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Career Visualization

Editorial Team

We spent time over a holiday weekend creating a career vision dish for her desk. It took several hours to find all of the right words and put them all together, but the exercise allowed her to reflect on what she most wanted professionally in the New Year.

No, it’s not going to make her work any easier or solve the challenges any faster. But starting out in the right frame of mind – with a daily reminder of the attitude and values that matter most – is a key to short and long term success.

You’ll see some of her hopes below: from an end to feeling guilty when she occasionally has to leave her family to travel for work – especially since she knows she’s a great mom – to a promise to keep the joys (not the hardships) of work at the top of her mind. Tory hopes you’ll spend time this week to create your own career vision board – and send us a copy to post on to serve as a public reminder to you and an inspiration to everyone else.

Will an art project get you hired? No. But will the positive frame of mind each and every day get you one step closer to achieving your goals? Absolutely!

Get started now.

1) Write down 3 career goals, along with the adjectives that describe the attitudes and attributes you value.

2) Select an object to decorate. It should be something you can look at daily. I used a large glass dish. For less than a dollar you can buy a wooden door hanger or box at a craft store. You can also use poster board. The larger the object, the more time you’ll invest in creating the perfect finished product and the more your career vision board will reinforce your objectives for the year thereby helping you achieve your goals.

3) Buy Modge Podge craft glue or use watered-down Elmer’s glue. (Optional: Mix in a small amount of glitter for a fairy dust effect.) Grab a paintbrush too.

4) Cut out words, photos, sentences, quotes, designs and more from magazines, newspapers or other documents that speak to the points you listed in #1 above. You can also print similar stuff from the Internet. There’s no wrong word or wrong source for collecting materials.

5) Start gluing it all together. Since I used a glass dish, I attached the paper to the bottom side, which meant putting glue on the front of each image. If you’re using a box or poster board, you’ll put glue on the bottom of each image. Be patient as you fill in all blanks.

6) Put the finished object in a very prominent place where you’ll see it daily. Ideally it’ll go in a place where you’ll see it for a large chunk of your day such as on your desk or on your kitchen counter – you get the idea.

7) Invest just two minutes a day – come on, even the busiest among us can spare two minutes – holding your project and reflecting on one or two of its messages.

Send us a digital photo of your career vision board. Email it to [email protected] along with your name and we’ll post it on our site for everyone to enjoy.

View these Vision Boards and Get Inspired!

Adeline Driscoll
Founder, Wellness Coach
Pathways to Vibrant Health

Damaa Bell

Melissa Baker
GRACE Full Self, Inc.

I have achieved:

  • The scale on the bottom left
  • I have come to love my body
  • I believe that ‘what I think, I become’
  • I make time to find my inner peace
  • ‘Grow, lead, succeed’
  • ‘Sweet spirit’

Wanda Bun Bee
“I created my Purpose/Career using Quadrants as in ‘Feng Shui'”

Linda Gonzalez
Here is my art project for 2009 based on a water color painting I did some time ago. The theme is “Lucky Guards In”.I picture it in a peaceful place.

Danielle M.
-Beauty does not make women, women make beauty.

Melissa B.
-I want to be that support that women need to achieve their dreams.
This is one of the many ways that I can make a powerful difference. This reminds me that nothing is even given to me. I, myself, have to pursue, make and intend for my happiness and success to become realities.

Everything will come together by placing my total faith and trust in God.

Nicole F.

Together, we can be a force for nature; We share the earth, we share the future. We can help to save our pets.
-Becky L.

My mom has always taught me that it doesn’t matter what you do or what you are going through, or what other people are going through, always remember to have compassion for other people. Always keep your head up!
-Cara G.

Having faith, my kids and the support from my mother inspires me to want to take control of my life and better myself. I have HOPE!!!
-Quida L.

I need to make a change and find a career that I can enjoy. I love fabrics and colors, why not make a career out of it. I know I can do better and stick to my dreams. I have to prove to my kids, and especially myself, that whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve it!
-Jessica T.

Your Focus

If you’re just starting your job search, there is a lot of soul-searching to do. If you’ve been looking for several months and nothing’s clicking, this is a good time to rethink your approach, which requires the same kind of self-assessment. Ultimately, knowing what your skills are and determining exactly what you want to do will make all the difference in your job search because you won’t be wasting precious time going after jobs that just aren’t for you.

When we ask recruiters at our career fairs to share the biggest mistake they see in job seekers, their answer is “lack of focus.” While being flexible is fantastic, it’s easy to blur that line with indecision. Recruiters are never impressed by someone who says they’ll take anything, that they just want a job. It’s a sign of desperation. Recruiters are most impressed by a potential candidate who comes in with a clear objective and focus. They may secretly have 18 other career possibilities they’re pursuing, but they mask it when talking to each employer.

The best way to determine what your interests are is to write them down. Spell out your wishes on paper. What is your dream job at this moment? (It’s okay to have a few possibilities.) Sit down with a highlighter and the Sunday “Help Wanted” section of your local newspaper and mark all of the jobs, companies, and position descriptions that hold any interest for you, even if you are not qualified for them. Go with your gut – mark even the smallest word or phrase that speaks to you. Then make a list of everything you’ve highlighted and search for patterns and repetitions, answering these questions:

  • What position titles attract you?
  • What industries attract you?
  • What size company are you naturally drawn to?

Do some serious soul-searching to assess your genuine strengths and weaknesses.

  • What do you consider to be your biggest strengths?
  • What are your biggest weaknesses?
  • What developmental opportunities might help you overcome those weaknesses?
  • What skills are you most proud of?
  • What skills would you most like to develop in your next position?
  • How can you add value to an organization?

Ask at least five people who know you well what specific jobs, industries or companies they envision when they think of you. Jot down the responses and then look for overall themes. You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself. If your mom always says you could sell ice to the Eskimos, then maybe you should consider a career in sales. If pals constantly call you for advice when they are shopping for the perfect gift, you might think about being a buyer or merchandiser for a retail store.

Figuring out what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want. Answer these questions to assess what tasks, job functions and companies you want to avoid.

  • What were your least favorite aspects of the jobs you’ve had?
  • What were your least favorite subjects at school?
  • What tasks would you want to avoid doing at all costs?

Are you an individual who can multitask and one who enjoys being in the eye of a tornado, or do you prefer a calm environment doing one thing at a time in a predictable manner? In what environments (large, small, rural, urban, loud, quiet) do you produce your best work and feel the happiest?

Once you’ve developed a better sense of what you like and don’t like, make a list of the specific careers you’d like to explore. Include the dream job(s) you listed at the beginning of this exercise, and then add new ones you’ve discovered through the process. Try to put the jobs in order of your interest level, given what you know about them already. Then use this list, and all of the above activities, as a guideline for resume writing, networking, and interviewing.