We have all experienced confusion, doubt and uncertainty about our careers at some point in our lives. Career transition, redundancy, end of a contract…or the time we spent in a certain country has come to an end…possibilities are endless. What is the best way to deal with it?

I always advise my clients to take a holistic approach, engaging both the mind and the heart. You will not know where to go if you are not 100% sure about where you are now. Figuring that out requires more than logic, it also involves intuition, feelings and looking inside, as opposed to just looking back.

It is really important to understand what choices and decisions have brought you to this point in life (which is not necessarily a bad one!) as well as who you are as a person right now. Therefore, determining your values, motivators and drivers is crucial, and so is building awareness of how you became who you are, where are you at right now, and then deciding on where you want to go next (goals). The final stage is defining the steps to get there – implementation. 

If you are interested in the initial self-discovery process you can do it by yourself by downloading the 10 Questions for Ultimate Career Clarity from https://whatwork.lpages.co/10-questions/

You can also work with a coach. The coach will ask you those all-important questions to find out what is going on ‘behind the scenes’ not just in your mind, but in your heart. The coach will hold a mirror to you, metaphorically speaking, so that you can start to see things more clearly and weave your stories into material that will serve your job search or career transition extremely well.

Knowing what is important to you – work/life balance, making a difference with your work, financial rewards, recognition, growth and development, etc. will help you determine the type of industry and role that is most suitable for you. Once you are clear on that, you can start researching the industry and the role as well as looking at your preferred companies operating in that space. Cultural and organisational fit is not always on our mind when we apply for jobs, but it is crucial. Is the organisation traditional or cutting edge leading with innovation? What are the values and mission of this company? What behaviours are valued in this company? How are people rewarded and incentivised? Does the core business activity of this company align with my moral and social values? These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself as you do your research and start applying.

Of course, many of you will ask – “But where and how do I find opportunities that are right for me?” There isn’t a single answer to this question unfortunately. A combination of online and offline search, networking and working with recruiters/head hunters where appropriate is a good starting point. Depending on the role and industry you are in or targeting, you could be relying more on networking, LinkedIn, other social media platforms, events and professional associations, or you could be focusing more on online vacancies, from job boards through to industry specific recruitment websites, forums and groups and recruitment agencies. Adding to this, contacting directly the company you like and would like to become part of is possible and recommended as well – but instead of taking a ‘cold approach’ and sending a speculative application, nurturing connections and developing relationships over a period of time can yield great results.

While doing the search, you have of course prepared your CV, you have updated your LinkedIn profile and prepared your personal stories – examples of your achievements, competencies, strengths and weaknesses (these are important too!). You are now applying and crafting those cover letters and applications matching your career aspirations with the role requirements and company values. 

Finally, you are invited for an interview! How exciting! Again, depending on the industry, the role and geographical location, the interview can be on the phone, on Skype or Zoom, it can be a video interview or, it can be the good old face to face interview. How do you prepare? From what to wear to how to calm your nerves, from researching the role and the company to preparing your answers to many potential questions (including technical knowledge, where appropriate), you will need to invest some time in adequate preparation – if you want success. Therefore, be careful when you book an interview and how much time you allow yourself. 

Interviewing has always been such a hot topic and recently more so with technology, personality screening methods and complex competency frameworks to battle with. While they provide a degree of objectivity to recruiters and help them optimise their recruitment process, navigating this environment could be a real minefield for a job seeker. Have a look at https://whatwork.co.uk/is-it-you-or-interview-success-demystified/ for initial guidance and feel free to contact me on info@whatwork.co.uk for further help.

Jelena Radonjic is a career fulfilment coach who is passionate about helping aspiring professionals find and retain the work they love. With over 20 years in international recruitment and substantial training and practice in coaching and self-development, Jelena is perfectly positioned to guide you with empathy and challenge, towards clarity, focus and success.