Forks in the road

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It’s important at key stages in any career to identify forks in the road. These are times when the paths open to you can take your career on vastly divergent routes that can affect your future in a multitude of ways. Key forks in any road usually occur in transitional periods and can be of your own making, or can be imposed on you, as is the case for many people currently. How you deal with change and make the most of these periods will be down to your own skill and dexterity. Career Evolution can equip you with the tools that will help you get the most out of the situation and steer you on the road to a successful career.

Look for opportunity

Rather than being daunted by transitional periods, see them as a time when your options open up to you. Use them as opportunities to assess your own happiness and wellbeing, and to picture what your ideal or dream job looks like. If you have been working in the same role for a lengthy period, you may be becoming frustrated by the job. This may be especially crucial if there is little room for advancement, or for your own personal development. For many people, their ideal role will be one that will give them the most gratification. It’s useful to think of periods when you felt as though your job was really making a difference, that made you proud of what you had achieved and genuinely enthusiastic in your work environment. These are aspects that you’d like to experience on a regular, day-to-day basis.

Make a change

But just because you have been working in a certain role, don’t be constrained by the parameters of that role. And don’t simply look at exact matches for your skills, with an identical ‘job title’ match to your existing one. Look at how transferable your skills are between sectors.  This is your chance to assess what things matter most to you about your job. Do you waste time on a long commute and does it eat into both your own time and your own money? Are these factors to you in choosing a job, as well as the job itself? And would you be prepared to shoulder a reduction in salary to boost benefits to you in other ways?

These are questions you need to answer honestly when you are looking at your options at any career juncture.  In such times of transition, it’s useful to consult with career experts and coaches, to receive strong and impartial advice on which path to take.

Second time around – the second interview

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Congratulations. You have been invited back for a second interview. This is excellent news, but don’t forget, there are likely to be other candidates still in the frame so there is no guarantee you will secure a job offer at the end of it. Careful preparation now is just as important as it was for the first interview. You have got your foot in the door, now you need to convince the company that you are a perfect fit for the role on offer.

First things first

Make sure you find out who will be conducting the interview. It may not be the same person you met at the first interview. It might even involve a panel interview or an introduction to other team members, including your potential line manager. If you can find out the names of your interviewers in advance, then you can do a little research on them via LinkedIn. This should inform you about their particular areas of interest and help you prepare for the kind of questions they may ask you.

Review and improve

Look back at the notes you made after your first interview. What could you have done better? What questions did you struggle to answer? Make sure you rehearse these answers again as they may well be re-visited the second time around. Go over your CV with a fine toothcomb, making sure you can talk knowledgeably about every detail on it.

Time to shine

Sell yourself and don’t hold back. Provide lots of examples of what you have accomplished in previous roles that relate to this position. This is your chance to convince everyone in the room that you are the perfect candidate for the business and the role.

Doing things differently

Whereas, prior to the pandemic you might have been offered a tour of the facility, now it’s perfectly feasible that your second interview will be carried out remotely.  This still gives you the opportunity to ask lots of questions and you should still be able to find out if the business environment is right for you.

At the end of the interview make sure you ask when they are likely to be making a decision. This gives you a timeframe of when you can realistically expect to hear back. There is always a chance you may be offered a job then and there. Don’t feel under pressure to make an instant decision. Ask for some time to consider the offer properly and let the interviewer know when you will respond.

Developing the confidence to face uncertainty

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible”: Dame Margaret Drabble

The dark, winter nights are truly upon us and we continue to face uncertainty in both our business and personal lives. However, although we cannot change the current situation, we can change the way we deal with it. Supporting your key executives to reach their full potential now, can help your business thrive in the long term.

It is particularly important, with so much of the UK workforce working from home, that managers know how to manage effectively. Micro-management must (fortunately) become a thing of the past. Leaders need to facilitate their teams to take greater ownership and responsibility for their work.

Coaching, either individually or in teams, can help provide the skill base and knowledge – and perhaps more importantly, the confidence – that will enable good managers to become great. This in turn, will help your entire teams become more productive and motivated – whether they are based from home or within the business’ premises.

As businesses continue to travel unchartered territory, having an established coaching programme in place is essential. A good programme addresses the needs of the business and the individuals involved. Get this right, and it will help everyone succeed, regardless of what happens next on the journey.

If you would like to find out more about how a coaching programme can benefit your executive team and your business, please contact Career Evolution to see how we can help you.

Be Prepared, Stay Prepared

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No one can fully predict what the future holds, and 2020 is certainly testimony to that! Despite the unforeseen challenges, you should never underestimate the power of forward planning. Many factors feed into our career progressions and several are completely out of our control. But the planning you can do is worth your time and effort, as it can pay dividends in the long run. Look at where you can make your own future steps and map out a career path that takes you to a place where you can picture yourself being successful and happy.

2020 vision

Positive forward planning is something that so many people take for granted. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but how many of us really look at our business, our staff and ourselves, and plan for the long-term. On a personal level, staff can plan ahead in terms of keeping their network of contacts up-to-date.

Knowledge is power

Networking and membership of professional bodies are both good ways of maintaining an air of preparation for the unexpected. Ensuring qualifications and work practices are as current as they can be is also key to smooth career progression. While our movements are restricted, look out for online seminars and conferences that might be relevant. Look at and plan what you need to make yourself an attractive candidate, either for new positions or promotions.  Attend networking events (online or in person), even when you don’t need to, to keep your hand in. Maintaining an updated CV is another good way to forward plan and not get left in the lurch when an appropriate resume is suddenly required. By tracking career achievements in real time, it’s much easier not to make omissions while the details are fresh in your mind.

Keep it social

If you use social media in your working life, such as LinkedIn, be consistent in your ‘message’ across all platforms. This will make sure you have one ‘online persona’, not several outdated ones, floating around the ether. When planning out your career path, keeping alert is a vital part of the process. Look out for job opportunities and seek out as many new experiences and relevant contacts as possible. Absorb as much experience and knowledge, and hone and practice interview techniques too. Be ready for change, with a multitude of hypothetical scenarios – if this happens, then do that. All these aspects of your planning and self-scrutiny will enable you to better prepare you for transition and make sure you have a clear strategy for career advancement.