Made redundant

If you were made redundant, how would you react? Panic perhaps. Or maybe you would go into a state of shock. Or would you be excited at the new opportunities ahead and grasp a redundancy offer with both hands?

Made redundant

In my experience, when someone is made redundant, humans tend to go into fight or flight mode. Our first reaction is to think, “how will I pay my bills?” or “how will my friends and family react when they find out?” We are programmed to react, and react fast.

Why do we react to being made redundant like this?

This fight-or-flight reaction is a very human reaction. In fact, it’s also known as the ‘acute stress response’. It’s a physiological reaction that sees our bodies releasing adrenaline, as well as sending our bodies into hormonal overdrive. It’s a neural response form our hypothalamus, part of our brain. And this affects the way that we think, behave, act… it’s no surprise that redundancy triggers this reaction, but it’s how we get through it and past the fight-or-flight stage that counts!

I’m currently coaching 15 people facing redundancy, and thirteen of those went straight into panic mode. They instantly thought of the worst-case scenarios; “I haven’t got enough experience in my field”, “my parents will be worried”, “I have to pay the mortgage”… So they dusted off their ancient CV, added a 2018 section, and fired it off to a long list of recruiters. Then, they went home and sent their whole family into panic mode (in many ways, this fight-or-flight reaction is contagious!). For many candidates, the situation starts to spiral, they can’t sleep, they can’t think, they perform badly or don’t show up to interviews… it becomes a never ending nightmare because of the stress they are experiencing.

It doesn’t help that often, as soon as someone is made redundant, recruiters start swarming around. Like bees around a freshly opened flower, or Pooh Bears around a pot of honey! I recently coached a candidate who had 30 potential companies and interviews… now that’s ridiculous. How many of those were actually suited to his experience and motivators? Very few. While it may seem wise to quickly snap up a job and get back on a payroll (especially when you’ve just faced the shock of redundancy), that’s not always the best career move.

Being made redundant can be a positive opportunity for change.

Only two of my recent group saw being made redundant as a positive opportunity for change. One decided to take the redundancy package and go travelling, the other to try a change of career for six months before settling back into a full time role. Rather than go at 100 miles an hour and apply for jobs that are not going to excite you, or accept a soulless offer from a recruiter for a role that will leave you dreading Monday mornings, take a moment to reevaluate your career.

Ask yourself my favourite question: “what’s important to you in your work?”

I like to think that we live a 100-year life these days. Our careers are a huge part of that! Redundancy is just a tiny blip in the grand scheme of things. And actually, change can focus us on what’s really important in life. Take a step back if you’ve recently been made redundant. What motivates you? What gets you excited? Is it time for change? Think about finding a career that’s sustainable and will see you through!

Many of my candidates have a sense of guilt when made redundant, and are reluctant to put themselves first… But that’s exactly what you need to do if you’re facing redundancy. Don’t worry about what your friends or family might think in the short term. Think long term. Positive change for you, means positive change for your friends and family too! It’s not selfish to put yourself first, especially when it comes to career.

Being made redundant gives you an opportunity to drive your career, rather than letting your career drive you.

“Sessions with Katherine gave me unique chance to be seen from different angles revealing my underestimated strong and weak points. Using simple and understandable techniques Katherine equipped me with the powerful career development tools. I left the last session charged with confidence and clear vision of the next step in my career.” Cyril, Senior Scientist Cambridge

If you are facing redundancy, please reach out to me. I would love to help you to overcome the fight-or-flight reaction and find a positive way forwards to your next career move!

“Talking at length to Katherine as an independent person about what next for me in my career helped me face my fear of change. It propped me up and was a motivator after what seemed like a kick in the teeth from my previous employer. There was a wonderful way in which Katherine was able to decode my career history and come up with my saleable virtues. The focus on “wants and don’t wants” was an important early step to defining my next career move. I have recommended Career Ambitions to both friends and work colleagues and I would not hesitate to work with Katherine again.” Wyn, Senior Manager, Bio-tech

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contract work freelancers

It’s the start to a volatile year on the political front for those living here in the UK. The “B” word is dominating the headlines. And suffice to say, the job market in some areas is lacking commitment as we launch into 2019. If the Prime Minister doesn’t know what the future of this country is going to look like, then how can hiring managers? The rise of contract work is happening…

How are hiring managers tackling uncertainty?

Instead of thinking long-term, HR and decision makers are turning to short term contractors, freelancers and temporary staff. According to a study by the Robert Half 2019 Salary Guide, 1.6 million UK businesses plan to hire temporary or contract work staff in the next twelve months.

There are other factors that contribute to this short term hiring trend. As technology advances new skills need to be brought in to companies to close the skills gaps. Existing employees tend to stick to what they know, and often that leads to them being technologically left behind. A younger workforce, more at ease with the latest technological advances, is well placed to step in and bring the organisation up to speed. This is particularly common in data-driven or AI based roles, jobs that wouldn’t have existed 10 or even 5 years ago.

This flexible approach to hiring means that the risks are limited – companies can scale up or scale down dependent on their requirements and at short notice, without having to give long-term employees the chop.

And where there’s demand, comes supply…

There are over 2 million freelancers in the UK alone (and rising).Freelance economy jobs

At the end of last year, despite Brexit and economic uncertainty, the national employment rate fell to 4.1%, its lowest since 1975. This is despite the UK’s hiring rates slowing down, and business growth being put largely on pause. How? The growth of contract work.

If you’re open to change, then the rise of the gig economy gives you the chance to try something different. Perhaps to utilise your skills in a different environment or industry, or work in a different part of the company.

So what does this mean for candidates?

If you’re facing redundancy or a change in career, then think about repackaging yourself. Instead of looking only for long-term opportunities, why not consider contract work? Contract work is short-term, but contractors are generally highly paid and highly valued. Many candidates find it more interesting and challenging than normal roles! It also allows you greater flexibility than a long-term position.

More than a third of UK businesses are already using contractors to fill the skills gaps in their businesses, and that rate looks to rise in 2020. So why not embrace the change and make the most of the job market’s changing opportunities! 

Contractors earn more.

There are no two ways about it. Contract work is better paid than the long-term employees. The pay is higher, they pay less in taxes, have less overheads and they get to deduct their expenses (all those coffees and train fares!). So a short-term position could be beneficial to your bank balance in the long run! And being a contractor isn’t as complicated as you might think. A survey conducted by health technology start-up WeMa Life found that 39% of full-time employees surveyed were put off contracting because they didn’t know how to raise invoices or take payments. Technology has revolutionised the world of self-employment. There are now apps to make tax returns, invoices, expenses and all other elements of business simple.

How could you repackage yourself for short-term contract work?

Consider what you could offer to a company looking for short-term hires. What skills do you bring to the table? When it comes to contracting, the focus is on the technical skills rather than the soft skills. The recruitment process for short-term hires is different to long-term hires, and often only involves one or two stages! Create a CV that (much like the recruitment process) is short and to the point, featuring your skills, achievements and career history to date. Make sure your CV is personalised for each application and then your success rate will be much higher finding contract work.

Let’s embrace the changing world of work.

The job market is changing (as is the EU). Candidates need to be flexible and change with the world of work and external influences. Look for the opportunities, adapt your search, and embrace the rise of the gig economy.

If you’d like help figuring out how to approach the world of contracting, get in touch!

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slow but sureBrexit is causing serious job industry uncertainty. Will there be jobs available? Will companies make redundancies here and move abroad? Are recruiting managers looking for robots instead of humans?

Many candidates have told me that they are worrying that the job market is slowing down due to Brexit. But what real evidence do they have? It seems to me that recruitment agencies are scaremongering!

With uncertainty comes opportunity.

I believe that with uncertainty comes opportunity. During the last economic crisis, we saw companies close, but we also saw successes. Companies who were able to ride the waves of the crash, and candidates who were able to succeed in securing new jobs (and excelling in those roles).

In times of uncertainty, as a candidate you have to make things happen. In order to succeed in the job market, you need to go out there and be proactive! Here are a few things to do to keep your job search moving as we enter 2019…

Dedicate time to networking. 

I’m not talking about one minute elevator pitches or joining a whole heap of expensive networking groups. Throughout your career, no matter how settled you are, you should always be networking. Building contacts, talking to real people in the industry. It’s those people who will be best placed to make connections, give you information and advice when you next find yourself job seeking! And they will have a real life view of how the job market is doing, rather than getting worried about the views of a frustrated recruiter who hasn’t hit their monthly target. Never has there been a truer saying “It’s not what you know it’s who you know.” 

Use LinkedIn and Glassdoor to research the job market.

Most candidates love or hate social media. But LinkedIn is unique, as it is perfectly designed for the job seeker. Use LinkedIn and Glassdoor to do research, and figure out where there is growth. Which industries are hiring, and which aren’t? If your industry isn’t hiring right now, consider how your skills and experience could be applied to a slightly different role or industry. Perhaps a career change isn’t something you were considering, but when you drill down into your reasons for leaving your current job, you might realise a change of scenery isn’t such a bad thing…

Come and talk to me!

As a career management coach, I know exactly what’s going on in the world of recruitment and in the job market. What we’re finding is that there are less advertised jobs. In times of uncertainty, companies are cautious about hiring. They know that a failed hire could cost them badly, and often don’t want to take any risks. Jobs are often advertised internally, or through their network, rather than publicly. This is where having a good network is key! Knowing how to market yourself and make an impact is vital at times like this, so that you are in the forefront of people’s minds when they are looking for talent.

The questions we would cover together are:

  • What is your job seeking strategy?
  • How are you positioning yourself currently?
  • Would you be a recruitment manager’s first choice?

It may just need a few tweaks before you find yourself being offered your dream job!

If you’re not sure which career direction to go in, or you’re having difficulty in the job market please get in touch. Every day I work with candidates and help them to identify and secure jobs that motivate, inspire and challenge them. Is that what you’re looking for?

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Question search markAccording to new research by CIPD, almost half of our workforce are currently in roles that do not match their skills. Their whitepaper Over-Skilled and Under-Used is worth downloading. Are you one of them, neglecting to re-calibrate your career?

A reality we don’t often acknowledge is that careers are not for life! How often do you re-calibrate and re-evaluate your career? You might be thinking that changing careers is scary, costly and stressful. So why change career when you could manage your career more proactively instead, and continually assess, reevaluate, refocus your priorities?

The CIPD report reminds us that these dissatisfied workers could end up facing psychological distress, often have low job satisfaction, low motivation, low productivity levels and ultimately are more likely to quit. Recognise any of these in yourself and your current work situation?

Remember that your career doesn’t have to be forever. You might not hate your role, but is it pushing you, stretching you, helping you to learn and grow? There are several key milestones in your career that give you the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate and re-calibrate your career. 

When to re-calibrate your career.


1 2 3 years_ med

1 year1 year in.

Ask yourself how is it going? Are you enjoying your new job? Does it match the job description and what you were promised during the hiring process? Or is it different (that could be good or bad!). How are the people you are working with, have you integrated well? Are you using all your skills? If not how could you be using them? Are you learning, developing, expanding your knowledge?


2YR2 years in.

With a new job often comes new learning. But two years in, is the learning continuing? How often do you get opportunities for training, or to expand your knowledge base? Are you learning from your colleagues or are you simply sitting back and coasting now?


5YR5 years in.

After five years in a job, the classic itchy feet kick in. This is the time when most people have had enough of where they are, and want a major change. Before you get to this crisis point, reassess! What have you accomplished in your five years in the role, and is there more to be done? Are there opportunities for you to gain more responsibility or develop your role? Reassessing gives you a chance to request change, rather than suddenly feeling ‘oops I’ve fallen out of love with my job.’

The key to a happy, successful career is to constantly question and challenge yourself. 

Be aware of changes happening. In the workplace, in the industry, in the job market. Once you are employed we often forget to keep up with change (and can quickly find yourself left behind – which is problematic if you find yourself job hunting again). Are you still current in the marketplace? Are your skills keeping up with the times? Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, you don’t want to get left behind. Plus, self-learning is great for your morale, your knowledge base, your organization and your CV (read more about self-learning to accelerate your career!).

Think outside the office. 

So often I coach people who seem to have forgotten how to network! Even when you’re comfortably employed, never let yourself get too comfortable. Keep trying to build networks outside of your organisation or sector so that you have a real view of what’s going on in the industry and the wider world – not just what you think might be going on. It will also help to raise your profile and ensure you’re in people’s minds for opportunities that otherwise might pass you by.

The key to enjoying your job is to keep questioning it. If there’s an aspect that’s missing, or something you aren’t enjoying, challenge it. If you don’t, you’ll soon find yourself lacking motivation and wanting to leave.

Keep re-calibrating your career!

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brain workoutLearning: the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience or being taught.

As the UK faces a nationwide skills shortage, ask yourself: How often do you do training or learn something new? If you aren’t stretching yourself regularly, are you adding to the problem?

As children we are constantly learning, evolving, developing…but as adults that learning curve seems to tail off. We get wrapped up in our roles, completing daily tasks, meeting targets – that we forget to learn. The consequences? Employees’ skills are becoming outdated and getting left behind as technology advances at a rapid pace.

I have recently been coaching a team of three developers. Each of them has a different approach to learning.

Developer 1 waits to learn from others, complaining when their colleagues are too far ahead and he can’t keep up. Developer 2 has the ability to learn, however feels threatened by Developer 3, who spends hours learning new things in his own time. Developer 3’s approach to work is that he will teach himself what he needs to know, in order to solve the new problems that technology is bringing.

Now, there is no right or wrong approach here. Perhaps Developer 3 has lost sight of a ‘work-life balance’! Or perhaps he loves his job so much, that learning is actually a pleasure for him. Some may call Developer 1 lazy, or say that Developer 2 is jealous. But that’s not the point! Learning shouldn’t stop when we become adults and get sucked up into the world of work. In fact, learning becomes more important than ever (unless you want to find yourself on the job scrap heap).

Learning is key to accelerating your career

Think about the three developers. Which camp do you fall into? Do you wait and complain? Or are you capable but worried about being shown up by someone more confident? Or do you just go for it, and lead the way? Which of those developers is most likely to get a promotion, be given greater responsibility, or retained if redundancies are to be made? Developer 3. The proactive self-learner, who really loves what he does.

A company who is getting learning right: C3 IoT 

This American technology firm offer their employees $1000 for every training course they take. This means that not only can they hire employees with the potential to learn (rather than searching for candidates who tick all the exact requirements), but they also ensure that their employees keep their knowledge up to date. In fact, the desire to self-learn is one of their key requirements when hiring. For the employees – these training bonuses are not just financial, they feel more valued by their employees and appreciate the support given to their own personal and professional development. Read more about C3 IoT in this Case Study.

 What can we learn from this? Learning should never stop

This approach to learning isn’t just limited to the technology industry. It applies to every role, in every industry. Change is so rapid that if you aren’t thinking about the redundancy of your skills or what you are doing, by the time you wake up you’re on the scrap heap! Across the UK companies are restructuring, shifting and evolving ahead of Brexit. Employers will be looking for candidates who are open to adapting, learning new skills and taking on new roles and opportunities. Are you open to a new career opportunity or challenge? Positioning yourself as open-minded and ready to learn will make you a whole lot more attractive to companies managing change.

Finding time to learn

So many of us find it hard to carve out time to learn things that don’t fire us up. The trick to staying relevant in today’s job market is to find something you believe in, something that you’ll love doing, and that ticks several of the criteria you set yourself that your work needs to contain.

While we would love to see all companies embracing the C3 IoT approach and giving their employees financial incentives to learn, that’s not likely to happen. But learning doesn’t need to involve expensive courses or costly resources. So often what we learn is free! It’s available online, in books, by talking to people, asking questions, attending events. All that costs is time and a little effort. And when it comes to learning, time is never wasted.

By doing this, the next time your employer is considering restructuring, you might just find yourself top of the ‘must retain’ list, rather than bottom of the pile. 

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funny-1836098_1920Research has found that levels of competition in the job market have dipped dramatically. This means that there are less candidates fighting for each job, and the chances of you getting hired are higher than ever.

Job seekers rejoice! Last month, for every job advertised there were just 0.38 people applying (according to data released by Adzuna). That’s a historic low, increasing a candidate’s chances of securing that dream role.

Don’t spray and pray.

As a jobseeker, it can be tempting to go for the spray and pray approach to job searching. You create a CV and a generic cover letter, then send it out to as many jobs as you can find… that’ll do! Unfortunately, this approach never gets great results – even when competition for jobs is as low as it is. Recruitment managers are still looking for the right candidates who will be a good fit for their business. Trust us, they can tell when an application has been rushed! It’s likely you won’t even get a response, and that can leave you feeling demotivated and frustrated.

Don’t just apply for any old job! Now is the time to find your ideal role.

Make the most of this slower-paced job market. Refine your search. What do you really want to be doing? Which roles will leave you feeling motivated, passionate and challenged? If you haven’t yet figured this out, don’t despair, you’re not alone! In fact, we found that 80% of candidates still haven’t found out their ideal career – read our tips on the blog here. It’s never too late to find your perfect job, and now is the best time. There’s less pressure and fewer candidates as competition if you’re considering a change. Once you’ve identified what kind of role you’re most suited to, it’s time to get your job applications perfect.

Take your time with job applications.

There may be fewer candidates competing for roles, but that doesn’t mean you’re the only one applying! There will still be competition out there to beat. But with a more relaxed pace, you can afford to put more time into your applications, read the job descriptions carefully and do your research.

What are the organisations looking for? Do they want someone who can grow within the business, or someone who can get their head down and get on with the job at hand? Tailor your application to echo their language and position yourself as a strong candidate with relevant skills, experience, and the ability (and drive) to learn new skills and succeed. Recruitment managers will be able to tell whether you really want the job, so don’t hit send on a lackluster application!

Review your digital footprint (before potential employers do).

Now is the time to review your digital footprint too. There’s no point having a fantastic CV and job application, if your online presence lets you down. Work through our checklist to ensure potential employers only see the best of you:

  • Google: Start by Googling your name. It may seem vain but you can guarantee that employers will do it. What comes up? Work through all the pages and make sure there’s nothing appearing that you would rather not be public
  • LinkedIn: Your LinkedIn page is like an interactive, online version of your CV, only with a lot more klout. Use our LinkedIn guide and work from top to bottom to make sure it’s presenting the best version of you
  • Facebook: When it comes to job seeking, remember the mantra ‘facebook is for friends’. Keep it personal, and set your privacy settings to private. Recruiting managers don’t need to know (or see) what you get up to in your free time!

It’s a candidates market, and the perfect opportunity for you to identify and secure your ideal job.

If you need any help with your career, whether that’s a change of direction, getting your application polished up, or a career crisis… get in touch!

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human-3131802_1920Earlier this month, Career Ambitions was a guest at the Cambridge Network Recruitment evening. Based in the Career Zone, we had the opportunity to talk to Cambridge’s candidates about their career motivations… and the results were clear.

80% of the people we spoke to said they had not yet found their ideal career. What’s stopping them? Most replied that they simply didn’t know how to assess whether a job would be right for them or not (or what they were looking for).

According to research by Investors In People, almost half of the UK workforce will be changing jobs in 2018. A fantastic opportunity for candidates to re-evaluate their career path, and find a role that challenges and motivates them, leaving them excited to go to work each week.

How can you identify your ideal career? 

  1. First, think about what motivates you. What makes you tick and gets you out of bed in the morning? When are you “in flow” completely absorbed in what you are doing?
    If money was no object, what would you do in life? Go back to your childhood, what were you obsessed with, fascinated by, interested in? 100% of candidates told us it is ‘very important’ to enjoy what they do for work, yet we seem to forget this when looking for work.
  1. Think about what others applaud you for too. What do your friends and family say you are good at? Ask them! What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  1. Try a good old-fashioned job list. Scribble down all the jobs you’ve worked in so far. What did you enjoy about them, and what didn’t you enjoy so much? What jobs have you always wanted to try, and why haven’t you tried them?
  1. What do you look for in a job? Think about the essential things that a job must have for you. Candidates we spoke to listed career development opportunities, a great workplace culture, and team communications as important when looking at job opportunities. What’s important to you? 

Evaluating your job motivations and interests.

What jobs would fit with the interests, passions and motivations you’ve highlighted? If you’re a very sociable person, perhaps you would be best suited to a job in events, hospitality, or one that works closely with people. If you’re more strategic, think about working with figures and planning. Or perhaps you’re more creative and need to find a role that allows you to flex that grey matter in more colourful ways? 

The secret to finding your ideal career is to forget about work-life balance. As Confucius said, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Over the course of your lifetime, you will spend 90-100,000 hours in work. Find a job you enjoy, and don’t waste a single hour. 

If you’re still struggling to identify your ‘ideal career’, email Katherine for a chat! Using the LAB Profile technique, we can help to uncover your subconscious motivations and discover what really makes you tick – and then get you that dream job.

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You’ve secured your dream job and the next hurdle is just around the corner… what should you wear on your first day of work? 

We chatted to style advisor Lesley Clarke, who has more than 20 years experience in the fashion industry, to find out how to impress with your first day fashion. 

What’s your style? Getting it right for work.

If you haven’t been in the job market for a while or have been in academia, the transition to the world of work can be challenging in many ways. One such challenge that many give insufficient attention to is how your wardrobe is going to fit into your new lifestyle and career choice – especially on a tight budget.

At home or as a student you can be pretty carefree; jeans, T-shirt and trainers can see you through most situations but when you make that leap into employment, what’s acceptable (or expected) is often ill defined. If you’re in a job that requires formal attire it’s not so bad, it’s easier to interpret smart corporate wear – you can’t go far wrong with a suit and scarf or tie. However, when you have a more flexible remit, things can get a bit tricky. What does ‘smart casual’ look like?

Here are some guidelines to help you on your way and navigate what’s considered acceptable in your chosen field of work.

Most people will tell you to research your company, to find out the dress code and their expectations…if only it was that straight forward. And then you’ve got the added challenge of your budget, especially when you’re coming back to work after a career break or have that student debt hanging over you!

So here goes:

AccessoriesIf in doubt – go smarter.

Be cautious with black– for several reasons, it can be seen as overly authoritative and quite harsh so can create barriers. The idea of building your new work wardrobe round a neutral colour is a good idea but go for a navy or charcoal grey instead – it’s a safer bet and can work well with so many other colours.

Yellow jacketAdd a splash of colour– to let your personality show through. Best to do this with your accessories and base this around your body shape.

The idea is to use colour to draw attention to the areas you want to be noticed first. For example, if you’ve got elegant hands, paint your nails; wear an interesting ring to draw attention to this feature (but make sure your nails are never chipped!).


Men's outfits For the men, if your six pack isn’t looking as honed as it used to think about avoiding contrast colours in this region!

Think about your shoes– it’s one of the first thing women notice.

Think too about your accessories – a good watch can complement your image.

What about a hankie in your jacket breast pocket? Or have you ever considered a waistcoat – less formal than a jacket but you’d look more distinctive! Of course your personality will be influential here – just because the other people you work with don’t wear a tie, there’s nothing to stop you; but if everyone else in the office is a bit more casual think about wearing it more casually, perhaps with a chambray/denim shirt?

Experiment beforehand– try out new outfit mixes at least in front of the bedroom mirror, preferably with a reliable, honest friend in tow. Don’t leave it till you’re flying out the door in the morning to catch the bus/train! Check yourself in a full-length mirror before you walk out of the door, not to be vain, but to make sure you haven’t got toothpaste down your top or forgotten to put your earrings in (that one always frustrates me and is so easy to do when your morning routine is changed).

Pick one thing that might stretch your budget – that says you know what you’re about. For example, a quality pair of shoes, handbag or jacket. If it’s something that will help you demonstrate your individuality and you can wear it regularly, it can make you look more styled. And ladies, a necklace can change the neckline and focus, transforming an outfit.

Timeless, classic pieces – have a few of these in your arsenal. These can be mixed in a contemporary way with more ‘fashionable’ pieces.

Keep it minimal with garments you can mix and match, then gradually add to this in time when you develop your ‘feel’ for what works best in your working environment.

If you feel good in what you’re wearing, you’ll naturally stand taller and express yourself more confidently. 

Still having those first day fashion worries? Get in touch with Lesley Clarke Style Advisor.

m: 07969516390

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An Award-Winning Success Story

I recently heard Paralympian Georgie Bullen talk at an event celebrating International Women’s Day.

Wow, what a woman. Georgie is one of five people in the UK with a rare form of macular degeneration, meaning that she has just 12 degrees of vision. When Georgie was told that she wasn’t going to be able to continue her A levels due to the dangerous straining of her eyes (which could have lead to complete blindness) she was devastated. Her dreams of going to University were shattered. Having been at a mainstream school all her life, for the first time Georgie felt disabled. Entering the world of work, she found that she couldn’t get a job as employers didn’t know how to adapt the role (or the workplace) to her needs.

Not surprising when you learn that 73% of blind and partially sighted people in the UK are unemployed.

Eventually Georgie picked herself up and thought perhaps I’m focusing on the wrong thing? Why do employers find it so hard to employ blind or partially sighted people? The misconceptions around blindness mean that employers often think you are blind, not realising that there is a spectrum. Why should everyone be labeled and assumptions made?

At that moment, Georgie decided to start her own business, introducing her sport (Goalball) into the workplace as a team building experience. With the support of Prince’s Trust, Georgie now uses her disability to enable others.

Turning Adversity into Opportunity

Instead of giving up, Georgie found a way to turn adversity into opportunity. As the saying goes, there’s always a window open when a door shuts!

There are over 2 million people living in the UK with sight loss which is a lot of talent currently being overlooked or turned away by employers. And 7 million people of working age are disabled or have a health condition.

As a candidate with a disability, you are able to request that employers make reasonable adjustments’ to the role (such as changing working hours or providing equipment) to ensure that you’re able to do your job. The costs of which are usually low!

Candidates need to help educate employers so that we can overcome the barriers to employment that disabled people so often face. Employers shouldn’t turn away candidates just because they are different. Awareness is key there are many organisations working in the UK to help overcome disability bias within the workplace the world of recruitment just needs to embrace them.

Inspired by Georgie Bullen’s story? Read more about how she overcame adversity in the workplace.

Support for Disabled Candidates & Employers

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choose-the-right-direction-1536336_1920Career gaps happen for many reasons. From unexpected redundancy, to parenthood, time out, health issues or a change in career direction… Many jump to the conclusion that a career gap will look bad on their CV, but that doesn’t have to be the case!

The world of work is changing and careers are shifting and transforming more than ever. No longer is someone expected to stay in the same job for their whole working life. Flexible working patterns, transferable skills and freelancing are more common than ever. It’s up to you to own your career gap, use it as a positive time for reflection or even change, then head back into the job market ready to sell yourself to potential employers.

Avoiding The Careers Gap Trap

For many, taking a careers gap is not in ‘the plan’. Whatever the reason for your careers gap, realise that you are in charge! As Antoine Tirard and Claire Harbour-Lyell write in their book Disrupt Your Career: How To Navigate Unchartered Career Transitions and Thrive, “The difficulty with transitions is that most people are not well prepared for them… Transitions are seen more as exceptions, and are mostly viewed as negative events.”

Let’s take a moment to rewrite the age-old stereotype that career gaps are bad:


Career gaps are only bad if you don’t manage to navigate this new landscape in front of you and find your way through.

Making the Most of your Careers Gap

If your career gap was involuntary, why not make the most of this time? Whether that means travelling to a country you’ve always wanted to visit, doing some voluntary work, retraining or just dedicating time to hobbies. Turn it into an opportunity for positive growth and development, which will give you energy and something to talk about when you re-enter the job market.

Going Back to Work after a Careers Gap

Going back to work following a careers gap can be daunting. Here are our top five tips to make sure your return to work goes smoothly…

  1. Embrace change. Your careers gap happened for a reason. Perhaps it’s time to change direction and find a new role that will leave you motivated and excited by work? Consider the parts of your previous jobs you’ve enjoyed, or not enjoyed. Talk to a careers coach, or ask me to do your LAB Profile! Use your careers gap to find a more fulfilling career.
  1. Be curious. It may be a long time since you were last applying for jobs. The job market, the world of work and the language changes all the time so don’t be afraid to seek help and advice. Attend events in your sectors of interest to get inside the heads of potential employers. What are they talking about? What challenges are they facing? What language do they use? Being curious is a great weapon and will give you amazing insights that will advance your job search.
  1. Grow your mind (and your mindset). Have a look at your CV. What’s missing? Maybe it hasn’t been updated in a while! Are there skills or experience gaps that you could use your time to fill? Open your mind to change. Don’t think about ‘when I did this’ or ‘when I worked at’. That didn’t work then, so why would it now? Have a growth mindset, you’re never too old to learn! 
  1. Tackle your career gap head on. When applying for new jobs, be up front about the reason for your careers gap! Employers are often put off by a gap on a CV but if you’ve already provided an explanation then you will overcome the first hurdle.
  1. Sell yourself (and your careers gap). How did you use your careers gap and what did it teach you? What did you learn about yourself and your motivations? People returning to work after a careers gap often have a clearer vision of where they’re going and what job they want to be doing, making you a strong candidate! Let the employer know.

If you’re facing a careers gap, look at it as a positive opportunity for change! It might be the push you need to go in a new career direction… 

Struggling to find your ideal career? Get in touch with Katherine to discuss how the LAB Profile could help you to find a job that leaves you feeling motivated and excited about work. Yes, that’s really possible!  

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