New Year New YouIt’s hard to believe that we are already one month into the New Year. How are you going with your new year’s resolutions? Did you make any career related resolutions or goals for 2014? If you are planning to secure a new job this year, have you started strategising? With unemployment set to rise even further this year, a structured approach will help you achieve your goals.

If you are anything like me, the New Year always represents new starts. I clean out my pantry, tidy my office, cull my wardrobe, think about new projects I’d like to work on, ramp up my exercise, and generally spring clean my life to start the year afresh. I think most people start to feel jaded towards the end of the year and if you were lucky enough to have a break over the Christmas/New Year period without too much running around, you may have been thinking about making some changes in your career for 2014.

If so, you need to start planning in order to make that happen. In the November newsletter, we provided six tips to take charge of your career in 2014 (you can read that article here) so this month we’d like to focus on the ‘change’ and ‘research’ parts of those tips. Making resolutions is a great first step, however now you need to strategise to ensure you achieve success. Follow these 3 simple steps to get started:

1.    Ask Yourself Why You Want to Change Jobs? – start by making a list of all the pros and cons of your current role and write them all down. Writing it down really helps. As a chronic list writer my entire life (anything and everything goes on a list), surprisingly, I was never an advocate of writing down my goals, or strategising in written format when trying to solve a problem. However in recent years, I have done a complete about face. Writing down what’s in your mind really does help clarify and further develop it. Often, when you undertake this exercise, you actually find that there are more pros than cons. Perhaps you have been focusing on the negatives, when in fact there are more positives that you should be enjoying. Or perhaps it just confirms what you originally thought – that there are in fact more negatives! Either way, this process helps you move forward with your goal.

2.    Find the Ideal Job – sounds difficult right but bear with me. This is meant to be a simple exercise and something I ask all my clients to do. I get them to show me their perfect job. Many people simply cannot articulate this when asked. If you are not sure which career path to take, you may need to seek the advice of a qualified Career Counsellor. However, if you have a good idea where your strengths lie, simply jump online and start researching. Go to Seek, MyCareer or any one of the industry specific job search sites and look for your perfect job. Ideally, you’ll want to find more than one. Don’t worry about geography at this stage, just find that perfect role. Study the ads and/or job descriptions and write down all the key skills, experience, education, qualifications and training that is required. Highlight where you are lacking at the moment.

3.    Make a Plan – based on your research, you should now be able to write a list of areas where you are lacking. This forms the basis of your ‘things to do to get to where you need to be’. At this stage, it may seem daunting, but again just stay with me, by writing down all the areas you are lacking and identifying what you need to do to develop that skill or area of expertise, you will be starting to develop your plan. The path to developing new skills and expertise could be as easy as taking on new responsibilities and tasks in your current role to starting some form of study. It also includes other tasks such as completing short courses, networking both inside and outside of your company, offering to help a colleague with a project, or doing some volunteer work.

By taking action today to start to develop your plan, you are ensuring your path to a new you.

Did you make some career focused New Year’s resolutions? Do you have a plan to help you achieve those goals or would you like help making your career dreams a reality? If so, please see our Career Consulting, Resume, Cover Letter and Selection Criteria Writing services here.

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