For most people who feel stuck in their careers; whether it’s being in a job they don’t like, job applications making little to no progress, or, wanting to switch careers and not knowing where to start, it can seem daunting to want to ask for help. And this can lead one to question their abilities, sense of worth and suffer from imposter syndrome. This is where a Career Coach should come in.
Jobs and careers occupy a big chunk of our lives, so it’s critical that we invest time, and sometimes our resources to figure out what we can’t seem to do on our own, that is impeding us from progressing further, or feeling fulfilled.
So we compiled a list of reasons as to why you need a career coach:
1. Tailor-made solutions – Sure, Google is great, but the articles you’re reading are unlikely offering solutions tailored to your needs, personality, and maybe, current confusion, and they may not define your problem as you’d like. A Career Coach exists exactly for this purpose; to help you define your challenges, provide you with clarity, and help you map out what you want to do. Not only that, but working with a Career Coach provides you with an opportunity to get real-time feedback on the progress of action steps agreed upon.
2. Increased self-awareness – Because Career Coaches use a variety of tools to assess your needs and help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, interests, goals and so much more, the result is an increased awareness of self, which enables one to make informed decisions about their jobs and careers.
3. Improved accountability – Because life can get really busy, or, procrastination can get in the way of progress, a Career Coach helps you to become more accountable to yourself. With agreed-upon action plans, whether it’s revising your CV, creating an elevator pitch, looking for volunteering opportunities to transition careers, and so forth, it’s hard to avoid accountability when you’re investing to improve your current situation.
4. Honest feedback – Most of us ask for career advice from family, and friends because it’s easier and cheaper to do so. A career coach tells you what you NEED to hear. A friend may look at your CV and tell you it’s great, a career coach will look at it, and point out 10 mistakes. Why? Because that’s their expertise, and their opinions are not biased; their role is to point out your inconsistency, dismantle some of the myths you may have about jobs and careers, and pretty much give you a reality check of what needs to be done. Who wouldn’t want that?
5. Build confidence – Unless you were not intentionally invested in your career coaching sessions, it’s hard to not build up your confidence as a result. One of the key roles career coaching plays is to identify some of the fears you have around pursuing your goals and providing you with the information and tools to conquer them and help you get out of that comfort zone. Career coaching helps you introspect, ask yourself difficult questions, and face some of your fears that bar you from achieving your potential.
Have you worked with a Career Coach before? What was your experience?
If not, at edge, we have a number of Career Coaching Programs that aim to answer some of your most pressing career queries and provide you with the tools to navigate these challenges. In fact, We’re currently offering 10 scholarships to 10 lucky people, for our Career Accelerator Program. Sign up here http://bit.ly/careertransformation_signup and tell a friend to tell a friend!
Get a sneak peek our career coaching by watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvRnyw8_D7Q
First and foremost, Happy New Year! 2020 has been dubbed as 20plenty, and we don’t know about you, but here at edge, this is the year we’re manifesting our visions, so please, get on board!
Now, we all know that a new year is seen as an opportunity to start on a clean slate and making new year resolutions is a part of that. Some people prefer to make goals, instead of resolutions. Whatever term you decide on, having career resolutions or goals should be included in your list.
If you haven’t already, please read our article containing 8 questions you need to ask yourself before the year ends as you do last year’s career reflections before proceeding to read the rest of the article.
To guide you, we will outline below 5 introspective questions you should ask yourself when making these goals/resolutions:
1. What distractions hindered me from achieving my career goals last year, and how can I change that this year? Think about what you wanted to achieve in your career last year. What are the small, and even big things that prevented you from taking the required action to get there? Was it spending too much time on your phone? Going out too much, thus not finding time to update your resume? Were you clouded with self-doubt? Whatever the reason may be, note them all down and think about how you’ll get rid of some of these distractions that are not serving you.
2. What new skills and knowledge do I want to acquire this year? If you’ve been employed for a while, think about the next level you want to achieve in your job, or career. Even if you’re thinking of switching careers; what are the required skills and knowledge that will propel you to get there? Research online and by asking industry experts what you need to do. There are plenty of virtual courses online that you can utilize as a start, volunteering on weekends and so much more. If you just entered the job market or are job hunting, now is a good time to identify your strengths and figure out what contribution you want to add to an organization, or even start your own venture. Tools such as the 16 personalities test or the Sparketype to help you develop self-awareness that is useful in identifying what areas you’re good at.
3. What changes do I need to implement to improve my current situation? Admittedly, this could cover a wide range of things. Are you employed but looking for a new job? Are you in a hostile work environment and want out? Looking to transition into a different career? Wanting to get promoted this year? Whatever the case, none of these things can happen if you don’t intentionally put in the work to make these changes happen. Don’t just sit around and hope that something “comes up”. Hope is not a strategy. Solutions may range from; customizing your CV to fit different jobs you apply for, working with a career coach to help you identify what career path you want, reading up on what makes a good job application, updating your LinkedIn profile, and reaching out to recruiters for help; read our article on the right way to ask for help when job hunting and what not to do as a guide. As always, Google is your friend, you may be one search away from transforming your life!
4. What am I most afraid of? Aaah, fear; the biggest enemy of progress. In 2020, we’d like to call upon you to befriend your fear. Have you been in a comfort zone for far too long? Do you feel like you’re in survival mode? I think we can all agree that that is not an ideal way to live. Are you afraid of asking for a promotion? Leaving a job that you don’t like because it feels familiar and change is daunting? There’s a saying that goes; “Change begins at the end of your comfort zone”. If you’re not sure what it is that you’re afraid of, please consider working with a career coach who will help you articulate your fears and help you make the right steps to transform your career.
5. When I look back at 2020 in January of 2021, what are the things I should be proud of? If you’ve been able to address the above questions, it should be easier to come up with milestones you want to achieve in 2020. List them all down, and come up with a way you want to track your progress. And if you hit a milestone, reward yourself.
We hope you found the above questions useful. We have plenty of resources on our Career Happiness Center that you can refer to when making your 2020career goals and resolutions. Please dive in. If you need additional assistance to get you out of a career rut, reach out to us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ho ho ho! Tis’ the season to reflect on your career!
The festive season is upon us, and as you take the time to plan for the end of year vacations, we’d like to urge you to consider doing the same for your career. How do you feel about the progress you have made towards your long term career aspirations this year? What shifts should you be making in 2020?
Undergoing a career self-evaluation allows you to track the progress you’ve made, and identify opportunities to tap into, for your growth.
To kick you off, grab some warm chocolate and muffins and indulge in these reflective questions. Alternatively, you could consider taking our newly launched Career Happiness Assessment Tool.
- What is the proudest career goal I achieved this year?
Look back at the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. Did you want to get a new job? To get promoted? To switch careers? To start your own business? Learn a new skill? Expand your network? Whatever it was; evaluate what steps you took to achieve them, and progress made. If you did not take any steps to achieve any of the goals, ask yourself why this is the case and come up with a strategy to implement your goal in the next year.
- What new things did I learn, that expanded my skills and knowledge?
Who are you becoming? When you look back at who you were at the beginning of the year; what new skills and knowledge have you gained? How did they add value to your work? Learning is a never-ending process that should always be a part of your career journey. If you did not learn any new skills, this likely means that you did not find new ways to improve the way you do things; whether in your work, in how you communicate, how you search for jobs or network, and so forth. This is regressive, and should not be the case in the New Year.
- What mistakes did I make this year, and what did I learn from them?
One of the many ways we are able to become better is by acknowledging our mistakes and taking the initiative to learn from them. Thomas Edison tested 10,000 bulbs to find the one that would light up our world. Here is an article we did that talks about being personally accountable at work. We hope you can also apply this article to other areas of your life.
- What are the areas I need to improve in?
In order to identify your areas of weaknesses, you need to honestly self-assess yourself. If you’re finding this difficult, you can utilize the relationships you have at work, or in your personal life to ask for feedback. Additionally, you can take up self- assessment tests on the internet to help you get a clearer picture of your strengths and weaknesses. An example is the 16 personality test that you can take for free.
- How did I step outside my comfort zone this year?
One of the key components of growth is how uncomfortable it can be. Often at times, getting to the next level in your career requires you to put yourself out there in diverse scenarios that may not be as conventional as you would like. This may include things like attending networking events to pitch a partnership as an introvert, or taking on more responsibilities outside of your JD, volunteering on the weekends in order to transition into a new career, and so forth.
- What does success mean to me?
Everyone’s definition of success is relative. For one person; it may be a healthy work-life balance, for the next; it could be a fat bank balance, for the next person; it could be the ability to work remotely as they please, and for another; it could be to become a CEO of an international company. So how do you define success for you? If your career life does not represent this definition, in what ways are you working towards it getting there?
- What changes do I need to make, to have a more fulfilled career life?
In all honesty, how satisfied are you with your career life? Do you not enjoy the work that you do? Are you unhappy with where you are now? Are you not adding value to your current workplace? Are you unaware of what career path you want to take? Now would be a good time to draw up a plan that can change this narrative. It may involve updating your CV and LinkedIn profile to kick off a new job search, taking up online courses to increase your skills, attending a career coaching program, and so on. No clue where to start? Talk to us, our Career Happiness Satisfaction Tool might kick you off in the right direction.
- What are my goals for the next year?
Last but not least, the next step should be to come up with next year’s goals. Take this opportunity to compare how they have changed from the goals you had at the beginning of the year and point out which areas you will need additional support in. As always, your goals should be SMART. If you’re afraid you may not hold yourself accountable to a high degree, now is a good time to seek out a trustworthy accountability partner. Read this article on, 8 ways to help you set and achieve your career goals in the New Year for more context
We hope you found the above questions useful. In addition, we’d like to share with you our recently launched Career Happiness Center where we have a myriad number of tools (articles, videos, checklists) as pertains to job hunting, succeeding in interviews, managing your boss career transition, etc. to help inform your 2020 goals and help you smash them!
As you begin to indulge in the festive season, we leave you with this profound quote by the late Anthony Bourdain; “If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river”.
Happy Festive Season!
Picture this; John works in the Marketing department of a medium-sized Tech company. He is constantly behind on deadlines, is always making excuses as a result and incessantly points out that his supervisor is unfair to him, because of the several performance improvement plans (PIPs) he has had to undertake in the past few months.
Does this sound like a familiar case that you have encountered in your organization, as a peer or manager? Or even more self-introspectively; have you been this person anywhere you have worked? If you answered yes to this question, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s unpack this, shall we?
When in a situation where it feels like you’re being attacked, our natural instinct is to become defensive. Which is why, when your supervisor asks about a deadline you missed, you are inclined to look for an excuse instead of taking accountability and renegotiating a new deadline, or just being truthful about why the deadline was not met. It’s difficult to point a finger at yourself instead of always shifting blame to an external factor. However, in order for you to advance; in your career, personal life and relationships, you need to learn to point the finger to yourself more often.
Personal accountability is a key driver for increasing individual and organization success. It is the choices or resolves to act diligently on all your roles and to accept the responsibility for the outcomes of your actions. How can you practice personal accountability at work, you ask?
- Setting SMART goals – Once you have a clear understanding of the expectations the organization has for you, ensure you set micro-goals for yourself, that you can use to work towards achieving your targets, or expected outcomes. Doing this ensures you don’t let things fall the crack, therefore not putting yourself in a precarious position of having to explain to your supervisor why certain things were not accomplished.
- Taking ownership of your work – This is strongly tied to taking initiative. Essentially, taking ownership is telling your teammates, and supervisors that they can trust you to do the right thing; to deliver on time, to be reliable and to keep your word. Ultimately, this creates a strong sense of trust in the team. Make sure you communicate your needs and ask for support as early as possible, to avoid a project from delaying, or from causing conflict as a result of your peers, or supervisor being affected. Also, ownership negates micromanagement, which we all know nobody likes.
- Asking for feedback – One of the most effective ways to self-improve and become better at your work is through receiving feedback. This should not only be exclusive to your supervisor, but also to your peers. Don’t always wait for the bi-annual performance review. Take the initiative to non-formally ask for feedback, on a periodic basis; based on the personal career or learning goals you have for yourself. Here is an article to guide you on how you can ask for feedback that will help you
- Learning from mistakes – Instead of obsessing over a mistake you made and seeing it as just that; use the opportunity to be a teachable moment. Most of the people you look up to, that are now experts in their field, got there by making mistakes and learning from them. In addition, use these opportunities to acknowledge any areas of improvement you need to work on; this may be in the form of on the job training or taking up an online course. Check out our post on 5 tips to accelerate your learning with online courses
- Self-introspection – This is where self-awareness comes into play. The more present you are, and the more you hold a mirror to yourself; about your work, ability to be reliable, how you relate to others, communicate your needs, and/or frustrations and so forth, the more likely you are to hold yourself accountable for your actions and foster a sense of trust with your peers, and managers.
In conclusion; form a habit of self-evaluation at work, where you refrain from unjustifiably blaming external factors for things you are able to change yourself. Ultimately, these habits are also able to inform you of what next steps you should take in your career, and may just reveal that you need to shift in a different direction!
We leave you with this quote, for emphasis purposes;
“Take accountability… Blame is the water in which many dreams and relationships drown.” -Steve Maraboli
Are you worried about paying hefty fees to increase your skills and knowledge in an area that will improve your abilities at work? Worry no more.
We are now entering the predicted most phenomenal era in workplaces. Predicted almost 20 years ago, the Future of Work is quickly revolutionizing everything we knew about the type of skills we need to thrive at work AND HOW to acquire them. Check out this list of skills you will need to stay relevant and adaptable in your profession.
As the year comes to an end, it’s always a good moment, to take a step back, evaluate the progress you have made in the year, and how you will continue learning and growing personally and professionally in the coming year.
One of the rapidly growing spaces in self-learning driven by technology, busy schedules and the need to learn more things faster, is online courses; which is slowly taking over universities, and with plenty of them being free, learning has become even more accessible.
Often, some of our career coachees have shared that they struggle to make effective use of these online courses. And today, we are happy to share with you a few tips to help you hack these new virtual universities.
The first step is to identify a gap you have; at work, in your personal life or even any interest, you have that you want to get good at, research what online courses you need to take, and then – intentionally set aside time to take up these courses.
Some of the sites we recommend and have tried are EDX, Udemy, Coursera, and Alison. Not all courses are free, but the cost is still cheaper in comparison to paying for a fully-fledged degree, or diploma.
Below are a few tips about how to succeed in taking online courses;
1. Set goals of what you want to learn– Write them down and adhere to them. Think about the value you want to gain after acquiring this new skill set or knowledge and how your work or life will turn around as a result. Visualizing what success will look like, keeps you on the disciplined track!
2. Allocate time for your online studying and STICK to it – By intentionally creating a time slot for taking your course(s), you’re able to plan your work and other commitments around it. Resolving to commit to your own goals is one of the hardest yet most powerful mind-sets you can develop. In addition, allocate time when your brain is most active and fresh, this ensures you are assimilating as much information as possible within short timeframes.
3. Create a space that will boost your concentration levels – Be it at the comfort of your living room, a café, at the park and so on. A learning space should be one that makes you focused, at ease and not fidgety and full of distractions.
4. Take note of what you’re learning – Have a notebook, or take notes on your laptop. This increases your retention levels and tracks the progress of what you’re learning.
5. Hold yourself accountable – Lastly, but not least; take charge of your own learning. Do periodic check-ins, get rid of ALL distractions, and look for an accountability partner who will hold you responsible. Do whatever it takes to take yourself forward!
Here is a list of more online course platforms that have been ranked the best on the World Wide Web. We hope you found these tips useful.
Let us know some of the other sites you have found useful and how you’ve organized yourself to succeed!
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Did you just get back from a long or short sabbatical break (to take care of family, study, go on a discovery journey, etc) and the question of how to get your foot back in the job market is bugging you? We got you covered!
Today, we are sharing with you a Sabbatical Come Back Checklist and Tips. Check out the checklist here
As you tick your list, there are a few things that need a bit of thinking through and planning. Read on to find what and why.
- Update your CV to show your career break; it’s important that a recruiter/hiring manager assessing your resume understands why there is a gap in your CV. You want to give a clear visibility of your career ladder and decisions and leave no room for second-guessing. Remember there are many other professionals seeking the same opportunity as you!
- Utilize your network. Your network is your net worth. This is a strategy that should go long back, from when you decide to go on a break. The power of weak ties comes in handy. Who should you keep in touch with? And when you come back, what new connections do you need to create? With social recruiting taking over the hiring world, you want to keep your connections warm and keep building new ones. For more on building and sustaining weak ties, check this article out.
- Reassess your needs and values. Okay; let’s say you went on a break because you were just not feeling that job. Or you were just done with certain types of work environments. What have you learned about what matters to you? How is this aligned to the type of workplaces you need to be and the type of work that inspires you to rise every morning? What needs and values MUST be met in your next job? This way, you’re able to redefine what fulfillment means for you and apply to the right roles, and organizations.
- Research, research, and research – Most likely, things have changed since you took a break. This means that you need to take the time to re familiarize yourself with the industry you want to be in, new trends, roles and even networks. Interviews will then feel like you have been around all along.
- And if the job is taking some time to come along, how about you consider the not so fun things such as volunteering or going to back to school (if these were not your sabbatical options), it will go a long way in bringing you up to speed with the current realities in your career space.
- Lastly, but not least; consider working with a career coach to accelerate your come back. A coach will provide you with the tools and guidance you need to navigate the hurdles that come with job hunting after a break, and will also help you articulate yourself better when packaging yourself.
Or maybe you want to come back to a whole new industry? Check out this video, which contains tips on how to transition into a new industry space as well.
For those of you, who have successfully transitioned into new jobs/careers after a break, what worked? What did you learn?
Share with us on our social media platforms, where you can also find more content like this: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
If you’re in this chapter in your career life, and are looking for a partner to guide you, reach out to us today! Send an email to email@example.com and start your journey to a happy career!