career development

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_18577" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The portfolio career life"] [/caption] Career portfolios, also referred to as professional portfolios, are a valuable career development tool. Here's a guide to help you understand what a career portfolio is, how to create one and how to use it to help you get ahead in your career. What is a career portfolio? A career portfolio is a collection of materials evidencing your qualifications, skills, experience and personal qualities. Used as a marketing tool, your career portfolio is a powerful visual aid which allows you to showcase your career accomplishments and provide insight into your capabilities. It can be used to apply to jobs, apply to college or training program and to justify seeking a pay rise. In addition to demonstrating your skills and abilities, it allows you to keep track of your own personal and professional development. What does a career portfolio look like? There are two types of career portfolio:...

[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_18674" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The new career"] [/caption] "The career of the 21st century will be protean, a career that is driven by the person, not the organization, and that will be reinvented by the person from time to time, as the person and the environment change." D.T.Hall (1996) in Protean Careers in the 21st Century The most distressed clients I work with are those who feel they are the victims of change. They are often referred to me for outplacement by their employers wanting to support their employee as they transition out of the organisation. These individuals can face redundancy after having been with the company for many years, sometimes decades. They suffer with feelings of distress for a number of reasons. In some cases they didn’t see the change coming and therefore didn't have time to react. But more often than not, they were aware of the impending change but...