Meaghan Marshall Career Services - Resume Writing Services. Interview Coaching

By Meaghan Marshall, Nov 27 2017 01:58AM

Many companies will conduct end of year performance reviews however this review is about taking a look at your career and not just your performance in your current position.

Even if you are happy at work, the approaching end of the year provides a great excuse to take some time to reflect on your career, evaluate, and consider what you would like to achieve in the coming year.

Step One: Where are you in your career?

Start my giving thought to where you are in your career, how far have you come and where you see yourself going?

Is the job you have now the one you imagined you would be doing when you started out? Is there more you want to achieve? Are you satisfied? Do you feel motivated? Do you use your strengths and talents in your current role? Did you set any goals for your career this year? Did you achieve them?

If you feel you need to make a change, big or small, start to give some thought to the experience or skills you need in order to take the next step.

Step Two: Review 2017

What professional goals did you set yourself for 2017? Did you achieve them? Did you set goals? Did your focus shift? What did you do well? Where did you fall short? Consider why you didn’t achieve certain goals?

Review your year and determine what didn’t work and what you can learn for 2018. What goals did you achieve? Why do you think you achieved these goals? What kept you motivated? Again, what can you take from this to make 2018 a triumph?

If you didn’t have any goals set for 2017, consider your successes in the past year and identify what helped you achieve these accomplishments. Was it people, your motivation, a new approach, positive thinking, certain actions? What can you learn for 2018?

Learn from your mistakes in 2017 but don’t dwell on them. Take what you have learnt from 2017 to make 2018 more successful.

Step Three: Record your Achievements

While looking back over 2017, take the time to recognize and revel in your achievements. What have you achieved over the past year? What education and training did you complete? Have you been promoted or taken on extra responsibilities? What goals did you accomplish? What exceptional feedback have you received?

Now write your accomplishments down. Keeping a record of your accomplishments is good practice. It can be difficult to recall examples of our achievements when required to for resume writing, job interviews or performance reviews but if you make the effort to keep a record you will always be prepared.

Step Four: Visualise Your Future

Drawing from your reflection on your career and 2017, consider your next career step? Take some time to visualise for 2018 and beyond what you want from your career.

What do you want to be doing more of? What do you want to be doing less of? Do you want to maintain where you are now?

Let yourself imagine your ultimate career dream.

Step Five: Create a Plan for 2018

Now it is time to think about how you will get to the career future you are visualised.

Make a list of your career goals. Include both the long term and those for the coming year.

Now break the goals down into a list of what you need to do to achieve these goals. What actions do you need to take? What did you learn from 2017 to help you achieve your goals? Do you need any additional training? What new skills do you need? Do you need to find a new employer?

Your next steps might include gaining additional experience, taking on additional responsibilities to increase your skill set, building your network, changing employers, changing jobs, additional training or education, seeking assistance or additional resources.

Make sure you set a timeline for accomplishing your goals.

With your plan for 2018 in place you can be sure you are starting your new year with a renewed focus on you and your career.

Additional Tip: It is a good idea to take the time at the end of the year to also update your resume and LinkedIn profile. This way you can be sure your information is up to date and your accomplishments are recorded. Even if you’re not planning to leave your employer it is good practice to have your resume current.

The following blog posts may also assist you with developing your career goals:

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By Meaghan Marshall, Sep 11 2014 10:11AM

It is easy to romanticise your dream job; imagining your frustrations, boredom, work life balance issues are exclusive to your current job. But the truth is, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. So how can you get a realistic idea of the demands of your desired position without risking the security of your current career? Taking a career test drive is the answer.

Just as you might take a car for a test drive before committing to a purchase you can also take a career for a test drive. A career test drive will allow you to do the same as for a car purchase; have the experience without the commitment. This will allow you to collect all the information you need to evaluate and ultimately make an informed decision.

A career test drive is a great way to sample a career without taking the risk of leaving your current job or making a long term commitment to a career you are not completely sure about. A career test drive will be especially helpful for those contemplating a career change but held back by fear.

If you are contemplating a career change then you have most likely already completed some research. This investigation requires the lowest level of commitment and is also one of the easiest ways to gain insights into a new field. The internet has an abundance of resources that will provide you with descriptions of careers, potential pay rates, education requirements, companies you can work for, personality type compatibility and potentially some insights into life on the job.

How a career presents on paper (or on a computer screen) however and the realities of the job once you are actually performing it can be very different. Finding a way to gain insight to the actual on the job experience without being too far down the path of transition is invaluable. So, how can you experience this without quitting your job and diving straight in? Here are our suggestions:

1. Informational Interview

Connect with your professional network and find someone who is currently working in the career or industry you are considering. They should be someone you trust to be honest. You want to ask them about the true realities of their job.

Make sure you get a warts and all account of their role so you are well informed. Ask hard questions. “What are the challenges?” “What do they dislike?” “What hours do you work?”

Getting an unvarnished version of the job will help you identify any misconceptions you might have and show you truly what you would be getting into.

2. Study

Taking a course in your area of interest is another way to sample the industry and gauge your match for the new field. You could complete a short course, a one off class, study online or complete a degree depending on the field you are interested in or the significance of the career change.

You can choose to complete the course outside of your work time so you do not need to quit your job. If you can’t maintain your motivation to study or dislike the experience then perhaps the new field isn’t for you.

3. Moonlight

Consider if you might be able to “moonlight”; keep your job but sample your desired career as a second job part time or by freelancing. If you’re imagining yourself as an entrepreneur then you could consider starting your business small on the side before quitting your job.

You should ensure that you are complying with your employment agreement or employers outside employment policies before doing this. You should also not jeopardise your current employment but letting your outside work impact on your performance and certainly never work on your side business, study or second job during work hours.

4. Take a Career Break

The other option is to take extended time away from your work in order to sample the new career. This will allow you some time without actually quitting. With this time you can research a new field, study, volunteer, travel, learn new skills, work or a combination of these things.

This option won’t be available to everyone, but if you are lucky enough to have generous leave provisions or the ability to take an unpaid sabbatical then taking a break is a great way to build new skills, or dust off the cobwebs to gain some perspective.

Whatever test drive strategy you use you should be open to discovering the realities of the career. Be prepared to discover things you didn’t know. Try to remember no job is perfect and don’t be discouraged. Even if your new career isn’t the one for you don’t feel like you have wasted time by taking your test drive. By reaching out and making new connections you will have expanded your professional network and you will have learnt new skills and gained new knowledge. This experience and new knowledge will help with your eventual career reinvention in whatever form that takes.

Related Content:

What is on your Career Bucket List?

Career Path Jump Start

Visualize Your Ideal Work Day


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