There are some simple steps you can take for yourself and tasks to try out on your own.
They’re pretty straightforward.
What do you have to lose?
Taming the snakes
It’s sometimes easier to identify what is holding us back than what will help us succeed. People often hide behind barriers but by naming them and seeing them for what they are, we can start to work out how to overcome them. What are the snakes that seem to be lying in wait for you, ready to take you back away from your job goals? Is it meeting people – are you shy? Are you scared of your past catching up with you?
Whatever it is, write it down. Now ask yourself: “Is it that big a deal?” If it is, ask for help. Talk to someone about it and try to come to terms with it or even turn it into a positive, or make a strategy to work around it. Note down three snakes and list all you can do to stop them stopping you.
Eyes on the prize
It’s almost impossible to score a goal if you don’t know what goal you’re aiming for. Everything gets easier once you’ve set one. Ask yourself what your dream job is. It doesn’t matter if what comes up turns out to be right or wrong. It’s a starting point and even the wrong goal will tell you a lot about what the right one might be. To work out if it’s the best goal to go for, continue following this list of 20 tips to discover your One Big Thing.
You’re in charge
It’s really helpful to try thinking like an employer. Practice by taking a look at the three personal statements we included in the section on ‘What Employers Want.’ If you were recruiting a receptionist, which one would you choose and why? Note down what you like less about the other two. If you’re online, go to the 7signs.org.uk website and download the role play job description and score sheet and give each candidate a mark out of five against each of the indicators.
The good times say so much
Write down the best thing you’ve achieved and the best role you ever had. Now add what it was about them that you enjoyed or made you proud. Are there any clues about what you might like to do for a job hidden in this information? This background information is useful for understanding what roles would get you motivated and may come in handy at interview when an employer asks for examples of when you’ve used your skills and qualities.
The (wo)man in the mirror
What makes you happy or angry or motivated? Think about what you look forward to or, again, the things you are proudest about having done. Where do your passions lie? Sport or politics or learning? Children or animals or other people? Making money, making sales or making people happy? Ask your friends and family. Write down what you’re really into because it’s what makes you you, and employers want to meet the real you and see if their job is right for you… and that you’re right for their job.
Skills, not spills
Choose a friend or family member (or a stranger, for that matter, as they will tell you what they think, not what they think you want to hear) and tell them what you decided were the best things you’ve done. Based only on this information, ask them (or yourself) what they imagine you’re like. Write down the long list of skills and qualities they come up with. See 7signs.org. uk for some examples.
Short is sweet
Take the long list of skills and qualities offered by your friends (or that you came up with yourself) and shorten the list to five or six that you really believe describe you best. Start thinking of examples when you used them.
Window shop for jobs
Now you’ve started to think about the jobs that could use your skills and reflect your interests, shop around. If you’re new to the internet, it’s a great way to learn how much it can do for you. Ask someone to show you – it’s not brain surgery. Take down the details of as many employers with the right jobs as you can. Clarify what those employers want.
Going round in circles
Look at the One Big Thing template with three overlapping circles on it (you can download it from 7signs.org.uk). Filling it in will remind you of what makes you different from the next person competing for the same job as you. Use it to pin down the job you really want, produce a personal statement, write a CV and prepare for interview. Here are some useful steps to follow:
Let’s get personal
Using the template below if you need to, draft your own personal statement. Use just two or three of the most relevant skills and qualities from your shortlist. You can also include what you’re passionate about, if it’s right for the employers you’ll be approaching. Include the job you’re going for now and show you’re motivated by saying what you are working towards.
As someone with [x, y, z skills/qualities],
I am seeking [first step job opportunity] to develop my skills and experience,
working towards [my One Big Thing/ long-term job goal].
The 20 Next Steps for Jobseekers feature in the book I'm Ready - 7 Signs that show you're right for the job. Described as 'vital, real and embraceable' where 'a profound belief in people shines out of every page', its story of a group of jobseekers who work through the seven signs and the 20 steps listed here will inspire unemployed people and their friends and supporters about how much everyone has to offer.