You apply for a job and get through to an interview.
To break the ice and help you settle in, the interviewer might ask you about your career to date.
This shouldn’t be the time to panic. This is the time to tell your story.
When I reflect on my journey and the story it allows me tell, there are 3 important factors that I believe help us be as successful, and as happy in our career as possible.
1. Focus on what you are great at
My first job was as a software designer and it made sense as I’m a logical and structured kind of guy.
Then one day everything changed.
I got the chance to stand in for a project manager during his holiday. Suddenly I became aware of these skills I had leading a team, helping people improve and driving change. And I loved it!
Fast forward 13 years and I had led and delivered multiple projects, programmes and training and development work.
I’ve also been lucky enough to know when I’m not great at something. I took on a role that played to my strengths of being organised and a logical thinker, but everything infuriated me. And I realised I wasn’t getting to do any of the things that I loved or that boosted my energy.
You can’t beat getting to the point where your job feels that amazing that you forget it’s actually a job.
2. Maintain and grow your network
As I’ve gone through my career, not only have I led and worked with some great people, but I’ve worked for some inspirational leaders and have been supported by some great mentors and coaches.
They continue to be part of my professional network and I ensure that, as often as is appropriate, I re-connect with them. And many of those people have introduced me to other people in their network who I’ve subsequently developed even stronger working relationships with.
Being self-employed, my network has been hugely important in helping me get my business setup, helping me get those first contracts and helping me look ahead to what I want to be working on in the future.
3. Be confident and be brave
This really brings the two previous points together. I can recall occasions where I’ve seen a job advertised and thoughts “I can do all those things” and even better “I know who that will be working for”. But…
…there’s something in our mind that then tries to convince us that we wouldn’t get the job, or that the person will have forgotten us.
If you believe you can do all or most of what a job requires, and you can think of examples where you’ve already demonstrated the right knowledge, skills and behaviour then you are in a great position.
Have the bravery to apply for a job, say yes to something new or different, or reach out and seek some support and guidance from a mentor or coach.