Posts Tagged ‘Career advice’
How many times have you heard this cliché -‘work/life balance’? It seems that all manner of professionals use this term to describe what you can aspire to achieve in your life. However, in today’s fast-paced world, do you actually reach your goal, as you attempt to balance your work and lifestyle?
Do you struggle with the vision of what balance actually means?
When you picture a set of scales what do you see – balance or imbalance? As soon as you add the slightest weight to one side of the scales you upset the balance. One side will weigh down the other. In your mind, as you strive to bring about balance in your work and life, do your scales almost immediately become outweighed on one side?
Does the term ‘balance’ set the highest benchmark as being a state of perfection?
We all know that even with the best will and intention, achieving a perfect work/life balance is unlikely. Life happens. Work happens. Challenges, diversions and situations take place. That’s the real world. Are you expecting too much of yourself as you aim for the perfect balance, in other words, are you setting yourself an unrealistic and unattainable goal?
Or rather blend what you do. Consider the word blend. To blend evokes a new meaning; one where you can mix your work and lifestyle together. In one way, blending softens the idea of having to achieve a perfect balance, don’t you think? Blending negates the need for a defined edge or boundary. Instead it says to merge or combine.
Does blending encourage you to change your perspective about how your work and lifestyle can complement one another?
Together with living in a fast-paced world, the changing world of work is moving at a rapid pace as well. With growing numbers of people embracing portfolio careers and lifestyles, the concept of blending is becoming more and more apparent. A portfolio approach allows you to create a working lifestyle which clearly resonates with the term ‘blending’. A working portfolio lifestyle is a blend of work and living, where you can combine what you do with how you choose to live your life. Blend says together, combination, and where two separates become one.
Throw away the scales in your work and life. Change your perspective from balance to blend. Set yourself a new challenge – to discover your favourite blend of portfolio work and lifestyle!
For more ways to develop your portfolio career and lifestyle please take a look at our Career and People Development website
Build your Brand Online with Twitter
Did you know that there are 465 million Twitter accounts across the globe and 175 million tweets being posted daily? That’s a sizeable chunk of the world’s population mixed together with a massive amount of conversations taking place, wouldn’t you agree? Now that’s you’ve taken in the sheer size of Twitter what do these statistics say to you? Do you see how Twitter can be an incredible opportunity for you to expose your brand?
Twitter is a market leader in the world of social media. Since its arrival on the web in 2006, Twitter has shown rapid growth and continued success as a social networking and micro blogging platform which is ideally suited for business. So my question here is: How can you NOT have a social media presence, namely on Twitter?
Social media marketing continues to be somewhat of a grey area because it is difficult to justify its credibility and the return on investment in terms of spending. Many business owners will question – “What does social media deliver?” or “What are the tangible results?” These demonstrate the reality that social media, although a powerful method to engage with your audience, still has no benchmark yet. On a more positive note, implementation of strategic social media campaigns is proving to indicate an increased level of business success.
How can you harness the power of Twitter to build your brand online?
To develop a successful social media marketing strategy it is important to consider the positive aspects of your chosen approach. When you utilise Twitter as part of your online marketing mix you will benefit from being able to:
- Open a channel of communication between you and your audience. Be human and join in the conversation. Like face to face networking, your followers will either ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ the feeling they get from the exchanges you share. Social media allows you to reach out and connect, so ensure you do so in a positive and welcoming way.
- Raise awareness of your brand. Everyone strives to achieve greater brand exposure. Share good content and engage and interact consistently with your followers, and you will gain the attention of more targeted people. Your supporters will ‘talk’ about your brand and boost your online presence.
- Create an online reputation. Set and meet your brand standard. Make sure your brand and business values are met with every tweet you post. Focus your post and retweets on building a trusted and mutually beneficial community of followers. Research how the big brands such as Disney and Virgin build their successful online reputations. What do they do that works? How do they encourage their followers to become their greatest advocates?
- Build a network. Building a successful online brand is not only about you promoting what you have to offer. It is equally important to reciprocate, to create win: win opportunities. Think strategically about who you connect with. How can they help you and vice versa? Will they become a trusted supplier that you refer? Will they become a paying client? Do you see collaborative potential with them?
One thing is clear; social media is here to stay.
Now is the time to embrace this new social world; to join in the Twitter conversation, to experiment and learn, and focus on your goal to become the brand everybody is talking about.
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”
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 The Career Catalyst website for more information.
Here is your one stop shop of tips to help you achieve your potential whilst at University and move from academia into employment!
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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?
- 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?
- 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
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
- Have you thought about starting your own business but have held back because you could not decide which route to go down?
- 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.
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:
- Autonomy (being in control)
- Development of expertise and many skills
- Personal Freedom & Personal Growth
- Pleasure doing what you like
- Risk Taking
- Fast Pace
- Leisure Time
- Emotional Health
- Continual Learning
If these appeal then maybe a portfolio career is a possibility
- Lack of Stability
- Overwhelming when deadlines overlap
- Fast pace
- Lack of leisure time
- Lack of money (or financial stability)
- Other people’s opinions
- Lack of company benefits
- Lack of a regular routine
If these are considered negative, it is wise not to consider 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:
- What motivates you?
- Work you enjoy e.g. – driving, painting, communicating, making things:
- 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?
- Any ideas that you have for a home-based or small business, but have not felt would support you full time?
- Your skills and talents/ what do you have that others might pay for?
- 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!
If you want to know more about developing your career, visit our Career & Personal Development website
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
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 information on our forthcoming Career Transition Masterclass. This may help to transform your life and career!