Job Hunting

Exam disappointment – My life is over or is it?

Disappointment with exams can be one of the most devastating experiences for a student, especially when they were not expecting bad results. I have been there. I know the feeling and it’s awful. Over the past few days young friends of mine have told me that: ‘their life is over’ because they didn’t get what they wanted in the leaving certificate. A lot of tears have been shed and I have been doing a lot of listening. It’s important to remember how you perceive notions of failure dictates how you behave in response to bad news. There are two ways to fail.

  • One way is to make a mistake or judgment call that turns out to be wrong. For example, a coach may make a mistake in putting a wrong team player on the team which may cost his team the game. Or another example would be a CEO of a company may decide to launch a new product that he thinks will bring dramatic growth for the company, but instead the product may flop on the market. You are making hundreds of decisions a day so inevitably some of those decisions are going to be wrong. This type of failure revolves around what you did wrong. 
  • The other type of failure is when you do everything right, put all of your efforts and energies into your pursuit of success, and even do everything to prevent something from going wrong, but in the end, you still come up short. These kinds of letdowns are particularly hard to handle because of the feelings of helplessness associated with them. However, some people take this type of failure as a cue that they are close to reaping their reward. They view it as a matter of time NOT a matter of their ability to perform what is needed to achieve what they want. Although these failures are hard to take, they are not impossible to overcome. Everyone experiences these defeats and everyone handles them differently.

Bouncing Back

  • Talk to your family and friends and discuss your options. Don’t bottle up your emotions.
  • Change your perception of the ‘Failure’ to seeing it as a ‘Setback’ – Once you begin to look at your shortcoming as an event that knocked you back instead of one that knocked you down, you’ll begin to see that it is very possible to recover from the letdown.  This also helps you acknowledge that bumps in the road are common but they are also manageable. I’m a big believer that we learn the most when we fail, if we have the right mindset about failure. If you failed at nothing, would you ever have succeed at anything? Pick yourself up and move forward with your new insights. Focus on lessons learned. Try objectively to assess what you could have done better, more specifically, what you will do better next time.
  • Persistence The only real failure is to give up too soon. It’s important to think of previous successes in exams, tests, and other challenges, and the strategies you used in those situations.
  • Avoid generalisingWhen we get frustrated we tend to generalise our situations and make broad statements that are not necessarily true. Saying “this always happens….” or “I never….” are detrimental to your recovery process because what you are really doing is setting yourself up for another loss. Understanding that the setback that took place is a solitary event helps you recover quicker. Instead of generalising your statements prepare yourself for the future by making saying what you want to happen.
  • Balance Successful people are those who strike a good balance between optimism and reality. They see opportunities but do not ignore risks or mistakes. Above all, they rely on themselves, not others, to strive for their goals – although they also know when to ask for help.
  • Potential Take pride in your strengths and achievements. Remind yourself of your enormous potential. Learn from your experiences, identifying the factors that contribute to both your successes and disappointments.
  • Self- belief – Believe in yourself but stay grounded. There is always room to improve. Make changes to what you do and how you challenge yourself otherwise you will go on getting the same results.

Lessons Learned

An overwhelming majority of life’s failures are not life threatening. This means that life goes on even though you came up short. We sometimes over analyse our setbacks to the point of making them larger than life.  Try to remember that even though you’ve experienced a setback, there are still many more opportunities ahead even if you do not see them right away.

Sinead Kane – The Kane Ability, Motivational Speaker

Sitting exams isn’t fun but waiting for the results does not bring much to laugh about either. Thousands of students will get their much anticipated leaving cert results tomorrow. Some students will be happy but some won’t. It’s important to remember there is life after the leaving cert.

Career Choices      

If you are unsure about what route to take, remember you have choices. Here are some tips to help you find the right career for you:

Choose a career that fits with who you are – If you think about your strengths, passions, skills, values and dreams, you will have a much better chance of finding a career that you enjoy. Take some time to think, and discuss this with the people you know and trust.

Do the research – Visit your school career guidance counsellor. Talk to people who are working in careers that interest you; find out what they do, how they got to where they are and what they like and dislike about their job. Look on job seekers websites to see what is offered. There may be jobs there you haven’t even heard of. Note the qualifications required.

Gain a qualification – As you progress with study, you will discover areas that you may not have known existed. Taking the first step can often lead on to some very interesting and fulfilling possibilities. If you don’t feel ready for university or college now, you can always return later as a mature student. This is an increasingly popular option and is worth thinking about.

Apprenticeship –You can take an apprenticeship. This means learning while working, in professions such as carpentry and mechanics. Unfortunately, since the economic downturn, there are not as many apprenticeships available and it is much harder to get onto an apprenticeship scheme. There is still a specific female apprenticeship scheme in place to encourage the entry of women into male dominated professions.

Entrepreneurship – You can start your own business. Sure, why not!

PLC – Post Leaving Cert courses – These are a good choice for getting a taste of the career you are interested in. A range of courses is available, including childcare, accounting, computers, beauty, catering, secretarial and media. PLC qualifications can also be used to help you get a place in university in Ireland and the UK. Contact your careers office or local VEC for more information.

FAS – provides a range of services to help people find work and learn new skills. The FÁS website has information on a huge number of options for anyone looking for work or qualifications, from crafts to computers to farming to finance. Details of all training courses are available online.career is not going to set you in concrete – there will be many options and many more decisions to make along the way.

Travel and volunteering – Not everyone wants to jump straight into more study after school and even more people don’t want to get a job right after school or university! Travel and or voluntary work can be the perfect way to decide what the next step is for you: be it education, work or taking over the world!

Art, Crafts, and Entertainment If none of the above options appeal to you then why not consider starting a band, joining religious life, pursuing acting, opening an art gallery, joining a circus, starting a blog, writing a book, doing gardening work etc.

Develop transferable skills – Employers are prepared to train you and keep you updated in the specific knowledge required for their business if you can show that you have skills and traits such as reliability, punctuality, positive attitude, efficiency and organisational skills. Other notable pros include computer skills, adaptability, the ability to take initiative and honesty.

Find a mentor The key is to find someone you trust, and who is already very successful at what you want to accomplish. Talk to them, discuss different options and try to get some clarity, direction or first steps to take. Everyone needs a wingman at times, and there’s no shame is asking for a little guidance.

Goals – Your goals at this stage may not be completely clear but that’s okay – career development is a process. As you keep thinking, talking, reading and researching, the fog of uncertainty will clear! Just remember, the first decision you make about your

Lesson learned

There are many ways to cross the bridge from the teen years into adulthood, and many different pathways to working out and doing what you want with your life. Sometimes it can be confusing to know what to do but as you learn more about yourself and what you’re interested in the easier the decisions become. Congratulate yourself for getting through school. No matter what results you got endless possibilities lie ahead. Be sure to savor every moment. Be sociable, have fun, but be diligent. You’re embarking on the best years of your life – make the most of them!

 Sinead Kane – The Kane Ability, Motivational Speaker

Student-led movements driving for social change hold plenty of lessons about innovation for businesses and the government. Recently, I met a wonderful young man called Daithí de Buitléir. Instantly, I found myself able to engage with him because he was interesting, funny and had energy. Daithi is part of RAG {Raising and Giving) which was set up in DCU in September 2011 and is going from strength to strength. Soon after DCU RAG was set up, the University of Limerick then came on board and were empowered to start their own RAG society. DCU RAG have been approached by students from a number of other universities and third-level institutes who have heard about what they are doing. They have been inspired by RAG’s vision.

Making ideas happen

RAG’s work hasn’t gone unrecognised. They have become the youngest ever Irish awardees of the prestigious Arthur Guinness Fund, a seed capital fund for aspiring social entrepreneurs. RAG believes by engaging, equipping and empowering the youth of today that they create a critical mass of young Irish people striving to create something great, something RAG are proud to call Ireland. Daithi dreams that his generation will be remembered as the generation which rebuilds Ireland. What I found most interesting about Daithi is that he had a simple idea which has really blossomed. People who were not doing anything to improve their communities and country are now positively active and promoting change. They are fundraising, volunteering, establishing social enterprises and setting up community initiatives. They are proud to be Irish but not happy with Ireland and they are keen to do something about this.

RAG believes – Engage, Equip, Empower.

Engagement: Ireland needs to proactively engage young people. RAG shows people that they can get involved and encourages them to do so. For example, they run large events which attract students, like UL’s “Nearly Naked Mile” where 100s of students ran around the beautiful Castletroy campus in their underwear and DCU’s “RAG Rumble” where students dusted themselves down for an old fashion dust up. Once students have shown support RAG attempt’s to build a relationship with them where they facilitate them to take an action, getting them out there doing something to improve their community.

Equipping: Many young people in Ireland have massive potential once they realise they have a role to play in the future of Ireland, but they must be supported to fulfil this potential. Very few people can start up a social enterprise with little or no experience working with social organisations. However, if someone has developed a history of action working with a series of organisations on a series of projects with various commitment levels they are much more likely to be able to take the next step and start up their own initiatives.

Empowering: It can be a daunting task to set up your own social project or community initiative. Even with all the passion and experience in the world many young people just don’t know where to start. RAG believes by providing a support network of young people who have been there and started up projects, as well as access to networks and practical supports in areas such as finance, law and marketing, can make it easier for young people to turn their dreams of a better Ireland into a reality.

Lessons learned

RAG’s model is working and their movement for student-led social change is spreading. What I learnt from Daithi is that young people can bring about transformative change in Ireland if they are properly supported. RAG is helping young people realise they can play a role in making Ireland a better place whilst having a lot of good craic along the way. Encouraging students to reach out to each other to solve problems and share knowledge not only builds collaboration skills, it leads to deeper learning and understanding. In turn, creating positive social change led by young people. If you want anymore information or would like to get involved make sure to contact RAG at ragireland@hotmail.com.

 Sinead Kane – The Kane Ability, Motivational Speaker

RAD-120611-Black-3518685-280x350Usually when something goes wrong people will always try to focus on the problem. People spend lots of time investigating the problem, some of which is useful to ensure that lessons can be gained from the situation, but often it’s not focused on finding a solution. I think there’s a difference between “defining” the problem and talking about the problem – and most of us get caught up in talking about the problem.

Obstacles

Imagine that you’re driving down a scenic highway. Suddenly you come to a huge rock in the middle of the road. At this moment you have several options. You could try to explain how the rock ended up there. You could also go into resistance mode, complaining about the carelessness of highway construction or the lack of state funding for rock removal. Or, you could bypass all this negativity and remove the obstacle from your life at once. Instead of explaining the rock or resisting it, just drive around it. When faced with obstacles, people often respond with questions based on explanation and resistance, such as:

  1. Why am I so alone?
  2. Why does this always happen to me?
  3. Why am I such a failure?

However, you always have another option. You can ask questions that help you drive around any obstacle in your life.

Questions

Questions have uncanny power. Questions direct your attention and along with it, how you think and how you feel. If you want to create different thoughts, feelings, and results into your life, then ask different questions. Focus on the lesson to be learned

Start now by skipping the why questions and begin asking what questions, such as:

  1. What’s the lesson here?
  2. What’s great about having this problem?
  3. What’s my next action?

What’s the lesson here?

Everything hinges on how you interpret experiences, and your interpretations can change over the years. A single event can take you a step closer to emotional contraction or expansion. It all depends on how you interpret that event. You should interpret these obstacles as yield signs rather than stop signs. Instead of resisting a challenge just lean into it. Ask yourself, how can I interpret this event in a more powerful way? What’s a positive lesson that’s waiting here to be learned?

What’s great about having this problem?

Each time you resolve a problem, you gain valuable experience. The more problems you resolve the more experience you have. Soon, a problem that use to be daunting in the past will no longer have the same effect because you will have the ability to know how to deal with it. Learning to focus on the solution rather than the problem will change your life. You will end up using your time more efficiently and productively.

What’s my next action?

This question shines a spotlight on solutions. No matter what happens, you can choose what to say and do in response. Rather than manifesting resistance or explanation, you can choose your next action. Successful people hold a bias for action. Add inspiration and intention to the mix and you gain an unstoppable momentum.

Lessons Learned

If we allow problems to get the best of us by negatively focusing on the problem instead of finding a solution, the problem will fester into something far greater than what it is or was in the beginning. But if we focus on the solution, we can solve the problem and move on to whatever comes our way next.  I would recommend not completely forgetting about prior problems, but take them as lessons learned so that if and when faced with them again, you will remember what was done to overcome and solve the problem and you will be better prepared to solve that problem again.

Sinead Kane – The Kane Ability, Motivational Speaker

 

goalsThe 3 P’s = Success – Passion, Planning, and Persistence.

Many people ask me how I achieve my goals. I tell them that I have no magic wand to make goals happen. To achieve goals and success I follow the 3 P’s – Passion, Planning, and Persistence.

Last summer, I came up with a goal that I wanted to achieve. Many people thought I was crazy and that it was unattainable. My goal was to get former UK Home Secretary, Mr. David Blunkett, brought over to Ireland to discuss the issue of disability and politics. In the UK, Mr. David Blunkett, a man who is totally blind, reached the position of former UK home secretary. I find this inspirational. It’s a pity that same hasn’t happened in Ireland. I went about achieving my goal/passion by planning various tasks that I needed to do. I made a lot of phone calls, sent a lot of emails and even travelled to London last September to meet Mr. Blunkett to discuss with him my passion for wanting him to come to Ireland. There was times where I wanted to give up because sending lots of emails and phone calls can becoming time consuming. However, I never gave up. I kept persisting. This Friday my goal will be achieved as Mr. Blunkett will be speaking at Croke Park for a National Disability Authority event. I have also been invited to the event as a panel speaker.  This is proof that passion, planning, and persistence really does pay off.

Passion
When you feel passionate about what you are doing, you radiate energy. Passion is magnetic. Passion makes you set goals high. It gives confidence. When you’re passionate, you seek out what you want. This is because you know what you want. If you don’t know what you want, it’s impossible to know what you want. Passionate people excite others; they tend to make great first impressions. They make what they want clear and people take notice. Wanting something passionately produces circumstances that lead to getting it. A passionate person will get what he/she wants much more quickly than an unpassionate person.

Planning
Plans are essential to our goals. Think of it like a journey. You make the goal to go to a distant city then you make plans, a map of how to get to your destination. Plans for your goals are the same. You set a goal then you make a plan or an outline of how to reach that goal.

Persistence
Any great accomplishment that has ever been achieved has been brought about and made possible by an all important trait called persistence. Think of persistence like knocking on opportunity’s door. Opportunity is there and will answer because your persistence will wear it down eventually.

Achieving Goals

When you’ve achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress that you’ve made towards other goals. If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you build the self-confidence you deserve.
Lessons learned

Beginning the day with a purpose and a plan increases your chances of success. The number one reason people fail to achieve their goals is because they allow themselves to make excuses for not doing what they know they should do. Do what you know you should do each day even when you feel like not doing it. Make a commitment that you will not make excuses under any circumstances. Instead of excuses strive for excellence.

Sinead Kane – The Kane Ability, Motivational Speaker

RAD-120613-BrownCasual-3541835Boundaries – Learn to say No – Don’t be a doormat

Do you find it hard to say: ‘NO’ to people? Do you find yourself in situations where you end up saying yes when really you mean no? People treat you as you allow them to; however, you can actually teach others how to treat you based on the strength or weakness of your boundaries. These are imaginary lines that help you protect yourself both physically and emotionally. Having boundaries can make an enormous impact on the quality of your health and life. Setting and maintaining boundaries is a skill that you most need to develop in order to create the kind of life you really want. However, it’s often the area where most people seem to have the most difficulties.

Relevance

Setting boundaries will help you stand up for yourself, stop agreeing to do things you really don’t want to do, and start feeling less guilty about putting your own needs first. It’s a part of the process of defining yourself and what is acceptable to you. When you don’t have boundaries other people will step over the line without even realising where it is.

Action

Identify where you need more space, self-respect, energy, and/or personal power. Begin this process by recognising when you feel angry, frustrated, violated, or resentful. In these cases, you’ve often had a boundary “crossed”. By becoming aware of situations that require you to have stronger limits, you can begin creating and communicating your new boundaries to others. Let others know when they’ve crossed the line, acted inappropriately, or disrespected you in any way. Do not be afraid to tell others when you need emotional and physical space. Allow yourself to be who you really are without pressure from others to be anything else. Know what actions you may need to take if your wishes aren’t respected.

Learn to say no

Most of us are people-pleasers and often put ourselves at a disadvantage by trying to accommodate everyone. We don’t want to be selfish, so we put our personal needs on the back burner. If you don’t get better at saying: ‘no’ then other people’s priorities will take precedence over yours. You will end up frustrated and stressed. You won’t be able to say yes to the most important things.

Tips

Some tips to begin are:

  1. Don’t be apologetic: If people hear firmness in your voice, they’ll accept your decision. If they hear regret, they’ll keep asking. Apologies bring more requests since they think you feel bad about not being able to help.
  2. Start slowly: It takes time to break the habit of being a people pleaser. Grow your confidence by learning to say no to family, friends, professionals etc. At first it will be hard but the more confident you become the easier it gets.
  3. Don’t succumb to pressure: People may use guilt to change your mind. Nicely but firmly hold your ground. If someone calls you selfish, point out that it’s selfish to expect you to bend your schedule for their needs, without an angry tone and with a smile. Turn the guilt onto the person making demands.
  4. Don’t justify: Don’t defend why you can’t do something. Just say you can’t with conviction. Pay attention to how much, or little, other people explain when they say they can’t to you.
  5. Be firm in saying “no.” Don’t dance around it. “I’d love to help but…” Saying, “I can’t” tells them to ask someone else.

Lessons Learned

Consistency is crucial in order to send a clear message that a new dynamic is present. Remember that very little will change if you set a boundary and don’t follow it through. You are only responsible for your own feelings and it is important to remember that you cannot please everyone all of the time.

 Sinead Kane – The Kane Ability, Motivational Speaker

 

Sinead Kane  date 22.12.12Effortless daily discipline to move forward

One of the most popular questions I’m asked is “Sinead, what are your most important daily actions that you link with your success.” One of the basic first steps is to determine, write down and talk about what you do want, not what you don’t want. Be as specific as possible. Once you have clarified what you want, do the following each and every day.

Morning – Visualisation

As soon as you wake up in the morning, take about 5 minutes to focus your mind on your desires, goals and intentions. Visualise your goals as already being fulfilled. Spend 30 seconds to a minute on each of your core desires and goals.

During the day

  1. Change thoughts to feel better

Start paying attention to the many times during the day that you have emotional responses to other people, experiences, or your own thoughts. Pay special attention to when you feel disappointment, resentment, frustration or anger about your experiences and circumstances. Remember, it’s your feelings which are created by your thoughts, opinions, and beliefs that are creating your current circumstances. You must make a shift by changing your thoughts to ones that make you feel better. It is especially important to focus your thoughts and behaviours on things that cause you to feel joy.

  1. Time out to reflect

I like to take time out during each day to reflect on my goals. You can do this anywhere while you’re driving along in your car, while you’re walking along the street, while you’re in the gym working out. I think it is important to at least spend 10 minutes each day reflecting on our purpose. I believe each of us is born with a life purpose. Identifying, acknowledging and honoring this purpose is perhaps the most important action successful people take. They take the time to understand what they’re here to do, and then they pursue that with passion and enthusiasm. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, then just tune in to the signals around you. Looking toward others for help and guidance is helpful, but don’t forget to stay tuned in to yourself – your behaviour, attitude, likes and dislikes, and life experiences. Identify what’s working and what isn’t. If you need to, write it all down. You might be surprised by what you discover.

  1. Just ask

If you want something don’t be afraid to ask. It sounds simple, but the act of asking is actually very difficult for many of us.  The fear of rejection, unconfortableness, and embarrassment stop us.  The funny thing is that many times we shoot ourselves down before anyone else even has a chance. The truth is that even if your request results in a NO, you are actually no worse than you were before you started. However, mustering the courage to ask is only the first step.  The more specific you can be in your request the better. 

Evening – Have an Attitude of Gratitude

It is critical to take time each and every day to focus on what you are grateful for. Focus on all of the things in your life, most of which you take for granted, that you are grateful for – your health, your children, the nice weather, electricity, running water, your flower garden, your pets, your friends. No matter what your situation, there are always things to be grateful for.

Lesson Learned

You CANT always count on the economy, but you CAN always rely on yourself.

Remember, you have absolute control over three things in your life:

  • The thoughts you think
  • The images your visualise
  • The actions you take (including what you say to others)

When you make a commitment to take these simple basic actions each day, you’ll start to move forward, with confidence, in the direction of your dreams. Believe that they are not only possible, but that they are already in progress.

 Sinead Kane – The Kane Ability, Motivational Speaker

 

successTurning failure into success

Recently I read the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton who was a legendary Antarctic explorer. He had tried and failed repeatedly to reach the South Pole a century ago. He is best known for his horrific journey to lead the stranded crew of his ship, the Endurance, to safety after a failed attempt to cross Antarctica in 1914. Shackleton led his men in lifeboats across ice-clogged waters to South Georgia Island — where they then had to scale the island’s snow-capped mountains to reach the safety of a whaling station on the other side of the island. The expedition, while failing miserably to reach its goal, is most famous for the fact that Shackleton did not lose a single man, and in fact all of them returned in good physical and mental health. How did they survive? How did they all come back in good physical and mental health? When asked some years later, Lionel Greenstreet, the first officer, why they had survived and were so well when so many polar expeditions had ended in disaster, he replied: “Shackleton”.

Lessons Learnt

I think a lot of lessons can be learnt from him. Why? Well, his expedition to the South Pole has been described as a “successful failure.” The Shackleton story confirms the cliché that the journey is often greater than the destination, and that the camaraderie of fellow travellers is always more satisfying than the end prize.

Shackleton was forward thinking in realising the importance of exercise and relaxation. A careful schedule of mealtimes gave order to the day, exercise was incorporated into every day, and games and entertainment were organised every day to stave off boredom and to contribute to ‘teamwork’ and ‘teambuilding.’.He was described by a friend as a ‘Viking with a mother’s heart.’ Shackleton acknowledged that his way could be very feminine. He could be tough, but his soft touch contributed to crew harmony as he nursed men who fell sick in his own cabin, nursed egos, and because the crew felt valued order never broke down. Part of his success with men was that he gave men tasks they were interested in, and encouraged them to express themselves through their work. In the long Antarctic nights he had them write and perform verse, he held parties, and encouraged reading from a well-stocked library. It seems that he inspired loyalty because he wasn’t willing to ‘win at all costs’ and he believed you were only successful if you could win ‘honourably and splendidly.’

Failure

If you are dealing with failure and disappointments I recommend you use three steps to turn it into a success:

  1. Reframe – Try to look at the situation from different angles. You might ask those around you for honest feedback. Listen to what they have to say, take in the information and then look at the picture as a whole rather than focusing on one specific piece.
  2. Revise – While you are gaining a new perspective, be open to ideas for moving forward. For me the word revise is a nice way to give myself permission to let go of the failed goal Be willing to step back from anything that isn’t working in your life.
  3. Refocus – Once you have a new plan or at least an idea of how you wish to proceed, the most crucial thing you can do to overcome feeling like a failure is to embrace your new path and be focused. As hard as it may be you cant spend time second guessing yourself or replaying the pity. Of why it didn’t work ‘the other way.’ Ask yourself are you holding onto a failure or disappointment in your life? Why are you hanging onto it? Failure feels fresh even after many years but its important to let go to be able to refocus. By letting go of failure it allows you to take hold of a new path of exploration.

Sinead Kane – The Kane Ability, Motivational Speaker

 

J0209840421Are you looking for work? What is your current situation? Were you one of the thousands laid off over the last year? Whatever your current situation setting SMART goals will help you find a new job.

Goals

Everyone should have a wish list. It’s good for the human spirit to have goals. The trick to making a wish list is to keep most objectives reasonable and attainable. It’s all well and good wishing for winning the lottery numbers, but the chances of them ever coming up are remote to say the least. I generally stick to what I consider ‘reasonable goals’ to avoid disappointment. Setting goals is more than deciding what you want to do. That’s only the first step, like picking a destination on a map. To be more successful, you need to map out how you will reach your destination and figure out how long it will take you to get there. Unfortunately, there’s no Google Map – just hard work. Setting goals means creating a written plan that includes reasonable and measurable long-term and short-term objectives. It means setting SMART goals. Lots of people use the SMART acronym for goal setting. S.M.A.R.T. refers to goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Framed.

S.M.A.R.T.

Specific: Goals need to be something specific. Most of us have a ‘big picture’ idea of what we want to achieve. For example, “I will find a new job” or “I want to change careers.” That’s not detailed enough. Saying, “I will redo my CV this month” is more precise. Now you have something specific to achieve.

Measurable: Goals need to be measurable. For example, when you’re out of work it’s important to expand your network. But, “making new contacts” is an ambiguous statement. A clearer objective is “I will attend four networking events each month and connect with one person at each.” Or “I will update my linkedin profile and add one new contact each week.” Those are simple, concrete goals that you can measure at the end of the week.

Achievable: Goals need to be achievable. Looking for a job in this economy isn’t easy. One of the biggest problems, aside from finding a job, is keeping your moral up. Setting achievable short-term goals that move you toward your long-term goal of finding a job will help you from becoming discouraged. Setting a goal of finding a new job in one month, for example, might not be reasonable or achievable. However, applying to at least three companies each week is doable.

Realistic: Goals need to be realistic. It’s important to honestly evaluate yourself. Do you have the ability and commitment to make your dream come true? What if moving into a new career means going back to college? Can you work full-time and juggle classes in the evening?

Time Framed: Goals need to have a time frame. Having a set amount of time will give your goals structure. Some people spend a lot of time talking about what they want to do, someday. But, without an end date there is no sense of urgency, no reason to take any action today. Setting a date for your goals will help monitor your progress.

Lessons Learnt

What I have learnt from job hunting is that the first step to success is knowing where you want to go. The second step is having a plan to get there. Your long-term goal is your destination. Your short-term goals are your road map. Stick to your plan and you’ll be well on your way.

Sinead Kane – The Kane Ability, Motivational Speaker

RAD-120613-LSP_3-3542115Tools to advance your career

It would be great if there was a clear recipe that we could all follow to ensure a successful career path but as we all know there isn’t. Career advancement isn’t a straight forward or easy task. But by continuing to do great work and identifying factors that can impact on your goals will help put yourself on the right track. What things do you do everyday to advance your career? Here are my tips of what works for me:

  1. Decisions – Each day I try and make decisions that will be in furtherance to my goals rather than hinder them. Part of the challenge in advancing your career is making time to examine whether you are ready to take on a new and greater challenge. The other part is making the decision to pursue that dream. Ask yourself, do I want to advance? Am I ready to do so? What decisions will I take today to advance myself?
  2. Consistency – I have always believed that we should all spend at least at a minimum 30 minutes EVERY DAY to advance our careers whether it be the career that we are currently involved in or the career we aspire for the future. Taking a few minutes each day will help yield long terms results.
  3. Lists – I am a list person. I find lists a useful tool to get things done. There is a great feeling when I cross things off. It makes me feel productive.
  4. Reading– Each day I read something related to my industry namely law and I also make it a priority to read motivational quotes, articles, blogs etc. Reading is a great way of keeping up to date, positive and focused.
  5. Emails – There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t send an email. Each day I send at least two emails to touch base with different people. Keeping in contact with people is essential to helping yourself advance your career.
  6. Reflection – Each day I stop and reflect to myself about the things I have in my life. I try not to focus on the things I don’t have. I take time to appreciate small and large success this builds my confidence. Building your confidence and believing in yourself is essential to keep you motivated and focused.
  7. Mentor – No matter how great your industry, your network or your experience one of the most crucial tools to career advancement is having the right mentor by your side. There is a lot that you can learn from firsthand conversations that you won’t learn from textbooks and seminars. A great mentor can also help you figure out which new areas you can explore within your field and which skills you should be expanding upon. Mentors can also help you identify opportunities for advancement that you might overlook, guide you through challenging projects, and help you build relationships with other professionals.
  8. Connections – You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: it’s not always what you know but who. Relationships mean everything professionally and the people you’re connected to often are the people who are the best bet in helping you find a job. Don’t underestimate the power of meeting and staying close to people. Aspire each day to make a meaningful connection. Reach out to someone you admire or aspire to be like. It only takes a few minutes to email or ring them.
  9. Technology – Learn new technology. You can never go wrong with this one. Who knows, maybe you will end up writing a blog post some time or designing a website.
  10. Action – To advance in your career requires taking action. When you develop yourself on a regular basis your career and job will find you.
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