Updated: Nov 13
What follows is an overview of a simple exercise that anyone can do to help you build your self-awareness and create a clearer picture of what the ideal job role looks like for you. Completing this exercise will also help you when you fill out job application forms and answer job interview questions.
Introduction to Career Guidance
The world of work is a lifelong journey, and a person may change professions numerous times throughout their working life. Predicting the future and the exact course of your career is impossible... unless you have a crystal ball?! But you do have control over how you prepare for these changes so that you can adequately deal with them and use them to your advantage.
A big part of career coaching is client exploration and planning. Coaches don't have all the answers, but they will strategically guide you to help you find the answers you need. Help you to create a clearer vision of your needs and wants and how these relate to the world of work, then use these to help develop a plan of action so that you can start making those important first steps towards a fulfilling career.
Choosing a Career Coach
When choosing a career development professional, it's also worth checking if they are a member of the Career Development Insitute (CDI) and a Registered Career Development Professional (RCDP).
The CDI is the UK’s professional body for all aspects of career development. To be an RCDP, you have to meet the criteria of proving a qualification at a minimum of 60 credits at QCF Level 6/SCQF level 11 in career development, adherence to the CDI Code of Ethics, and agree to the undertaking and recording a minimum of 25 hours CPD per year.
Career Construction Theory
Sometimes when working with clients, I find that they can struggle to find alignment between 'self' and 'work'. There are so many careers out there, and knowing which one will suit you best can seem impossible. To make wise choices, you first need to understand who you are in relation to the world of work. In providing some insights here, I hope it will help you make better choices going forward.
In Career Construction theory, Mark Savickas looks at how individuals develop their career behaviour through personal meaning. In short, what's important to you, your values and beliefs, and how do you view the world because of these? In finding out who you are and understanding your work needs, you can fully appreciate the world of work and identify the best-suited employability options. Those interested in learning more about career construction theory can find some more information here.
Matching Self: Knowing Your Work Needs and Wants
Imagine it's five years into the future; you're sitting on the veranda, looking out to a fantastic sunset, enjoying your holiday time away from that perfect dream job. But how well do you truly know yourself, and how clear is that picture of what that perfect job looks like? Do you know what your values and beliefs are? Is it essential that your work aligns with these values and beliefs?
Activity: Take a pen and some paper and create a mind map. Start with a circle in the middle; that's you! Now, work around that circle and list everything you want from work.
Do you need an office-based job or an outside one?
Do you want to work with adults or children?
What does the ideal work environment look like?
Do you work best to deadlines or require a more fluid structure?
Really think about all the things you want and need from work and add them to the mind map.
Matching Self: Awareness of What You Can Offer Work
Next, think about what you can offer work. It sounds like an easy question, right?! But, when working on CVs, writing cover letters or looking at job descriptions, people often struggle to answer questions about their previous experience and why they are suitable for the role.
Activity: Let's again take a pen and some paper and start exploring. With a new circle, write down what you can offer the world of work. Think about your previous jobs and volunteer work. What skills and knowledge have you developed so far in your life? For those still in education and new to the world of work. Think about your education course and work experience. What transferable skills have you developed?
In exploring and thinking about how you attained those skills, you can answer questions on application forms and in interviews more efficiently. This thinking also feeds into the STAR interview technique, which we will explore in a future blog post.
What are Transferable Skills?
Transferable skills can be hard or soft skills that can be used in a variety of roles and occupations. You can obtain them through many means, including volunteer work, attending schools or college, and even in your role as a parent. Some Transferable skills are people skills, adaptability, time management, critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, good communication and leadership.
Help Identifying Your Work Needs and Wants
When exploring ideas for that perfect job role, how do you find synergy between your work needs and wants? This is where the previous activities will help.
Career Assessment Tests
Now that you've completed the previous work exploration activities, there are two things you can do. First, if you are looking for employability ideas, try a skill-matching questionnaire, such as the one on the National Career's Website.
This assessment will ask you about what you enjoy doing and are good at. Over 50 multiple-choice questions will collate your answers and present you with possible career options.
Or you can try this one at Prospects, which matches your skills, motivations and desires and displays some potential career options.
Lastly, a career exploration tool for younger people is icould.
Take a fun career assessment test, like the Buzz Quiz, and in just 5 minutes, discover your strengths and explore a list of potential jobs you could suit. Then pop over to the icould website, which is filled with lots of videos containing professionals giving guidance and advice about their jobs.
Matching Work: What Does Work Offer You?
Okay, so you’ve completed an assessment test and have a shortlist of role options? When looking at the list of shortlisted careers, take a look at the day-to-day responsibilities. Go through them and write down each responsibility or task you would be eager to do every working day.
How many of the responsibilities would you actually enjoy?
How close are those day-to-day responsibilities to matching your work needs and wants from the earlier activities?
If you find that there are only a low number of responsibilities you would enjoy and a lack of alignment with your work needs and wants, it might be worth expanding your search and exploring other potential roles.
Matching Work: What Does Work Want From You?
Lastly, review the shortlist and write down your chosen role's required skills and qualifications. Does this match your work offer regarding the skills and qualifications you already have?
If they need someone who is an excellent verbal communicator, a team player, has customer service skills, and someone who can pay attention to detail and stay calm under pressure. How do you match up? If you can fulfil the majority, great! If you can't, how can you fill those gaps?
I hope this article and its activities help you form a clearer picture of what that ideal role looks like for you. If you feel you still need guidance and help, why not book a discovery call to learn more about how my services can help you find clarity on the ideal role for you?
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