Note to self – you’re a success


In the next few weeks, our new Career Evolution A5 notebooks are being sent out to all our new clients. We have always found it useful to have a notebook on hand, that is solely devoted to a single subject – your career progression and all that relates to it. By having all that information in one place, you can refer to it easily.  Hopefully the mere presence of the notebook will encourage our clients to make notes, which can be retained and reread for future reference. If you encounter a challenge in your career that you have faced before, perhaps you have made notes and commented on it in the past. This accumulated knowledge will end up being invaluable to you in the long-term.

The write stuff

With so much work done these days on computers, phones and digitally, it’s rare and refreshing for some people to put pen to paper. In fact, when it comes to having to write notes out longhand, it’s almost become a lost art, so used have we become to typing and keying in words. For some, indeed most these days, it’s become complete second nature to type rather than write – and the thought process linked to writing, to being creative, is entirely enmeshed in the typing process. But it’s also important to retain skills like writing by hand. If you write for a living, you probably use a mixture of both. It’s easier to take notes longhand on a notepad when you’re interviewing someone over the phone, for example – most people type two-handed, but write with only one.

When it comes to devoting time to writing for yourself, the act of writing makes you think slightly differently to someone typing. Putting pen to paper gives you more time to compose, to think about what you want to say, as ink isn’t as easy to erase as the delete button a keyboard. Digital text documents can be updated to reflect today, but earlier drafts – which may contain an occasional nugget of observation – are lost forever. Not so with pen and ink.

When writing longhand, you may want to draft it out first. But if you’re jotting down thoughts and observations in a notebook, you also tend to go with your gut feelings – and often this results in more honesty. It doesn’t matter if there’s crossings out and scribbles, it’s for your own use and should be treated as such, not something to be published or seen by others.

Duly noted

In our Career Evolution notebooks, you should take notes during your job search and subsequently when you are in your new role. You can keep notes on where you’ve been successful and include positives about the role, but also be honest and comment on possible negatives too. In this way you can keep making a note of your successes, achievements and experiences. It’s not so much diarising your career, but it is worth it, from time to time, to just stop and look at where you are and how you are feeling about your work. Like a diary though, it’s private, so you it should be a true reflection of you and your career path.

It’s also useful to start using the notebook when you are at the beginning of a new role, or even just in appraisals and conversations with your manager. Listing out what you’d like to discuss in a review can form part of your groundwork for an appraisal meeting, and the outcomes can be duly noted alongside your preparation – with ideally some of your ambitions countered with some constructive results. If you like, you can divide the notebook into subsections relating to different aspects of your career, such as CV updates, interview techniques, ambitions, advice – in much the same way as our own Career Evolution notebooks.

If you are a new Career Evolution client, look out for your notebooks arriving soon. If you are one of our valued current or past clients and would like a notebook too, please contact Sue Thomas via email, Twitter or LinkedIn with your address details and we will send one out to you. Hopefully you’ll have some positive observations and thoughts to write down, when you put pen to paper. Happy scribbling!

Your trusted colleague

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Company changes and restructuring can sometimes lead to senior executives being offered outplacement support to help them recognise what they want next out of their career. No matter how senior a person is, it’s important to remember that everyone needs someone to hold them to account. Outplacement is much more than just ensuring your CV and interview skills are up to scratch.  Outplacement specialists like Career Evolution actually take the time to match you with a Consultant that not only has the necessary skills and experience to help you, but also has the right chemistry to work with you and get the best out of you too.

Knowing me, knowing you

Our expert Consultants have many years’ experience of all kinds of outplacement support and are also able to look at things from a holistic viewpoint, tailoring the service they provide to meet your individual requirements. We can provide the ongoing support and challenge to senior people, who are going through outplacement. In fact, clients in the past have described us as their ‘trusted colleague.’ Someone that ‘gets it’ and isn’t wary of holding them to account – in a positive way of course.

The independent nature of using an outplacement Consultant not only provides a fresh perspective, but it also means you are working with someone that know about you and understands what you are trying to achieve.

An independent eye

There is a natural assumption that if you are operating successfully in a senior role, then it stands to reason that your CV and interview skills will be equally impressive. However, all too often, this really isn’t the case.  In all likelihood, if you have been in your role for some time, then your CV may be out-of-date in terms of content, layout and approach. Reorganising your CV to adequately highlight your achievements is imperative, and our Consultants can help you to create an up-to-date CV that will be attractive to prospective employers. Sharpening your interview skills is also time very well spent. Your Consultant will also ensure that you are leveraging your network – both in person and online – and will help you make the most of your LinkedIn profile too.

Managing the marketplace

If we assume that CV and interview skills are sorted, managers might still be out of touch of what the marketplace is actually looking for. Being able to identify opportunities and demonstrate how a person can fit the criteria to find their perfect job is one of the most important roles an outplacement advisor can fulfil. When it comes to periods of transition, having a Consultant that you trust is crucial to ensuring your next step is the right one.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.

Is working from home (WFH) working for you?

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Over the last 18 months the subject of working from home (WFH) has been discussed in detail.  Many companies are considering the future options of having a remote workforce or embracing a hybrid working model that gives people the flexibility to work remotely or in the office depending on personal and business pressures or preferences. However, this type of working does not suit everyone, and it is important to remember the needs of your workforce are as diverse as the people themselves.

Space to work

While many people have enjoyed the reduced commute, the flexibility and maybe even the novelty of WFH, others have struggled with this way of working for a myriad of reasons.  These range from the straightforward challenges of a home environment not suited to work – lack of space, too many people or too much noise – through to the more complex issues around loneliness, lack of motivation or missing the benefits of socialisation and collaboration that the office environment can offer.

Energy levels

Some extraverts have also found the potential isolation of WFH challenging.  In general terms, extroverts gain their energy from being around other people, and where this has not been possible – and not been replaced properly with virtual interaction – have missed being around colleagues and clients perhaps even more keenly than introverts, who recharge through time alone. That being said, introverts too still need social interaction.

Collaboration is key

Some roles rely on collaboration, and while the virtual platforms that have come to the fore during this period have admirably filled much of the gap being unable to meet in person has left, they don’t necessarily bridge the more informal collaboration that comes from being around people physically in the working day. Other roles, particularly some sales, business development or consultancy-type roles have had to change beyond recognition to work around social restrictions. Whereas before the pandemic, these people spent the majority of their time travelling and meeting people in person, the focus of the role has had to change to account for the restrictions in place.

Moving forward

Career Evolution has always been a very ‘in-person’ business, and I have talked previously about how the pandemic has changed the way we work and will continue to do so in the future. Our personal and professional relationships are still at the heart of everything we do, but we have discovered that we can develop these to a whole new level by combining our virtual and physical approach. However, as things reopen and some semblance of normality starts to return, we have a golden opportunity to change the landscape of the working environment for good. I think it’s vital that employees and employers use this opportunity to find the most productive way of working for them.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.

Outplacement companies – finding the perfect match

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Outplacement companies, like any business, come in all shapes and sizes. Some specialise in certain sectors, while others are able to offer a broad service that can cater to most businesses’ needs. An established outplacement company will have built up a great deal of experience and knowledge of a wide spectrum of sectors and how to approach each one. But selecting the outplacement company that is right for your needs is one of the challenges facing HR professionals from the outset. You don’t want to find yourself wasting time and money on a Consultant and process that benefits no one, so choosing one that is a good match is absolutely crucial.

Planning ahead

Any outplacement company which is engaged to provide support for individuals within your business should be able to allow a Consultant to spend some time with them, so they can get to know each other and discuss a tailored approach.

If you find that the relationship will work, outplacement programmes have a variety of collateral benefits that are part of the discussion and coaching process. For example, if your outplacement candidate is looking at where they are currently with their career and where they would like to be, it goes without saying that they will be helped to assess their options and build and strengthen their CV and LinkedIn profile. They will also be given the opportunity to practice and hone their interview skills.  It’s also critical that the Consultant explores other avenues including self-employment, contracting, interim and perhaps Non-Executive Directorships. Strategy and review is a vital ongoing component to ensure the individual keeps on track and feels supported.

How to get on

What will become quickly apparent is how important that relationship with the Consultant is. Candidates must get on well with their Consultant on a personal level as well as a professional level to get the most out of it. As the HR professional, it’s also important that your point of contact at the outplacement company has spent time with you too, to ensure you not only know the full scope of the service, but also that your employees are engaging in the process.

At Career Evolution, we have always worked on a holistic basis, to help support clients, and ensure that our outplacement candidate not only get the right job, but also one that will suit their preferred lifestyle. Never has this been more important than in the past 15 months, with so much of our lives that have been out of our control. This uncertain period has changed many people’s expectations of work-life balance and also what they hope to fulfil in their career.

An extra mile

When asked about their experiences of the last year or so, and the positive or a negative impact that the pandemic has had, there is no ‘one’ answer to this question. The impact of the pandemic will continue to feed into candidates’ moods and also their sense of achievement and capability for some time to come. You need to choose a Consultant that has a considered, empathetic approach. Understanding and ‘reading’ people’s moods through their words and actions is an important part of guiding them on their career path. Going that extra mile is part of what we’ve always done at Career Evolution and the value of it has been magnified since March 2020. At no time has this greater care and attention, the personal touch, been more relevant and needed than during a pandemic.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.