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HOW TO KICKSTART YOUR CAREER

14 Mar

HOW TO KICKSTART YOUR CAREER

There’s no right or wrong way to launch the career of choice but for me the following 4 things are essential:

1. Consistency –  Looking for a job is a full time job in itself and that is how I treated it when I was employed! You cannot start looking for a job without the willingness to stay consistent. Looking once a week, or when your boss p***** you off, will not accelerate your chances of new employment.

2. Vision – Can you see where you are heading to? Do you have plan? What are your goals? I set myself a target (a realistic one) and I knew I had no choice but to get where I wanted. Along the way, the plan changed on how to reach my target by networking and learning new techniques however the goal always remained the same.

3. Y.O.U – I’m a firm believer that we are all in control of our destiny. In order for you to succeed, it takes for YOU to recognise your potential, utilise YOUR skills, enhance and engross yourself in what your passion about. My talented friend Yasmin Godo, who is motivational speaker/writer, explain this point further in her talk the TEDxYouth@Croydon event last year. Watch her talk here.

4. Attitude – Having a positive attitude really breeds positive energy. Stay focussed and upbeat. You may face frustrating/trying times but don’t ever let it bring you down as you never know what is around the corner.

 

When I finished university, I obtained a 2.1 in Quantity Surveying Consultancy, but by the time I had completed my course, I already knew the property & construction sector or QS was where my heart lay. Despite this, summer was upon me and all I was interested in was partying and going out with my friends if i’m honest. Then the realisation dawned that my money was draining away quickly on my daily activities and I needed a job. *fast forward* to 2013, my first full year in employment and I was unhappy, bored and fully dependant on my monthly income. Despite this, I had a goal, a plan and I executed it. It was a hard, long, physically and emotionally testing at times, but in the end I reached my goal and more!

The following tips are based solely on my own experience and advice from other professionals who helped me get to where I am now. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do things but by doing the following, I reached my target goal:

1. Create a winning CV

Your CV is your first point of call to amend, fix and get it to the highest standard. The truth is, your CV will never be at it’s best (literally) ever in my opinion as there is always room for change, whether it be the layout, grammar or content. Your CV/resume is a working progress, which should be tweaked and amended at any given chance, especially when applying for jobs.

Employers get a feel of who you are, what skills you have and whether you even worthy of an interview all based on 2/3 pages of your life written on a sheet of paper.  Employers and agents want to get a jist of you in literally 10 secs and will mostly hone in on your skills & employment history to decide whether they will even pick the phone to get more of a flavour about you.

There are tons of websites online which will help you with CV writing. In my opinion, you don’t need to pay for a good CV. But I do know a few people who have done this and it has benefited for them so I wouldn’t knock it completely.

Networking

To create the winning CV isn’t easy but it’s not hard either. Draft your CV and get your friends, family, colleagues….the list is ends. One of the best thing’s I did when producing my CV, was to send it to professionals who were already in the industry/role I wanted to transfer into.

This is why networking is a essential. Not only to create links with professionals but they can help you in more ways you can imagine. Whilst I was on on the PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner intensive course, I managed to network with so many individuals who I ensured all knew my story and where I was heading because let’s face it, knowing the right people can get your foot in the door much faster than sitting in front my laptop clicking ‘quick apply’. Luckily some of the professionals I networked with reviewed and amended my CV and even put me forward for roles in their companies.

 

2. Understanding what you need 

So you want to transfer your into a new role or industry? Firstly, you need to research what skills, education and experience most employers are looking for in your desired role. Do you need to do a course to enhance your skills? Do you need a degree? Do you need an internship to enhance your experience? All of these things are key to you understanding what is required and what you need to do to get noticed.

I would always assess job role specifications to see what the key skills keep reoccurring. Skills which you keep seeing in job specifications your applying are going to be ideally what will need. For me, I had the right skills but in the wrong industry. I needed to make my skills transferable and one of the first things I did was to study PRINCE2. This helped a great deal with getting agencies to even give my CV a second glance when applying for jobs.

Research, Research, RESEARCH

You need to keep update with all news and key advancements/changes happening within your chosen field. Watch the news, read journals, sign up to newsletters…simply engross yourself in all relevant information. If you walk into an interview and your able to apply further knowledge and understanding, this is going to boost your chances of securing that role. Walking into an interview and saying ‘I’m a fast learner with great customer service skills’ may semi impress your potential employer. If you were to instead say ‘I’m a fast learner with great IT skills which will be beneficial when using the application system which you’ve implemented into your company’. You get my jist….it allows you to stand out and make your answers more unique.

 

3. Recruitment agencies

Love them or hate them, most employers are using recruitment agencies to get the best candidates for their roles! I found agents didn’t really look at my CV and I was always reciting the same conversation which became annoying when your doing this 8-10+ times a day. Always find out what website they’ve found your CV – it helps you to decipher what sites your CV is bringing in the most interest.

Some agencies may want you to come into their branch and register. Others may just call you to put your CV forward for a role. Either way, when this happens always go for it. It’s always best to find out what roles the agencies specialise in and who their biggest clients are if you can.

Always keep tabs on agents you’ve made contact with and make sure they DO NOT forget you! Agents are well known for always wanting to get next best candidate so keep them on their toes, and make them believe you are worthy of holding onto. Its easy to lose track of who’s contacted you so I would suggest putting together a quick each spreadsheet which shows the: i) contact name; ii) agency name; iii) number; iv) email address; v) Role you been put forward for and date. This will help you remember where you are with applications via agencies also.

When advising an agent what your looking for, be firm but always be flexible. You don’t want to restrict yourself too much. For example, when I was looking for my new role, I had no project management skills in other industries apart from Property & Construction. This made my CV restrictive and made it hard for agencies to put me forward for roles in my desired industry. I was fortunate enough to get a role in a public sector firm doing project management, which widened my experience and skills. After I completed that temporary assignment, I was able to get more 4 job offers within a 2 week timeframe! 2 of which were relevant to my desired field/role, 2 of which were not but would have helped to broaden my skills and experience further.

Upload your CV to all recruitment agency websites, especially agencies which cater or specialise in your desired role. Job sites are also a good way of uploading your CV and making it searchable on the net. This will increase your chances of agencies and employers contacting you regarding jobs of interest.

One tip I will share is whenever you apply for role you really want via an agency, CALL UP after you’ve applied. A lot of agents will skim our CV and may just add you to the bottom of the pile. Calling up is impressive and allows you to create another contact.

 

4. Presentation

Presentation is key. When speaking and attending interviews, always conduct yourself like a professional. Be confident, but professional. You don’t need to be bold, loud and boasty. You just need to present yourself well and grab their attention. Pay attention to what your saying in the interview, don’t ramble on. Be concise and always answer questions with working examples – you’ll always score points doing this in interviews.

Most people will say that they are not confident with interviewing but in all honesty, perfecting interview skills takes time and practice. Practice at home with friends and family and always plan out answers which may be asked in the interview in advance. Employers can always tell when your not prepared or are not sure what and how to answer.

I am quite confident with interviews but everyone gets rusty after a while. My best tip is to make sure you practice. Agencies will help you with this if they secure an interview for you. Let’s be honest, they will not send you to a client if your rusty or lack confidence. It looks worse on them than you.

Using social media networks such as Youtube is always good. There are tons of videos with people providing advice on how to concur interviews.

 

5. Apply, Apply, APPLY

There’s no use doing a winning CV or creating contacts but your not applying. Finding new employment is a full time job in itself. I’m not saying you need to be cooped at home all day but you do need to invest hours into applying and searching for vacancies.

 

6. Not seeing any jobs? Not wanting to go through an agency?

Why not apply directly to your desired employer? Research companies you would like to work for and send your CV and covering letter explaining why your applying. This does work as my own brother was able to secure his role as a Project Manager by doing this. Employers find it impressive and whilst it may not always work but it’s worth doing.

Remember, utilising every avenue possible is key to accelerating your chances of employment. This may be harder to do for some industries but it’s worth always trying or even checking on the companies job portal for roles currently being advertised also.


Getting a new job is really down to you. If what your doing now isn’t working for you, change up your game. The path to kickstarting your career can be long and tiresome but its hella rewarding when you get there! Like I said in the beginning, there are so many different things you can do to accelerate yourself to reach your target but it starts with YOU!

I hope this post has been of use to you and helps you secure your dream job! If you have any questions, please visit the Contact page.

Good luck x

Leah Mai

A 24 year old London girl obsessed with fashion, beauty & all things fab!

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