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

 

Stress less

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We all lead busy lives. I often feel like the sector I work in makes me feel like I’m running on a tread mill and can’t stop or get off. It’s partly why I love my job, I feel like you have to constantly learn, work and strive to improve your knowledge and skill-set. I aim to work smart, I gym, I socialise, try to blog, read, etc…. but often feel frazzled. A brunch date with a dear friend sided with me on society’s need for everyone to promote just how busy they are 24/7. I can’t be alone in thinking that if you have a day to spare, a lazy day with few plans, it’s seen as odd. Society looks down on you.

It’s as if we pride ourselves on being constantly busy, constantly on the move and constantly switched on. It’s almost a luxury these days to turn your phone off and just relax, be in the moment and take time out to re-charge our batteries.

So, for every Career Girl chasing her dream of getting ahead and becoming successful, there is a thin line between pushing yourself and burning out. It’s not good to overwork yourself to exhaustion. It’s not good for your health, mental or physical, or your soul, especially considering stress can exacerbate just about any illness and yet there are a few simple inexpensive things you can easily fit into your life to stress less, be more healthy and happy in your daily life!

Switch off

I am the worst at this. The first thing I check once I have turned my alarm off is Twitter. On my bus to work I catch up on the latest blogs, news and PR & marketing happenings. I scroll through every social media app I have, again and again. I stare at a screen all day. Come home and am glued to Netflix. Which is why I like to have ‘down days’ or even weekends where I like to not look at a screen and I turn off all devices. Initially, it’s hard to get used to as we are all so accustomed to checking our phones, it’s like we can’t survive without them, right? Trust me, this is great for calming the mind without notifications distracting you. One of the best decisions I made was deleting Facebook – much to the horror of friends!

Exercise

As Elle Woods would say, endorphin’s make you happy. Scientifically proven, exercise has always helped me improve my concentration, memory and has significantly improved my stress levels. It’s important to find a workout or activity you love, and many places offer free Yoga to try if you don’t want to commit. I despise running and working out at the gym, so opt for Yoga, Hiit, circuits, Spin and boxing classes.

Mediate

There is no need to chant, unless you want to. I was sceptical at first but found Yoga, vinyasa flow, to work wonders on my aches and pains and mental well-being. It teaches you to breath deeply, inhale and exhale through the nose and to be in the moment. It really helps me clear my mind whilst maintaining my flexibility. Even just sitting peacefully and taking a few breaths is sufficient – there are many apps available to help focus the mind and relax.

Work smarter

I find it funny when people boast about how many extra hours they put in at work. In reality, I feel this is more a reflection of how poorly one manages their workload. If you work efficiently, manage your workload, organise and work smarter, not harder, you achieve so much more, and no need to clock extra hours! Prepare the day before, with to do lists, prioritising tasks and thinking how best to use your time can benefit you on the day. I learnt whilst reading Robert Caldini’s book ‘Persuasion techniques’, that writing your goals on paper ensure you are much more likely to stick to it and fulfil it, than just verbally stating you’ll complete a task.

Challenge yourself & treat yourself!

We all work hard, but when was the last time you selfishly treated yourself? Don’t be afraid to spend your hard earned money on yourself. Treat yourself to a spa day, that nice top, a bath bomb, a holiday or take yourself out to dinner. It’s important to take time out to congratulate yourself, your body and mind because our bodies are often put to extremes, we are all works of extraordinary machinery. We need to worship ourselves as it’s so easy to take life and our bodies for granted! It’s important to find those moments, whether it’s 24 minutes or 24 hours to relax and de-stress fully and unapologetically.

Go stress less,

Love Career Girl xoxo

How to deal with an Office Bully

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The Office Bully comes in many different forms. From the slimy snake that steals your sales, to the office gossip who creates rumours behind your back, to the jealous, incompetent one, who’ll do everything in their power to get you fired. And, if you are a new graduate and naïve to the game, or an experienced soul, at some point in your life, whether you like it or not, you’ll come across at least one of the above.  No matter if you’re dealing with subtle Sandy or backstabbing, bitchy, Becky, there are things you can do to protect yourself and succeed despite the surrounding negative vibes.

If you think you are dealing with an Office Bully there are a multitude of options to stay ahead of the game.

Speak Up

Hopefully, there is someone in the organisation you work for who you feel comfortable enough to divulge details of your office bully’s actions. It could be a fellow co-worker, or, preferably HR. Think hard about what the office bully has done, or said, or even what they haven’t said. Have they purposely left you out of an important email? Have they taken credit for your hard work? Have they talked down to you or purposely tried to intimidate you? All these little things can accumulate easily and quickly, and, if you are not careful, can spiral out of control. It’s important to try and spot it and be aware of it in the early stages. Once you have started the process of verbally documenting the issues, it will be easier to voice a formal complaint later down the line, if you so wish.

Log It

Unless you have evidence, it’s often just your word against theirs; which is why it is so important to build a network of trust and communication. It’s no doubt a tricky, awkward situation, but it’s paramount to try and gain as much evidence as possible. Keep a log. Every backhanded comment, passive aggressive attitude or general patronising that’s come your way needs to be noted and logged. Who said it? When? How? Did anyone else hear it? If the above is committed via emails or texts, take screenshots. Try and be as neutral as possible.

Rise above it

Aggravating the situation doesn’t help and can often make things worse. You may want to give as good as you get, but try and stay calm, neutral and above all, professional. At the end of the day, you are there to work. So work your arse off and focus on doing well. Use that negative energy and turn into positive energy to propel you forward. Work harder then you’ve worked. Things do get better. Rise above it. Be mature. People want to see you do well, never better than them. Pay close attention to those who don’t praise you or congratulate you on your achievements; who instead will try and undermine and stifle your accomplishments. You are so much better. So succeed.

Success is the best revenge, right?

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you have ever experienced an Office Bully, either a co-worker or boss do, let me know. How did you cope? And what advice would you give?

Good Luck!

 

Love Career Girl xo

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

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