How do I find my Ideal Career?


Identify your Skillset

Before you go searching for hours on end on the job websites – you absolutely need to do some personal reflection work first. The first requirement is to thoroughly recognise your skillset.

What are you good at? Which activities give you energy and excitement when you get involved in them? In which situations do you perform well? This signifies that they are associated with your strengths.

In 1-1 career coaching we identify together are my client’s personal strengths in the beginning stages of career investigation. In my coaching toolkit, I utilise a psychometric tool that pinpoints my clients’ individual strengths so that they know precisely what they are good at doing, what gives them energy and how often they get to use that strength. This is one key piece to self-awareness that allows them delve into a greater sense of self awareness and an insight into their future career.

Some typical skills that teachers have include: Enthusiasm, Leadership, Organisation, Respectful, Multitasking, Patience, Teamwork, Ability to relay important information, Communication, Adaptability, Creativity, Empathy and Fairness.

Look at your Values

What are your core values? Values are the broad concepts that you consider most important in your life. Examples here may be family, love, consistency, honesty, adventure, money, security, honesty or integrity. Identifying your beliefs about how you live your life help you to make better decisions which are closely aligned with how you see the world and how things should be.

Reflecting on them will give you further clarity on what your ideal job will look like. Our core values vary from person to person. Spending 10 minutes reflecting on yours will give you clarity about the specific elements necessary for you as you change career.

Having identified your core values and a potential job vacancy – here are some points to ponder:

  • What kind of lifestyle do you want for yourself?

  • If you have a young family – are you willing to spend eg. two hours daily commuting?

  • What are your priorities?

  • Are you willing to work for less than you’re currently earning? (/if your quality of life was better?)

  • What kind of qualities are important to you in colleagues?

  • What are you willing to tolerate? (and not tolerate?)

  • Are you willing to go back to university to attain a further qualification? etc.

Dealing with Fears

If you left teaching tomorrow – what kind of thoughts may you have? Some things that may crop up may be – fears about what will people think of me or how you would deal with the loss of financial security and routine or thoughts of not being good enough and not being able to stick it out. When I came back from my travels and I was in this situation – my confidence took a real bashing. I knew I wanted to try something outside of teaching – I just wasn’t sure what it was and I was left vulnerable and low.

Self Belief – rejection after rejection during this time – meant that I suffered a huge dent in my self-belief. I applied to so many job advertisements, tailored each one to the job and spent days and weeks and months – researching on the internet what I ‘thought’, I was qualified for. I feared I was making a mistake, I feared I wasn’t good enough. I feared I didn’t have the right qualifications. I feared questions from friends and family about how my job search was going (*in those days I was subbing – I was restricted however to 40 or 90 days per school year because I was on career break). I feared having to move back to my family home.
I needed reassurance that I had indeed transferable skills. I needed reassurance that this ignoring of my application – was nothing personal to me – but a common thing outside of the world of education.

I invite you to reflect: If tomorrow was your last day in your job – what plan of action could you put into place if/when these thoughts cropped up? Who can you talk to? What family member/friend is great at boosting your self-confidence? What expert can you talk to? Who do you know, that understands what you are going through and can give you a pep talk? What can you do when you are demotivated?

If you transitioned from teaching – would you be able to cope? What steps could you take to help you succeed? What might it be like if you don’t make the change? What other obstacles might you encounter?

Read ‘What are some Alternative Careers for Teachers? here.

Making Your Career Future Proof

It’s worthwhile to project into the future and predict whether the career you choose will be around in 10 years time. What will the future of education/technology/healthcare/service based industry look like? What changes will there be? Look at upcoming trends – keep informed from the news – what changes are upcoming? What employers are hiring? What businesses are closing down? Why are they closing down? What can you do to ensure you remain in employment in 10 years time and your job will become obsolete?

Current trends may include the shift in focus for renewable energy, our increasing aging population, the continuing research into the use of internet and social media as a teaching tool, the importance of GDPR, medical record accessibility, inclusion and diversity, entrepreneurship etc. By observing the current trends, you may get an idea of where your passion lies and future proof your career by remaining current in your focus and skills.

Own Your Success!

I remember participating in one course where many participants were very comfortable owning their experience, talents and unique expertise. They took personal credit for things. In group work, they accepted praise easily and were confident accepting a leadership role within the group. I was flabbergasted because coming from a background of teaching my experience was that most teachers went above and beyond for little praise or recognition because it was expected of them and they felt it was the right thing to do.

What does this say about the mind-set of many teachers?
– We go above and beyond for the love of the job.
– We play it small sometimes.
– We lack in self-belief and self-confidence at times.
– In many ways we are leaders, but are unwilling to blow our own trumpets- We are intrinsically motivated.

Take Time to Reflect

I invite you to reflect: Have you taken on new roles within your teaching career? Have you embraced change? Have you personally made a difference to the life of a child? Are you a hard worker? Have you ever gone above and beyond for a pupil? Your principal? Parents? Have you become a better communicator? Team player? Leader? Are you adaptable? Do you show enthusiasm for what you do? What have you personally achieved in your career and personal life? Own your success!

Read ‘A career break experience – taking the time to figure out what you want’ here.



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