How to make better career decisions for you – part 1

This post is a quick guide summary of the best career advice I have given so far.

I have been blogging now for just over 4 months, since the beginning, I have received a number of questions from people trying to make various career decisions. As someone who has successfully changed careers, gone from minimum wage to six-figure salary, and been a hiring manager in both the UK and USA I wanted to share with you a summary of the Q&A and topics that I blogged in my first 4 months. So don’t become a green-eyed monster, make sure you are making the best career decisions for you.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far – I hope in some small way my weekly posts have been inspirational and some provided some welcome encouragement.

Without further ado, here it is:

  • What do I do if I do not like my current job?

This is one of the hardest periods to go through. The important thing is to stay positive and feel like you are still heading in a direction that you want to. What you need to do is actively stay in your job. Essentially this means that you need to find a way, and avenue of productivity to keep you focused. This might be something to do with the job or something you do outside of the job that allows you to feel like you are moving towards a better future.

One thing that can help, especially if you know what you want to do next, is to create a ‘stay plan’. This is basically a plan that looks at the skills you need for your future career, and allows you to assess where any gaps are, and dedicate energy and resources to fill those gaps – all the while you stay employed.

  •  Can I move to another country without a job?

Yes you can. In fact having done this, I can tell you first-hand how energizing and what an experience this can be. You just need to be prepared for the journey. There are four things you can do to improve your readiness for this journey and experience:

  1. Have a clear goal – make sure you have a clear goal for the move. Are you simply switching locations and focused on finding a job in the same profession? Or are you moving with the sim of exploring new and fresh opportunities? Without a clear idea, you will waste time, energy and money trying to figure this out. Trust me this will add unnecessary pressure on you.
  2. Prepare – think about where you are moving to, and the local economy. Start to research potential employers or business opportunities, and generally get some ideas.
  3. Network – when you get to the new place, whatever you reason and goal for the move, make sure to build your personal and professional network. Trust me this will make things easier as you look for opportunities and settle in.
  4. Side gig – when I moved from the UK to the USA, my goal was to find employment. However, to improve my chances, and give me a reason to network, I actually started a side gig. Basically a small business. This helped me develop my professional skills and kept up my confidence.

Trust me these four things will definitely help you focus and make progress if you do decide to go down this path. For more information, read this post.

  • How do I change careers? Can I change careers at X age?

Changing careers is tough at any age. Achieving success here requires the right attitude to learn and push beyond your comfort zone. This has very little to do with what age you decide to pursue the career change at. In order to succeed at your career change there are five key steps:

  • Knowledge – build up your knowledge about your new career choice, so that you know if it is right for you (day-to-day tasks and life) and that you are a credible candidate (skills and knowledge needed).
  • Credibility – make sure that you learn and invest in yourself so that you close any gaps between where you are now and where you need to be for your new career.
  • Change story – be prepared to tell you change story in a positive way and give the interviewer reassurance that you can perform.
  • Stand out – make decisions that allow you to have a better chance at changing careers. You need to find a niche, geography or time to help you stand out in the candidate field.
  • Add value early – in your new career, make sure you learn how to add value early and reaffirm that you were the best person for the job.

For more details on each step, please read my blog posts on each one: knowledge, credibility, change story, stand out and adding value early.

  • I have two job offers, how do I decide between them?

Assuming that you are not making a decision based on if you can ‘live’, then the decision between two or more job offers should come down to one thing: Which opportunity is likely to get the best out of me? If you make the decision based on this question, then success will ultimately follow.

If you would like a fuller explanation, please read my post on this subject.

How do I increase my salary?

By far the biggest impact on the salary you earn are the career decisions that you make. What I mean by this, is your ability to deal with change, to persist even when success is not apparent, to be brave when you need to leave you current job and to always aim to put yourself in a situation that plays to your strengths. If you do these things, and do them consistently, then success and ultimately improved salary will follow.

For more information on increasing your salary, read my post on the factors impacting how much you get paid (and how you can use them to your advantage!).

 

 

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