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Take Charge of Your Career

6 Steps to Realizing Your Dream Job!

Deciding what to do with your professional life is one of the most important decisions you will make. Don't expect to get it right the first time! Today, many men and women appear to "have it all." Inside, however, they are desperately unfulfilled and can no longer ignore how they feel.

If you find yourself dreading Monday and no longer enjoying the work that you do, it's time to take charge of your career. Fortunately, in today's work environment, you have the freedom and opportunity to change your mind and change your career! Here are the steps you can begin now to create your dream job.

Step 1 - Discover Your Passion and Purpose

Begin by asking yourself, "Why am I doing what I am doing?" If your answer is something other than, "It brings me joy and satisfaction!" it's time to start identifying what you can do to begin a more rewarding career.

Everyone has special talents and skills they enjoy and in which they excel. What are yours? Take time to look closer at what you have to offer and how you can bring it to the work place. Aristotle said: "Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation."

"Do Work You Love"

Step 2 - Invest in Yourself

Once you've identified your passion and purpose, determine what you need to do to translate that desire into an ideal job. Many elements go into making your new career a success - planning, preparation, education, networking and action. This will require an investment in time and energy in each of these areas to create your success.

Begin by developing a career plan. While no plan is cast in stone, the process of creating and writing it down will give you focus. Evaluate your current experience and determine what new skills, education or resources will be necessary. Create your own "career portfolio" which identifies and documents your skills, talents, and accomplishments. Expand your portfolio with those elements that are necessary to increase your ability to do what you love, provide more flexibility and earn more money.

When developing your plan here are a few things to consider: create ways to become more visible, learn the corporate culture, experience different positions/departments to learn all aspects of your desired business, master new skills, network and find a mentor.

To become a master in your chosen career, think of what you need to learn, experience and to change about yourself to make it happen.

"You Are Worth the Investment"

Step 3 - Brand You

Branding is the process by which a product or company sets itself apart from the crowd and establishes customer loyalty. It is one of today's most powerful industry tools. It is a powerful tool for you to use as well. Do you know how your co-workers, boss, and colleagues perceive you?

You are your own most valuable product. It is up to you to create your image and value and then market your uniqueness to your ideal audience. Knowing your passion and purpose will help you determine how you want to be recognized. Next, look at what makes you different and then develop your own personal brand, including mission statement, tag line and title.

Developing a personal brand and practicing brand strategy for yourself will invite people to respond to you as you want them to and will create positive associations when they hear your name. Branding is about having a strong influence over how you're perceived.

Your personal brand also includes your professional presence. First impressions are lasting impressions. According to a study done by the University of Connecticut, first impressions turn out to be 67 percent accurate. Are you up to par on business behavior and etiquette? Now is the time to dress the part. Check to ensure your wardrobe, hairstyle and accessories are ready for your impending success.

"Be Uniquely YOU!"

Step 4 - Develop the Art of Self-Promotion

It is not necessary to wait for others to notice your hard work and acknowledge your contributions. Many women find self-promotion difficult, however, it is critical to your success in landing your dream job. Volunteer for special projects. Be the spokesperson for your team. Be accessible by coming early and staying late at corporate events and most importantly, learn the joys of effective networking.

Self-promotion means building relationships and establishing your reputation. It requires learning how to exchange information and services. An effective way is to network with other women who are already doing what you want to do. Focus on what you can learn from people you meet and how you can support them.

"Toot Your Own Horn"

Step 5 - Select the Right Work Environment

Be smart about selecting the company for your dream job since it will have a large impact on your finances, your daily work environment and your success. Identify companies that appreciate your values and what you have to offer. Especially for women, find out their attitude on balancing work and family. Identify how many women occupy senior management positions and serve on their boards. Study, investigate, and ask questions of women who work at the companies in which you have interest.

When you select a company this way, you will find yourself in a synergistic relationship in which your skills, talents, and ambition are in alignment with the company's philosophy and environment.

"Synergize With Your Workplace"

Step 6 - Create a Support System

Shave years off the steep learning curve with the help of a support system. In realizing your dream job you will need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Visualize opportunity where others see only risk. It will be much easier when you have a band of cheerleaders cheering you on.

Choose people you can count on. Be sure to include family, friends, people with close ties in your professional world and experts who will help bring out your best. They will become part of your team because they will cushion you from negative influences, give you honest feedback, share their experiences and most importantly, want you to succeed.

Hiring a Coach is another excellent way to get the information, resources and feedback you need to make sure you are taking the right steps. Coaching is a professional relationship with someone who accepts nothing but your best and who will advise you, guide you and encourage you to go beyond self-imposed limitations and realize your full potential.

If you no longer love what you do it's time to move on. Take the next step in your career. Remember that you have a choice. Choice is power. Knowing that you can choose your path carries with it responsibility. The key is to take charge and begin.

Kristi Lucariello, is Today's Professional Women's Coach. She is President of Performance In Practice, a coaching, education and consulting company dedicated to helping women achieve success in their business and personal lives. For more information about the services she provides visit her website at www.PerformanceInPractice.com. Kristi can be reached by email at CoachKristi@PerformanceInPractice or by telephone at 770.237.5881.