Part Three: Values and Drivers

This is the third part of a series of mini guides which aims to help you find a career you love. They include tips from me but also practical advice from some of the hundreds of individuals that I have coached over the last 10 years, the sort of things they may have shared with friends or family going through a career move.

As well as identifying the things that you’re good at and you enjoy it’s also really useful to understand what your career values are. For example do you like autonomy?, do you like structure?, do you like a team around you or do you prefer to work on your own?, how to you like to be managed?, how important is the values of an organisation to you? The ‘good day’ exercise we covered in part two should help you when you look back to understand what your career values are.

“Know what you value in a career - reflect on your career history and roles that you have enjoyed and felt challenged in. Identify what it was that worked for you. Do the opposite and look and periods you haven’t enjoyed. Make sure the career you’re moving into has the characteristics that you seek.”

“Take a step back and think about what you like doing. (don’t focus on jobs or roles until you have figured this out).”

“My advice to anyone in this situation today is to really understand what your passions are and tune into them. Work is never work when you are passionate about it!”

“Be clear on what you want to do and be really honest about what motivates. Speak to people you trust, get feedback but equally look deep inside yourself and be honest. If you would move to the other side of the world to earn an extra couple of grand. Then that’s what it is and don’t be judgemental about yourself. Just be clear on what motivates you.”

“Take the time to sit down and write out what characteristics a role must have in order for you to ultimately accept it and don't bother applying or going to interviews for roles that don't meet those criteria. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time preparing and thinking about a role, that in all likelihood you will never take.”

One of the things I encourage is to put together a list of mandataries that a role must have. This can include:

  • using your skills and expertise
  • salary level
  • culture of the organisation
  • management style
  • level of autonomy
  • level of challenge
  • the right balance between work and home life
  • level of security

This will help identify suitable roles but also may stop you applying for roles that aren’t.

“Get a sheet of paper and write two lists - all the things that your new role must have and all the things that it mustn't. It sounds simple but will reveal a lot.”

“Make a list of requirements for your next job, order them in priority and perhaps identify ones that you are willing to compromise on and ones you are not. Store this list and re-visit it every time you are thinking of applying for a job, does the job meet the essential requirements?”

“In my angst to get back into employment ASAP, I had forgotten those valuable conditions I had set myself, on what I wanted to do next.  Once that realisation kicked in, I was sure the job being discussed would not be a success for me or them and had to decline. Why did I not spot the warning signs beforehand?”

“By going back to my conditions list, I quickly became more selective as to what I wanted to do next and applied for jobs accordingly. This bore fruit, as I took on a good interim role, where I am learning lots of new stuff.”

“Understanding my priorities. This helped in selecting the type of role and geographical location. i.e. I wanted to maintain good work-life balance and continue my keep fit regime etc.”

“Do be clear and think about those things that a role must have versus those things that are negotiable.  When first looking, I felt that I could do and would try anything that appealed and ultimately thought I was more flexible in things like location that I ultimately was.”

The key is to understand your skills, particularly those you enjoy using but also understanding what drives you and what your values are. Use this knowledge to identify the right roles not just the next one you see advertised.

This series of mini guides will give you some practical tips and hints from people that have been through it and found what they are looking for. The next one is about evaluating different options to determine the right path for you.

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