Vision board: your new career essential?

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So what is a vision board? Close your eyes and picture what you want for your career next. Is there a specific kind of employer you want to work for? Are there any new skills you want to develop in your current role? What does your ideal workplace look like? Maybe you’re craving a career change?

Whether you’re thinking about the next 12 months or are planning a decade ahead, visualising where you’d like to be helps you work towards your aims.

But if thinking about a strategy for your career seems a bit daunting, we’ve a simple tool for you to try. It’s a vision board: a collage display of pictures and words.

You might be wondering if a vision board is entirely your thing. Perhaps you feel it could all be a bit ‘woo woo’. But chatting to candidates at HR GO we’re often struck by how many find it useful to use this kind of visualisation tool to pinpoint where they want to go next in their career.

It’s a way to work out and then represent your goals and dreams for the future, as well as reminding yourself daily of the direction you want to be heading.

Setting up your vision board: what medium should you use?

Most vision boards are on a large piece of paper or poster board, or a magnetic board. But you could just as easily have a digital version on your phone or tablet, or as your laptop wallpaper (check out the free graphic design tool Canva for some templates). Pinterest is another option. Its visual format is perfect for vision boards. Just make sure you don't have to log into Pinterest. You want easy access to your board so a screenshot as your phone background would work well.

But one good thing about making your vision board completely non-digital is that it’s a tangible thing you can feel, touch and stare up at home. Whichever medium you opt for, make sure it’s one you know you’ll use and look at often.

Hone a specific goal

Real, tangible goals are the best starters for vision boards. So rather than base yours on vague hopes like ‘I want to be happier at work’ or ‘I want to perform better’, try to drill down into what you want to achieve by asking questions like:

  • Are there any things I want to do more of?
  • Which of my strengths do I want to use more often?
  • What do I want to learn more about?
  • What’s my perfect workday?
  • Who inspires me at work or in my industry?

Decide on a goal or goals without overthinking. Write down the words or phrases that spring to mind.

Vision boards are to help you pinpoint the things you want to achieve. But take some time thinking about how achieving these goals will make you feel, too. For example, if you’re thinking about the type of team you want to work in, how will being surrounded by positive and motivating colleagues make you feel?

Search for content

The next step is to browse through magazines for words and images that really stand out. Or you can use your list of keywords and phrases to search Pinterest or Google Images.

It’s worth using good free photo websites like Unsplash for inspiration, too. Just print out and use on your physical vision board.

Think indirectly. If you have your sights set on a specific company, perhaps hunt for a photo of the beautiful park nearby where their staff eat lunch. Or maybe a motivational quote will be enough to remind you that one of your goals is to become more confident at speaking up in meetings, for example. Going through a crisis of confidence? Use snippets from positive messages you’ve received to remind yourself that you’ve achieved in the past and you will do again.

Revisit your goals every day

Put the board somewhere at home where you’ll see it every day. That way, you’ll be reminded what you’re trying to achieve. And as things change through your year, don't be afraid to update your board with new imagery.

Whatever you want to smash in the next part of your career, a vision board is a way to bring these things out of your head and cement them as a possibility. And if you’re applying for roles, keeping your vision board handy keeps your specific goals in mind throughout the recruitment process.

A vision board can bring your goals to life

We know that if you can visualise what you want, and what you’re working towards, you’re more likely to achieve your goal. Setting yourself up for success with a career vision board is part of that.

Our last piece of advice: if your goals change or you tick them off your list, remember to make regular updates. Your career isn’t standing still, so why should your vision board?

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