Are you feeling stuck at work?

Are you feeling stuck at work?

Career development: What To Do When You Feel  Stuck!

Are you feeling stuck at work? So you took this job full of enthusiasm.  You thought it was the right job, at the right time, in the right place.  It looked interesting and you liked the people who interviewed you. They told you how the company was committed to good management and developing their people.  There seemed to be really good opportunities to advance your career. And everyone told you how lucky you were to get a job.

You’ve been there a year now! And things have not turned out as you expected. Yes, the job was interesting when you first started. There was a lot to learn. Your manager is good at her job but these days she never seems to know what is going on at the top.  Everyone’s budget has been cut. A member of your team who left to go travelling has not been replaced.  You and the rest of the team are having to work harder. Provide cover is difficult. So, there is very little possibility that you will allowed to go on that part-time training course. Even if you fund the training yourself.

Right now you are feeling stuck at work

You are feeling stuck and wonder if you made the right decision. But all those people who told you were lucky to get the job are saying you would be foolish to leave.

Sadly, you are not alone! I keep hearing this tale from clients and from people I meet in social media. There are lots of good organizations, and good managers. But right now they are not offering many career development opportunities for their staff. Training budgets were cut a long time ago cut and vacancies are being held again.

Uncertainty means people are reluctant to move on. And that means opportunities for promotion, and for moving round inside the organization, may be less.  Everyone in the public and private sectors seems to be working harder and longer.

So what can you do?

Well, first of all see this for what it is; it isn’t personal.  These tough conditions are likely to continue. But there are job opportunities out there. And job search is much better done while you are already in employment. But don’t just jump to thinking that leaving this employer is necessarily the best move. Instead, start to think creatively about where you are now and the job you do.

Are there changes you can make to improve how you and your team are working? Can you show you are improving productivity and efficiency? Can you make improving things a special project that will benefit you, as well as the company?

What about forming a learning group with your own team? How about developing an action learning set as a regular lunch time activity? Perhaps you could learn in your own time how to facilitate the set.  That way everyone will benefit.

If you are in an organization that has other people at your level, could you organise a job swap? It would give you and a colleague some wider experience.

If your manager really doesn’t know what is going on at the top, can you find out more yourself? Could you use the internet to find what is happening in the sector? What is the world outside saying about your company and its major customers?

It’s up to you in the end!

Of course it is always sensible to keep your CV up to date and keep your eyes open for other opportunities. Even though the best move is not necessarily out.  All jobs have periods when they are more or less interesting. Much of the motivation to do the work is going to need to come from within you.  What is special about what you do and how can you take pride in it? At the end of the day, you, not your employer are responsible for your career development.

Working with a career coach really can help you get passed the block. Why not take advantage of my offer of a free half hour coaching session to find out how I can help

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Get on with the interview panel

Get on with the interview panel

How to get on with the interview panel – most job searches mean you have to deal with panel interviews.  Many large employers use panel interviewing as a part of their recruitment process.  It means a number of different people can be involved in the decision-making process.  They can be from different parts of the organization with an interest in the role. This gives a range of perspectives. Job interviews conducted by a panel are seen to be fair. There are seen as valid because a number of different opinions and views are taken into account..

Usually, each panel member will take turns to ask questions about your fitness for the role; your background, experience and interests.  It can be difficult to build rapport with each panel member . And sometimes, unfortunately, there might be one panel member that you find it particularly difficult to get on with.  This can happen at an interview, just as it can in other parts of your life.

Get on with the interview panel – tips

    • Knowing who the panel members are beforehand is a great help.  If you can, research people on the internet using LinkedIn, for example!  If this is not possible, use your knowledge of the company and the position to prepare to respond to questions from different parts of the organization. These could be human resources, line management, technical and finance.
    • Your introduction is important to creating the right first impression. This is a good opportunity to connect with each panel member on a personal level before the interview questions begin. Make initial eye contact with each panel member. Try to respond warmly and with interest.

When the questions start, listen carefully to what is being asked

  • When the questions start, listen carefully to what is being asked and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Make sure you understand correctly.  It is important to answer the question that has been asked.
  • Make initial eye contact with the person who asked the question. And then include the other panel members in your answer. Scan from one face to the next, pausing briefly on each. Focus on speaking to each individual As you finish your answer, return your focus to the person who asked the interview question. Stay calm and answer each question thoroughly.

Keep it pleasant

  • If you do get into a discussion, or you are asked to consider an alternative point of view, again stay calm. Do not expect to be successful if you let anger or annoyance show. Take time to respond with a considered view. Watch your body language. You can show frustration without saying a word.
  • If there is someone on the panel that you really cannot get on with, then don’t ignore how they make you feel and why.  Is that person to be your immediate boss in the new organization, or someone further up the line to whom you will report? Think seriously about whether the role is right for you.  Do this even if you are successful and it is a generous offer. I have worked with a number of clients who sensed at interview that all was not well. They ignored those feelings, only to have regrets later.

With the right preparation and approach, I hope you will get on well with all the members of any interview panel that you meet. If you need advice, get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

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Unhappy at work

Unhappy at work

Unhappy at work – the sad fact is that very few of us are lucky enough to be unhappy at workhappy all the time at work. For some though, sadly, they are not happy for most of the time. When that happens to you, you may need to spend a little time thinking through exactly why you are unhappy. And then you  can decide best what to do about it.

Most of us have days when we get up not excited about the prospect of going to work. It might be because we know we have something ahead that is very challenging. I mean the kind of challenging that checks the box that says “this challenge is really exciting and it is motivating me to do well”. But, even when you feel confident and competent in the job, some challenges will feel daunting.

There will be some challenges where you feel you really do not have the competencies needed to do well. In those circumstances, it is wise to seek help from your line manager, a mentor or a friendly colleague. It is better to have the strength and humility to seek help than to race on towards possible failure and more unhappiness.

If your unhappy at work is a question of confidence, then again training and support are available. There are lots of coaches like me who would be very happy to work with you. Most of us will work with you as a one off to help you to prepare for a special event and we’ll certainly work with you to resolve deeper issues. Plus, you can find lots of books to help you work on strengthening your confidence.

Of course there are all kinds of unhappiness at work. Here are just to few things that can make you unhappy at work;

1. The Job Itself

a. May be over and sometimes under-demanding
b. May have turned out to require a different skill set to that advertised or it has changed over time.

2. The people

a. The person we work for may be unpleasant to the point being a bully or perhaps pleasant but just not very good at managing
b. The team we work with may be poorly led, unpleasant or simply dysfunctional in some other way for example without clear terms of reference

3. The Environment

a. The location, accommodation or commute may be unpleasant.
b. The company may be failing or in difficulties for some reason
c. The culture of the organization may be one in which we can’t feel happy, fulfilled and appreciated

What really matters when you are unhappy is to try to be very clear about the reason. Until you are clear, it is quite difficult to define your options for putting things right. Too often the first response is simply to think I just need to get out. And in the present climate, that isn’t realistic!

Never be afraid to ask for help. There are lots of us out there who be pleased to talk to you!

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Job Search: The Keys To Success

Job Search: The Keys To Success

Job search – over the last couple of years I’ve worked with a number of clients who have been very successful in their job searches.

Here is what I think the common job search factors have been.

  1. You are more likely to get a job if you have solid evidence you can do the kind of job searchwork you seek.  Don’t think you can bluff your way through in this climate. If you do get lucky and find yourself appointed you and then can’t do the work, you are likely to be sent on your way pretty quickly. This will make job search harder next time. The sad fact in the present market is that few employers are likely to give you more than induction training at best. Use the time you spend without work to refresh your knowledge and gain qualifications if you need them.
  2. Being able to build relationships pays dividends. Yes, we can talk about networking all day – I often do.  But here I’m talking about learning to build rapport and establish relationships quickly with recruiters and potential new employers. If it doesn’t come naturally then go and work on your communication and relationship building skills.
  3. Successful job seekers do their homework; they research the market and keep up to date with new developments. They know who the key players are and what the culture is like in the organisations they want to target.
  4. Be ready to prepare. Successful job seekers prepare thoroughly at each stage in the process. They leave as little as possible to chance, work on being confident and practice their presentations and their interview technique.
  5. Above all, successful job seekers work hard to keep up energy and motivation. This means looking after themselves physically with diet and exercise.  Also keeping themselves mentally alert and interested in what is going on around them. This may be tough but you need to make a commitment to staying positive despite the inevitable set-backs. The energy and positive approach that you project at interview can make a real difference to your likelihood of success. 

You can do all these things on your own.  Though, as you would expect, I think it is much easier with the support of a career coach. If there is anything I can do to help you please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

 

Re-applying for your own job

Re-applying for your own job

Re-applying for your own job – far too many organisations now are asking their Re-applying for your own jobstaff to do this  Sometimes, this is because there has been re-organisation after, say, a merger.   And quite often it seems to happen during downsizing on the pretext of re-organisation. Whatever the reason, it usually causes anger, frustration and just plain fear among employees. It is certainly not the best way to keep up morale.

If it is your job on the line, how do you go about surviving the storm?

Well, first, telling the company exactly what you think of what they are doing isn’t going to help your application. Instead, it is better to vent in private with someone who you really trust.  While at work try to stay positive to make the best of a difficult situation.

Don’t make assumptions about your value to the organization. Now is the time to prove your worth.  Don’t assume that all the good things you have contributed have been registered; you need to make sure you get them on the record.

Recognise the reality of the situation

Your job is on the line and you are in competition. Do not start to play dirty tricks. But do recognise that in this kind of climate others might feel free to do so. Keep your wits about you while still trying to be a good team player. (Nobody said this was easy).

Work on polishing up your CV/resume to show the value you have added and the contribution you have delivered. Quantify your results and include hard facts about delivery.  Make sure you show your competence and contribution fully.

Target you CV to the job as it will be, just as you would when applying from outside the organization.  If you need to offer a cover letter make sure you enthuse about future possibilities – don’t be tempted to whine.  If it is a completely new role show how your skills are transferable and say why you want that role in particular even if it is the only one available. Show how you can meet their needs.

It may be hard to do but work on your relationship with managers who are going to be part of the future organization.

At the end of the day, if you can’t come to terms with this all this,  it might be better to move on. It might be time to seek new opportunities in a new organization. But even If you decide to leave, it is still in your long-term interest to stay on good terms with your managers.

Sorry, this isn’t the pleasantest topic to think about! Some of the advice above may be uncomfortable.  You have to make your own judgement about just how important having this job is to you and how far you are prepared to go to stay around.

If you need support in this or a similar situation please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Managing Older Workers

Managing Older Workers

Why don’t you want to manage older workers?

Managing older workers! We hear a lot about the efforts required to get young people into work. And, of course, that is important. But spare a thought for those managing older workersat the other end of the age spectrum. There remain those who dismiss the suggestion of hiring at older without even thinking about why!

There may be lots of reasons given, of course, as to why older workers are not a first choice. For example, employers often quote a lack of mental flexibility and an unwillingness to learn new things. But, those reasons may not be valid for large numbers of older workers. Check out the age profile of those choosing to follow online courses provided by organisations like FutureLearn in the UK. You will be surprised how many are over 60.

Sadly, though, many of those making hiring decisions continue to believe older workers don’t perform as well as those between 25 and 35. In fact 25 to 35 appears to be the new “golden zone” for recruits. Older workers are said to demand higher pay, cost more in terms of resources, resist change and aren’t prepared to fit in with a team. As a result , carefully disguised, age discrimination is widespread.

Managing older workers: does it require a different approach?

Managing older workers does not require a hugely different approach from managing young people. But some younger managers still find the prospect daunting. So they do their best to avoid it. And, the biggest concern employers’ express about hiring older workers is that there will be conflicts when they are managed by younger supervisors. In the US, it is said that an incredible 88 percent of employers worry about hiring older workers because they fear such conflicts.

Managing someone older than you, seems to touch a very raw nerve. And there can be a high level of distrust on either side. So how can managers get the best out of their older workers?

Getting the best out of older workers!

In most circumstances, older workers are just like other workers. They are unlikely to respond well in a command and control culture. Except in an emergency,  most workers don’t respond well to being “given orders”. But, they will respond well to an intelligent and enlightened leadership style. This means communicating clearly about issues and challenges.

Older workers, like others, welcome being involved in decision making and having tasks delegated to them. Give an older worker responsibility and most will give you their all. Older worker will a wealth of experience. Why not give them the chance to share it?

Like others, they will expect you to give them recognition for what they have achieved. But why not reward the wisdom they share with you. If you give your older workers the opportunity, their work and the intellectual capital they bring, will shine for your organisation, just like the grey hair on their heads.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Job Search Strategy: Who do you want to be?

Job Search Branding: Knowing Who You Are

Job search branding is an important part of your job search strategy. Having a clear brand/identity is important in job search. Here Wendy Smith, our principal coach, provides some advice.

When looking for work, it is important to think about Job Search Brandinghow you wish to appear to potential employers. “Branding yourself” sounds crude but it is a key part of job search. You need to think about the needs of your target audience and what you want them to know about you.

What is your story?

You have a unique story to tell and that story is what makes your brand authentic. Of course others can relate to your story because it may be similar, but it is never exactly the same. Each story is unique. Focus on those things that make you unique and capitalise on them. Perhaps the particular talents and experience that got you into your most recent role are those you need to focus on. But remember, times, and employer’s needs, do change. At the end of the day though, it is your character and story that will be compelling and mark you out from others.

What do you want to be known for?

Having an answer to this question defines what your target audience can expect from your contribution. Remember, this statement is NOT your title! It is also not your personal mission or life purpose. It is a memorable one to two sentence statement that shows the employer who you are and how you will meet their needs. Keep it focused on results and make it memorable.

If you need help preparing your job search branding, please get in touch. Remember, we offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

 

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Job Search – Planning Your Day

Job Search – Planning Your Day

Wendy Smith is a Career, Life and Business Coach and Life Coach helping helping clients improve quality of life as well as being successful at work and at home.

I advise my unemployed job search clients to treat job seeking as a full time occupation. They need a job search timetable for their working day. Sometimes, this can be quite hard to come to terms with, particularly if you are in a partnership with childcare responsibilities. Being the one at home is often seen as an opportunity for you to take more responsibility for domestic chores, picking up the kids from school etc. But successful job search does require a big investment of your time.

Establish your new job search routine

If you are used to working “conventional” office hours then those are the hours I would recommend you commit to looking for work. Establish a new working routine within those hours. In broad terms you have five main tasks,

  • Making yourself a good candidate
  • Finding opportunities
  • Applying for them
  • Going through the recruitment process
  • Maintaining your confidence and self belief

Recognising these five tasks can help you to think through how to structure your time effectively.

You should, for example, spend at least part of each day checking for new vacancies. That is better done fairly early in the day. It is wise to spend at least part of the day managing your networking campaign – identifying possibilities, preparing to talk to people etc. You might want to dedicate a particular day, or days, in the week for meeting people to save on travel expenses etc.

Spend part of each day on research and learning. Read everything you can get

timetable for job search
Important but keep it flexible

your hands on about job search in the current market and what recruiters are saying on sites like LinkedIn. Not all advice will be wise, nor will it all apply to you, but, it is all worth at least scanning for new tips.

Research your sector thoroughly, the very latest developments and who the key players are. When you have a vacancy in sight, thoroughly research the organisation and their senior people.

If you have some money to invest, then think about using it to update your skills or for coaching to give you the edge in a competitive market.

Keep in mind

Remember that staying healthy and confident matters too. Take some time each day to exercise and to get some fresh air.

Work on recognising your own competence and remembering the successes you have had already. That isn’t only so that you can tell your success stories to potential employers. They are also a great boost to your self-confidence.

With commitment and organisation, your job search is far more likely to be a success.

If you need help preparing your job search strategy, please get in touch. Remember I offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search right now every success and if I can help, please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career, life and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with the life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact Wendy at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com or find out more hereWendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Low Job Search Periods

Low Job Search Periods

Job Search at Holiday Time

By  Career Coach and Life Coach►helping you find fresh perspectives on life and your career

Low Job Search Periods! Regular job hunters and those in the recruitment industry recognise two periods when there can be something of a lull in the job market. One is during the summer holiday period and the other is from the beginning of December until mid-January.

Yes, it gets tougher but this isn’t the time to take your eye off the ball. There are likely to be some opportunities around and who knows who you might meet over the Christmas period and what opportunities they may know about.

Having said that though, this might by the time to review and update your CV. Always think about what the recruiter wants to find out – and give it to them, clearly and near the beginning of your CV. Most recruiters scan CVs very quickly and what you say at the top of the first page is all important.

This might be the time as well to further explore social networking. How much do you know about using

lPhoto credit: Inmobiliaria Lares, Cangas)

Twitter and Facebook and are you fully exploiting the possibilities of LinkedIn? Advertising jobs is costly to companies, so many recruit through social media. That makes joining the big three (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) lots of sense. Make sure you keep any dodgy Facebook pictures private, though.

Why not showcase your capabilities on line as well. Now might be the time to write some guest posts. Lots of blog owners (including me) welcome a well written article at any time of the year. I’m always on the lookout for 300 to 500 words on leadership, management, job search or career development. Guest bloggers take the burden off me to produce good content several times a week.

Take part in LinkedIn discussions too. They will continue over the Christmas period. Show people just what you have to contribute.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And don’t forget about chatting to recruiters informally and keeping up to date with their companies. That is a great way to find out about jobs before anyone else. Get on Twitter or LinkedIn and connect with them; make sure you wish them the compliments of the season, too. You have nothing to lose and you may have plenty to gain.

I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search this week every success and if I can help, please get in touch.

Remember I offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Your CV Summary for Job Search

Your CV Summary for Job Search

CV summary – you would be surprised how many CVs I see that do not include a short personal profile at the top of the first page. Instead they plunge straight into the work history giving the reader not a clue about the person doing the work.These kinds of CV are much less likely to catch a recruiter/future employer’s eye.

So what should you include in your short summary?

Your personal profile should summarise your;
• Skills and qualities
• Work background and achievements
• Career aims.

It should only be a few lines and must grab the reader’s attention. Try to avoid using terms that a lot of candidates will use, such as ‘reliable’, ‘hard working’, ‘team player’, ‘good communication skills’ etc. These general terms are heard so often they don’t help an employer to build up a real picture of you.

Instead, for example, if the job involves working with people, try to highlight relevant, specific people skills such as: negotiating, dealing with demanding customers, presentation skills, resolving conflict, or showing empathy. These help the reader build up more of a picture than saying you’re a good team-worker and an effective communicator. However, be brief – you can highlight examples of your skills in later sections.

Include keywords relevant to the kind of work you seek or are applying for. (When someone uses a search engine, they type in one or more words describing what they are looking for; eg ‘Facilities Manager’ or ‘Corporate Real Estate”. These words or phrases are known as keywords.) Many recruitment companies make use of software to sift job applications based on a keyword search.

When you’re summarising your career aims, think about the employer you are sending your CV to. It will hit home with employers if your career aims sound exactly like the kind of opportunities they currently have or are likely to provide in future.

Try to relate your summary to the job description or, if you’re sending your CV on spec, what you think the employer is looking for.

I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search this week every success and if I can help, please get in touch.

Remember I offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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