too late for you.

YOU TURN WHAT YOU WANT INTO A VISION FOR YOUR CAREER

A vision is a picture of where you see yourself in the future. Your picture can describe where you want to be in a day, a week, a month, a year, or even farther into the future.

All goals are reached in the mind first. You see yourself both achieving that goal and experiencing the satisfaction it will bring you once you are there. This picture is what will help you to persevere during times of doubt. It will help you with your reinvention. Your picture will give you purpose, power, and excitement. Your picture will give you a reason to get out of bed every day.

HERE’S AN EXAMPLE OF A VISION:

I will have a career that energizes me. I will work for a company that cares about its people and be responsible for projects that make a difference. I will be paid well for my contributions. I will have a great relationship with my boss, co-workers /staff and work with supportive people. I will work in a location with plenty of sunshine for no more than eight hours a day. I will commute not more than 30 minutes each way. I will feel calm when everyone around me is stressed and I will wake up every morning looking forward to the day.

Remember, reinvention is a journey. One day you may have no idea who you are anymore, and on another day you will be grateful for the events that have transpired in your life because you have become a person you truly love.

Make a fresh start today

Are you caught up in the day to day doldrums of your career?

If you’ve lost your target “get up and go,” maybe what’s missing is a new goal.

Do something that gets you excited and motivated again. Whether it’s a new job or a new way of doing something in your present position, a new goal can give you something to look forward to.

So how do you find a new goal? Follow these four steps:

CONVINCE YOURSELF THAT YOU WANT A NEW GOAL

No goal is achieved without commitment. Have you ever observed someone pursuing a goal and said to you, “That person is a true believer”. True believers are easy to spot because they are defined by their commitments. Are you a true believer in your goal? Are you committed? If not, shift your perspective. Don’t allow yourself to be comfortable with circumstances that do not support your goal.

Want to know that you will succeed before you step out of your comfort zone? Guess what? You don’t get this guarantee up front. The miracles in your career happen when you say “yes” and jump in.

START SMALL

ARE YOU IN ONE OF THESE TWO PLACES?

1)      You have no idea what should be the next step in your career.

2)      You do know, but haven’t done anything about it yet.

Either way it doesn’t matter. Now is your time to move forward.

Start small because small steps increase your confidence and lead to completing other small steps. Small steps taken on a regular basis are more effective than larger steps taken inconsistently. Slow and steady wins the race.

CREATE YOUR GAME PLAN

Having a plan is vital to your success. With a plan, success is yours. Without a plan, you will be working far harder than you have to. A plan adds organization to your goal because it details specific actions and steps to get there.

Another reason to create a plan is that it will prevent your goal from becoming overwhelming. The temptation to feel overwhelmed is normal. Your plan will give you comfort and help you be successful. There is no right or wrong way to plan. Your plan can be formal and long, or uncomplicated and short.

Here’s how to create one: Take your career goal and break it into smaller pieces. Get out your calendar and write down the specific small pieces you will do and when you will do them. Tweak and make changes as you implement your plan. Use your plan to encourage and guide you. After all, your plan’s underlying goal is for you to have an exceptional year.

LOOK AT YOUR GOAL EVERY DAY

Most people want a “do-over” or a second chance. You get this opportunity on January 1st. If you create your goal, and then put it away, your words will have no value. What you can’t see will soon be forgotten as the year progresses. When you look at your goal regularly, it gradually becomes a part of who you are.

Look at your goal every morning so you can start your day with focus. Look at your goal every evening, so that it stays with you in your dreams. Looking at your goal, and contemplating it, plays a large role in making it real.

So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!

How to create a vision for your career

All of life’s journeys begin with the phrase, “I want.”

Think about your career and the times when you said “I want.” Maybe you said “I want” go to college and then enrolled in college and completed your degree. Maybe you said “I want” to work for a large or a small company and you are working there now. Maybe you said “I want” to lead teams and that’s one of your current responsibilities. “I want” is a very powerful phrase. Without it, it’s hard to go very far.

Imagine going on a trip without selecting a destination beforehand. What would you pack? How would you get there? Where would you stay? Your trip probably would not end up being much fun.

It’s the same with your career. Not being able to visualize your desired result leads to results not happening. Goals are reached when you decide what you want, and then take action to get it. Without an end in mind, you will wander aimlessly; and as long as you are aimless, you will be wasting your time. You will feel lost. You will be like a stray leaf, going wherever the wind takes you.

WHAT’S A VISION?

My definition of a vision is visualization or a picture of where you see yourself in the future. Your picture can be one of where you want to be in a day, a week, a month, a year, or even farther into the future. The visualization of your goal is what compels you to move forward. A vision is a snapshot of what you want in your career and life to look like in the future. This snapshot gives your journey a clear and reachable destination and provides focus.

All goals are reached in the mind first. You see yourself both achieving that goal and experiencing the satisfaction it will bring you once you are there. This picture is what will help you to persevere during times of doubt. Your picture of success will give you purpose, power, and excitement. Your picture will give you a reason to get out of bed every day.

HOW DO YOU CREATE A VISION?

Close your eyes. Let your imagination take over. Get in touch with what you really want and what is important to you. Ask yourself meaningful questions. Let the answers come to you.

What questions will help you to get a vision quickly?

HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK YOURSELF:

If it was possible, what would be different in my career?

What type of job would I have?

What would I be responsible for?

What type of boss/co-workers/team would I have?

What kind of hours would I work?

What type of company would I work for?

What sort of culture would the company have?

What city would I live in?

How much money would I make?

How would I handle stress, my workload, and deadlines?

Once you have thought about these questions, it is time to get your answers down on paper. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The answers are what is true for you and not what someone else wants for you, but what is truly in your heart. Listen to yourself, and your answers will be the perfect one’s for you.

Once you have your vision, then it’s time to make it real.

So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!

Bond with the best

BEING the highly social creatures that we are, our brains are designed to bond with other people. It is natural for us to interact with others, as any anthropologist would tell you, and form social groups. So why is it that we sometimes struggle in our efforts to connect with the people around us? What are the things that prevent us from bonding and building relationships, both personal and professional with those around us? Truth be told, a lot of our social challenges are of our own making, and most of the things that stand in the way of connecting with other people. We can overcome if we put our minds to it.

Some common factors that prevent us from bonding with others or building successful working relationships are:

LACK OF INTEREST

If you want to connect with other people, you must be interested in other people. Genuinely interested. As one author puts it, ‘No one wants to connect with someone who is only interested in himself.’

LACK OF EFFORT

Building any relationship takes time and dedicated efforts. So, the next time you feel like berating the world for shutting you out, remember only you can do something about it. Do not sit at home waiting for the phone to ring, call someone. Do not wait for your boss to tell you why he or she is not happy, ask. Do not wait for a major crisis to occur before you attend to a problem, solve it now.

LACK OF TRUST

If you are the type who is suspicious of his co-worker because he is too efficient, and wary of the boss because he appears too good to be true, you are bound to have trouble building relationships with others. Trust is the basis for any relationship. Without trust, relationships are reduced to being compromises that lack credibility and reliability. Building a culture of trust is not easy; you can only do that through genuine appreciation, courtesy and respect for other people and their points of view. It is a slow process.

LACK OF HUMOR

A lot of people take themselves way too seriously. You do not have to goof around or act like a stand up comedian to connect with people, but nobody likes to be around someone who thinks life is one long funeral. If you find it difficult to laugh out loud easily, you are probably not a lot of fun to be around. If you learn to look forward to the bright and sunny side of life, you will find it easy to build and bond with others.

It must be remembered that people who enjoy being with one another are usually more productive in the workplace; they have greater loyalty to each other and to the organization. And, unlike personal relationships, the relationship between an employer and an employee is built on a mutual understanding of expectations and responsibilities. And it is in this context that the ability to build relationships with others assumes great importance.

So, the next time you find yourself struggling to build relationships either at a professional or at a personal level, do not blame it on stress, circumstances, or some such thing. Difficulty in connecting with others is a challenge you can surmount with a little effort.

Keep your eyes open for new opportunities

Gone are the times when people used to choose a career and stick to it all life long, when job stability, not the career growth prospects used to be the only reason for choosing the career and at those times government jobs used to be the highest priority and the only time people used to leave their job was time of retirement. With changing times, one has to constantly enhance the skills set, as the need of the hour may be to keep oneself still hot and sought after.

Let’s take an example, with the advent of computers in India in early eighties; some people had resistance in adopting it and accepting it as an integral part of their career. They feared the technology will eliminate their job, but did not think of mastering the technology. They were fighting against the strong wind of change, change for better, change for efficiency, change for technology which would later be visible in every part of their life and those who accepted this change, made the technology their strong arm and soon were in the fast lane.

So, it becomes important to have eyes, ears and mind open to see and listen and feel the opportunities which are thrown open each day of our lives. Let our minds dream, dream into the future, dream what you want, and the passion to achieve that becomes the technology. This is what is known as entrepreneurship.

One doesn’t need to be a businessman to be entrepreneur. One finds hundreds of opportunity in every day’s activities. What it requires is little imagination and creativity. Those are the people who are admired and are always on the fast track of career growth.

Fresh out of college?

Fresher and no job in hand? It is not a very comfortable situation to be in. You spent a fortune trying to acquire the professional degree, and worked very hard to earn that degree. The reward for all your efforts will follow, but one needs to be a little patient and work towards it. Getting depressed about the fact is not going to help.

First and foremost requirement is to explore oneself. What skills did you lack that making you to not receiving any job offer? Go, work to acquire those skills. Improve your command over the language, your confidence and brush up your presentation skills.

Don’t get disappointed, Identify and make a list of companies of your choice. Find out the skills they would be looking for and do you have those skills? Find out the business of the company and identify how both you and the company can benefit from each other. Every job aspirant must be approaching them, so how to make yourself stand apart from the rest?

First impression is always from your resume and the covering letter attached. Always send a neatly typed resume. Don’t know what to write in your resume? Emphasize your objective for your career choice, your expertise area, your achievements and leave all the personal details towards the end (Also refer our Resume preparation section). As a fresher you may attach details of the specialized courses you attended, any specialized training attended and achievements. In the covering letter, you may mention briefly your skills and the position you are applying for.

The best practice is not to wait to graduate, to start looking for a job, but eight to twelve months before graduating. One should not miss out the chance when companies come for campus recruitment in the final year and that’s the time one should start gearing up for a job and approaching prospective employers.

Your efforts will definitely pay up. Don’t get disheartened and work towards your goal.

Got a job offer? evaluate!

Getting a job offer is one of the most exciting and thrilling events in one’s life. But it is also a time when dilemma strikes with full force, if you are already employed. No matter how enticing the job offer, you end up questioning the wisdom behind the move. You feel the burden of foregoing certain benefits of the present situation even if it means giving up the normal nine to five work hours for a hefty package. You doubt the future and question its certainty. It might be something that you’ve wanted for a long time. It might be an offer out of the blue. If all these ifs and buts leave you in a quandary, it’s time to get objective and evaluate the job offer.

AVOID EMOTIONAL DECISIONS

Do not let your emotions have a free run. One usually regrets emotional decisions or finds ways to rationalize them. If you decide to leave the job because of an unpleasant employee or an unruly boss, you are giving too much of importance to factors that don’t deserve that much attention. It’s important that you quit the present job for the right reasons. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the new boss or new colleagues will be any better. Resolve to hone your people skills instead.

GET THE BACKGROUND INFORMATION

That’s common sense. Get information on the organization’s business or activity, financial condition, age, size and location. Read the company’s annual report meant for the stockholders. Browse through the press releases, company newsletters, it is website and recruitment brochures. If possible, speak to the current or former employees of the organization. Try to get a clear picture of the company’s successes, failures and plans for the future.

MATCH YOUR OWN INTERESTS AND BELIEFS

Try to determine if your interests and activities are in consonance with those of the new organization. Organizational culture should agree with your working habits. Or it should stand for values that you aspire to reach in your work life. If it does, you will find it easier to adapt to the new position and take up your new responsibilities with enthusiasm.

SIZE OF THE ORGANIZATION

Weigh the pros and cons of joining a large or a small organization. A large size organization offers benefits like advanced technology, specialized roles, training programmes and better employee benefits. However, there is a danger of feeling dwarfed and limited in one’s role. You may not get an opportunity to expand your skills and role.

Smaller firms on the other hand offer broader area of authority and responsibility, a more direct interaction with the top management and every contribution to the company’s success gets highlighted.

RELATIVELY NEW ORGANIZATION

New enterprises may have a higher failure rate, but there are equal chances of making it big by being part of an expanding firm. Moreover, it enriches your work experience, adding quality to it, as you get to learn skills involved in starting up an enterprise. In a well-established organization, on the other hand, the risk factors are minimized.

GET OBJECTIVE

Get to know what the expected working hours are. You might have to take personal factors into consideration before making a change. Get to know the distance and commuting time required. Inquire whether a pick up would be available if your workplace is very far away from your residence.

EMPLOYEE TURNOVER

If the organization is facing a high employee turnover, get to know the factors. Are the employees dissatisfied? Are the enterprise policies not employee friendly? If possible ask the person whom you are replacing about the reason why he or she quit.

ADVANCEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Will you get to learn new skills, increase your earnings and rise to positions of greater authority? Are there opportunities for mobility within the firm? What is the appraisal system like? Do they have training programmes for employees? All these questions are very important to plan one’s career graph, keeping the next step in mind.

SALARY AND BENEFITS

Get a rough estimate of what the job should pay. Inquire from people who were hired for similar positions. Make sure you get credit for your work experience. Advertisements in newspapers for job openings or on websites usually give a range of salary for the position.

If you are relocating to a different city, then make allowances for differences in cost of living. Get to know their policy on overtime.

The most important thing while evaluating a job offer is to get one’s priorities right. Apart from that, one needs to take care of the objective factors listed above. Making an informed decision will help you get the right job not just this once but every time in future that you are faced with an enticing job offer.