How To Get Your Dream Job

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If you are looking to change your role either within your current organisation or a new one, this article will help you to get started. It’s very hard to find time to decide what it is you want to do and how to take action. The best way of dealing with a big issue is to break it down into small, achievable time-limited activities wrapped up in an action plan with deadlines.  Kick start the search for your dream job with the following 30 minute activities.

1. Analyse your current role

Draw up a ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ list for the content of your job; be as detailed as possible. Draw up a similar list for skills you currently use. Are there any skills you have which are not being used? This might include general headings such as: teamwork, negotiating, persuading, communication, or more specific ones such as motivating others, writing reports, public speaking. To develop this process more, go to the CPD e- guide on this site.

2. Consider if it’s possible to amend your current role

List what you have control over in your job and could therefore change, and what you can’t control. Think very carefully before you decide that something is set in stone, perhaps discus this with a colleague. You probably can’t influence major things like your employers’ overall strategy, but you may be able to influence more things than you think.  

3. A change in role may not mean a change in employer or occupation

 Consider what’s available under your nose. If you already work in a university or other large organisation, there may be areas and roles you know little or nothing about, but which could be ideal for you because of your transferable skills. Don’t assume that you need to be an expert in the detail of a particular area in order to work in it. Look at an organisational plan, annual report, strategic plan or website to see what your organisation does. Start talking to people informally. Let people know you’re looking.  

4. Looking further afield

 Look at vacancies on on a regular basis, but don’t limit your search too narrowly. If a job looks even mildly interesting get the details and compile a brief ‘for and against’ list and keep a record even if you don’t apply. There is often more to a job than meets the eye in an advertisement or job description. An informal chat with a potential line-manager or HR staff could give you important contextual information. If you do make contact, have your key points and questions ready.

5. Keep your CV up to date

 The process of updating a CV can be a very useful and focussed way of being clear about what you can do and what you’d like to do. Keep it up to date every 6 months. Run it past people who know about CVs: either careers professionals or those who have recruitment experience and sit on appointment panels. Check out our CV templates and CV advice.

6. An action plan is key

 Using the above points, draw up a chart. Write down your actions, dates for completion and recommendations for yourself. Set yourself realistic targets.  Share your plan with someone else and ask them to help you keep on task. It could be a partner, colleague, line manager, friend or professional coach or careers consultant. It could be that your staff development department may be able to help you with this.

If you’re feeling unfulfilled at work, it’s unlikely to sort itself. Random and knee-jerk applications for jobs could work out wonderfully, but you could also end up being swiftly transferred from the frying-pan into the fire. A rumbling sense of unease about your work can be debilitating and insidious especially if you let it go on for any length of time, so consider at least trying a couple of our activities…it’s a start, and what have you got to lose: an hour or so? Good luck!

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