Anyone who has faced the challenge of embarking upon a new career knows how important it is to have someone cheering you on and guiding you in developing effective strategies. In this book, seasoned career counselor and coach Halimah Bellows offers you the tools for becoming your own career champion. With empathy and enthusiasm, she will inspire you to delve deeply and honestly into your experience to discover the career path that is right for you. Aimed toward those struggling to choose a college major, those making mid-life career changes and even retirees seeking new careers, Champion Your Career uniquely addresses the major concerns, methodologies and plans of action applicable in the 21st century for a new generation of career seekers, in a new economy, and in a quickly-changing marketplace. The resource listings are current and include websites, blogs, and forums for the latest career trends in a given geographic or demographic area.Career development is a process. The strategies presented in Champion Your Career can be used throughout your working life. It's never to late to find a rewarding, fulfilling career.
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About the Author
In her life as an educator, a career counselor and a coach, Halimah Bellows has been able to marry her fascination with people's stories with her deep interest in the world of work. After completing her undergraduate studies in Social Science and Education at New York University, she went on to earn an MA in English Language Teaching at the University of Exeter in England and taught English as a Second Language in England and Indonesia. Returning to the United States, she earned her MS in Counseling Psychology at San Francisco State University and received intensive Certified Coach Training at The Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael, California and Retirement Options in St. Louis, Missouri, after which she became a Certified Retirement and Professional Coach. She has earned graduate certificates in Training Systems Development and Educational Drama, holds Washington and California Community College Teaching and Counseling Credentials and is a Certified Dependable Strengths Articulation Process Facilitator. For more than 20 years, she has been helping her clients champion their careers and find their ideal jobs. She is a seasoned workshop presenter and group facilitator and has led many seminars and retreats for a variety of educational institutions, religious groups, nonprofit organizations and corporations. She is the creator of CAREER QUEST CARDS ©TM, a practical, portable career-building tool providing a distillation of 30 key career-coaching exercises. She has appeared as a guest on a number of local radio talk shows in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to assisting people through career transitions and supporting retirees to "retire with fire," she also focuses on helping couples and business partnerships build powerful intentional relationships as well as empowering artists, entrepreneurs and professionals to develop their businesses and achieve their dreams.
Read an Excerpt
FOCUS ON YOUR FUTURE
I remember standing in the cafeteria line at school when I was nine years old when, occasionally, other children would come up and talk to me and tell me their stories. I didn't ask them to; I was just standing there, waiting in line for my food. They would start telling me everything about themselves or what their problems were, and I would respond with something like, "Wow, I can hear you've had a really hard time," or, "I hear that you're in a lot of pain," or something like that. And then they would talk some more.
I think I just had this gift, a natural ability that drew others to come and talk to me and to tell me their problems. Somehow they knew I would listen and that I would be non-judgmental. This natural ability followed me the rest of my life in the careers that I have chosen — as an educator, career counselor, and coach. I have always wanted to listen to and be of service to others.
People have always fascinated me and the world of work fascinates me as well. By marrying the two as a career counselor/coach, I bring together my innate abilities and passions and the skills that have naturally flowed from me since I was a child.
This experience has given me the special joy that comes from championing the causes of other people and providing support that can help them discover new aspects of themselves, while watching them expand and develop. Life is full of obstacles and there are times when we all need someone to champion us; to be in our corner to cheer us on and guide us in finding effective solutions to our problems. Sometimes, however, we have to do that ourselves.
Become Your Own Career Champion
This book is designed to help you understand that you have the power to be your own champion. You can create your own positive perspective with the messages you play in your inner dialogue and then manifest those messages in the material world. You can do this for yourself. Do not allow other people to tell you, "Don't do this" or "You shouldn't do that" or "This is not good enough." Instead, you can say, "I know what works for me. I can make my own life and I can champion my career. I can make it happen for myself. I can be successful at whatever vocation I choose."
As you move through this process you will see that when you show up to work, you get to decide how your situation is going to be. There are no victims in the career development ladder unless you choose to be one. The inner voice that says, "I have to get a job," gradually shifts to be more about, "I want to do something that feels good to me, something that serves me. I want to be in an environment that's nurturing and productive."
Career Development Theory
The theory of career development has not changed over the many years I have been doing this work. To answer the question "What career is right for you?" there are three important answers to seek out:
1. What are your interests? What do you love to do?
2. What are your values — professional as well as personal?
3. What are your skills and talents?
All of the career tests, assessments and services are designed to determine this fundamental information.
Defining Your Interests
One way to develop a strategy for finding work that meets your fundamental goals is to take a very close look at where your interests lie. To help define them, you can try this assessment developed by Richard Bowles, the author of the popular What Color Is Your Parachute? It's based on the Holland Code, which was created by John Holland and is the basis for such governmental resources as the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
The Holland Code describes a process by which all people and all jobs can be divided into six distinct categories. The model is drawn as a hexagon with the categories placed in a specific order. Beginning with the top and continuing in a clockwise pattern, the six categories are:
1. Realistic: Athletes and mechanical people who prefer to work with objects, plants or animals, or like to be outdoors.
2. Investigative: Scientists, people who like to observe, analyze and solve problems.
3. Artistic: Artists and musicians, innovative, creative and those who like unstructured environments.
4. Social: People who work with people; teachers, guides, counselors. They care and they are very good with words.
5. Enterprising: Managers, influencers, persuaders, lawyers.
6. Conventional: People who like to work with data in a systematic way. They are numerical, have clerical ability, and pay attention to detail.
This exercise allows us to understand our work preferences based on the six categories. The exercise begins as you imagine that you are at a party where people from these six categories are grouped together around the room. Notice which group you are drawn to join first. Imagine spending time with these people and see how that feels. Now see which group you would be drawn to next and imagine spending time with them. Repeat one more time so that you have chosen the three groups you were most attracted to.
Now you have a three-letter code based on the first letter of each group (in the order you chose them). Your code might be R-I-A, A-S-C, I-E-C, or any of the other possibilities. We seek people like us. If you are an entrepreneurial type, you are probably going to want to spend more of your time in that kind of environment and with those kinds of people. Careers work the same way. So once you determine your code, you can research the industries, jobs, companies and people that are associated with your code and with each category. This book will show you how to do this research.
Obviously, this is a very simplified version of the assessment process but it is definitely a way to get started. This is a self-directed assessment and there are no right or wrong answers. Keep in mind, however, that the categories that are right next to each other in the hexagon are most compatible. It is going to be easier and more straightforward to find a career that marries two or all three of them. With two types on the opposite ends of the hexagon, such as a C and an A, you are going to have a harder time finding work that is satisfying to you. Maybe you will find work that satisfies one category and decide to develop the other interest outside of work time.
No job is going to give you 100 percent of what you want, but my advice is to aim for at least 70 percent job satisfaction. The latter is a really good figure and you could be quite happy with that level of career-related fulfillment. When the figure starts to go down to 50 percent job satisfaction, it means that half the time something is not right, something is out of place. Remember this is half of your workday. You then must start looking honestly at your situation and determine if you are "stuck" in the job.
Some people might make the decision to accept a 50 percent satisfaction level from their work life, because perhaps they happily leave their job at the office and then come home and pursue a hobby like playing music. You need to look at your own workday to determine if you are able to make a 50 percent job satisfaction work for you, or if you feel you are stuck in a dead-end situation.
As you know, you have two sides of your life: your work life and your personal life. What you should aim for is to blend the two together to come up with a TOTAL satisfaction level. If your work life and your personal life do not add up to a high enough level of satisfaction, then you might be ready to look at a career change. Either way, this book will help you determine what your basic needs are for happiness in the workplace, as well as your personal life. Then it will help you move on to a higher level of overall satisfaction in your life.
A Note for College Students
In the past, it was normal for students to declare a major related to a career, complete a prescribed set of studies, find a job in a related field, and stay in that field until they retired. One decision and that was it! Today, however, it is far more common for students to change their majors and do several career searches and changes in their work lifetime.
People change their careers for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they made an unwise choice initially or the career they selected no longer exists. Often they want to match their changing values and needs to a new set of career possibilities.
Making the right plans for your future during these changing times can be difficult. The self-assessment tools provided in this book can give you more choices, broaden your options, and give you the confidence that you are on the right career path.
A self-assessment can reveal your characteristics, interests, values and skills. It will define your strengths and your weaknesses. Looking for a match between these and the work you are considering is the most important step you can take before you write a résumé or begin your job search. In fact, when the time comes to write your résumé and prepare for a job interview, you will find the task easier if you have completed the self-assessment process first!
Recognizing the Need for Change
If you are already working, there are three main reasons why a career change might be right for you. First, it could be that you have the right job with the wrong company. For example, you may love the work you do as an administrative assistant, but you may not like the philosophy of the company, or you may find that you cannot stand behind their mission. Their values are not a match for yours. If the environment, including the people, is not a good fit for you, even the right work you do will feel like you're in the wrong job.
The second reason could be that you have the wrong position in the right company. In this case, you should look at your passions, interests and skills and find a way to put them to use in your own position or in another job within the same company. For some people, it might be about finding time outside of work to make use of those skills.
The third reason that career change might be right for you is that job security is an illusion. You might love your job and your company, but the company could move, reorganize, or go out of business due to various unforeseeable circumstances. This is why determining your skills and talents is such an important strategy in career development — no matter where you go, you take those skills and talents with you.
In this book, we'll delve into identifying your interests, values and skills, and then provide you with the concrete tools to choose, develop and change your career, no matter what stage of life you are currently in. These will include networking, goal-setting, researching, and decision-making.
Sections are dedicated to writing résumés, cover letters and follow-up letters, as well as appropriate dress attire and other interview strategies.
Students will find specific guidance for launching a new career after college. Retirees will learn how to retire with fire by enlivening their retirement years with work they are passionate about. So get ready to champion your career!
CHANGE CAREERS WITH COURAGE
Any kind of change takes courage. People want to stay where they are comfortable. However, in order for you to be truly satisfied throughout your work life, your career needs to change and grow with you.
Your Holland Code — the three job categories you are most attracted to — may change throughout your life. In fact, they most likely will change. Statistics show that people change careers up to three times throughout their lives — and some people pursue as many as seven careers. We are different people at age 20 than we are at age 30, 40, 50 or 60. We look at life differently and our values change too.
That is why identifying your values is such a key part of career development. This process involves asking and answering questions of yourself about what is important to you, and observing what you feel passionately attracted to (as well as what you feel passionately repelled by).
10 Reasons for Pursuing Your Ideal Career
I have a short list of the top 10 reasons why you need to work at having your dream job. These reasons will be reaffirmed throughout this book as you read on.
Reason #1: If you are doing what you love to do, it allows you to be your true self all of the time. Think about it. It really takes a tremendous amount of energy on a daily basis to not be authentic at work. Sometimes we feel we have to take on a sort of "false persona" to fulfill the job requirements. Your ideal job will enable you to be who you are and not waste any energy.
Reason #2: Your dream job fits into your life by integrating perfectly into your lifestyle. Your ideal career will feel like a natural part of who you are and it will not necessarily interfere with other aspects of your life. Of course, some days may be more stressful and chaotic than others, but basically you can still find the balance to have a fulfilling life.
Reason #3: Your ideal career reflects and incorporates your values. Your values reflect what is truly important to you and your dream career will align with the values that resonate with you. For example, if you are concerned about the environment, your dream job is not going to ask you to be involved with toxic waste dumping. It is as simple as that: Living your values. You are going to love your work and it is going to give you what you want in order to feel alive and productive.
Reason #4: Your dream job will allow you to tap into your unique talents. Your skills and strengths are gifts that come naturally to you. If you are in your ideal career, it will feel like a perfect fit. It will allow you to express yourself fully and you will notice that your work will feel effortless.
Reason #5: Your work will give you energy instead of draining you. If you're not doing work that's right for you, you will probably feel drained and tired when you come home. But if you're doing what you love, you will feel energized by it instead of exhausted by it. You'll look forward to it. You will embrace it every day. And if you receive energy from your work, this will energize other areas of your life as well.
Reason #6: Your dream career will enable you to align yourself with your passions and to do what you love. This is a core component of the right livelihood. When you're passionate about what you do, your purpose is fulfilled and you will feel very satisfied and comfortable. Then you become a more generous, caring human being.
Reason #7: Your dream job helps you to make a difference in something you believe in. Generally, when you do what you love, you believe in it. You want to do more of it. You feel you are making a difference and you feel happy about doing this work. Sometimes you'll think about your work and it will bring about change in your life or help to clarify something else that's important to you.
Reason #8: Of course your ideal career is enjoyable and it does not seem like work. Very frequently, if you love what you do, you're going to wake up in the morning and say, "Do I really get paid for doing this?" Your dream job can feel more like a hobby than a job!
Reason #9: A dream job follows your wants instead of your "shoulds." You're listening to your intuition and to your heart instead of solely to your rational mind. When you listen to what your intuition says, then you will find that the rest of your life will start to rearrange itself so that you can truly be who you are and enjoy a truly meaningful life.
Reason #10: Your dream job fulfills you. It gives a sense of completion. You will have a positive impact on others and your community because you are serving your own life's purpose.
Here's an exercise to help you consider your most compelling dreams. Close your eyes and try to imagine the ideal workday for yourself. Don't be concerned with the realities — just let your imagination go. See if you can picture, in full detail, what you would be doing. Then open your eyes and answer the following questions.
When done, go back over your answers and put an "I"' for those you feel are indispensable, an "O" for those that are desirable but optional, and an "F" for those which are basically a frill.
You wake up — at what time?
You get dressed — describe your clothes.
What kind of preparations do you have to make?
Do you have to work or do you work because you want to?
How do you get there? How far is it?
Do you do anything special on the way to work?
You get to work. Where are you (city, small town, office park, home, etc.)?
Describe the work setting.
What kind of work do you do?
What is the first task that you attend to as you start your day?
What skills do you use and enjoy using today?
What are the people like in your organization?
How long have you worked there?
What do you get paid?
Excerpted from "Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work"
Copyright © 2017 Halimah Bellows.
Excerpted by permission of BookBaby.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Focus On Your Future 1
Chapter 2 Change Careers with Courage 8
Chapter 3 Power up your Passions 19
Chapter 4 Verve up your Values 36
Chapter 5 Summon Your Strengths and Skills 52
Chapter 6 Develop Dynamic Decision-Making Strategies 72
Chapter 7 Nourish Your Network 86
Chapter 8 Clarify Your Career Choices 97
Chapter 9 Retire With Fire! 118
Chapter 10 Find Out Where You Fit 129
Chapter 11 Jump into Your Job Search 142
Chapter 12 Take Advantage of Today's Tools 161
About the Author 213
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Via EpicBookQuest.com Career counselor and coach, Halimah Bellows, delivers an insightful guide designed to help lead readers through the process of both choosing and pursuing a career that is the right fit for them. Uniquely combining career coaching with career counseling, the book presents readers with intensive questions designed to help them discover their individual skills, talents, goals, and passions- showing them how they can use that knowledge to select a personally fulfilling career- along with supplying innumerable tools and strategies to then acquire a position in their desired field. Champion Your Career is a fantastic resource for people of all life stages, from college students who are struggling to pick the right career path, to those who are already in the work force but feel ready for a change, all the way through the retirement stage- and I can especially see this being a great book for junior high and high school students who are beginning to plan for college and/or their future careers. The book is full of questions designed to get your creative juices flowing to discover just what exactly you are good at and passionate about, and (perhaps most importantly) also contains excellent strategies for overcoming your personal hangups by dealing with insecurities and doubts (dubbed “Gremlins”). Self-empowering, motivational, and practical at the same time, this book will inspire you to use the information presented to put together a plan and start taking the steps needed to land (or create!) your personal dream job. A well-written and informative read, highly recommended! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by Josh Cramer for Reader Views (12/16) I have to admit I did not think I would like this book at first. I took one look at the cover and sighed, thinking, “Really? This looks like some cheesy 80s self-help book;” however, I was surprised by what I found on the inside. In “Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work” Halimah Bellows has, in a sea of career development books, provided a pretty succinct guide to developing one’s career that really sets itself apart by asking, “Who am I?” Thus, if you are looking for a guide to your career journey that takes you step-by-step through your career, then this is the book for you! Halimah provides advice and activities to help you consider your interests and even pick a college major! She then takes you through your entire career, including (as she puts it) retiring with fire! Halimah Bellows provides a concise guide to finding your career, growing in your career, and ultimately retiring from your career. This is not an easy feat! She begins by asking several questions the purpose of which is to #1 help you determine the value you would find in pursuing your dream career, and to #2 determine your purpose and values. This leads to one of my favorite sections of this book: 10 Reasons for Pursuing Your Ideal Career (and the real reasons why someone might buck against their current job or career—especially if these needs are not being met): 1. Doing what you love to do allows you to be yourself. 2. It is perfectly integrated into your lifestyle. 3. It “reflects and incorporates your values.” 4. It’s the perfect fit. 5. It’ll give you energy (and maybe wings!) 6. You are aligned with the things for which you are passionate. 7. You are able to make a difference to the things that matter to you. 8. It’s enjoyable. 9. Your life is arranged so you can live a meaningful life. 10. You are fulfilled. Bellows then asks the reader to imagine that work is more than just a paycheck. What would the workday of your dreams look like? How would it begin? What time would you wake up? What would your clothes look like? What would you do? What are you paid? Is it quiet? Is it busy? To whom do you report? We’ve all asked ourselves these sorts of questions before. The rest of the book builds on this foundation, offering exercises to help you answer each of these questions for yourself. If you want to make the most out of this book, like the others’ I’ve reviewed, you need to do your best in answering the questions. I recommend finding a good journal to take with you—this will make answering these questions easier (having the right tools for the job always makes it better). Ultimately, Bellows’ purpose is to make you ask, “Who am I?” As she says, “You have to know what your interests are and what you are passionate about. You need to explore your values and assess your skills, your strengths, and your talents” (72). Because this is a question that we all need to ask, I highly recommend “Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work” by Halimah Bellows if you are at all unsure about what you are currently doing.
Reviewed by Roy T. James for Readers' Favorite Champion Your Career by Halimah Bellows is aimed at helping one find out what works. One can make one's own life and can champion one's career, becoming successful at whatever the vocation chosen. Beginning with theories of career development, Halimah introduces the Holland code - defining one's interests, aims and ambitions to reduce the complex problem of selecting and managing one's career by correctly identifying the value of the code. The importance of a few parameters like ‘passion’ and ‘purpose’ in one's choice of career also finds mention in this. Helpful questionnaires, forms, charts and step wise procedures to make easy identification of one's inventory of strengths enable application of tools like SMART and SWOT analysis to career management. The five stages of retirement, tips for a good resume, and chapters on internet resources for jobs make this book a complete guide. Champion Your Career by Halimah Bellows is, in fact, an eye opener. It taught me many new facets of things I knew, as well as a few I did not, with reference to selection of one's career and the tools available for that. The book follows a logical flow and each new idea is introduced with ample assistance from charts and lists to make comprehension easy. I found one suggestion contained in it quite apt; why not replace the word 'retirement' with 'renaissance' or 'graduation' or (say) 'job-re-searcher'? An excellent book as far as selecting, nurturing or managing a career goes.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work is a non-fiction occupational self-help book written by Halimah Bellows. The author is a career counselor who coaches people of all ages on how to get their dream jobs, and she also offers workshops on personal and professional development. Her book begins with a personal assessment on what the reader's ideal future looks like, and she asks the reader to consider what things they enjoy doing or simply feel they are good at. She cautions against relying on others’ opinions on what you should do and to instead start writing down those things which make you feel enthusiastic and involved. To this end, Bellows offers a look at the Holland Code Model which can help people determine what type of jobs are most suitable for their distinct personalities and preferences. She follows this analytical chapter with advice on embarking on second or third careers, increasing one’s skills, building a strong network and finding fulfilling ways to spend one’s retirement years. Each chapter offers exercises designed to make career championing a personal quest and includes links to relevant literature. Bellows dedicates a chapter to students that showcases the various assessment tests and informational guides that are available for students. Halimah Bellows’s non-fiction self-help book, Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work, shows how to make that dream job a reality if you’re willing to put in the effort required. Many of the exercises she proposes are fun and make a lot of sense at the same time. I particularly enjoyed those that had the reader look back at things he/she was good at as a child or young adult, as so many of those past pleasures or accomplishments can give the job seeker invaluable insights into what occupations will make working a pleasurable and fulfilling experience. Even if you’re relatively happy with your current position/career path, the techniques and information presented in this book may still help make a huge difference in job satisfaction. As the author writes, the average worker dedicates one-third of their lives to their careers, so I was impressed by the suggestions and exercises she presents that show how the opportunity to do what one loves, rather than to suffer through the week waiting for the weekend, can be developed with some diligence and introspection. Her chapter on retirement options is a stimulating and informative guide for those who want to make their retirement years a ‘renaissance’ rather than a withdrawal from life. There’s also a comprehensive appendix filled with links, advice on interview skills and preparation, and literature in the field. Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work is most highly recommended.
Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work by Halimah Bellows is a comprehensive book on everything one needs to know about choosing a career. Champion Your Career is particularly targeted at people who are looking for a career change, or people looking to change careers in their mid-life. The book is neatly organized into several chapters where each chapter focuses on one aspect of changing careers, and tips and tools to do so. The subjects covered include understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses, understanding the various jobs and career opportunities available in the world, finding one’s passion, networking, and various job search and interview techniques. There are also several helpful website links provided to assist readers in their job search. I found Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work by Halimah Bellows to be a very useful book. I also think it is very relevant in today’s dynamic world where so many job opportunities and career paths are available, some of which are little known. Halimah Bellows has a unique, personal style of writing that instantly made me feel connected. Her advice, tips, and techniques are spot on and I am sure will be a huge help to anyone looking to switch careers or just anyone looking to improve their networking, job search, resume writing, and interview skills. I loved learning about the Holland Code model among other things and the detailed categories and related work fields were extremely useful to know. A very helpful read that I would recommend to anyone!