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Engaging Older Volunteers
October 23, 2020
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This guide by the Centre for Ageing Better is designed as a practical tool to support organisations working with volunteers to engage over 50s and widen participation among different types of people.

Helping out

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an outpouring of community spirit and volunteering, which has been critical to the local response. Many older people have made significant contributions to their communities during lockdown, with 30% of people aged 50 to 70 volunteering informally and 87% saying they wanted to continue.

However, others have been prevented from helping during this time and may now require support.

The five actions in this guide include approaches tested before lockdown and provide insights into how taking an age-friendly and inclusive approach prepared Ageing Better and DCMS’ five grant funded projects across England to respond to the pandemic and can support organisations to re-engage volunteers and widen participation among those aged 50 and over in future.

As we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, we hope these actions can help sustain and build on those efforts.

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Coursera: Looking for Expert Career Resources?
September 2, 2020
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Starting a new journey is a big step, and you might feel nervous—especially if you’re not sure where to go or how to get there. When it comes to making a new career move, feeling confident about your learning choices is important. That’s where our career experts can help!

Today, we’re excited to share our new Coursera Job Search Resources.

With these free job search how-to guides, webinars, and more, you’ll be able to confidently connect your learning goals to continuing career success.
Grow your career with these free courses
Converting Challenges into Opportunities

Career planning: resume/CV, cover letter, interview

Communication Strategies for a Virtual Age

Introduction to Personal Branding

The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know

Leadership: Leading in Times of Crisis

More free courses
International Resources
July 21, 2020
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The Canadian Careers Development Foundation (CCDF) is a non-profit organization that works to advance career services and the capacity of the profession to respond with empathy and skill to their clients and stakeholders in an ever-changing work environment. CCDF is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the field of career development. 

They provide a range of free resources including the following:

Job Search Workbook

If you’re ready to find a job, this guide is for you.  Through a step-by-step effective and proven job search process, this workbook will help you:

  • Find work that it a right fit for you and your skills,
  • Help you develop the tools you need to be ready for work search, including a good resume, references and a career pitch,
  • Support you in identifying potential jobs, use your networks, tailor your work search tools and present yourself well at job interviews, and
  • Provide tips on accepting a job offer, agreeing on terms of employment and accepting a position in a professional manner.

Job Search Workbook

Career Decision-Making Workbook

If you are unsure what you want to do after school or throughout your career, this guide is for you. Figuring out the next steps of your career journey may seem overwhelming. This guide will take you step-by-step to get clear about what you want and how to get there.

Career Decision-Making Workbook 

Get Your Free Job Hunters’ Workbook
July 3, 2020
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A free job hunter’s workbook from Careers.gov.nz

Are you wondering how to get started again in the job market?

NZ Careers has created a workbook packed with helpful information and tips on how to search for, apply, and get the job you want.

Download the eBook now

icould.com
June 11, 2020
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icould.com uses the power of personal stories to inform and inspire young people’s career choices.

As part of the Education and Employers charity, it helps draw links between school subjects and jobs. It encourages young people to discover opportunities they may not have known about before. And shows what is possible in the world of work.

Free and simple to use, the site features over 1000 videos of real people talking about their careers – explaining their job role, career path and how different factors have shaped their choices.

Take a look at:

  • Career videos – from carpenters to city traders, care workers to celebrities, our real-life storytellers offer an inside view of their current job and a personal account of how they got there.
  • Job information – see details of average salary, qualifications, skills, past and future employment levels, and more below every video.
  • Articlesapprenticeships, astronauts or applying for jobs – our articles cover all things career-related, from people sharing their experiences to advice from career experts.
  • Focus On – this series offers ideas and information around key decision points, such as Choices at 14, 16 and 18 and highlights opportunities in particular job areas such as the music industry, the NHS and engineering.
Career Girls®
June 10, 2020
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The mission of Career Girls is for all girls to reach their full potential and discover their own path to empowerment through access to inspiring career role models and supportive girl-centric curriculum.

Based in the United States, CareerGirls.org is a video-based career exploration tool for girls, with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers. It’s free to use and free of commercials.

It includes over 7,000 video clips featuring more than 400 women role models. These successful women work in different careers—ranging from astronaut to musician to veterinarian—all over the United States.

CareerGirls.org is unique. It provides inspirational and educational videos of real women who have made it in their chosen fields—and combines these videos with other useful tools for both girls and educators. As well as the videos, their site also includes a range of free resources which you may be able to adapt to your own information, advice and guidance environment.

Visit the Careers Girls website HERE

Career Advice Tool Available To All
June 9, 2020
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The interactivediscover me tool provides young people with suggestions of careers that may suit their personality and personal attributes. This is twinned with a ‘pathways’ tool which provides practical advice on what to do next.

The quiz is simple to use and takes about 5 minutes and the outcome report includes career ideas and a career personality map.

Access the tool here

Read more

SWOT Analysis: Is The Job For Me?

This activity will help clients to appraise a new job or career opportunity by assessing their strengths and weaknesses against the opportunities and threats created by the role. 

 What To Do: 

1. Consider the new role/opportunity. What would you be expected to do, and what skills and experience would you need? 

2. Fill in the chart below, taking each section in turn: 

Your Strengths 

Think about the skills and experience you have that is applicable to the new role/opportunity. 

  • What have you achieved? 
  • What are you good at? 
  • What skills do you have? 
  • What are your personal qualities? 

Your Weaknesses 

Think about what skills and experience the role requires that you do not have. 

  • Do you lack any skills/qualifications? 
  • Do you lack any work experience? 
  • What personal qualities would you need to portray? 
  • What do you not enjoy doing? 

Opportunities 

Think about why you want the job. What does it offer in terms of development opportunities and how far does it go to meeting your career needs? 

Threats 

Think about the disadvantages of the job, the downsides and the risks of not getting it. 

  • What would the impact be on your personal circumstances, e.g. family, home and relationships? 
  • Who might you be competing with? 
  • Are there any requirements you can’t meet, e.g. are you required to drive but don’t have a car? 
Hints and Tips: Creating Your Personal Brand

The following hints and tips will be of interest to any clients who are engaging in progressing or developing their career.

Managing your career is an ongoing process.

Creating a personal brand and advertising to others what you have to offer will set you apart from the rest and increase your visibility. This will help you in your present role and with future prospects because when opportunities arise, you will be at the forefront of people’s minds.

Personal marketing is about making the most of your unique blend of skills and abilities, and highlighting to others what you can do well. It is about developing and portraying the right functional and social abilities on a day-to-day basis.

Functional abilities are your tangible skills and your ability to produce results. They are the job skills and competencies that employers require. These can be acquired through education, training and experience. You should always demonstrate your strengths, as they are invisible to others if they remain hidden.

Social abilities are your social skills, including communication, empathy, sense of humour, rapport and listening. These are the skills that allow you to relate well to others and make others want to relate to you. These are just as valuable to employers as functional abilities.

Employers Are Generally Looking For People Who Possess

  • Job skills
  • Self-confidence
  • Effective communication skills
  • Teamworking skills, and
  • Organisational skills

The way you package and market your functional and social abilities will determine the way others respond to you. Your professional image, visibility and communication skills should all act to instil and reinforce your personal brand.

Professional Image

Portraying a professional image every day will show others that you are committed to your job, capable and motivated. There are a number of ways you can achieve a professional image:

  • Be well presented, well dressed and well groomed. Dress appropriately for your work environment.
  • Be well-informed. You should aim to find out as much as you can, and keep up-to-date on, your organisation, your role and your responsibilities. Be aware of factors affecting your organisation and industry by carrying out background reading and talking to others.
  • Always be prepared, but especially when you are visible to others, for example in meetings, presentations, training events, or coaching situations.
  • Build a good reputation through your quality of work and interactions with others. Carry out your job consistently well, attend work on time, meet deadlines and get it right first time. Respect others and exercise integrity – you should always aim to be cooperative and friendly.
  • Know the rules of your organisation and work within them.
  • Stay in control of your emotions. If a situation upsets or displeases you, keep your composure and think before you react.
  • Be confident. This will inspire the belief in others that you are credible and capable.
  • Make a good first impression. First impressions are powerful and lasting, so consider how you portray yourself. Are you friendly? Do you talk to others with respect? Do you look the part? You generate an impression within moments, and a lasting impression within half a minute to four minutes, so make sure it is a positive one.
  • Make a good lasting impression. People form opinions of you based on their everyday experiences, so try to avoid ‘off days’ (or if you have one, keep it to yourself). In addition, don’t get drawn into office gossip, denigrate bosses or colleagues behind their backs, or blame others for your mistakes.
  • Your personal brand is always on show, so it must be consistent.

Visibility

There is no point in developing your abilities and personal brand if nobody sees or experiences them. This is where self-promotion comes in. All too often, employees miss out on opportunities because the decision-makers do not know they are interested, or have the necessary skills. Self-promotion is about building awareness so other people know who you are, and realise your skills, values and ambitions. This is important for career progression, getting involved in new opportunities to build your skills and experiences, and for increasing your job satisfaction.

Visibility is a powerful thing. It can work against people, for example, if they are seen to be lazy, disorganised, lack ambition, or are constantly late. However, it can be positive if you are motivated and competent. Think about how you might increase your visibility within and outside of your organisation. Here are some common things to consider:

  • Develop and manage your network.
  • Always have a supply of business cards.
  • Use your performance appraisal meeting. During your appraisal discussions, make sure your manager is aware of your transferable skills, achievements and career objectives. Highlight any skills you would like to use that you are not using presently.
  • Arrange a career discussion with your manager. Work together to reach an agreement on your future with the organisation. Make sure your manager is aware of your aims and ambitions.
  • Make the most of meetings. Before meetings, get hold of the agenda and do some background research on the issues. This way, you can participate actively and positively. You might even offer to chair a meeting, or talk about one of the issues.
  • Ask to be included on the stand at exhibitions and events, even if it is just for lunchtime relief.
  • Get involved in induction and training of new staff. You may offer to be a ‘buddy’, coach or mentor.
  • Get involved in charity work on behalf of your organisation, for example, organising fund raising events.
  • Write articles for in-house newsletters and magazines.
  • Work on building good relationships with clients/customers. Keep any positive feedback, as you can use this to demonstrate your good work.
  • Always leave a job on good terms. You may need a reference for your next job, and positive word of mouth is always valuable. Say nice things about the organisation, complete any outstanding tasks, work out your notice, and offer to be available after you have left.

Effective Communication

Whether it is verbal or written communication, you should always consider the messages you are giving to others. Plan any communication carefully, and make sure your message is clear and to the point. If your communication is in writing, make sure it is accurate, appropriate and aspects such as spelling and grammar are correct. It is very easy to slip up by doing something like sending an email to the wrong person, so always take the time and care to get it right.

Try to demonstrate and communicate your competence and professionalism every day in order to reap long-term rewards in your career.

Five Steps to Career Management

This Five-Step approach to career management sets out exactly what skills, tasks and priorities clients need to consider to move their career forward. Each of the steps has a list of questions which might be posed throughout someones working life. 

 This Five-Step approach is built around the following principles:

Values and Skills:  Identify what it is that you want from a job. Match this to your values and skills. Establish a satisfying and meaningful role for yourself. 

Personal Branding:  Recognise and manage your own attributes and your unique brand. Use this to effectively present yourself in a business environment. 

Networking:  Build a personal network. Exploit it for career opportunities. 

Performance:  Identify and develop your particular people skills to optimise personal performance in the work environment. 

Long-term Planning:  Identify long-term objectives. Use short-term goals and actions to achieve them. 

Value and Skills: Establish your work-life priorities by answering the following questions: 

  • What is meaningful in your work life? Where do you derive your sense of purpose from? How do you contribute? 
  • Define the rewards and incentives, financial and otherwise, that are truly important to you. How important is money? 
  • In which environment are you happiest (an office, working outdoors, from home)? How do you like to work (teams, autonomously)? What would be the ideal culture and environment for you to work in? 
  • If you had multiple offers to consider, which would be the deciding factors? 
  • How would you ideally like to balance your work, family and free time? How might this be achieved? What value do you place on your leisure time? 
  • How important to you is where you live? 
  • What are your skills, professional and personal? What jobs are best suited to these? 
  • In what country, industry and company do you want to work? Can you identify 20 companies for whom you would like to work and who could use your skills and experience? 
  • What makes you different from everyone else? What is your personal competitive advantage? Do you need to ask others (colleagues and family) to identify the latter? 
  • In what areas could you use more training or knowledge? If you are unhappy or dissatisfied in your current role, why is this? Is it something you can change, or do you need to move job? 

Personal Branding: Use the following questions to establish your personal brand and decide how best to market yourself: 

  • Do you have a quality CV that highlights all your achievements? Does it differ in style and tone from the standard business CV? Is it tailored to match each job for which you apply? 
  • Do you make covering letters individual? Are they specific to each job for which you apply? 
  • Is your CV up to date? 
  • Is your dress and appearance fitting for the company for which you are hoping to work or for whom you are already working? 
  • Have you pre-prepared answers to standard interview questions, including accomplishments, and prepared your own questions? Have you practised interviews? Have you identified your interview style? Do you need help? 
  • Are you prepared to chase every lead? If you do not hear from a prospective employer, do you follow up? 
  • What is your reputation in the workplace? How do others see you? What are your perceived strengths and weaknesses? 

Networking: The most effective way to advance your career is through personal networks. Answer the following questions: 

  • Have you compiled a list of family, friends and business contacts who might be able to help you? Have you carefully planned what you are going to say to them? 
  • Are you networking enough? Do you keep in touch with contacts? Do you do your best to be visible and help others? 
  • Are you using all available resources (career fairs, online recruiters, head-hunters)? 
  • Do you have a database to keep track of your applications, contacts and progress? Are you in danger of losing telephone numbers or contact names? 
  • Have you considered joining professional associations or business forums? If you are a member already, do you network with your peers? 
  • Have you identified your job targets? How much do you know about each of them, their history, culture and financial performance? How can you develop contacts in these organisations? 

Performance: Consider the following when managing your career from the workplace: 

  • Do you effectively deal with office politics? Could you improve on your people management skills? 
  • Do you have a trusting relationship with your colleagues? Do you have an internal personal network? Do you have a mentor or sponsor within your organisation?
  • Are people aware of the good work you do? 
  • Do you understand the culture and mission of your organisation? Do you understand your own role within that? 
  • Are you responsive to change and up-to-date with the latest technologies and improvements? 
  • Are you exploiting opportunities at work to expand your skills and knowledge? 

Long-Term Planning: Use the following to consider your whole career, and where you wish to go: 

  • Do you have a professional development plan? Have you considered relevant professional qualifications? Have you contacted universities and professional bodies with a view to obtaining these? 
  • Do you have an idea of where you would like to be in one, five and ten years’ time? How do you plan to achieve this? 
  • Do you have a careful financial planning programme? Do you effectively manage pensions, savings and debts? 
  • Do you have a fall-back option if you lose your job today? Are you continually updating your network in the event that you have to use it? 
  • Have you identified short-term goals? Are they in line with your medium and long-term strategies?