Day 1 – Overcoming difficulties and planning for the future

How to Plan for the Future

If you have a clear plan for your career that is not limited to your current job, the notion of job security should mean very little to you. It is better to not surrender full control of your future to anyone including your employer. Keep doing your job diligently and being of great value to the organisation you work for, that is the best way to secure your job, but even this sometimes is not enough as there are other external factors including overall company performance.

Grabbing the bull by the horns

Decide what you want to do should you need to leave the job you’re in. Everything has risk including running a business or being self-employed, so don’t be misled to thinking these options are a safer bet. You certainly will have more control over your time but you may find that financially you have way less control, being self-employed means your next paycheck is not guaranteed. Getting another job also carries its own line of stress, so you need to make a decision that best serves where you are in life. Once you have assessed all options and chosen one or more with the best possible outcome, design a clear path of how you will get there. If your fall-back plan is getting another job, then work on your work search strategy and make sure that your job search tools (CV and LinkedIn) are always in an impeccable condition ready at all times. If you decide to consult or start your own business start working on your business plan and know how you will finance this venture.

1. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable

The reason people settle in life is due to fear and the daunting idea of discomfort, once you have this in check there will be very little standing in the way of your success.  There’s a region in our midbrain called the substantia nigra area which is the part of the brain which responds to novel stimuli, this part of the brain plays a major role in reward and motivation. Science has shown that new experiences activate this side of the brain, this has been linked to the activation of dopamine pathways (brain’s reward center). So in essence new experiences are scientifically found to be very rewarding so should you find yourself faced with change, don’t view it as a bad thing.

“Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.” – Peter McWilliams

2. What doesn’t kill you……..

You know how the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Nine out of ten times the anticipation of an outcome is far more daunting than the reality of it. There are numerous benefits to change including growth, the opportunity to pursue a passion, and the knowledge that comes with new experiences. Use every challenge to build up your professional muscle.

3. Silver lining

Albert Einstein famously cited that in every crisis lies opportunity. Losing a job would be challenging for anyone, it is without a doubt better to leave a job out of choice, none the less, one should not lose sight of possible opportunities when change comes knocking.

Taking the plunge can be extremely rewarding, as long you still have your health and your mental faculties are in place, losing the security of a job is not the end, it could in fact be a very fulfilling start.

Entering the Job Market

  1. It’s tough and intimidating, but simple
  2. Finding a job is more a mental thing then action is required.
  3. You must be positive in even during hard times.
  4. Start with an end in mind (Company, position, salary and accomplishment you will achieve)

At one point or another most people wear the “job seeker” hat. Be it due to the desire or need to relocate, seeking financial or career growth, as a result of retrenchment or any other reason. People get armed with their résumé’s, do a little research and psych themselves up for what I consider to be an emotionally taxing process.

The job market is extremely tough these days, avoiding some of the following mistakes will make the process a little easier for candidates.

1. Starting the process mentally unprepared

Make no mistake, putting yourself out there to convince people you are worth it and facing possible rejection takes its toll mentally. Be prepared for everything that comes with the process, know upfront how you plan to address or deal with different scenarios. From the search itself to interviews, to negotiating your package, to resigning from your current position where applicable, all the way to starting afresh in a new position/company. Be aware and remain present.

2. Unrefined job search

Before updating your CV and LinkedIn profile, take a moment to think about what is it that you are looking for. Make note of everything that will influence your decision, everything that matters to you. For me, that list will include flexibility, organisational culture, proximity to home, ability to work off-site on occasion and ultimately the role itself as I am at a point in my career where I long only for roles that will stretch and challenge me. This list will look different for each individual but is so important and will help you apply only for roles that are right for you and prevent you from “falling” into just any job.

3. Casting your net too wide

Try resisting the edge to apply for just any and job in your field that gets posted. Streamline your search by mostly applying for jobs that you have adequate experience and qualifications for. This will increase your chances of securing interviews significantly.

Applying for jobs you are not qualified for may leave you despondent. If you are seeking to apply-up, just check that you can satisfy the role requirements, and this will mean doing what I call a “required skills vs acquired skills analysis”. In most roles qualifications and experience are interchangeable so it is not necessary to be put off by a required degree (unless you are seeking employment in a specialised field such as medicine, law, engineering…).

4. One Size does not fit all – Diversify

The method that helped your colleague get a job in record time may not work the same for you. Just posting your CV on job portals and waiting for someone to reach out to you is not an effective way of seeking new opportunities. It is great to reach out to recruiters however you need to maintain control of the process. Different ways to explore includes:

5. Poor branding

Think about it, two candidates with the same experience and qualifications, which one makes a better impression? The one that brands themselves really well of cause and yes, an immaculate CV forms part of branding but it does not end there. Your social media pages should represent you well, if you don’t have time to go far back to clean it, keep the accounts private. Decorum is a critical part of your personal brand, pay attention to it! Your brand is essentially the impression you leave people with.

6. Not knowing your value proposition

Simply being qualified for a job is no longer enough as rarely will you be the only qualified candidate that applies for a position. You need to be clear about what else you bring to the table that makes you unique. By the time you apply for a position you probably have an idea about what you will be getting out of the relationship now let the employer know what they will benefit by having you as part of the team.

Finally, it may take time don’t be disheartened hang in there, nothing worth having comes easy.

Your Career is your business, it is time you manage it as a CEO – Dorit Sher

Understanding the Job Market

#1 The unemployment rate can be misleading. Jobs are available and thousands of opportunities are posted daily.

Recruitment Process:

  1. Request for a service
  2. Job Availability Announcement (post a job)
  3. CV Screening and Shortlisting (references and background checks)
  4. Pre-Interview
  5. Interview
  6. Job Offer

Recruiters receive hundreds of applications per post specially if the job role is general.

They usually work with limited time, so the process is very quick and for them to short list you, you will have to stand out.

New Careers in the Marketplace

The development of technology has brought about new careers that many of us who were born in the 60s 70s and 80s wouldn’t have considered because they simply did not exist in the past. So, if you are in desperate need to change your career then you might want to consider the following careers because skilled and experienced people are hard to find in these sectors.

With persistence and the willingness to learn, you can change the path you are currently walking on and take a whole new direction, and because you are now more mature, it should be a fun journey to switch careers but, remember in some new industries the road is not yet paved so, you might have to clear the path to your own success.