Find your dream job in 2010Posted on: 29 December 2009 by Mark O'haire
Fancy a new career for the new year? Read our advice before taking the plunge.
Many workers will be suffering from the January blues this month, but if you dread Monday mornings and the only reason for getting out of bed is to pay off the mortgage, it's probably time to consider a new job, or maybe even a career change.
Plenty of us drift into jobs without knowing what we really want. Here are some key things to do to help you identify your dreams and begin turning them into reality.
Find your passion
Work out what is important to you, whether that's helping others, a high salary, or plenty of time to pursue leisure activities. There may be some areas where you will have to compromise, so decide what's acceptable to you.
Of course you must take into account what you are good at, but for a fulfilling career you must balance this with what you enjoy. Think about what aspects of your current job you love and hate. From this you will be able to match your list of must-haves and things to avoid with likely jobs.
In particular if you want to change career, focusing on the activities that you enjoy, such as problem solving or teaching, will also help when you apply for jobs and have to convince an employer that you can bring valuable skills to their business.
Doing all this means you can focus your applications on jobs you really want, leaving you with more time and energy and increasing your chances of success.
Find out what jobs are out there, and whether you would enjoy a certain career. As well as using the internet, and careers books or libraries, talk to others.
Close friends and family know you best and chatting to them about your personality and skills might throw up a career idea you've never thought of. However the prospect of you and your lifestyle changing may worry them, so talking to people you know less well may be more useful and supportive if you want to do something different. You could even consider consulting a professional careers advisor.
You may know acquaintances in your desired career. If you don't, specialist online forums are a way to meet people. In addition to informal connections, professional networking events are a great way to meet lots of people in one industry. If you went to university or college they might organise these, or see if there are any local business organisations or professional industry groups who could help.
When you talk to someone working in your desired field, ask what the best and worst bits of their job are. Check that their answers match with your aspirations.
Before you commit to a career, consider work experience or volunteering to make sure you really want to do it.
It may be possible to find a new job relatively quickly, but if you want that dream job you probably need to allow three or four months. So it's important to avoid becoming disheartened when you don't appear to make much progress immediately.
To ensure your eventual success, create a list of all the things that you need to do over the next few months to achieve your dream job. Break it down into small, specific tasks, which will make your goal achievable. Do them one at a time, then as you tick items off the list it will remind you that your job hunt is progressing.
Don't forget however that you also need to be flexible - expect to change some of your plans, you don't need to stick rigidly to a list if your situation changes or you have new ideas. Do remain focused on what you want though, and what you need to do to get there.
Sort out money
You may have responsibilities that mean you can't just quit your job to spend a year re-training, for example, so work out the best way forward by planning your finances. Decide what financial position you need to be in before you can embark on your dream job hunt, and if possible, save money before you leave your current job.
Of course it's also true that it's easier to find a job while you are already in employment.
If you have a new job in mind that means you will have to take a pay cut - maybe only temporarily - work out how you can live on what you will earn, by preparing a budget. It may be worth giving up certain expenses in order to spend your days doing something you find truly satisfying. It should be possible to find a balance between a fulfilling job and a decent salary - and remember there's no harm in asking for more money!
Those needing to re-train should be aware that many courses offer a part time option, so you can learn and earn at the same time by getting a part time job too - or negotiating to continue your current job with fewer hours, while you train or try other work.
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