Why bother to create a transferable skills list?

transferable skills

So really, why bother with a transferable skills list?

You know when you want a new job.  Maybe you need a new challenge, maybe you want some extra responsibility or maybe your circumstances have changed.  What’s your first move?  Dust off your CV? Start looking on job sites?  I bet in most circumstances you won’t have answered “create a transferable skills list” which would be unfortunate as having such a list will increase your chances of job hunting success!

What are they?

Transferable skills are skills developed over time but may apply to multiple situations, not just the one they were developed in.  For example, in your current role you may have been expected to run your department’s budget.  This skill isn’t just tied to your current role, instead it is a skill you could apply to any future role.

Who might benefit?

  • If you are feeling low on confidence about your work, or maybe you’ve been out of work for a while, then creating a transferable skills list might really help you to see just how many talents you have and see how employable you are.
  • When changing career, knowing how your non-industry specific skills will transfer to your chosen career path is imperative.  Read more here if you are in the process of changing careers to find out what else you need to consider.
  • If you are thinking about promotion, discover how past skills might support your applications
  • Looking for a new role?  Maybe you disregarding jobs or industries because you don’t understand how your skills will translate, how many extra job applications could you be making?
  • After a gap from the workplace, it is easy to forget your skills worth, completing a transferable skills list will make sure you apply for jobs that pay for your actual skill level.

 What are the benefits to knowing your transferable skills?

  • You know how to expand your job search to include roles outside of your direct industry but within your skill set.
  • Challenge assumptions of yourself
  • See the true value of your skill set and know your worth in the job market
  • Re-consider the type of job/role you want

What to do next?

By creating a transferable skills list, you are giving yourself clarity about what skills you have, because if you don’t know what you are good at, how can you sell yourself?  First things first, how do you go about identifying your transferable skills?  This method here will work to help you identify them, it’s something to do over a few sessions to make sure you capture everything.  Once you are happy with them, consider:
Do they change the type of career you want?
Do they open any other jobs to you?
Could you move industries and still use the same skills

Actions to take

Update your CV and LinkedIn
Have a look for jobs using these new key words
Identify any new potential contacts/employers
Check out this post to think about other things could could do to help you get the job you want.
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How coaching can help career development

career coaching development

How will working with a career coach help me?

There are many books, websites and information  available for people who want to change jobs.  If you want to know how to write a CV you can find out easily and quickly, see here and here, so why would working with a career coach benefit?

You can find out what you really want

Do you know what you want to do now? Lots of options

  • Different employers, same role
  • Different role, same industry
  • Same role, different industry
  • Different role, different industry
  • Something different completely – travel etc

Working with a career coach will help you to start at the beginning and understand what is it that you actually want. It will challenge the beliefs you have about your situation e.g. I don’t have the skills to move, I’m too old, I couldn’t afford to move jobs.  In turn, this creates a clarity about the direction you would like to take.

Find out what is important to you

Our priorities in life constantly change, do you know what you would like your work life balance to look like?  A career coach can help you to clearly see your current priorities and those in your planned future

Through career coaching you will start to identify the skills you want to be using in your future career development. See my article here about why this is an important step. Being clear about these skills will help you to identify future career paths  as well creating the foundation for your job seeking journey.

CV creation

For every one skill you list, a career coach can find many more.  Just in the process of describing  your talents and previous experience a coach can show you how to capture the skills and abilities you’ve forgotten or disregarded.

Career coaching will help you to identify which skills you want to highlight, and in which job or role these are best showcased in.  This process creates the building blocks for CV’s and applications forms, enabling you to tailor each application to the specific job role, hugely raising your chances of being called for interview.

 How to match job profiles to your CV

This one skill will drastically improve your chances of success. Knowing how to match a job profile to your CV makes it easy for a recruiter to see how you will fit with their position.  Each CV will only be given a few minutes of consideration, and some employers now use software to scan for key words in CV’s and application forms, making it all the more important.  If your application demonstrates all of the skills they want in a clear and easy to read fashion you will have a  huge advantage against other applicants.

Interview preparation

Learn about the different types of interview companies may use.  Decide on what is important for the interviewers to know about you, craft the answers you want to give.  Understand  how you want to present yourself at the interview, how will you convey your personal brand?  Find out methods of research, what information you need to equip yourself with and what questions should you be ready to ask.

Social media

Everyone uses social media, so it’s important to realise people will be looking at your profile. Learn how to ensure your social media profile reflects your CV and your personal brand.   Don’t just wait to be discovered, learn how to make recruiters look at your profile and use social media to tap into the “unadvertised” jobs market.

 

A career coach will help you to achieve all of the things above but will also hold you accountable for your actions, keeping you “on track” where, if left on your own, you may have procrastinated a little longer!

If any of this could help you or someone you know, why not take advantage of the 30 minutes complimentary coaching call I offer? Drop me an email at Joanne@collaborationscoaching.com or give me a call on 07891436467 to organise, it could be your first step towards your dream job!

 

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A step by step guide on how to identify your key skills and abilities


skills and abilities

In previous posts, I’ve spoken about the importance of knowing your own skills and many other experts agree that without understanding your own skills, you will struggle to convey them to a potential employer.  What I began to notice when working with clients is that, whilst most people understood the importance of being able to articulate their skills, they struggled with how to really know what their key skills and abilities were.  So, if you too are in this predicament, worry no longer.  By following the step-by-step guide below, you will not only clarify your key skills and abilities so you can impress employers with them, but also understand what skills you prefer to use, which will shape your job hunt.

Who might find identifying their skills and abilities useful?

Well, the answer is probably everyone!  This exercise will especially work for anyone who falls into one or more of these groups.

1. Anyone considering a career change

2. Anyone looking to identify transferable skills

3. Anyone suffering from low confidence

4. Anyone who is confused about the current direction of their career

5. Anyone who hasn’t updated their CV for a while

Hints and tips before you start

Take your time; you will need to make many revisions.  Try looking at old CVs, job records, etc. to jog your memory; try not to exclude any jobs or roles just because you didn’t like them.  The effort you put in here will pay dividends later in your job hunt.

Don’t judge yourself! Have you ever caught yourself going to write something, but then the little mean voice in your head says “that’s stupid” or “you’ll spell it wrong”?  Well ignore it!  Write whatever pops into your head. You may decide to delete it later, move it to another heading or break it down into several different ideas. Whatever you do, don’t pre-edit.  Brainstorming is a great way of preventing this.  Set a timer and give yourself a certain amount of time to write as many ideas as possible and then keep repeating, until you have everything you want documented.

Step one

Grab yourself a piece of paper and start to think of all of the skills you use whilst at work.

Try not to just write “managing a team”, but think about what skills were you using; e.g. coaching, leadership skills, communication.  By using these skills, what action did you generate? E.g “I helped people to develop by using a coaching style” or “having an adaptable leadership style helped me to create a strong strategic focus in the department, regardless of the environment”.  Do you see the difference?  When you use some of these skills in a CV, leadership skills are what 90% of the other applicants will write and yet still doesn’t help the person reading your CV understand what that actually means you can do.

Step two

On a new piece of paper, think of all the things that interest you and the skills you need to take part in them.  For example, if you play sport in your spare time, what skills help you?  Maybe determination or  competitiveness. Remember to put these into context again; e.g. how does being competitive help you? Another example is being a parent; what skills do you use?  Patience, consistency and a flexible approach to achieving the desired outcome are just a few ideas!  Are you involved in a charity that you feel passionate about?  If you had more hours in the day what would you devote them to? (Sleep is not a answer to this question!).  What is important to you?

Step three

On a third piece of paper, this time consider your personal strengths. What do you know about yourself? Are you caring and loyal, or do you love being the one in your social circle who organises events?  All of these strengths you will use in your work environment, although sometimes unconsciously. By committing them to paper, you are creating an opportunity to see if something for which you have a natural talent (event organising, perhaps) is something you could exploit in a job role.

Step 4

Finally,  take each step and put each skill you have identified into the following groups:

1. Skills I want to use

2. Skills I don’t mind using

3. Skills I have, but would rather not use all of the time

With my clients, I often have them do this between our sessions as it can take a little while to do and feel free to keep adding and re-sorting over time.

What do you gain?

  • An understanding of the skills and abilities you prefer to use which, in turn, should give you an idea of what you would like to be doing as a job, as well as understanding why.
  • Step four will give you something to measure job specifications against.
  • But remember you will have to compromise, no job is ever perfect, ever.

Have a go; you might be surprised at the outcome!

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Changing careers? Find out what you need to think about first.

changing careers
There are often points in our career when we question if we are in the right job or on the right career path.  Sometimes those moments of doubt develop into a more certain desire to move and consider changing careers.  Moves such as these can be scary especially if you have invested a good chunk of time in your current career path, but there is evidence to show that number of organisational and job changes has doubled when compared to the movements of the previous generation.  Perhaps this is indicative of permanent changes to the job market where changing career becomes an easier and more accessible outcome.
What things do you need to consider when contemplating changing careers? When I’m working with my clients these are some of the areas  I discuss with them.

Find out what is driving you to consider changing career

This is the point for an honest conversation with yourself.  Do you hate your current job so much that any route out would look good?  Are you unhappy with the company you are with, your current job role or profession in its entirety?  Changing your career represents just one option to solving job dissatisfaction, and it is probably the hardest one to do, so make sure you are clear you have considered every angle, opportunity and be very honest with yourself.  Unless you really understand what you want to change, it is very likely you could jump out of the frying pan and into the fire!

Think about what skills you want to use in your new career

If you are sure changing career is the right option for you then now is the time to think about the skills you want to use in your new career path.  I often do an exercise with clients where we identify and rank the skills and abilities they love using at work, their personal strengths and their personal interests.  Working through this exercise and prioritising what is important to you, generates the clarity needed for you to understand what kind of job you might want.

considering Changing career

Do your research

Changing career

Spend time gathering information about potential new career paths.  Speak to people currently in those kinds of roles or professions, what do they have to say?  Research any additional training or qualifications you may need, where are these available and what is the cost and time required to complete them?  Most importantly look at the potential career path, what are the limits and possibilities for the next few years? Does this fit in with your life plans? Considering all of these options now will help to prevent a similar situation occurring again in later years.

Give yourself time

Some career changes will take time, especially if training is needed. Make plans with realistic milestones to keep you on track and to demonstrate your progress.  Keep a positive frame of mind and try to be as adaptable as you can because you will inevitably hit some bumpy bits on your journey.

Money and resources

For most people it is important to consider the financial responsibilities they have and how they will maintain these whilst moving career.  For example if you want to be a teacher, will you need to pay for the qualification and be able to finance your time whilst you are studying.   It is equally important to remember that even if you are entering a new career path you still possess transferable and very valuable  skills so don’t automatically assume you will need to take an entry level position, leaving you with a huge pay cut just because you change industries.
I’d love to hear any comments or stories from you about your experiences with changing careers.
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How to Job Hunt

How to job huntSo you realise you want a new job but don’t know quite how to start?   Here is the low down on how and where to start your job hunt in 2015.

Knowing what you want

Before you even start you search you need to know what kind of job you are looking for.  There were over 700,000 job vacancies in the months Dec 2014 – March 2015 according to the office for national statistics and most of them won’t be suited to you.  This is why it’s important to spend time considering what you actually want from your job search.  Do you want to stay in the same industry, change career paths completely or are interested in moving higher up in an organisation.  What are your aspirations in the next few years, what is your end career goal?  By answering these questions you can start to build up a picture of where these jobs might be, which companies you might want to target and very importantly begin to compile your key words.

How knowing your key words help your job hunt

Knowing the key words for your ideal job gives you a double advantage.  Not only does it make searching for jobs much easier but it makes you considerably easier to find.  What is a key word?  These are the words most commonly used to describe key parts of your ideal job role.  These key words will crop up time and time again in job adverts, role descriptions and person specifications.  As a consequence, these are the same words which should appear in your CV, application form and social media profiles, making you easy for recruiters to find.

Job hunting takes effort and persistence

 To produce the most successful outcomes it is best to combine a number of the different methods outlined below and to not give up.  Most recruitment processes will take weeks from the job advert being created so don’t get disheartened, being proactive and consistent in your approach to selecting jobs and creating high quality applications will win in the end.

Where to look online

We live in a social media drenched world so it is only natural that this extends to job hunting.  Below are the tops places to look online.

1. Job websites

There are hundreds of these, try to pick ones which fit or specialise in your industry or profession.  There are a number of general ones around so use your key words to really drill down to the type of jobs you want, do some testing to check if your key words bring back the results you want.  Be consistent in your searching, having a look once every couple of weeks really won’t help you to get a job.  Try setting up email alerts or check every few days for new job adverts being published.

2. LinkedIn

The beauty of LinkedIn is that its profile format is set up just like a CV so it is easy to transfer information straight across.  Make sure you are keeping your profile up to date, have a killer summary and use the key words from your preferred roles.  If you are interested in making the most of your LinkedIn profile, I have further posts planned in the very near future on how to fill in your profile and  how to get headhunted.

3. Twitter

A rising star in the job hunting world.  Recruiters, career job boards, professional bodies, all have twitter accounts and frequently post links to job adverts.  Its’s also a great place to listen to the “big hitters” in your field and to make beneficial connections.

4. Facebook

Although it isn’t perhaps the first place you think of for job hunting, according to research carried out in the USA earlier this year 66% of recruiters will use Facebook as a method of recruitment.  When you think that Facebook has over 1.19 billion users each month, it would be crazy to ignore!

5. You Tube

Again not a social media outlet you might necessarily think of, but more and more companies are using this medium to post video job adverts.  Not only does this offer a cost effective way of advertising but also creates an opportunity to connect with potential applicants and really demonstrate the culture of the brand and the required personal traits.

Offline

Whilst our online network is important it is a surprising fact that more people still find jobs through RL (real life) connections.

1. Online

I know it’s ironic to immediately start offline job hunting with a topic entitled online!  What I mean here is using the personal contacts you have in RL that you connect with online, e.g. Facebook.  Now I’m not suggesting that you update Facebook with “I’m looking for a job” as your status but have a look through your connections/friends and see if anyone would be worth having a conversation with.  Many companies offer a referral scheme to employees as a way to reduce recruitment costs so one of your friends might be very happy to put you forward.

2. Direct Contact

Although on the face of it sending a generic CV to lots of different companies doesn’t feel very likely to be successful it is still a valid option.  If you were to take time to target the right companies for you, alter your CV to fit with them, find the right recipient and suddenly your odds of success improve.  Remember what I said at the beginning of this piece, your best success rate comes from using a wide variety of these methods not just one or two.

3. Personal Contacts

These are real life people!  Anyone you know, your family knows, your best friend knows, even the people you meet in the gym.  Talk to people, if they do have connections that fit with your target areas, ask if you could send them your CV, just in case anything comes up.  I have a client this has just happened to, a job which hasn’t even been advertised yet.

4. Trade Fairs

These happen very frequently all over the country, recruiters will be there as will large companies.  Find out from the organisers who will be attending the ones local to you and consider attending if there is a specific company you have in mind.  At these fairs you will have the opportunity to talk to people directly and make an impression so take CV’s with you and dress to impress.
So now you know how to job hunt, it’s a pretty big list and some of these areas I will be covering in greater detail over the next few blog posts as they are pretty big topics on their own.
I’d love to know what techniques have been really successful for you when job hunting?
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Tips for writing your CV

CV tips

Ten Tips for writing your CV

Most people have a CV knocking around but here are 10 really great tips whether you are writing your CV from scratch, improving an existing one or just increase your chances of getting an interview.

 1. Check for spelling mistakes

According to stats every 3rd CV in the UK has spelling mistakes, it will put potential employers off.  Use your spell check and ask someone else to check for typo’s and grammar.

2. Know your value

Not sure  how much your skills are worth?  Try uploading your CV to value my CV, a program that will generate a value based on your CV.  No CV? Try using your LinkedIn profile instead.

3. Use key words

One way to increase your chances of getting an interview is to make sure you are using the key words from the role description and person specification.  Make it easier for the employee to see how you could fit with the business and really perform well.  Remember, it costs a business to bring you in for interview so they will only select the best applicants, these  are the ones who appear most likely to fit the role, so make it easy for them to see that you do.  Some employers and recruiters will use software to review CV’s to decide who to put forward for interview.  What do these systems use to sort the CV’s? You guessed it, key words!

4. Mimic the language of the job advert/role profile

By mimic I don’t mean copy everything word for word, but do try to get the ‘feel’ of the words being used.  For example if you want to demonstrate your training abilities but the role documentation uses the word ‘teaching’ use that word instead.  By doing this you are making it easier for recruiters or employers to see how you fit the role and deserve an interview.  Remember, your CV only has seconds in front of someone before they make up their mind.

5. Don’t use words they hate!

Careerbuilder, in 2013 created a huge list of all of the words or phrases recruiters/employers hate to see. Click the link to see the full list but it includes phrases such as “proven track record, team player and results-driven”.  So when writing your CV try to “think outside the box” with your language, wait, oh oops thinking outside the box is one too!

6. Focus on action words

Make sure your CV focuses on what action you have taken in previous roles, so rather than saying you have experience of managing budgets, say how you managed a budget, how much the budget was etc.  Recruiters and employers want to be able to imagine how your skills will fit into their role so make it easy for them to do this.

7. CV’s for a career change

If you are looking to move outside of your industry or want to highlight the skills you possess rather than the job roles you have had then maybe it is worth considering using a different CV format.  The more traditional performance/chronological CV may not display your talents to their best advantage and a more skills based format may do the trick.  The national career service has a good article explaining the differences, pros and cons.

8. Tailor your CV for every job

Don’t even think about sending out generic CV’s.  It’s a huge bugbear for recruiters and employers and is one of the top three things they notice first.   Regardless of how little information you have about the role spend some time making your CV fit the job role you are applying for.  See points 3&4.

9. Keep LinkedIn updated

Make sure you’ve added key parts of your CV to LinkedIn, keep networking and adding to your endorsements, you never know who will be looking, you may get headhunted!  If you are actively job hunting then consider connecting with recruiters who specialise in either your industry or the type of role you want.  Both recruiters and employers will check all social media once they see your CV so make sure it is suitable for viewing…maybe untag some pictures…..

10. Have a profile section

Make sure you have a small profile section at the top of your CV, think of it as your lift speech, a few concise sentences which really promote your skills.  Take time with this part, it will probably be the first thing people read on your CV and will effect their opinion of you.  Remember how quickly people make up their mind about you, first impressions last.
So now you have these 10 tips, what are you going to tackle first?
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10 tips on how to reduce interview nerves

interview nerves 2

Interviews can be terrifying, but they are an integral part of the job seeking process.  Although they can be sweaty palm inducing, it’s important to remember interviews only exist to create an opportunity for you to showcase your skills and demonstrate just how fabulous you would be in that job role.

To try and reduce your stress levels here are 10 tips to make sure you ace that interview!

Top Tips

  1. Remember that interviews are a two way process. Employers are trying to find out as much information as possible about you, not watch you fail!
  2. Do your research! Find out information about the company and its industry but also focus on the types of questions relevant to the role for which you are applying. Consider what you want them to know about you.
  3. Do more research! Read about interviews; it has been said that there are a finite number of questions that can be asked in one way or another during an interview. Look online, read books check through the role profile. What skills or competencies do they think the role requires? These could be the basis for questions.
  4. Have confidence in yourself. Interview questions aren’t there to catch you out; they are there to showcase how fantastic you would be at the role. Believe you can do the role, be clear about how you could add to the role, and even if you aren’t feeling confident fake it! Wear your best outfit, spend time making you feel at your best, see tip 8!
  5. Ignore stress. How stressed we believe we are affects how stressed we feel. Interviews are stereotypically thought of as some kind of torture. Try fooling yourself; pretend that you are really confident or that you already have the job. You know that advice about imagining your audience naked….
  6. Know where you are going, give yourself time and prepare for issues transport or otherwise. On the day, your stress levels will thank you if you aren’t worrying about being late or lost.
  7. Practice – know what you want to say and practice saying it. Check your speed and tone by either recording yourself or practicing to friends or family.
  8. Pick an appropriate outfit, but one that gives you confidence and make you feel comfortable.
  9. Want the job! It’s great to have interview practice, but going for jobs you really don’t want will do nothing towards reducing stress levels.
  10. Ask for feedback. Knowing what to work on for next time helps to reduce interview stress next time.
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10 TOP TIPS TO REDUCE INTERVIEW STRESS

How to reduce interview stress

10 tops tips to reduce interview stress

 

We have all felt stress at some point in our live. Stress is a natural response and is something us humans are built to respond to and deal with. Unfortunately, the responses we are good at relate to physical stress such as being chased by predators or hunting for our food, not the mental type of stress we have now, such as finding mortgage payments, juggling family commitments and interviews. No caveman ever worried about a psychometric test!

So how do we bring stress under control? By managing these three things:

  • Perception
  • Control
  • Predictability

Perception

How we perceive our situation is a really important indicator of how stressed we actually feel. Have you ever experienced a situation where you are expecting awful news only to receive slight bad news? Even though the situation is still bad, you feel relieved and less stressed because it wasn’t what you first perceived.

Control

The less control we believe we have, the greater our stress response. It is interesting to note that we don’t necessarily need to have the ability to control the situation, rather just believe we can. A way to exercise this perception of control in an interview is to be prepared and to see the interview as a two-way process. Interviews are an opportunity to showcase your talents and the interviewers aren’t deliberately trying to catch you out.

Predictability

If you knew the outcome of your interview, how much difference would this make to your stress levels? Obviously, this is a difficult, if not impossible, task for most people! Some career book authors have suggested that there are only 5 different types of questions interviewers can ask in one form or another, which, if true, tells us that with the right amount of research and preparation, an interviewee could increase the level of predictability.

So now we know what influences our stress levels, here are some top tips to help you to reduce your stress levels when preparing for interviews.

Top Tips

  1. Remember that interviews are a two way process. Employers are trying to find out as much information as possible about you, not watch you fail!
  2. Do your research! Find out information about the company and its industry but also focus on the types of questions relevant to the role for which you are applying. Consider what you want them to know about you.
  3. Do more research! Read about interviews; it has been said that there are a finite number of questions that can be asked in one way or another during an interview. Look online, read books check through the role profile. What skills or competencies do they think the role requires? These could be the basis for questions.
  4. Have confidence in yourself. Interview questions aren’t there to catch you out; they are there to showcase how fantastic you would be at the role. Believe you can do the role, be clear about how you could add to the role, and even if you aren’t feeling confident fake it! Wear your best outfit, spend time making you feel at your best, see tip 8!
  5. Ignore stress. How stressed we believe we are affects how stressed we feel. Interviews are stereotypically thought of as some kind of torture. Try fooling yourself; pretend that you are really confident or that you already have the job. You know that advice about imagining your audience naked….
  6. Know where you are going, give yourself time and prepare for issues transport or otherwise. On the day, your stress levels will thank you if you aren’t worrying about being late or lost.
  7. Practice – know what you want to say and practice saying it. Check your speed and tone by either recording yourself or practicing to friends or family.
  8. Pick an appropriate outfit, but one that gives you confidence and make you feel comfortable.
  9. Want the job! It’s great to have interview practice, but going for jobs you really don’t want will do nothing towards reducing stress levels.
  10. Ask for feedback. Knowing what to work on for next time helps to reduce interview stress next time.
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