by Emma Ford (UK)

There are many books and articles to help you think about your future, all giving good advice and process for example What Colour is your Parachute by Richard Bolles. But there is often a tension between goals and aspirations and the reality of needing to have a job and earn a living, perhaps you can have both with a little thought and structure.

We firmly believe that self-awareness, structure, and a simple plan offer flexibility when delivering your aspirations and earning a living, it allows you to be proactive with your future rather than reactive to a situation.  If you understand what you want your life to look and feel like in the future, both professionally and personally and what you might need to compromise on and when, you can create a sense of purpose in what you do.

Start with what you really want from your life, what’s your criteria and what is important to you, define what these things mean to you, for example your work life balance may be different to someone else.  Think about what you have to offer, your strengths and behaviours, do you have evidence of what you have achieved? When you have this information, you can explore the market: occupations; employers; lifestyle. You are then able to make some choices and start to network and create your marketing information (CV, interview preparation, LinkedIn profile) and seek out the roles you want. You may need to gain more experience in your chosen area you can volunteer to improve your skills or job shadow to add more value to what you offer.

Source: iCN Issue 25  (Career Coaching); pages 11-12