What you should consider in your career

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I recently conducted a poll on my Twitter, not the best sample size but interesting non the less, so thank you to all my followers who participated. It’s fascinating to see the results on what people prioritise when job hunting or deciding if a job is beneficial.

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It’s important to follow your heart, but listen to your head too. Your friends may think money is paramount in a new job or career, yet, you may value having a great boss as being just as important. Based on my experiences I like to look at the big picture and see what would benefit me now, and in 5 years time…

Money

Money is incredibly important and unfortunately, it kinda does make the world go around.

It’s important to know your market value. Cost and worth are very different things. All managers and boards want a return on investment, spending the least possible on a new hire. Therefore, if you offer your services too low, it can be harder to get a raise later. When you go job-hunting, it’s vital to do your research on the average salary your role usually pays. Look at the likes of Glassdoor and ask around, as this will establish where you are in terms of salary expectations. Pay can fluctuate based on a multitude of scenarios, such as, location, size of company and other work benefits.

Many people become blind-sighted by London or other cities as they pay more, but fail to realise that the cost of living often increases too! Sometimes roles outside of the bigger cities in reality pay more, with higher chances of better career progression. Always weigh your options against your prioritises now and in the future. Be careful not to sell yourself too short by accepting a salary lower than the going rate, just because you are desperate to be hired. But, go easy on demanding 30k before you’ve walked into the interview, as this can deter employers from hiring you. If you are already in a role, this research and knowledge can help you in negotiating a promotion or raise.

Your Boss

“When analysing the monster, be sure not to become the monster. And, when looking into the abyss, the abyss looks back at you”

I read this quote in “Talking with Psychopaths” by Christopher Berry Dee, but relevant here also. When your future boss interviews you, you should also interview them. You’re going to be working for them for approx. 8 hours everyday. Ask questions, query their intentions, seek their knowledge, insight and grill them. Find out what makes them tick, their goals and expectations of you now and in 6 months time. Find out how they treat their existing staff too, as this speaks volumes.

You must determine if they want to coach you or boss and work you to the bone. Will they mentor and develop you, treat you as an equal, or a piece of shit on the bottom of their shoe. A boss should value you, push you, help you, support you and train you. If they don’t? Leave.

Company Culture

This essentially covers the values, attitudes, support network, ethos and mantra of a company as a whole. It’s often insidious and hard to pin down, but can seriously take a toll on well-being and health. Is there a blame-culture? Do people socialise outside of office hours, collaborate, praise and support one another? Or or they back-stabbing and bitchy?

The list can go on but depending on the boss’s management style, training practises and overall attitude, it can often lead to high staff turnover. Being thrown in at the deep end instead of being properly trained, lack of career progression and no support network can be checked by observing how content the existing staff are. How can you spot this? By asking what their take on holidays, days off and dealing with staff complaints is. What training and career progression opportunities are on offer, to name but a few. But it’s usually a gut feeling more than anything.

Career Progression

It’s great if you can hit the ground running on your first day, but it can be a challenging and stressful period starting a new job. Nerves can play havoc, so it’s essential to have a support network, the opportunity to learn and grow at your own pace and to be able to make mistakes and learn from them. If you are expected to do a job that is outside of your remittance, don’t be afraid to ask for help, training or to go on a course to improve your knowledge and experience. If you are over-worked or dying to take on more work and responsibility, only you can voice it. Push for improvement and appraisals to see what areas you need to develop. Not investing in you, can in the long run be extremely costly for the company. Not promoting you and keeping you in the same role isn’t beneficial to you, your boss or the company either.

Often, the reason people leave a job or career is because of the same old line, feeling overworked and undervalued.

What do you think is most important? I’ve love to hear in the comments below…

Love Career Girl

 

Learn To Decline Job Offers

garrhet-sampson-178990.jpgSometimes, like me, you end up learning the hard way but I can’t stress enough how important it is to feel comfortable in your choice regarding your career.

Whether you are a graduate or just desperately in need of a new job, you should always think twice about jumping straight into that job that seems too good to be true….

If a job sounds to good to be true…

Don’t be swayed by the pressures of friends and family pushing you into a role, if you feel even a slight bit of unease at the prospect. For a period of time I was working in such a toxic environment that was so horrible, I begin losing sight of what my dream job was, and in my desperation ended up applying to every job that I was alerted to. Learn to take a step back. I didn’t. I applied and interviewed for various roles which were nothing like I imagined or even wanted. When I removed those rose tinted glasses I saw things for what they actually were!

Trust your gut

I once took a shot and applied for a role which I thought was a little out of reach. I didn’t have the experience required. So you can imagine my excitement when I was picked to attend their interview?! It was for a leading Luxe Sportswear brand which I have always adored. I was incredibly naive and was quickly seduced by the immense perks, free clothes, free gym classes, invites to cool events etc, etc. I mean, who wouldn’t turn that down! I was even given the choice in the interview to be promoted to a managerial position, bearing in mind I was a 22 year old graduate! Sadly, the pay was A LOT less than was initially quoted, the free gym classes and events never materialised and those free clothes? I wish! Some were free, however I ended up having to spend almost £200 before I’d even started working… I painted a pretty amazing picture of how unreal this opportunity was to friends and family, some didn’t agree and I wish I had listened. I had a gut feeling from the interview something wasn’t right but convinced my friends, and more so to myself, that this was the best job ever!

Take your time to job hunt!

In another instance I ended up applying for a role which deep down I never wanted. My parents pressured me, knowing how sad and frustrated I was in my current job and only trying to help! I aced the interview and began working there. My initial reservations regarding the establishment turned out to be the tip of the iceberg! Staff morale was rock bottom, poor customer service, rock bottom pay (lowest I have EVER been paid!) combined with a bitchy atmosphere; made me want out. Pronto. Luckily, months later I was free!! The only thing I regret was applying in the first place!

Moral of the story? Trust your gut instinct!

If a job doesn’t feel right, doesn’t sit well and fills you with unease, decline. Even if you can’t pinpoint why you feel that way. Maybe you feel bad vibes from the environment, team or even the interviewer, I urge you to step back, analyse the situation, sleep on it or have a change of scenery to think hard about it. You’ll thank yourself in the long run. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a role you feel uncomfortable about or let a hiring manager intimidate you into making a decision. It is perfectly reasonable to ask for more time, a contract, more answers etc. before accepting anything!

 

Good Luck!

Love Career Girl

Xo

Ace The Interview!

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Although I’m only 22, I have luckily had so many jobs & even more interviews! I’ve also chatted with hiring managers and graduates. I have compiled a (long) list based on these discussions and my own knowledge and experience. From what to wear, to how to act – this blog post will cover almost everything you need to ace that interview. Ranging from casual conversations and phone interviews, to super-duper stressful 3 hour group & panel interviews, I’ve experienced it all. I know exactly what it’s like to be in the hot seat for an interview, with nerves sky high! So here’s my advice….

 

Knowledge is Power!

Before any interview I highly recommend researching the company or brand. Try to find out everything, from how they started, to where they are now and their goals for the future. Look at their website, LinkedIn, all other social media sites and Google them. Read any relevant articles. If the job is Retail for example, try to explore anything that has changed buying habits e.g. e-commerce! Find and remember some statistics or offer an opinion on current trends. If you are lucky enough to know who the interviewer will be – research them too! Find something in common to use to your advantage.

SWOT was that?

That’s right. Do a SWOT analysis. Examine the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the business or company. This knowledge can also come in handy right at the end of the interview. Any questions? You can wow them with your insight, and ask a question in relation to your SWOT analysis. This will impress them.

Relax & Make Them Laugh!

No matter how impressive your answers are, if they like YOU they will hire you! Easier said than done. I know, I’ve been there, but relax. Have fun and be yourself. Smile. Look on the bright side of every situation. So what if you don’t get the job, you’ll get another. My mantra is Trust the Universe – you may not realise now but there is a reason things happen!

Fake It Till You Make It! 

You may be a nervous wreck but don’t let on. Practise walking confidently, head up, smiling and thinking positive thoughts. Believe in yourself! Have a firm handshake and maintain good eye contact.

Location Location Location! 

Where’s the interview? Make sure you allow more than enough time to get to the interview. Arrive early and go to a nearby coffee shop or wherever to calm down and compose yourself. Go over your notes relating to the company and industry in general. Nothing is worse than feeling frazzled, or worse, late for an interview!

Dress to Impress!

These hiring managers are like most humans. Many will judge you the minute, the second you walk in. Sounds cliché but first impressions really do count, especially in this competitive workforce. So dress to impress and dress well. Regardless of your bank balance, wear clothes that fit you and make you feel fabulous! For me, this a tailored classic blazer – I feel I can conquer the world. Also, hands and feet are important. Beautifully manicured hands and good shoes are paramount IMO. Scruffy shoes & chipped nail varnish? It matters.

Sell Me This Pen!

No matter how prepared you are, some hiring managers want to test you under pressure. Once, I had 10 minutes to prepare a 5 minute presentation, then present it right there and then to everyone in the group interview. Don’t panic though. They want you to think on the spot and see how you cope with stress. Think in advance about your favourite subject or something you feel passionate about. Often in Sales or Retail jobs you’ll be asked to sell them something – so practise!

Feel free to ask any more questions or advice in the comments section!

 

Good Luck!

 

Career Girl Xo