If you’re thinking about a major career change in the New Year, you’re not alone. The number of Britons looking for a new job soars by up to 64 per cent in January. But with so many fighting for so few positions, what’s the best way to land the role you actually want? To mark this week’s publication of his new book, Hotlifestyle, the entrepreneur and self-help guru Paul McQueen exclusively shares his five essential tips about getting ahead in 2019.

At the beginning of the year, how many of you are thinking about changing your job? Are you fed up with your boss and want to escape? Enjoying your workplace can definitely be considered part of living a Hotlifestyle but has all the fun gone out of it.

Something like half the people working right now are actively searching for something better. They probably think the grass is greener on the other side but, applying elsewhere for a similar job to simply get away from their current employer might not be the best way forward. Do you really think you will improve your lot when you consider half of the workforce are not happy in their current position? You will most likely be replacing someone who wasn’t happy. (People who are happy tend to stay). What are your chances of making a better go of it than the previous person?

1. Understand exactly what it is making you unhappy. There are a multitude of reasons why you might want to quit your current job. Make a list of those reasons you want to leave, so you know exactly why you are taking this drastic step. Make a second list of why you should stay, which could outweigh the first list. A job should be thought of like a marriage, it has to be worked on, and it just might be that your dream job is closer than you think without moving to another company. Looking for scope within your current employment should be the first consideration. When the cons outweigh the pros and you feel there is no other option other than leaving, then start planning your career move.

2. Rethink your strategy. We all know the phrase, “Choose a job that you’re passionate about and you will never have to work.” It might not feel like work when you’re engaged in something you love doing but, take it from me, you will put in more hours and effort when you’re following your passion. Maybe it’s time to rethink how you’re pursuing your career and plan a little further ahead than pondering how to get away from your current employer. Don’t be too hasty, bide your time, because you should make it the year to pursue your Hotlifestyle and find your dream job!

3. What could you become good at? Asking this question will open you up for more ideas than simply thinking about what you are good at doing today. The job market is buoyant with new opportunities opening up all of the time. A recent report from The World Economic Forum predicts that there will be an increase of available jobs in the future in every industry except production which will become mostly automated. They also predict that there will be job titles of positions available that don’t even exist today. So, the job market is looking bright for those who are prepared to keep learning and ensure that their skill set stays relevant.

Let’s go back to the list of reasons you might want to stay with your current employer. There will be things on that list that you enjoy doing. Expand the list by asking friends and family what type of work they think you might be suited to. It just might introduce you to new ideas that you have never thought about.

How can you know what you would enjoy doing if you’ve never done it?

If you really don’t like the work or the industry you are currently in then, changing tack half way through your career can be a challenge. Prospective employers want to see continuity in your CV and experience in the arena. How can you use what you have learned so far as a basis leading to your dream job? The only way you will find out what work you could enjoy doing is to get out there and try it. After you have built your list of potential jobs, place them in order of preference. Find ways to experiment trying out jobs on your list. If your finances allow it, you could approach a temp agency while you are still employed and see if they could get you off in the right direction. One problem with agencies is that they will often want to push you further in the direction that you have been going in during the last few years. With a little enthusiasm and persuasion though they can be guided to thinking out of the box.

4. No one said it was going to be easy. Pursuing your dream job will take some planning and effort on your part. The rewards can be enormous. It is my experience that when you really have a passion for your work you readily become an expert, and experts are sort after people.

5. Stop looking for excuses. If you don’t have the qualifications or skill set to be considered for a position. Make the best investment ever - that is investing in yourself. Train and educate yourself, become fully prepared to master your dream job with ease. Think of ways to make an impact on people working in the industry that interests you. Use social media platforms to make influential friends in companies that you see yourself working in. Find your vocation by experimentation to boldly go forward. When you find what you really want to do then no put down, no hardship and no excuse should get in your way.

Paul McQueen is a celebrated entrepreneur and self-help expert who has worked across Europe in publishing and broadcast advertising. His new book, Hotlifestyle: Essential Basics (Graystone LA Ltd), aims to redress the work-life balance and inspire readers to pursue a ‘hot life style’ of their own through new life skills and perspectives. It also offers practical advice about all areas of personal development including wealth, careers, communication, relationships, fitness and wellbeing. Hotlifestyle: Essential Basics is out now on Amazon UK, priced £12.99 in paperback and £8.99 in eBook format. For further information visit www.hotlifestyle.info/hl

Paul McQueen Q&A

As you might imagine, the entrepreneur Paul McQueen knows a thing or two about jobs. In this exclusive Q&A for Female First, we quiz the celebrated self-help guru about making that dream career move and redressing the dreaded work-life balance.

Entrepreneurs tend to embrace risk whereas the average Joe tries to avoid it. Is this why so few people who dream of finding a new job fail to make the move? What are the other reasons why many remain in a career they loathe?

Spending a third of your life doing something you dislike is not usually a long-term goal, but I bet the list of reasons you stay is not a short one. It’s often a case of better the devil you know, hey!

Consider this; the drudgery of your job can lead to chronic stress. Chronic stress should not be taken lightly; it’s a long-term condition that can cause strokes, heart attacks or violent outbursts. Once you are entrenched in this situation it feels impossible to break free. This is an extreme scenario which is surprisingly common and difficult to get out of.

Not everyone is an entrepreneur and changing jobs can be scary for some. Make it your job to find the job which will break you from this cycle. The first place to start is preparing yourself.

It’s been said that the majority of people who do quit the rat race to pursue their dreams later regret their decision. How can this be avoided?

All entrepreneurs experience failure, it’s part of the course. Your attitude, and the way you deal with it, makes the difference. Some people give up too easily when confronted with problems. I am a real advocate for becoming self-employed, so dealing with failure is covered in the book.

I would never suggest packing in your job to go gung-ho into any venture. Before you leave your current job, do proper research, and be realistic about the prospects for success. Not every idea you have will be a winner, so get feedback from family and friends about your venture before quitting your job. Prepare well and prepare for failure. Failure is an important part of anyone’s success.

A new job may bring personal happiness, but it may also reduce your income and long-term financial freedom. What’s most important – paying the bills in a job we despise or struggling with the rent while living the good life?

The answer to this will differ from person to person depending on their personal situation and priorities. You could also rephrase this to, ‘what is preferable: living with chronic stress and stomach ulcers, risking a heart attack, or getting up motivated each day to become the very best at what you do?’ It might just be, in the early stages, that your income will be less. You can also view it as an investment in yourself. Income is directly related to how much value you add to anything. The more value you add, the more you will earn!

We all want to work less and earn more, but for most people finding that balance can be an insurmountable challenge. What are your top tips about redressing the work-life balance?

Money is not always the top motivating factor when it comes to work. It will be determined by your priorities. Set clear priorities and set goals that will achieve them. There may be times in your life when you have to work more in order to bring in extra cash. That’s all part of life. Creating wealth will open up opportunities. Can you afford a work-life balance? If you’re not managing your bills then the luxury of work-life balance may not be an option, if it means you lie awake at night wondering how to make ends meet. If you want to live a Hotlifestyle then you will have to work at it. You are, where you are today because of the choices you have made. Start making better choices.

In your experience, is it ever too late to change jobs or to seek third-party advice from a qualified careers consultant?

At the age of 40 a big-name job agency told me that I would never be employed ever again. 20 years later I can tell you that they were completely wrong. I get the feeling, though, that employers are looking for someone aged 20 with 40 years’ experience and prepared to work for peanuts. Age discrimination is a real issue in the workplace. If you have a skill set that is sought after, and you can talk to the decision maker directly, then you have a better chance than most at getting an interview. Social media allows us to contact managers that only a few years ago was impossible. It certainly does become increasingly more difficult with age to change companies but going at it the right way may increase your chances.

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