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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? 
Career Planning – A Four Step Planning Process

Career planning is an ongoing process that can help you manage your learning and development. The following four-step planning process can be used by those still at school, a school leaver, an adult adding on skills or an adult changing your job or career.

Career planning is the continuous process of:

  • thinking about your interests, values skills and preferences; exploring the life, work and learning options available to you; ensuring that your work fits with your personal circumstances; and
  • continuously fine-tuning your work and learning plans to help you manage the changes in your life and the world of work.

You can revisit and make use of this process all the way through your career.

Start At The Step That Is Most Relevant For You Now.

The career planning process has four steps:

Step 1: Knowing Yourself 

Step 2: Finding Out

Step 3: Making Decisions 

Step 4: Taking Action

STEP 1: KNOWING YOURSELF

Begin by thinking about where you are now, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there.

Once you have thought about where you are at now and where you want to be, you can work on getting to know your skills, interests and values.

Begin by asking yourself the following questions: 

Where am I at now?

Where do I want to be?

What do I want out of a job or career? 

What do I like to do?

What are my strengths? 

What is important to me?

At the end of this step, you will have a clearer idea of your work or learning goal and your individual preferences. You can use this information about yourself as your personal ‘wish list’ against which you can compare all the information you gather in Step 2: finding out.

Your personal preferences are very useful for helping you choose your best option at this point in time, which you can do in Step 3: making decisions.

STEP 2: FINDING OUT

This step is about exploring the occupations and learning areas that interest you. Once you have some idea ofyour occupational preferences you can research the specific skills and qualifications required for those occupations.

Explore occupations that interest you and ask yourself how do my skills and interests match up with these occupations?

Where are the gaps?

What options do I have to gain these skills or qualify for these occupations? 

What skills do I need?

Where is the work?

At the end of this step, you will have a list of preferred occupations and/or learning options.

STEP 3: MAKING DECISIONS

This step involves comparing your options, narrowing down your choices and thinking about what suits you best at this point in time.

Ask yourself:

What are my best work/training options?

How do they match with my skills, interests and values? 

How do they fit with the current labour market?

How do they fit with my current situation and responsibilities? 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option? 

What will help and what will hinder me?

What can I do about it?

At the end of this step, you will have narrowed down your options and have more of an idea of what you need to do next to help you achieve your goals.

STEP 4: TAKING ACTION

Here you plan the steps you need to take to put your plan into action.

Use all you have learnt about your skills, interests and values together with the information you have gathered about the world of work to create your plan.

Begin by asking yourself:

What actions/steps will help me achieve my work, training and career goals? 

Who will support me?

At the end of this step you will have:

  • A plan to help you explore your options further (eg work experience, work shadowing or more research); or 
  • a plan which sets out the steps to help you achieve your next learning or work goal.

Decide which step is relevant for you right now and start from there.

Five Transferable Skills That Make Every Graduate More Employable
April 28, 2020
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The following ‘hints and tips’ may be of interest to any graduate looking to apply for their first job post-university. 

We’ve all seen the maxim: no job because no experience; no experience because no job.

But whoever created that maxim clearly didn’t think about transferable skills.

Transferable skills are the abilities and competencies that accompany you with every career transition. You developed a great range throughout university that are highly sought-after by employers.

Here are the most desirable transferable skills you have gained throughout your degree that can help you throughout the job application process.

Writing and Communication

As emojis, Snapchat and Instagram stories become a preferred way of speaking, 44% of hiring managers feel that a solid writing ability is lacking in many new recruits.

However, as a recent graduate, you have writing and communication skills in abundance.

Not only have you spent the last few years refining your language to hit that 2,000-word word count, you’re familiar with spelling and grammar basics and can write both formally and colloquially, too.

Employers don’t want the next Shakespeare; they want someone who can write efficiently, clearly and concisely via reports or emails, for example. Therefore, highlight your writing proficiency on your CV to show you’re a master of communication.

Teamwork

All employers expect their staff to be team players, regardless of whether they prefer to work independently or not. And this applies to all roles and industries.

Throughout your studies, you will have worked in a team, perhaps in a seminar task or in a society, for example.

Group tasks also develop a range of other skills such as active listening, collaboration and cooperation, commitment, negotiation and a positive attitude, which all employers seek in new hires.

When listing teamwork as a skill on your CV, make sure you explain how you obtained skills and precisely and concisely as possible, rather than what your team did collectively.

Presenting

The majority of professionals will present at some point throughout their career.

While it’s more common in client-facing sectors, such as sales, it’s also an increasingly common part of the interview process when you reach management level.

Even if you didn’t give a full-blown presentation during your degree, you will have exercised your communication skills by speaking up in lectures, seminars and workshops.

When discussing your presentation skills in the job application process, don’t limit yourself to being able to communicate effectively and channel nervous energy into confidence and enthusiasm. Remember that there was plenty of planning, preparation and organisation involved too. Present yourself as a well-rounded candidate.

Project Management

The ability to manage your time and workload effectively is imperative in the workplace. You will have your own tasks to take care of, but you will also be part of wider projects, sometimes spanning various departments and plenty of people.

And you don’t want to be the one that drops the ball.

As a graduate, you’re no stranger to the concept of project management after the tight ship you ran to meet coursework and exam deadlines. Explain to employers how you’re organised your resources and prioritised your time to achieve the best results possible. Also, delve into the obstacles and issues you faced and how you overcame them to prove that you’re a problem solver too.

Research and Critical Thinking

Like any course, the purpose of a degree is to understand and explore the subject matter in more detail. As a result, you’re a pro in the art of research and critical thinking – which are in-demand assets amongst the workplace.

The process involves thinking about abstract concepts and sources, evaluating them and then forming conclusions and making decisions. As a result, critical thinkers can present coherent reasoning around projects and proposals.

While you may have been a critical thinker when writing essays, professionals do the same every day, such as when planning a marketing campaign.

Therefore, draw on your critical thinking skills in your job applications and interviews, discussing how you evaluated, reasoned and made decisions throughout your studies and can bring this skill to the workplace.

15 Ways for Coachees to Get the Most From Coaching Sessions

The nature of coaching is that it is a two-way process involving coach and client as equals; the more active a part you take in the process the better the outcomes are likely to be for you. Here are 15 practical ideas and suggestions to help you get the most from your coaching.

1. Remember it’s not the coach’s responsibility to solve your problems or achieve your goals for you 

The coach is there to support, challenge, listen, stimulate, encourage, share feedback and offer anything else they have in their tool kit to help you think better and plan well to make the changes that are important to you. Ultimately you are the one that has responsibility for your own work and life. This is why we encourage a model of active, adult-adult partnership in coaching rather than anything that suggests you are dependent on your coach.

2. It’s up to you to ask your coach to change the way they are coaching you if you feel they could coach you in a better way

Coaches are of course only human, and as such have their own distinct personalities: yet a good coach will be able to flex their style in many ways to suit you, e.g. by being more or less direct/challenging, by moving at a faster/slower pace or by sharing more or less of their thinking and ideas with you. They will be happy for you to make such requests because their aim is to coach as effectively as possible.

3. The coach’s job is to ask you for even more than you might normally ask of yourself

Your coach wants the best for you and for this reason will be looking to offer and encourage ‘stretch’ wherever possible. Your coach may well question the limits you set for yourself and encourage the setting of challenging goals and targets. Coaching should not be a ‘cosy club.’

4. The coach is your success partner, not an accountability service

Coaching will work best for you when you are actively seeking to get the best from yourself and when you take responsibility for your own growth and development.

5. The value of coaching isn’t based on how much time is spent coaching

The value of coaching depends on quality rather than quantity: when both you and your coach are fully engaged in the task and working hard then success should follow – it is a bit like going to the gym and really working at it, rather than thinking you will get results just by being there.

6. The coaching session in itself is not what gets you results

Ultimately this is down to what you do and how you act after the coaching – what you put into practice. Coaching is there to help you to plan and prepare to get the best out of what you are doing.

7. Talk about what matters most to you

You are not there to conform to any expectation you feel your coach may have on you – least of all are you there to please the coach in any way. Yours is the only agenda that counts and if it is important to you, your coach will work on it with you.

8. Focus on yourself

Sometimes clients worry that coaching is somewhat self-indulgent – even a selfish luxury. We offer the view that you can only effectively do your job or serve others well if you are yourself fulfilled, purposeful and operating to your fullest potential. When you succeed, others should benefit too: if you are unhappy, unfulfilled or frustrated in your work or blocked in some other way it is likely that others will not get the best from you. You can look at your coaching as a positive boost to the communities of which you are a part.

9. Be open to seeing things differently

Very frequently, the issues you face are not in themselves the real issues! Often it is the way we see issues and how we think about them that needs to change. Even when some of the issues we face are objectively daunting or difficult challenges, we can use coaching to open ourselves up to new ways of responding to them. Opening your thinking up will open up new possibilities for choice. Your coach can help you identify ways of seeing, thinking and responding that may offer you very different options and approaches.

10. You can develop and evolve with coaching

Coaching is both a developmental process and an evolutionary one. It helps clients accomplish more with less effort – the developmental aspect – and can also lead to different thinking and possibilities for growth and change – which we call evolving. Evolving is a skill worth building because life itself is about evolving, not just developing.

11. Use your coaching to help you think about – and design – the kinds of environments and systems you want to work in – you can go beyond yourself

We can all exercise some choice and responsibility in creating the kind of environment to allow ourselves to flourish. Even when your organisation places apparent restrictions in your way we can often exercise at least some discretion in the physical, social, professional and cultural contexts in which we work and live. Coaching encourages a whole-system approach and links personal change to the contexts we inhabit.

12. Take charge

You are invited to take charge of the coaching process, to get it focused on what you most want and need. We encourage you to come to each session with a direction in mind, perhaps a list of issues or questions you want to address. Ultimately the more you know what you want out of your coaching the better. Your coach can then work with you to craft really specific and relevant goals for the coaching.

13. Be Real – say what you think

When what we say does not reflect what we are really thinking, we are incongruent. Coaching is not an abstract exercise or an intellectual joust but an opportunity to work together with your coach in a climate of shared honesty and truth. When you are authentic it really helps to get the best out of your coach.

14. Promise what you can deliver

Whilst we encourage stretch and boldness in coaching we also ask you to be mindful of what is realist and doable in the context of everything you are trying to do. Overextension causes great anxiety, guilt and suffering. We encourage you to remain mindful of what you are realistically able to take on as a result of your coaching.

15. Share what you are doing with your coaching

People close to you will see and feel the effect your coaching is having, either directly or indirectly. For some people this will create questions and even anxieties about the changes you are making. We would suggest that where possible you are open to others about what you are trying to do via your coaching. This will have the double benefit of including them and reaffirming your commitment to developing as a person and a leader.

A Guide to Facilitating Remote Workshops and Virtual Meetings by SessionLab
March 27, 2020
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Running online meetings and workshops is something many of us are having to do in the wake of lockdowns and social distancing.

Remote workshops are great for keeping teams connected, being productive while working from home, though they present their own challenges too. 

SessionLab’s guide on facilitating and running online workshops and meetings is full of tips on design, planning and running workshops remotely, to help you make your online sessions more effective and collaborative.
Online Workshop Templates

Getting started is easier with a template. Whether you’re running an innovation workshop or a team alignment session, we have in-depth facilitation guides to help you create an effective session. We’re developing more agenda templates for remote workshops and have just added our first two.

Guide your team through a process of reflection and ideation on next steps in a fully online setting with this one-hour remote retrospective.  Looking for a full-day online workshop to tackle a complex challenge? Use this online problem-solving workshop template to engage a remote team in identifying challenges and developing appropriate solutions in a process inspired by design thinking and growth design.
Find Effective Techniques for your Next Online Workshop

Our library of 700+ facilitation methods, exercises and games is a resource we’re proud of and continue to develop. We’ve added a section of remote-friendly methods you can use in your next online workshop or meeting. These include tips or instructions for running them in a remote setting and we’ll be adding more soon!  Have a method you’d like to contribute or add? Reply to this email – we’d love to hear from you!
Tools to Run Your Sessions Online 

As far as videoconferencing goes, we’ve asked our SessionLab customers and Zoom clearly takes the lead with superior call quality, reliability, and facilitator-friendly features such as the ability to use breakout rooms for small group discussions. But how about tools for visual collaboration? See our tips and some examples of great collaboration tools below:
Mural is an online whiteboard tool that is great for teams wanting to collaborate visually and in real-time. It features heaps of templates to get you started and great remote-friendly features such as running a voting session inside the app and inviting anonymous users and guests without having to buy a short term license. Mural starts at $12, though you can now get Mural for free for 3 months if you and your organization have been affected by the current pandemic.
Miro is another great online whiteboard that features the ability to upload images, creating notes and draw on an infinite canvas, all in real time. The app also offers a great template library to conveniently find the right structure you need for your whiteboard. You can even integrate with third party apps using Zapier to connect your various tools easily. The free version offers up to 3 boards for your team to work with. 
Stormboard is great if you’re working on idea generation, organization and prioritization and want to collaborate remotely with ease. It also has great reporting and recording features which can make sharing the notes from a meeting simple and effective across your entire organization. The free version of Stormboard offers 5 boards with maximum 5 collaborators for each.
Axis aims to digitise workshop facilitation and participation: it allows you to build up a workshop from pre-defined blocks (such as brainstorming and decision making methods) and then effectively run that workshop with remote participants. Axis is a great way to speed up and simplify the online facilitation process. Our friends at Axis are offering extended trials to the SessionLab community now (enter the code SLABFREEMONTH at checkout!)
Stormz, the online workshop delivery platform focuses on professional facilitators: you can ask participants to give their input on questions you generate in the app, generate ideas and make collective decisions directly from their laptop, tablet or mobile phones. Stormz works great in combination with Zoom or other video conferencing software and can be a very effective way of helping engage your participants online. 
Mentimeter is a great tool to help engage and energize your participants in an online or remote setting. Interacting online can be tricky to handle – Mentimeter makes this simple and easy, allowing people to log-in from their mobile devices and contribute in real-time. Using a tool like this makes it easy to get feedback from a large number of participants without getting bogged down in crosstalk and you can show the results visually too!
Career Decision-Making Workbook
February 26, 2020
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Produced by The Canadian Career Development Foundation, this workbook has pages of questionnaires, activities and templates that you may be able to use or adapt to use with your own clients.

Career Decision-Making Workbook

Creative Industries & Burberry
February 21, 2020
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Working in partnership, Burberry and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership have brought together a creative industries toolkit.

The aim of which is to equip educators with resources, inspiration, pathways, employers and ideas to inspire young people from all backgrounds to make better informed choices.

They hope you find this toolkit useful for encouraging classroom discussion, lesson planning, PHSE, pastoral care, helping your students choose their options or giving careers advice.

Click on inspire, teach or promote to access the toolkit.

The Careers Week Guide To 2020
February 18, 2020
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Have a look at the brand new NCW 2020 pre-mag.

Advance warning, it is about 8 MB so might take a minute to download.

Download Here

8 Free Career Assessment Tools to Help Clients Find Their Fit
February 10, 2020
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Whether your client is just starting out in their career, or ready to make a career change, career assessments can be a helpful tool to spark ideas and identify strengths. Here are eight free career assessments to help get you started.  

Charity Village Career Assessment Questionnaire  

This multidimensional assessment offers guiding questions for clients around job/career satisfaction, career path/options, attitude/motivation and the role of their family in career change/job search. It also offers definitions for terminology used in the assessment, which could be helpful for clients who are using it independently. 

Motivational Appraisal Personal Potential (MAPP) Career Assessment 

The MAPP test comprises 71 questions exploring likes and dislikes and is meant to be done quickly, taking approximately 22 minutes to complete. Users must register to take the free sample assessment. Paid packages are also available, which offer different assessments and career matching opportunities.  Read more

Helping Clients to KickStart Their Career
January 30, 2020
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The two activities might be of value when working with clients who need help to kickstart their careers.

CAREER MANAGEMENT – SWOT

This activity will help individuals think about their careers by doing a SWOT analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Once they are fully aware of all these influencing issues/factors they will be better equipped to develop their careers.

 CAREER MANAGEMENT QUESTIONNAIRE 

This simple, twelve-point questionnaire is designed to help individuals analyse how well they are managing their career development and identify the areas they need to work on.