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Take the Wheel: Steer Your Career in the Right Direction

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We’re fast approaching January, the month where we make resolutions to change our lives for the better. Every year the majority of us will make a whole host of resolutions, scratching around for ideas as we sing Auld Lang Syne as the clock strikes midnight, taking us into 2018. Is it really all that surprising that each and every year the majority of us will fail or forget our resolutions before January is through? If you pick any old area without much thought, chances are that you’re not truly invested in your choice. Instead, start thinking now. Sure, it might not even be Christmas yet. But the more time and effort you put into your decision, the more stubborn and resolute you’re going to be in regards to upholding it. So, where to start? Well, why do things by halves? Focus on your career. This, after all, is where you will focus most of your attention and efforts throughout the coming year, so you might as well pour your energy and creativity into something worthwhile! Here are a few different ways that you can take the wheel of your career and steer things in the right direction throughout 2018.

Decide Whether Your Comfortable with Your Current Role

Not many of us can say that we’re in the role of our dreams. But we also have to be realistic and work out whether what we have is actually pretty good. It’s important that when you review your job, and the level of satisfaction that it brings you, that you are honest with yourself. Whether we are optimists or pessimists, most of us have the bad habit of exaggerating the things that we like or dislike, depending on what suits us. Also, avoid focusing on specific areas and try to look at the overall picture. There are several steps that you can take to determine whether you are in the right job role. Is the pay sufficient for your wants and needs? How often do you find yourself unhappy or stressed in the workplace? Do you get on with your colleagues? Are you invested in your individual role? The list goes on. In fact, make lists! Tally up all of the pros and cons of your career and if one side seriously outweighs the other, you’ll know what you have to do!

Consider Alternative Positions

If you’re unhappy with your current role, or simply think that you may be happier elsewhere, it’s time to start considering your alternatives. There’s no use throwing the towel in with no idea of where you intend to go after all, is there? If you already have something in mind, you’re pretty set to go. You have your goal, you just have to follow the next steps to get there. If you’re undecided or unsure, however, things can become a little more difficult. But don’t worry. All hope isn’t lost! Things might just take a little more time. Take a look at different roles online and see whether any tickle your fancy. Talk to friends and family members about their positions. It might spark an idea. If you are still struggling, sit down and note down all of your strengths. These can be purely professional (such as an ability to operate particular equipment or software), or general (such a personality or character traits). You can then hand this list over to a careers advisor who will be able to come up with some ideas of positions that match you on paper.

Education and Training

If you’re opting for a new role, it’s time to start planning the path you intend to take to achieve your desired position. You can find out what qualifications are generally required for any given job with a quick Google search. Simply type your intended career followed by “qualifications” in the search bar and press enter! Note down all of the given qualifications listed and start looking into how to acquire them. Most qualifications can be achieved through courses at higher education institutes such as colleges or universities. Others can be taken on a more casual basis through evening classes or short courses. Many are flexible, meaning that you can take them on around your current job. This means that you don’t lose out on any wages and won’t fall into debt while you study. You can then transition smoothly from one career to another without financial problems arising. Say you’re interested in project management. You can Study Project Management online with a flexible timetable and deadlines. Online courses are also generally more flexible than courses where you have to attend lectures or seminars. Because you study alone, you can pick modules specific to your interests and needs. With the example project management course, you can pick between accounting, engineering management, health services management, information and knowledge management, and managing and leading people. This means that you will leave with all of the essential knowledge that is directly applicable to your intended job role.

Gaining Experience

You may not be able to walk straight into your new career with your new qualifications. Sometimes you will have to gain experience in the field. This is often unpaid, or you will be in receipt of low pay. Sure, this is frustrating. But often it gives you invaluable insight into what you’ll be doing and can connect you with contacts who may give you a more permanent role following your voluntary or trial period. So be patient. Remember that good things come to those who wait.

Crafting Your Resume

Once you have all of the qualifications and experience required for your chosen career, it’s time to start putting your resume together. This can be a make or break part of the process. It’s likely to be the first time that you’re putting yourself out there on the job market, and it’s bound to be a daunting experience. It is also essential that you bear in mind that this piece of paper or online document may well be the only information that your potential employer will have about you. So you need to make it memorable in order for your own application to stand out from the crowd. After all, there’s pretty tough competition for near enough any role nowadays! The job market is saturated with candidates, many of whom may have similar qualifications and experience to you. This is the stage where your character and personality come into play. You need to show confidence and enthusiasm. Remember to include all of the relevant information as well as creating an inspiring cover letter.

Once you’ve completed all of the above steps, it’s time to start handing out your resume. It’s tempting to become complacent, sending your details out and assuming that your application has been rejected if you don’t hear anything back. The truth is that resumes can often become lost in the post, or accidentally filtered into junk boxes or read boxes. It’s absolutely essential that you actively follow up any application. Especially if it’s a role that you really want. Don’t let things slip easily! You’ve put in too much hard work already to give up now. Often applicants will worry that they’re hassling the employer. However, as long as you’re not checking in every five minutes, it’s absolutely acceptable to inquire as to the progress of your application. It also shows a positive sense of diligence and dedication! So, don’t delay. Start this process as soon as possible to see faster results. Your entire life really could change for the better.