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How To Map Your Career And Stop The Job-Hop Cycle

A common career mistake is to give in to the just-out-of-university panic. This also applies to those who have decided to change jobs or who suddenly find themselves made redundant. This is when pressure to be gainfully employed grows until near breaking point. It gets worse when people ask you that common ice breaker question: what do you do for a living? Student loans need to be paid off and, if you are changing jobs, bills begin to pile up as your savings dwindle.

The common response is to apply for everything and take the first job that comes along. Sometimes this works out perfectly, but often it leaves you in a job that makes you miserable and you find yourself in the same cycle all over again. The solution to this is to begin carefully mapping your career before you even graduate from university or leave your job.

This kind of pre-planning is not always possible but it is possible to always have a good idea of where you wish to go in your career.

What makes you tick?

Think carefully about what drives you, what matters to you and what your priorities are. If money is not particularly important to you then a sales job with monthly targets will only make you miserable. Even within a particular field there are specific directions that will be better suited to your personality. If you love working with people and you are in the IT field then look for a job where you work in teams or closely with clients, as opposed to one where the work is all outsourced and you can work from home.

Not everybody knows immediately what will make them happy; this is especially difficult for young people just entering the job market. Fortunately, there are a number of online tools you can use to answer this question, such as online personality tests that identify your personality type and what professional environment is best for you. One example of this is the Holland Interest Scale. Online career tests are also easily available.

Research and take your time

All jobs have wonderful and not-so-wonderful aspects to them. Before you accept a job, or even go for an interview you should make yourself aware of both. Choose a few options that appeal to you career-wise; choose a few companies that you may like to work for and then do some research. The best way to do this is to speak to industry leaders or employees in that field. Do not be afraid to approach people, they will most likely be flattered and delighted to talk to you. Job shadowing for a day or two is a great way to gain insight into a job or a company culture. If you have the luxury of time in your job search use it to its full capacity.

When job hunting and going for interviews remember that the decision goes both ways. It is not only about whether or not the employer wants you, but also about whether or not you can work in that exact environment and be happy. When choosing a job, do not glide over the negative points and focus only on the positive aspects. In the day-to-day grind of professional life those negative points become more and more amplified. If you cannot live with them then your work environment will be poisonous and affect every aspect of your life.

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Natalie Simon is a Cape Town-based freelance writer who occasionally dips into the world of permanent employment, As a result, she has a lot of experience looking for and choosing jobs that she thinks will make her happy. She’s found that one way to make the process simpler is to use niche job boards, such as


This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 at 9:21 am and is filed under Career, Online Job Search. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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Resume Help, Resume Advice. Learn
and avoid these biggest resume mistakes
Resume Help, Resume Advice. Learn
and avoid these biggest resume mistakes