Achieving Your Career Goalssample


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Achieving Your Career Goalssample

  1. 1. AchievingYour Career Goals Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 1
  2. 2. Achieving your career goals1. Introduction – Why we need to manage our careers Today’s organisations are placing even more importance on the relationship between themselves and their employees. Attracting the very best employees who have real commitment and dedication to the organisation is crucial to their success. This is called the psychological contract and embodies more than just the scope of activities that the employee is expected to carry out, in exchange for the remuneration offered by the employer. It encompasses what the organisation expects the values, commitment and performance of the employee to be as the company evolves and also how it intends to stimulate and reward its employees. Therefore, it is vital that workers expect things to keep changing and are well able to adapt to those changes quickly. So whether you are looking for a change of career within your current employment, or are looking for opportunities externally, it is important for you to start the process by getting to know who you are, through a stock take of your own values, strengths, achievements, skills, and what has influenced your life’s journey so far. That way you are more likely to know for sure what you want from your career and what you have to offer a prospective employer or give to a new role within your existing organisation. 2. Key stages to successful career management Try to approach career management like you would when buying a car or a house etc. In fact the investment you make in managing your career will have a much greater impact on you and your family than purchasing any of these items, no matter how expensive they are at the time. You wouldn’t buy a car without first considering what sort of car you want or need; what it will cost you to run over time and its likely depreciation. Neither would you buy a house without first considering what commitment it will take to meet the payments, how much it will cost to heat and light and whether it is a good long-term investment. So preparation is everything. There will always be the unexpected things that happen, but most of the time researching carefully will help us to go into such a contract with our eyes wide open. So here is a checklist that will help you manage your career. Carry out a personal stock take This will help you to identify what you have to offer a potential employer Identify and refine your career objective This will help you to understand what sort of career you really want Produce a self-advertisement This will help you to crystallise your optimal skills and competencies Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 2
  3. 3. Draft a self-marketing strategy This will help you to plan your campaign Establish a strong network of contacts This will provide you with a strong supportive base and a stepping-stone from which to launch your career offensive Research and approach prospective employers This will help you to know your market and gauge any competition Be persistent This will encourage you not to give up when the going gets touch Prepare for interview and negotiation This will help you to stand head and shoulders above your competitors and secure the best deal for yourself and your new employer.3. Getting to know who you are Your journey so far Before you begin to take stock of what you want out of your career and what you have to offer a prospective employer, you should spend some time considering what makes you the person you are. Let’s consider what have been the key stages of your life’s journey to date and the things that have impacted on you and driven you to be the person you are. This will have begun in childhood, especially through your formative years. Remember, these things may have had a positive or negative impact on you. So try to list the key stages in your life: Key stages in my life: E.g. early family life, school, university, relationships, achievements, ambition etc Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 3
  4. 4. Key stage impact Thinking about those key stages in your life in more detail, and what you have gained from them, which of them do you think has had the greatest positive impact on your life? (It’s worth remembering that some of the things that had a negative impact on us at one time may have equipped us better for the future and as a result now has a positive impact on our life.) Key stage that had a positive impact Key stage that had a negative impact at the time but has a positive impact now4. Carrying out a personal stock take Everything that has happened to you in your life, and in your career to date, will have equipped you with a unique set of skills and talents. Your hobbies and interests will also have contributed to this unique set of tools that you have at your disposal. Knowing exactly what these are enables you to understand why you have the career objectives you have and whether or not you can realistically achieve them. So let’s start the stock take by looking at your strengths: Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 4
  5. 5. StrengthsYour strengths are usually a combination of whatyou do well and what you are interested in andenjoy, i.e. your abilities and interests. Thecombination of these two provides you with yourUnique Selling Points or USPs. All successfulproducts coming to the market place have theseUSPs and are crucial to know if we intend tomarket ourselves. Where our abilities andinterests cross over are our key strengths.Complete the following exercise by inserting a cross in the Interest column if youreally enjoy the activity and one in the Ability column if you regard it as one ofyour strongest abilities. Interest Activity Ability Problem solving Budgeting Planning Decision making Leadership Team working Installing Operating Innovation Empathy Listening Mentoring Negotiating Written presentation Oral presentation Flexibility Project management Analysis InterpretationNow take a look at your three top scores. What are they? These are your primaryskills and strengths.1..................................................................................................................................2..................................................................................................................................3................................................................................................................................. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 5
  6. 6. Transferable skills and strengthsMany of the skills and strengths you have listed above are transferrable from oneemployer to another. In order to really appreciate this you need to take each ofthese skills and strengths and identify why you feel successful in this area.For instance, you may have ticked Oral Presentation in the above list. If you havethen try to think of all the occasions when you have given an oral presentation,which went well. What facts were you presenting, who was your audience, whatpreparations did you make, what if any technology did you use? How did youknow it was successful, in other words what did it result in?You will soon realise that you have more strengths and skills than you firstthought. You may have had to research your facts before the presentation andformulated them into a visual presentation. Did you anticipate what your audienceneeded to know and be prepared for questions afterwards? Did you communicatewell, so that your audience could hear you clearly? Did you listen carefully to thequestions asked afterwards so that you could answer them succinctly?So, therefore, you have more than just oral communication/presentation skills.You have research skills, written skills, listening skills, planning skills, and if youhave had to work with others to prepare the presentation, then team working skillstoo! These are your sub primary skills and strengths.Let’s return then to your three top primary skills and strengths. Take each of themin turn and identify examples that demonstrate how you have used themsuccessfully in the past. Then consider each of these examples and identify subprimary skills that enabled you to achieve that success. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 6
  7. 7. Primary skill and 1. 2. 3. strength and how I have used it in the past Sub primary skills and a) a) a) strengths that enabled me to succeed b) b) b) c) c) c) d) d) d)When considering new employment opportunities you can match the requirements ofthat job against your inventory of transferrable primary and sub primary skills andstrengths listed above. It is worth remembering that some of your key strengths willnot have come from employment at all, but from life itself! Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 7
  8. 8. AchievementsBy looking at the occasions when you put yourprimary skills and strengths into practice youwere able to identify a whole lot more subprimary skills and strengths that enabled youto achieve that success. So let’s take a look atyour major achievements, not only in your careerto date, but also in your life generally. But beforewe do, we have to understand exactly what anachievement is. An achievement is evidence of your effectiveness. It is a tangibleoutcome. It is something that started with a challenge or problem to solve, and thenrequired you to take various actions or steps, in order to receive the result or benefit.Now consider three of your greatest achievements to date:What was theChallenge/problem?What Action/stepsdid you take?What were theResults/benefits?By using the same method as you did to identify your sub primary skills andstrengths, now look at your major achievements above and list all the primary and subprimary skills and strengths you put into practice to achieve these successes. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 8
  9. 9. List of all my primary and sub primary skills and strengthsValuesAs well as your primary and sub primary skills, strengths and achievements, there isthe important issue of your values to consider. So what are values? Well values areabout the things we regard as precious or guiding principles. For instance, they couldbe our beliefs, our integrity or the standards that we live our lives by or what weregard as vital to have. They are the things that make us feel uncomfortable if they arecompromised. Reviewing your values is a good exercise to carry out at various stagesof your life, as they may change and develop as you mature or your circumstancesalter and your experience grows. So let’s consider what they are now, whether theyare being met in your present job and whether or not they should influence you inyour choice of a career/job in the future. Here are some examples to get you started. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 9
  10. 10. Examples of valuesFriendships Integrity LifestyleCompetition Morality HonestyCreativity Knowledge TruthfulnessExcitement Decision-making AccuracyAuthority Travel Supporting othersFreedom Profit and gain GlobalSecurity Team working Fast-movingRisk Working under pressure Getting along with the bossStability Community Work/life balanceRecognition Independence LoyaltyNow list your values:Value Impact on it in your Must be congruent to current job – positive or future career/job negative Yes/No Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 10
  11. 11. Now that you have articulated your values, you should be able to see how identifyinga career or job that is congruent to them, and your primary and sub primary skills, willlead to greater job satisfaction. You will feel good about yourself and yourachievements, which in turn will make you better and more confident at your job.Comfort zonesFinally, before we finish our personal stock take we need to spend some timeconsidering our comfort zones. These are the zones in which we live and work whichare the most familiar to us. Their familiarity provides us with a certain degree ofsecurity and comfort. Unfortunately though comfort zones can often stifle ourcreativity and bring about the onset of boredom. How many times have you beenchallenged out of your comfort zone only to find that the general unease you felt atfirst was completely superseded by a real sense of achievement and growth when yousuccessfully rose to the challenge? Fear of change is mainly about moving intounfamiliar territory. The more we allow ourselves to move out of our comfort zones,the more likely we are to react positively to the stimulus of change and benefit fromthe new skills and experiences we pick up on the way.Try to imagine coming out of your comfort zone likemoving house and living in a new area. Everythingand everybody look strange and unfamiliar. Thejourney to work, the trip to the local shops, yourneighbours, the way your furniture looks in yournew home all seems strange and incoherent. But intime, these will be as familiar to you and yourcurrent situation is now. It just takes TIME! Thinkfor a moment about when you were a child. Youmay not remember your first step, but that musthave been very scary for you. You may have fallenover many times before you managed to walkunaided, but you did it! Every one of us has had towander out of our comfort zone at some stage in ourlife in order for us to be the person we are today, so don’t be afraid of coming out!However, here we must sound a note of caution.All of us have boundaries beyond which weCANNOT or WILL NOT go under anycircumstances. For instance, those things thatwe say we wouldn’t do even if someone offersus a million pounds! Everyone has these, nomatter what they say. Knowing what they arewill help you to gauge how far you’re willingto go into unknown territory. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 11
  12. 12. Comfort zones Boundary Unfamiliar territory Comfort zone No man’s landPersonal Mission StatementHaving analysed your primary and sub primary skills, your achievements and values,and your comfort zones and boundaries, it’s time to draft a Personal MissionStatement. Having a Personal Mission Statement will provide you with a “context”within which you can assess future career and job opportunities.This statement will encapsulate what you want, or want to achieve, out of life what your values are what you are able and willing to offer how far you are willing to go to get what you wantHere are a few examples to get you started:I want to live my life serving others - in the community, within my family and mycircle of friends - by offering support, advice, a listening ear, in order to make apositive difference to those around me.I want the challenge and stimulus of a changing environment, where creativity isencouraged and a degree of risk provides excitement, and a sense of realachievement.I want to achieve a real work/life balance, where I ensure my own well-being andrespect the well-being of those around me. I will bring a sense of honesty andintegrity and high standards to my relationships with others and will challenge myselfto push the boundaries of my capabilities and encourage others to do the same. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 12
  13. 13. My Personal Mission StatementPersonal advertHave you ever been to a party and someone asks you what you do for a living? Didyou find it difficult to describe what you do succinctly and in an interesting way?Well let’s try and draft a statement that tells someone about you.This “personal advert” needs to contain the following facts: who you are what your key strengths are what your primary skills are how you are able to apply them to your current job or role how a recent achievement has made you feel what you want to do next.Write it out several times until it reads smoothly and then LEARN IT BY HEART!The more you practice it the easier it will become. It’s worth remembering that firstimpressions are powerful and last only seconds, so keep it short and to the point.Practice saying it in front of a mirror so you have some idea how the way you moveyour head and your eyes affects your delivery. This will be particularly importantwhen you are invited to attend a job interview. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 13
  14. 14. My personal advert5. Taking a look around you Changes in work patterns and careers In the past organisations used to be ordered in hierarchies or vertical structures, where jobs had very specific responsibilities within limited areas. Careers were well defined with clear progression paths. Workers didn’t have to like their job, just to do it. Managers told you what to do, and if you did it well, you could expect a job for life. Now organisations have flatter structures. Employees usually work as part of a team, but are expected to carry out multiple tasks. Career moves within an organisation tend to be diagonal or horizontal and workers are expected to show their value to the organisation. Today’s managers support and empower workers rather than tell them exactly how to do their jobs. In most cases though, employees are left to manage their own careers. In fact nowadays, most people can expect to have more than one change of career during their working life. But what will happen to work and careers in the 21st Century? How do we expect things to develop? Well, continuing globalisation and greater technological change will play a big part in the future of employment. More importance will be placed on interpersonal relationships within companies as their span continents and cultures. Increasingly, jobs will require creativity and independence, as more importance is placed on achievement of goals and objectives across disparate locations. With the rising cost of education, more people will have to enter employment earlier as a means of funding their education, and with people living longer, employees are likely to have to work well beyond what is the normal retirement age now. Outsourcing certain activities that are non-core is likely to continue, particularly if there is a real financial benefit for doing so. Many people working for an organisation could find themselves dispersed and having to manage their own work patterns, perhaps working from home. There is likely to be a rise in those opting for self-employment and as customer expectations rise, along with competition, much more importance will be placed on achieving, managing and exceeding customer expectations. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 14
  15. 15. How that change affects usRemember what we heard earlier about theimportance of the psychological contract?Employers today expect more from us interms of our commitment to the cultureof the company and to respond rapidly toits ever-evolving needs. In exchange forthat they provide us with personal develop-ment training that equips us with the skills toreach our full potential. It’s not necessarilythat we have to work harder, but SMARTER.Take every opportunity you can to invest inyour own personal development. This willbroaden your skills base and make you moremarketable. As we learned earlier, most skills are transferable from oneemployer to another.Developing a personal networkManaging your career will, at times, be a frustrating process. Things won’talways work to plan within the timescales you set yourself. So it’s importantto anticipate this before hand by preparing for yourself a personal supportnetwork. Think of this like a safety net that is there to support you if you fall.There will be times along the way when your confidence will feel a littlebattered and bruised. Your personal network is there to help you to bounceback and keep the momentum going. Not only does it do that but it alsoprovides you with a whole host of contacts you would not have had if you hadgone it alone.So who should we include in our personalnetwork? Well there are the MOVERS andSHAKERS. These are the people withwhom you may have had contact in yourprevious or current work, and with whomyou have kept in touch and who know themarket sector you are targeting. They arepeople who are at the leading edge andwho know which direction the market isgoing. They are influential and respectedin their field of expertise. If you find itdifficult to identify such contacts directly, then you can establish a contactthrough someone else, e.g. “a friend of a friend”. The second group are theSMOOTHERS and SOOTHERS. These people may be nearer to home andare more personal or intimate friends that provide empathy and support whenyou need it most. You are not in competition with them and they givegenerously of their time and support without expecting recompense.There are, however, some golden rules to bear in mind in your relationshipwith your personal network. Always treat your Movers and Shakers with Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 15
  16. 16. professional courtesy and respect. Never offload your personal feelings onthem, as this is unprofessional and may be regarded by them as a sign ofweakness. Always ask for the minimum of help and advice so that it givesthem a chance to offer more if they wish to. Try to reciprocatewhenever an opportunity presents itself.Remember the people they “name drop” andask them if they would mind if you contactedthem yourself. Always keep them informedof your progress and be honest; it doesn’t payto exaggerate your progress. Avoid overfamiliarity. But remember to ask for theiradvice. A good place to start is by askingthem to look through your CV and suggestimprovements. Whenever you meet up with them, try to arrange face-to-facemeetings as much as possible, and have a clear strategy in your head for whatyou want to get out of the meeting by making a list of the questions you wantto ask. If you have asked for a specific time slot, then remember to stick to itdoggedly, even if you both appear to be in no rush to end the meeting. Thatway the person will know you stick to your word and are more likely to beable to fit you in for a further discussion in the future. Always thank them atthe end of the meeting and try to send a follow-on thank you email or letterafterwards. This will make them feel valued and encourage them to continueto support you.Your Smoothers and Soothers don’t need to knowall the ins and outs of your career management.They are there to provide you with friendship,care and empathy when you need it most. Theirrelationship to you is unconditional, whichmeans they don’t expect to be rewarded.However, all of us, even if we don’t expectit, appreciate being thanked and spoiled fromtime to time. So the odd box of chocolates,flowers or invitation to dinner will be amplereward. Never underestimate the role of theSmoothers and Soothers. Remember what weheard about first impressions. People make theirminds up about us in the first few seconds, so the Smoothers and Soothers arethe ones who will help us maintain our equilibrium and sense of humour.Feeling confident, alert and in control shows in our eyes, so these people areenormously important to us in this respect. Seek their advice about thepractical issues such as what we should wear when we meet our Movers andShakers, or we attend a job interview and what hairstyle suits us most.Looking good helps us to feel good and if we feel good then we are likely toperform more effectively.So, let’s make a list of the people we intend to approach to be part of ourpersonal network. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 16
  17. 17. Movers and Shakers Smoothers and Soothers6. Getting ready to move forward with a self-marketing plan Market research You have spent a good deal of time now analysing your skills, strengths, achievements and values and you have a pretty good idea what you have to offer a prospective employer. Now you have to consider how you can present yourself to the marketplace. In order to do this effectively, you have to begin to see the issue from an entirely different perspective. For instance, imagine that you are selling your house, what sort of things would you start by doing? Well, you would want to provide the “wow” factor, e.g. emphasising the really unique selling points for all to see. The advertising material would describe these in great detail and you would make sure that each of them really looked good so that when prospective buyers came to view they wouldn’t be disappointed. You would give your house “kerb” appeal so that it looked good at a distance. You would accentuate a feeling of warmth and light throughout the house, with flowers in vases and a fresh appealing fragrance in the background. Basically, you would exaggerate the plus points so that the rather more negative points do not appear to be important. Well that’s exactly what you have to do to promote yourself. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 17
  18. 18. Next you have to decide exactly which marketplace is appropriate for you. Areyou happy to remain in the employment sector you’re in at the moment orwould you like to change? Are you happy with the kind of job you have nowor would you like to explore an entirely different job? Perhaps you are evencontemplating self-employment or even voluntary work! Completing the gridbelow will help you to target the right market for you. Yes NoSimilar job in a similar industrySimilar job in a different industryDifferent job in the same industryDifferent job in a different industrySelf-employmentVoluntary workNext you need to ask yourself a series of questions:What would your ideal job be?…………………………………………………………………………………..What would be the worse job you could have?………………………………………………………………………………….How big an organisation would you like to work for?…………………………………………………………………………………What kind of boss would you prefer?…………………………………………………………………………………What challenges would you like to tackle in the workplace?…………………………………………………………………………………Thinking about the above, what would be the things that would stand in yourway achieving it?……………………………………………………………………………… Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 18
  19. 19. Now try to piece all the information above together and identify TWOpossible career/job options. Option One Option TwoFor each of the options above you should carry out a SWOT analysis. ASWOT analysis looks at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities andThreats the career/job option could provide.Option Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities ThreatsOneTwoThis exercise will give you an idea how closely your current skills, experience,qualifications and interests match the option you have chosen and if you havea real gap in your skill sets that needs to be remedied before you can advanceany further in that direction. You might like to bounce some of these ideas off Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 19
  20. 20. someone else before going any further and make the necessary changes to theinformation above. Your local Further Education College may have a CareerAdvisor who can help you identify what courses exist to help you bridge theskills/qualifications gap.At the end of this stage you should have a very good idea what areas ofinterest you have, the industry in which you would like to work and a specificcareer or job in mind.Self-employmentHaving completed this process you may be of the view that you would like towork for yourself. If that’s the case then you should seek professional adviceabout setting up a business. Your local Business Centre will provide you withvery useful advice. You can search for the nearest one to you on the Internet.Nature of the job marketThere are a number of ways you can approach the marketplace. Here are justsome of them: Adverts in newspapers, local and national Adverts in trade magazines Adverts on the internet Adverts in Job Centres Adverts in shop windowsAll of the above falls into the category of the OPEN marketplace. Thesecareer/job opportunities are there for everyone to see. But this is not thewhole picture. Did you know that at least 60% of all job vacancies are notadvertised in the OPEN marketplace? These vacancies exist and need filling,but the process for filling them occurs through a more CLOSED system ofnetworks, such as recruitment agencies, or basically people in the know.Remember the old adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know”? Wellthat it still alive and well……………Let’s take these markets individually and examine how to approach each ofthem.Open MarketplaceThis is relatively easy to break into once you have identified whichnewspapers or magazines are relevant to the sector you want to work in. Lookthrough your local business directory and find out what organisations exist inyour area that might offer you opportunities similar to the ones you areseeking. Go on the internet and search for these organisations, which usuallyhave reasonable websites that may well outline the vacancies that existcurrently. A trip to your local Job Centre will provide you with a contact whowill search for vacancies in the area of work you are targeting or will keepyour name on file in case something comes up at a later date. During your visitto the local shops keep your eyes open for job advertisements in shop Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 20
  21. 21. windows. If you identify a job opportunity that interests you, then ask formore details so you have a clearer idea exactly what they’re looking for. Onceyou have that, you need to compare it with the skills, strengths, achievementsand values you identified earlier.The following grid will help you to do this:Skills and competencies Is there a If Yesthey require match with High Medium Low your own Yes/NoOnce you have completed the above and have identified a number of keymatches with your own abilities and interests, you need to prepare your CVand covering letter. (We will cover preparing your CV and covering letter inmore detail a little later on.) Remember to refer directly in your CV to theparticular skills and competencies that exactly match your own. These need toappear both in your covering letter, AND in a prominent place at thebeginning of your CV. Where there is a medium match, these skills andcompetencies should appear in the body of the CV only, and where there is alow match then you should include them merely under your employmenthistory at the end of the CV.Before you send off your CV, there are a few guiding principles to bear inmind. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 21
  22. 22. Never send a CV without a covering letter. Prospective employers get really annoyed with this, as it appears you haven’t taken sufficient time and effort to make contact with them in a professional manner Make sure you identify a specific person to send your application to and remember to include any reference number. Employers run a number of advertisements simultaneously, so you will need to point to a specific vacancy Unless particularly asked for details of your current salary, don’t give it, as this may weaken your negotiating position later on if they offer you the job.Closed marketplaceLet’s look at two specific aspects of the Closed Marketplace; RecruitmentAgencies and Networks. Basically, there are three types of activitiesundertaken by recruitment agencies: They act as brokers bringing prospective employees to employers seeking matching skills and competencies They act as agents for organisations carrying out all their recruitment activities, from advertising to short listing, but often do not take part in the actual interviewing stage They headhunt staff from one employer and try to tempt them to move to a competitor.Whichever role they carry out, it’s worthnoting that they may have hundreds ofclients on their books at any one time,so the responsibility for keeping yourdetails uppermost in their minds is downto you. Contact them every few days andmake notes of the progress made. Theircommission for carrying out this rolecomes from the new employer and isusually based on a percentage of thestarting salary for the first year.Remember your personal network contacts? Well filling vacancies throughnetworking works in a similar way. People recommend other people forvacancies that exist. So start with the people on your personal network andask them the following: Do they know the names of people who make decisions on recruitment matters for companies that you are interested in? Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 22
  23. 23. Ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for information on career/job vacancies in the organisations in which you are interested Do they know of any companies that may be interested in the skills and competencies you have that you haven’t heard of? Are they able to make any introductions on your behalf, and if so, would they put in a good word for you? Would they read your CV and give you any advice on improving it and making it more effective for the organisations you are targeting? Are they able to recommend a particular recruitment agency?You will find that the people on your personalnetwork will have different ways of helpingyou. Putting them into pigeonholes accordingto their interactions with you will enable youto target which one to contact at particularstages of your career management process.Please complete the boxes below by enteringthe name of the person on your personalnetwork that fits the bill better than anyoneelse. Having boxes that you cannot fill willshow you where your personal network is in need of updating.A member of your fan Can give you honest Will challenge youclub - ex client or feedbackcustomerWill stimulate you Influential person who Mentor who can act aswith creative ideas might be able to both a Mover and introduce you to an Shaker & a Smoother organisation or broker a and Soother deal Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 23
  24. 24. An important part of managing your career is to keep in touch with your personal network contacts REGULARLY and keep a note of your meetings with them, such as when you last met, what the agreed outcomes were and when you next intend to meet. Producing a simple spreadsheet as at Figure 1 will enable you to do this.Figure 1. Contact When last met Items discussed Outcomes Next meeting Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 24
  25. 25. Preparing a CVA curriculum vitae or CV for short is an important document that you will useover and over again as you manage your career development. It’s a record ofyour qualifications, skills and interests and your complete employment historyto date. It’s a tool, which if used properly, can draw comparisons betweenwhat you have to offer a prospective employer and what the prospectiveemployer is looking for. Keeping your CV up to date is really important, asmuch of what is of importance to the skills sets we develop can easily beforgotten with the passage of time. It’s good to record all forms of technicaland personal development training and the dates these were carried out. Thatway a prospective employer can gauge whether or not your skills are up todate.Although CVs can be constructed in different ways, all must contain somebasic information such as: Personal and contact information Education and Qualifications Employment History Skills relevant to the job you are applying for Interests ReferencesIt’s worth remembering that employers see many hundreds of CVs, so youneed to develop one that is clear, concise and deals with the most importantissues early on. Employers don’t have time to read every word on the CV.Therefore, keeping your CV to two sides of an A4 is advisable. Try to draw asmany similarities as possible between your skills, experience and interests tothe job you’re applying for. Always sound positive, without exaggerating orbeing untruthful.Identifying the right people to provide references is really important. Yourcurrent employer is a certainty, but you can request that they only be contactedif you are successful at interview. That way it will not jeopardise your currentjob if it turns out that you are unsuccessful. You will be asked to suggestsomeone who can provide a character reference. Try to identify someone whoknows you well, and who knows what your responsibilities have been in thepast, particularly your successes. Someone will a degree of gravitas in theirown field would be ideal!You can obtain help constructing your CV by searching the Internet for sitesthat offer free services.Covering letterAlways send a CV to a prospective employer or recruitment agency with acovering letter. This will create a good impression and should encourage themto want to read your CV. Here are some tips as to what the covering lettershould contain: Use plain white paper and only one side of an A4 sheet Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 25
  26. 26. Use a clear type font, such as Arial Try to contain the letter to three main paragraphs Always use black ink, as many letters and CVs have to be photocopied Use confident and positive language without exaggeration Address it to a named individual within the organisation Never use a template letter that you’ve used before for another employer, as each one should be tailored specifically for each application Don’t repeat everything in your CV.Here at Figure 2 is an example of a covering letter:Employer/Agency Details Your contact details (Name, address, telephone & mobile numbers and email address)DateDearTITLE IN BOLD TEXT – INCLUDING REFERENCE NUMBERParagraph OneExplain why you’re writing, what you’re applying for, why you’re interestedin the position and why their company interests you. (It’s good to researchtheir website before hand.)Paragraph TwoTell them what you can offer them and why they should consider you for therole. Include a summarisation of your experience, skills and qualifications anda brief example of work you have carried out in the past that is similar the jobthey’re advertising.Paragraph ThreeRefer to your enclosed CV and ask to be considered for interview. Thank thereader for their time and attention and that you look forward to hearing fromthem shortly.ClosingYours sincerelyDON’T FORGET TO ENCLOSE A COPY OF YOUR CV! Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 26
  27. 27. Preparing for interviewIf you are fortunate enough to be successfulthrough the first sift, you may be asked to go through selection testing before beingcalled for interview. Some selectiontesting involves exercises to gauge yourcognitive skills and the completion ofpersonality questionnaires. Whicheverit is always take your time and answerhonestly, without second-guessing whatthey want to hear.If you are called for interview, then it may take various forms. Interviewsnowadays are mainly one to one in a fairly relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes thecompany may ask you to have more than one of these one to one meetings.If the company is more traditional, then you could be faced with an interviewpanel of 2 or 3 people. Always be clear about where the interview is takingplace and arrive in plenty of time. Look smart and alert, as first impressionsare really important. Listen carefully to the questions you are being asked andanswer clearly. Try to maintain eye contact, including all the members of thepanel in your answers. If you don’t know the answer to the question then sayso. Don’t waffle! Never discuss confidential information about your currentemployer with them.The interview is designed to test yourknowledge, observe your behaviour andgive you a chance to demonstrate howyou can think on your feet. If you havebeen asked, or intend to use, a presentation,then ring the company beforehand to checkon the technology that will be available toyou in the interview room. Take papercopies of your presentation with you justin case the technology breaks down. Thiswill show them that you are well preparedfor anything! Finally, try to enjoy the experience. The panel want you to doyour best; otherwise they are wasting their time. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 27
  28. 28. Preparing for contract negotiationsAs we mentioned previously your current salary has no real bearing on thenew offer you are likely to get, so avoid being drawn into disclosing it at theinterview. If you are asked then you should state that the range ofresponsibilities in this new job is quite different from your present role, whichmakes drawing a comparison of salaries rather pointless.Also it’s worth remembering that the recruitmentprocess itself is a very costly business forcompanies and so if they see you as the preferredcandidate then entering into salary negotiationswith you is worth it. But you can only push themso far. Always try to see it from their pointof view as well as your own.In order to be as prepared as possible for thenegotiation process you need to take someFirst Steps: Find out what range of salaries the company offers, or what generally the market rate is for the type of job you are applying for At the interview ask the company about what benefits it can offer its employees, such as amount of holiday entitlement, health care, bonuses, training opportunities etc When you have this information think carefully about the lowest salary you think you could accept from them: this is your bottom line. Then you have to wait until such time as you get an offer from them, either in writing or verbally.Next Steps When you get the formal offer, always acknowledge it in writing Evaluate the offer in terms of what your gross salary and net salary is likely to be In addition calculate what the fringe benefits are likely to be worth to you Compare the offer with your original career objective/goal; does it match? If you feel the offer falls short then produce a counter offer, but explain fully the reasons behind your request, and remember to make it realistic Finally accept or decline the offer in writing. Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 28
  29. 29. Preparing a reason for leaving statement Once you have been offered, and officially accepted, a new job you should provide your present employer with a letter explaining your reason for leaving. You will need to include formal notice of your intention to termination your employment contract, but also to explain why you wish to leave. Keep it short and factual, trying to be positive and avoiding any negative statements. It’s also helpful to rehearse a brief statement for your close colleagues and friends to explain why you’re leaving.7. Making a success of your new job Settling in – understanding how change affects us Remember what we discussed earlier about comfort zones? You have moved out of your comfort zone and will be feeling a little insecure in your new environment. Remember to reward yourself for your achievement and celebrate. This in turn will make you feel good and confident. Make every effort to get to know your new environment, including your new colleagues. This stage can’t be rushed, so take your time. Some of your colleagues will respond very readily to your appointment, others may be more sceptical; so be sensitive. Early successes – winning confidence and staying positive The first few weeks and months in your new role will require a lot of learning and listening. Take notes where the detail is important, but never lose sight of the big picture. The more senior you are, the more important the bigger picture is. Try to draw any associations with experiences you have had in your previous roles, as some of the ideas you put into action there might work again, but refrain from always pointing out “We did it this way in my previous job……” Your colleagues will soon get very tired of this phrase and wish you had stayed where you were! Make sure you clearly understand every aspect of your job description and aim at achieving at least one of your objectives within the first couple of months. This will boost your confidence, and provide evidence to your new employer that you can indeed deliver on your targets. You may be subject to an initial probationary period, if so, achieving one or more of your objectives during that period will go towards providing evidence in support of your contract being confirmed. Staying ahead – anticipating and adapting Avoid complacency at all costs. Early successes can lead to a false sense of security. You must always maintain the momentum. If you are not moving forward then you are slipping back. Try to identify who the MOVERS and SHAKERS are in the organisation and show them how interested you are in helping to make the company successful too. They are more likely to know of an likely changes in company direction, so you would be fore-armed and able Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 29
  30. 30. to plan well ahead. This will encourage your staff to have confidence in you ifyou appear to be prepared.Keeping in touch with your personal networkJust because you have successfully moved into a new job doesn’t mean thatyou should sever all links with the people on your personal network. Yourexperience could be useful to them and you should reciprocate and thank themfor their efforts to help you. Also it is very useful to keep your finger on thepulse and know what’s happening generally in the marketplace, particularly inyour market sector.Managing your career is a challenge, but an equally rewarding process. If youtry to stay ahead, keep your skills set up to date and embrace change with apositive attitude, then you will achieve your career goals.Good luck! Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 30
  31. 31. Other modules in the series include: Having a positive and confident self image Learning to relax Enjoying a complete work/life balance Organising your time more effectivelyMotivating yourself to achieve everything! Copyright Owen Weaver Limited 2008 31