How To Manage Your Career For Success
Having worked at the forefront of the recruitment industry for over 10 years, the message I give at MiddletonMurray is that there are countless jobs out there. However, in order to be successful in your job hunt and career management, you need to focus your efforts on the things that will help you be the top candidate. Securing a coveted first job, a new job or achieving a career change relies on self-discipline and pushing yourself to do things you might not always want to.
Having a positive mindset
Self-discipline and determination are fundamental parts of securing the job that you want and I strongly believe that much of what we do is dependent on maintaining a positive mindset. In order to do this, it’s vital to eat healthily, drink the right things, take regular exercise and get enough sleep. Maintaining a healthy, positive lifestyle underpins everything that you do, so if these things are not right, take steps to ensure that they are before setting ambitious career goals. Taking this a step further, I’d encourage you to create a life plan which takes into account your goals and aspirations. If you visualise yourself in 5, 10, 15 years’ time, your career goals will seem so much more tangible and you’ll be inspired over and over again to achieve them.
Inspiration is another huge factor in helping you to achieve your career goals. If you find someone who you see as an inspiration, you will be more likely to be motivated to work hard to achieve that. Visualise where you will be in the future and connect this with your life plan. This more than anything helps you see how your choices will affect your life and career in the long run.
Sticking it out
If you already have a job and are looking to change roles, it’s important to see the bigger picture and not make any rash decisions. I often see people enter a job totally enthused, only to feel very unsure about it shortly after. This is a completely normal feeling – once you get over the excitement of the new job you start to find you are pushed out of your comfort zone.
It’s vitally important to hold fire and work through any issues you may be having. It’s very common for the same people who don’t like their job to contact us again a few weeks later to say that they are loving it. Remember, feelings of discomfort during the first few months are completely normal and if you are not out of your comfort zone then you aren’t growing. During this time, think about what you want to achieve at the company and how you can make a positive first impression, which will help you to overcome any difficulties.
Even if you do decide that a particular role isn’t right for you in the long term, I would caution you to never do a job for less than one year. If you end up with two or three companies on your CV where you have worked for less than a year, you can start to look like a job-hopper, which can put serious potential employers off.
Getting a promotion
A great tip if you’re looking to stay at your current company but move into a different role is to write everything that you do down in a daily journal and at the end of the month compile an extensive report. This is then something you can send to your manager with a covering letter/email requesting a meeting to review how the past few months have gone. It is there that you can tell them all the hard work you have put in, demonstrate your value, and then negotiate a pay rise or promotion.
Finding the right job
If you’re looking for a new job outside your organisation, it’s important to explore what I like to call the ‘hidden jobs market’. Approaching companies you want to work for but who aren’t necessarily proactively looking for new staff publicly is a soft skill in itself. You never know what is going on behind the scenes at a business – staff members might be about to resign, take a sabbatical, a position might be available but hasn’t been posted on the job boards as yet. Showing proactivity is often rewarded as it shows candidates have the ability to take initiative.
If you are looking to change jobs, think about what sets you apart from the competition. Think about what you do as part of your hobbies and link those qualities to the job you are seeking. There nearly always is a link – for example: “I like playing football; I want to be in sales. Football is competitive and results driven, as is sales. I believe my competitive spirit in football will underpin my ability to be competitive and results driven in sales”.
Secondly, think about your personality. Once again, how does it link to the skills and qualities required for the job? Finally, think about your skills. Always try to make your next career move a stepping-stone building upon the skills you already have; never discard all your experience and start completely over. There is always a link from one career to the next.
Overall, if you can map out your aims and ambitions, and stay fit and healthy you will feel more naturally motivated to secure the job you really want or make the most out of the role you are in.
By Angela Middleton is the CEO and founder of MiddletonMurray recruitment agency. She is also the author of ‘How To Get Your First Job… And Build The Career You Want’, a guide for 16 to 24 year olds on how to choose the right career, get their first job, excel within that job and quickly progress in the role.