It can be useful to reflect back on your career history to look at how you landed your previous jobs and talk with others how their career approach has been effective for them. I would like to share with you the personal career approaches I used when making career changes.
When I was a student I worked in telesales selling windows, whilst this wasn’t a particularly enjoyable job at the time, especially when many people would say ‘no’ on the phone, I turned my telephone skills into an advantage when a couple of years later, I cold called companies from the directory listing to ask whether they were hiring. When they said ‘no’ I didn’t take that as the final word and instead thanked them, then struck up a conversation and asked questions such as ‘if you were hiring what skills/qualities would you look for?’ I would write down the key words and phrases they used then checked it against my own skills and abilities. I thought ‘yes’ I can do this job, so I amended my CV to include the types of wording they used. From cold calling I was offered two interviews and secured a job from the first interview.
Lesson 1: Don’t be afraid to approach organisations directly. If you aren’t quite ready to do this because you aren’t sure whether you have the skills to do the job then look at setting up information meetings with people who know about the job role. Note down the words they used. Check if you have the skills. If you don’t, then you might want to consider training. You are more likely to be invited in for an interview if you are a close match to what they are looking for and so ensure that the CV highlights this. That piece of paper is the ticket to the next entry so make sure you put the best version of yourself forward.
Some people aren’t sure what job to choose simply because they don’t know what’s out there and aren’t sure whether they would like it. I thought I wanted to be a journalist, until I tried out volunteering as an editorial assistant and realised it wasn’t for me. Early in my career, I often used volunteering as a means of trying out job roles.
Lesson 2: If you are unclear what career direction to take, road test it by gaining experience and find out as much as you need to be able to make a decision. Maybe neurosurgeon isn’t available for volunteering, but speaking to a neurosurgeon to find out more about the job can be.
After University, my long term plan was to gain commercial experience in the private sector and then move into the not-for-profit sector. People at the time told me it was hard to change job roles and much harder to make an industry change. I held the self-belief that it was possible for me to make a change. I really believed in my goal and that it was possible. I did some volunteering for a charity in the evenings whilst working daytime for a private firm and updated my CV to include the volunteer post. I then applied for work and got a job in a charity within two months.
Lesson 3: Use your initiative and hold yourself accountable for pursuing the goals you believe in. Working towards things in life gives a sense of purpose and by rising to new challenges it can help you to grow.
If you aren’t a fan of applying career strategies, then a good book to read is ‘Luck is No Accident’ by author and career theorist John Krumboltz. He writes about ‘Planned Happenstance’ - that we create our own luck in life by being open to opportunities, taking initiative and having a positive attitude.
Research shows that you are more likely to achieve your goals if you are held accountable. If you are struggling to make changes on your own, contact Josie Coaching on 0772 5552991 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how Josie Coaching services can help you.