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Dealing with Change

Here is a list of six principles to help you cope with change:
  1. Be open to change – don't hold on to what you may lose as a result of the change; look instead at the positive things that you will gain.
  2. Be positive and active – be prepared to make things happen.
  3. Harness your feelings – use your emotions and the energy that comes from them to positive effect.
  4. Be realistic – keep your feet on the ground and deal with the facts.
  5. See alternatives – there is always more than one way to get to where you want to be.
  6. Like yourself – pay attention to your positive qualities and realise that you have a great deal to offer.
Understanding yourself
You need to have a clear picture of the experiences, people and events that have shaped your life and moulded your personality. This will help you to pinpoint your skills and find a starting point for planning change. Essentially, understanding yourself involves:
  • Assessing your skills and experience: we have all acquired skills in every area of our lives – not just in paid work – and it's often hard to recognise the valuable experience that we have gained from being involved in leisure activities, caring for children and so on.
  • Mapping your work values: our values are the beliefs and feelings that are important to us. They are central to the satisfaction we derive from work. Clarifying our values helps us to find better ways of realising them, both in our jobs and in our lives outside work.
  • Identifying your interests: the more interested you are in something, then the easier it is to work at it. You may never have sat down and considered what your deepest interests are, what you really like doing and want to do, but there is no reason why you should not look for work which satisfies these.
Exploring the opportunities
Next you need to think about the occupations and jobs available in the market and whether they are right for you. It is important to recognise that certain sectors of the commercial and industrial world are shrinking, whilst others are growing. Current growth areas include: information technology, training, tourism, leisure, health and social care, business services and security.

There are a number of things you can do to get a general overview of the kinds of opportunities available, including reading the business sections of newspapers, scanning the sits vac, browsing in a careers library, talking to friends and business contacts, looking through the trade journals and surfing the internet.

Identify suitable options
While finding out what opportunities are available, it is also vital to be able to recognise suitable openings when they arise. Again there are a number of strategies open to you:
  • Registering with recruitment agencies
  • Making speculative applications
  • Searching for vacancies on employers' own sites
  • Looking in national and local newspapers
Remember that national newspapers often specialise in advertising for certain vacancies on particular days. For example, the Guardian does Education on a Tuesday and the Times offers computing and secretarial on a Wednesday. The Telegraph has a special jobs supplement every Thursday.

Job hunting has been made a lot easier by the Internet because nearly all the places that advertise in the traditional media advertise on the web too. The hidden jobs, the vacancies that are never advertised, are easier to find on the web and in newsgroups. Many employers use their sites to encourage you to apply 'just in case' and will keep your application on file.

Develop your skills
There are many ways in which you can develop your skills and experience in order to enhance your job applications. Consider the following:
  • Get involved in volunteer work
  • Register for casual or temporary employment
  • Enrol for further study or training
  • Open or distance learning
  • Online learning
Instead of just waiting for things to happen, take the initiative and choose which way you want to go. And taking this important first step can help to give you the extra confidence to do whatever is necessary to achieve your ambitions.