The Redundancy Rollercoaster

crew-56831.jpgAt 22 years young, the one thing I never anticipated, happened to me. One Friday morning I was made redundant. I think it was amazing to  my colleague and me that I didn’t cry when told! Instead, I calmly left and proceeded to wander aimlessly, like a zombie, in disbelief wondering what the hell I was going to do. It’s funny, it’s the situation you think you’ll never find yourself in. It happens in movies, to other people, but me?!

After allowing myself one day to wallow in sadness and cry my eyes out, I decided to set to and find another job. For someone who has always worked since the age of 14, to be out of work with no income, mounting debt and bills, was pretty scary! One of the first things I did when I arrived back home was hit Google. I stumbled upon an article which really sums up the surreal Rollercoaster emotions of Redundancy. This blog post is my experience of it, how to deal with it, and how to bounce back!

Shock 

Initially, my first response wasn’t actually to cry. Instead, I was completely stunned. Fortunately, it didn’t come as a massive shock, (read my Redundancy Warning Signs – up soon!) due to a multitude of reasons; I had a hunch it would happen.

Anger

I was surprisingly furious with everyone… What did I do to deserve this? Why me? I was devastated. Did I deserve to be treated like this?! In fact, I was so angry that I often lashed out at the ones who love me the most, and were there for me when I was sad. I turned really ugly towards my parents, who have always had my back.

Depression

Right now, I’m alright. I’ve had a lot of time to relax, think and pursue what I want, and I’m happy. At the time, it was a completely different story. People offer kind words like ‘when one door closes, another opens,’ which is lovely. However, in no way does it compensate for how borderline depressing it is. Going back to the drawing board of applying for jobs, interviews and being rejected is no joke! I felt a complete failure, my confidence and outlook on life was rock bottom. I put on a brave face to friends and family, often laughing about the shitty situation. However, deep down, I was upset. I had many sleepless nights and cried an awful lot. Also, because I was in this state, I refused to socialise with friends which, with hindsight, was probably counter-productive. For days on end I would suddenly become so teary, so wobbly and, because I was so ashamed about the situation, I didn’t really speak to a lot of my friends about it. Sounds terribly selfish, but the last thing I wanted to hear was how amazing their jobs were when I no longer had one. It was an incredibly stressful time!

Relief

I mentioned my situation to friends, family and strangers too, and they have all been surprisingly encouraging. Some gave me hope that this could be a blessing in disguise, giving me the freedom to pursue what I really want, with the knowledge and experience that I have gained thus far. Others have offered their own experiences of redundancy, how they dealt with it, and, that sometimes it propels you into something better.

I will never forgot that feeling of hopelessness, being unemployed is a horrible predicament to find yourself in. I am a true believer in trusting the universe. Sometimes it takes extremes like this to re-evaluate your life, focus on what you want, what benefits, excites and challenges you, as that is what you should pursue. A quote from Em Sheldons‘ blog, “Rainy days make flowers” is scrawled on a post it note above my desk, which really helped motivate me. Things do work out for the best, and if it hasn’t yet, there’s still time.

Have you ever lost your job or been made redundant? How did you cope? Can you relate to my experience? Let me know what you thought of this post in the comments below.

Love Career Girl

xoxo

Get Hired Via Email!

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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

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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

My Office Attire Feat. Tessuti

There is nothing I love more than dressing to impress, whether it’s a fancy party or 9-5 job. Even if others wear more relaxed attire, I think there are so many benefits to dressing well. Dress to impress has always been my motto and guide for picking work outfits. I for one know that the way I dress has a huge impact on my outlook and my motivation towards work. In the past when I have worked in roles where the dress code is super relaxed, e.g. hoodies and trainers, my motivational levels drop. I have a reduced desire to work hard, my confidence takes a hit and I find it harder to care and concentrate!

According to a Forbes article, dressing for success can increase your income. From my own personal experience, I have received better treatment when I am dressed well. I have had more success in interviews and have achieved more of my goals in and outside of the work environment, as the better I dress, the more determined and productive I am!

The latest addition to my workwear wardrobe is this cool 100% cotton, flowy, billowy top from Scotch & Soda. I was given the opportunity to pick out an item from the Tessuti website – a fantastic online dreamy place filled with a variety of luxury brands, from Calvin Klein and Barbour to Moschino and Ralph Lauren (a personal favourite!). This is a brand new website to me, I discovered them at the #bloggersball organised by Scarlett London.

I am an absolute lover of certain luxury brands, as although some items might be on the more expensive side, I am a firm believer that you get what you pay! I am much more inclined to spend more on an item if I think it is better quality, especially as it will wear better and last much longer than ‘fast fashion’ brands such as, say, Primark.

I arrived back from France to a Tessuti delivery, which I will no doubt be frequenting at the office – perhaps when the suns out as it currently feels like winter!

What I’m Wearing:

Top – Scotch and Soda (Tessuti) *

Trousers- Hengelo

Shoes – Clarks

Ring – Jewellery Box  *

What do you wear to the office? I hope you liked this post – let me know what you think in the comments!

Love Career Girl

xo

 

 

 

*These items were kindly gifted to me, however thoughts are all mine!

 

 

 

So You’ve Graduated! Now What…

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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

Optimize Linkedin to Your Advantage!

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Linkedin is yet another method of job hunting online.  However, done well, it is so much more. It’s a great place to network with Industry leaders and connect with inspirational people, receive the latest industry insight and voice your opinion; take it a step further and you can showcase your writing skills by publishing articles on a given topic. More importantly, you can advertise the best brand ever…. YOU!

Think of Linkedin as an online CV which you can really have fun with. It should contain everything that’s on your CV, and then some. This is a place where you can let loose to an extent. Don’t be afraid to describe your career, life journey, hobbies, passions and your goals for the future!

Do – Upload a clear, professional photo. First and foremost, this is a job-site where future employers are scrutinising your online presence. So no Bikini selfies or pictures of your drunken antics etc. Think head and shoulders shot in smart attire and if you can spare the cash invest in a professional headshot.

Don’t – Be afraid to ‘connect’ with people you don’t know as such. That fancy hiring manager? Connect! It is a great way of getting that person to view your profile, at the very least! If they don’t want to connect it doesn’t matter, but chances are they will accept. No spamming though. Quality connections over quantity.

Don’t – Instantly send an inmail asking for a job to that hiring manager… From personal experience it’s better to build rapport rather than go in for the kill. The point of having recruiters/hiring managers as connections means you will hear of job openings a lot faster.

Do – Buy Linkedin premium, if you can afford it! This means you can see who has viewed your profile (and profile views are paramount by the way!) and if you are applying for a role, you can see how your skills and experience compare with other applicants. It also bumps you up the list of applicants, portraying you as a ‘featured applicant’, increasing your chances of being viewed & remembered.  Plus, depending on the upgrade, you can inmail tough to reach individuals.  Otherwise, take advantage of the month free trial of Linkedin premium.

Do – Proofread. Just like you would a CV. Spelling mistakes and poor grammar will turn a great profile into a mediocre one!

Do – Update your title. If you are unemployed, don’t be shy! Write that you are looking for a particular role or work experience!

Do – Write a blurb about yourself but keep to the point. This should include a short summary about yourself, including aspects from the past, present and future. Discuss qualifications or experience, what you are doing/hoping to do and what your career goals are.  Make it as catchy as possible. Avoid writing in the third person and stating over used phrases like, ‘I work well independently and within a team’. What is YOUR personal unique selling point?!

Don’t – Use Linkedin as you would Facebook! Got wasted last night? Hooked up with some guy last night? Facebook may care but Linkedin certainly won’t. Keep it professional and informative. Talk about the latest news or innovation within a certain industry. The pitfalls of e-commerce or the advantages of virtual reality.

Do – Cross promote! Link all your social media together, unless you want to keep professional and personal social media sites separate.

Do – Google yourself to see how you may be perceived by a future boss! Clean up your social media presence! Don’t let an embarrassing photo ruin your chances of getting your dream job!

Do – Add your accomplishments, certificates and examples of your work, whether it’s a website, best essay, blog or even upload your CV.

Do – Use Linkedin to prep yourself before an interview. If you know the hiring manager or interviewer, research them! See blog post ‘Ace The Interview!’

Do – State your best qualities, abilities, talents and experience. At the bottom of your Linkedin profile you’ll find endorsements. Good at researching? State it. Endorse others on their skills and you will most likely be endorsed too – just don’t badger people! In addition, write recommendations. Helping others will help yourself!

I hope this helps!

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