Tag Archives: Ideal Job

How to boomerang back to an old employer

Article by Belinda Fuller


How to boomerang back to an old employerThe concept of boomerang employees – or re-hiring ex-employees is not new, but it is on the rise. According to recent research, HR professionals are more open than ever before to re-hiring former employees. In the past, this practice was sometimes frowned upon – even if the employee had left on good terms – but now it’s becoming more and more common – and with good results for both employers and employees.

With this practice on the rise both in Australia and around the world – it’s worth considering as a viable option for your next role. Many companies that had to retrench workers in previous years are starting to increase their capacity again as business continues to improve. There are benefits to both employee and employer, but a few things worth considering.

Maintain Relationships

Firstly, as a boomerang employee, you have to maintain good relationships with your previous company and colleagues. This means ensuring any split is amicable and then making sure you keep in touch with colleagues and bosses (LinkedIn makes this easy). When you leave a job, do so on good terms by remaining professional and positive about your reasons for leaving. Draft a professional letter explaining your reasons and what you plan, then try to provide some positive comments about your experience. For smaller companies, a more personal approach might be better – think about sitting down with fellow team members or colleagues to explain your reasons for leaving. If your company conducts exit interviews, endeavour to remain upbeat – if this isn’t possible keep your answers short and simple.

Ensuring a Good Fit

Before making any decision to re-join an ex-employer, consider the reasons why you left and investigate whether they still exist. Likewise, make sure the things you loved about the role and/or company still exist. If you left to grow your skills in other areas, study or travel – your new skills will be attractive to a former employer. Not only do you know the company, but now you have an added level of competency they can leverage.

Sell Yourself

If you are approaching a former employer about returning back, be sure to have a goal in mind and then be honest with them about what it is you’d like. Try to communicate your new skills, competencies and experiences and how that would help the company in the future. They may not have something open currently, however if you articulate your new skills and/or direction they can keep you in mind for future roles – perhaps thinking of you in broader professional terms than how they saw you previously. If you’re after a more senior level role than the one you left, articulate the reasons why you think you’d be successful by incorporating examples of relevant accomplishments you’ve made in the role(s) since you left.

Remain Professional

While the whole process of being employed at a previous employer may be far less formal than if you were a new employee, don’t become complacent. Remain professional and focused and be prepared to go through the same selection process as others. The questions you get asked may be a little different and focus around your reasons for wanting to re-join, any new skills you will bring and how they’re relevant, what immediate benefits you might achieve for the company, and your thoughts on what will stop you from leaving again.

Becoming a boomerang employee has plenty of benefits for both the company and the employee. Employers benefit from someone who knows the business, culture and processes and this is a huge saving – both in time and the cost of getting someone up to speed. For employees, the knowledge and contacts you have puts you in a great place to ‘hit the ground running’ and achieve some quick wins in your new role.

Are you considering returning to an ex-employer? Would you like help from one of our professional resume writers to prepare a winning Resume that clearly articulates your value? If so, please see our Resume Writing Services. Perhaps you’ve secured some interest and would like help preparing for the interview? If so, please see our Interview Skills Training service.

How to identify your most important employability factors

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to Identify Your Most Important Employability FactorsFor most of us today, a career for life is simply not an option. We usually have several different jobs, with a variety of different employers, in various different industries or sectors throughout our working lives. This means we need to be flexible when identifying the factors that make us employable – those skills that help us acquire, retain and achieve success in a job.

So what exactly are ‘Employability Factors’? Basically they are the set of achievements, skills, expertise, and personal attributes that help you achieve success in your chosen career. Most employers seek candidates that have other abilities beyond just the required qualifications and experience. These are a more comprehensive or balanced mix of experience, soft skills, and value that you add in your day to day work.

I’ve written before about how soft skills can help advance your career so this is a great place to start. The most important soft skills for your chosen career don’t necessarily align closely with the technical knowledge or hard skill sets required. They relate to the way in which you interact with and treat others, make decisions, or react to different situations. They include:

  1. Communication: employers mostly seek candidates who can clearly and concisely articulate ideas and needs (both verbally and in writing) with a wide variety of people.
  1. Interpersonal: being able to develop working relationships is seen as one of the most important skills for any employee. It means you can empathise with others and build important relationships – with colleagues, superiors, clients, suppliers, and other employees.
  1. Creative Thinking & Innovation: competition is fierce across most industries today, so doing things the way they’ve always been done isn’t ideal. Having the ability to think outside the box to solve problems and make decisions can offer new perspectives or approaches and is a huge asset to any employer.
  1. Collaboration: the ability to work well with others and appreciate input from different team members is essential, and will result in higher levels of efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately success for any organisation.
  1. Presentation Skills: being able to present ideas and information effectively is vital. This isn’t just about making formal presentations, but also includes speaking at informal meetings and preparing written reports, business or project plans, or more detailed strategy documents.
  1. Leadership: having the confidence and ability to influence other people’s decisions and outcomes is important. Leadership isn’t just for ‘leaders’ or managers, but is important for all employees to progress and succeed.
  1. IT Skills: most people need some IT skills to do their job. As a minimum, you should understand the basics of IT such as using the internet, sending and receiving emails, and using word processing and/or spreadsheet applications.

In addition to these soft skills, you should be able to identify the value you add. A great way to do this is to talk about your achievements because new employers don’t know your history – they need to understand the value you can add in the role, and  this can be achieved by explaining past achievements.

Achievements don’t always have to be money or number focused (although it is great if they are). This is where many candidates get bogged down – they don’t have a revenue generating role so they think they don’t have ‘achievements’. However, there are many different areas we can look to for achievements. Think about things that you do in your day to day work that benefits your business, customers, and/or colleagues. Sit down with a pen and paper and think about anything you did:

  • where you received positive feedback or praise from a colleague, superior or client;
  • that made you feel proud;
  • that solved an ongoing issue or problem in the business;
  • that involved working in a team – say a larger project that was completed collaboratively;
  • that provided a new way of doing something;
  • that reduced the time taken or cost required; and
  • that improved service or support, or the quality of the outcome.

Once you’ve identified these soft skills and past achievements, you have the basis of your most important employability factors – the reasons why an employer would choose you over someone else. It’s also important to have a good attitude towards personal development because employers want ‘lifelong learners’ – people who are willing to adapt, change, and constantly learn in order to do things better for their organisation.

Would you like help identifying and articulating your most important employability factors so your next job application has a better chance of standing out? If so, please see our Career Advice and Professional Resume & CV Writing Services.

5 steps to creating a portfolio career

Article by Belinda Fuller

5 Steps to Creating a Portfolio CareerMore than just a bunch of part-time jobs, portfolio careers are becoming more and more common as people seek to improve their work-life balance and increase overall career and job satisfaction. Many people are finding that juggling two, three or even four jobs can be much more fulfilling and rewarding than holding down one traditional full-time role.

Amongst my group of friends and acquaintances, I’ve noticed the rise in people building their career doing a variety of jobs for a range of different clients or companies. While a portfolio career is similar to freelancing, it’s not quite the same. Whereas freelance work revolves around doing the same, or a similar thing for different clients on an ongoing basis, a portfolio career usually involves a mix of longer term part-time roles that might include some freelance or contract work. It can suit many different types of people, for example, those looking for opportunities post-redundancy, people wanting to become self-employed but with some stability from one or two part-time roles, people looking to pursue something creative that may not pay well initially, people transitioning into retirement, or those looking to start an entirely new career.

It can also suit different industries, for example, you could be a Human Resources Manager with a part-time job working for a small business, a casual teaching or lecturing role at University or TAFE, and a writer for an industry publication.

Some of the benefits of having a portfolio career include:

  • Flexibility – to utilise your unique skills and develop different areas of interest. It might also provide opportunities to explore new avenues far easier than if you are holding down a full time job, as well as being able to pursue self-employment opportunities without the risk of going it alone completely.
  • Independence – to create your own career on your terms, managing your time with family needs or other personal interests.
  • Freedom – to pursue your passions and choose to work doing what you want to do, rather than what the job requires.
  • Variety – and less monotony in your day to day work.
  • Opportunity – in tight job markets, the availability of full-time jobs might fall in certain sectors, with some companies embracing part-time or contract roles as a viable solution. A multitude of part-time jobs might provide the answer.

So how can you create a portfolio career?

STEP # 1: learn about the pros and cons by talking to others or doing some research. While a portfolio career can sound inviting with all that variety and flexibility, for many people, it may just create more stress as a result of having to manage different roles, time involvements, and income sources.

STEP # 2: understand your financial situation and work out how much money you need to feel secure. Try to give yourself a financial buffer for times when income drops. Remember that part-time workers’ hours can often change with little notice, and if you’re freelancing or consulting you need to be constantly identifying new projects and income sources.

STEP # 3: identify your unique skills and attributes. Ask yourself what you have to offer, how will you deliver it, and who will want it – but more importantly who will pay for it and will you be happy doing it?

STEP # 4: once you’ve embarked on your new career, manage your time effectively to ensure you’re not working harder – just smarter. Juggling multiple jobs can be tricky if you’re not organised, so create efficient systems and rules around time spent on each vocation.

STEP # 5: learn some sales and networking strategies, especially if part of your income needs to come from consulting or freelance opportunities. If you don’t have permanent part-time roles, don’t underestimate the time you need to spend on business development activities which are usually ‘non-earning’.

Most people have different sides to them and a portfolio career could be just the approach you need to ensure you gain more fulfilment and satisfaction from your career, while addressing other areas such as freedom, flexibility and independence.

Are you interested in pursuing a portfolio career? Not sure where to start or what skills you need to develop? Our Career Counsellors and Career Advisors can help! Please see our Career Coaching and Career Guidance Services for more information.


4 tips to decide if a sea/tree change is right for you

Article by Belinda Fuller

4 Tips to Determine if a Sea/Tree Change is Right for YouWhile these types of changes used to mostly apply to retirees selling up and moving to a coastal or rural area to retire, these days more people are choosing to escape the big city rat race by changing their lifestyles to achieve less stress and better work life balance. But this kind of major life change isn’t for everyone, so how do you work out if it’s right for you?

Over the Christmas break, up and down the coast of Australia, people will be gazing into the windows of real estate agencies, checking out property prices in their sleepy holiday destination. I know because I’ve done it before and stood next to others doing the same! We were having such a wonderful time in a coastal area on the northern NSW coast, and wondered how we could make it work as a place to live full time. We did do some research and seriously considered the move, but once those holiday endorphins wore off and we came back to reality, we never actually followed through for several different reasons. But many people will take up the chance to cash in on big city property prices and downsize their lives to achieve a better work life balance.

Achieving a successful sea/tree change is about defining exactly what is important to you in terms of lifestyle, then changing things to achieve more time, less stress, more fulfilment and/or a better work life balance. Thanks to technology, the options for people to achieve this dream while still earning a decent living are endless – it’s just a case of deciding what you can do and where.

Demographers estimate that of the 350,000 Australians per year that talk about making a sea/tree change, 20% will make it happen. Of those who do make it happen – 20% have major regrets and give it all away. In contrast, 80% are glad they made the change and wish they’d done it sooner – so how can you work out if this kind of change is right for you and avoid becoming one of the 20% with major regrets? Here’s some tips to get you started:

Tip # 1: Gain clarity about what it is you really want – ask yourself why you are making the move? What’s the main thing(s) you’d like to achieve or change about your current lifestyle – you could refer to our article this month on How to Create a Life by Design to help you gain this clarity. The biggest cause of failure results from people not being clear about what they really want or having unrealistic expectations about what the move will mean.

Tip # 2: Think about your lifestyle – how are you going to earn a living, how much do you need to comfortably do the things you want to do – and what will make you happy and fulfilled? Another major cause of failure is poor financial planning and under-estimating how much your new lifestyle is going to cost.

Tip # 3: Think long and hard about location – do you want to move to a coastal community to live by the beach? Would you prefer to escape to the country on a farm, in a small country town, or even a larger regional centre? Research and planning is essential when making such a major change, especially if you have children. Are there schools and facilities close by? If not, are you prepared for the travel that you/they will endure to achieve the kind of education you’d like them to have? What will you do for work? Are there the right opportunities close by or will you have to travel?

Tip # 4: Are you prepared emotionally? Not only will this be a major change to your day to day lifestyle, you will probably be moving away from friends and family. You need to overcome any fears you may have of the unknown and maintain a flexible approach in order to fit into your new community. You will have to make an effort to get to know people and small communities are often very different to larger cities.

This type of change is always going to be scary, with many decisions to make along the way. Fear, excitement, confusion, anticipation, uncertainty, eagerness, trepidation, hope – you’ll feel all the emotions as you go through the process. Just remember how rewarding a sea/tree change is for many people – it might be the perfect way to finally create the happiness you crave.

Life is too short to be unhappy – is this something you’ve been wanting to do? If so, you should explore your options and do your research. If you decide to go ahead, but you’re worried about your career opportunities, getting career advice from our Career Counsellors can help! Please see our Career Guidance Services for more information.

Are you feeling indifferent about your work?

Article by Belinda Fuller

Are you feeling indifferent about your work

Are you feeling overwhelmed or indifferent? From one end of the scale to the other, the reality of our working life is that we change as time goes by. While we might be perfect for a job today, that may not always be the case. Most experts agree that we need some major change every seven years or so in order to stay fulfilled and valuable throughout our careers.

The concept of an employee lifecycle is not new – HR departments have used variations of a cycle for many years to define the stages employees move through in an organisation. In its most simplistic form, the lifecycle might look something like this: Recruitment -> On boarding -> Training, Motivation & Engagement -> Performance Management -> Resignation & Termination.

But looking at the same concept from an employee’s point of view gives us a different picture. According to this concept, individuals need major change every seven years or so in order to achieve satisfaction in their careers.

Most people know the feeling of starting a new job – it can be overwhelming, but it’s usually exciting. In your first year or so you’ll hopefully go from feeling overwhelmed to feeling challenged and stretched but thoroughly enjoying the experience. You move through that stage to a place where you’re confident that you can do the job and much of it may become second nature. You’re still enjoying the work but perhaps it isn’t as challenging or difficult as it was previously. As employees, we need to make sure we continue to achieve a good balance of challenge in our day to day work – and the only way to achieve this consistently is with change.

Boredom can strike anybody at any time, from the most junior to the most senior person – it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with workload but is usually more about how challenging or meaningful the individual finds their work. Depending on your role and the company you work for, boredom may strike in more or less than seven years. Research indicates that the more we are challenged on a daily basis, the more productive and happier we will be. But when you’ve mastered the job, and reached that inevitable point of ‘smooth sailing’ how can you make sure you’re consistently challenging yourself to avoid becoming bored and indifferent? Try the following strategies to help:

  • Volunteer for additional work – offer to help another team or department during a busy period; or get involved in projects that others may be working on.
  • Learn something new – enrol in some training or offer to work in another team where you have the opportunity to become proficient in new areas.
  • Develop and implement new ways of doing things – implement strategies or processes to automate routine or mundane tasks to achieve time, efficiency and accuracy gains.
  • Do more of what you like – developing processes to automate routine tasks will help in this area since you’ll free up time so you can take on more of the work you enjoy.
  • Set challenging goals and deadlines for yourself – try to complete projects or tasks faster but with the same quality and/or accuracy, or spend more time researching a project or writing a report than you would have in the past – do whatever you can to improve your performance or work outcomes.
  • Ask for more challenging work – tell your superior that you’d like to work on some more challenging areas – show them how you’re achieving your current role with success, quality and accuracy so they have confidence in your ability to extend.

Staying challenged at work is essential to your professional development and job satisfaction. Use the strategies above to help you perform better, learn new skills, and ultimately advance your career. Staying challenged helps relieve boredom and keeps you engaged and motivated for longer.

If you would like career advice to help you work out what you can do to challenge yourself in your career, please see our see our Career Coaching and Career Guidance Services.

How to choose a career that’s right for you

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to Choose a Career That's Right for YouSome people have always known what they want to be when they grow up – how lucky are they? Especially if it all works out for them. For most of us though, it can take some time to work out what’s right in terms of a career. I’ve written before about being happy at work and Success vs Happiness. It’s many people’s lifelong pursuit. But what makes a career right for one person can be very different for another. Here is a list of initial dos and don’ts when thinking about what career might be right for you: 

Do: work out what is important to you – because this will be different for everyone. You might just want to be happy but that is often about looking at what you value most. Some people need to help others as part of their day to day role, others need to use their creativity, some prefer working alone, and others need to be part of a large team environment, or lead and direct people. Maybe flexible hours is your primary need, or are you driven to achieve a high paying or powerful job which you are prepared to work hard for. What’s most important is going to be different for everyone and for many people it can change several times depending on what stage of life they’re at.

Don’t: do what other people think you should do or get too hung up on what your friends or family are doing. Certainly be guided by those who care about you, but sometimes, these people who know us best have misguided views about what career would suit. I know that from first-hand experience!

Do: work out what you’re good at. It doesn’t have to be focused on ‘your passion or doing what you love’ – it’s more about working out what you enjoy doing or are good at and moulding a career around that. Think about using your strengths as a starting point. Maybe you want to work in events but you’re creative and not very detail oriented – an event management role may not be right for you, however, you could look at other areas such as event theming, design, production etc.

Don’t: cave to pressure from parents to follow in their footsteps or do something that they consider ‘safe’. Someone close to me wanted to study art after leaving school but was pressured by his parents to study law instead as a more stable career. He never enjoyed his work and it took him almost 20 years to go back to university and study art and design – he now has an extremely successful and thriving business that he is absolutely passionate about.

Do: research your career. Another friend of mine chose a degree later in life and found it really hard to actually get a job once she’d finished studying. The area was fairly new and experiencing some growth but was still quite niche – and it was a popular choice for school leavers. So while she was in her 40s wanting to get into this new area, there were rafts of younger graduates taking the few jobs that were available. In this instance youth was considered more favourable than life experience and that’s something she hadn’t ever considered.

Don’t: ignore your personality because these traits are ingrained in us to make us the unique person we are. It’s what makes one person better suited to a particular occupation or career than the next. Often taking a personality profile test can be a big help.

Do: consider location. Are you a city or rural person? These days, location is becoming less important, however some careers just aren’t viable in rural areas. Likewise, there aren’t many farmers in the Sydney CBD! If you really love where you live and aren’t open to relocating, make sure there are opportunities available in your chosen career.

Choosing a career no longer needs to be a lifetime commitment – you can always head down another path later. But always do your research up front – about yourself, your personality traits, your interests, and where the field you’re interested in is heading.

Would you like assistance choosing a career that’s right for you? If so please see our Career Guidance and Coaching Services.

Turn What You Love Into a Career

Article by Belinda Fuller

Turn.What.You.Love.Into.a.CareerTurning our passions into a viable career is a lifelong dream for many people. You probably know at least one person who loves art or music and dreamt of being a painter or musician but were persuaded to pursue something ‘safer’ and more ‘financially secure’. The benefits of hobbies and interests outside of work have long been heralded as the way to achieve a work life balance, but for many people, their hobbies turn into their careers.

While career options that provide secure paths provide the basis of comfortable living and regular work, if you aren’t working in a job that you love (or at least like most of the time) and that fulfils your values, it is unlikely you will ever feel truly happy.

I have several personal friends who’ve taken their passions and turned them into careers – a friend with a lifelong passion for health and fitness became a highly successful personal trainer in her thirties. She gave up a high paying account management job to go it alone and after five years has a successful business that she loves. Another friend was always very artistic as a child and teenager but chose teaching as a stable and comfortable career. She has now developed a fabulous career helping people from all walks of life through the practice of Art Therapy – combining her passion for teaching with her passion for art. Another one discovered his love of gardening after transforming his own home’s outside area and has since developed a very successful gardening business.

Your hobbies might seem like a pipe dream for a career but often they are very achievable.

Some steps to help get you started include:

  • Just take that first step – If you are unhappy with your current career, just taking some simple steps to improve your situation will help. That doesn’t mean you have to quit your job to find your passion, but it does mean taking some action today in order to improve your situation.
  • Think about your interests – If you have worked in the same job for many years, chances are you may not even remember what you’re passionate about. Start paying attention to things that interest you. What are your hobbies? Do you even have hobbies? If not, ask yourself what you enjoy doing and try to seek out ways to incorporate more of those activities in your day to day life.
  • Consider taking a short course – There are some wonderful short courses on offer at community colleges to help you get a taste for what a new career might look like. You can try out a course to see if you like it before enrolling in a diploma or degree course in that field. If nothing else, these courses can provide great stress relief from the day to day grind and help you achieve that all important work/life balance that is so elusive for many of us. They also provide an ideal opportunity to meet new friends with the same or similar interests to you.
  • Investigate specific jobs – Once you have an idea of what might be a fulfilling alternative to your current career, do some research about that job or job opportunities to find out what changes you’d have to make or any training you may need to undertake in order to work in that field.
  • Seek professional advice – if you’re having trouble narrowing down what really interests you, consider the services of a Career Counsellor to help steer you on the right course. Take a Career Assessment or participate in a one on one coaching session. A Career Counsellor can help you identify your interests and values in order to ascertain the types of jobs that you would find most satisfying. The results may surprise you and possibly lead to careers you may never have considered previously.

Discovering what you want to do in life is, for many people, a life-long pursuit. From the time you leave school (even before) you start making decisions about what career would best suit you, but many of us end up choosing something quite different to what we originally intended – either out of necessity based on results, or availability of study options or jobs, or perhaps by choosing a career that you might see as ‘more secure’.

Are you having difficulty finding true happiness in your career? Have you tried to evaluate your options in order to choose a different path? If you would like help from a Career Coach to find your passion or turn your passions into a new career, please see our Career Counselling and Coaching Services which can be provided over the phone or in person in locations across Australia.

5 Questions to Ask Before Becoming a Freelancer

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to Beome a FreelancerMany people we talk to dream of becoming a consultant or freelancer in their specialist line of work. There are countless things to consider before making the leap into the freelance world with many who’ve already achieved success providing advice for free – just Google becoming a freelancer to see what I mean. But what are the first steps to success?

Freelancing is a great option for many people wanting to escape the grind of a regular full-time job, but it isn’t for everyone. This month we take a look at the basic things to consider before quitting your secure job to work for yourself. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

Question # 1: Why do I want to become a freelancer? It is important to understand your underlying reasons to 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. While, it’s ok to have long term goals of working less, earning more and not having to answer to anyone, in the short term this is rarely the case. You need to be very good at what you do and be passionate about doing that for others on a day to day basis in order to succeed as a freelancer – if that’s you, then read on.

Question # 2: What am I going to offer my clients? You’re great at what you do and know a tonne about your area or industry but pretty much anything can be outsourced to someone these days. That means, what you do may be the same as what many others do. Do you really have enough expertise to instil confidence that clients will pay you for that know-how? If you think you do, decide what you will offer and create a brand/identity that sets you apart from your competition. Make sure you can clearly articulate your offer and how it stands out. It might be important at this point to narrow your focus rather than broaden it. Being a specialist limits your target market, but it also makes you more attractive to a specific set of prospects. Being a ‘Jack of all Trades’ is often not the most effective road to success.

Question # 3: Am I willing to do everything? Many freelancers make the mistake of thinking because they are great at what they do, they will have a great business. This is often not the case. You need to be prepared to get your hands dirty and handle every aspect of your business including the mundane and parts that may be way outside your comfort zone such as finances, marketing, prospecting, sales and administration. You need to be an expert in your area BUT you also need to wear many hats if your business is going to thrive. Down the track you may choose to outsource some or all of these areas, but in the beginning you will probably need to work hard and do it all while building your client base.

Question # 4: Is now the right time financially? Many people think freelance work is going to provide instant financial rewards with a freelancer’s hourly rate looking much more attractive (on paper) than a full-time employee’s. Keep in mind you will spend many more hours on your business than anyone is willing to pay. Your clients pay for a service, but the time it takes you to sell to them and generally run your business may not be billable. Many factors come into determining how much extra (unbillable) time you spend on each project, however be realistic about how long it might take you to earn your desired salary and ensure you have the means to support yourself until then. Alternatively, you could start small while still working in paid employment – but don’t compromise either job for the other with half hearted efforts.

Question # 5: Am I motivated enough? With no boss to hold you accountable, you need to do what you said you’d do, when you said you’d do it. Your clients (and your income) will depend on it because usually freelancers don’t get paid until they deliver, or at least until part of the project is completed. This is a difficult adjustment for many people. Understand you will need to be more mindful of budgeting and you will also need to ensure a constant flow of work to maintain cash flow. Depending on your personality, this may or may not be an issue, but if you’re not highly motivated, your income will most certainly suffer.

In today’s technically advanced world, the opportunities for freelancers are endless. Most people choose it to provide more flexibility and freedom in their life. But it doesn’t come easy. Be prepared to work hard and understand you most likely won’t achieve overnight success. You’ll need to allow some time to build your client base.

Would you like help from a Career Advisor to determine whether or not freelancing is the future for you? If so, please click here to view our Career Counselling Services.

New Year, New You

Article by Belinda Fuller

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.