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Are You in a Life-Sucking Day Job That You Hate? 5 Steps You Must Take Right Now

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It’s estimated that 90% of our daily lives is spent doing routine tasks. Now, this can be detrimental to your career success depending on what type of activities you’re engaging in on a daily basis. Why? Simply put, habit can be a bad thing, because “if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep on getting what you’ve always got!”

I’ve noticed a common problem that many of my clients shared before coming to me for help, so I figured that I’ll help others address this problem by sharing a few nuggets from my Courageous Job Seeker Success System (TM).

If you want to change jobs — or careers — in the next 3- months, or simply get more out of your current job, a career plan is essential to helping you reach your goals.

This exercise may take you 20-30 minutes, or you might devote a few hours to planning where you want to be in the next 3-6 months. If you want your life to be different in 2014, especially your career, take the time to work on your career success discovery journey.

Action Step 1: Take Stock

The first step is to assess where you are. To figure out where you’re going, you must first look at where you’ve been.

Here are some questions to help you assess where you are:

* What are you most proud of last year — personally, and professionally?

* What went right last year and this year thus far?

* Did you receive any awards or recognition last year or within these last few months?

* Did you take on any additional responsibility last year or within these last few months? If so, what?

* How did you take initiative in your job last year or within these last few months?

* Have you learned any new skills?

* Did you earn any certifications or licenses?

Record this information in a success journal. This can be a Microsoft Word file on your computer, a note in Evernote, a series of emails you send to yourself (be sure to use email tags so you’re able to find the emails again!), or even a physical notebook. TIP: If you haven’t been doing this, it’s never too late to start recording your accomplishments as you go through this year. Don’t wait until the end of the year, or else this task will seem rather daunting.

Next, look at opportunities for improvement in your career. Ask yourself these questions:

* How does your salary stack up against your peers?

* Is your current position in alignment with your priorities and your core values?

* Where is change needed?

Action Step 2: Articulate Your Goal

Decide what you want. Spell it out: What does it look like; what does it feel like? You have to really want it to invest the time and energy to follow your dream. Describe your ideal job:

What is your ideal employer? (size, industry, culture, location, structure)
How much would your dream job pay? (Realistically) What are the most important benefits — other than salary — that would prompt you to go to work for a new company?
Describe your ideal job — the position you would most like to have. What is the job title, responsibilities, who you would report to, who would report to you. Would it involve travel?
Do you want to work independently, as part of a team, or both?
Do you like short-term projects or long-term projects?
What do you want your next job to do for you that your last job didn’t do? In other words, what will be different about your next job? Is there anything that you do in your current job that you don’t want to do in your next job?

Think about the person that you want to be, and imagine the possibilities. Then, identify 2-3 goals you want to tackle. Use the S.M.A.R.T. goal system to articulate your goals — goals should be “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented.”

For example, let’s imagine you have worked as a Marketing Manager for the past three years, but you really want more responsibility to manage a larger team and a larger territory. Your goal might be: “By August 1, 2014, I will be working as a Sales & Marketing Director in a Fortune 1000 company”

You should also write down why you are interested in making the change. In other words, what is your motivation for taking this path? Another good question to ask yourself is, “How will I know when I’ve achieved my goal(s)?”

Action Step 3: Make a Plan

Take time to prepare a game plan for how you will reach your goal. But don’t use planning as an excuse to procrastinate. TIP: You’ll want to get to Step 4 as quickly as possible, because actions create momentum.

Take each of your goals and write down the list of steps under each of them that you will need to take to make the goal happen. The more individual steps you can map out, the easier it will be for you to reach your goals. The steps should be practical tasks that will lead you to achieve the goal.

For example, with our goal of climbing up the career ladder from a Sales & Marketing Manager to Sales & Marketing Director, in a Fortune 1000 company” Here are some sample steps:

Research job postings for entry-level marketing jobs. What are the skills, education, and experience required?
Join the American Marketing Association and attend one virtual event or in-person boot camp in the next 90-120 days.
Enroll in semester-long online marketing course focusing on marketing principles.
Identify a volunteer opportunity to put marketing skills into practice — either in current job or with a community organization.
Assess transferable skills from accounting that would be useful in marketing role (project management, analysis, financial management, client relations).
Work with a certified professional resume writer to create a targeted marketing career kit which may include (value proposition letter, resume, validation portfolio, SEO linkedin profile, SEO resume website).
Join 3 marketing-related groups on LinkedIn, and follow 5-6 Fortune 1000 companies in the area that have company profiles on LinkedIn.
Assemble people in network to act as references for marketing interview.
Connect with 2-3 contacts at Fortune 1000 companies in the area.

Give yourself milestones so you can measure your progress. How will you know when you’re on the right track? Include specific dates and numbers in your milestones.

Action Step 4: Take Action

With the tasks you’ve outlined in Step Three, this gives you a checklist of items to use to take action. If you are working through the steps and discover you need to add additional items, update your task list. You may also discover additional projects that need to be completed to make the next step — and the overall goal — easier to accomplish. You may also find that you need to make adjustments to your timeline.

For example, if you discover that a 3-month program to learn about social media would help you land your new leadership role in the marketing world, then you might adjust your goal deadline to a later date. This would give you time to put some of the new skills into practice before you put them on your resume.

As you work your way through your task list, focus on the actions you are taking, realizing that if you are taking the right actions, these should eventually lead to the results you seek. If you’re not getting the results you want, change the plan, not the goal. Re-examine your tasks and see if there is something you are missing.

It can also be helpful to get outside feedback. Enlisting the help of an accountability partner — a friend, family member, certified career coach, or certified professional resume writer — can provide valuable perspective on your progress. This individual can also keep you on track, making sure you are working through your task list. And if there is a specific area where you need help in order to cross the task off your list, make sure you ask for assistance.

For example, writing a resume to support a career move can be difficult. Enlisting the help of an expert can help you cross that task off your list.

Action Step 5: Measure Your Progress

When you’re on a journey, it can help to periodically assess where you are to make sure you’re on the right road. If you miss a step along the way — or take a “wrong turn” — you can find yourself a long way from your intended destination. So plan periodic assessments of your progress along the way. This can be a monthly “check-up” where you review your plan and make any necessary changes, or a quarterly review.

Taking the time to think through — and plan out — your career success discovery journey is an important step in helping you create the career you want for yourself. If you don’t, you may find your career stuck or stalled. Or what’s worse, you may wake up 5 years from now and wonder, “How did I get here?” If you want to achieve more in your professional life, invest the time and effort in completing these 5 steps starting right now. You can download a career success discovery journey by entering your details to the top right hand corner of this page.

You are more than welcome to share this article. When you do, please include this complete blurb below with it:

“Would you like to learn how to quickly and easily get more interviews, shorten your job search and increase your salary? Check out this website www.leezabyers.com for free articles, free resources and to check your Career Conqueror Quotient (CCQ). Leeza Byers is a Job-Search Strategy Coach, Author, Motivational Speaker, Internationally Certified Career Management Coach, and an Award-Winning Internationally Certified Resume Writer.”

Leeza Byers, who’s also known as “The Rapid Employment Expert,” is the creator of the COURAGEOUS JOB SEEKER SUCCESS BOOT CAMP™ which gets job seekers employed in 5-8 weeks (some even do it in 3 weeks); which is less than half the national average of 39-54 weeks it takes to find a new job in today’s tough job market.

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