Browse Tag: job hunting

Need a coach? Peter Botting

How to reboot your job hunt

Need a coach? Peter BottingHave you been job hunting for a long time with little results? It can be a demoralising process, especially the longer it goes on. Often all a job hunt needs is a reboot to put some more life into it and into you and help you down the right path towards a new job. I advise that you first take a few days off. Spend some decent focused time with friends and family. Switch off from the job hunt and don’t do anything work related. Get some exercise and some fresh air. Ideally get some time in a different town. Then when you are focused and rested try out these ideas on how to reboot your job hunt:

  1. What do you want?

This is a simple and fundamental question, yet so often job hunters do not have an answer. What sort of job are you looking for? Do you want to change industry? What qualifications and skills do you want to make the most of? What sort of people and company do you want to work for? These sorts of questions can be easy to answer once broken down, but by answering them it can you the focus you need. Use a pen and paper and take your time answering the questions. You have me on your hands – use it.

  1. Change your time

How long do you spend a week searching for a new job? Chances are you could spend more time job hunting. Measure how long you spend on average searching for a new job in a week, then you can assess how much more time you could spend. Obviously spending hours scrolling through job sites is pointless, instead spend your time researching and networking.

  1. Reassess your social networks

We are starting to live in a world where social media is a must. Having a strong and consistent social media presence is no longer optional when looking for a job. Maybe you have a Twitter you rarely use, or a LinkedIn which needs updating. As employers increasingly look at your online presence to assess you, taking your time and putting effort into your social media profiles can pay off.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (Part 4 of 4 – The Deed)

Ok – so this is the 4th and final episode in the series of 40 questions to ask yourself BEFORE you chuck in your job.

You might be unhappy with your job and thinking of chucking it all in, sabotaging your colleagues work or throwing something at your boss? Or are you contemplating quietly walking out, leaving the country and going to live a simpler life on an island? Thinking of changing jobs is normal for everyone – you have no monopoly on any of these thoughts – but doing it right, whatever that is, is important.

Career progression means changing jobs by definition – but why and how you do it can improve your life or totally screw it up. Changing jobs at the right time for the right reasons and in the right way may seem obvious – but emotions and feelings and irrational thought get in the way and can seriously mess up your career.

I have changed jobs and made a few career changes in my life and some were cleverer than others!

So before you start booking plane tickets, selling the house, moving to or from the big city, emigrating or physically throwing stuff at the boss, why not balance out the loud emotional voices of your feelings with some sober, boring logical stuff.

Once you have realised that the problem is the job, the only way to fix it is to quit, and you know where you are heading is the deed; actually quitting. This can be a difficult process especially if you are leaving somewhat reluctantly. But it is the final necessary step to getting a new job.

Here are 10 questions to answer to decide How To Do The Deed before changing jobs:

  1. How would your departure leave your company and the jobs and security of your colleagues?
  2. How are you going to tell them?
  3. Do you need a reference?
  4. What notice are you going to give them? What day will it be – the day after payday?
  5. How and when is the best way to tell them? Blurting it out may get it off your chest but if you are that wound up you will probably screw it up.
  6. Are you going to offer a handover – what should be in the handover?
  7. How likely are you to see your current team and boss in your new role?
  8. How important will they be to your future?
  9. What do you want them saying about you? Do you care?
  10. Will you do this in a way that will make you proud in retrospect and that shows some class?

This is the final part of a 4 week series. Previously in this  (really exciting) career-based mini-series:

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Problem)

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Fix)

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Decision)

 

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4 ideas to consider before accepting a job

sellingGetting a job offer is a great feeling. But before you leap for the phone to accept the offer – wait and think. Accepting a job offer is a big step and should be treated like one.

Here are some ideas to consider before accepting a job:

  1. Money

Salary is one of the easiest factors to measure when considering a job offer. You will likely already have a benchmark regarding salary based on how much you already earn or used to earn, how much you are being offered, and how much you want.

Here is my guide to negotiating salary

  1. Culture

Culture is a much more difficult concept to consider than salary. Research the company and try to figure out what their values, practises, goals and attitudes are. Consider what is important to you and see if the company’s culture matches your own beliefs.

  1. Management and colleagues

The people you interact with on a day-to-day basis are likely to have one of the biggest impacts on your happiness. It is likely that you have met your manager, boss, or supervisor. Reflect on whether you think you can work well with them, and if they would create an atmosphere in which you can work successfully.

  1. The job

After looking for a new job for a long time you may start to lower your expectations of what you want from a job. Take some time to think seriously whether you want this job or you just want a job? Before you accept the job think – how will your skills be used? How will you be able to develop n this job? How will be able to cope with the responsibilities of this job?

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (Part 3 of 4 – The Decision)

The Decision

Are you unhappy with your job? Thinking of chucking it all in, sabotaging your colleagues work or throwing something at your boss? Or are you contemplating quietly walking out, leaving the country and going to live a simpler life on an island? Thinking of changing jobs is normal for everyone – you have no monopoly on any of these thoughts – but doing it, whatever that is, right is important.

Career progression means changing jobs by definition – but why and how you do it can improve your life or totally screw it up. Changing jobs at the right time for the right reasons and in the right way may seem obvious – but emotions and feelings and irrational thought get in the way and can seriously mess up your career.

I have changed jobs and made a few career changes in my life and some were cleverer than others!

So before you start booking plane tickets, selling the house, moving to or from the big city, emigrating or physically throwing stuff at the boss, why not balance out the loud emotional voices of your feelings with some sober, boring logical stuff.

Once you have decided that you need to change job for whatever reason next comes the decision. Quitting the job is a difficult decision to make, deciding where to go next is even harder. Maybe you are looking for a simple job change or maybe you have decided to change career and explore a new industry. Either way you first need to understand where you are going and how you are going to get there.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to find out what decision to make after changing jobs:

  1. If you are thinking of changing your profession – what would you like to do? Why? How will it be different?
  2. Have you spoken to head hunters or specialist agencies in your field or in the proposed new field?
  3. Have you spoken to your family? Have they seen you become unhappy at work?
  4. Have you spoken to your friends? Have you changed recently?
  5. Have you cash in the bank and what are your commitments?
  6. How long could you exist before you start visiting friends at meal times?
  7. Have you assessed the job opportunities in your current profession? Availability of jobs, salaries compared to yours, qualifications and experience of the people in those jobs?
  8. How are you doing compared to others? If you are ahead – what’s the real problem – if you are behind what do you think is the reason? (Be honest here – it’s just between you and the piece of paper.)
  9. What do you need to make the change in terms of training, investment? A lawyer I knew chucked his promised career in with a Magic Circle law firm and bought a pub. Same hours – much more fun. It was a big decision with a big investment and he “threw away” a pristine career CV. But he seems happy.
  10. Could you take a sabbatical and test drive a new career? How could you test whether it works for you?

This is part 3 of a 4 week series. Previously in this  (really exciting) career-based mini-series:

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Problem)

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Fix)

Coming up next week:

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Deed)

 

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (Part 2 of 4 – The Fix)

The Fix

Are you unhappy with your job? Thinking of chucking it all in, sabotaging your colleagues work or throwing something at your boss? Or are you contemplating quietly walking out, leaving the country and going to live a simpler life on an island? Thinking of changing jobs is normal for everyone – you have no monopoly on any of these thoughts – but doing it right, whatever that is, is important.

Career progression means changing jobs by definition – but why and how you do it can improve your life or totally screw it up. Changing jobs at the right time for the right reasons and in the right way may seem obvious – but emotions and feelings and irrational thought get in the way and can seriously mess up your career.

I have changed jobs and made a few career changes in my life and some were cleverer than others!

So before you start booking plane tickets, selling the house, moving to or from the big city, emigrating or physically throwing stuff at the boss, why not balance out the loud emotional voices of your feelings with some sober, boring logical stuff.

After finding out what the problem is the next step is to consider how to fix it. You may come to realise that the problem isn’t the job, but is a different factor causing you problems. However you may come to understand that your job is holding you back.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to find out how to FIX the problem before changing jobs:

  1. Is it really your job you are unhappy with or is it possible you are just unhappy in your personal life and this is overflowing into your work life?
  2. Is it something that you can fix? If you answer no – are you really sure? Have you asked other people what they would do to fix it?
  3. If so, have you done anything about it? List these things. What else could you do?
  4. Are you over-tired, over-stressed, over-amped and exhausted? Do you have the bandwidth to handle this? Do you need a weekend away or a holiday?
  5. Are you getting enough exercise and fresh air? If you say yes to this you are probably fibbing.
  6. Are you making sure that you switch off at weekends and in the evenings or do you have your laptop or iPad open all day every day? Do you have phone free days or evenings or even hours? What about family time or movie nights?
  7. What has changed since you started that job? In terms of you, the company, your personal life?
  8. Is it a need for training or a personal issue or your commute or a salary thing or the career prospects?
  9. Is it because of your employers, your boss, your colleagues, the location of the job and the commute or your actual job
  10. Is your employer or line manager aware of the situation and have you spoken to them about it? If not – why not?

 

This is part 2 of a 4 week series. Previously in this  (really exciting) career-based mini-series:

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Problem)

Coming up in the following two weeks:

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Decision)

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Deed)

 

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (Part 1 of 4 – The Problem)

The Problem

Are you unhappy with your job? Thinking of chucking it all in, sabotaging your colleagues’ work or throwing something heavy at your boss? Or are you contemplating quietly walking out, leaving the country and going to live a simpler life on an island? Thinking of changing jobs is normal for everyone – you have no monopoly on any of these thoughts – but whatever IT is, doing it right is important.

ID-100137247Career progression means changing jobs by definition – but why and how you do it can improve your life or totally screw it up. Changing jobs at the right time for the right reasons and in the right way may seem obvious – but emotions and feelings and irrational thought get in the way and can seriously mess up your career.

I have changed jobs and made a few career changes in my life and some were cleverer than others!

So before you start booking plane tickets, selling the house, moving to or from the big city, emigrating or physically throwing stuff at the boss, why not balance out the loud emotional voices of your feelings with some sober, boring logical stuff.

The first thing to consider when deciding to change jobs is what the Problem is.  Is it you or is it them? Is it the job or the employer? Without knowing what the problem is finding a solution is impossible.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to find out what the problem is before changing jobs:

  1. Why do you want to change jobs? Make a list of five reasons in no particular order. Write them down. Seriously, it helps.
  2. Do you want to change professions or just change your employer?
  3. Would it be different if you were doing the same thing for someone else? Are you sure? Explain why? Write it down!
  4. Are you in the right job – or just at the wrong place or with the wrong people?
  5. Why did you choose your current career? What attracted you to your career in the first place?
  6. What has changed since? If anything?
  7. Why do you think that is?
  8. Why did you choose your current employer? What attracted you to your current employer in the first place?
  9. What has changed since? If anything?
  10. Why do you think that is?

This is part 1 of a 4 week series. Coming up in the following three weeks are the (really exciting) sequels to this career-based mini-series:

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Fix)

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Decision)

10 questions to ask yourself before changing jobs (The Deed)

 

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Leonardo da Vinci’s Covering Letter

In 1483 a young Leonardo da Vinci applied for a job with the ruler of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. Sforza was in need of military engineer at the time of war. Da Vinci applied for the job through a letter listing his qualifications and explaining why he would be best for the job, essentially a cover letter or covering letter.

ID-100173765Sforza employed da Vinci, and several years later commissioned him to paint ‘The Last Supper’.

Here are some ideas from da Vinci’s Covering Letter:

1. Start strong

My Most Illustrious Lord… I shall endeavour…to make myself understood to Your Excellency for the purpose of unfolding to you my secrets.

You probably will start with “Dear Sir/Madam” but a personalised greeting is far stronger. His was personalised because it was a single copy delivered probably by hand. He added to this by dangling “secrets” in from of his target employer. He set himself apart right up front – just as you should do. Quickly (i.e. concisely!)  sketch out why you would be good for the job and why you are different from the other candidates.

 

2. Write about what is relevant to the employer

I have plans for very light, strong and easily portable bridges with which to pursue and, on some occasions, flee the enemy, and others, sturdy and indestructible either by fire or in battle, easy and convenient to lift and place in position. Also means of burning and destroying those of the enemy.”

Be explicit but not petty – they don’t want to know the sub-set of the technique you use for tyre changing – but they do need to know that you can change tyres quickly.

 

3. Show you are different, that you understand the employer’s world and make them want to take you off the market.

Also, if one cannot, when besieging a terrain, proceed by bombardment either because of the height of the glacis or the strength of its situation and location, I have methods for destroying every fortress or other stranglehold unless it has been founded upon a rock or so forth.

I have also types of cannon, most convenient and easily portable, with which to hurl small stones almost like a hail-storm; and the smoke from the cannon will instil a great fear in the enemy on account of the grave damage and confusion.

Da Vinci differentiated what he offered from the competition. And he added exclusivity – this is a given in a job interview but the threat of someone having your services, and hiring you because they want you in THEIR team, is what you are aiming for.

 

4. Title lists are necessary but don’t get you the job. Give a brief description of your skills

‘I know how, in the course of the siege of a terrain, to remove water from the moats… should a sea battle be occasioned, I have examples of many instruments which are highly suitable either in attack or defence’.

Like da Vinci, keep your skills and qualifications brief. A couple of sentences on each one would be enough, and make sure that all the skills you include are relevant for the job that you are applying for. Check out the employer’s website and use their jargon where possible.

 

5. Show flexibility

‘I can execute sculpture in marble, bronze and clay. Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible as well as any other, whosoever he may be’.

You don’t need to be able to create sculptures out of three different materials, but show that you are flexible, able and willing to learn and open to change and to develop If you can offer more than one skill to start off with – even better. Always try and outline more than one thing you can “bring to the table”. DO NOT list responsibilities you won’t take on, or jobs you don’t want to do. Ever.  Stay positive in your covering letter.

 

6. References / Contact details

‘If any of the above-mentioned things seem impossible or impracticable to anyone, I am most readily disposed to demonstrate them in your park’

Offer your references – not on request but freely given. Employers don’t have the time (or the inclination) to ask you to be so kind as to supply them with references – check with your references that you can use them – then give full contact details.

You can read the whole letter here

 

Image courtesy of sippakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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