If you haven’t spent the time thinking about what you’re good at and what you really want in your next role, how can you know what type of job you’re looking for? Here are some great practical tips to get you thinking about what you should be looking for in your next career move.
Dr Lindsay Joyce is an HCPC registered psychologist specialising in bringing psychological theory to work-place contexts. You can find out more about her work here. In this blog article, she helps you work out how to reach fulfilment in work.
Moving jobs or changing career is scary at the best of times, but when you know you want a change yet aren’t sure what you want, it can be terrifying. In this first section of my blog, we are going to talk about insight, and how a little bit of self-evaluation can be endlessly helpful in the long run.
If you are looking at movemeon then I am assuming that you are a successful graduate from a top university with a few years of a challenging career under your belt. You will be used to setting goals and achieving them, if not excelling them. You will be a motivated individual, who probably seeks achievement in your personal life as well, be it through competitive sport, a strict exercise regime or dedication to a hobby. However, all of these accomplishments don’t necessarily lead towards fulfilment and contentment.
PURPOSE DRIVEN CAREER
Consider yourself a racehorse that has exploded out of the start gate, leading the pack and clearing hurdles consistently. However, if you’ll forgive me the analogy a little longer, you may suddenly be unsure that this is a race that you want to win, or you may have noticed that the other horses racing with you have left the track and are charging towards other, more interesting finish lines. In order to be motivated to succeed, you need to be sure that you are racing towards something that you believe and have an interest in.
This is where insight becomes a valuable tool. If you know yourself well – your strengths and your weaknesses – then you can begin to evaluate various career paths on their merits and their worth to you as an individual. This is a different process from achieving goals because they are expected of you, or because your peers are all doing the same thing.
EXPLORING YOUR INSIGHT – DO YOU HAVE IT? CAN YOU FIND IT? TRY THESE EXERCISES:
- Write a list of your five strengths and at least two of your weaknesses – show them to someone who knows you well; do they agree with you? If not then why not?
- Ask some of your close friends and family to compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Do you agree with what they are saying about you? Try not to become defensive – perhaps leave yourself an hour or two between reading their lists and discussing them. Can you see any patterns in the strengths or weaknesses they have identified?
- Think about a few times in your life when you have felt most satisfied and engaged – try to identify what you were enjoying about these activities and note these ideas down. Again, do you see any recurring patterns – perhaps a sense of control, maybe you enjoyed challenging conversations with new people?
- If you are still completely stuck, then there are some online tools which can help. Seminal psychologist Martin Seligman has set up a website called ‘Authentic Happiness’, which has some psychologically valid questionnaires to help you identify your key strengths – try the ‘VIA Survey of Character Strengths’. All the tools are free, although they do ask you to register and give consent to use them.
These exercises should have armed you with a little more knowledge about yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. However, it is useful to note here that this is not a CV-writing exercise.
You need to be really honest with yourself about your character traits – just because you would write ‘strong leadership potential’ on your CV doesn’t mean this is necessarily one of your greatest strengths. The problem with true insight is that it’s not necessarily what you want to hear, or what you want others to know; however, if you are able to play to your strengths, not only will you be happier, but you’re more likely to be successful. You mustn’t be judgemental about your strengths and weaknesses – that’s being skilled at self-criticism rather than insight.
In the next week or so, try to look at new jobs and career paths honestly to see if they would match your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll find it to be a satisfyingly proactive and clarifying step.
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