You may have entered 2024 full of ambition, with a list of career resolutions for the new year: creating a better work-life balance, say, or nailing public speaking. But what if, when January dawned, you didn’t feel energised at all – rather, a bit flat and lost when it came to your career?
If this sounds like you, rest assured that you aren’t alone: after all, there’s a reason why January is the most popular month to apply for a new job. “People who are at a crossroads or simply not satisfied with where they are in their career can find it really difficult to know which direction to move in,” says Jo Glynn-Smith, career coach and Bazaar’s resident expert. The solution may not, however, be looking for a new job altogether – instead, you might want to try a career audit.
While we might be familiar with the idea of casting a careful eye (and consequently conducting a comprehensive overhaul) over everything from our finances to our wardrobes, doing so with your career is a less common practice. But, it can be invaluable, says Glynn-Smith. “An audit can provide you with some self-awareness, so that hopefully, you get some clarity about where you are now, what you want more of, and what you might need to address in order to get it.”
If you’ve decided a career audit is for you, what’s the best way to get started? LinkedIn recommends doing a ‘SWOT’ (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis in relation to your goals – identifying what you’re good at, what you need to work on, external factors that could enhance your prospects, and negatives that could hinder your progress. You could also think about working on an inventory of your key skills and interests (and seeing where the two converge) and setting clear goals that are easy to track.
Glynn-Smith believes in simplifying this process, and has created her own career audit tool to do just that. A downloadable PDF self-assessment, it takes around an hour to complete and is designed to help you to take stock, identify opportunities, pin-point development areas and guide you through creating a plan of action that really works. “It was inspired by hundreds of hours of coaching experience and working with people who want more from their careers,” she says. “It’s designed for professionals who want to take a more active role in their career development – and, ultimately, their goals – outside what their companies may offer.”
At just £35, the tool is much more affordable than one-to-one coaching sessions, but Glynn-Smith also offers a one-hour follow-up session at a reduced cost if you want to work through your ideas with a professional. “Self-awareness is key to growth and leadership, and ultimately happiness and success,” she says. “We fall into a job because we did something at university, and then that became our career – but we don’t often stop to ask ourselves whether this is really aligned to our strengths, skills or values. So many people reach a point where they recognise that the career path they are on is no longer serving them, or bringing them the fulfilment that it once did. This is where a career audit comes in, to get you back on track.”
So, if you’re feeling more adrift than you are inspired as you head into the office this week, consider a career audit – it might just be the key to turning your work life around.
Jo Glynn-Smith's career audit tool is available to download here, with 20 per cent off for Bazaar readers for a limited time using the code BAZAAR20.
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