How to Build your Career Confidence and Resilience in a Crisis (Part 2)

How has the lock down impacted your career confidence and your resilience?

In Part 1 of this series we looked at what was happening to us during the crisis and our responses to that. This time we’re focusing on 3 simple techniques to build your career confidence. This is important because right now with all the uncertainty your career confidence is probably taking a hit.

Often people think we are born either confident or not but it’s about 50/50. 50% nature and 50% nurture, which means there is lots of scope for development. But you do have to keep working at it, especially now. Presently you’re probably finding it hard to focus on just you and your career. Even if you can find 10-15mins per day then you can focus on one of the techniques I’m going to share.

What is your biggest career confidence issue right now?

It’s probably one of these! Career confidence can plummet if we experience any of the following:

Redundancy – we often feel it’s personal – ‘why me?’ and you may think it’s somehow linked to your performance.

Furloughing – when you have time away from your role, and you’re not actively using your skills or connecting with your colleagues you can begin to experience self doubt and question your abilities.

Working from home – being separate from your boss, colleagues and clients can mean it feels harder to connect, to get recognition or feedback. You may miss the stimulation and support from others and this cna impact your productivity.

Lack of opportunities – feeling that your career is on hold or that your stuck can impact your confidence. You feel you can’t progress, you can’t leave and you can’t change career or job.

3 Easy Career Confidence Techniques to Give you a Boost

Here are 3 simple techniques, rooted in positive psychology, that you can try out to give your career confidence a boost:

Keep an Achievement Journal

This will build your confidence and provide evidence that you can use to remind yourself of why you are in the job you are in. When the doubts creep in you can instantly access lots of examples of when you have performed well. This is also a way to begin the process of internal validation –recognising that you do have what it takes to do the job.

Grab yourself a new beautiful notebook and spend 5-10 mins everyday capturing at least one achievement in your notebook. An achievement is simply something you have done with a good outcome. It could be a deliverable, a conversation, taking an action or… It could also be a piece of feedback from someone else.

Record it and reflect on it – notice what skills you used to make this happen successfully. Gradually increase the number of achievements you record each day. Enjoy re-reading them.

Replace Negative Thoughts with a Positive Statement

We’re not our thoughts but sometimes our brain works damn hard to convince us we are. If you give negative thoughts such as ‘I’m not as good as they think I am’ or ‘I can’t do this, I’m not good enough’ airtime then they will constantly erode your confidence and perpetuate feelings of doubt.

You need to rewrite the script. Choose a positive statement to replace the negative thoughts with. It could be something as simple as “I am skilled and experienced, and good at my job.”

Neuroscience then tells us we must create a new neural pathway to embed the positive thought. What do I mean by neural pathways – well in the brain we have ‘well-trodden’ thought patterns.

It’s useful to think of these are a field of grass. Imagine you come to the field and on the first day you walk across the field you leave a slight indentation, the next day you return to the field and walk the same route, and the pathway becomes more noticeable. By the end of the week the path is very visible and so you walk that route every time you come to the field because it is routine.

So, it is with our thoughts we’ve created pathways that mean when we’re presented with a challenging situation we immediately think ‘I can’t do this’. With our new positive statement, we must create a new pathway across the field and let the grass grow up around the old one.

This will take conscious effort and hard work. You will have to be conscious of your negative thoughts and work hard to replace them. It’s tempting to go onto autopilot and follow them down a familiar route so resist the urge and create a new response.

Focus on what you have done, not what you haven’t

In the lock down you probably have learnt new tech, home-schooled your kids, hosted a zoom get together, developed new ways of connecting with others, and lots more. Congratulate yourself for what you have managed to achieve in these strange times even if they feel like a small achievement.

Then identify 3 new actions you could take to boost your career. For example, identify a new project to get involved with; raise your profile in your company; update your CV; reach out to your network or something else. Taking a proactive and conscious approach to your career now will give you a sense of agency and control.

Think of career confidence as a muscle that you must keep working on in order to support you. While you might need 45 mins at the gym to keep your actual muscles healthy, you can probably spend a quarter of that time focusing on your career confidence using just one of these techniques.

In Part 3 we’ll be looking at how to develop resilient thinking to support your career confidence. You can watch my webinar Build your Career Confidence & Resilience in a Crisis here.

For more ideas on boosting your career confidence read Be Brave: 3 tips to boost your confidence or sign up for my FREE career confidence booster or book a call to discuss how coaching can make a difference.

Photo courtesy of Prateek [email protected]

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How job seekers can use their downtime to boost their career

The current pandemic has led to a standstill in the job market, with many businesses having to adapt to operating remotely or having to close their doors altogether.

This ongoing uncertainty has caused many employers to put their hiring efforts on hold until things return to normal. The result of which is that many job seekers are not only left without a job, but there are now less advertised roles out there for them to apply to.

But if you’re a job seeker and you’ve found yourself with more time on your hands, all is not lost. The situation presents you with the ideal opportunity to boost your CV and employability.

How? Consider using your downtime for one (or more) of the following.

Take an online course

Taking an online course can help you to learn new skills and add new qualifications to your CV. And the best news is, there are plenty of online courses out there for you to choose from!

Providers across the UK offer a range of courses covering most industries. And these don’t have to come at a huge cost to you. In fact, you’ll find a mixture of free and budget-friendly courses online. Additionally, many course providers are offering huge discounts in response to COVID-19.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider the most sought-after skills in your industry and run a quick Google search to find the most widely-recognised course providers in your sector.

Strengthen your skills

You might also want to perfect some of your existing skills to help make you feel more proficient and confident when using them.

For example, if you’ve got a basic understanding of coding, why not learn some different coding languages and boost your skills in this area? Or, perhaps you’re a dab-hand with Excel, but you’d like to learn more about data entry?

There are a number of online resources (courses included), tutorials and advice available to you that can help you to build on your skills and strengthen your suitability for your dream job.

Build your knowledge

It always pays to add to your knowledge and there are several ways you can use your downtime to do this, in addition to courses.

You might wish to read books, magazines or online journals relevant to your industry, or you could even find a podcast to listen to. As well as keeping you in-the-know, it’s a great way to relax and unwind!

Building your knowledge in this way helps to show your passion for your industry and also gives you plenty of talking points for your CV, cover letters and during interviews.

Spruce up your CV

With all this extra time on your hands, now is the ideal opportunity for you to spruce up your CV. If you’ve been using the same CV for weeks (or maybe even months) to little avail, spending some time reviewing and amending this could boost your chances of landing a job when everything gets back to normal.

Work on a side hustle

Is there a project you’ve been meaning to start for months, but so far, you’ve been unable to find the time to get it off the ground? Well, now is your chance!

You could even turn this into a side hustle (depending on the nature of your project) that could earn you some money while you job search.

Some lucrative examples of this could be freelance writing, blogging, accounting, web design or online teaching (perhaps teaching a language).

Attend events virtually

Many businesses are having to operate remotely to respect social distancing. As such, many have begun offering digital services. This means there are plenty of webinars and careers events being shared online that you can get involved with.

Keep an eye out for virtual careers fairs or webinars from key players in your industry. These are usually free and just require you a quick sign up with your email.

Make the most of your downtime

While these aren’t ideal circumstances for anyone, this can be a particularly tricky time if you’re currently looking for a job.

But don’t let your downtime go to waste! Using the suggestions above, you can keep yourself busy, build your confidence and enhance your career by boosting your CV and employability.

Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and Fast Company.

Photo courtesy of Clem [email protected]

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Want to get your career in shape for 2020? Take my festive quiz

How healthy is your career? Is it feeling a bit flabby and out of condition? Well now’s the time to get ready to knock it into shape and give it a bit of a work out!

Take my festive quiz to work out what to focus on in 2020.

The Office Christmas party is tomorrow – are you:

  1. Dreading it – it’s the same people every year and the same venue – yawn!
  2. Really excited – you can’t wait to have a laugh with all your work mates
  3. Going to go for the champagne and canapes but planning on sneaking off after an hour ‘cos you just don’t connect with people there anymore
  4. In a state – you’ve got nothing to wear!

This year’s Secret Santa pressies are all experiences rather than things – you’re really hoping it’s:

  1. An Assertiveness course so you get better at saying ‘no’ to work you shouldn’t have to do
  2. A Leadership course – you’re ready to develop further and understanding the theory would be good
  3. An opportunity to volunteer in the community with a homeless charity – you want to do something meaningful at least once
  4. A presentation course to boost your confidence when speaking in the team meeting

You’ve got a week off over Christmas what are your plans:

  1. Sleep for as much as possible you’re exhausted
  2. Work on my CV – January’s a great time to look for jobs
  3. Read ‘Thrive’ by Arianna Huffington to get some ideas
  4. Go sale shopping – you can get some great bargains on Boxing Day

When you pull your cracker at the work Christmas lunch you get:

  1. A pair of dice
  2. A keyring in the shape of a heart
  3. A miniature bird in a gilded cage
  4. A manicure set

Your partner asks you what you want for Christmas and you answer:

  1. A new boss – your current one is a nightmare
  2. A new job – it’s time for a change and a promotion
  3. A new career – you want to fulfill your dream at last
  4. A new work wardrobe – you hate your current look

Quiz Results

Now add up your scores and work out what 2019 means for your career.

Mostly 1’s

You can leave your career to chance and make changes only when something goes wrong or you can’t bear it any longer. Next year focus on identifying what you want from your career and then planning to get it – moving towards a goal is much more motivating than trying to escape from a situation.

Mostly 2’s

You have a very positive outlook to your career, love your job and are open to opportunities – you know where you’re heading. Next year focus on keeping your motivation and energy high to achieve the role you want, and work on building your networks.

Mostly 3’s

You’re a bit trapped in your current career – the perks are good but you want to do something that makes your heart sing and gives you purpose. Next year focus on working out what that is going to be – don’t waste anymore time in a job you don’t love. Set yourself a goal for when you’re going to change careers.

Mostly 4’s

You’re feeling a bit unconfident in your career at the moment, and this is impacting how successful you feel. Next year, focus on becoming more self assured at work. Collect examples of what you are doing well at work, ask to go on some confidence boosting courses and start to believe in yourself.

Need some help with your planning? Get in touch to find out more about my super focused 2020 career planning session.

Need some help with your confidence? Read my book ‘Developing your inner coach

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What gives you energy at work?

Life is busy and work can be full on. We can easily get depleted of energy and feel absolutely exhausted. What are you doing to protect yourself and your energy from the daily drains and life overload? Looking after your positive energy is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And learning to monitor how you’re feeling and what pace you are working at is a key part of self-care.

 

But it can be hard to do when you’re facing overwhelm Resilient thinking or developing a strategy to avoid the things or people that deplete your energy will bring benefits that you will see and feel very quickly.

 

How attuned are you to how you’re feeling right now?If you’re under pressure at work, unhappy in your job or embarking on career change you can’t always spot the things that are sapping your energy.

Take my quiz to check your energy levels:

On your way to work you stop to pick up a drink. Do you choose:

  1. A super green detoxing, energising and rejuvenating smoothie plus a banana for later
  2. A caramel machiatto with an espresso chaser and a chocolate croissant
  3. A skinny latte with one shot – it’s your only coffee of the day

Its Monday morning and your diary for the week is already pretty full when another big piece of work arrives in your inbox. Do you:

  1. Feel excited by the new piece of work, realise it’s a priority so cancel and reschedule some non-essential meetings
  2. See this as the final straw – you’re not sure how much longer you can go on like this
  3. Resign yourself to another week of late nights and working at home in the evening

You’ve just completed a project and you were hoping to finish early when a colleague catches you for a ‘chat’ which you know will involve her moaning about everything and holding you up for at least half an hour. Do you:

  1. Tell her you’ll see her tomorrow at the staff meeting but explain you’re on your way out having worked late the night before.
  2. Sit and listen to her for 45mins by which time your good mood has completely evaporated
  3. Explain you would love to chat but you’ve got an important meeting to go to then sneak off and feel guilty all evening.

You notice that you’re meeting work friends for lunch and also in the evening 3 times out of 5 this week. Do you:

  1. Cancel and reschedule 2 of the arrangements but keep the one with the friend who makes you laugh so much you always feel great after seeing her.
  2. Cancel everyone you’re so tired you can barely keep your eyes open at work anyway.
  3. Go ahead and meet everyone as planned, after all you don’t want to upset anyone plus ‘you can sleep when you’re dead, right?’

You’ve been invited to attend the manager’s meeting which has a reputation for lasting more than 2 hours. Do you:

  1. Ask if you can only attend the slot that is relevant to your area of work.
  2. Attend and spend the whole time worrying about what’s on your to do list
  3. Tell them thanks for the invite but you’re too busy and can’t fit it in.

A colleague has invited you to a lunchtime yoga class which she feels has really helped her stress levels. Do you:

  1. Book your first session straight away
  2. Laugh hysterically – ‘lunchtime’ what’s that?
  3. Think yoga’s a bit new age and know you’d rather spend your lunchtime checking out Twitter and Facebook

Your Energy Results:

Mostly 1’s

You’re very aware of protecting your energy and make choices that will preserve your energy levels. You’re assertive and can manage demands on your time well while avoiding energy drainers. You have a good appreciation of nurturing health, mind and body in order to have energy in all areas of your life.

Mostly 2’s

Watch out! You’re close to burn out and so energy depleted that there is no room for self care. You are being sucked into activities and being with people that have negative energy or take energy from you. You need to find a way to make some time for yourself, to think about how you can work differently and engage with things that give you energy – think about what you enjoy and what makes you feel good. Be aware of your physical needs too – substitute coffee and chocolate for some healthy alternatives.

Mostly 3’s

You think you’re doing ok energy wise but could be allowing negative feelings of guilt or anxiety to eat away at your energy levels. Be clear about what actually saps your energy and avoid those things. Be open to trying new things to make you feel good and experiment putting your needs first and saying no assertively.

Need some help making changes to avoid overwhelm, get in touch for a FREE clarity call.

Please do leave some tips in the comments on how you manage your energy levels – we can all learn from each other!

How to fall back in love with your job

Remember when you first started your current job – how excited you were? How much love you felt for it. How you loved going to work. Has the novelty worn off? Is the honeymoon over? Has the reality of what you do every day kicked in? If you’re now in the twilight zone of your job relationship and feel a sense of dread on Sunday evening then something’s got to change.

It’s tempting to dust off your CV, give your job the old ‘heave ho’ and make a move to something new and more exciting. But before you do, consider if you can fall back in love with your job. Just like a relationship, you don’t have to go straight to divorce, with a bit of work you can salvage what’s good.

Here’s how to fall back in love with your job:

Take time to reflect

Make space to get a bit of distance from the day to day and have a good think about your job. This could be a holiday, a weekend away or even just take a day off. You need to get some perspective. Ask yourself three questions:

 – What do you enjoy about it?

 – What are the good bits?

 – Can you do it in a different way that will reconnect you with it?

Ask for what you want

Most managers want to keep their staff as it’s expensive and time consuming to recruit. Don’t sit in silence. Talk to your manager about the fact that you’re not enjoying things as much. Ask for some changes to make it work for you (which will ultimately help them too!).

They may not be able to agree to everything but if they can allow you to implement some key things it will help you feel appreciated and valued. Work out what would help – is it working on some different projects, learning a new skill or working from home one day a week? Getting what you want will contribute to how you feel about your job.

Change your view and mindset

It’s easy when you’re not enjoying what you do to get stuck in a negative frame of mind. This means you tend to focus on all the things you don’t like, and lose perspective on the reality. Make a conscious effort to focus on the areas that are good about your job. You will have to retrain your brain, and it will be tempting to fall back into your old views.

Focusing on the good is a much more enjoyable way to spend your time rather than moaning about things. Try to avoid other people who enjoy saying how awful the company or your job is and seek to reinforce your positive mindset. Choose a word to focus on that can help you stay positive.

Use your strengths

Research shows that we are happier and more confident when we can use our core strengths at work on a regular basis. Do a simple audit of how you use your strengths at work and look for ways you can do that more. Want to discover or remind yourself of your core strengths? You can take the free VIA Strengths Survey.

Plan to learn and grow

Take control of your own learning and development by being proactive about what you want. Check in with yourself about skills or qualifications that could either broaden your current role or help you become more specialist in your role. Look at a variety of ways you can access this from either formal or informal learning, and make a plan to avoid drifting. It’s your responsibility to fulfill your potential.

Fix the things that annoy you

What is getting on your nerves? Is it within your control to fix it? If it is then make some changes. It could be minor such as there is never milk in the fridge for tea or coffee. Organise a rota to buy it. It could be more significant such as your supervision sessions with your boss are always cancelled. Put it in writing that you would like to have them on a  regular basis. Whatever it is, try and resolve it, and if it’s out of your control, accept that you can’t fix it and move past it.

Do your utmost to make it work, to try and fall back in love with your job. But if it’s not possible, don’t stay in a job you don’t love – make a change, and if you need help with that please get in touch.

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Am I too old to change career?

When we’re young we want to be older and when we’re old we want to be younger! There never seems to be a perfect age, especially when it comes to your career. There’s a common misconception that by a certain age you should have it sorted and be settled in your career. But what if you’re in a career that doesn’t fulfil or stretch you, or that makes you unhappy? It doesn’t matter what age you are, career change will be on your radar. So if at 30, 40 or 50 you’re worried that you may be too old to change career, think again.

Our age should not define us, and certainly has no bearing on your ability  to actually change career, or anything else in your life for that matter. Try these tips to break free from any age-limiting beliefs:

Who says ‘you’re too old’ to change career?

Is this belief yours or someone else’s? Are you letting yourself be influenced by other people’s prejudices or expectations? If your best friend told you that he or she was going to change their career, what would you say to them? It’s unlikely you’d say ‘what! you’re too old’.

Give yourself permission to follow what you feel is right for you regardless of your age. Some people are able to work out their career path at a young age, but for many it is a process of exploration and experimentation. And if this takes 10 or more years so be it.

How many years?

When do you want to retire? I’m guessing it’s age 65-70? Now minus your current age from your desired retirement age, and you’ll get the rest of your working life. This could be another 20 or 30 years. If your goal is to have a fulfilling and happy career then why, when you have that amount of time left to work, wouldn’t you change careers?

This can also help you to see that the investment and time in any retraining or studying will be short compared to the time in your new job. Don’t ask yourself ‘am I too old to change career at 30 or 40 or 50?’, instead ask yourself ‘How would I feel if I spend another 10 or 20 years doing a job I don’t love?’

Look for role models

Knowing other people, who may be the same age or older, have changed career successfully can be inspiring and reassuring. Find someone in your network who has done this and talk to them about their experience. If you don’t know anyone, check out LinkedIn and look at people’s career stories.

Many of my clients have changed career mid life or in later life. My oldest client was 60 when she changed career. Society is obsessed with youth. Youth is seen as being vigorous and full of potential, and so it can be hard to see career changers who are older and who are still fulfilling their potential.

There are celebrity role models who can help. Vera Wang didn’t start designing clothes until age 40. Harrison Ford was a cabinet maker for 15 years before  becoming an actor, almost by chance. Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at 50. Martha Stewart was a model and stockbroker before branching into gourmet cooking in  her thirties and then developing her lifestyle brand. Spanx founder Sara Blakely sold office supplies door to door before quitting at 30 to run her business full time. Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet was a sports journalist for several years before creating Mumsnet.

Challenge your beliefs

Do some hard thinking about your own beliefs about age, and be prepared to challenge your thinking. We collect beliefs through our life from many different sources, and they can form part of our identity so it may feel particularly challenging to let a belief go. Do some free writing to unearth your belief and then consider the truth of what you have discovered. Ask yourself  ‘What am I saying ‘no’ to by sticking with this belief?’ and ‘What am I saying ‘yes’ to if I change my belief?’

It won’t necessarily be easy to change how you feel about age and career change but working at it will give you the freedom and motivation to find a career that enables you to fulfill your potential at any stage in your life.

I firmly believe that age should not hold us back from finding and doing work that we love. As one of my clients said to me today ‘it’s never too late to start living the life you want to live’.

If you want help to start living the life you want to by having the career you want get in touch for a free clarity call or join my 10 day career change challenge.

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How to stop being a perfectionist at work

Are you a perfectionist?  Do you work long hours, suffer from anxiety and never fully switch off? How exhausted are you from trying to be perfect at work?

Being a perfectionist makes you great at detail and delivering everything to a high quality. But it’s also a curse that means you find it hard to relax. You may find it hard to accept work that isn’t 100% perfect and can often spill over into your home life. Maybe it makes you a nightmare to live with!

Perfectionism can develop for a number of reasons.  Perhaps you were a child of a perfectionist. It can also stem from believing your self worth is determined by your achievements and therefore seek praise and acceptance. It can also be motivated by a fear of failure. If everything is perfect then you can’t fail and you can’t be vulnerable. The problem is you can push yourself too much to keep achieving at this high standard.

Is there an alternative to perfectionism?

But does it have to be that way? If, on a spectrum that spans 100% perfect at one end, to completely winging it at the other, you find yourself clinging to being a perfectionist, it may seem impossible to let that go.  But is there a third way?

Many years ago, I was struggling to balance my demanding career with motherhood, feeling like I wasn’t very good at either. I sought some help and worked with an excellent therapist who introduced me to the concepts of ‘good’ and ‘good enough’. This has stuck with me and has been a helpful guide to navigating some of life’s challenges.

These are important distinctions when thinking about your perfectionism. You can ask yourself ‘is this good enough?’ Good enough is not about delivering mediocre or low quality work. It’s just that not everything is worthy of or requires 100% of your time and energy.

A client I worked with recently was running herself ragged delivering everything at work, and at home, to perfect standards. She found ‘good enough’ revelatory and was able to identify certain, more routine, projects at work where she felt comfortable delivering ‘good enough’ work. This meant the difference in a piece of work taking her 30 mins instead of 2 hours. She also started applying this at home too, where she stopped spending half the weekend getting the family home looking perfect. This freed up time to spend with her family and gave herself some ‘me time’ which she was sorely missing. Once she began to embed this approach, she found it much easier to start enjoying her work again which brought its own rewards. She broke the cycle.

How can you break the cycle?

  • Start small: Identify 2 pieces of work where you can challenge yourself to deliver ‘good enough’
  • Define ‘good enough’ for you: what does it look like?
  • Allow yourself to experiment: focus on learning from the experience and don’t worry about making a mistake

Want more helping managing perfectionism listen here to my free webinar How to Beat Imposter Syndrome and Boost Your Career Success or book a clarity call here.

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Spring Clean your CV

Spring is here at last! Feeling a surge of energy as a result of the sunny days and brighter evenings you might think about decluttering the house and detoxing your diet in readiness for the Summer but what about your career?

Whether you are thinking of changing jobs or careers, or returning to work after having a break now is the time to direct a bit of energy to tidying up and spring cleaning your CV and job search.

Firstly, you need to find a space in your hectic schedule when you can dedicate enough time and energy to it. It is very easy to find other things to do when facing the prospect of rewriting your CV!

What can help is to visualise what you will achieve by spending the time on your CV, for example, if by changing jobs you will be able to afford a lovely holiday then find a picture of your holiday destination to remind yourself why you are doing this, or if it means something deeper, perhaps finding more meaning at work or reconnecting with your professional identity then find an image that sums this up to you.

So now you’ve accessed the motivation you need to work on your CV find the latest version and give it a critical review to assess how much work it actually needs. If you are changing career or have had a long career break then it may require quite an overhaul but if you’re looking to move to a similar job then it perhaps only needs a few tweaks.

Top tips to Spring Clean your CV

Layout:

CV styles and layouts do change over time so make sure you are presenting yours using the current approach for your sector so it doesn’t immediately look dated. Remember less is more 2 pages is a definite maximum – recruiters won’t have time to read more than that. The top half of the first page must have the most impact as this will determine whether they read on.

Presentation:

It must be easy to read – choose a clear font and use 11pt font size as a minimum, and make sure that it is not text dense – use bullet points, bold and headings to help your achievements stand out, and keep plenty of white space around the text and between categories which make it much easier on the eye. Spelling and grammar mistakes result in your CV being dismissed immediately so double check for errors.

Content:

Before you write your CV do your research – what are the key skills needed for the job you are looking for? What is important to the sector or kind of organisation you are going to be working in? for example, is it a busy, creative field? do you need knowledge of a particular area?

Now’s the time to develop the achievements that will help your CV stand out – employers are interested in what you did well in your last job, not in what your tasks or responsibilities were, for example, ‘Organised successful new product launch party for 50 clients, including PR and catering, resulting in 10 orders placed.’ This has much more impact than ‘Responsible for organising corporate events.’ If you can quantify your achievements and include some figures that creates extra impact.

Remember you don’t have to include everything you have ever done, and jobs further back in your career history may only require 1 or 2 key achievements.

Profile:

This is the summary at the top of the first page – make it specific, interesting and relevant to the job. Highlight the key skills and experiences you have and the kinds of environments you have worked in. You can even include things you are passionate about if it is relevant to the job.

Social Media:

Include a connection to your LinkedIn profile – do make sure your profile is up to date and consistent with your CV. If you searching for a creative role then having a portfolio on tumblr or pinterest and including a link to them on your CV is very useful for employers to see your work.

Tailor it for the Job:

Don’t be tempted to send the same CV out for different jobs – you have to tailor it for each job you apply for – write it in response to the specific advert – if you don’t you are just wasting your time as employers won’t be interested if you haven’t taken the time to make it specific to their job.

Impact:

Remember recruiters only spend about 20-30 seconds reading your CV on initial screening. Imagine your CV being read by someone in the organisation you want to work in – if they only remembered 3 things about you from your CV after the initial read what would you want those three things to be?

It may seem like a lot of work but it is a good investment of your time especially if it leads to a fantastic new job. So when you think about spring cleaning, don’t waste time on the windows, dust off and revitalise your CV instead!

kaboompics.com Be happy always - Spring Clean your CV

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This post originally appeared in London Mums Magazine

#PressforProgress

Happy International Women’s Day!

This year’s theme is #PressforProgress and is focused on advancing global gender parity. The definition of progress is ‘development towards an improved or more advanced condition’.

We women certainly have the drive for this – in 2018 we celebrate 100 years since some women got the right to vote, and we see the rise of the #metoo and #timesup movements. It may feel we still have a lot to do especially since the forecast for us achieving gender parity is 2095 but everything we do on a daily basis counts. From how we raise our sons and our daughters, how we respond to inequality in the workplace or how we demonstrate leadership we are making a difference.

What would you focus on?

If you could choose an area to make a difference in what would it be?

I’m keen to focus on helping women leaders develop. In 2016 in partnership with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, EY  undertook a comprehensive study of gender inequality in corporate leadership. The sample size was both massive and global, surveying nearly 22,000 organizations across a wide variety of industries in 91 countries. The results were clear and consistent: a company with female leaders will outperform a company with none. If 30% of a company’s senior teams are women, its net margin will be six percentage points higher than a company with no women in their executive teams – wow!

Other research shows that companies with women in 30% of the leadership positions have an increase in “innovation intensity”, that women are better at logical thinking, planning, coordination and problem solving. This is all powerful evidence that shows that gender parity impacts the bottom line. It is still surprising that many businesses are not developing female talent pipelines in order to capitalise on these benefits.

Do one thing you can do today to boost your own leadership potential

Gloria Steinem, feminist and journalist said “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” We all have to take responsibility for making big or small changes that will contribute to global parity. We can all be leaders – leaders in our own business, leaders in our community, leaders at work, leaders in our families, and we can all develop leadership abilities.

You can choose anything you like to boost your potential – I’m going to experiment. Cheryl Pinter-Veal, director of Partner Matters at Deloitte Services LP, said “Leadership is an R&D pilot all the time. You have to have the mindset that this is a laboratory and that all of these challenging experiences are opportunities to experiment. It can be a little scary—and it should. If you don’t have butterflies, you’re not learning.”

Don’t let Imposter syndrome or self doubt get in the way of your potential. I’m learning all the time in my business but I sense I need to push myself a bit more and up my game. I was recently asked about becoming a Trustee, which got me really excited, and while the organisation wasn’t right for me – the Trustee role is something I’m keen to explore.

The time is right for me to experiment with my business leadership and a community leadership role – what is right for you? Go on commit to something on International Women’s Day – make an intention to do something that contributes to your leadership potential.

Photo courtesy of Lucia at Unsplash.com