Meg Burton
Job Search & Preparation
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Hints & Tips

Hints and Tips

Maintaining your energy during a long job search – the role of grit

With millions of job-seekers in the UK and tough economic conditions, it would be easily to get disheartened if your job search is taking longer than you’d like. There are more unemployed people than vacancies in the UK, according to the latest UK Labour Market Statistics. 

Constant rejections, being unsuccessful despite getting an interview and, worse, firing applications into an apparent black hole where you hear nothing at all, can all take their toll when you’re looking for a job.  

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Growth mindset myths – how growth mindset can be misinterpreted to hold you back

Many people are familiar with the work of Professor Carole Dweck and her concept of “growth mindset”. (Check out her Ted Talk, The power of believing that you can improve for a 10-minute summary.) 

The idea is that people who believe their talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies and input from others have a growth mindset. Research shows people with this mindset tend to achieve more than people who believe talent is innate and fixed.  

There are a range of misunderstandings and myths around growth mindset which can be misinterpreted, resulting in you holding yourself back.  

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Preparing your success stories for job interviews

With more than 0.5m university students about to head into graduate scheme recruitment processes or thinking about roles for after graduation, and college students also weighing up whether work or further study is for them, now is exactly the right time to be preparing your success stories for job interviews.

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Are your own self-limiting beliefs the reason you don’t feel psychologically safe?

You might not think that you don’t feel psychologically safe, but there are lots of ways that feeling shows up even in a job you think you’re happy in – is it your own self-limiting beliefs which drive this feeling? Here’s an example. 

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Into my second year as a member of the British Association of CV Writers – the benchmark in high-quality UK CV writing

I am delighted to renew my membership of the British Association of CV Writers for the second year.   Continue reading “Into my second year as a member of the British Association of CV Writers – the benchmark in high-quality UK CV writing”

How to get the most out of your end of year review

Annual reviews can sometimes be seen as a box-ticking exercise, a chore to be prepared for, endured and then set aside – but what should be on every employee’s mind is how to get the most out of your end of year review. 

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Giving and receiving feedback

Feedback — making it a positive experience for everyone 

Feedback is a valuable — and I would argue, essential — part of working life, but making it a positive experience for everyone takes practice.  

None of us can operate in a vacuum; feedback is the only way to discover how you are perceived by others. If we understand how others see us, we gain a vital perspective on our own performance, which can influence our learning and development and that of those around us. As I’ve previously mentioned, author Tasha Eurich’s book ‘Insight’ explains that seeking feedback is a more effective tool than self-reflection to gain insight into ourselves and improve our self-awareness. 

I’ve blogged before about the importance of organisations in developing a culture which supports positive, well-considered, regular and constructive feedback and how this can be a brilliant tool for the encouragement of an individual or team. Feedback can help identify strengths and areas of development, as well as skills and future areas of improvement.  Practical, targeted feedback can improve performance, raise awareness, build confidence and help career progression.  

Delivering feedback in a safe space that is timely, consistent and authentic creates ‘positive feedback loops’ between people, creating healthy, reciprocal relationships and opportunities for them to work towards improving and achieving.

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Kim Scott’s Radical candour model — using feedback to build great working relationships

Feedback is undeniably a vital part of managing working relationships. I spoke in my last blog about how both informal and formal feedback can be used to support the learning and development individuals within an organisation. I also discussed how difficult it can be not only to receive feedback, but also to ensure when giving it that it lands with the recipient in a supportive, helpful and constructive manner. Following on from this, I’d like to share some thoughts about how we, as leaders, can develop and enhance our skills in delivering feedback.  

Giving feedback requires an enhanced level of self-awareness and specific interpersonal skills. Traditionally, leaders have used psychological models for improving self-awareness in interpersonal communication — for example, the Johari Window model. Developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955, this model helps support a better understanding of your relationship with yourself and others, while improving the trust and insight of a group as whole.  Through highlighting issues which are known or unknown by us or by others around us, feedback can be used to gain unknown, potentially enlightening insights into one other.  

A more recent model I like to use when I’m training leaders in how to give feedback is Kim Scott’s Radical Candor. Originally published in 2017, the book describes a four-box model which helps leaders create good working relationships through feedback. 

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Creating impact in your CV and interview

Creating impact in your CV and interview  

When it comes to increasing your chances of interview success, the STAR method (sometimes referred to as CAR – Context, Action, Result) has likely crossed your path – offering a structured way to frame your answers. But there’s more to this framework than meets the eye. In this blog, we’re delving into a holistic application of the STAR method, extending its benefits from interviews to enhancing your curriculum vitae (CV).  It’s all about creating a compelling story that summarises your journey, skills and impact. 

Action as a bridge to success 

Most of your interview responses should revolve around the “A” – Action and “R” – Results. In our last blog, we focused on Action and explaining the “how.” This delved into your success stories, emphasising your role, the process you designed, and the collaborative efforts you undertook. By shedding light on your contribution, you present a well-rounded picture of your capabilities. 

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Mastering the action element of the STAR technique

Mastering the interview: Elevating the Action element of STAR 

When it comes to interview preparation, there’s a critical factor that can make or break your success – the ‘Action’ component of the STAR technique. If the mere thought of an interview triggers a flurry of butterflies in your stomach, don’t worry. This blog will arm you with the essential tools that will transform you into that standout candidate. 

The STAR technique 

Chances are, you’re familiar with the STAR technique – Situation, Task, Action, Result. However, let’s unveil a hidden gem within this methodology: the true magic resides in the “how” and “why” – the Action and Result elements of STAR. We will cover the R section in the next blog but for now, let’s focus on A for action. This is where your success story takes centre stage, where your skills and experiences shine brightly, positioning you as an exceptional candidate. 

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Personal development in a VUCA world

The term VUCA has been used for a while now to describe the modern business world.  Originally coined in the US Military to describe the uncertainty of the post 9/11 world, futurist Bob Johansen adapted the term for the business world in his 2009 book Leaders Make The Future 

There are many forces at work which lead to the instability and turbulent nature of the business world: the downturn in the economy, the Covid-19 pandemic, the current energy crisis, changes in legislation and politics, the innovations in technology, rising costs, changing customer demands and the climate crisis  – all factors that help create a VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – an ever-changing, complicated, unclear world.    Continue reading “Personal development in a VUCA world”

Getting the most out of semi-retirement

More people than ever before in the UK are making the decision to retire early. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a significant uptick in the number of 50 to 64 year olds choosing to retire – a trend which has been noted by the House of Lords, prompting a report into the subsequent effect of shortages in the labour market.   

Although state pensions cannot be taken until the age of 66 (rising to 68 depending on a person’s date of birth), private pensions can be drawn from the age of 55. However, many people choose to ‘unretire’ – to retire from their career, but not to stop working altogether. Sometimes this is a purely financially driven decision; sometimes it’s because the person wants to carry on working in some capacity for other reasons. But whatever the motivating factor, semi-retirement is a growing trend amongst the older working population – and one that requires careful thought and consideration.  

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