Posts

The 100k Mindset

Changing the 100k Mindset

No, I don’t mean, you should change the way you think about earning 100k, if that is a goal you wish to aspire to. There is nothing wrong with this if it is right for you for all the right reasons. What I do mean is to change your thinking around the work you do to ensure you lead a happy and fulfilling life.

Why? Because 100k hours is the average time people spend working, commuting and involved with work related activities, including thinking about work, during their life. This suddenly becomes a seriously scary number, don’t you think? How many more waking hours does that means that mean you will be at work, doing your job, day in, day out…

Now ask yourself: Am I happy doing the job I’m doing? Is my job the best reason why I get out of bed everyday? Do I love what I am doing?

Most research shows around fifty percent of working adults in the UK and US are unhappy in their jobs and are looking for a more rewarding career. Many cite boredom, bullying, lack of career prospects, lack of training and development and not being valued as some of the key reasons why they are unhappy.

Are you one of the unhappy 50%?

If you are unhappy in your career consider the prospect of continuing to work for 100K hours in your current role. How does that make you feel? Chances are that you will experience these symptoms on a regular basis:

  • Panic on a Sunday evening about having to go to work on Monday morning
  • Dread on a Monday morning because you don’t want to go to work
  • Worry and restlessness at work from Monday to Friday because you simply don’t want to be there
  • Ignoring the little voice inside your head saying “It’s time to change”

Recognise yourself?

Lebanese philosopher, Kahlil Gibran quotes: “If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work”. When we look at the high level of unhappiness among working adults in the UK and US, this quote rings so true. Instead of getting paid to be unhappy, why not listen to that little voice inside your head and bring about change in your work and life?

Take control of your career, by changing what you do, and get paid to be happy!

That’s all good and well you say, especially at a time in the economy where household budgets are strained due to the rising cost of living. Is now the ideal time to change your career? Why not grin and bear it, remain unhappy, and receive your salary at the end of each month?

Reflect on the 100k hours of work statistic. Do you honestly want to spend that length of time in a constant state of unhappiness? Life is too short and there are so many amazing alternatives. Scared to take a leap of faith? The only way you will change how you feel about your work or career is to have the courage to follow your heart. Perhaps it’s a change of scenery, people or time for you to embrace something in your life you are truly passionate about. This can be your opportune moment to realise a lifetime ambition, and to give yourself a chance to love what you do.

Walk away from your unhappiness.

It’s up to you to create an escape plan and to break free of the tedium. You have the choice to do this. But what about your financial situation when you give up your well paid salary? Many people who are dissatisfied, disillusioned and unproductive at work are those who earn the most money. In contrast for many of the individuals I have worked with, who have taken a leap of faith and discovered happiness in their work and career, it’s not about the money. Happiness, purpose and fulfilment far outweigh the big pay cheque at the end of the month. Why? Because these people are now doing what they love.

So how can you move from unhappiness to happiness in your career? Take a high dose of self belief, say to yourself ‘Now is my time to do what I love’, and just do it!

Just think what you can do with the gift of 86400 seconds (one day) to get started on your road to happiness.  How do you feel about 100k now? Is 100k suddenly less appealing? Are you ready to change your mindset and take the leap of faith to doing work you love, as if not now when?

If this all sounds like a bridge too far, then you don’t have to make your change alone. Working with a career coach can help keep you focused, motivated and on track to achieve your ultimate goal. Maybe now 100k could take on a new meaning for you, don’t you think?

If you need help to change your career mindset check out our website for more information.

Graduates Guide – Your timeline to achieve success

Here is your one stop shop of tips to help you achieve your potential whilst at University and move from academia into employment!

Year 1

  • Remember this year is about settling in, that includes focusing on your work but also having some fun!  This is a big transition and you will need time to settle in.
  • If you need structure and want to prepare during the induction period and in advance of course starting – Access Personal Tutor Support as early as possible
  • Need help? – Access referencing workshops, Study support groups etc as these will be on offer at your University. There are also student mentors who you can be assigned to you that are in year 2/3 who can give you support and answer questions relating to the course etc – Speak to your University and identify the support available
  • Need to earn some money whilst studying? -Speak to Student Support regarding local part time employment options, universities also employ students within their campuses which can be less demanding and more convenient whilst studying
  • Speak to the Employment and Work Placement advisers as they may be able to help you secure and achieve relevant work experience during your holiday periods. Companies start to interview and employ Xmas staff at the end of the summer so you need to start early and be proactive!
  • Communication – Keep a check on your progress, speak to your tutors and make sure you are on course for progression to year two, don’t leave it until the final few weeks and have a last minute panic
  • Set up a spread sheet to keep track of work set and deadlines as Universities do not chase you for your work unlike schools. If you miss a deadline there are no second chances (expect in extenuating circumstances whereby your tutor has agreed to extended your deadline in advance)
  • Specialising – in many degree courses you will have to make choices on areas of specialism in year one which you will focus on in years 2/3. Make sure you research properly the demand for expertise in your chosen strands. It is not helpful if these are not sort after by future employers.
  • Consider Accommodation options for second year and start viewing after Christmas – early spring, all the best places go quickly!
  • Summer Placements – If you want to get more experience or just earn a bit of money when you get home for the summer, remember you need to register with local recruitment agencies for temp work during the Easter break and let them know when you are going to be finishing for the summer. A couple of weeks before the end of term call them again as a reminder. That way you will be ahead of the game, completed your initial assessments and ready to call them regarding a placement as soon as you are home. Don’t rely on the agencies calling you. Make sure you ring them regularly!
  • Network – You will meet with a number of people when you do temp work, get their details and if you like the company ask about opportunities for when you have finished your degree, it might be early days but it is never too early to make contacts!
  • Consider investing in some personal ‘business’ cards which have your Name, Email and Mobile number on. You can buy these online for a few £ and think how professional they look against scribbling done your details on scraps of paper.

Year 2

  • Identify companies and organisations which recruit graduates with your chosen degree, make early contacts. You might be able to secure a short term work placement which could lead to future employment.
  • Check if your University has established links with local organisations for work shadowing, work placement or paid employment options – summer work
  • Network with as many people in industry that you come into contact with, they may be the key to future employment opportunities – Don’t miss an opportunity to make an impact and don’t forget to use your personal card!
  • Attend Graduate Recruitment Fairs – Companies have different selection dates for their graduate intake and they may well have information and tips to share on their selection process for use next year
  • Secure Accommodation for year 3/4

Year 3 / 4

  • This is your final year full of demands and exams but it is of paramount importance that you use every spare minute on prompting yourself to potential employers
  • Get career advice during the summer break if possible so that you are focused on your chosen career route before the end of this important year
  • Graduate Recruitment Fairs usually take place between Sept – Nov, register for your ticket early, research the companies exhibiting, update your CV and take with you a number of copies. You may need different versions if applying for a variety of jobs.  You may have attended last year’s recruitment fairs however new jobs and exhibitors mean new opportunities.
  • Company Graduate Schemes usually open at the end of the summer – autumn, many have a very short application period – Identify potential scheme’s in advance, don’t miss out!
  • Remember there are a huge number of other graduates all over the country that you are competing with for that elusive job!
  • Research, Research, Research – Company profiles, brands, values etc. Make sure you have the skills, attributes and ‘look’ that fit their profile. Knowledge is Key!
  • Register with specialist agencies and subscribe to specialist publications which relate to your chosen career route
  • Investigate internships – many companies use this as a form of permanent selection as they will have had time to evaluate your contribution and ‘fit’ within their company before committing to a full time contract
  • Identify companies you would like to work for, if they are not advertising vacancies at the moment be proactive and send out speculative letters, state type of work you are looking for and outline your experience both academically and employment. Companies like people who show initiative, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
  • Above all else avoid finishing your degree course and still not having a plan about what you want to do next – Seek professional Education and Career support, it is worth every penny!

If you need help with your Education or Career choices visit our website for more information.

3 Steps For Graduates To Making Yourself Visible to Prospective Employers

With unemployment high and graduate positions increasingly given to those with previous work experience – planning and organisation is crucial to making yourself visible to prospective employers. The following article provides some common sense tips and tricks that can help ensure you snag the best graduate jobs going.

Step One: Create and organise your ‘generic’ CV

Your CV is effectively a personal advert, its composition, content and structure are vital to your success. In a competitive market – a carelessly composed CV may see you fall at the first hurdle – don’t give your rivals an advantage from the start. Recruitment sites such as Guardian Jobs and others provide a multitude of guides on how to compose an excellent CV.

Be well organised – be sure to have names, numbers and addresses of any contacts that prospective employers may need to call for references. If you are a first time job-seeker, be sure to include details of any work experience or extra-curricular experience that you think may be appropriate – this can show initiative.

Once you have created a basic CV, tailor this according to the position for which you are applying. For example, if you are applying for a job in marketing, you may wish to promote your sales experience or interest in a related academic discipline.

If applying for an analytical role, you can accordingly promote your attention to detail and how this has been reflected in your studies.

Step Two: Get Your CV Out There

Do your research: use the internet to identify specific fields and positions in which you are interested, read the job description and requirements carefully. Remember that you will be competing with dozens of other candidates for this position – so have a back-up plan, apply for more than one position.

In the meantime, research potential work experience or training opportunities that, should you fail to obtain the job of your dreams, will give you a distinct advantage over candidates next time you apply. Standing still means you give the advantage to the competition.

Step Three: Use Recruitment Websites
Whilst you’re busy applying for the job of your dreams, be sure to contact multiple recruitment websites such as Guardian Jobs, and provide them with your CV. Recruitment agencies will effectively advertise your services to thousands of prospective employers across the world.

You’ve literally got nothing to lose by employing their services – and ultimately you may end up with an excellent job opportunity. Failing that, you may have the chance to garner vital experience in another role – once again this potentially provides you with a distinct advantage over the competition in future.

So you want to change your job or career?

The longer you have been in a job the harder making the break is likely to be.

Times have changed as there are no ‘jobs for life’.  It is accepted people will change jobs every few years. You should not view this as a negative but a positive sign of improving yourself.

It is likely most of us, including those looking for graduate jobs, will change professions multiple times in our working lives. This is much more challenging than changing jobs as successful career change involves key decisions about what is important to you in your life and your career.

Self awareness is the start point for change!

An honest review of your situation i.e. what needs to change and why?

  1. Identify your reasons – What is wrong and why are you thinking about changing jobs?
    • Is it the company you work for – maybe the culture or ethos no longer matches your way of thinking or working?
    • The job you are employed in – are you are unhappy with the work you are doing, lack of challenge, bored or stuck in a rut?
    • Do you feel that you are being taken advantage of, are not getting the recognition you deserve or maximising your full potential?
    • Are you are looking to take a step up the ladder but can’t see the way forward?
    • Maybe you have gained all the experience possible and now wish to broaden this in a new environment?
    • Do you need or want to earn more money?
    • You feel you need a complete change?
    • Are you are no longer getting the enjoyment, buzz or job satisfaction that you used to?
    • Is your work-life balance all wrong?
    • Are you are fed up commuting or maybe wish to relocate?
    • Do you no longer look forward to going to work and are generally unhappy?
    • You have even started thinking about setting up your own business?
  1. Is it the company, job or your career that needs changing?

  • By addressing the questions in point 1, you should be in a much better position to determine what is wrong and even more importantly why you need to change, as this is the emotional driver, which prompts action!

Right Company – Wrong Job

You like the company you work for and have no real desire to leave. However, you feel trapped and promotion or opportunities to diversify into other roles within the company are passing you by.

What are your Options?

  • You should take the bull by the horns and discuss this with your boss
  • Invariably an informal chat works best
  • Stress you are very happy working for the company but wish to maximize your skills and move into a new challenge to mutual benefit
  • It may not be possible to change jobs in the timescale you are aspiring to, if so you have a decision to make
  • Keep an open mind and you can start looking elsewhere to test the market whilst you decide.

If your boss or company really value you it may prompt them to find or create a new position. If not, keep your options open as what have you got to lose?

Wrong Company – Right Job

You love your job but feel that the company is going in a different direction.

What are your Options?

  • Focus on finding the right job but with a company you feel you will enjoy working for
  • You can afford to bide your time to get it right
  • Start looking at recruitment sites, newspapers, magazines, trade journals and putting out feelers among your contacts
  • Networking invariably pays dividends, especially if you are known to be an expert or up and coming high flyer in your field

Wrong Company – Wrong Job

If you have come to the realisation both are wrong, you really need to do something to rectify your situation.

Like many people you may have ‘fallen into your job’ without any real planning and have had a big shift in your value set.

What is holding you back?

If you are at odds with your value set you will never be happy or fulfilled in your job. In order to change, you must change.

You may know things need to change but have buried your head in the sand, hoping the problem will go away. It is all too easy to stay in your comfort zone getting your regular salary and not have to face the problem, especially if you are paid well and finance is important to you.

Is it fear?  Maybe fear of the unknown or fear of failure?

3. What are the consequences of not changing job or career?

  • If your values are out of tune with the company or sector things can only get worse, as values are what we hold dear
  • You become the ‘victim’, often resulting in extreme frustration and anger taking over, becoming damaging for yourself and those around you
  • Negativity can consume your life
  • You spend your time constantly wondering what if’ but never daring to come out of your comfort zone and take that crucial ‘leap of faith’
  • Settling for the easy compromise option, starting to ‘vegetate’ and conditioning yourself to a life of boredom, without ever having to think about the unthinkable alternatives!
  • Above all else – never realising your full potential!

4. Do you recognise yourself in one of these categories?

If so, why be unhappy and continue to do something that you don’t enjoy or that is no longer right for you? You are unlikely to achieve anything significant in your life unless you challenge yourself and take yourself out of your comfort zone!

5. What stage are you at?

You are likely to be at one of 3 stages:

a) You know exactly what you want to do and how to go about it

b) You know what you really want to do but don’t have the courage to change

c) You are looking for a complete change but have no idea how to achieve this

6. How should you move forward?

  • Take action and start the process now as doing nothing is not an option!
  • If you are at stage a – go for it and start making your changes now!  – Maybe consider other Accountancy jobs?
  • If you are at stage b or c – enlist the help of a Career Coach to help you unlock your potential and achieve the job or career you really want
  • Invest in yourself and your future to take control of your life and your career!

If you want to know more about developing your career visit our Career & Personal Development website

How to progress your career within your organisation

Most managers and staff find being promoted up the career ladder extremely stressful and one of the toughest and most frustrating challenges that they have had to overcome ranking with coping with divorce a CIPD report highlighted in 2008.

Also, don’t expect your company to champion your career progression, unless you are extremely lucky, as the survey results showed that most people have little or no support from within.

Worryingly not much seems to have changed in 2011 judging by a recent report from the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) which highlights  ‘nearly half of workers are dissatisfied with their career progression’.

What are the best strategies to adopt for your desired promotion?

Nearly 50% of senior-level leaders said that external advisers or coaches played the most significant role in successful career transitions.  Here are some top tips for all levels of staff to help you on the way:

Mentoring
If you can find yourself a good mentor from within the organisation then you will get a head start on the rest of the pack. Some companies have formal mentoring programs, but even if your company doesn’t, there are still ways you can build relationships with people in higher positions in the company.

Coaching
Mentoring should be your top strategy but if this is not possible then find yourself an internal coach you respect that you feel can help move you forward or invest in an external Career Coach to really help unlock your potential and help you overcome any limiting beliefs.

Job Shadowing & Acting Up
An excellent strategy, if you can find a suitable opportunity. If you know someone has the job you aspire to and is happy to share their knowledge and experience, even for a day, then go for it!  They may see this as a positive activity for the longer term good of the organisation and a key part of your development or they may be looking at moving into a different role themselves, You may then be automatically given the opportunity to ‘act up’ into the role on a trial basis, when they do move on. Acting up is always a useful option, whilst the organisation may be deciding what the best course of action is for the future. If you do a good job then the likelihood is that you will have created the role for yourself!

Self Promotion
It is an unfortunate fact of life that if your boss or company does not champion your successes or your value to the organisation, then you have to do this yourself. Modesty and British reserve make it difficult for many people to ‘blow their own trumpet’ but if you don’t then no one else will!

A good strategy is to keep detailed records of your successes and key contribution to the department and organisation, especially if it impacts on profitability or some other key performance indicator for the organisation. In theory, those who get results should get ahead.

Be opportunistic and when you know that there are likely to be bigger and better roles created, make sure that you are ready and waiting to put yourself in the frame.

Learn to ‘Manage’ Your Boss
Your boss can be your best supporter, if you help them become more effective in their role and make their life easier for them and show them real commitment! You should feel confident to have an informal chat about your own career aspirations and subtlety remind them of how your efforts have helped them perform even better, so us all opportunities to make your boss a key supporter of your promotion. It should not be all about the annual appraisal!

Acquire New Knowledge and Transferable Skills
There are several transferable skills such as all aspects of written and verbal communication, team working, problem-solving, negotiating, influencing, planning and organisational skills, that can be used from trainee right up to CEO level. Hone these skills and gain relevant new knowledge and skills that will benefit your organisation and this can help your self promotion efforts and also and impress your boss!

Study for a Qualification
If not having a key qualification is holding you back, then ask your boss if they will be prepared to help fund you for some thing that will be of benefit to you and the company. Alternatively, you may wish to consider evening courses, the Open University or distance learning.

Grow personally as well as professionally

Personal development CD’s, DVD’s, motivational books, workshops and seminars can all help to inspire you, teach you new life skills and train you to have a winning attitude and mindset. People will notice the transformation in you and this could make a big difference to your career prospects.  

Build Your Network
In this case we are looking at primarily within the organisation. Who are the key people who can influence your future? The more people who know you, know your strengths and abilities and your value to the organisation, also your ambitions, the more likely you are to get your name in the frame when opportunities arise.

Find out about events happening in your industry. Exhibitions, conferences and seminars where you can spend time talking with new people, asking questions, listening and learning. Inspiring Industry leaders will usually share their knowledge and experience at seminars and you can learn much from them. These industry events can provide you with ideas, insight into future trends and  are a great place to network. Ask your boss if you can attend and get the company to pay!

Take on Additional Responsibilities
Volunteer for jobs outside your allocated role. Not only will this impress your boss but the new skills you develop can be highlighted when you want to move up the career ladder. Asking for more work shows your interest and commitment to help your company to succeed.

Professional Approach
Earn a reputation for being professional at all times. Dress professionally even on business casual days. Stand out from the crowd, act and look the part and ensure that you have a positive outlook, especially when the going gets tough!

Deliver Solutions not Problems!
Your boss won’t thank you for constantly burdening them with your problems. If a difficult situation arises, be sure to come up with at least one solution before seeking your boss’s agreement for dealing with the situation. Problem solvers get promoted, so make sure you stand out from the pack!

If you want to know more about developing your career visit our career and personal development website.

Before the CV- Establishing your true marketability!

When you either need to look for a new job or decide that the time is right, do you immediately dust off your CV, consider updating it, adding relevant new information, then fire it out to as many companies, organisations, agencies and job boards as possible. Sound familiar?

This is often the biggest mistake that many job seekers make, especially when faced with redundancy. Updating and re-writing your CV and blasting it out to ‘the universe’ is unlikely to get you on the interview ‘YES’ pile, unless you have first established and understood your true marketability as it is unlikely to be targeted and focused to sell you in the best light.

Skills are undeniably a vital ingredient for success in all job roles and for some the more specific or the more transferable the better. For some very specialist, technical and clinical jobs, having exactly the right skill set and proven ability to do the role could certainly be the determining factor.

Skills will always be important but they do not provide the full picture. It is a fact that most skills can be learnt or developed and many skills are portable so can be transferred into other jobs or careers. Conversely, it is hard to change people’s personality, nature and their outlook on life.

The old adage is that ‘a leopard can never change its spots’. This is true to a large extent. Only by working hard to develop and grow personally (as well as professionally) does this have a positive impact on who you are and how you approach life. ‘You are what you think and feel’.

Remember ‘you never get a second chance to create a first impression’. What you see is what you get and enthusiastic, positive people tend to radiate energy, which is infectious!

Marketable means that you are sought after and in demand. Your true marketability is the value you offer an employer in terms of your complete package i.e. range of skills, competencies, attributes, attitude, knowledge base, achievements, networks, reputation and personal values. This is an infinitely more powerful proposition than just focusing on your skills.

Enthusiasm, determination, passion, willingness to learn and a positive ‘can do’ attitude can leapfrog you over the competition, even when they have more experience and ‘better skills’, as these can add real value to the job and organisation.

Imagine the scenario; two CV’s landing on an employer or recruiter’s desk, one is purely skills focused and the other really brings you to life in a very positive and powerful way so your personality, work ethic, career objectives, achievements and energy leap off the page. Unless the skill level is the only pre-requisite who are you going to invite to interview?

Developing an in depth self awareness of who you are and what you have to offer is essential for effective self marketing and developing your career. This provides focus and clarity to ensure that you are applying for the right jobs, your applications are targeted and you sell yourself in the best light on your CV and in any networking or interview situations.

You can now work on identifying your unique selling point/s (USP/s).  For USP think what makes you different and or better than your competition?

Regardless of the level you are working at or aspiring to, the majority of people greatly undersell themselves. In such a competitive job market by establishing and really accentuating your true marketability and USP, you will stand out from the crowd!

At the final stage of interviews, the prime candidates usually have similar skill sets. What sets you apart from the competition is likely to be a combination of your personal attributes, attitude, mindset, track record and networks.

Resist the temptation to fire out your CV. Establishing and understanding your true marketability will help you sell yourself effectively, with confidence and set you up for a successful career.

If you want to know more about developing your career visit our career and personal development website

Portfolio Career – It’s your CHOICE!

  • Lots of ideas and options but unsure how to choose?
  • Do you love variety and differing challenges?

If so, a portfolio career could be for you!

What is a Portfolio Career?

Employment specialists have predicted for many years that work will become less structured and secure in the future and that we will face constant change in our working lives. This is definitely proving to be true and the portfolio career is now becoming an accepted alternative working lifestyle.

To be in control of your own career now means looking at alternative ways of working. To stay employable in the future you will need to adapt to new roles, acquire new skills and master new ways of building a career.

  • A portfolio career is one where you have an income from a number of sources
  • Perhaps a number of jobs
  • A job and a business
  • Any combination of activities and skills
  • A portfolio career may consist of different working arrangements at different times
  • Rather than working for one company you take on various projects and cultivate several clients
  • A successful Portfolio Career fits together bits of work in our life to form a balanced whole
  • It could typically include periods of employment through short term contracts e.g. project work, temporary or interim work, part-time work perhaps combined with self employment, working from home and even voluntary work
  • Basically anything and everything you want it to be to achieve your desired work-life balance and income requirements!

In order to pursue a Portfolio Career, you must be willing to risk personal change.

Some of the PROS and CONS of Having a Portfolio Career:

The PROS:

  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Change
  • Autonomy (being in control)
  • Excitement
  • Achievement
  • Development of expertise and many skills
  • Personal Freedom & Personal Growth
  • Pleasure doing what you like
  • Risk Taking
  • Variety
  • Fast Pace
  • Leisure Time
  • Money
  • Emotional Health
  • Meaning
  • Continual Learning

If these appeal then maybe a portfolio career is a possibility

The CONS:

  • Risk
  • Change
  • Lack of Stability
  • Overwhelming when deadlines overlap
  • Fast pace
  • Lack of leisure time
  • Lack of money (or financial stability)
  • Pressure
  • Other people’s opinions
  • Lack of company benefits
  • Lack of a regular routine

If these are considered negative, you may need to reframe some of your thinking before considering a Portfolio Career

Starting a small business doesn’t have to be an all or nothing enterprise. You can develop into a number of areas and stretch yourself and really maximise your skill set. Most businesses naturally evolve and having a portfolio career arguably makes this easier.

Benefits of a Portfolio Career

  • Having a range of items in your portfolio gives you security
  • If one of them goes there are always others to fall back on
  • Great if you want to achieve more money, more freedom, more variety and more flexibility in your life
  • Extends your contact network and gives you the opportunity to develop new skills
  • Each piece of work you do adds to your portfolio of skills and experience which you can use to attract more work
  • Above all else – CHOICE!!!!!!!

To become a portfolio person, it means not thinking in terms of having or not having a job. Instead, taking control of your life, making flexibility the key and developing a portfolio of skills and activities either for sale or for voluntary work.

How Do I get a Portfolio Career?

Firstly, identify skills and traits that you could sell to form a potential portfolio career that could work for you. Things to consider:

  1. What motivates you?
  2. Work you enjoy e.g. – driving, painting, communicating, making things:
  3. What career(s) would you like to try, if you knew that you wouldn’t have to do it forever or on a full-time basis?
  4. Any ideas that you have for a home-based or small business, but have not felt would support you full time?
  5. Your skills and talents/ what do you have that others might pay for?
  6. Your major accomplishments

Balancing your portfolio:

  • The balance of your portfolio is likely to change at different periods in your life
  • A portfolio career may consist of different working arrangements at different times
  • If your career strands fail to provide you with everything you need you may decide to broaden your range of activities
  • However, at certain times, one strand may become all consuming
  • Caution – don’t try to take on too many different/new career strands at the same time!!.

If you have had enough of the corporate world or public sector bureaucracy or generally being an employee then maybe this could be the right career move for you. The good news is that self employment or developing a new career does not have to be about doing just one thing!

Can you imagine what it would be like to be in control of your career and working lifestyle? You are just one step away from developing your portfolio career of CHOICE and how good would that feel??

Moving from Over 40 and Unemployed to Over 40 and Hired!

Redundancy – Evaluating Your Options

There has been much media attention lately regarding the ‘mature’ unemployed population both in the UK, USA and Western Europe.

The recent Panorama programme on the BBC showcased the stories of a number of over fifty unemployed professionals who were finding it tough to get back into employment.

We can all empathise with their situations and many people like them. However, it was painfully obvious why some of them were not making any progress finding their next job or career move. That said it is never easy, especially if you have never experienced redundancy or been unemployed.

The reality is that anything is possible. There is a definite process to achieving successful career transition, which will work for you as long as you believe it, navigate the right path and take positive action!

Top 30 tips for older professionals to win through redundancy

1.       The most important consideration is MINDSET – ‘You are what you think and feel’!

2.       You must ‘let go’ and look forward – turn the potential threat into an opportunity

3.       Learn from the past to help you move forward

4.       If you believe that you are washed up at 40 or 50 and won’t get another job then this is what is likely to happen unless you change your thinking

5.       You are never too old. If you are open to change, thinking differently, being opportunistic  and taking control of your career then anything is possible

6.       Your language is key and will speak volumes about your mindset – be aware of the power of what you say, how you say it and to whom

7.       Don’t bang on about ‘being redundant’ and  how badly your employer or the world is treating you

8.       Instead, work hard to project a positive image and tell people you’re ‘between jobs and looking for new opportunities’ and show initiative

9.       You must believe that people genuinely want to help you but you need to help them

10.   People will want to help but only if you are positive and upbeat, as most people have enough baggage of their own!

11.   Surround yourself with positive people to boost you up -investing in a career coach can make the difference in how quickly you move forward and act as a catalyst for change

12.   There is a definite process to achieve successful career transition and your next career move

13.   Learn to embrace our SMP Career Navigation Cycle for a greater chance of success

14.   Before you start firing off your CV, start by re-evaluating  what is important to you in your life and career;  values, motivators, passions, interests

15.   Establish your true marketability – not just your skills but attributes, attitude, knowledge base, networks and achievements

16.   Take time out for a break and to clear your head but be wary of taking a few months off as it is important to ‘get back on the horse’ as soon as possible and not to lose self discipline

17.   Treat your job search like a project , looking to achieve ‘small wins’ along the way

18.   As with any project, you need to review what is working and what isn’t and be open to change and cease any activities that are not helping you move towards your end goal

19.   ‘If you always do what you’ve always done you will always get what you’ve always got’

20.   Think outside of the box – circumnavigate the recruitment process by looking  to create opportunities

21.   If 80% of jobs are never advertised in the public domain then learn to spend 80% of your time looking to tap into the ‘hidden job market’  rather than throwing yourself in with all the competition chasing advertised vacancies

22.   Develop your networks and make them work for you both online and offline

23.   Social media / networks have changed the face of how we live and job search – ‘you have to be in it to win it’!

24.   Consider setting up a businesses of your own utilising all your career and life skills, tapping into your passions and interests

25.   Plug the learning gaps and re-skill where necessary to make you more marketable

26.   Reframe your thinking – maybe it is time to consider ‘generating income’ rather than ‘having a job’

27.   Developing a ‘Portfolio Career’ where you earn income from a variety of different activities  using a range of skills is often a great way to achieve a fulfilling life style

28.   If you are thinking about doing something new but want to try it out first before you decide, volunteering  or work shadowing are great ways to dip a toe in the water to see if it’s right for you

29.   Develop yourself, build your confidence and self belief

30.   Take positive action to make your goal come true!

If you want to know more about developing your career, visit our Career & Personal Development website

Check out our MD Steve Preston’s internationally acclaimed book Winning Through Redundancy – 6 steps to navigate your way to a brighter future. This may help to transform your career and life!

Guide to Self Marketing – Matching Your Mission with Your Vision

When managing your career, be mindful that the biggest mistake many people make is letting others make decisions for them.

It may be that a recruitment agency tries to pigeon hole you into a ‘box’ but you don’t feel this represents either your true skill set or desired job role. This can often happen, as it makes their job much easier but could result in you not selling or marketing yourself in the way you desire.

Equally it may be colleagues, family or friends who have a perceived view of what you have to offer the market place, which may have been true in the past but not necessarily in tune with your new mindset and the direction you wish to be moving towards, especially if you are looking to change career.

It is definitely beneficial to seek help from a Career Coach to steer you in the right direction, especially as most of us find it difficult to ‘blow our own trumpet’ and sell ourselves in the best light. However, make sure that you don’t put your future in someone else’s hands by abdicating responsibility for your own decisions, as it is your career and future at stake!

A Four-Step Process

A good approach for managing your career is to consider yourself as MD of your own company, in charge of your future success, growth and survival.

You are also the marketing director, responsible for managing your job search campaign, creatively packaging and creating a need for the company’s star product – you!

Taking this approach and following the marketing guidelines will provide you with the necessary focus to help you take control of your career and become the ‘architect of your own future’. Like him or loathe him, David Beckham is the master of this.

1. Define your product (i.e. know yourself)

  • To create a desirable package for your product, you must determine why it’s unique
  • What are your special skills and talents?
  • What are you selling to potential employers?
  • What makes you different or better than other products (candidates)?
  • Is your product appropriately priced or do you need to make improvements (e.g. acquire more skills)?

With the market being fiercely competitive, creativity is the order of the day. How you package yourself, your skills, abilities and talents will ultimately determine the effectiveness of your ‘campaign’, whether in or out of work.

  • Be proactive and understand the benefit of marketing yourself on a regular basis
  • Don’t just market yourself when it becomes necessity, because you are facing redundancy or unemployed
  • Assessing and clearly defining your skills and attributes is not an easy task and you may well need help, as often we cannot see the ‘wood for the trees’
  • You definitely cannot sell yourself effectively if you are unclear about your marketability
  • Are your skills right for the type of job or career you are seeking?
  • Evaluate and establish any obvious gaps, to look at what training or development will be required to become competitive
  • Personal development programmes can be of great benefit to boost your confidence, focus and approach to selling yourself

2. Determine your market

  • Who are your target customers now and in the future and why would they buy your product (i.e. yourself)?
  • Without a clear understanding of your audience, you cannot ‘package yourself’ or create an effective marketing plan
  • If you are employed, your target market can be internal, external or both
  • You don’t have to leave a current employer to advance in your career
  • Marketing yourself internally is easier than external networking, which often means making “cold” calls to people you’ve never met

3. Make a plan (your campaign strategy)

  • Good marketers create and follow a plan that includes a description of their target audience and how best to reach it
  • Create your own marketing plan and then follow through on the details
  • All your efforts and activities should support your goal, whether it’s to become better known in your present industry or a different field
  • A key consideration, as with any plan, is to review and change course where necessary
  • Failure to do this is likely to end up with you veering way of course!

Most professionals know the basics of job hunting but may not understand how to continuously market themselves as a product.

Proactive marketing helps you to become known and visible to ‘buyers’. It requires making connections, maintaining a network of people and persistence. This way you are likely to be noticed when career opportunities arise.

When putting your plan into action, be positive about discussing your career goals. If contacts don’t know what you need or want, they can’t help. Experience shows that most people genuinely like to help.

4. Use effective marketing channels

The most effective form of self marketing is ‘networking’, although the very name puts fear and panic into many job seekers!

Why is this?

In the UK, our ‘British reserve’ automatically puts up barriers and our ‘limiting beliefs’ get in the way i.e. all the negativity and reasons why not to and why it won’t work! In the US it is just a way of life so is second nature.

5. The importance of Social Media

Facebook, LinkedIn (Professional/ Business version of Facebook), Plaxo, blogs and the like have revolutionised the way we connect with people.

Building and maintaining your networks would have previously taken weeks or months to really get going now the power of social media can help you achieve this in only days. Remember to continue to optimise and maintain your networks.

6. Finding effective help and support

  • 1:1 Career Coaching aimed at helping you overcome your limiting beliefs and building your confidence are a great source of help to ensure networking becomes a natural and effective part of your everyday self marketing strategy
  • Joining professional, industry, community and specific networking groups should all form part of your strategy
  • When you really start to analyse your network of contacts, it is reassuring that you actually know many people from all walks of life; family and friends, existing and ex work colleagues, business acquaintances, acquaintances through sport and leisure activities, parents from your children’s school, community activities and so on.
  • All these people can be helpful to unlocking your future
  • It is invariably the most surprising people who ultimately do unlock your future and these can often be the friends and contacts of the people you already know!

If you are seriously considering a career change but finding it difficult to break into your chosen market, consider offering your services for a work placement either on a voluntary or ideally paid basis as this can be a useful strategy.

You immediately have something live on your CV and become instantly more marketable!

By taking these approaches and following your heart and talking passionately to people about your career mission and continually reviewing your progress towards your goal, you will become the architect of your own future and match your mission with your vision!

If you want to know more about developing your career, visit our Career & Personal Development website

What to do When Facing Redundancy

What to do when redundancy strikes

What should you do if you are faced with redundancy? – Top Ten tips

Are you one of the thousands of job ‘victims’ affected by the downturn in the economy or Public Sector cuts?

Not a pleasant situation to suddenly be faced with, unless you have been quietly plotting your escape route and can now walk away with some spare cash, or you always knew that the time is right to get out.What to do when redundancy strikes

Having been hit with the news of pending redundancy, it is important to take the right steps to protect your own interests and get you moving forward as quickly as possible:

1/ Know your rights – This is an important start point. If you work for a large organisation, the HR department will almost certainly have followed proper policy and protocol and checked out all their legal requirements as an employer. If you have a union then they will be involved in the process to ensure that employees best interests are looked after.

However, as with most things in life, or if you work for a smaller company without an HR department, this is not always the case. Sometimes redundancy programmes are rushed through and things might not always be done exactly as they should and corners may be cut, especially if there is great pressure to reduce headcount and payroll cost.

You need to know if you are being fairly treated, if your reason for redundancy is valid, whether there is scope for negotiation on any redundancy payment, if you have been given the proper period of consultation and a host of other issues.

2/ Know where to get help – If you do not have an HR department or you are for whatever reason uncomfortable discussing your situation with them, find some external help to advise on your situation (there is plenty of free help around) so no need to pay for anything at this stage. If you have a union then this is the time they can be of great help. The site below is specifically targeted to people in your situation. 

http://www.redundancyhelp.co.uk/index.htm

3/ Negotiate the best deal – Depending on your standing within the organisation, length of service and and reason for redundancy, there could be scope for negotiation, especially if you may be required to stay on to oversee important handovers or your job is such that it is of benefit for you to remain in situ as long as possible. This could open up the possibility for a retention bonus as you are helping the company whilst making it difficult for you to job search. Even if you negotiate an extra week or two pay this will all help towards your survival contingency and pay some bills.

4/ Find out what career support is available from your employer – Although there is no formal obligation from employers to support staff facing redundancy with career help, many organisations feel that they have a moral obligation to at least help those being released to have a better chance of getting a new job quickly or to be able to review their career options and this is commonly known as Outplacement or Career Management.

Every organisation takes a different approach. However, if nothing is offered it is always worth asking your HR Manager or Trade Union (if you have one) if a programme can be provided.

If there are a small amount of redundancies, it can pay you to agree a budget with your employer and source your own outplacement programme. This way you have a much better chance of having a programme customised to your needs, rather than having a programme the organisation have negotiated. If they are not happy to do this, then take any help that is on offer, as it could really help to fastrack you to your next job plus you never know when you might be in the same situation again.

5/ Career support options if your employer is unable to provide a programme – You have to accept that in a climate of economic downturn and cost cutting, your employer may not have the funds to pay for an Outplacement programme or be willing to pay for such support.

If you have never experienced redundancy before and are ‘all at sea’, you are looking at the opportunity for a possible career change or you wish to fast-track to another maybe even better job, then it will pay you to invest in some professional help to move you forward with your career and help you market yourself more effectively.You will get a much quicker return on your investments a good Career Coach will keep you focused, motivated and on track rather  than going it alone and more than likely losing your motivation on the way.

Expert career development consultancies offer a range of services to suit the needs of each individual from writing a CV to get you on the interview yes pile, honing your interview skills to win at interviews to exploring career change options and specific career development programmes for professionals and executives.

6/  Having the right Mindset – Turn the Threat into an Opportunity. Winning through redundancy is much about positive mindset e.g. it’s not about you personally but about the economic climate e.g. restructuring or whatever else has created the situation that is requiring outsourcing, cost cutting etc. Things usually happen for a reason so take advantage of the situation to review your life and career and walk away with some money to maybe fund a new venture, something that you maybe have always wanted to do but never had the courage or it has never been the right time.

7/ You are allowed to be upset (for a while!) – Redundancy effects people in many different ways. If the redundancy has come as a shock or you feeel bitter about what has happened or frightened about the future then it is only natural to be upset and concerned. Try to get this off your chest, change your mindset and let go and move forward as quickly as possible and learn from the past to help your future. If you are deeply truamatised then you may need special counselling support which your employer may provide.

8/ Get your finances into shape and the right support network – Surround yourself with positive people who will boost you up and who have ideally experienced redundancy and proven that it can be a blessing in disguise plus people that you know, value and tust. This is also where professional career development support and career coaching can be greatly beneficial.  It will also pay you to get professional help to review your pension if your employer has not provided this service.

Get your finances into shape and once you know how much you will walk away with do some serious financial planning to work out how much you need to earn moving forward and how long your redundancy and any savings will last and if you are fortunate to have a good package, how best to invest your money. For many people this exercise can open up a whole new world of thinking, especially if you find that you don’t need to earn as much as you thought to survive or your redundancy money can bring about new financial freedom!

9/ Build your networks – With anything up to 90% of jobs never openly advertised, for many job seekers building and managing your networks can be the most effective methodology to finding a new opportunity.  The impact and power of social media has completely changed the face of recuitment and job searching so building an online presence through Facebook and especially LinkedIn for professionals and executives is as important as meeting contacts face to face and has dramatically reduced the time it takes to build and maintain your networks.

10/ Live your dream! – You may never get a better opportunity than now to re-evaluate your life and career and do what you’ve always wanted to! Research consistently shows that one in two people are in the wrong job and two out of three are unfulfilled.  It is never too late to change and now is the time for you to find the right job or career for you, maybe even start up your own business doing something you love that will make you happy or take that retirement you have been yearning for!

If you want to know more about developing your career, visit our Career & Personal Development website