career action plan

Write a winning cover letter There's no doubt a well written cover letter can boost your chances of being invited to an interview. In contrast to your CV, your cover letter enables you to explain why you are a good fit for a position and your reasons for wanting to work for an organisation. If you’ve never written a cover letter or it’s been a while,the following guide will take you step by step through the process of writing a winning cover letter. First things first Your first task is to understand what the employer is looking for. Identify the key criteria which you’ll find in the job ad and in the job description. List all the skills, experience and qualities they have mentioned so that you can be sure to include these in your cover letter wherever possible.   Writing your cover letter Your information:  Your name, address, email address and telephone numbers. You...

[caption id="attachment_18489" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Questions to answer"] [/caption] As each year draws to a close many of us start to reflect on the year that was. Perhaps you feel you’ve accomplished all you set out to achieve, or maybe you’re beating yourself up for not getting to where you wanted to be. Whichever is true for you, now is the ideal time to start thinking about what you want to change in the coming year. Some key questions to ask yourself: What went well this year? What didn’t go so well? What would I like to change? What do I need more of? What do I need less of? How do I want my life to look this time next year? What specific actions will I take to achieve my goals?   Armed with answers to these questions, you'll be clearer on what you need to do to achieve your goals in the coming year. It can be helpful to answer these...

[caption id="attachment_18546" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Tapping into the hidden job market is easy"] [/caption] You’ve probably heard that around 80% of the jobs that are filled at any given time have been filled via the hidden job market. So what exactly is the hidden job market? As you will notice from the following graphic, the hidden job market is simply those jobs that are not advertised. There was a time when the majority of available jobs were advertised through newspaper employment classifieds, employment centre job boards and via recruitment agencies. In recent years however, there’s been a move away from these methods for a number of reasons including: a desire to reduce recruitment costs a tighter job market technological advances   Many employers find they no longer need to advertise for new staff as they are continually inundated with prospective employees using the direct approach. Most direct approaches are received by email making it easier than ever to quickly vet...

[caption id="attachment_16775" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Thinking of changing career?"] [/caption] Changing jobs is challenging enough but changing to a whole new career can be overwhelming.  One of the biggest hurdles faced by career changers is how to make a smooth and successful transition to their new career.  To help, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to make the transition to your new career an easier one. Research A vital first step in changing careers is to research your new career. Speak to people in the industry to gain a realistic insight in to the culture, conditions, opportunities and challenges. As part of your research you should aim to identify any skills gaps, transferable skills and any qualifications or certifications required for your new career. Find out what others in your chosen new career have done for example, what are their backgrounds? What was their progression route? What qualifications do they have? Develop a plan A good...

[caption id="attachment_18628" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Even in tough times you can advance your career"] [/caption] You might think tough economic times mean that any plans for advancing your career are on hold. In fact, the current economic climate provides an ideal opportunity for you to take advantage of the situation. Here are some ideas to help you advance your career: Gain new skills We have all heard the countless stories about dwindling numbers of workers and the increased workloads within organisations. If you find yourself in this situation, rather than seeing it as an overwhelming threat, try looking at the opportunities the situation presents. Taking on extra duties could enable you to develop new skills which will make you more marketable or provide leverage to ask for a pay rise and higher status. Grasp any opportunities that arise to job shadow or receive on-the-job training and mentoring from other staff members. Be on the lookout...

The following blog post currently features at The Careers Blog at Guardian Careers [caption id="attachment_18650" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Is the grass greener on the other side? One of the first steps you can take is identifying what you want from your career. Photograph: Oleg Popov/REUTERS"] [/caption] Many of us will change careers or consider doing so at some point in our lives, so it's important to ensure that the transition is well executed. The key to making a successful transition is self-awareness and planning. When someone comes to me for help with changing careers, one of the first things I do is help them identify their values. Some of the questions I might ask include: What's important to you? What gives meaning to your life? What are your personal goals? What do you want from your career?   The self-awareness and understanding gained from the answers to these questions provides a solid foundation for a career action plan. A school teacher, Anne, came...

[caption id="attachment_18658" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Become an employed graduate"] [/caption] Although the latest economic reports suggest the grip of the recession has been ever-so-lightly loosened, the economy remains slow continuing its impact on the job market. Graduates are finding the job opportunities they expected to be waiting for them after years of study are not as plentiful as they had hoped. A dwindling number of graduate positions and large numbers of emerging students make for a frustrating combination. The lucky ones make industry connections alongside their studies moving into roles straight from university or college. Mature graduates with little or no experience in their new field of qualification often find it difficult to secure an entry level position, with some reporting they have had to take extended periods of unpaid work in an effort to gain relevant work experience. Not an ideal situation if you have a family to support, a mortgage and...