Volunteering for the career of your dreams

When we’re working hard at work and at home and trying to make time for our loved ones and ourselves, it can be easy to think there’s no time for anything else, but what if something else could fast track your career and help you feel more satisfied and balanced in every aspect of your life?

I’m talking, of course, about volunteering. Continue reading “Volunteering for the career of your dreams”

Does your future job even exist?

Researchers estimate that 85% of the jobs available in 2030 don’t yet exist. With the jobs market changing so rapidly, having your heart set on a particular job could close off paths that could be equally or even more rewarding.

But what can you do about making sure you’re in prime position for a job that doesn’t even exist yet?

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What’s an agile career path? And how can you get one?

Long ago, in days of yore, a young dreamer would find a trade, train with an experienced practitioner and see out their days plying that trade near and yon.

Nowadays, the average UK worker changes job every five years and the idea of a “job for life” is pretty much dead. And since we no longer have our employers providing definitive career paths for us, we are far more responsible for our career success than ever before.

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Time to take control of your imposter

If you’ve ever heard that little voice inside your head saying you can’t do something, aren’t good enough or there’s someone better than you, there’s a good chance you’re suffering from imposter syndrome.

The good news is, you’re in excellent company. Some very familiar faces have admitted to the fear of being “found out”, not least of all Maya Angelou. Her career spanned 50 years, winning critical acclaim and legions of fans. She was awarded multiple honorary degrees and industry awards but still felt “Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.”

Other well-known individuals battling with their imposters include Tom Hanks, national treasure, Emma Watson, billionaire business person, Sheryl Sandberg and award winning writer, Neil Gaiman.

As the name suggests, imposter syndrome is both the feeling you are an imposter in your own life – that your successes are merely a matter of good fortune rather than the result of your skills and efforts – but also that there is an imposter sitting on your shoulder telling you you’re not good enough. For many people, imposter syndrome can be the single biggest barrier to success, both in life and in business.

Or, as Emma Watson put it: “It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going ‘Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved. I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am and what everyone’s expectations of me are’.”

So, could you be suffering from imposter syndrome?

  • I don’t believe I’m good enough
  • I feel as though I’m faking my abilities and am afraid of being found out
  • When good things happen, I put them down to good luck
  • I don’t put myself forward for new opportunities in case someone discovers I’m not good enough
  • I’m constantly comparing myself with others

Sound familiar? If they do, now is the time to take control of your imposter and manage it. Here’s how:

  1. Set your own success criteria. Tempting as it can be to compare yourself to others, don’t. So often I hear people comparing what they have in their life, where they are in life/ work to others, yet it’s a fruitless activity as no-one else ever has the same set of circumstances as you do. The only time it’s useful to look at someone else is to inspire you. Instead focus on figuring out what success looks like and means for you and what you need to do to achieve it.
  2. Challenge the negative self-talk. It’s so typical to analyse when something goes wrong but to just move on when something goes right. Flip that around, take the time to savour the good and bask in your successes to provide that inner critic with lots of positive examples. Check out Rick Hanson’s talk on Savouring the Good. He describes negative self-talk as like Velcro, sticking around, while positive self-talk is like Teflon, slipping off. Make your positive self-talk more Velcro.
  3. Get regular 360 feedback to check how people’s perceptions of you compare to your own. Author Tash Eurich in her book Insight explains that we are not great judges of ourselves and how by seeking feedback helps us to check out self- image with how others see us helping us to gain insight into ourselves and improve our self-awareness.
  4. Focus on the facts, not the feelings. Often our imposter is triggered by emotions so by focusing on facts you are able to ensure a more balanced way of looking at a situation. Did you meet your targets? Did you get good feedback? Did you achieve the objectives? Well done, you aced it. It wasn’t just good luck, you weren’t faking it. You did it!
  5. Ask yourself what the benefit is – ask yourself what the benefit of thinking/ feeling like this is – so often there is no benefit but we let our imposter in. When we do this it can undermine us, bring down our self-confidence and belief and deter us from achieving what we want. Don’t ignore it, acknowledge it but then don’t let it take control of you.

Next time your imposter appears and starts bringing you down. Check in with the language you’re using about yourself. We’re often our own worst critics, but we also have the power to be kind to ourselves and give ourselves the break we need.

And if you need a quick fix, I recommend power posing. Amy Cuddy gives a great Ted Talk on how your body language may shape who we are. Taking on a more powerful body shape really can change how positive and confident we feel and challenge that imposter so it doesn’t hold us back from doing things outside our comfort zones.

Do you know your imposter? How do you control yours? Share your tips with me here.

Don’t let a bad boss bring you down

I think most of us have probably had a bad boss at one time or another. Mercifully, most of us won’t have had to deal with Harvey Weinstein levels of bad boss-ness, but we don’t have to be getting groped at work for our managers to make us feel worthless, stressed out or to generally suck the fun out of work.

Continue reading “Don’t let a bad boss bring you down”

Supporting your teen with their personal statement for uni

At this time of year, a large number of teens (and their parents!) are travelling the country visiting universities and thinking about their options for courses and locations.

A big challenge for many young people is how to stand out with a personal statement which truly represents them and gives the universities a reason to consider their application seriously. As a parent it can be stressful when trying to help, so here is my guidance to help you support your son/daughter.

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Using personal branding to give you the edge in your job search

Many job hunters don’t think of themselves as a brand, simply a person with a bundle of skills and experience to offer. But you could be selling yourself short if you don’t.

If you have ever run a business you’ll know that reputation is everything. But your reputation is more than your logo, your funky website or any of the other things that spring to mind when you think of the word brand, it’s as Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon says: “Personal brand is what people say about you when you aren’t in the room.”

Continue reading “Using personal branding to give you the edge in your job search”

Six ways to beat return-to-work demons

Having a career break – whether because of maternity leave, caring for someone, going travelling or ill-health – can result in a serious loss of confidence when you start to think about your return to work.

This feeling is the same regardless of whether you’re returning to the same place or starting somewhere new. You haven’t lost any of your skills, but perhaps they are a bit rusty, or (if you’ve had a long break) your industry has moved on and you feel like you’ve missed some of the more recent developments.

Maybe you want to start a whole new career, having had time to reflect on what you’d like to do. So how do you beat those self-doubt demons and ease yourself back into your return to work with confidence? Here are my top tips.

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How to impress a robot – the new kind of job interview style

Recruiting is time-hungry work and finding ways to slim down the process while still getting the right people into jobs is the Holy Grail for HR people.

For candidates this has created quite a lot of changes in the recruitment and job interview process. Recently I’ve heard many people talking about recorded video interviews becoming used more often. This technique takes advantage of improvements in technology and provides a more cost and time effective way to screen applicants for job roles.

So what do you need to do to prepare for a video interview? When would you expect one and how can you perform at your best? Here’s all you need to know.


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Three reasons to take a personality test to help you get a new job

The internet is filled with personality tests, but is there any benefit in taking one to help in the search for your next job? And if there is, which ones should you do?

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Why knowing the difference between responsibility and achievement matters on your CV

As a professional career coach I see – and write – many CV s and you won’t be surprised to read that the standard of them is hugely variable. But one of the most common mistakes – and one that can be the most damaging – is people who only list their responsibilities, rather than their achievements.

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Stop the job-hunting rumours: use LinkedIn all year round

With LinkedIn user numbers close to reaching 500 million worldwide, it always surprises me that people think if they are active on the platform their boss will think they are looking for a new job.

If that’s your assumption, here are my top five tips for using LinkedIn regularly without your boss being suspicious (whether you’re looking for a new job or not!).

Continue reading “Stop the job-hunting rumours: use LinkedIn all year round”