Reset your job search and revitalise your CV


The start of the year always brings promises of new beginnings, either from a personal or professional stand point. If 2023 marks the start of the search for a new role – or you have been looking for a while without the success you were hoping for – then now might be a good time to revisit your CV and make sure it’s showing you in the best light.

While there is no such thing as the perfect CV, the one we tend to recommend at Career Evolution, is using the STAR approach. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action and Result – a process that is often recommended to be used to answer interview questions about past employment, but can also be easily transferred into a way of setting out your CV. Using STAR allows you to demonstrate your practical aptitude for the role, with examples of how you have surmounted challenges and approached your work in similar arenas in the past. It’s a great way to show what you are capable of and how you have used your skillset in specific situations.

Using STAR in CVs

The four-part STAR process can easily be applied to CV writing. Before you begin, look at the job description and the requirements the potential employer is looking for. Think about how well suited you are to the role and see whether your CV can be tweaked to show your skills for the role. Think too about instances in your own career where you have shined. Instances that show how you have used your key skills, intuition and experience to address challenges that would be applicable in the role you are seeking.

Then use the STAR methodology in the skills section of your CV. Choose three or four key skills that are essential to the role that you’d like to showcase and create some written responses around them in the STAR style – imagine you’re answering interview questions about yourself and write your responses down. So instead of simply listing out your skills in the workplace, you create a series of bullet points, with illustrative examples.

Demonstrating value

Many people looking for new positions find that STAR allows them to demonstrate their value in real terms, in real-life situations. It also allows you to go into a few specifics of detail, with the context of the details clearly outlined – for example, rather than simply noting ‘good team worker’ demonstrate how you work well within a team.

If you think this practical approach may be beneficial to you, have a go yourself. Choose one of your past job situations and create a STAR analysis of the salient points where you were successful in the role, following the STAR subheadings process. Candidates using the STAR method find this linear approach gives them focus and structure when pulling their CV together, to create a body of writing that both reflects their experiences but will also be attractive to potential employers.




A year to do things differently

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People often make resolutions in the New Year, but in the present economic climate of change and uncertainty, is it really worth making things harder for yourself? After the dramatic workplace shift over the last few years, this year should be all about finding balance and reinstating more time spent – and by that I mean in real life – with people. That’s one resolution we can make that will be beneficial for all.

Social medias

It’s strange that meeting people in person, either socially or professionally, became such a big deal. With all the social distancing, remote working and ‘not mixing’, the accent during the pandemic was on the solitary. But we’re not a solitary species, we’re social animals, and it doesn’t matter if it’s in work or out and about in our leisure time, we all benefit from meeting up with people in person. In this way, we shouldn’t forget the importance of the human touch and interaction.

When it comes to work, our working relationships are often forged by our interactions and personalities. We tend to gravitate to people we like, to personalities which are like ours, and this often brings the best out of both parties. You don’t have to socialise outside of work, but it helps if you mix and collaborate well within the working environment. The phrase ‘team player’ is overused these days, to the point that it’s all but obsolete. To work within a team, you’re expected to be a team player. But it actually means much more than that in person.

Interaction and creativity

If you’re a personable, confident individual, you may find it easy to communicate your ideas and have people understand them. If you’re more socially awkward and unsure of yourself, you can still be just as good at your job, but have more difficulty getting your viewpoint across. The ideal – and this works much better in person than over the internet in an email or via Zoom – is the interaction in-person working gives you. It’s much easier to articulate ideas and discussions in person. Other factors, such as tone of voice and body language come into play, which can help people relate to others much more.

So many companies have adopted a hybrid working model, or even a ‘work from home only’ model, that some of that interaction is being lost along the way. This shouldn’t be the case, especially if you work in an industry where creativity and knowledge-sharing are part of your working day. One client has said to me that this year it is his resolution to meet me in person. This may sound absurd, but given the events and changes of the last two years, is entirely believable too.

We should take these lessons on board and make sure that if possible ’in person’ is the de facto way to meet up and communicate. Let’s make 2023 a year to do things differently.


Taking the right route

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The modern workplace – and the route to it – is changing all the time. Universities are not always offering the right path (or experience) into work for young people nowadays. In-house apprenticeships and earning-while-learning are becoming increasingly more important. Some companies are adapting and doing really well at this. Others are not. Traditional routes are no longer the only option. In fact, the experience for many roles is now better learned whilst actually working.

On-the-spot experience

There’s no substitute for actually doing a job to learn about it. It’s the quickest way to find out the processes you’ll need to be a success. Also, how the business works and the mechanics of the interaction between the staff. Of course, to secure a job, you need qualifications of some form, be they degree, diploma or other qualification. But increasingly businesses are offering their own apprenticeship schemes. These will create a workforce in the business’s image, tailored to its ethos and with the right attitude in place. In this way, the company’s ethics and practices are instilled from the outset. It’s a sound concept and will pay dividends in the future, with such aspects as knowledge-sharing and mentoring key facets of any successful business.

A different era

We are now in a different era of university education to the one many of us grew up in. For many years, there was a generation of students that were awarded grants. This made it a lot easier financially to make the decision to go to university. Nowadays, the student loan system places a considerable burden on students from the moment they leave education and enter work. Even if repayment is deferred until a certain earnings threshold is reached, the debt remains as an obstacle to other financial commitments, such as a mortgage or marriage. The range of university and college courses have increased too, and with it the number of students. Universities have become a combination of places of learning and businesses that need to make a profit.

Join the skills’ set

But it’s a lack of practical experience that is driving the current jobs’ market. The skills shortage is a problem and there’s no better way to learn skills than by taking on an apprenticeship. Some companies are doing it really well, such as the large local employer Airbus at Broughton aerodrome. This aeronautical engineering company, which is a key employer in the north west of England, is offering its own degree course.

The UK government website indicates the Top 10 Apprenticeship Employers for 2022. These employer rankings are developed by the Department of Education, in partnership with High Fliers Research, which independently assess and rank the country’s top apprenticeship employers. The Top 10 are the British Army, Royal Navy, BT, Royal Air Force, Department of Work and Pensions, Clarkson Evans, Mitchells & Butlers, RSM, BAE Systems and Grant Thornton. The Top five SME Apprenticeship Employers in the UK for 2022 are Lander Tubular Products, Adopstar, Lee Marley Brickwork, Applebridge and Darke & Taylor. But some of these companies are not household names and there are some very big employers out there that could probably do more with regards to apprenticeships and training.

HR managers are having to look at different ways to recruit and bring in the next generation of talent. The most imaginative and forward-thinking will ensure their futures, probably deploying a hybrid formula of recruitment and apprenticeships. It’s a great way to harness talent and mould it into something truly successful in the workplace.

Interviews through the ages

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Like so many things to do with work and finding a new job, interviews have changed considerably over the years. This is particularly true over the last three years. Once upon a time, an interview would always have been done in person. Now that isn’t always the case. In fact, depending on the type of role you are applying for, you might find yourself undertaking a number of different types of interviews and tasks at different stages of the process.

In person interviews

In person interviews are still the most likely form an interview will take. That could be a 1-2-1 between you and your potential boss. Alternatively, it could involve a panel of interviewers, that might represent the different stakeholders of the business you are interviewing for. Where it is an in-person interview, it’s important that you know where you are going, show up on time, dressed appropriately and prepared for your interview.

Call up

These days, particularly in the early stages of an interview process, it is feasible that you will be asked for a telephone interview. While your interviewer might not be able to see you, it is still important that you are prepared for the interview. That might still mean that you are dressed for an interview, to help you be in the right mindset. Make sure you also have somewhere quiet and private to take the call, so that you are not distracted.

Zooming along

With the increased familiarity with video conferencing, your interview may well be on-line. This is particularly likely if the job role is a long way from where you are currently living, or the company’s head office is overseas. Similar to an in-person interview, it is so important to be prepared and ready for an interview. Check your IT works beforehand and the sound is clear.

Ready for your close-up?

Less likely, you might even be asked to send in a video. While this is a good way to showcase your presentation skills, it is very one-sided. Therefore, it is not something that is used with too much regularity.

Is the future of interviews AI?

Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) technology, you may soon be interviewed for that job you really want by a computer. In fact, in cases this already happens and is a preferred format for some positions as it removes all types of bias.

With a VR headset you – or rather your avatar – will soon be able to be interviewed by AI software. This could be advantageous for some people, who will like the fact that there is no human being judging their performance, while others will miss the opportunity to build rapport with their interviewer.

Be prepared

It’s important to remember whatever form your interview takes, love them or hate them, in person or on-line, some things remain constant. Interviews are your chance to impress your would-be bosses. They are also an opportunity to assess whether the company is a place you would like to work. Make sure you are prepared and ready to get the most out of your interview

Sunday scaries, Monday blues


We should all feel some kind emotion, before our return to work on a Monday morning. For many of us, it might be excitement at the start of a new working week, or seeing our colleagues again – or simply getting out of the house, after months of lockdown. But for many of us, it seems that the approaching ordeal of Monday morning encroaches on our weekends and begins to spoil the end of our Sunday.

According to recent findings, two-thirds of Britons suffer anxiety before the return to work, a condition that is sometimes called the Sunday Scaries, or Sunday Blues. We’ve probably all experienced this form of anxiety in some shape or form in certain points in our lives. Certainly, as schoolkids it’s something we can all relate too, like the end of the summer holidays. With much greater emphasis being placed on mental health issues at work and general workplace wellbeing, the government has acknowledged this by launching an ‘every mind matters’ mental health campaign to address it.

Collateral damage

Anxiety before the start of the week can cause all kinds of collateral damage, such as stress, irritability and sleeplessness. If your mood is changing, from happy enjoyment to niggly resentment, then it’s going to impact on those around you too, like the family and friends who are sharing your weekend.

To-do lists are often the cause of the great deal of the anxiety, as you know what’s lying in wait for you when Monday morning comes. Apparently, young adults are the worst affected, with 74% of employees aged 18-24 experiencing worry at the end of the weekend. This worry is thought to peak just after 5 pm on Sunday afternoons. It has been highlighted with Google data demonstrating that internet searches around sadness and anxiety spike at this time. According to wider revelations from Google Trends, online searches for anxiety have increased 170% over the past decade.

Cause and affects

Many mental health issues have arisen during the pandemic, with long periods of inactivity and enforced isolation – both from family and work – the cause of many of the problems. On the whole, people deal with and manage anxiety in their own way. Sometimes it’s a good idea to consult your GP, to see if you may need some kind of anti-anxiety medication. If work is starting to impact your home life, then you really need to address it, as it is not the kind of challenge that will resolve itself – in fact in many cases it just gets bigger and bigger.

To deflect the anxiety on Sundays, people aged 18-24 said they turned to social media, people aged 25-32 were more likely to binge-watch TV and respondents aged 33-40 were most likely to comfort eat. These are not healthy activities in themselves, but when coupled with increased anxiety they can make matters worse. One of the best antidotes to anxiety is exercise. Not only is it healthy in itself, but it also provides focus for the mind and creates a positive feeling relating to self-worth, which will banish thoughts of anxiousness.

The root of the problem

You also need to address the causes of the anxiety too. Are you worrying unrealistically, or are there tangible problems at work? Is your workload too great? Are you being bullied or marginalised by your colleagues? If there are real problems to be addressed, you may need to consider changing your role, so you don’t fill you with Sunday trepidation and allow you to look forward to Monday mornings once more.


Making the right choice

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This week I’m going to look at why an outplacement strategy is still so valuable in the current employees’-market. The current market is one that is heavily weighted in the candidates’ favour right now. But even it if is a ‘candidates’-market’, outplacement rationale can still help make the right decisions.

With the choice and breadth of roles available, it is making it easier for candidates to pick and choose which they apply for and where they would like to work – both the sector and geographically. It is important to note that it isn’t always necessary to take the first offer. If you are offered something quickly, the chances are you will be offered something else too – so don’t rush into anything.

Weigh up your options

It’s worth bearing in mind that whatever role you are pursuing, it is a good strategy to carefully audit what exactly you want out of a job. This will ensure that you find a good fit for what you are looking to get out of the role. The closer the job profile matches your requirements, the more you will get out of the role and the more you’ll enjoy your work too.

Aspects worth considering are things like work/social life balance. Employers are much more appreciative of this these days and take into account an individual’s case, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach to how, where and when employees work. Many staff will have important commitments beyond their working hours – or sometimes even within their working hours – that they will need to be able to tend to. This can be helping out with care for children or elderly family members, for example.

What best suits?

Talking to a Career Consultant can help you not to ‘jump’ too soon and stay true to your tick list of wants and needs. If there is one thing that is an absolute must, then don’t compromise, as you will only dwell on it afterwards and may view it with regret. When weighing up your options think about things like sector, function, culture, location, agility and salary. How will what you are being offered positively or negatively impact you home life? Salary is very important to everyone, but is it the only reason you work?

We all require renumeration for our efforts, but we also appreciate job fulfilment, gratification, flexibility and satisfaction. If your only concern is money above all else, then you can overlook other aspects of your ‘wants list’. If you have identified wider aspects of your role that make you happier than the salary – the nature of the work, the people you’ll be working with – then this will be less of a factor in your decision. People can be a big draw and the opportunity to work with a great team, from which you can knowledge share and collaborate with, may be a big factor in itself. It’s well worth engaging in an outplacement programme where a Consultant will be able to finely tune your requirements into something that best fits your needs.



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Welcome to the latest vlog from Career Evolution!

We are continuing to share weekly advice and updates from the industry on outplacement, career management, and coaching.

In our latest vlog, our director, Sue Thomas, rounds up some of our posts from October, including creating the right office environment, hybrid working, interviews and out and about more. There’s so much more to this platform than job searching.

Watch the video below:


Watch last month’s vlog here.

Quiet quitting – the silent enemy

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A variety of different factors – from cost-of-living uncertainty to the pandemic – have made a lot of people examine their work-life balance with forensic detail. What suits one person will not suit another, as everyone’s personal and working lives are different. One of the trends that has emerged is the concept of ‘quiet quitting’. It is associated with both work and home life, and can impact both. It is also causing problems for employers, managers and HR professionals, as this ‘silent’ change revolutionises the way people look at their careers. 

Balance or imbalance?

‘Quiet quitting’ refers to employees who elect only to work the specific hours of their contract and fulfil the remit of their roles to the letter – no more, no less. Any extra input, or rather output, from them will need to be paid for. It’s been attributed to a number of factors, such as overwork, employee burnout and mental health issues around stress and anxiety. But it is part of wider trend of people wanting to extend the flexibility and convenience of working from home, or the hybrid part-office/part-home working that many companies have adopted. Apparently, 60% of UK employees value their improved work-life balance and job flexibility over a 10% pay rise.

The lack of structure when working flexibly is being found to be detrimental to some employees though. There are factors such as not knowing when you are going to see colleagues, or when others will be in the office, which can itself cause uncertainty for staff. Some people need structure, uniformity and surety. The nine-to-five routine and ‘who is in the office when’ on any given day matters to them. Many workers now feel disengaged from the workplace, which may mean they also feel disengaged from their roles too. As a result, motivation and productivity have dropped and there has been a wholesale disengagement from working life. Some employees are not even sure of what is expected of them in work and what exactly their roles are for the company. 

The need to reengage

The drop in engagement began in the latter half of 2021 and has particularly affected younger workers. The social aspects of work – communication, chat, popping out to the shops or for lunch – have also been disrupted or supplanted altogether by working from home and the ever-changing routine of any given working week. This has led to over half the UK workforce now reportedly contributing to the quiet quitting trend.

If you don’t feel valued at work, are unsure of your role, or will only do the ‘bare minimum’ of what’s required of you, then this is partly due to poor management. Managers need to make sure their staff are aware that they are part of a wider company. They must feel supported and genuinely valued, and must be provided with a place to work where people can learn and grow, engage with other staff and collaborate to create great teams. Isolation and disengagement should never be felt by any employee and only if managers address this will ‘quiet quitters’ be encouraged to reengage once more.


Closing the skills gap

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We are living in challenging times for some sectors, with recruitment in particular a key issue. The impact of a variety of economic changes – and the changing ways in which people live, work and shop – are playing havoc with recruiters attempting to fill roles in everything from health care to leisure. Many industries are currently struggling with recruitment and the skills gap is a real issue. How is this going to be addressed and where are the skilled people needed to close these gaps going to come from?

 Changing expectations and ambitions

The skills gap occurs when there are not enough trained working professionals applying for available roles. It can be that there isn’t the same interest or demand at the moment in certain sectors, or that they are seen as being ‘boring’ or ‘obsolete’. There is also a tendency for people to gravitate now towards places that offer the opportunity to work from home, or to work a four-day week, or both. Peoples’ preferences have changed and they often desire a greater work-life balance these days. This is particularly true if they have a young family, or elderly relatives, that may require a workaround in their everyday lives. The work from home model of hybrid routines has been the ideal solution to many workers’ schedules, but has led to certain areas – social care and hospitality, to take two key examples – struggling to recruit.

 Consequences for business

Whatever the reasoning behind the shortfall, the crux of the matter is that a skills gap has serious consequential effects for businesses. For example, companies having to recruit from other areas, or pay higher wage rates, which results in a change in the business model. The advent of the national ‘living wage’ has already made many companies examine their businesses and tailored them to accommodate this. The cost-of-living crisis and rising household bills is also making people look at taking on multiple roles, across a variety of sectors, that is forcing them almost involuntarily into ‘portfolio careers’ without really realising it. It’s detrimental to businesses growth too, with the uncertainty causing less companies to take less risks. Inflation means employees’ earnings are worth less, which is driving up wages. But the lack of skills and the competition to employ the best candidates in the bet-fit roles is also leading to improved monetary packages.

 Addressing to shortfall

Part of solving the challenge of skills gaps involves the ability to steer workers towards areas where there are shortfalls. Extra training and knowledge-sharing within your company can make a big difference to your existing workforce. Often transferable skills too can be key to filling roles – many staff see themselves pigeonholed in sectors, without realising that they can diversify into different roles with the minimum of training. It’s often beneficial both for HR managers and staff to talk to Career Consultants, to identify where they might have a shortfall in staff skills and options on where the right solutions might be found.

Confidence Boost

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Even the most confident person can feel a little daunted by the prospect of a formal interview. In today’s hybrid working environment, your job interview is as likely to be carried out online, via a conference facility, as it is to be in person. Whichever way the interview is taking place, there are various things you can do to help boost your confidence and remove some of the nerves ahead of time.

Finding your own way

If your interview is in person, take the time beforehand to find out where you are going and how you are getting there. This means if you are driving, do a practice run. If you are taking public transport, make sure you know where your stop is and how to reach your destination in plenty of time. If your interview is online, make sure you have tested out your equipment in advance, particularly your camera and your microphone. Make sure you also have somewhere tidy and quiet to do the interview where you won’t be disturbed. Knowing where you are going – or how you IT works – will help calm the nerves on the day.

Be prepared

Do your research ahead of your interview. Find out what you can about the company you are interviewing with, what the job is and who your interviewers are.   I’m often asked if it’s appropriate to look at their LinkedIn profiles and I think it’s a very positive thing to do. It shows that you are taking a keen interest to find out about them.  It’s also an opportunity to see if you have any shared contacts or past experience.

Whilst you can find out a lot of company information by visiting the website you should also google whether there is anything in the press that’s current.  Websites aren’t always up-to-date. The more you know about the company and people you will be meeting, the less unknowns you will be faced with on the day. Also think about what you are going to say, how you will answer questions and what questions you want to ask in the interview too. Don’t forget, an interview is a two-way process and an opportunity for you to find out if the company is one you would like to work for.

Dress for success

Whether you interview is in person or on-line it is important to dress appropriately. While this no longer necessarily means a suit and tie, you should still be tidy and smart. If you are looking good, then you will feel better about yourself too.

Lucky charm

You might have a routine or an item that you feel brings you luck. Don’t worry if you don’t, just remember to smile, it’s the only lucky charm you really need! A well as having the necessary knowledge and being able to answer the questions in an interview, a genuine smile, and a friendly but professional approach, will all help position you as the best candidate for the role.

Interviews can be nerve wracking and feeling a little bit nervous can be a good thing, as it suggests that you are keen and interested in the role. However, the more you can do to prepare ahead of your interview, the more confident you will be on the day. Good luck!