career planning

Career In Action: The benefits of keeping an achievement and highlight diary

Although this is a great exercise to boost motivation and moral if you have decided to stay in your current job, you can do this exercise even if you adore your role, to ensure you remain happy and encouraged.


Each day at the end of the work day simply write down one achievement, however small, and one highlight, which could even be something like ‘I really connected and felt supported by Clive today at our work drinks’ – whatever has made your day just that little bit brighter.


Wishing you all a rewarding and fulfilling career,


x X x Jenny x X x


PS Stay tuned – our next hot topic is titled…

‘Strategies to Stop Procrastination Sabotaging Your Goals (and life in general)’

Sick of your nine to five? How to love what you do and get the most out of your career Part Four

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock


Last week we formulated our ideal job description and compensation package, this week we 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 maximize our fulfillment at work.


Be strategic


These days when planning your next career move it is important to be strategic. I had to evaluate carefully whether I wanted to take on more responsibility, if I was prepared to work longer hours or have a commute and honestly assess the kind of work / life balance I was seeking. I then had to allow these factors to directly influence which jobs I applied for – no matter how good on my CV that job in London with the long commute and the hectic hours would look.


Equally money doesn’t always equal advancement. Sometimes it is necessary to make a sideways move or even take a pay cut to enter into a career that has more opportunities for rising up the ladder in future or offers you a better work / life balance.


Career In Action: Create your ideal compensation package

Research your two roles compensation packages on offer online and write out an ambitious but realistic desired compensation package, including bonus (if applicable), pension, medical, holiday, potentially a company car and other options like flexi-time, working from home, childcare vouchers or travel loans for example.


Make sure you do your research properly so it doesn’t read as a wish list but rather an ambitious but within-the-realm-of-possibility package.


For a fun little extra you could calculate how much money you could save each month once you reach your desired salary!


Career In Action: Create your ideal job description

This is the fun part. Look at sample job descriptions online of the careers / jobs on your shortlist to get a feel for the general format and variations within the role and then write out your ideal job description including all responsibilities and duties.


This will motivate and inspire you in your journey towards a rewarding work life whilst reminding you what you are aiming for.


Career In Action: Work on your resume or research where you can study

If you don’t need to study for one or two of your choices:


If one or both of your two options does not require study, take today to begin overhauling your resume, focusing on your transferable skills. Invest in several interview books and read them over the coming weeks.


Work Pathway Resources:


Download “Resume-Template.doc” Resume-Template.doc – Downloaded 195 times – 82 KB


‘The Little Book of Career Success’ by Hilary Wilson


‘Ultimate Interview’ by Lynn Williams


If you need to study or train:


Take today to research local institutions that feature the courses you will need to take. Read over their application criteria and guidelines. Check out the process of enrolling and what services the facility provides such as clubs or cafes on site, etc. Read about the course you want to study. Get excited and plan your next step.


Career In Action: Narrow your shortlisted careers down to two

Take time today to look over all of the exercises you have done throughout this series and assess which two of your shortlisted careers / jobs, are the best match for you. Whilst doing this take into account:


Your research on each role (both passion or finance career planning roles)
Your budgeting and finances (budgets for studying etc)
Your likes
Your dislikes
Your strengths
Your weaknesses
The work / life balance you are looking for (NB: This is a very important factor)


Remember whilst it is important to factor these things in there is no such thing as a perfect job or career, what you are really looking for are the two options that are the best fit for you.


Career In Action: List your strengths

I find listing my strengths easier than listing my weaknesses but nevertheless it is still hard, as is any self evaluation because I lack genuine objectivity. This being said it is a useful exercise to do as it highlights what elements of a role you would excel at.


Just as when listing your weaknesses, there are three main areas. Technical (also known as skills), such as being great at Microsoft Excel (spreadsheets) or having an advanced driving license, interpersonal, such as being great at customer service or motivating a team and mental, such as having an analytical mind.


List them now and for each strength you identify, give an example of when you have used this strength successfully (this will help you in interviews later on).


Now take another look at the list and see if these strengths would be involved with any of your shortlisted career paths. If they aren’t there’s no need to fret, it simply means you have an opportunity to develop even more strengths!


Career In Action: List your weaknesses

Listing your can be hard to do, mainly because very few of us want to admit we have any. The reason it is so important is because it will highlight areas that you need to work on to succeed in your chosen career paths or otherwise highlight which careers aren’t the right fit for you.


There are three main areas of weaknesses we all have. Technical (also known as skills), such as touch typing or driving a fork lift. Interpersonal, such as struggling with team work or not being good at written communication and mental, such as having poor memory or not being good at maths.


List your weaknesses down, and, if they are weaknesses you would like to improve, write down how you might combat these weaknesses to make them less of an issue in your professional life. For example, I have a really bad memory, hence why I take notes and keep a work diary (a diary could also be a great way to turn organization into your strength but more on strengths later). Be as brutally honest as you can manage, this will pay off tenfold later down the line.


Once you have your list see how your weaknesses may be involved in some of your proposed career paths and if some are assess whether that weakness is something that could be overcome (and indeed, whether you want to overcome it in the first place). Then rule out any pathways that would rely on the weaknesses that you have no desire to overcome or those you believe are outside of your capabilities.


Sick of your nine to five? How to love what you do and get the most out of your career Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock


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.


Why loving your job makes you more successful

Loving what you do is one of the biggest indicators of success, whether that be by the worlds standards of money and power or by the spiritual standards of fulfillment and joy (or, if you’re very lucky, by both!). Heck, that’s the very reason this series is called what it is.


When we are passionate about what we do and find it deeply rewarding we can’t help but work hard, reaping the rewards.


When we talk about loving what we do however it needn’t mean we are changing the world in big ways, are famous or inventing revolutionary technologies. For any job you can think of, there is someone in this world who loves doing it.


A HGV (or heavy goods vehicle driver) might love the feeling of being on the road and the solitude it provides. A cleaner might take great pride in making sure everything is pristine and love how she gets to go home at night without any work emails.


I guess my point is that the world sometimes has a slightly restrictive view on what a worthwhile job is, but in the end only you will know if it feeds your soul or supports your lifestyle.


Whatever you choose to do, I would encourage you to do something you find rewarding and, even better, something you love.


Wishing you a wonderful Sunday!


x X x Jenny x X x

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