Our mission is to provide practical tips, ideas and suggestions (and a little inspiration) to help you take charge of your career. And provide you with the skills to enjoy the results and the adventure along the way.
A new year. A new opportunity to be successful in your work and continue to develop your career. Both of which should help you enjoy what you are doing now – as well as lay the groundwork for what you would like to do next.
Here are 7 super practical tips for your career success in 2019
1. Work with a mentor
In the 18th century Irish writer and author of ‘The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes’ said, “People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.” Still true today.
A mentor can teach you new things, provide you with the benefits of their experience, introduce you into their network or even be a great sounding board. A mentor could be someone in your organization that you work with (such as an experienced colleague) or someone removed from your day to day activities (a previous manager or someone in another department) or maybe someone you meet through your networking activities.
If you don’t have a mentor identify one who will help you in a particular area and ask them if you could meet to discuss this topic. Start with a coffee chat and take it from there. And if you already have a mentor? Ring them and arrange a catch up!
A network of people to support you is vital to any career. They can help you through tough times, are a great starting point when you are looking for your next opportunity and will celebrate your wins with you.
Focus on depth rather then breadth in your networking relationships and you will have the right people there for you.
Identify people who you trust, respect and are good at what they do.
Invest time in your network. Relationships develop over time and through shared experiences. The network of people you know, value and choose to spend time with is uniquely your own. Enjoy the time and learnings you have with these people.
3. Practice presenting
The ability to present well is vital to showcase your abilities and contributions at work. You can use a presentation to demonstrate what you know, what you have done and what you are capable of. It might be to tell or to sell someone on your ideas. It might be formal or casual. It might be to one person, a small group or a large audience. Regardless, you want to be as good as you can be at this skill.
The ability to make credible presentations is a key competency in organizations and essential for your career repertoire.
Take some time to develop your skills and rehearse each and every presentation before you make it. The time will pay off in both your confidence and credibility.
4. Get organised
‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” is taking the world by storm as people clear out their closets and are organizing items by size in a bid for sparking the joy of an uncluttered life. Getting organised at work can bring its own kind of, if not joy, contentment and certainly productivity.
Whether it’s your diary or your desk – clearing out the clutter will create an environment that you will want to work in and help you focus on what is important. (And a nice little origami crane on your desk would make a nice addition to your work space too!)
5. Set a goal
You know the old adage about goals being the way to turn dreams into reality? Well it seems to work. Which is why people keep saying it.
If you have a dream that you’re not currently actively working towards – set a goal. Something that you can achieve that will move you in the direction you want to go. If you are not quite sure what you want to achieve – set yourself some goals to work out what you do want to do next. You don’t need to map out your entire career – decide on on some specific things your want to achieve or learn. These will be your goals (for now).
Decide on some actions, time frames and measures that will address gaps in your skills, knowledge or experience and help you achieve your dream. And finally, make time and do them!
6. Prioritize what’s important
Take some time to work out what is important to you and vital to achieve for your job and focus on these things.
It’s unlikely to be practical to be able to take on everything that you are capable of doing. Recognizing the difference between capability (of course you can do lots of things) and capacity (there are how many hours in a day?) is key to determining how much you can commit to.
7. Learn something new
According to the experts learning something new makes us happier because of the dopamine rush we get when we are exposed to new stimuli. Other advantages are that it’s said to make the brain stronger, we feel more confident and are more interesting to other people.
If that’s not enough good reasons – you need to learn new skills just to keep up with changes in technology, customer requirements and the way organizations work.
Learning something new will help you develop your skills and career potential.
Whatever you want to learn – I’ll bet there’s an app for that!
If you’ve made the decision to move on from your job and find your next role, one of the biggest challenges can be to update your CV. It’s important to get it right and ensure that your career history is relevant to any new positions that you’re going to apply for.
If you’re not sure where to start, or sigh at the thought of having to revisit your CV – don’t fear. Our advice will help you to update your CV and find your next role.
Do your research
Before pursuing your next role, always do your research on the jobs you’d like to apply for, to find out as much about the positions as possible.
This will not only benefit your CV, but also ensures that you’re well-informed and have thought about it carefully, as opposed making any impulsive decisions.
Whether it’s a similar or completely different industry, you can research the role through career sites, industry publications and by by speaking to people working in the industry. This first-hand knowledge can be extremely valuable.
This will enable you to know exactly what the job entails, what skills are required and how you can progress throughout. Vital information for updating your CV.
Research all areas of the role to gain an understanding of the challenges you may face. This will give you much better knowledge of the skills needed to exhibit in your CV to land a job interview.
Highlight any relevant skills and experience
When it comes to listing your skills and experience, only include information that supports your goals. Otherwise it will detract from the main focus of your CV.
If you show that you have the skills and attributes needed for the role, you’ll stand a better chance of landing an interview.
And if you’re lacking a few specific skills in the industry, then consider looking for examples that demonstrate transferable skills. For example, communication, organisation, management and leadership skills – these are valued in any industry.
Update your personal statement
Make sure that your personal statement or profile emphasises why you’re the perfect candidate for the role. This will sit at the top of your CV and should always be tailored towards the job you’re applying for.
Exhibit what you have to offer and highlight any achievements that are applicable to the industry. Just make sure you keep this short and concise. Anything longer than around four or five sentences can be off-putting.
Update your employment history
Highlighting your experience is crucial to landing your new role. Where possible, focus on your accomplishments or any other skills you’ve acquired which may help you in the position you’re applying for.
Don’t feel the need to reel off every job if it doesn’t emphasise any of the essential skills required. Instead, try to provide examples of when you met deadlines, hit targets and were recognised for doing a great job.
Add links and qualifications
There are always alternative ways to boost your CV’s appeal. Qualifications are always a great place to start. If you can, gain some relevant certificates or show that you’re working towards them. This will prove that you are dedicated to your career choice.
Adding links to your CV will also help modernise it and allow recruiters to view any additional work or your portfolio.
Ready to update your CV?
When updating your CV, remember to focus on key aspects that are applicable to the position and minimise anything that isn’t relevant.
Once you know the role and have assessed the industry, tailor your CV accordingly. Those that demonstrate the right skills and show a genuine interest in the company will stand out from the crowd and help you launch a new and prosperous career ahead.
Jack is a Content Marketing Executive at CV-Library. As a graduate of English literature and creator of Ramble on Records, he loves to write about a wide range of content and can be seen enjoying live music and festivals across the UK.
2020 is no longer the setting for sci-fi movies or so far on the horizon that planning for it seems to be in the dim, distant future.
It’s less than 18 months away people!
Just think – it was only 18 short months ago since Shape of You by Ed Sheeran was the number 1 single, pretty much everywhere in the world; Hidden Figures, Lion and La La Land were nominated in the Best Picture category for the 2017 Academy Awards; and two million people descended on Washington DC to participate in the Womens March.
Doesn’t seem that long ago does it?
And I’m guess that the next 18 months will fly by just as fast.
Which makes it a good time to stop, reflect and think about what you want for you and your career.
What were you doing career wise 18 months ago?
What did you hope to have achieved by now? Have you?
Where did you want to be working now?
Who did you want to be working for and with?
Have you achieved these goals? Are you they still what you want? Do you have actions in place to work towards these?
If not, don’t despair or beat yourself up.
Real life happens and gets in the way of the best laid plans.
The important thing is what you do now. And realizing that the benefit of hindsight (aka 20/20 vision) is that you can sometimes see so much more clearly what you should have done or could have done differently.
If you are not quite where you want to be now, is there anything you can pinpoint that you could have done, or should have done differently that would have got you closer to your goal?
File these reflections away as learnings and…
In 18 short months it will actually be 2020!!
The time to make a plan (and put it into action) is NOW.
These 5 simple steps will help you make your 2020 vision a reality:
1. Think about where you want to be in your career
Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing? (All the questions you just looked back on)
2. Reflect on where you are now
No brooding at this stage! Assess where you are now and move on in your thinking.
3. Work out the difference between where you are now and what you want for your career in 2020
Write down the gap between now and then. This is your plan for what you are going to achieve.
4. Make a list of the actions you need to complete
What do you need to do to make your plan/goals/vision/dreams happen?
5. Do one thing every week that contributes towards your actions
There may only be 18 months until 2020 (actually less than that really) but there are plenty of weeks…75 from today as I am writing this.
Just imagine if you implemented over 70 actions (with a couple of weeks leeway for holidays) how much you could actually achieve!
The number of networking or mentor catch ups you could have, the people you could speak with, the courses you could attend, the jobs you could apply for…take action now and you will be so much closer to your 2020 vision!
It’s exciting to think about how much you can achieve. I’m excited for you.
Interviews and meetings can be nerve-racking! Nervousness is a natural response to important events, after all.
However, your nerves can hold you back, especially if you have not learned to handle them well. If you have a meeting or an interview coming, just breathe. Then, keep these few pointers in mind:
Do your research
Being well prepared can help relieve a bit of anxiety. Before you walk into a job interview, do your research on the position you’re applying for. Anticipate what kind of questions you will be asked and prepare answers. Discover more about the employer as well. If it’s a meeting, review the agenda or the topic to be discussed. Any kind of preparation can make you feel more confident because it will address any fears of the unknown.
Form a clear mental picture of success
Visualisation techniques are another way to overcome the jitters. Addicted 2 Success points out that visualisation has the power to turn dreams into reality, and famous stars like Jim Carrey have found their success doing just that. When you visualize an image of yourself in the future, it can serve as encouragement for you to do your best in an interview. Picture yourself walking into the room in a calm and confident manner. Imagine yourself answering each question with ease. When your mind focuses on an ideal scenario, it can help you achieve composure.
While first impressions matter, you should not try to act like someone you’re not – simply to impress the interviewer. This is because if you do get accepted, they will eventually find out about the real you anyway. So for example, don’t bother making any effort to sound like an extrovert when you’re an introvert. What you can do is to frame yourself in a way that interests the company. Harvard student Jessica Pointing shares an effective way to answer the common question, “Tell me about yourself.” Simply talk about some highlights from your resume, and briefly discuss why your skills would fit the role.
Understand that nerves are a good thing
It is totally normal to feel nervous before an important meeting or interview. Even successful people understand the feeling. Even after years of experience, UK celebrity Scarlett Moffatt admits that she still gets nervous before a live show. She shared, “I think nerves are good, it means you want to do well and want it to be a good show so long may the nerves continue!” So take it from celebrities like her and be at peace knowing that you are not the only one who feels anxious. Somehow, hearing other people’s experience with nerves can give you comfort and encourage you to get yourself out there. After all, you’re nervous about something when it’s important for you.
Give yourself a pat on the back.
Regardless of how an interview or meeting goes, give yourself props for getting through it. Don’t beat yourself up over instances where you feel you could have done better. Instead, adopt a positive mindset while waiting for the results. Of course, reality speaking, not all interviews will be a success. When this happens, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback as Career Tips to Go previously noted. This will help you refine your interview technique for next time. While it is such a cliche phrase, the key is still to never give up!
AUTHOR BIO: Amanda Leslie is an accomplished career coach who lends her sound advice to websites from time to time. She has been supporting the life goals of her clients in Manchester for over six years.
It can be frustrating and upsetting to get turned down for a job you really wanted. You’re left wondering what you did wrong – was it your outfit? Something you said? Something you didn’t say? You replay the interview over and over again until you think you’ve got it figured out.
But there is an easier way to discover what went wrong; ask for feedback. When approached in the right way, the people who sat on the other side of the table can provide an abundance of insights into your performance, including pointers on how you can improve for next time. Sure, some of it might be hard to hear, but consider the learning opportunity you’ll be passing up by ignoring your mistakes.
While feedback for improvement is clearly a huge benefit in itself, it’s far from the only one. If the company or department you were hoping to work for recruits again in the future, they are more likely to remember the candidate who was willing to learn and grow than the one who wasn’t. Equally, by asking what prevented you from securing the job first time around, you put yourself in a great position for applying again. This could happen sooner than you think; one report by Harvard Business Review showed that 33% of new hires look for a new job within their first six months, meaning the job could reopen quickly.
How to get the most out of feedback.
So you’ve made the decision to ask for feedback so that you can improve your interview technique for next time.
Where do you start?
The first thing to remember is that interviewers are just people. They are just as concerned as the rest of us about hurting other people’s feelings or saying the wrong thing, and the thought of potentially further upsetting an already angry candidate could be enough to put them off responding to a feedback request honestly. They might even be worried about discrimination claims. The key is to tread gently – ask for feedback in a way that is constructive, non-threatening and clarifies your desire to learn. Take their lead on the delivery method – if they feel more comfortable talking to you over the phone, where they might feel more at liberty to express their views, be accommodating.
What questions should you ask?
Before you approach the interviewer, some self-assessment can come in handy. How do you think the interview went? Was there anything you would do differently given the chance to interview again? Answering these questions gives you the opportunity to look for discrepancies between your experience and the perceptions of the interviewer.
When approaching the interviewer, make sure you ask specific questions that will lead you to the information you need. “Why wasn’t I chosen for the role?” is too broad and could be perceived as confrontational. Instead, turn the tables and approach the conversation as if you are interviewing them. Direct the questions towards the future – how you could place yourself in a better position for next time – rather than focusing everything on the interview itself. Here are some great questions to get you started:
Were there any key qualifications or experiences that you felt were missing from my resume?
If this position were to reopen in the future, which skills do you suggest I would need to strengthen in order for you to consider my re-application?
What one thing could I change about my interviewing technique that would help me to improve my performance?
Rejection is a hard thing to swallow, and difficult to view in a positive light. But by reframing the situation as an opportunity for learning, it’s possible to gather insights into your performance that will allow you to ace your next interview.
Kate Jones writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse their graduate jobs London listings, visit the website.
Editors Note: This is not a sponsored post – thanks to the folks at Inspiring Interns for the helpful tips – Karen
We all have those times when we are super busy. A client deadline, the preparation of quarterly or monthly results, unexpected projects or even times when colleagues are absent or assigned to project work and it means more work for us.
The list of possible reasons can seem to be endless! And for all these reasons and more – not only are you super busy – these peaks are often associated with the quality of what you’re working on being really important.
So the question is how to manage the quadruple challenge – you’re super busy, the quality of what you are working on is important, you have all the usual day to day pressures that just don’t just go away and you don’t want to appear, or actually be, overwhelmed by what’s on your plate. Not to mention that you’re so much in the thick of things you probably don’t have any spare time to think about whether you need to be doing things differently.
When I get into these situations I usually try and work out how to be more efficient so that I can get everything done. But the reality is that we are all restricted by the 24 hour in a day, need to eat and sleep thing. And we’re not robots. Being more efficient is not the entire answer.
I’ve learnt that if priorities change and I am going through one of those super busy times I do have to reprioritize my time. This means doing things differently not just doing more faster.
So if you are going through a super busy time here’s 5 things to consider stop doing – to give you some time back for what you need to be focused on:
1. Stop returning missed calls
I don’t know how or when but somehow it has become an expectation that if you miss someone’s call – you need to ring them back. Which apart from anything else is really time consuming. And possibly means that you are spending a lot of time returning calls that are not required – as the person who rang you found the information that they need in the meantime.
If someone does really need to speak with you they could leave a message, send a text or even try again later!
There is two parts to this – stop returning calls that you have missed and don’t expect people to ring you back without leaving a message or sending a text.
If you have been working on the missed call as a signal with the people you work with – you may need to put a little effort in up front to change expectations. Particularly if it’s with your boss! It’ll be a little effort but it will be well worth it.
Next time you’re talking with the people you work with or in a team meeting let them know you are going through a busy time (they probably already know that) and ask them that if they need to get in touch, could they leave a message or send a text – so that you know it’s a priority for you to get back to them and that you’ll do the same for them.
Nobody is going to object to a way to have their call prioritized. And you won’t have to worry every time the phone rings and you can’t take a call – about when you will get the time to do your work and return all the missed calls. This truly is a stress-buster!
If you need to wean yourself off the habit, try sending a text like “I saw I missed your call…do you still need to speak to me? If so when would be a good time?” That way, at the very least you’ll cut down on the missed call roundabout. But if you can I’d recommend going cold turkey on this one.
2. Stop sending the auto reply on your phone to callers when you are already on a call
Still on the same bandwagon about calls you can’t answer. I’m an iPhone user and the first auto reply option is to let people know you’re on the phone and that you’ll call them back as soon as you . Oops – put’s the work load back on you.
Try a customized response – letting the caller know you are on the phone and asking if they need you to call back?
This should cut down on unnecessary return calls and the response to your reply may even give you an indication of how urgent the matter is. If you’re an iPhone user go to Settings > Phone > Respond with Text – and then you can enter your new auto responses. Easy! If you’re an Android user – I’ve got nothing but I’m sure you will figure it out
3. Stop having the last word on every email
We all want to be polite on email. It’s such a tricky communication medium to inject a personal touch.
But sometime the thank you’s back and forth on every email can be incredibly time consuming. If the topic has been dealt with, the outcome achieved and you’ve been polite – don’t keep a conversation going unnecessarily.
4. Stop desktop alerts from your inbox
Sometime the ‘ding’ of an arriving email or a pop up can be a welcome distraction. But not when you’re super busy. You see or hear the alert, it interrupts whatever you were thinking about and gives you something else to worry about – what new horror has arrived in your inbox?
Turn the alerts off and check your emails when you have allocated the time. If they are urgent, believe me, people will ring you to let you know if they don’t hear back!
If you’re using outlook the alerts are on by default. To turn them off File > Options > Mail > Message Arrival – clear the Display a Desktop Alert box.
In gmail Gear icon > Settings > Mail Notifications Off in the Desktop Notifications section > Save changes.
5. Stop sending emails.
Yep…you read that right.
Not all emails. But ones that could be dealt with much faster with a quick phone call. We talk at about 110 – 160 words per minute and type at about 40. I can be much more efficient with a succinct call and I don’t have another email to respond to when I get an answer to the one I sent.
I know it sounds old fashioned to actually talk to people but you’ll be amazed by the relationships that it will help build and how it will help reduce the ambiguity that so often happens with email communications. This is a win-win tip!
Stop the busyness and focus on what you need to do.
Try these and I predict you won’t go back – even when things calm down!
Karen Adamedes is the CEO and founder of Career Tips To Go, has a day job and is the author of ‘Hot Tips for Career Chicks’. She gets busy and has tested all of these tips!
A short and sweet blog this week but I think this cartoon says it all. If you want to do something, get selected for a particular team or be seen in a certain way…think about what you can do to make yourself the obvious choice!