I really want_____

stars

It’s a big world out there but somehow, somewhere there is a place for you.  Maybe you’ve just left school or haven’t decided which job or course is for you….perhaps your family is asking you to decide what you’re going to do now?  You need a place….

Where that place is, can ONLY be found by you.  Yes, I’m saying YOU.. the ones who are not sure what they want to do,  who to ask, how to do it or what to do when you get there.

What’s next?  <<<< cool video (at least I hope so)

Do you get it?  You can be anything you set you mind to.. you just need to do a few things to get there:

  1. Think about what you like (maybe even go on-line and look stuff up)
  2. Know what you CAN do
  3. If you need more help, ask for it
  4. Prove yourself to those that are able to help you
  5. Don’t give up (It’s your life and your future)
  6. Ask questions! No one knows everything
  7. Present yourself differently than you do with your friends (you know, your “good clothes” not hanging out with friends or going out clothes)
  8. Don’t be too hard on yourself.. we all had to start somewhere

So maybe you’ve liked what I’ve said so far or maybe you’re not sure…

I’ll leave you with some stuff to get you started and please, take my advice.. I really want to be one of those people whom you’ve never met that perhaps you can thank one day.

First job-cv-template

There, I hope this helps.

Keeping it short, but keeping it real.

Hands-on

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A Beginners Guide to the Job World

Happy professional journey everyone!  Have you made it out there in the world, or are you just starting out?

What’s your shtick, speciality or   job role?

Job roles   are used in business as a way to identify your purpose within a company   and  level of authority, but what do they actually mean and are they communication barriers when trying to build professional relationships or generate business?

To me, a job title/role should be a way of defining what you do in the organisation and provide you with clear tasks to follow, which will hopefully aid your professional success and add value to the company that employs you.  Simple, but true.

Questions that I’ve asked myself in the past when I was just starting out in my career:

1) Why do I feel    nervous when  contacting a company director or owner? After all, they are people just like us.. right?

2) How do I encourage senior   level people to return my call or email? Should I entice them with “an offer that they can’t refuse?”

3) What IS the right approach?  Am I saying something wrong or not using proper etiquette?

My wish back then and sometimes even now is for an answer… a logical one…. one that would cure my curiosity so that I no longer need to ask why.

I’m a relationship building type of person and to me that means that everyone  is a potential customer.

The top 3 things you should   do:

  1. Seek knowledge in your role to build confidence (always ask questions)
  2. Prepare your own script to use when making phone calls (in your own words)
  3. Research the company you’re calling (It shows that   you care and are not a “drone”)

In general, businesses that grow organically are much more likely to succeed in the long run. This means they have received recommendations based on  service, professionalism, integrity,trust, quality etc.  (Many,many test runs) by people.. just people.

Of course we all understand that those in senior positions have a lot on their plate and delegate representatives from within their company to deal with certain calls, emails and queries however; communicating is always the best way forward. I would like to keep you motivated by providing   a nice little list of young successful people who made it to the top-level of their game before they reached 20.

Personally, I have a lot of respect for MD’s, Directors and Owners of companies who answer their own phone on occasion and “get their hands dirty” so to speak.   It simply means that they have not lost touch with their customers and their staff for that matter because without them , a title   is simply   Mr or Mrs.

Present yourself and your company in the best light and you’re likely to succeed.

With respect

Hands-on

People who need people

happy employees

Curious title… yes!

I’ve always been drawn to people, both in life and as part of my career.  They interest me, intrigue me and yes, sometimes disappoint me. As  an optimist, I am not here to focus on the negative, but I do want to raise the awareness of the “good stuff” for those who would benefit from a little self-awareness and improvement. I’m the observer and the people watcher, which  has served me well over the years.

Let’s talk about the “good stuff”, respect and admiration for just a moment. Over the course of my career, I have encountered many types of people:

  • genuine
  • curious
  • helpers
  • Loyal
  • competitive
  • Driven

For me, I prefer working  with the first 4 types. Don’t get me wrong…being competitive and driven can be great but there is a time and a place for it and you need not forget about the people you work with.  Cut-throat is not my style and it drains my “good energy”.

I recently saw a post on LinkedIn, quoting the type of work practice and ethos I’m into, so I shared it.

T.E.A.M

  • together
  • everyone
  • achieves
  • more

It’s that simple and so true. Let’s use Sir Richard Branson ( inspirational  leader) as the example… he’s an extremely successful and powerful entrepreneur who develops ideas into businesses that for the most part, have excelled. Did he do this alone? No. He sought advice, created his support team and ensured that everyone worked together for one common goal>SUCCESS.  He motivates and rewards his teams too, which is why and how he has done so well.  So the next time you hear a story or read a story about dear Richard, know that he picked and lead his teams well to get where he is today.

When you consider how much time we spend at work each day and week… our rituals and experiences need to be positive don’t they?  Yes there are targets and yes there are objectives but for me, a business cannot and will not succeed if their people do not support one another. Would you like another  benefit of working together? Okay… what about learning from one another? Each person that you encounter in  your  workplace  has a different style, level of knowledge and expertise in a company or if they’ve been doing it a while, their sector. It’s not a competition, it’s a learning experience. I myself have learned from people 10 years my junior and 20 years my senior.  Make someone feel good and ask how they would go about doing a task you’re about to do.  You will probably learn something great, but you will also make your co-worker feel needed and trusted.  Everyone started somewhere, everyone needs help and guidance no matter the level and people do genuinely need people.

Streisand
Thanks for reading! Hands on 🙂

Opting for options

Okay, have a good look at their expressions….  few look hopeful, but the majority are probably feeling helpless.

Why you ask?  It’s their future they’re thinking about and these days it’s tough for young people.  Some want what they cannot have, which is the dream of doing what they want to do in life and their career.  Times have changed and for young people there are 3 options…

1) Apply to a university to gain a recognised degree and accept the fact that you’ll be in debt for up to £45,000 (bearing in mind that university fees have more than doubled in 10 years and parents who thought they were prepared have suddenly become unprepared)

2) Get a job and work hard in your chosen sector with the hope that you’ll get a promotion

3) Consider an Apprenticeship, where you get  paid AND achieve recognised qualifications

You’re probably thinking…. HELLOOOO  option 3 please, but surprisingly there is still a stigma attached to apprenticeships for some.

In the past, apprenticeships were known best for construction related jobs and those who were not able to achieve university grades.  It’s not so any more.  Apprenticeships have developed immensely over the past 5 years to cover areas of study such as; IT, Business Admin, Social Media and Healthcare (to name a few).  Of course there is still high demand for construction related apprentices because the “hands-on” approach is quite necessary in that sector.

What you may not know is that in order to become an apprentice, you also need to achieve a certain educational standard in Math and English.  Training providers or further education bodies  assess  students, to ensure that they are capable of embarking in a study programme. (by capable I mean determining the individuals learning level and/or enlisting additional support if needed.)

Now some school leaver’s may not have scored well in school for one reason or another, but I can tell you from personal experience that those who test outside of the school environment often do better. This is due to the potential reward gained from their results. (A paid work placement and hope for the future)

I’ll agree that there are careers that demand a degree, so I’ll leave them to it but there are so many positive reasons for choosing an apprenticeship option:

1) Earn while you learn

2) A foot in the door with a good company

3) Qualifications that are nationally recognised and transferable

4) No debt when you’ve achieved your level of qualification

5) It’s a great stepping stone for your future and it show’s other employers that you have commitment

For employers, it’s a great option to have a keen young person that you can  not only mould to your company’s service standards, but it also increases morale for your other staff who take the apprentice under their wing.

Thanks for reading and if you’ve enjoyed this article, please feel free to share with others.

Hands-on

Football in the office

You’re probably wondering where my article is leading after reading the title? Well…It’s definitely not about kicking a ball around in the office.

I’m not a big football fan but I do enjoy observing how team members work together to achieve the same goal. (Pun intended)

I’m writing this today because I’d like to tell you why I believe football and business are very similar.

A football team is made up of a manager, coach and players… one of those players is the captain (who can for all intensive purposes be considered the “team leader”).  Similarly, a company has the same structure, only they don’t kick a ball around or work in a stadium.

It’s important to focus on each role within the team…. the manager ensures that the “team” has direction, the tools that they need to perform their role and support. The coach supports the manager and the team (like an assistant manager would in an office role).  The players as you would imagine are most important.. without them, there is no football…no game.

As a business owner or manager, can you see where I’m headed with this comparison? No team, no business.  I probably don’t need to tell you that, but sadly some businesses lose sight of how important the front line staff are.  Now back to football….   the manager or coach chooses a team captain that is worthy of that role and respected by his team-mates and peers.  Of course he does…. and he chooses his captain based on his ability and skills.  Other players include striker’s and defender’s and you have to be good at one or the other to perform that role on behalf of the team.  Are you following my trend?

Let me use an office role as an example of role assignments gone wrong…. Sally and Steve are great with people, but have been assigned to an administrative role for over a year. They do their job well, but feel unsatisfied and under appreciated. Mary and Mark are out meeting people all the time and would rather be behind a desk because they don’t feel comfortable networking, schmoozing or selling the company services.  They have all “chosen” their roles when they applied for their jobs however, each day they hoped that their manager would notice their strengths and reward them with a role that they’re better suited to.

Would you place a goalkeeper in a striker’s role?  I’m no expert, but It’s my belief that a great goalie is not an expert at every position within the team.

So if your an owner, manager or supervisor in business,  please take a few moments to observe your team members and their strengths.  If you’re a team member, don’t be afraid to speak up if you know you would be more efficient placed in another role.

Football or not, your team can help you score big time if you pay close attention.

Thanks for reading!

Nancy

Interview with a graduate

My mission today is simple…. to help showcase a talented young person’s quest for success and communicate to the public how challenging it is for the youths of today to secure their future.

In order to make this real, I chose to interview a promising soon-to-be graduate (Caroline),who will leave University this summer with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism and enter our world as an independent adult professional.  Caroline has dreams… BIG ones I might add and as we spoke I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “I’m glad I grew up during the time that I did”.

Caroline is really passionate about helping other peers benefit from what she has learned too….  so let the interview begin!

Hands-on: Caroline, “what are your dreams and aspirations”?

Caroline: “I’d like to be a reporter for network or regional TV news like the BBC and have a particular interest in crime reporting and covering police investigations”.  “I also enjoy the travelling aspect of the job and would LOVE the opportunity to gain some experience as a news correspondent in the United States”.

Hands-on: “What do you feel are your biggest challenges”?

Caroline: “Well, my voice or rather my local Northern accent is probably number one on my list and I’m working hard on that”. “My other challenges would have to be the transition from young adult to professional, gaining trust and respect in my chosen field and getting rid of the stigma attached to the term student or recent graduate”.

Hands-on: “Caroline, what would you say are the pros and cons of your chosen industry”?

Caroline: Pro’s would be:

  • Variety of work, meeting different people from high-profile to local resident and even criminals in some cases
  • Providing a necessary service
  • The thrill and excitement of capturing a new story

Cons:

  • It’s not very well paid, considering the heavy workload
  • Being away from home a lot
  • People tend to stereotype and avoid the press

Hands-on: “What would you change to provide more graduates with an opportunity?

Caroline: “The government should provide better support for graduates”. “At the end of the day, I’ve invested in my career and future and would like to get paid back for my investment”.  “There also should be more opportunities for lesser skilled people, who don’t have the means to go to university or the experience to get a good job”.

Hands-on: “What would your message be to potential employer’s”?

Caroline: “I’ve studied non-stop, have taken the time to develop my work experience profile and I’m willing to work hard and learn as much as I can to prove that I am worthy of an opportunity”.

Hands-on: “Do you have any tips for your peers”?

Caroline: ” Yes, make sure that your work experience is based on your field of study and not just retail jobs for cash”. If your CV shows that you are passionate about your chosen study field, you’ll probably have a better chance at getting a job when you graduate”.  “Also, networking online and offline and keeping in touch with previous employer’s raises your profile and may open up other opportunities”.

Caroline: “Always be polite and courteous, regardless of the type of company you’re dealing with”.

Thanks Caroline, with your dreams in tact and a determination to succeed, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying we wish you all the best for the future!

Secret recipe.. or is it?

As a job candidate, have you ever been told that you have too much experience?

There is no such thing as too much experience however; there are still some employer’s who are providing this feedback following an interview.  They might not use those exact words however; it could go something like this: “We felt that although you definitely met the criteria and we really liked you,  this role is below your level of expertise”.

What that says to the person applying is this: “After taking the time to apply, prepare and research your company, you do not believe that I’m serious about wanting this job”.

The employer may be thinking:

  1. This candidate won’t be full-filled in their role and leave if a better offer comes along
  2. They could be a threat to my job
  3. We’ll need to increase their wages sooner than the average candidate

The employer is entitled to think and feel that way, but having not given the right person a chance is a darn shame.

The truth is, the candidate is  disappointed because they never had the opportunity to prove that they could be an asset to the company.  Their confidence has probably taken a knock at this point too, for what they believed was a “perfect match” for them.   The best advice I can give is, keep going and believe in yourself … the right opportunity will come a long.

What can the candidate do to change  this outcome?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Clearly explain in your CV and/or application WHY you want the role including your reason for applying for a lower level position
  • Pace yourself and don’t be overly confident
  • If there’s an opportunity to pitch your position during the interview, do it
  • Thank them for their time and reiterate that you would be delighted to have the opportunity to join their company if successful

There are no guarantees with these suggestions, but they can only help.

Now back to the employer…. what they’re looking for is pretty clear within their person specification and guidelines but what they really need to take into consideration are these qualities and traits:

  • Positive attitude
  • Enthusiasm
  • Knowledge of the company and role
  • Previous core skills and experience
  • Will they fit into the company’s culture (This is very important)

I am a strong believer in corporate culture and finding the right fit for employer and employee.  The way to do this during an interview is to allow the candidate to openly “sell themselves” by asking the right questions.  Sorry to say that I do not believe in scoring sheets to interview people. Scoring should be reserved for games and this is not a game.. it’s your company’s future success and the candidate’s lively hood at stake.

Do you have a secret recipe for recruiting the right person?  I’d love to hear your techniques.

Thanks for reading,

Nancy