When faced with big decisions, few of us can instinctively distinguish between a good career move and a bad one. Time and time again, we are torn between what might be the right decision to make against what is easy. But with a clear conscience, and a few little tips, you can start making better career moves which will affect your working life in a positive way. This week we look at three areas in which you can alter your mentality to make better career choices.

Dream big, accept reality

The large majority of us have big career aspirations, and to forget these would be an injustice to yourself as a professional. Granted the country has been through tough economic times over the last few years, but there is no excuse for letting go of your dreams. When looking for a new role, or even if you have been head-hunted, always keep in mind your ideal job, and start comparing your new opportunities to what it is that you'd like to be doing. This will make it easier for you to keep your career heading in the direction that you originally intended, and making the odds of being led astray a lot less likely.

Whilst we highly endorse remaining positive throughout the decision making process by dreaming big, it is vital that you accept certain realities so that you don’t end up making a rash, and ultimately, wrong career move.

Even if you do find your ideal job, when making key career decisions, you will need to consider practicalities such as location, salary, hours, contract lengths and so on. There’s no use in finding your ideal job if you can’t afford the cost of living because of it.

So if you are offered a role which is hard to refuse, before saying yes, weigh it up with these practicalities before making a final decision.

Be proactive

Big career decisions take time, and if we are honest, we are very rarely asked to make big choices in a hurry. Any responsible professional will always be proactive in their day-to-day duties, so why not extend this thought process to your career as a whole?

Someone who cares about their career will always keep one eye open to new opportunities, whether this is through an active LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter presence, email job alerts, or frequent contact with a recruitment agency.

Staying ahead of the game means that you can be ready for when it comes to taking the next step in your career and moving to a new position.

Have confidence

Professionals that want to excel throughout their career usually do so by putting more faith in themselves. If you look at the career ladder of your profession, you’re likely to be intimidated by the skills and experience that you need to acquire in order to progress. But remember, the people above you were in exactly the same position once, as you are in now, and they succeeded by being ambitious and confident.

If you think that the jobs that you're applying for are well within your comfort zone, then you probably aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. Whereas accepting jobs that you know will be challenging, that’s when you really start to progress through your career – forcing yourself to become better and faster through adversity.

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