How to turn your hobby into a career

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to turn your hobby into a careerYou probably know at least one person who dreamt of being a painter or a musician but was persuaded to pursue something ‘safer’ and more financially secure. But doing something you’re passionate about can be just as important.

Have you ever wondered if you could turn your hobby or special interest into a real job? It may seem like a pipe dream, but what if it was possible?

Here are some tips on how to turn your hobby into a career.

  1. Do your research: Investigate the types of jobs or other opportunities that take advantage of your skills or passion. Once you have some ideas of realistic career options, you can find out what’s needed to succeed.
  2. Talk to an expert: Speak to someone already working in the area you’re interested in. Approach them as a fellow hobbyist and use your shared passion to start a conversation. Ask them about the path they took to get there – what did they study? Who did they know? What sacrifices did they make? And do they still love what they do, or has it just become work?
  3. Seek professional advice: If you’re having trouble figuring out how to turn your passion into a career, a career counsellor can help. Through a career assessment and one-on-one coaching, a career counsellor can help you identify the types of jobs that are right for you. The results may surprise you and could open up career opportunities you’ve never considered.
  4. Develop a business plan: If you’ve decided to start your own business based on your hobby, you’ll need to create a business plan. This doesn’t have to be lengthy or overly difficult – this article gives a great overview of the one-page approach. Start by thinking about who your customers will be (your target market), the problem you’re going to solve for them, what your product or service looks like, and what you’re going to charge.
  5. Save some cash: If you’re planning to switch careers or start a business, it’s a good idea to have a financial buffer to cover general living costs in case you don’t have an income. Starting a new business or new job is stressful enough without adding financial worries.
  6. Take a course: You might already spend hours on your hobby, but are you largely self-taught? If you’re looking to turn it into your career, it’s helpful to have a qualification you can list on your resume. Investigate short courses offered by TAFE, community colleges and other registered training providers including online.
  7. Stay open-minded: Things don’t always go to plan, so maintaining a flexible mindset will help you deal with any setbacks. And remember that your ideal career may not look exactly how you expect it to look. Be open to different opportunities.
  8. Start small: You don’t have to immediately quit your job and go all in – it may be better to take some small, simple steps instead. For example, you might start by following our tips above, then look at volunteer or part-time opportunities.

Turning a hobby or passion into a career may seem too good to be true, but if you approach it in a practical way and follow our tips, you may discover a whole new world of possibilities.

Do you have a hobby, passion or skill that you’d love to turn into a career? Our Career Counselling and Coaching Services can help. These services are available over the phone or in person in locations across Australia.

Katie Roberts gift vouchers are also available and make an inspiring gift for friends or family.

9 steps to success in your new job

Article by Belinda Fuller

9 steps to success in your new jobYou aced the interview, negotiated the job offer and now you’re a new employee. But now is not the time to relax and put your efforts on cruise control. While it’s the company’s job to help you settle in and learn about office culture, how successful you are in your new role is largely up to you. The first few months are critical and you need to put serious time into showing management they made a smart decision in hiring you.

Here are 10 ways to quickly impress your boss and set your path to success.

  1. Research before your first day: There are many things you’ll need to learn on the job, but some can be learned by reading and researching at home. Review the company’s website and any related media or other information about recent events. Do your homework, and your boss will be impressed when you can add value from day one.
  2. Understand what’s expected of you: Building relationships with your superiors is important, but you should also spend time learning about what they expect from you. This can include the expectations listed in your job description, as well as informal expectations such as networking, helping others, and supporting the broader goals of the company. If you can help your boss achieve their goals, this will be a huge plus for you.
  3. Manage your time well from the start: Arrive at work on time or early, ready to focus. Organise and prioritise your work. Create to-do lists and achieve as much as possible every day. Avoid the temptation to check social media, text your friends or zone out an hour before the end of the day. Do your best to be fully engaged and productive every single day.
  4. Be proactive: You should start accomplishing your goals and making connections as soon as possible. Your first few days on the job are crucial to creating a good impression and understanding what’s required for you to succeed. You may come across some issues that you’ve never encountered before, or tasks that you’re unsure how to complete. Rather than immediately turning to your boss for help, try to resolve the issue on your own. Investigate the problem, think through possible solutions, observe your colleagues, use Google, and then once you have some ideas, seek out the advice of a team member or superior. You should also take advantage of extra opportunities to contribute, such as pitching in on open projects or volunteering for committees. By offering to shoulder more responsibility where it makes sense, you’ll show your boss how committed you are.
  5. Ask lots of questions – but try to answer them first: Even when you try to absorb everything your new boss or colleagues say, you’re still bound to have lots of questions. It’s normal and shows you’re engaged. However, see if you can answer your own questions before approaching someone else. Use the resources at your disposal, such as the company handbook, training guide or your own notes. Observe how others handle similar situations. This way, when you do need to ask your boss a question, you’ll have some background knowledge.
  6. Set realistic goals with your boss: Your goals for your role should be set in collaboration with your boss, so you can find common ground and get their stamp of approval. Your boss can also let you know which goals might need to change and what your immediate priorities are.
  7. Secure early wins: Consider ways you can build momentum right away. Try to identify an immediate contribution you can make to the team. This will ensure people see you in a positive light and show your boss that you’re committed to the team’s success.
  8. Follow through: Dependability is a quality that employers look for, and there’s no better time to prove that you’re reliable than now. Ensure you complete tasks either before or on deadline. Arrive at meetings prepared and ready to contribute. If you say you’ll do something, make sure you do it. If you know you’re going to miss a deadline or not finish something as expected, be transparent and inform your boss early on in the process.
  9. Get to know people: Demonstrate your interpersonal skills by circulating around the office and staff kitchen to get to know people quickly. Not only will this help you settle in and adjust to the office culture, it’ll also help you build a great base for communication and teamwork. Stay positive and friendly, and be mindful of others and their opinions. Getting along with a variety of people can improve your chances for a promotion down the track.

In your first few months of a new job, you’ve got a unique chance to make a great impression and set a foundation for future success. By following the steps above, you’ll make it clear that you care about your job and the company, and you’re serious about making a positive impact.  

Do you need expert guidance to succeed in your new role or take your career to the next level? Are you ready to find a new job or career path, but not sure how to go about it? Our career experts can help you confidently take your next step. See our Career Coaching Services to find out more.

Feeling lost? How to uncover your perfect career

Article by Belinda Fuller

Feeling lost? How to uncover your perfect careerChoosing the ‘right’ career is no easy task. You might be new to the workforce and unsure which path to take, or unhappy in your current role and looking for a new challenge. Wherever you’re at, when it’s time to make a choice about your career, it’s common to feel stuck. Here are our top tips on narrowing down your options and choosing a career that suits your personality, preferences and skills.

What we do for work can be one of the most important decisions we make. Many of us will spend around a third of each day at work – and sometimes more – so finding a career that aligns with our values and preferences is important. If you’re not sure which direction you should take, or you want to feel more fulfilled in your job, read on for our tips on finding a career that suits you.

Tip 1: Think about what excites and energises you

This is a great first step. We all want to like and enjoy our job. And while passion isn’t the only requirement for being content in your career, it will help you stay motivated and engaged, and keep you going through the tough times. But you may not feel that passionate about any specific career, or perhaps you’re interested in multiple areas and can’t decide on just one. So instead of focusing just on jobs, think about your personality and what you do (and don’t) enjoy doing.

Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, you probably have an idea of what you like or dislike, work-wise, and this can help narrow down your options.

For example, perhaps you enjoy travelling and dislike working in heavily structured environments, or maybe you don’t like big cities and the idea of working remotely appeals to you.

 

Start by making a list of likes and dislikes. Do you like working in a team or would you rather work independently? Do you value structure or do you prefer flexibility? What appeals to you about certain workplaces and what do you find off-putting? Once you’ve written down as many likes and dislikes as you can think of, you’ll start to build a clearer picture of the type of work that suits you. All these little personal preferences can help lead you towards your perfect career.

Tip 2: Evaluate your skills

Think about the life and work skills you already have, and those you would like to build on. Which skills come easiest to you? For example, communication, self-management, teamwork, problem solving or analysis? Every career needs these skills, but some more than others. For instance, great communication is especially important in sales, marketing and management careers, while analytical skills are more important in finance or IT roles.

Tip 3: Research career prospects and trajectory

If you’ve identified that a certain career would be a good fit for you based on your personality and preferences, make sure you consider all the facts. For example, have you thought about your prospects? How easy will it be to find a job in your chosen area and what sort of compensation can you expect?

You should also consider career trajectory and what your role might look like five or ten years down the track. Would you still enjoy the job if you ended up managing people and had less time to create things or work directly with customers? It’s also a good idea to research the types of promotions you could expect over the coming years and whether you’ll have a chance to grow and expand your skill set.

Tip 4: Get some practical experience

Experiencing a career firsthand is the fastest way to determine whether or not it’s a good fit, and having some practical experience can also make you more employable once you begin your job search.

If you’re still in school, work experience placements and internships offer a chance to try out certain jobs and industries. And if you’re already working, you can gain practical experience by volunteering or taking a course that allows you to develop new skills and make contacts in your industry of interest.

Tip 5: Talk to other people

One of the best ways to discover a new career is to ask other people about theirs. Use your existing contacts as a reference point for information about different roles and careers. Your LinkedIn network can be a good place to start seeking information.

Tip 6: Consult a career coach or mentor

It may also be a good idea to consult a qualified career coach, who can take a solution-based approach to helping you discover a career aligned to your personality, interests and values. With experience across a variety of industries and extensive knowledge of a wide range of occupations, a good career coach can be invaluable.

By using tools and techniques such as personality profiling and career interest assessments, a career coach can provide new insight and information on careers that might suit you. They can also help you explore your options and create a realistic and personalised action plan.

Tip 7: Consider your short- and long-term goals

Now that you’ve spent some time thinking about a career that’s right for you, your next step is to define some achievable goals. To make your career dreams a reality, what are you going to work towards in the coming months and years?

In a document or spreadsheet, list the steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goals, and a date you’d like to achieve them by. Your goals can be small or large, but make sure they’re realistic. Taking time to define the steps required to achieve your career aspirations, and breaking them down into manageable goals, will help you turn your daydreams into a rewarding, long-term career.

Are you ready for a change but feeling unsure about what kind of career would suit you best? An experienced career coach can be invaluable in helping you create a better future for yourself. See our Career Counselling Services to learn how our career experts can support you through the process of choosing a career and taking your first steps.

 

8 tips for returning to the workforce

Article by Belinda Fuller

8 tips for returning to the workforceHave you had an extended break from the workforce? Are you looking to return to full- or part-time work, but unsure where to start? The process can seem daunting after a long break – but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how you can you achieve a smooth and successful transition back into work.

Many people take a break from their career at some point, whether it’s to study, travel or start a family, or for health or other personal reasons. Whatever your reason for taking time out, returning to the workplace can feel daunting. In this article, we look at some first steps you can take to help make the transition back to work a positive experience.

  1. Consider the type of work you’d like to do: Make a list of what you’re looking for when you go back to work. What type of position would you like? Do you want to return to what you were doing before or are you looking for a change? Do you want to work for a company with promotion opportunities, or would you prefer a job where you can go in, do your work and head home without having to worry about your team? The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it will be to find something suitable.
  2. Update your skills: Before you start working on your resume and applying for roles, a great first step is to update your skill set. This will help boost your confidence while giving you a stronger resume. Look for opportunities that help fill gaps in your experience, such as taking an online course, completing an internship or doing some volunteer work.
  3. Refresh your resume: When you’re returning to work after a significant break, creating a functional resume, rather than a standard chronological resume, can work best. This involves focusing on your skills and successes rather than the precise dates of your employment. You can showcase your experience under headings such as ‘marketing experience’, ‘project management’ or ‘leadership’ and then list your achievements accordingly. To find out whether a functional resume is right for you, and how to create one that helps you shine, read our recent article here.
  4. Don’t underestimate yourself: Focus on the great skills and experience you have, and think about any new skills you may have acquired during your break. Recruiters and employers value these skills, especially when they’re relevant to the role you’re applying for, so include them in your resume. For example, you might have developed new skills through activities such as: managing a large house renovation; contributing to local sporting clubs, committees and coaching teams; volunteering for your local community or charity organisations; assisting with local fundraising activities; and creating or managing side projects, such as events or a small business. All these activities require skills such as relationship building, communication, organisation and prioritisation, and often the ability to create something with little or no budget. These are all valuable skills in a workplace.
  5. Update your social media profiles: With more than 645 million members around the world, LinkedIn is a great tool for promoting yourself and seeking out potential employers. It’s also a widely used tool among recruiters and employers. As well as checking out applicants’ LinkedIn profiles, recruiters will often Google applicants’ names, so it’s a good idea to see what comes up when you search your name. In addition to creating a professional, SEO-optimised LinkedIn profile, make sure your personal digital footprint helps rather than hinders your application. You can read our previous article for tips on how to clean up your social media.
  6. Tap into your networks: You can often find opportunities to re-enter the workforce through your existing networks. One way to do this is to send an email to family, friends and former co-workers/managers and attach your resume. Let them know the type of position you are seeking and ask them if they’d mind forwarding on your details if they hear of any relevant positions. This may feel daunting, but most people like to help when they can. To grow your networks and open up more opportunities, you could also research and join local networking events and online groups.
  7. Consider part-time or temp work: If your job search is taking longer than expected, consider part-time work or find an agency that offers temporary or contract positions. Do an online search for agencies in your area and contact them to request an interview. If you get your foot in the door with the right company and prove yourself, you have a good chance of receiving a full-time offer down the track. Plus going part-time initially can be a good way to transition, giving you time to adjust.
  8. Consult a career coach: If you’re considering changing careers on your return to work, a career coach can help. Experienced career coaches have extensive knowledge of a wide range of occupations and offer professional, independent advice on your options. They can help you build your confidence and give you the support you need to make the transition.

 

Re-entering the workforce after an extended break can be tough, but there are things you can do to make this change feel less daunting and more positive. Follow our tips above to take your first steps, and things will flow on from there.

Are you feeling daunted by the prospect of returning to work after taking time out?  Do you need help assessing your skills and experience, and presenting yourself in the best possible light to secure the job you want? Our Resume Writing Services and Job Search Coaching Services might be just what you need.

 

How to boost self-confidence at work

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to boost self-confidence at workWhile it is a generalisation, successful people are often fairly confident people – or can at least find self-confidence when they need it most. But there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and people who aren’t naturally self-confident sometimes struggle with this. Building self-confidence doesn’t have to mean a complete personality overhaul – you can take some small, simple steps to become more self-assured, and this may help you achieve increased career success.

Here are our top tips:

  1. Push yourself: Getting outside your comfort zone is key to improving self-confidence. If you feel you could do your job with your eyes closed, it might be time to stretch yourself. You could do that in your current role by offering to help on a project where you’ll build new skills, or do something outside of work that challenges you while building professional skills.
  2. Visualise success: Having a clear picture of what success means to you is important. Many experts will tell you that the first step to achieving a goal is to visualise yourself doing so. You could imagine yourself working in your dream job or behaving with more self-confidence in an area that’s important to you.
  3. Assess yourself: Take stock of where you’re at and what you have to offer. Write down your skills, qualifications, experience and successes, and how they relate to the role(s) you’d like to secure in the future. Writing down your accomplishments can immediately boost your self-confidence, because more often than not we underestimate ourselves.
  4. Fake it! We never advise clients to lie or mislead, but this tip relates to acting confident to help you overcome your fears. ‘Fake it till you make it’, as they say. Adopting a more positive ‘can-do’ attitude or taking on more responsibility even though it may seem daunting are likely to help build your self-confidence.
  5. Communicate: You need to be able to clearly and concisely articulate what you think and need. If you have concerns, voice them! If you need help, ask for it. If you feel you can talk to your manager about issues – great. If not, seek a trusted friend or colleague with whom you can share your frustrations. Being open and sharing what’s bothering you can help you feel more in control and give you more confidence to determine possible next steps.
  6. Learn to say ‘no’: There are times at work when you should say ‘no’. Unreasonable requests can make you feel out of control. Being assertive allows you to set limits for yourself without being seen as the bully. Learn to say ‘no’ where it is warranted, and you’ll likely feel more confident and in control.
  7. Seek help: Self-confident people often know what they can handle and they delegate the rest. If you’re feeling overworked, talk to your boss and figure out how the situation might be improved.
  8. Get a mentor: Mentors provide a safe space to bounce ideas around and decide which way to go in certain situations. They can also make suggestions to help refine your ideas or point out things you can’t see clearly. This includes successes and achievements that can boost your self-confidence.
  9. Learn new skills: One of the best ways to feel more self-confident is to up-skill. If you’re feeling out of touch with something, find an online course or even just watch a relevant YouTube video. If you take the time to gain the skills you need, you might just begin to feel more confident in yourself.
  10. Accept self-doubt: Even the most confident people sometimes doubt themselves – but they don’t let that self-doubt take control. When you have negative or unconstructive thoughts, acknowledge them but try to analyse if your concern is valid or an over-reaction. Getting someone else’s opinion here can help – the goal is to push past the doubt and move on.
  11. Dress for success: It might be a cliché, but appearances can help you get ahead. Making a little bit of effort with your appearance can go a long way to feeling more self-assured.
  12. Choose your friends wisely: Another well-worn cliché that again is true – choose to spend your time with people who make you feel good about yourself, including in the workplace where possible.
  13. Let go: Try not to dwell on the past or get caught up in what might have been. Instead of worrying about things you can no longer control, stay focused on the future.
  14. Forgive yourself: Beating yourself up about mistakes is not helpful. Self-confident people often learn from their mistakes and move on, knowing they won’t let it happen again.

If you feel like your self-confidence at work could do with a boost, start with small steps. You might like to try just two or three of our tips above to start – but do them consistently and hopefully you’ll see your self-confidence start to bloom.

Is your lack of self-confidence holding you back in your career? Find out how our experienced and compassionate Career Counsellors and Career Coaches can help.

How to answer: hypothetical interview questions

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to answer a hypothetical interview questionHypothetical interview questions put you in an imaginary situation and ask how you’d react. They are similar to role plays. Interviewers ask these types of questions to assess your problem-solving skills, how quickly you can think on your feet and how clearly you express yourself. Questions will often begin with “Imagine you are…” and are designed to assess your thought process rather than extract ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers.

These questions also help recruiters put candidates on an even playing field, since the same hypothetical situation can be proposed and candidates’ answers can be assessed against each other.

How to prepare for a hypothetical

You might think it would be difficult to prepare for hypothetical questions, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Questions usually revolve around solving a work-related problem, so it can help to think about possible issues that could arise in the role you’re applying for. Depending on the role, the question might focus on:

  • Resolving a customer complaint or issue.
  • Addressing a case of employee theft or misconduct.
  • Getting to the bottom of employee conflict.
  • Missing an important deadline.
  • Dealing with an aggressive customer.
  • Working with team members who aren’t pulling their weight.
  • Being passed over for promotion or additional responsibility.

Once you’ve come up with some potential situations, the next step is to think about how you’d resolve them and why you’d take that approach. Drawing on past experience to describe a similar situation you’ve faced and how you reacted is a good way to respond. This shows the interviewer that you’ve ‘been there, done that’ and worked successfully in a similar scenario. You also shouldn’t be afraid to mention things you wouldn’t do.

Tips for answering a hypothetical question

  • Don’t feel pressured to rush your answer: Take a few seconds to gather your thoughts and resist the temptation to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. The interviewer is testing your problem-solving skills and wants to see reasoned thinking.
  • Clarify if you’re not sure: Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you need further explanation. Asking a question or two can also buy you a little thinking time.
  • Stay on point: Try not to ramble or go off on tangents. Tell your story in a structured way, with a beginning, middle and end. Come to the conclusion naturally with a clear description of your desired outcome or result.
  • Don’t think there is a definitive right answer: Discussing your approach – where you’d start, what you’d think about, who you’d talk to, what steps you’d take, etc. – is sometimes better than trying to provide an answer or resolution. The interviewer isn’t necessarily asking you to solve the problem for them – they want to know how you would approach it.
  • Use your own history: Consider preparing some examples focused on common skills such as problem solving, communication, people skills and customer service, as well as general challenges you’ve faced. When a question is posed, you may be able to draw on one of your prepared examples and adapt it to suit the hypothetical situation. You can then say “I actually faced a similar situation and was able to do XYZ.” Again, this shows that you have relevant experience.

It might seem impossible to prepare for hypothetical questions, but by analysing the job description, you can get a sense of what an interviewer might ask. What are the focus areas for the role? If it’s heavy on customer service, you might be asked how to resolve a complaint; if deadlines are important, you may need to explain how you’d handle a missed deadline; if you’re leading people, you might have to discuss handling a conflict. Take time to prepare some thoughts and examples, and boost your chances of success.

Do you struggle with answering questions like this during interviews? If you’d like some help preparing for a job interview, so you can build your confidence and increase your success rate, take a look at our Interview Training and Coaching Services.

Why a career coach could be your secret weapon

Article by Belinda Fuller

Why a career coach could be your secret weaponIf you’re stuck in a rut in your current job or keen to make a change, but unsure of your direction or purpose, you might be relieved to know that you can call on expert support.

Career coaches are experts in their field, with a wealth of experience across a variety of industries and occupations. They provide professional, independent advice on career and/or training options, and help people to embark on new careers aligned to their personality, interests and values.

Let’s look at what you can (and can’t) expect from working with a career coach, what a typical consultation involves and how to get the most from your investment.

 From planning to action: how a career coach can help

  • Career planning: Career coaches use a range of tools and techniques, such as personality profiling and career interest assessments, to assess your interests, values and personality. This helps them to identify the careers, industries and work environments that may best suit you. They can also provide advice and information to help you explore those career options and create a realistic, personalised action plan.
  • Advice on further education and training: Career coaches can help you identify your current skills and explore ways to improve them or develop new ones. They can advise on further education and training opportunities, and can also help you to market your current skills to internal and external recruitment decision-makers.
  • Resume and interview advice: Career coaches can support you during the job-search process by helping you prepare for an interview and providing advice on writing resumes and cover letters. They may also be able to find job opportunities for you that you weren’t previously aware of.
  • Support in taking that next step: A career coach will support you through the process by providing direction, helping you to establish clear goals and advising you on how to achieve them. This will help you to build your confidence and find new inspiration.

What not to expect from a career coach

  • A career coach is a facilitator, not a prophet. Don’t expect them to tell you what you should do with your career. They are a guide and mentor, there to help you make long-lasting changes, position yourself for success and make the most out of your skills and knowledge. But it’s important that you’re accountable for your own career decisions.
  • A career coach can’t do everything for you. You need to listen to, and learn from, your career coach’s advice, but you also need to be an active participant in the process. Coaching doesn’t work unless you do. Your coach won’t come with you to interviews, nor will they find you a job or rewrite your resume every time you need to update it. Be prepared to take action!
  • A career coach won’t change your life in an instant. Major change takes time and commitment. Your coach will support you through this process until you feel comfortable to take your next career step. Be patient and prepared for challenges!

What happens in a career coaching consultation?

Your career coach will cover a range of topics, and your consultation may include:

  • Discussing and assessing your current situation.
  • Identifying your career goals and key values.
  • Personality assessments and career interests profiling.
  • Discussing career options that fit your personality, interests and values.
  • Identifying your strengths and transferrable skills.
  • Identifying work tasks and environments that will suit you best.
  • Feedback on your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.
  • An action plan for taking practical next steps.

A career coach can help you find the clarity you’ve been lacking and move towards your dream job or career. If you’re interested in working with an experienced career coach, see our Career Counselling Services and discover how our experts can support your success.

 

9 tips for avoiding job burnout

Article by Belinda Fuller

9 tips for avoiding job burnoutMost of us feel stressed about our job from time to time, but what happens when we feel stressed all the time? If you’re feeling overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism and detachment from your job, and a sense of ineffectiveness / lack of accomplishment, you could be experiencing burnout. The long-term impact on your physical and mental health from job burnout can be serious. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon in its International Classification of Diseases. While doctors need to be careful to rule out adjustment disorder, anxiety and other mood-related disorders, the classification may help highlight the need for work-life balance for workers.

Leaving the job that’s causing the problem might seem like the obvious solution, but that may not be the answer. It might not even be viable since you need financial security, energy and drive to secure a new job. Plus, many experts believe that the burnout will simply follow you to the next role.

The best approach, therefore, is to avoid burnout in the first place. Here are our top tips.

Tip 1: Work with purpose – This isn’t just a warm and fuzzy idea. When we have a purpose to our work other than simply earning money to live, it can help avoid burnout. Look at the deeper impact of what you do every day and ask yourself: Does the work you do make a difference to your company? How does your work impact other people? Do you feel a sense of satisfaction? How could you add more meaning to what you do every day? If you think you might be in the wrong role, you could talk to a career consultant to help you find your ideal career.

Tip 2: Complete a job analysis – When we feel overwhelmed by work on a daily basis, it can be difficult just to ‘catch up’. To clarify where you’re spending time while understanding exactly what’s expected of you, it helps to analyse your job requirements and track your time for a few days. You can then work towards eliminating or delegating tasks that aren’t contributing to desired outcomes.

If you feel like you have too much work to handle, discuss it with your boss. Come prepared with details about your workload and why you believe it’s unrealistic, as well as ideas about how to address the issue.

Tip 3: Establish working hours – It’s often easier said than done, but setting boundaries for yourself and others is important. If you work from home, walk away from your office space at a set time each day. If you work in an office, try not to take work home unnecessarily. Leave work at a set time to spend planned time with family or friends. For many people, it takes a personal emergency for them to reschedule something important at work. Turn that around and give your personal time the same respect – try not to ‘reschedule’ it unless absolutely necessary.

Tip 4: Switch off – Any device that’s keeping you connected to work should be turned off outside of work hours as much as possible. If you’re spending time with your family or partner, this is especially important. We need uninterrupted time to focus on personal relationships. Even if you just switch off for an hour or during a meal, try to do it every day. Turning off technology allows us to focus on our relationships, which goes a long way towards preventing burnout.

Tip 5: Take time out – Make sure you take your annual leave each year, try not to work weekends and include some ‘me time’ every day (more on this in our next tip). At a minimum you should schedule two weeks off each year. This doesn’t mean you need to book an expensive holiday. Stay at home and enjoy what your local area has to offer. Time off helps you feel refreshed and recharged you so you can be more productive – and less stressed – when you return to work.

Tip 6: Schedule something enjoyable every day – This could involve exercise, a lunchtime walk or coffee catch-up with a friend or colleague, gardening or cooking. It could simply be going to bed 30 minutes earlier to read a book or spending some quiet time doing nothing. It’s easy to find enjoyable things to do that aren’t expensive or time-consuming, and it will make a difference to your stress levels.

Tip 7: Exercise regularly – Exercise is a well-known stress reliever and it helps increase energy and productivity at work. That said, when you’re feeling overwhelmed it can be hard to find the time to fit it in, let alone the motivation to start. Try getting up a little earlier, exercising during your lunch break or involving co-workers in your physical activity. Read our previous article for tips for a more active workday.

Tip 8: Learn stress management techniques – Most of us experience short-term stress at work and that’s normal. But when it’s prolonged or not managed well, it can contribute significantly to burnout. If you’re prone to stress, learning how to manage it is key. Strategies might include deep breathing, meditation, relaxation, getting more sleep and exercise – but just changing the way you think or react to certain situations also helps. The power of positive thinking! Talking to someone about how you feel might also help alleviate stress.

Tip 9: Take back control – You don’t need to be available for work all the time and you aren’t obliged to say ‘yes’ to everything. Learn to say ‘no’ sometimes and take back some control.

If you’ve been in the same job or industry for several years, it’s common to feel a lack of energy or motivation. But job burnout is different. It’s also preventable. So don’t wait until you reach that point – start taking steps today to manage your stress levels and protect your health and well being.

Are you unhappy in your job? Are you counting down the days to the weekend and ready for a change? Our Career Counselling and Career Coaching Service can help. Find out more.

How to decide if a career change is the best move

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to decide if a career change is the best move Gone are the days of lifetime jobs and gold watches on retirement. Research shows that today’s teens may have up to seven careers in their lifetime, and the impacts of digital transformation mean some jobs today will be obsolete tomorrow. If you’re considering a career change, but you’re not sure where to start, our step-by-step guide will help you on your way.

Step 1: Know your purpose

Ask yourself why you want to change careers. Is it really your career you need to change or is it your current role? Think about all the things that satisfy and motivate you, make a list of your core strengths and weaknesses, and determine your likes and dislikes in your current environment. We often work with clients who are great at what they do and in a job that should be a good fit for them, but the organisation is not right.

This step is important because it will help you ensure you address the right issue before embarking on a complete career change. Perhaps a similar job in a different industry or environment could make you happier than a complete change? If there are certain aspects of your current role you dislike, there might be an opportunity to diversify and take on a role with different responsibilities.

Step 2: Leverage your strengths

Once you’ve decided you want to change careers, go back to your list of ‘likes’ and ‘strengths’, combine that with your current skills, experience and education and think about how you could transfer these assets to a different career. Look outside your current role, industry, and/or company to determine what work might suit you better.

Research different careers using online resources – take a look at our Useful Career Resources and Tools for ideas – and identify what experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications you need to succeed.

Step 3: Get support

The next step is to involve some trusted people – career experts, family, friends and work colleagues – to help you identify and clarify your new direction. You could consider taking a career assessment to better understand your interests and personality, which can help you identify and/or narrow down new career choices.

A career coach can also help you identify the careers that best suit you. Many people who use our Career Coaching Services have no idea where they want to take their career, but through personalised career coaching they discover new possibilities and pathways. You could also talk to people involved in your area of interest – they may be able to introduce you to potential employers, provide valuable support in making the change or at least offer a view on their own experiences.

Step 4: Do your research

You may have a lot to consider before deciding if and when to make a change. Financial, family and study considerations are key. And remember that many careers look great to an outsider, but the reality of the day-to-day job isn’t so interesting. Find ways to experience the job you’re considering before you have to commit, such as taking up a relevant hobby or investigating opportunities for volunteer work.

Step 5: Look to the future

When you’ve decided on a career change, it’s important not to dwell on the years spent in in your current career. These weren’t ‘wasted’. Many people who have spent time working towards a certain career or role are reluctant to throw it all in, but if that career is no longer right for you, focus instead on the years you have ahead of you and the career happiness that may be possible.

Changing careers can be very rewarding, but requires courage and conviction. It may also involve lots of hard work – especially if you need to do additional training or study. Taking an honest look at why you want to change careers and what you hope to achieve is a great first step to ensuring a successful transition.

Would you like help deciding whether or not to change careers? See our Career Counselling Services to find out how our career experts can support your success.

How to create a portable career

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to create a portable careerA portable career is one that you can take anywhere in the world and still be able to do your job. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to work from wherever we choose. With the right approach, a portable career can give you freedom while still allowing you to achieve your aspirations. Are you in search of more flexibility? Here’s how to build a portable career.

Opportunities for a portable career today are seemingly endless. Most people choose a portable career so they can have more flexibility and freedom – the ability to work whenever and wherever they want. If your current profession is not easily portable but you’d still like to experience the freedom to live elsewhere or travel for extended periods, there are options. Here are our tips for getting started:

  • Understand your motivations: Knowing your underlying reasons can help you determine if this is the right decision. If you’re doing it because you hate your job or boss, you want to work less hours or earn more money, it’s probably not the right decision. Creating a flexible, and possibly transient, lifestyle while not having to answer to anyone is a great long-term goal, but it’s rarely realistic in the short term. If what you really want is to ‘escape’ your current job, you might be better off looking for an alternative role you’re happier with for now, while working towards longer-term portable career goals.
  • Know your options: While many portable careers are held by people working as independent contractors or freelancers, there are organisations that welcome remote workers. In fact, some companies don’t even have physical office spaces but operate with a completely virtual workforce. If you want freedom and flexibility, but with some structure, this could be an option.
  • Explore your passions: There are many people who make money by doing what they love. Can you create something based on your interests that others would want? This might include a website or content that could lead to passive income through ads paid for by third parties, affiliate links or writing (and selling) e-books on your chosen topic. If you have an area of interest, chances are other people have the same passion. You could also create packaged services, both physical and online, or coach or consult in your area of expertise.
  • Learn to say yes: As you start out, it might be necessary to compromise. In many careers you can’t just pack up, move and expect to find work. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, for example, may need to undertake further training in order to work in other locations. This may not be viable, so you’ll need to think of other lines of work. If you’re a native English speaker, you could teach English as a second language in a foreign country. You could create a passion-based career (as discussed above), you could teach others what you know or love, or you could learn something completely new!
  • Create a compelling offer: You might be looking to use your knowledge to help others. If you think you have expertise that clients will pay for, decide what you will offer and create a brand that sets you apart from your competition. Clearly articulate your offer and what makes it unique. It might be important at this point to narrow your focus rather than broaden it. Being a specialist sometimes limits your target market, but it also makes you more attractive to a specific set of prospects.
  • Grow your network: Networks are necessary for any career, but they’re particularly important when you’re building a portable career. They can open up many new opportunities. For portability, you’ll need to ensure your networks are geographically diverse so you can leverage your contacts wherever you are. Here are some ways you can do that:
    1. Build a solid LinkedIn profile full of good-quality content that’s been optimised for search engines. Include a photo and as much ‘additional’ information as you can.
    2. Join professional associations with global memberships so you can connect with likeminded members while contributing to and benefiting from the knowledge base.
    3. Volunteer – either in person or online to build meaningful connections.
    4. Join online forums and groups and participate in chats and conversations to share your expertise.

Building a portable career that gives you the freedom and flexibility to work anywhere can be very rewarding. It might take some hard work to set up – but for many people it’s worth it.

If you’re ready to rethink your career and find a job that suits you better, one of our expert Career Coaches can help. To find out more, read about our services.

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