4 Steps to career change success: #2 Explore

4 Steps to career change success: #2 Explore

In the 3rd of our series about how Newleaf supports our clients through career transition, we share the importance of taking time to establish real clarity on the next career move.

Explore and clarify your next career move

I had a wise grandmother who had lived through 2 world wars, was a career woman and knew how to enjoy herself.  I have many fond memories of her and one piece of advice always sticks in my mind, “Make sure you have no regrets by the time you get to my age” (then in her 80’s). This is at the front of my mind when supporting clients to identify their next career move.

 Many of our clients are facing the prospect of a career change prompted by redundancy.  Whilst this is not always welcomed, for the vast majority of our clients this turns into a positive opportunity.  Very often, for the first time in their lives they are being asked, “So what do you REALLY want to do?”  We provide some tools and techniques to stimulate and process their thinking, coupled with high quality attention.  We encourage them to explore their thoughts about what they may, could, perhaps dream of doing.

Some people feel that indulging in this kind of thought process is a luxury they don’t have time for when concerned about how they will pay the mortgage in a few months.  My advice, you can’t not afford the time.  A few years ago I had an initial meeting with a client.  They was clearly anxious about how they would support their family and before meeting had diligently been applying for jobs.  In a distressed state they shared:

“I have applied for loads of jobs and I haven’t got a single interview!”

“So what have you been applying for?” I gently asked.

“Anything and everything” was their response.

And therein lies the problem.

If you are a top class athlete going for gold, you would not enter an event that you are ill equipped for, not trained in and don’t feel passionate about.  You’ll focus on your strengths, fuelled by a sport that you enjoy and you’ll ensure your personal best positions you well in the field. The same applies when looking for work:

  • What are your stand out strengths? Strengths come naturally to us when we are in the flow of a task, and we are often unaware of what we are doing. Because our strengths come easily to us, we assume they come easily to everyone else too! This is not so and so clients need good reflective listening to help identify their strengths.
  • Where do you get real fulfilment? Think of working days when you went home feeling on a high, what happened? Why was that day so much better than another one? Why was one role so much more rewarding than another?
  • What do you take real pleasure in? When does the time fly by and you find yourself smiling without knowing it?
  • What aspirations, dreams, and fantasies have you harboured? Give these an airing, try them on for size and hang out here a while.  You may then realise that doing this full time would be your worst nightmare, or may see that you absolutely must pursue this further.  Either way, you’ll know!

When you have answered these questions, some criteria will start to emerge.  These criteria will start to form the basis of the job you REALLY want.  This means that you will be front of the field, you’ll save valuable time by having a focussed job search and because you are playing to your strengths your chances of success will be greatly enhanced.

So returning to my grandmother’s advice: investing time in exploring and identifying your next career move will help you reach the grand old age of 80 with no regrets (at least in terms of your career!).

Susan Binnersley

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