Be More Successful: The dream job? How to make it a reality

You spend so much time in the office that you have to make sure it's worth it, says Hermione Eyre
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The Independent Online

Do you leap out of bed each morning, eager to get to work? Thought not. Absenteeism costs the UK an average £11.6bn per year, according to the Confederation of British Industry. How, then, can we help reform our approach to office culture so that we begin 2006 work-hungry not work-shy?

Making sure you are in the right job won't hurt. It's a good idea to take a reputable psychometric test such as the Myers-Briggs Indicator: based on the work of Jung, this provides a detailed account of your personality type, and helps you realise why you hate your City job so much: it's because you're a tree surgeon at heart. (Psychometric testing also sheds light on which personality types work best together, so it can be a helpful remedy for colleague-angst.) Try a free online mini-test at www.ivillage.co.uk.

Now, if you are going to go out and get your dream job, you need the optimum curriculum vitae. According to the graduate careers website www.prospects.ac.uk, you need to think about "how prospective employers approach CVs". "Avoid generic skills," it also advises, and it states that information is usually best presented in "reverse chronological order". This seems like a good idea, since kicking off your CV with your primary school is never impressive. Surprisingly, Prospects does not remind you to enlist a third party to check over your final CV for spelling and grammatical errors, which is essential.

Once in the workplace, it can be hard to judge how to interact sympathetically with co-workers. A new book called How People Tick, by Mike Leibling, gives some helpful tips. For example: anger chemicals produced under stress only pervade the body for 20 seconds. So count to 20 before approaching a fuming banshee - sorry, colleague.

Similarly, in the workplace, it can really help to know your rights. For example, if you have a child/children under six, you are entitled to request to work flexibly and from home for a good portion of time; your employer is obliged under new legislation to "seriously consider" your request - and to provide detailed reasons if they turn you down. Equally, if you are about to march into your boss's office and ask for a pay rise, it helps to be well informed: first check out the national average salary for your job on www.payfinder.com. Here's to a happy new P60.

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