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New Year, New Job: 6 action points to take control of your career

Posted on January 26, 2016

New Year, new career: 6 action points to help in 2016.

Ah, drink it in. There’s nothing like the giddy optimism of a new year to spur a few moments of self-reflection. Read more books. Join the gym. Learn Swahili. Some resolutions are more popular than others. But if you spent the festive holidays dreading going back to work - or resenting the state of your bank balance - it could be time to take stock of your career.

Short of a lottery win, work is going to continue being a big part of your life. So it makes sense to carve out a career that feels right. You deserve it. As the New Year races out of the traps (those turkey rolls feel like a distant memory) here are six action points for stopping the drift and taking control of your career.

1. Get your CV in shape

Nobody enjoys writing CVs. But they are vital so - with respect - grit your teeth and knuckle down. Brushing up your CV will force you to begin thinking critically about your career. It will also make it easier to apply for jobs when you see something that catches your eye. Remember that writing a CV is an exercise in brevity. Simple, short and sweet is the way to go. Focus on your achievements and try to make it measurable (e.g. improved sales by 15%). It’s not about what you do, but what you have done.

>> What recruiters want to see on a CV
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2. Consider your current career path

Before making any big decisions, think about your current career trajectory.

Is it your job you dislike or the business you work for?

Do you yearn to escape the rat race and do something more emotionally rewarding?

Is it the lack of career progression that’s dampening your enthusiasm?

It could be that with a few changes - and a chat with your boss - you don’t need the career overhaul you thought you did. And if you do decide that a career change is what you want, knowing what you dislike about your current employment situation will make it much easier to find a better fit and avoid similar problems rearing their head later in your career.

3. Discover your new career

It can be scary when you feel career clueless. The important thing to remember is that most people feel this way at least once in their lives. The people who know what they want from day one are few and far between. So stop worrying, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed by career choices from time to time. When you are stumped about your next move, think about your hobbies and go from there. Getting paid to follow your interests is sure to make it a doddle to get out of bed each morning.

4. Research necessary qualifications

Keep in mind that a change in career may mean getting new qualifications, whether that’s an NVQ, A Level, university degree or a Master’s. And before you start panicking about costs, you may be able to get some or all of your tuition fees paid for with a bursary or employer sponsorship - depending on your choice of profession. Once you have an idea of a new career direction, spend an hour or so researching the qualifications you may need as well as funding options.

5. Get some recruitment advice

Most people simply don’t know enough about the jobs market, nor their place in it. Make an appointment with your local recruitment agency to talk through the state of things in your region. Knowledge is power. You will likely walk away with a clearer head and some helpful job application tips.

6. Relocate

Maybe you love your job but you hate your commute. Or perhaps there simply aren’t enough career opportunities in your current location. Relocating is easy for some; a nightmare for others. But if you are getting serious about your career, thinking about the place you call home - or would like to call home - has to be factored in to your thoughts. It will help to bring some context to your job search.

>> 8 reasons to leave London for Devon
>> Then and now: salaries snowball in Exeter and beyond
>> West is best: the greatest regions to work in the West Country

What are you waiting for?

Exactly. The annoying thing about change is that it never just happens. If you want to take control of your career, you have to silence your inner procrastinator and begin taking action. Everyone deserves to be happy in their career. Because while a lot of people will tell you otherwise, work really can be enjoyable.

  • Get your CV in shape
  • Carefully consider your current career path - and what’s making you hungry for change
  • Think about new career directions that really excite you
  • Find out whether you need any additional qualifications for potential new careers
  • Visit a recruitment specialist for job market insight
  • Consider if you would relocate for your dream job - and if so where you might like to live