The first step in starting your job search is to take a long hard look in the mirror and really understand what you are looking at. Are you looking at someone who is happy in their job? In their career? In their achievements? Are you looking at a tired face who has given up on their dreams and moved from job to job without even noticing the difference from one to the other.
There are 2 types of employees; there is the person who wants a job and the person who wants a career. Neither desire is right or wrong it’s just a matter of what that person wants and what will make them happy. Some people have known since they are small children what they want to be when they grow up and they carve out a path for themselves and then follow the proper channels to get where they need to go. Others, like myself, have never had specific career aspirations and somehow follow their path where it takes them. I refer to this as a “career path vs a career journey”. One you lead and one leads you, one will have certain protocol and requirements in order to achieve success and the other will have obstacles and challenges and require keeping an open mind and taking chances.
Welcome to 2010 where both sets of people are at a crossroad. The days of job security are gone, large corporations that were once economy leaders have closed up and with the unemployment rate higher than ever, people are re –entering the workforce after a long absence. Where families had one income they now require two and with so few jobs and so much competition it is not so easy to find jobs anymore so people are starting to use alternative methods to job searching and really digging down deep to figure out how they are going to survive.
While most people would look at a downsize as a catastrophic disaster, which in some ways it is, there are other people who would look at it as an opportunity to make a change. For many people this is a blessing in disguise. For every door that closes, a window opens and for every job lost there is a new opportunity waiting to be found. These steps will take you on a self discovery journey and help you find yourself and your hidden passions and self deserving treasures that have been waiting to be found will appear. If you are a self reliant person who is open to evolving then you are going to find your way to a new and brighter future.
The very first stage of this journey is self discovery. What are your talents? What do you love to do? What have you loved doing in your past jobs that you would like to do more of? What have you done in your past jobs that you would like to give up doing? What are your passions? What are your hobbies? What are some of the things you love to do that you never thought could be a career? What physical, social, emotional and personal restrictions do you have to consider?
I know I threw a lot of questions out at you and I am about to throw some more so if you take a piece of paper and start to write down some of the things I mention it will be helpful for you to look back on them. Seeing things in writing is always a great way of solving a problem because when you see something in writing it helps you to wrap your head around it.
How do you see yourself? Are you a confident person? Are you someone who takes risks and enjoys new challenges? Are you capable of making decisions for yourself? Do you know what your strengths are you? How do others view you?
If you don’t know, then you need to go and find out. Outsiders are often the best advisors because they are able to see you clearer than you can see yourself. Put together a panel of advisors that you can call on and ask them what they think your personal and professional strengths are. Ask then what qualities you have that they think are unique. What areas do they see you working in? Ask your family and friends what they think because it’s always important to go to those who know you the best but it is equally as important to go to those that know you from different areas of your life and can give you a different perspective.
You will be amazed at how many contacts you have once you sit down to write them. Pull people from your past that have worked with you, raised you, taught you, sponsored you etc. because those are the people who see you in a different light. Call up an old professor or sports coach, call up an old team mate or guidance counselor, look up the person who ran your Girl Scout Group. Bring people in from all parts of your life that have seen you through different stages and they might bring something to the table you never thought of or forgot. Your Girl Scout leader might tell you that you weren’t the best in selling cookies but you had the best marketing campaigns, your tennis coach may tell you that you had a terrific swing but didn’t have much direction, your professor may tell you that you weren’t the strongest student but you had the best creative ideas.
You never know who will tell you what so dig deep and find your inner talents, your secret desires and your untapped skills that are waiting to be discovered. We aren’t always the best judges of ourselves and we don’t always have the clearest perspectives so reaching out to those who can see things for you is your best bet. If you can’t find these people using traditional avenues go to the social networking websites and you are certain to find everyone you are looking for and then some.