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7 ways to breathe new life into your career in 2019

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

There’s no doubt the workforce is changing: jobs are moving online, and the advent of artificial intelligence and automation means some skills are going to be much more valued than others by 2022.

But for the rest of us who aren’t fleeing the corporate rat race to freelance, become self-employed or work from home, we’re in it for the long haul.

Luckily, there are ways you can reflect on your career with fresh eyes:

1. Do some crystal ball-gazing

It’s an old trick, but visualising your life five years from now can help you better understand the direction you want your life to go in. “Five years is close enough to be a practical motivator and far enough away to facilitate meaningful pivots or transformations,” said Justin Cannon, the CEO of marketing technology platform Cooperate.

And don’t just visualise your career – involve your entire life to create a holistic image. “Try and involve your loved ones or close work colleagues in the process and have some fun with it. The more emotional and detailed the visualisation, the better.”

2. Get some perspective

Take stock of what’s in your life and career right now, Cannon advises. Ambition is fine and good, but the only one you’re racing against is yourself.

“Working life is getting so much longer and it is worth fighting to make the years ahead fulfilling ones. This will frame the process as a positive one because the hope and humility you will gain by doing that will be needed to leave you open to stepping sideways or backwards in the eyes of others,” Cannon said.

But if your heart is set on a career step-change, don’t hold back either. “If a pivot or transformation is what is likely to make you a happier person in the long run, do it.”

3. Don’t box yourself in

When contemplating your next career move, you’re likely thinking about your options in light of all the moves you’ve made so far.

“Avoid this by suspending reality and considering winding back one or two of your last moves over the last five years,” the marketing tech co-founder said. “If you only look out into the future from where you are right now and consider your current position in life as immovable, your field of vision will be narrower.”

The more you pull back, the wider the range of options you’ll start to see that wouldn’t have been salient previously.

4. Get yourself a peer mentor

A mentor? No: a peer mentor is someone who is more or less in a similar position to yourself career-wise. “If you’re looking to make a change, look around you,” Mentorloop CEO Lucy Lloyd said.

“The most insightful advice comes from people three months ahead of you, not five years. Ask a peer who’s recently landed a new job to tell you how they did it.”

5. Become a mentor

Rather than getting yourself a mentor to land that job or promotion, consider becoming a mentor instead, Lloyd advised. “What looks great on a CV? The fact that you’re experienced, comfortable and community-minded enough to pay it forward.”

You’re probably informally helping out some people with advice or an introduction here and there, so the next step is just formalise those opportunities. You might find you’ve just developed your own little cheerleading squad.

“Not only does it hone your leadership skills, and sounds great to prospective employers, it also provides you with a network of advocates who upon seeing a job opening might think: ‘that would be perfect for my mentor!’”

6. Branch out

It won’t be the first time you’ve heard the wildly original advice of ‘try new things!’ However, Cannon points out that it not only brings you new experiences, but your renewed energy and enthusiasm will be noted by others.

“Lean into new learning experiences at work and home outside of your current responsibilities or hobbies – the people around you might see you in a new light and direct opportunities to you that will help you to learn and grow.

“These opportunities are what will send you on your desired pathway quicker than you thought possible.”

7. Be grateful

But don’t just feel it – show it. Who gave you advice, encouragement and insight last year? A well-placed thank you note, email or direct message won’t go amiss, Lloyd pointed out.

“A slightly delayed, given-with-the-benefit-of-perspective follow-up thank you is more powerful than a thank you in the moment,” she said.

“It’s an opportunity to reach out, and then if they respond to ask how it’s going, you can bring your new job search into the conversation. They might put you forward, recommend an approach, or even act as a reference further down the track.”

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