Last week we went through some simple exercises to assess if our current job is the right fit, this week we decipher what our ideal job looks like and how we can match these to our strengths and weaknesses.
I then set about listing my weaknesses. Knowing the list was for my eyes only I was as honest as I could possibly be and asked myself questions like ‘What do I struggle with?’ and ‘Which tasks take me longer than usual?’ I would encourage you to do this too, as this exercise allowed me to more accurately see and be aware of my limitations at present. The reason this is so handy to know as it might highlight future training needs for your ideal job or, if you have decided to stay in your role, it will point to areas where you would benefit from further development. Likewise, if you really don’t like certain things, evaluating your weaknesses will enable you to better recognize when a potential job is not the right fit for you.
Next I listed my strengths. I asked myself questions such as ‘What do I find easy?’, ‘What am I faster than others at?’ and ‘What comes naturally to me?’ This is no time to be modest – creating such a list will help you better define which jobs would naturally suit you whilst also helping you during the interview process.
Lastly I created a skills list which itemized all of my professional skills. This also helped me during interviews but more than that it made me recognize skills I had otherwise taken for granted.
My skills list was:
- Touch typing
- Microsoft Office and Outlook
- Organizational skills and detail orientated
- Communication / interpersonal skills
- Time management skills
- Sales administration and general administration skills
- Managing contractors
- Budget management
- Organizing office events
Deciding on your ideal job
Shortly after completing these lists and gaining a better understanding of what I had to offer and the elements of my work I most enjoyed, my mind turned to what my ideal job would look like. I researched how I could use my current skills and strengths to do a job I liked and came up with two options, firstly being an office manager (very similar to what I do now) and secondly to be a personal assistant. I then researched these roles and the reality of what they entailed; discovering that many personal assistants are ‘on call’ outside of working hours. As I was clear that working outside of business hours did not lend itself to the work / life balance I was seeking, I immediately ruled out that option. So, office manager it was!
If you are unsure what direction to take with your career I would encourage you to research which roles would can use your existing strengths and skills whilst also advancing your career – then create a shortlist of roles, weigh up the pros and cons of each and then decide upon pursuing one option or even two.
If you could walk into an interview for two of your shortlisted roles now or with the same training (as my personal assistant diploma allowed me to do for both office manager or personal assistant roles), remember to write up two different resumes and in each summary at the beginning describe yourself as an ‘office manager seeking…’ or ‘a personal assistant seeking’ for example.
I then further researched the office manager role and I discovered that, depending upon the size of company and the industry, the role could be very different. Although I had taken the personal assistant diploma, it was also useful for being an office manager as often there was a great deal of administration involved. I discovered that some office managers do accounting – I immediately ruled out these roles as, although I liked working within a budget, one of my weaknesses was maths, so I did not feel comfortable setting budgets or reconciling accounts.
Creating your ideal job description, pay and industry / environment
I then listed the job description of my ideal office manager role. This was both exciting and motivating and made my career vision crystal clear – a very valuable exercise!
Shortly thereafter I researched the average pay for an office manager in the area I was looking for work and decided on the ambitious but still realistic compensation package I was seeking, bearing in mind my experience and qualifications. This was a very useful exercise as it showed what I could realistically expect to be paid, making my desired salary an informed and realistic one.
As an office manager could work in any industry I left myself open to exploring all options – deciding not to commit to any one particular industry at that stage but ruling out finance as I found the environment too corporate and formal.
In terms of the specific work environment I was seeking, I knew I wanted a more informal atmosphere in a smaller company, whereby camaraderie was evident and there was less of a hierarchy.
Do you know what your ideal job looks like? It’s compensation package, the industry and even the job description? Do you think being clear on these things would help you better plan your career? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.
Stay tuned – next week we will look at how to best be strategic when it comes to planning our career, the advantages of opting for further training and we’ll explore the ways by which we can maximise our fulfilment at work.