By Louise Loxton - Head of Department, Employer Relationships

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Plan C

Plan ‘C’ – why flexibility is key on your journey to employability

In the past, people chose a career, studied accordingly, and then stuck with that profession (or with the same employer) for most of their working lives. Today, things are more dynamic and career paths are more like ‘crazy paving’ than being ‘set in stone’.

Your skills and abilities can lead you to take different routes and consider roles you hadn’t thought of before. Growth is a good thing and you need to embrace the possibilities that present themselves. So, in this ever-changing employability landscape, here’s what you need to be ready for Plan ‘C’:

Cultivate a growth mindset

Having a growth mindset (the belief that you are in control of your own ability, and can learn and improve) is key. Combine this with hard work, effort, and persistence and you’ll have all the tools you need to find the right job and employer for you. Seek opportunities to attend business networking events like speed networking with local employers run by your college or local authority. Speak to your Careers Advisor about potential roles in the sector you are interested in. Do as much work experience as you can – this is a brilliant way to find out if the job you are considering really is for you. You’ll find out what a typical week looks like and experience the reality of a busy office, or construction site for example. This may well open your eyes and you can see what further skills you might need to succeed in that area, or change tack altogether if the job isn’t for you.

Get rid of limiting beliefs

A belief is just a thought you continue to think. For this reason, it can be changed. Think carefully about the language you use; are you blocking your success by saying “No one in my family has ever…gone to university / worked in a creative job / pursued a career in music / followed their dreams…?" If so, change this to “I’m going to be the first in my family to…” Use words that make you feel empowered when you talk about the future, rather than holding yourself back.

Don’t indulge limiting thoughts. Believe you can, and you will.

Use your support network

If you want to be more flexible in your career planning, then use your support crew to help you. Discuss your plans with a Careers Advisor. Find a mentor (most Colleges and HE institutions offer mentoring programmes). Contact your Employability & Partnership Team to discuss what kind of work placement you are looking for. Our article on building lasting working relationships will help you get the most from your support crew.

Leave your comfort zone

If all this seems a bit daunting, practise leaving your so-called ‘comfort zone’ as often as you can. This might mean taking on a different role to the one you usually take within a team, or within a class exercise at college. If you’re normally a team member, look for the chance to lead or create something yourself. Find a networking group to join and go along to a meeting on your own – this is a great way to practise your communication skills if you’re nervous about speaking to people for the first time, or in interview situations.  

Career paths are not linear anymore, so steer towards what you want, but don’t be afraid to change course as you navigate towards your employability goals.

Remain flexible. Life is ever-changing.