Getting stuck in a career rut is never a pleasant experience. Whether you’re in a job you never wanted or just sick of people getting promoted ahead of you, it’s easy to let your work life sag without realising it. At times, the whole process can feel like a difficult circle to break.
Giving a lackluster career a boost can sometimes call for a lot of work, but it is always extremely rewarding. By taking control of your career path you can improve your quality of life and hopefully increase your earning potential into the bargain.
Assess Where You’re At
The first step on your potential road to career recovery should be to work out exactly where you are in your working life. This is sometimes easier said than done, especially if you don’t really feel you’ve found the right job for you yet, but it is a very worthwhile exercise.
One way to start is to look at how your peers from school or college are getting on in their careers. A little judicious Facebook research can work well here. Of course, having a high-powered job doesn’t necessarily make any of your old schoolmates more or less happy than you are, but it could help to give you an indicator of your potential that you can use to frame your own workplace experiences with.
Work Out Where You Want To Get To
Again, the concept of working out exactly what you want from your career is no easy task, but it’s one that you’ll have to complete if you want to give your career the jumpstart it needs.
Begin by noting down the attributes that are important to you in a job. Often, seeing a list of wants on paper can give you a clearer picture of the direction you should be heading in. In addition, talk to friends and family about their careers. Find out what they do, what they like and what they don’t like about their jobs. The more information you can get on what’s out there, the better.
Once you have a plan in mind, be sure to set realistic short- and medium-term goals. There’s nothing wrong with setting your sights high, but if you ask too much of yourself too soon you may set yourself up for a demotivating failure
Improve Your Skills
Once you have a rough direction in mind, the next step is to upskill yourself in your chosen role.
Perhaps the traditional way to do this is through academic learning such as college or university courses. However, going back to school may not be an option for those already working. If this is the case for you, consider looking at a professional training organisation. There are many companies running courses, with some specialising in in-depth topics such as information technology and business analysis. Training in this way looks great on your CV, too, as it shows both your skills and your willingness to learn.
Put Yourself Out There
With your training complete and new skills acquired, you’ll be ready to put yourself out there and face the world. However, just because you know everything there is to know about your chosen career doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll score your dream job straight away.
The ability to network effectively is key here. If you can make and impress the right contacts easily you’ll find it much easier to get the position you really want. To do this, you’ll need to work out what channels people in your desired industry use to communicate. For example, creative and designers tend to be pretty keen on Twitter, whereas business types might prefer LinkedIn.
Stuart Edge is a career coach and business analyst. Training people to get the most out of their careers gives him a sense of immense satisfaction.