Careers Success


Realistic Expectations
It's not difficult to get work; it's just sometimes difficult to get the type of work you want.

Some people have very set ideas about the job they want, others are really undecided. The first step in getting a job is the same for both types. In fact anyone of any age, sex or level of skill needs to take the same first step:

The first step in getting a job is to develop a REALISTIC ATTITUDE! Realistic goals are based on a sound understanding of what constitutes a successful career for that individual, of one’s strengths and weakness and current marketplace trends, and of likely changes to which one must adapt. Because very few people begin in the same job they want to finish in, a career must be realistically seen as something that evolves or develops. You will probably not begin in an ideal position, but with careful planning, you can probably improve your position in your career as time goes by.


• Don't expect to start at the top;
• Don't expect to like everything about your job at first;
• Be prepared to make the best of your situation and maintain a positive attitude;
• Be prepared to accept any job in your field at first if you cannot get your ideal job, or any job at all if you cannot get a job in your chosen field. If you are in employment, even though not in your chosen field, you are developing your career further than you would be if unemployed (or not studying).

A Range of Options
There are thousands of options open to anyone looking for a job. The more options you identify and the more carefully you evaluate them according to reasonable criteria, the more likely you are to make good choices.

The first thing to remember is that it is always better to be working than not, irrespective of what type of job you are in. For one thing, research shows that it is easier to get a better job while you are employed. Also, people often get good jobs because of work experience which might seem irrelevant at the time, but which proves to be valuable to the prospective employer. . And it’s the employers’ attitude that matters most to a job seeker.

Consider the following scenarios. 1. A young man who graduated with a business diploma 12 months earlier is employed as a manager or supervisor because he spent the previous year mowing lawns, and delivering leaflets to letterboxes for a local supermarket. The boss has judged this young man as having good motivation because he worked at anything he could find while looking for a job. Other applicants for the position had the same diploma, but they sat at home waiting for replies to applications for the ‘right’ jobs. 2. A middle aged woman who has been on unemployment benefits for 6 months has been doing voluntary work at the local hospital and community centre. She applies for a job as a sales assistant in a shop, along with a lot of other unemployed people. She gets the job because her volunteer work shows the employer that she has strength of character and motivation.

Other options are listed below. Until an individual has weighed each of them, she or he really is limiting the available choices. However, all option should be weighed according to measurable criteria. Examples of criteria might be:

• must allow me to pay my fixed and living expenses;
• must require no more than ½ hr travel each way (because of family commitments;
• must allow me to drop off and pick up my children from school;
• must be a respectful, professional environment;
• must allow me to develop my computer skills on the job.

Persistence (Staying in the game)
The lesson of the above examples is that it is essential to be seen to be working. If you don't have a job, work anyway, even if you don't get paid!!! By doing this, you will have a far better chance of getting work when a possible job comes along.

Here are just a few ways you can stay in the careers game when you do not have a job:

• Do voluntary work for charitable or government organization:
You can approach churches, sporting clubs, recreation or community centres, hospitals, old age homes, schools, local councils, conservation groups, clubs and societies etc. They will not only provide you with new learning and work experiences, they will also help you develop a responsible working attitude and self-confidence. Your contribution will be appreciated, and will often result in excellent references for your resume.

• Start a Business
Keep it simple and basic. You don't need to invest money to start a business from home. At first, stick with things you can do without too much fuss or expense, such as washing cars, gardening, cleaning windows, washing dogs, cleaning shoes, labouring, babysitting, sewing, etc.

For example, an unemployed girl wrote a brief note 100 times on pieces of paper and dropped them in letterboxes around her locality. The note read:
WORK WANTED - 18 year old not afraid of hard work!
Washing cars, Sweeping Paths, Cleaning windows, Weeding the garden, Babysitting etc.
I am available any time, any day. Reasonable rates. Phone : 333 333 Jane
Believe it or not, people have done this and it has worked well. To ensure success, offer a price or a service which is better than they are likely to find elsewhere, or offer something different.

• Create something and work ‘on speculation’
To work ‘on speculation’ (on spec) is to create a product then try to sell it without going through he processes of research and market analysis to gauge the feasibility of your business. It means to speculate on marketplace interest of your product.

For example, if you have artistic skill, you might create a series of paintings and put them up for sale. If you are good at a craft, make some items and place them in craft shops on a sale or return basis; many craft shops sell goods this way. If you can write, you might start writing a book, or you might write magazine articles and submit them to a publisher "on spec". If accepted, you may get paid, or at least this might open doors for future work opportunities.

You may succeed in a speculative enterprise like this, or you may not. Many other factors such as local economy, need or desire for your product, or fashion can affect the results. However, many successful careers have been built in just this way. A famous clothing company in Queensland Australia began in this way almost by accident. A mother designed a label and attached it to simple Tee shirts and shorts for her son. The labels were soon in demand from parents of schoolmates, and the hugely successful Billabong clothing company was born.

• Study
If you cannot find work, or do not feel prepared to seek work, make yourself more employable. Learn new skills, and develop transferable skills. You can enrol in a course and study formally if you have the money for the fees (or can obtain subsidy).

If you don't have the money, you can still embark upon an informal study program either using your local library or setting yourself a project to research. For example, one unemployed person decided to draw and describe all of the plants which grow naturally in her local area. This helped her develop a reputation as a plant expert which then led to eventual job opportunities.

While these choices might not provide job security, they greatly increase the prospects of employment in three ways:
1. They show potential employers that you are motivated
2. They develop knowledge, skills and life experiences which are useful in the workplace, making you more attractive to employers.
3. They put you in touch with people who might connect you with work opportunities.

It is important for careers counsellors to be aware of the pitfalls and advantages of many different careers. If they don’t know a specific course, they need to know where to go to obtain that information.