How to thrive in a broken corporate system

“You should be earning, learning and having fun. And if you’re only doing one of these things, that’s not good.”

stil-326684.jpg

There are a plethora of so called workplace norms that I feel really need to be set straight. Joining the rat race, earning, learning and having fun doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard too. It is possible to be nice and still succeed and to have a great work-life balance and be able to still do the best job. Often from the get go, it will be drummed into you that in order to do X you have to put up with Y, in order to progress you’ll have to wait Y years and in order to get a job you have to jump through multiple hoops.

No.

Not always the case and in fact it’s often the complete opposite. Here are, in my humble opinion, some misconceptions of the corporate world and how to survive in an outdated system:

You have to stay late and work hard to get ahead

Arriving early, working through a lunch break and staying late to show the boss your ‘working hard’ when you’re hardly working isn’t fooling anyone. Unless it’s vital, you shouldn’t make a habit of working extra hours unnecessarily as, unfortunately, once you start the process, you’ll likely be taken advantage of. It soon becomes the norm and therefore hard to backtrack once you’ve made the habit of putting in those extra hours. Focus more on quality of work outcomes not time spent. How efficiently are you working and how much value 9-5 do you provide for the company. Thinking and doing everything to better your workplace, investing in yourself and making yourself indispensable is a sure-fire way to move up the ranks.

You have to work X amount of years to be promoted

Earning a promotion should solely be based on your work ethic, passion, ability to do the job and how capable you are to progress and get to the next level. It’s a somewhat naive attitude to have to progress people using these types of parameters and only serves to clip your wings. Working under a manager with this mindset will dim your flame. You can be a CEO at 25 or 50, age doesn’t affect your ability to do a great job!

You should follow the money

This is true to an extent. Let’s face it we all need money right? We need money for rent, holidays, food, nights out etc. but research shows it’s only a motivator up to a certain point. I for one know that money is a major contributing factor to my motivation, but it’s not the main focus and prioritising learning, career progress and company culture should be just as important. Sacrificing a slight pay drop can be a good risk to take if in the long run you can increase your salary, along with adding a wider skill set and more experience to your CV.

Being thrown in at the deep end is a great way to learn

I fear when this is mentioned in interviews it’s often code for we just wing it, don’t have a training process in place nor have the time or resources. Being thrown in at the deep end makes you learn fast, sure, but often there’s a lot of unnecessary trail and error involved and especially with a lack of support and guidance, can knock confidence and result in major mistakes. I have learnt the most through this method but employees should make it their mission to invest in their staff with proper on-boarding, training opportunities, mentor sessions and exposure you to opportunities when you are capable.

You must eat your lunch at your desk

I think now more than ever this type of culture where you’ve got to be seen to be busy and therefore eat at your desk is silly and outdated. Practise mindfulness at work. Take your lunch-break as a break! Go for a walk, eat your lunch in a different environment and take your mind off. Nothing that game-changing can happen in 45 mins so you might as well make the most of your time out the office. You’ll find you’ll come back much more refreshed, energised and be more productive!

What irks you most about the corporate world?

Let me know in the comments,

Love Career Girl xo

Sorry, we hired a Robot.

alex-knight-199368.jpg

Working 9-5 eh? Have you finished school, survived college, made it through university and landed yourself a dream job that you pinch yourself daily? Think you’re safe and secure? Think again.

Multiple careers

Right now it’s a completely different world to the one your parents or grandparents thrived in. They would have landed themselves a job and have had a lifelong career, until they retired. However, that is no longer the case, merely a distant fantasy. I, like many of my friends, have already had numerous jobs and careers. From retail, hospitality to social media and marketing, today’s corporate culture is ingrained in all ‘millennials’ that there is no such thing as job security. Competition for jobs today is fierce. Job-seekers are impacted by several hurdles, competing with hundreds of other applicants off and online, CV screening software, discrimination, nepotism, the list goes on. But in the not too distant future, we’ll be competing with Robots too.

Are you ready for the Robot Revolution?

Scrap that, whilst it sounds armageddon, the robot revolution and automation stealing people’s jobs is happening as we speak. My current read, which should be yours too, is “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” by Klaus Schwab. It details, amongst other things, the top ten careers that are likely to be affected by the latest innovations that mostly originate from Silicon Valley. And guess what? A psychologist is up there with one of the roles least impacted by the advancements in tech innovation. Hooray!

Will your job survive?

A recent analysis by Cornerstone Capital Group suggests that 7.5m retail jobs – the most common type of job in the country – are at “high risk of computerisation”, with 3.5m cashiers likely to be particularly hard hit, as cited in the Guardian. With driverless cars, Japan’s hotel run solely by Robots, automated checkouts and speech dictation/ AI assistants replacing receptionists and customer service, redundancies will only increase. Although many technology innovations are still in their infancy and somewhat rudimentary, the rate of growth will soon be exponential, making Black Mirror episodes like Metalhead seem scarily plausible.

But what does all this mean for mere job seekers, hustlers and dream chasers now and in the future?! Well, first and foremost we all need to capitalise on what makes us inherently human and unique. When you are next job hunting or interviewing, what skills can only you do? What ideas can you generate and what makes you stand out? Can you be kinder, funnier or produce more thought-provoking content than a Robot?

Our dreams, aspirations, motivations, curiosity, argumentativeness, empathy and consciousness are what set us apart from others, even from generic robots.

At least for now.

 

Love Career Girl xo

Network like a Pro

gabriel-gurrola-57461.jpg

Networking is daunting, for sure, especially the first time you go solo. Whether you’ve been roped in to attend an event on behalf of work, been coerced by a friend, want to meet new people or need to build your connections, it does get easier the more practise you have. You don’t have to attend a ‘networking event’ as such, to network, establish connections and land yourself a dream job. From merely chatting to the girl sat next to you at the nail bar, on a night out or within a work situation, there are so many benefits of networking.

It has certainly helped push me out of my comfort zone, helped improve my small talk, presentation skills and increased my confidence. Big glasses of wine also make networking events much more bearable!

Here’s how to master the art of small talk, business card swapping and networking like a pro…

Business cards & LinkedIn

Bring your business cards with you and have LinkedIn at the ready. When swapping business cards with connections you’ve made, remember that quality is better than quantity. Take the extra effort to touch base after the event with a quite note to show your enthusiasm and gratitude. By remembering to connect and message your newly made contact in a friendly and professional manner could lead to you landing your dream job!

Maximise your time

Aim to arrive at the event early, allowing time to quickly freshen up and regain composure. Stay till the end too, if you can. This is a great way to mingle with guests while it’s not too busy and to introduce yourself and chat to the hosts and staff. Don’t stick with the first person you meet, and don’t feel bad about moving to another person or group. It’s important to meet as many people as possible, so make sure you work the room, after politely excusing yourself. If you know in advance who is attending, you can research and prioritise speaking to them.

Start the conversation

Most people don’t enjoy networking events. Many individuals will be nervous, just like you. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there by saying hello to everyone, initiating conversations and being bold enough to join in with groups of people. If you are shy, speak to the organisers who can introduce you to people who are similar to you, or position yourself near the bar/food so that people can come to you.

Confidence

Be confident in yourself. Smile, have a good firm handshake and be comfortable talking about yourself, your job, inspirations and aspirations. Also, be inquisitive about the people you meet, open minded and listen to their stories. Everyone you meet should serve to educate, motivate, challenge and surprise you. You can learn something from everyday encounters with people. Today, whilst volunteering, I heard an incredible story by a lovely lady who was recently held at knife point in her own home, by an intruder and how she coped. It’s so easy these days to stare at your phone and pretend there’s something more interesting, in situations such as networking. However, by putting your phone away, opening up yourself to the people around you and taking the time to listen, appreciate and be emphatic – wonderful energy can be created.

I have attended countless blogging events, networking events and have attended events or occasions solo. I often find it’s better going solo as sometimes, bringing a friend can limit you. Take the leap and challenge yourself to attend some events solo. Attending blogging events have made me meet incredible friends, travelling solo has seriously improved my confidence and attending a networking event landed me an interview!

I hope you enjoyed reading,

Love Career Girl

xo

What you should consider in your career

rawpixel-com-250087.jpg

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.

poll

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

 

Get Hired Via Email!

bench-accounting-49909.jpg

I remember when I graduated and I have blogged about this multiple times before, but it is totally normal to find the process of job hunting online boring, frustrating, time-consuming and somewhat depressing! Our parents tended to job hunt in person yet, increasingly, new jobs are being advertised and processed online via online job applications. You may have to uploaded your CV and cover letter etc. and wonder why you hear nothing back…

Beat the Applicant Tracking System

Well it’s probably because no one sees it! That’s right, a computer sifts through all those hundreds, if not thousands of CV’s searching for specific keywords within your CV; and if you pass the ‘Applicant Tracking System’ process only then will a human – aka the HR department, actually read your CV!!

The thought process understandably is that one person cannot deal with the overwhelming surge in applications and so the computer system takes over, saving time. However, in my opinion, great, talented candidates are put off by such lengthy and inhuman processes, so will look and apply elsewhere.

Potentially, there are ways to beat the system so to speak. By inputting keywords into your CV in white (so they are picked up but not shown up) or even formatting your CV better, the list goes on. But is it worth it?

You may be the perfect candidate and incredibly talented but if you don’t specify specific keywords outlined in the job description, (& it’s pot luck to receive one) your CV won’t be selected!

Dream job is an Email away!

As the title of this blog post suggests, it is possible to bypass those pointless job applications that disappear into the abyss. Just use email! Believe it or not there are jobs out there that don’t require you to fill out pointless applications!

Even if there are no vacancies advertised at your dream company, it is always worth sending prospective emails with your CV attached. Start by introducing yourself, outlining your past and current situation, experience, why you should work at the company and what you can bring to the table, also know as ‘pain letters’. The worst thing they can do is ignore you, but you have a much better chance of being noticed with your CV being read and also are more likely to be considered for future roles too! Also, make sure to include contact details and a link to your LinkedIn profile in your signature!

I hope this helps!

Good luck!

Love Career Girl

xoxo

Personal Branding

pexels-photo-325531

You know what the greatest brand in the world is?! That’s right… YOU!!

Graduate, job seeker, or industry expert going through a career change, although there may be a multitude of jobs out there, it’s not always easy to land that dream job. As some of you know, I graduated class of 2015, yet since then, I have been trying to forge a career. I find the whole process of job hunting possibly the most frustrating! Specifically, applying for roles online and having to almost write your whole life story, how much of a superstar you are and how amazing you’d be at the role; to then receive an automated thank you email super disheartening. Not cool.

Reject Online Job Hunting

I am not a fan of time consuming job applications and screening processes that are often used today. I think there is a massive over reliance on technology. Okay I digress. Back to personal branding!

Job hunting is hard but if you attack at all angles, you will have a much better success rate. Apply for jobs. Send emails. Network. Optimise your Linkedin & Google yourself. Competition is fierce and especially with social media and word of mouth, why not market yourself?!

Invest in Yourself

You may have the best qualifications, experience and be super likeable, but so are many other people. Which is why it’s so important to play to your strengths and use whatever skill or asset you have to your advantage. Good at Art or Photography? Create a portfolio. Great at Graphics? Build your own website. Love writing? Start a blog. You get the picture. Think of yourself as any other brand and project yourself in the best light possible. Now more than ever your online presence matters. Employers can and often will Google you and your social media profiles. If you want to keep social media private, double check all of your privacy settings to ensure there are no incriminating or embarrassing photos etc. Otherwise, link all your social media profiles together and cross promote.

Your next job might be a tweet away!

Take the plunge and go to networking events and collect business cards. Better yet, create your own personalised business cards, as it’s so much more professional to hand out a card. It can demonstrate to others that you take initiative, are organised and self-motivated. Stand out and you’ll be remembered.

It’s important to be authentic and passionate – do you! You’re great and no one can be you. We are all different with various skills and life experiences and that is why building your personal brand is essential.

So, what are you waiting for…. Go out and create your brand!

Disclaimer. I am by no means a career coach or guru, but want to inspire myself and others to take charge in their job hunting. To not be complacent and to actively go after what you want. I have been inspired by many successful woman who have created a brand around themselves! We got this! #GirlBoss

If you are job hunting I hope this is helpful, and if you have any tips, tricks or advice I would love to hear! Do you think you will start your personal brand?!

Good luck,

Love Career Girl

xo

So You’ve Graduated! Now What…

jonathan-daniels-373306.jpg

Graduate or soon to be graduate?! Congratulations! Now the hard graft really starts!

If you are lucky enough to have already bagged yourself an internship or job – well done! But if you haven’t don’t worry. From my experience, I don’t know anyone who really achieved their dream job straight out of university.

Many graduates will post the perks of their new job on social media, portraying a perfect working life, but behind every beautiful promotion is a struggle which isn’t splashed all over Facebook or Twitter.

Finishing university with an amazing degree is life changing. University is a roller-coaster with many ups and downs with  friends for life made. Being a Graduate, you feel euphoric, you can conquer the world right?! Yet what many of my friends and I didn’t bargain for is the reality of life after Graduation and entering the big wide world of working 9-5.

Life After University

After all the Champagne Celebrations & Graduation Gown selfies, life after university is very different!

Being at university is definitely a surreal experience whether you enjoyed it or loathed it. However, the readjusting to living back at home with your parents (so lame right?) combined with societies pressure to ‘get a proper job’ mounting and university debt and lack of funds is a daunting prospect and a tad depressing.

The change of living independently on your own terms to living under the parents roof; with a dramatic change in social life (I live in a village and it’s hell!) and facing rejections from jobs you’d kill to have is challenging to say the least!

It’s not unreasonable to assume given you’ve spent 3 years studying your craft; gaining experience, knowledge and skills, that you’d receive a job matched to your skillset…. No?

Unfortunately, the reality for so many of my friends and I is that, unless you’re really, really lucky, for quite a while after leaving university, the jobs you accept might be far from desirable! Even if your first job after graduation is working in a bar, restaurant or even retail, at the end of the day, a job’s a job and it’s all vital experience!

I worked in one job that I hated but managed to pay off my (horrendous) overdraft in 2 months. There’s a silver lining to every shitty situation! Just kept hustling!

Love Career Girl

Xo