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8 Steps to Your Dream Career

Elvis Elvis

Step 1: Self-assessment

I’ll explain which career tests online you must complete – these are the essential and fundamental building blocks of your career planning process. Without this self assessment you will have nothing on which to build. This is an absolutely critical first step. And I will explain exactly what you need to do it and how.

Part of this step is about evaluating your current situation as well – your barriers and your aspirations. You need to be clear about what you want and what is standing in your way. Those barriers are key! We’ll look at the reality of the barriers, your perceptions, and how to tackle them.

Step 2: Marketplace awareness and exploration

What is out there? Imagine I did have a magic wand and I asked you, if you could do anything, and if there was no chance of failure, what would you really like to do? What would you say? What do you know about real jobs out there? What do you know about what sorts of things people do – in real careers? This step is about getting you thinking. And I will explain exactly what you need to do, and how to do it – to get the information you need to go onto Step 3.

Step 3: Synthesis

This is the step that most people miss (some career coaches too sadly). But it is so important. How can you make sense of what you’ve learned about yourself if you don’t put it together – synthesis it? It’s got to make sense to you, and its got to be clear to you. If not, you are totally wasting your time! I’ll explain exactly how to do this step. The key result from this stage is clearly identifying options for your top career choices – your best options for career choices for the future.

But you can’t stop now. If you stop now, your chances of finding your dream career are much reduced. You’ve GOT to complete the steps. Or the process will not work!

Step 4: Research and reality test

This is the step where people often get stuck. It is quite interesting (fun even) to do tests and self-awareness, but then you actually have to use the information you’ve learned about yourself and go and find out more about the reality of your top career choices. I’ll explain exactly how to go about it. It is nearly always very helpful to actually talk to people who are involved in the career you are interested in. But talking to people you gain wonderful insights into what is involved in the job, what a typical day is like, how they got into it, and so on. There is a process that makes talking to these people easier – it’s called informational interviewing, and I will explain how to do it to get the best results for you, and also how to identify the right people to talk to – and how to make talking to them easy!

Step 5: Decision

Right, so you’ve done some great work so far. You know lots of things about yourself. You understand what you want from your career. You know about the realities of the marketplace and the career options you’ve identified. You know lots of ‘stuff’. Great. Now it is time to actually make a decision and act on it. Again, this is a step where people often stumble. If that’s you – check out my section on ‘stuck’ – for some helpful advice. People make decisions in different ways. Some people are methodical and they weigh up pros and cons. Others are more spontaneous and they act on gut. What’s your decision making style? Think about major career decisions you’ve made. How did you make the decision? What did you do? And, how did it work out for you? In this Step, I’ll provide good practical advice on how to approach a decision, and options to consider. And if you get stuck – that is – don’t do anything – read my section on for ideas about getting unstuck! ‘stuck’ for ideas about getting unstuck!

Step 6: Qualifications, skills, and experience (finding and plugging the gaps)

You’ve identified your dream career and you know the realities about this career. You know what skills, experience and qualifications are required. You added all this information to your decision making. Now it is time to act on that information. Do you need to attain a particular qualification? Get more experience or skills? If so, be very specific about what you need to do. This step will help outline what you need to think about – and at the end you’ll have gained the skills, qualifications and experience you need to get yourself into your dream career!

Step 7: The job search

You’ve done all the hard stuff. The soul searching and hard graft. This step is not difficult. It involves making sure you have the best resume ready to go, and makes sure you know exactly how to go about the job search process – to get you into that dream career. If you’ve followed all the other steps, this step will fall into place and will feel great!

Step 8: New career direction: Your dream career!

You’ve done it! You have gone through the process. You know who you are and what you want from your dream career. You’ve faced challenges and barriers, and you’ve stuck at it! This is the best step. This is where it all comes together and you find yourself in your dream career. Just remember – that nothing ever really ‘finishes’. You got yourself here and now you can keep on doing it and improving it and finding new things that keep you motivated and fulfilled. It’s called career success. You’ve taken control over your own planning for career success – and you can keep on doing it. This step will help you evaluate where you are, what that means to you, and will get you to start thinking about goals and plans for the future.

8 Steps to Your Dream Career

Important

We all (or certainly most of us) get ‘stuck’ at various times – for all sorts of reasons. It is not bad. As long as you recognize it and are prepared to deal with it. At any Step, if you get stuck, go back to the beginning. If you’re stuck, it often means you missed something really important earlier on. If that happens, GO BACK! Quite often we miss some important factors and it means the decision does not seem to ‘work’. Visit my section on ‘stuck’ for helpful ideas when you are feeling ‘stuck’.

For example, one client had gone through the process, identified top career options, done reality testing, and was keen to make a decision. BUT (and it was a big but) he had omitted a really important factor in his self-analysis. His top career choice meant taking up study in a different part of the country, and his wife really did not want to move. They had young children happily settled at school and it would be a big change for the family. As a result he had to go back to his values criteria, and his top career choice options. This is not a bad thing. His wife was very supportive of his desire to change careers but as a couple, they had to spend some time evaluating their own values and priorities. And at that particular time, they agreed not to move and instead he decided he needed to revisit the other top career choices at the top of his list – not all of which included a requirement for a new qualification.