Spotlight career interview: Creating your dream career through a portfolio career

My spotlight interviews return to help and encourage those wanting to find a fulfilling and rewarding career.

toni 1My third interview is with Toni Sharp who talks about how she created an inspirational portfolio career spending part of her working week in her role as an Employment and HR solicitor whilst also spending time working as a travel consultant.  Portfolio careers are a great way of creating a career which matches your interests and provides flexibility. The increasing range and variety of jobs available allows for a more creative and flexible approach when designing your career path.  Toni’s journey in creating her portfolio career is an inspirational read as she details how she made her decisions to find different roles which match her passions, skills and interests.

 

Spotlight career interviews:

Read Toni’s interview here: Solicitor makes leap of faith and creates her dream portfolio career

 

Previous interviews:

Returning to work:  Suzanne talks about how she made an exciting career change and successfully returned to work after a two-year break to start her own business. Read her interview here: Engineer and Mum returns to work and makes successful career change following career break.

Career Change: Radha talks about how she changed career from fundraiser to setting up her own travel company.  She shows how taking control of your decisions can lead to amazing career opportunities.  Read her interview here: Fundraiser follows passion and sets up travel company

 

Relevant help sheets:

Could a portfolio career be right for you?

Career options for lawyers

Transferrable skills for lawyers

 

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

CV Pitfalls/Setbacks and how to get over them By CV-Library

cv-clipartJob applications can be time consuming and it can be tempting to throw everything down on paper and get applying! However, if you’re keen to perfect your CV there are a few pitfalls to be wary off. Avoid these and you can write a brilliant CV that stands out and impresses recruiters in no time. Below CV-Library explains what these pitfalls are and how you can get over them with some helpful advice.

Lying

It might be appealing to lie on your CV in the hope of securing an interview. Especially if you feel that you lack experience or the right qualifications. However, not only is this morally wrong it could also damage your chances of securing the job.

If something doesn’t seem right to the hiring manager they may investigate it further and you could be caught out. This could affect all future applications with that company so it isn’t worth the risk.

Instead, you should focus on the transferable skills that make you great. Think about how you can sell these to the hiring manager. For example, using figures is a good way to stand out from the crowd and show what you can bring to the company results. You might include the number of people you managed, the revenue you made or the percentage of targets you hit in your previous job.

Unexplained gaps

There are a range of reasons why someone might take a break from work and there’s nothing wrong with this as long as there’s an explanation. Unexplained gaps can ring alarm bells with recruiters. For instance, when there’s no given reason why you haven’t worked for over a year they may assume the worst.

To avoid this, add information about your career break or employment gap in the ‘employment history’ section of your CV. A brief explanation that you were travelling, studying or on maternity leave will do.

Overused phrases

The recruiter will be reading a lot of CVs and will be familiar with the cliché, overused words that don’t mean a lot. Phrases such as ‘I’m a team player’ or ‘I have great organisation skills’ don’t prove anything about your real talents.

Therefore, think about what you’re writing carefully. Any statements you make must have evidence to back them up. To do this follow the show not tell rule, this means you need to pick apart everything you say on your CV and check that you’ve given examples.

For example, you might show how you successfully lead a team through a conflict or organised a challenging project.

Too long or short

A lengthy CV of four pages might send the hiring manager to sleep. Equally, a mere half a page may not be enough to convince them you’re right for the role! It’s all about balance and including the most relevant information.

To ensure you get this right, aim for two A4 pages that include only the relevant information so you can keep the recruiter engaged. This means you should cut out anything that may be deemed irrelevant, such as the Saturday job you had at 16 that isn’t related to the role you’re applying for at all.

In summary

CVs can be difficult to perfect and do require a lot of time and thought. However, putting in the effort will get you results and is definitely worth it. Follow the advice above to help you out and you could be shortlisted for an interview in no time!

 

By CV-Library

 

How to tackle the changing job market

‘It has been estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today ultimately end up working in completely new jobs that don’t yet exist.’

I have recently been providing career coaching sessioDream Job on Green Highway Signpost.ns for secondary school students.  Working with this age group is always a good reminder of the importance of being prepared for the evolving job market by initially moving them away from choosing specific job titles and instead creating a career vision.  As these young people may not be entering the world of work for another 7+ years, a vision will enable them to be adaptable when faced with different and changing options for progressing their career as well as focussed when making the best decisions for them.

In the same way, when you started thinking about your career the job market probably looked very different to how it looks now.   However, at school you were probably presented with a limited list of jobs to choose from: a nurse, a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, an engineer, the military. Did this list prepare you for the vast array of jobs that are available today?  Did any of the jobs really suit you?  Did this careers advice prepare you for the inevitable changes that are occurring within the world of work?

Tackling the job market today

Picking a job title, going for it and hoping you like is no longer the best way to start thinking about the best career options for you. There will be all sorts of new types of jobs and career sectors now available (this article may interest you, 10 jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago) and the best way to discover these is to create a career vision that helps to focus your search.  This vision can be adapted to suit you and your circumstances and enables you to remain open to new ideas, rather than limiting yourself to specific jobs.

As you use your vision to search for the best job or career to suit you, your role is to discover and investigate what is available, moving you away from the traditional job search to a more creative one.  There will be a job that suits you and, by keeping an open and inquisitive mind, you will find it.

When changing jobs or career, keep an open mind as you look for opportunities that best suit you.

….just one more thing before you go…

My blog was recently selected as one of the Top 10 Career Development Blogs on the web…check out the list.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

 

Spotlight career interview: it is possible to change career following a career break!

Last month I launched the first in a series of spotlight career interviews to help and encourage those wanting to find a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Version 2

My second interview went live this month with Suzanne Wigmore talking about how she returned to work and made a successful career change following a career break.  Career breaks and returning to work is currently an extremely popular topic and many of you are wondering about the options available to you.  I know you will find inspiration in reading about how Suzanne returned to work and discovered a career that would provide her with enjoyment and fulfilment as well as the right balance with her personal and family commitments.  It is possible!

 

Spotlight career interviews:

Read Suzanne’s interview here: Engineer and Mum returns to work and makes successful career change following career break.

My first interview was with Radha Vyas.  She talks about how she changed career from fundraiser to setting up her own travel company.  She shows how taking control of your decisions can lead to amazing career opportunities.  Read her interview here: Fundraiser follows passion and sets up travel company.

 

Relevant help sheets:

6 tips on how to make a smooth transition when returning to work after time away

Resources for working Mums

5 steps to discover whether a career change is right for you

 

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

FIND CAREER INSPIRATION NOW FROM OUR NEW SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS

How do you make the first step towards building a fulfilling and rewarding career?

Over the next few months I am inviting others to tell you about their careers in a series of spotlight career interviews.   I hope these interviews will provide interesting and inspiring reading to those of you who are feeling unfulfilled by your careers.

I decided to launch this series of interviews because many people I speak to lack the confidence to change career or are finding it hard to work out what they want to do for a job, frequently asking me for true examples of career changes to help them progress with their ideas.

I hope this series of interviews will encourage you to make the first step towards building a fulfilling and rewarding career as well as providing you with new job ideas.

The first spotlight career interview

Radha_profile pic

I am launching the series with an interview that will show you how taking control of your decisions can lead to amazing career opportunities.

By making the first step and trying out ideas, Radha made a successful and inspirational career change from fundraiser to setting up her own adventure travel company, Flash Pack. Do have a read of her interview below.  She gives some great advice for those wanting to change career and you may also be inspired to take a holiday!

FUNDRAISER FOLLOWS PASSION AND SET UP SUCCESSFUL TRAVEL COMPANY

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Stop procrastinating and just do it!

career-coaching

Do you procrastinate over making decisions about your career, leaving your success to chance? 

A few years ago, I did a seminar for the Coventry and Warwickshire Young Professionals titled ‘A great way to get ahead in your career and it’s much better than leaving it to chance’.  It was about developing the ability to step out of your comfort zone and take control to enable you to achieve a fulfilled and successful career, full of opportunities and enjoyment.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  All you need to do is take control and you will be successful and happy.

If only it was that simple.  If it was, I would certainly be out of a job!  This is certainly a case of ‘easier said than done’, but why?  Why is it so hard to take control of our own lives?   Why do people need my help?

Procrastination, procrastination, procrastination…

Yes, we procrastinate.

I am sure you have been guilty of procrastinating, finding it creeping into your decision-making process and casting doubt on your great ideas.

Think about it.  What was the last big thing you wanted to achieve in your career?

  • A promotion at work?
  • A better work life balance? (Given we spend 70% of our waking energy on work, unsurprisingly I hear this one a lot.)
  • A career change?

What happened next?  Did you achieve it?

We all want things from our working lives, but often it stops there.   Procrastination takes control and we do nothing about it.  We leave success to chance.

However, it doesn’t have to end there.  You don’t have to leave your career progression to chance.  If you want to get ahead, there is a more beneficial and reliable way….

 Just do it….

  • Do something about it: Become aware of the challenges you face at work and the resources available to overcome them– don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do (it may never happen).
  • Do try different things: if what you are doing is not working, try something else. For example, if you are constantly running out of time to complete work – research different time management techniques and adapt the way you work. It could be as simple as turning off your emails for parts of the day as emails are a big distraction. 
  • Do think long term – Think to the future. What are you aiming for? Make an action plan to help you to move forward in the most efficient way.  

Needing more inspiration? Have a look at this:

Art Williams: Just do it speech

As Art says, just do it!  Take control and do it – this is much better than leaving your career to chance.

If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view (Harvey Mackay)

How to explain a career break

career break

Have you ever taken time out of your career and subsequently found yourself worrying endlessly about how to explain this break in a job interview? 

I was recently asked to contribute to an article on career breaks on jobsite.co.uk.   Whilst reflecting on the subject, I realised that through my coaching work I am starting to see a rise in the number of people taking career breaks.  They are taken by individuals for many different reasons and at different stages of their career.  Some take time off to look after their children or a sick relative, some are having time out having experienced a stressful time in their previous work, others want to experience something completely different through voluntary or project work.

Whatever the reason for your career break, returning to the workplace can feel daunting and this is often made worse by a common misconception amongst ‘career breakers’ that prospective employers will be reluctant to employ someone who has had a career break.  However, you will be pleased to hear this is not true.  If you focus on how you used your career break to your advantage so that a prospective employer can understand your reasons for the break and what you gained from it, they will be far more interested in employing you.

Tips for returning to work

If you are planning on or are currently taking a career break, have a read through the following headings to help you start preparing for your return to work.

Be positive

Be positive about your experiences to enable you to demonstrate what you have gained from the break.  Focus on what you have done, not what you haven’t done.  It’s all about developing the right attitude.

Be Prepared

Prior to taking a career break, think about what you want to achieve and how you may wish to use your experience upon your return to the workplace.

Whilst taking your career break, develop your ideas about what you want from your future career. Be open to meeting new people and discovering new opportunities.

Remember, you will always have strengths and skills to offer a prospective employer. Spend time identifying these.

Be organised

Once you have decided what you want to do after your career break, make an action plan to enable you to network, seek additional help and prepare for applications and interviews.

Practise

Rehearse the benefits of your career break to ensure you can fluently explain this to a prospective employer.

If you would like to read more about career breaks, have a read of the article I referred to, ‘Taking a career break from work’, for more information and guidance.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk