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November 12, 2022 | Julie Pennells

First steps to finding out what career you really want …

As we come to the year end, thoughts often turn to doing something different in our working lives. Our latest blog is from Julie Pennells, a Career and Professional Development Coach who gives some useful insights.

Careers are much more exciting these days – there is so much choice out there and we often have several, sometimes unexpected, transitions during our journey!

For me, I started out as an Executive Assistant at the BBC, taught shorthand to journalists and then supported people to gain ICT skills in between bringing up my two children; this included developing skills and confidence with women from a refuge which I found particularly rewarding. I had a series of Management positions leading some unexpected but very interesting curriculum areas including British Sign Language, Complementary Therapies and Teaching Support. In my Learning and Development role, I created and organised teambuilding events, wellbeing days and Aspiring Manager programmes. Whilst some of these aspects were not included on the job description, I found that I had plenty of transferable skills that I could utilise, and it’s these that you need to uncover to support you!

Many people get to a point on their journey, where they don’t know what to do next, so here are a few tips to get you started. Firstly, take a look at your career to date and decide what skills you really enjoy using. Additionally, consider your education, hobbies and any volunteering. What strengths do you have in these areas? Ask people who know you well and see if you can also uncover your unrealised strengths, those skills that you don’t use very often. Consider when you last felt fulfilled during your volunteering or working life. What were you doing and what skills were you using? Make a list of what you have achieved too, as this will not only boost your confidence but will be useful for your CV.

Secondly, consider what your career priorities are currently and remember that they do change at different times in our lives. Do you need to ensure security and stability or is purpose your top priority? Is lifestyle important or do you want to be an entrepreneur? Perhaps you want both!

Establishing your values and what is important to you in life is also key and helps you to start building your brand. So, what is this ‘brand’ that everyone talks about? It’s simply the transferable skills and qualities that make you unique, helping you to identify what you have to offer an employer. Add a little passion to the mix and you will be well on your way to establishing your next career adventure!

Did you know that you can actually search for roles on job boards by keying in one of your skills? So, if you are really stuck for ideas, try this and find five roles that appeal to you. Note down what it is that attracts you to each role and what skills you already have to support you. Also, establish any areas that you might want to develop. WayfinderWoman offers free courses and you can find others online too. Take a look at just some of the resources available listed on my website here and lastly, good luck!

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