It is so easy to be overly optimistic, or even overly pessimistic if you do not have a good understanding of the realities that you are facing in your career change. Write down your true skills and honestly evaluate if your skills and experience are a good match for the work you are seeking and for any job advertisement which you are considering. If there's a good match then go for it! If there isn't, there is little point in applying for that job. You will be wasting your time and that of the person whose task is to review your application.

Have clear and precise goals, enhanced by some optimism and you will find yourself attracting success. Clarity of your goals is essential because if you know what you want, you will recognise it if the job is advertised or if you hear about the opportunity through your network. However, if you can't really explain to someone the sort of work that you ideally want to be doing then you probably aren't ready to start making your career change yet.

Do you have a deep understanding of the current labour market in your area of expertise? it is important to do some research and find out about salaries, conditions and current job descriptions in your industry to ensure you are up to date with what is expected of you. So often people apply for jobs and have their blinkers on to the reality of the labour market, then they wonder why they have difficulty getting work. The old dating adage "It's not you, it's me" so often applies to job applications. When people are unsuccessful in their applications it is easy to internalize it and perceive the rejection as failure. Yet usually it is just that they were not what the employer wanted, and if they'd read the advertisement properly they'd have realised that!

With determination and talent, complemented by strong employability skills, you can reach your ambitions. However, you need to be realistic and maintain your optimism, knowing you have done all you can do to improve your chances of a successful career change. Arm yourself awareness of the job market in your indsutry and deep self-knowledge and you will achieve your career dreams.

When you want to break into a new industry, perhaps after doing some study or as a result of recognising your true career goals, you need to be strategic about the way that you make yourself known.

Here are a few tips to help you target your networking and to make good contacts within the industry whilst finding out about the industry from an insider's perspective.

Targeted networking

  • Join LinkedIn and set up your profile if you haven't already done so.
  • Join the professional level of LinkedIn, inexpensive and definitely worth the money for the connections it can give you.
  • Join a few groups directly related to your professional interests and start making some pertinent comments within the group so they know you are there.
  • Read the profiles or organisations that you think you might be interested in working  for (through Google or direct to specific websites) then on LinkedIn look for high level execs or HR people from these organisations and contact them directly to see if you can have a chat with them.
  • But a few business magazines and professional journals and use these for additional research, profiles etc.

Informational interviewing

  • Contact people respectfully and appropriately through LinkedIn, journals or through anyone you know (friends of friends etc) who work within the industry or companies that interest you. I emphasize "respectfully and appropriately."
  • Don't approach them with the intention of applying for a job, but rather with the attitude of asking to talk to them about the reality of their industry and their advice about getting the sort of work that you are considering. Make it very clear to them that you aren't looking for a job just seeking their expertise and opinion about breaking into the industry, so do it before you are seriously job-hunting. Don't expect to get more than 15 minutes of their time.
  • End on a really positive note and send them a note or an email to say thanks for their time.

Let me know how you go. I'd love to hear about your successes through targeted networking and informational interviewing.

Redesigning your life after 40… or 50… or 60… or even 65.

Many people once they hit "the big 50", or when others ask them about their retirement plans, start to wonder what they are going to do with the rest of their lives. Sadly it is an age when you are more frequently touched by the chronic illness or death of friends, colleagues or people you have known in the past. "Life is too short!" becomes more a recognition of fact than a loosely used phrase. A common reaction is to consider what your own future holds. Do you want to retire?Or is it far too early for that? Are you too old to have your own business?

We can't turn the clock back, but the solution is to redesign your life. Build into your life the things that really matter to you, create the job of your dreams, pursue the business idea you have had for years, do what really matters to you. Make it happen the way you want it to and start really loving your life and your work.


How do you redesign your life?

Redesigning your life, or planning for an active retirement, is rather like making any career decision except at this time of your life you really know yourself well, you have a clear picture of the constraints, and you are realistic about your expectations!

If you want to make the most of the next chapter of your life, there is a clear process that you need to work through. If you have a life partner, it is important that they also be part of this process although you may prefer to initially have separate sessions to clarify your own personal needs, wants and dreams, then come together to discuss the way that both persons' desires can be achieved.


It is possible. I'm doing it!

At the start of 2008 I gave up permanent employment to pursue my dreams of having a successful career development practice. I have never felt more content, nor less stressed in my working life. I am doing what I want to do, following my dreams, and responsible to myself. There is no higher motivation to succeed.

Life's too short not to make the most of every year. If you are not content with your life make the stand now. Redesign your life and make decisions that will lead to the achievement of career results you desire, fulfillment of business dreams, part-time work, study, or whatever it is that will give you a full and satisfying future.

Whether you want to change careers, get a promotion or start a new business, embracing the entrepreneurial mindset is very important. Adapting an entrepreneurial mindset can provide you with numerous advantages in achieving the career results you’ve always wanted to happen.
The truth is every aspiring executive is an entrepreneur, promoting themselves to their chosen clients. When applying for a job, we market ourselves to prospective employers. At work, we market our services to customers.  Having the entrepreneurial spirit is not limited to those who want to create a business. Thinking like an entrepreneur will truly help you succeed in your professional life.

  1. Entrepreneurs take risks. One thing that sets successful entrepreneurs aside from average executives is their willingness to take risks. I don’t advise taking uncalculated risks. Wise entrepreneurs know when to give it their best shot because they understand that bigger rewards await those who take wise risks. At work, try to come out of your comfort zone. Take on challenging tasks. Aside from gaining new skills, your boss will also notice your hard work and may offer you a promotion in the future.
  2. Entrepreneurs know how to nurture relationships. They understand that a relationship built on trust and respect is a vital part of a successful business. At work, treat your bosses as an important customer. Remember that you are marketing your services to them. It is also important to nurture your relationship with colleagues and everyone in the workplace.
  3. Entrepreneurs are passionate about their business. Passion is essential to achieve great career results no matter what roadblocks you may be facing. Perform your responsibilities with excellence as your priority. Be passionate about achieving a successful career. Instead of spending most of your time dreaming about the kind of career fulfilment you want for yourself, be proactive and start working towards that dream.
  4. Entrepreneurs know that they are in control of their destiny. Strongly believing that you are in control over your success or failure will help you achieve the career results you desire while being careful about making major blunders.
  5. Entrepreneurs work hard. Successful entrepreneurs need not be told about what needs to be done. They are proactive and constantly care about one thing – achieving their goals. They know that success is achieved through hard work and perseverance.

When you start to adapt the traits of successful entrepreneurs, you can achieve whatever career aspirations you have knowing that you are in control of your success. Achieving great career results is within reach. Think like an entrepreneur. Choose to be successful!

Career success is not something that is given on a golden platter. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and determination to achieve success in any aspect of our life. There will always be roadblocks along the way to a successful career.  
Employees aspiring to achieve better career results not only need to evaluate skills and attitudes that will make them successful in their chosen path, but they also need to consider the roadblocks they may face in achieving success.
Consider the following stumbling blocks to achieving a successful career:

  1. Fear of failure. Mistakes will always be part of our daily lives. Falling short and facing disappointments are common throughout life. Even the most successful people in the world had to deal with disappointments at one point in their life before they achieved success. To become great, you have to face failure. Learn from your failures and view them as opportunities to do better. Failures should not be viewed as barriers to success but should be considered stepping stones to achieving it.
  2. Procrastination. Delaying a day’s work will also delay your success potential. Laziness is a common culprit that stops people from succeeding. Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today. Don’t wait for the perfect time. It doesn’t exist.
  3. Unrealistic goals. While goals are important to achieve a successful career, unrealistic ones will result in frustration and discouragement. Set goals that are realistic and achievable within a set time-frame.
  4. Fatigue. No matter how determined a person is to achieve his desired career results, if he is constantly burnt out, he will eventually lose the motivation to work hard despite difficulties. Strive to achieve a good work and life balance. Work hard but don’t overdo it. Take some time to rest and enjoy quality time with family and friends. Enjoy short vacations once in a while. If your work fatigue persists, seek professional help.
  5. Having a hard time dealing with your boss. Having a difficult boss is common in many workplaces. A volatile relationship with your boss can result in ineffectiveness and job burnout. Be considerate and show respect for the boss’s role, even if you find it difficult to respect the person.  Don’t let the boss’s poor behaviour impact on your own high standards and expectations of yourself.  The organisation has performance expectations of you in your role, so always try to meet and surpass those expectations, despite the attitude of the person to whom you report. By doing this, you will earn the trust and respect of others around you, and can easily prove that you have done the right thing by the company if things get really nasty with the boss!  You should also practice careful communication in a situation like this, especially when airing issues with your boss, and consider it as great training in interpersonal negotiation.

Your career development is totally dependent on you so it is important that you work through any roadblocks you may have. Believe that you will succeed and achieve the career results you want. Nothing should stop you from achieving a successful career.