This page has been set up as a blog with new material being added each Monday. You will see tips and suggestions on how to bullet proof your career. If you like what you read, feel free to bookmark this page so that you can return to it on a regular basis. And for now, you can scroll down to learn about:
We spend the best part of our waking day in the workforce. It makes sense that we work in a field that we truly enjoy. It also makes sense that we find a job within that field that we find professionally fulfilling, and where our colleagues are a pleasure to work with.
So, on a scale of 1 awful to 10 amazing, how would you rate your current field, occupation or profession? On the same scale, how would you rate your current job?
Ideally, you want to be answering both questions with a 9 or 10. So, if you could answer both questions with a 9 or a 10, that is awesome. However, if your answer to either of these questions was between 6 and 8, you may like to reflect on how you could tweak your chosen field or job so that you can progressively move into something more fulfilling. You may think that working for someone else in an established field gives you little control. Yet, you may have more control over the way you work than you currently realise. Moreover, it can sometimes be the case that tweaking minor details is enough to turn an ordinary field (or job) into something amazing.
If you rated both your field and job as less than 6, it may be time to revisit your career. In this case, it can be useful to reflect on your personal and professional interests. You might be interested to know that interests often align with your skills and abilities. So whatever they are, give yourself the permission to pursue them.
If you rated your current job as less than 6 but rated your field higher, it is possible that you are in the wrong role for you. If so, it is time to dust off your resume, update your C.V. and start searching for a more fulfilling role.
At the end of the day, we are all entitled to work in a field that we enjoy and in a role that we find professionally stimulating. So, if you are not there already, give yourself permission seek out that 10 job within your 10 chosen field.
Finding your passion is only the beginning. It is important to take stock of your career on a regular basis. Ideally, you can take stock of your career every three to five years. However, if the field you work in, or even your job itself is changing rapidly, you will want to take stock more frequently, with the frequency in which you take stock depending on the rate of change in your job or chosen field.
Here are some questions to help you take stock of your career:
If it is time to find a new job, or go for a promotion within your own company, it is also time to take stock of your career, revise your C.V., refine your interview techniques and then get that job.
We often find that we have developed additional skills and abilities that have not yet been acknowledged in the C.V. It is therefore worth your while reviewing the knowledge, skills and abilities you developed over the years, irrespective of whether those skills have come from your place of work, committee or community work or recreational activities.
Once you have reviewed your knowledge, skills and abilities, you can consider whether to add, update or drop some of the competency headings on the front page of your C.V. You may also like to consider which three examples you might use to show evidence of each competency. The competencies you choose, along with the examples of same, should be chosen on the basis that they best showcase who you are and what you can do professionally in areas most-valued by employers. You may also like to consider what additional experience you can fold into the chronological section of your work history. Finally, you may like to add any certifications, awards and any other accomplishments not yet noted in your C.V.
It is always worth while reviewing how you approach job interviews. In this way, your interview skills can grow with your professional on-the-job skills.
You may find it helpful to prepare a presentation folder with work samples that showcase who you are and what you can do professionally. Those work samples may have been referred to in your job application, but not necessarily. You may find it helpful to order the contents within the folder in a memorable sequence for you (chronology, or the sequence in which referred to in your job application).
You may also find it helpful to rehearse the interview with the help of a trusted friend, family member or career counsellor (such as myself). It is very useful to have the interview practice so as to hone your self-presentation overall, and in answer to specific kinds of interview questions. If you find you get thrown by unexpected questions, you will find it helpful to rehearse answering unanticipated questions. By the time you get to the interview, you can comfortably and confidently answer whatever is asked of you at the interview. It might even begin to feel as if it was a friendly collegial chat.
Prior to the day of an interview, you will also want to prepare a suitable outfit, checking that shoes are polished and the rest of the outfit is in good condition and sits comfortably on you.
And, for the rest, you can smile, take a deep breathe and be the best you you can be in the interview. Remember to think about what you can do for the prospective employer while you are having that nice collegial chat.
Careers can be grown and nurtured by engaging in some helpful career habits. Here are some you can fold into your daily routine. Some of these habits can be undertaken while you are in the bath or shower. Others can be undertaken in your daily commute to work or interspersed throughout your working day.
At the end of the day, we can all have the kind of careers we find fulfilling. It just starts by routinely engaging in the kind of helpful habits that will put you reach your own career goals.
I am bored! There is nothing to do and I like to be busy. At one level, I do not mind because I am getting paid. At another level, I want to know that I am being productive and doing something worthwhile.
Workloads can come in peaks and troughs in any workplace. There will be times when you are flat out, and you do not have a moment to stop and take stock. And, there will be times when you are sitting there, twiddling your thumbs, wondering what to do with yourself. Your boss may be fully aware of your current workload (or lack thereof) and yet does not seem to be bothered. Why should you?
Deep down, you know that the boss is taking notice of how you handle the quiet times. While company profits are going strong and your skills are fully utilised, there is no problem. However, when company profits are less than they should be and your skills are underutilised, management will start thinking about restructuring and downsizing the workforce.
Employees that get to keep their jobs during a period of downsizing will be the ones who have proved themselves to be worth their weight in gold. But how can you do that, when there really is nothing to do? Here are four strategies you can use to show your boss just how valuable, and employable, you truly are:
Strategy 1: Consider whether any of your peers or colleagues are currently overloaded. If so, offer to help them out or ask your boss if you can do so.
Strategy 2: Consider whether your boss is currently overloaded. If so, offer to help your boss out, at least until you get busy with your normal duties again.
Strategy 3: Consider asking your boss to extend your current range of duties. In so doing, you could make yourself more productive and more valuable to the company.
Strategy 4: Consider whether there any projects you could take on that would ultimately be useful to the company bottom line. You may, for instance, be able to revisit the company website (including website search engine optimization), marketing materials, policies and procedures. You may also be able to work on new product/service development. Once again, you could suggest taking advantage of the quiet times by working on these particular projects. Doing so would have the added bonus of developing your knowledge, skills and abilities in highly-valued areas.
At the end of the day, there are ways of keeping yourself busy during quiet times in the workplace. And, to the extent that you could keep yourself busy in a way that is useful to the company, your efforts will be well-appreciated. Your efforts will also be remembered the next time the company makes key decisions about its staffing. And, at those times, you can look forward to moving up the organisation (with an accompanying pay rise), not out.
Oh, and if you find that you are so busy that you do not have time to think. It may be time to ask for help. You will not be doing yourself, or your employer, any favours if you are constantly tired, stressed and overworked.
Life happens to us at the best of times. Hopefully, you will be able to travel through your life with a minimum of physical or psychological illnesses to contend with. However, if/when you might have to address this type of concern, here are three tips to ease that return to work:
It is only natural for your superiors, colleagues and customers to want to know how you are. Feel free to share as much as you are comfortable doing, but do so briefly, with a view to returning attention back on to your professional duties.
After your initial contact with superiors, colleagues and customers, you can redirect attention back onto your work. You may find it easy to do by simply asking about common activities or projects.
If need be, you may like to have a private discussion with your superior on how best to modify your duties while you progressively return to full health. Whether you are returning to work after physical or psychological illness, you will find it imperative to pace yourself carefully. You may also want to increase the amount of time you spend on exercise and relaxation techniques. If so, you may like to consider a lunch time walk. You may also like to do some quiet deep breathing during your tea and lunchbreaks. Alternatively, you may like to step outside for some fresh air in your breaks.
Finally, if you know people who have recently returned to work after a major physical or psychological illness, feel free to show them some kindness, but be sure to respect their wishes when they feel ready to resume their duties. You may also show them some consideration in the event they may need their duties modified to accommodate their current level of health and well-being.
At the end of the day, it is possible to return to work after a major physical or psychological illness. You just need to consider how your duties may need to be modified (if applicable) as you progressively return to full health, pace yourself, as well as ensure adequate time for exercise and relaxation throughout your working day.
Our newsletter, career Quarters®, provides articles, quick tips, food for thought to help you reach your full potential: Professionally. If you would like your own complimentary subscription to this newsletter, feel free to email your request to Dr. Rachel Abramson . You can also follow Dr. Abramson on Facebook or Twitter.
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