BELLA MECCA BLOG: 8 Career Resolutions for 2015
It’s that time of year again…. The time to start planning those resolutions you put off in 2014, 2013 and 2012. The start of the year brings a fresh outlook and updated motivation after the holiday period, and it is the perfect time to stop making excuses and put some thought into where you and your career runway are heading.
I’ve been guilty of not following through with one or two of my New Year’s resolutions in the past, and have been even more of a culprit when it came to procrastinating my own career change. But if you are waiting for change to happen in your life with regards to anything – your job, friendships, health or relationships by itself, you’ll be waiting a long time. What’s the expression? “Change nothing and nothing will change?” If you want more out of your job then you need to be proactive and commit to some resolutions. Just getting started can be half the battle so follow some of these relatively painless steps that make creating change easier to obtain whilst leaving less room for excuses.
Manifest Your Dream Job
No…this isn’t a hippy kumbaya approach. In fact visualising what you want and manifesting that image can be a very powerful first step. Ask yourself – when was the last time you failed at something you really put your mind to? The answer is probably – never. Anything is possible if you believe it is. Research shows that when you are fearful of something (and I’ve certainly been scared of the unknown) that we mentally paralyse ourselves. So embrace change, be positive and just remember what’s the worst that can happen? Project manage those scenarios so you have more confidence in moving forward.
Begin to break this down into what you can start doing about it today, this month and this year and make those mental milestones.
This is the first step.
Chat to Your Boss
I can hear some of you gasping at this! What do you mean I talk to my boss about my career development?! Um yes, you should be doing this. But this really also depends on your personal situation. If you work for an organisation where career development is encouraged and fostered then putting your hand up for internal opportunities may be in fact what you need. This raises an interesting consideration – do you want to move on from your company? Or from your job? If its the latter then perhaps moving into a different role within the same company could be a positive solution. You never know? Your manager may be across other opportunities for you? But he or she is not a mind reader. So gently raise this at your next one on one because if you love the people you work for and with, then take a moment to consider what else you can do for them. I’m also a believer that it should never really come as a surprise to your company that you want to move on or that you are unhappy. These are conversations that need to be raised before your departure as it’s an opportunity for both parties to manage your position and tenure in an open and positive way.
Get Your Paper Work In Order
To CV or not to CV – this should NEVER be a question you need an answer too. Get it ready and up to date people. No excuses. There was nothing worse than calling a candidate who said they were open to opportunities – yet didn’t have their CV firing and ready to go. In a competitive market its important that candidates demonstrate a certain level of commitment and professionalism when being considered for a role, but it can also save time if your CV is ready to be sent immediately. Think of it this way – If Richard Branson called you and said he had an opportunity on his Key Innovations & All Things FunTeam based on Necker Island that paid six figures, would you say “Thats awesome! I’m interested! Can I get my CV to you sometime next week Richard?” Ahhhh NO.
Keep Your Networking Game Strong
The advice “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is still just as valuable as ever in our careers. I have always endeavoured to maintain my professional relationships wherever I go, as they actually become invaluable advice sources for me. Make it your mission to use this year to branch out into your field by developing and maintaining new and existing contacts. Make a list of 5 people within your immediate social and professional networks that you can pick up the phone to and call today. You may very well be surprised that you’ll have more than one person who is willing to help and/or advise you. Have a chat, grab a coffee and stay on people’s radar. This isn’t about wasting their time – its about feeling good that you are staying connected, staying relevant and nurturing relationships you respect and value. It will also make you feel good that you are doing something to bring about potential change in your career. Also get online and build your brand. Start connecting with senior influencers in your field (But be targeted – do not use a scatter gun approach with regards to your outreach) and attend relevant industry events, workshops and seminars. These are fantastic places to conduct due diligence and get inspiration.
I attended an industry event once that I wasn’t particularly excited to go too. Mainly because I find events intimidating and highly awkward when you don’t know anyone and you’re attending on your own and you’re tired from work and you have a deadline and you really should go to the gym….and and and….but I went all the same. I didn’t really chat to anyone, nor did I overly participate. But I listened, and learned (took advantage of some delicious canapés and champagne I may add) and watched the keynote speakers who were all really very inspiring. So inspiring in fact, fast forward 12 months later I approached one of them for an Interview for La Femme Mecca (and she almost never grants interviews) but I mentioned I had seen her speak at this event and it gave me a warm introduction. If I hadn’t attended that event and gone to the gym instead it would have been an opportunity missed. My point is – you always take something away from stepping outside your comfort zone and worse case scenario you get a delicious shrimp cocktail to go with it.
This is a critical and important tip for all job seekers particularly those within the corporate and marketing fields. Make sure you have a) An active LinkedIn Profile and b) That it is an accurate reflection of your skillset, past roles and experience. HR managers, recruiters and businesses more often than not go straight to LinkedIn to scout eligible candidates so this is a 24hour public CV that could lead you to your next opportunity. As a former recruitment consultant, I can tell you many really strong candidates lost out on my clients opportunities because they didn’t have an active LinkedIn profile whereby I could reach them easily or they took too long to respond or even worse they didn’t have one at all. These are virtual online profiles that literally update your details for you. Without one of these, you really are missing out not only on live opportunities, access to online jobs, interests boards and forums but also being left behind in the virtual talent attraction arena. Most importantly you’re missing out on connecting with valuable like minded professionals – and potential employers.
Quick Tip: Don’t use LinkedIn as a social tool – that’s what Facebook and Instagram are for. Keep it professional and only link in with relevant professional connections. Also be mindful with your updates. It’s not the place to update your status with what your cat ate for breakfast. It’s the easiest way to lose credibility if you use it that way. Keep it professional people.
Share Your Plans
The mind is a powerful tool – commit to something mentally and you’ll see it play out in real life. (No seriously – this really works). Start verbalising those plans, wishes or dreams and your mind will start to make conscious (and subconscious) changes towards that path. This is true of your career too. Keeping your dream job or goals secret doesn’t always serve you well and it certainly won’t miraculously bring opportunities knocking on your door.
Once you know where you’d like to be headed, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Tell your plans to friends, family and mentors for motivation, self-accountability and give yourself permission to network. Don’t be that girl that always talks about changing her job – but then does nothing about it. In some of my roles I was actually encouraged to seek out external opportunities because in worse case scenarios, it will tell you two things a) Give you a good benchmark of your current role and what else is out there and how your role compares b) Will truly help you identify whether moving onwards or outwards from your company is something you really want? If anything, it may reinforce your current position – and how good you actually have it!
At the end of the day, you never know what opportunities may open up by sharing the information (in a targeted and sensitive way) and it might help you find the next step in your career. I would encourage though, that you make sure you have exhausted conversations about opportunities within your current organisation. If they have been good to you and vice versa, you never know what they are willing to create for you.
Consider Work Experince or Study
If you feel like it’s time for a career change, an internship or work experience may be the way to get your foot in the door or better still, give you a taste of your ideal industry or job without taking a huge risk. In addition to providing priceless experience and contacts, work experience is a great way to gain practical skills and learn about another career environment. Obviously this won’t work for many corporate 9-5pm job seekers, but if you’re thinking of moving into Floristry or Fashion or Events etc there is no reason why you can’t participate on the weekend.
Invest In Yourself
It’s important to update your skill set regularly. We are big fans of continued development and education here at La Femme Mecca mainly because, if you don’t know what you want to do learning a new skill, or doing a course can be a great place to start because it will make you more informed, educated and confident in your next steps. Perhaps you want to learn the basics of Photoshop? Or web development? or nutrition? Or you want to start blogging to improve your writing? Night courses, online classes, and YouTube tutorials are a couple of great ways to pick up new skills in your own time and will scratch the itch you’ve had to do something new and challenging. Or even better – it may lead to a new career path or business idea for you.