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We have regularly preached the benefits of networking. It’s amazing that the simple act of getting out there and talking to people has – brought career opportunities to so many.

Social media, of course, makes networking easier than ever before, with round-the-clock opportunities to ‘meet’ like-minded people and potential career influencers on LinkedIn and Twitter.

But there’s nothing quite like a face-to-face conversation to make an impression on someone, so we strongly advise keeping an eye out for the right events in your area that will help you meet influencers within your chosen profession.

It’s Christmas!

At Christmas you’re likely to find yourself networking more than ever, albeit on a more informal basis.

Cringe worthy!

Keep your business cards handy and polish off your elevator pitch this December because it is traditionally the one time of year when you’re most likely to meet new people, go to social gatherings, visit extended family and, of course, attend the (infamous!) work Christmas party.

Most of us will have seen, heard or even been involved in a Christmas party horror tale, where the merriment amongst colleagues quickly got out of hand.

Lindsey and Katherine have heard stories where free bars have led to fights between colleagues, while many of us have, after a few too many festive drinks, decided that now was the time to tell your boss exactly what you thought of him. Yes, Katherine has been guilty of this one!

What’s more, the regular use of social media and cameras on phones has further increased the risks associated with Christmas party antics.

Despite the potential pitfalls, the festive season is always a great way to make a good impression, particularly on senior management or influencers in your field, who you may not deal with regularly on a day-to-day basis.

To navigate through the festive networking season, stick to the three steps below, throw in a bit of common sense and you should be fine:

  1. Don’t over indulge! Yes, it’s obvious but it’s the most important thing to remember. Particularly when there’s a free bar involved, it can be difficult to monitor your alcohol intake but it’s important to remember where you are. When networking, you’re always keen to make the best impression possible – don’t change this mind-set just because it’s Christmas.
  2. Remember who you’re with: That doesn’t just mean not getting blind drunk. It means no ‘raunchy’ nightclub-style dancing, no risqué jokes and definitely no advances on colleagues! We all know the boundaries within our close circle of friends, but be aware that you’re mixing with people from a range of different backgrounds, so be sensible.
  3. Be Sociable: Don’t hide away. This is a great way to socialise with your colleagues outside of the usual high-pressure working environment, so relax, use the opportunity to get to know people better and enjoy the occasion!

Career Ambitions is dedicated to enabling individuals realise their dreams by finding the career that is most suited to them. Contact us via support@careerambitions.co.uk or 01223 633535 to see how we can help you.

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Career management is such a dynamic and varied field – at Career Ambitions we strive to keep all our clients abreast of changes and progression opportunities in the world of work.

November may only just be underway, but we’re already starting to plan our Training & Workshop Agenda for 2014.

2014 wish list

And we need YOUR help!

Whether you’ve attended one of the 20 events we’ve hosted in 2013 or not, we are keen to hear what you think would help you to manage your career more proactively!

Mentioned below are some of the events and workshops we’ve hosted so far in 2013, categorised into three sections: Career Preparation, What Career, and Executive Spotlight Sessions.

We are very grateful if you could answer the following questions and share your thoughts with us at support@careerambitions.co.uk

  • Which events that we’ve hosted in the last 12 months would you like more of?
  • What do you want to learn more about?
  • Can you suggest any career-related events that we’ve not hosted in 2013 that you’d like to see?
  • Is there anything missing that you think should be added to our 2014 schedule?

Career Preparation

Our Career Skills Workshops were primarily aimed at individuals who were facing redundancy, or had recently been made redundant. These interactive sessions enabled our clients to feel empowered to rebuild their confidence, and experience powerful insights into how to use their transferable skills to stand out from other candidates.

Workshops specifically looked at taking the fear out of Job Interviews, Writing a Powerful CV,  Networking the 21st Century way – Using Linkedin.

Feedback Received

“The skills you taught me were invaluable. So thank you – it gave me a big confidence boost.” Melanie-Jane, Cambridge.

 

“I picked up lots of useful tips, even though I have been employed for more than 40 years!”  Kevin, Cambridge.

 

“Without exaggeration, I would like to say that Monday’s workshop was one the most useful days of 2013. I learnt a great deal.” Bharat, Cambridge.

What Career?

These workshops were for people who were unhappy in their job, at a career crossroads or reassessing their career path. Our clients found clarity about what makes them tick and the tools to turn their career ideas into reality.

Your Feedback

“I now have a clear idea about what it is I shine at and what it is I want to aim for. I have even been offered a job! I recommend this What Career workshop to ANYONE who has reached an impasse with their career.” Jane, Peterborough.

Executive Spotlight Sessions

Our Executive Spotlight sessions are half-day events which are designed to help professionals look at – and improve – a particular element of their careers.

Topics for our Executive Spotlight sessions included a “How to” series on Getting Found on LinkedIn, First Impressions, Reducing your Money Worries, Utilising Recruitment Consultants to your Advantage, Presenting like Steve Jobs and, most recently, Dealing with Difficult Conversations in the workplace.

These Spotlight Sessions also included guest speakers with vast experience in their particular field.

Your Feedback

“Lindsey and Katherine bring so much to each session they deliver.” Sarah, St Neots.

 

“It’s a very encouraging event where people of all skills and background are given the chance to present and receive constructive feedback in safe hands.”  Ivan, Cambridge.

What do you think? Which of these sessions would appeal to you – and is there anything we’ve missed? Whether you’ve attended one of our events or not, please let us know how we can help you accelerate your career!

You can email your thoughts to support@careerambitions.co.uk, comment below or tweet us @AmbitionsClub

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Having a difficult conversation?

In almost any job, there will come a time when we will be forced to have difficult conversations.

In management roles, these are more common. You may have to make an employee redundant, address your Board about lower than expected results or address an employee’s performance.  Alternatively, it may be you who is nervous about approaching your boss, either about an issue at work or your personal circumstances.

On a day-to-day basis, there are almost always internal working issues that can be difficult to broach for fear of upsetting or offending a colleague.

None of us want to be disliked or, worse, lose our job.  Our tendency can be to take the least stressful short-term solution and avoid having these difficult conversations at all costs.

Meanwhile, more bullish individuals may approach these situations more ‘directly’, which could cause conflict and low morale within the organisation.

Our October Executive Career Spotlight session : How to Deal with Difficult Conversations will address these issues for individuals and organisations alike.  Katherine Wiid, one of 400 LAB Profiling specialists in the world, will be sharing her expertise in “decoding” the language that people use to help you identify what is motivating them to act in a certain way. Understanding this will help you to deal with difficult conversations.

You can listen to an excerpt of Katherine’s radio interview with Mark Peters on Star Radio Cambridge  here:

The Executive Career Spotlight  is taking place on Monday 21 October and will teach you invaluable skills to enable you:

  • To prepare for difficult conversations
  • To be alert for verbal and non verbal signals and have strategies up your sleeve to deal with them
  • To use language effectively to diffuse the situation
  • To control your emotions and have the confidence to deal with whatever comes your way
  • And much, much more!

This interactive workshop on How to Deal with Difficult Conversations is taking place in Cambridge. Places are limited so booking early is highly recommended. For more information and details on how to book your place, click here.

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The next spotlight session in our calendar is taking place on Monday 9 September and places are now extremely limited, so we’d strongly advise you to book now in order to avoid disappointment.

This Executive Spotlight workshop will dispel the myth that good presenters are born, not made and show how you can present like Steve Jobs, one of the greatest public speakers of recent times.

Steve Jobs evolved as a speaker through careful preparation and experience. Guest presenter Don Wiid will illustrate how you can wow your audience by NOT using PowerPoint, with Career and Confidence coach Lindsey Reed showing how you can gain the confidence you need to present in front of audiences of all sizes.

Places for this interactive session are priced at just £20. To book your place, click here.

For more details on any Career Ambitions events, contact Katherine or Lindsey at support@CareerAmbitions.co.uk, call 01223 633535 or follow us on Twitter.

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Recruitment Agencies – you can love them or hate them, however just like any relationship, it’s about knowing how to manage the relationship effectively. Remember, it’s not just what’s in it for you, but also what’s in it for them!

There are advantages and disadvantages to using Recruitment Agencies, and many of you may have experiences you’d like to share too on how to use (and not use) Recruitment Agencies.

Advantages

  • Specialist Recruitment Agencies in your field will recognise and understand your expertise
  • They can give you objective feedback on your Application and how to promote yourself
  • They will also have a good knowledge of the market place
  • They may have excellent contacts in organisations that could be of interest to you
  • They save you the time of searching for job opportunities.

Disadvantages (sadly all of these points below have been experienced by some of our clients)

  • Recruitment Agencies may be sympathetic about your situation, however do not have the time to invest in helping you with your issues
  • You may not always know who the client is until the last minute, which restricts your ability to fully research the company and interviewers
  • They decide which candidates are put forward for jobs – you may miss out or not know if the brief has changed
  • If you are looking for a Career Change, they may not listen to you and keep wanting to put you forward for roles similar to what you have done in the past
  • Can be quite impersonal and not keep in touch
  • May amend your CV and make mistakes.

Tips

  • Remember that Recruitment Agencies are not paid by you, they are paid by their client, the employer, so may have a different agenda to you
  • Don’t register with too many Recruitment Agencies – be selective. Choose those that either specialise in your Role or the Industry you are interested in
  • Ensure all communication with them is professional and build good rapport with the Recruitment Consultant
  • Always check that the Recruitment Agency is a member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the only professional body dedicated to representing the whole of the recruitment industry.

Are these tips useful but you have other questions you’d like to ask?

Why not come along to our next Executive Spotlight on 15 August How to Manage your Recruitment Consultant and find out how you can get in the head of a recruiter and maximise this relationship? You will have the opportunity to hear from Richard DeNetto of Whitehill Pelham, a leading Cambridge recruiter who specialises in Sales, Marketing, HR and Operations.

How to manage your Recruitment Consultant Executive Spotlight is on Thursday 15th August 2013 at 13:15 – 16:30. To find out how to book click here.

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We’ve recently discussed and conducted a number of workshops on the subject of Interviewing with Confidence.

The purpose of these workshops was to boost the confidence of professionals who were struggling to cope with their confidence levels at job interviews and, as a result, being overlooked for the positions they were going for.

What we were finding, though, was that it wasn’t actually nerves – or at least solely nerves – that were the problem.

It seemed it was a case of being unable to think on their feet quickly enough, a lack of story-telling skills or a misunderstanding about what the interviewer wants to hear.  With interviews, there are many factors to take into consideration when it comes to having the ability to ace a job interview.

The simple truth is that there are very few of us who are well practiced when it comes to (successful) job interviews. Whether you have recently found yourself out of work, are a recent graduate or are a seasoned professional working your way up the career ladder, job interviews can always seem tricky simply because they’re not something we do regularly.

Even if you’ve had many interviews in the past, they’re all different. And we could all do with a refresher course.

Interview with Impact

To kick-off our Summer Glow schedule, we are hosting a half-day workshop that takes these issues into account and gives you a one-stop guide to Interviewing with Impact.

“I had my eyes opened and saw things about myself that I didn’t realise were holding me back. This has been useful and I will explore this further. Both Katherine and Lindsey are inspiring.” Mary Thompson.

The session is taking place on Thursday 15 August and will give you a full ‘refresher’ course in job interviews, including practice at interview situations and personalised tailored support and advice from two career coaches with over 20 years in the field.

The session costs just £80 and will leave you feeling wholly prepared and full of confidence to face any job interview situation.

“Today has been a really useful session which went beyond your basic interview skills training! I now feel that I have the skills to showcase my abilities in an interview much better than before.” Laura Halstead.

For further details and to book your place, click here or contact Katherine or Lindsey at support@CareerAmbitions.co.uk or call 01223 633535.

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We are delighted to be able to announce that we have now finalised our workshop programme for the second half of the summer.

By using our own vast experience as career coaches and utilising the knowledge of industry experts, we can use these sessions to give you tailored coaching that can help you to progress your career to the highest level possible and, ultimately, help you to find the job that your skills deserve.

In addition to this Wednesday’s Writing Powerful CV’s Workshop, we are also hosting two sessions on Thursday 15 August and, finally, an Executive Spotlight session on Monday 9 September which will teach you how to present like Steve Jobs!

We always keep our workshops and Spotlight sessions extremely varied, covering as many themes and subjects as possible. We understand that everyone works individually and that we all have different strengths and weaknesses and different things we want to work on to progress our careers.

As a result, we are confident that there is something in our new Summer Glow programme for everyone, whether you are looking for a new job, wanting to enhance your existing skills and progress your career, or are even contemplating a change of career.

Interview with Impact – Thursday 15 August (am)

So many talented professionals miss out at the interview stage of the application process, not because they’re not suited to the job they’re applying for, but because they struggle with nerves and can’t show their prospective employer that this is the job for them.

Does this sound like you? Are you panicked by the thought of a job interview?

After the success of our recent ‘life-changing’ interview workshops, we are hosting another half-day Masterclass which will take away interview-related stress, give genuine practice of interview situations and leave you confident about making a (positive) impact at any job interview you’re likely to face.

To find out more, see what previous attendees of these sessions have to say and book your place, click here.

Executive Career Spotlight: How to Manage your Recruitment Consultant – Thursday 15 August (pm)

In the latest of our Executive Career Spotlight sessions, you can hear from – and quiz – a leading Cambridge recruiter, Richard DeNetto of Whitehill Pelham, on how you can utilise the services of recruitment consultants effectively.

For just £20, you will also be given job searching tips from two career management coaches and the chance to find out how leading recruiters make decisions and how you can get the best out of your relationship with them in order to get the job you want.

If you’re looking for – or contemplating looking for – a new job, it also represents a great, affordable chance to meet-up with one of Cambridge’s leading recruiters!

To find out more and book your place, click here.

Executive Career Spotlight: How to Present like Steve Jobs – Monday 9 September

Many believe that good presenters are born, not made. This is not true.

Unless you are extremely blessed, powerful talks don’t just ‘happen’. One of the most inspiring presenters of recent times, Steve Jobs, undoubtedly evolved as a public speaker as time wore-on and extensively prepared for any talk.

This spotlight session will show how you can present like Steve Jobs and give you the confidence you need to present in-front of audiences of all sizes.

To find out more and book your place, click here.

Give your career that summer glow!

Whether you are struggling with job interviews, unsure of how to work alongside recruiters or lacking confidence when it comes to public speaking, it’s important to give yourself the tools you need in order to progress your career.

In particular, these sessions are aimed at people who:

  • Are looking for a job
  • Want to enhance their skills
  • Are in-danger of redundancy, or those who have recently been made redundant
  • Are Professionals considering a change of career
  • Want to make an impact in their career
  • Are recent graduates and wanting to get ahead of the rest.

We all want to go as far as possible in our careers, want to achieve more and, of course, earn as much money as possible.  What are you doing to boost your career?

Career Ambitions is dedicated to enabling individuals realise their dreams by finding the career that is most suited to them. Contact us via support@careerambitions.co.uk or 01223 633535 to see how we can help you.

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Your CV is only a great CV if it gets you an interview

You may spend hours reading books on how to produce a great CV and then spend more hours writing your CV.  However if you do not consider who your readers are and tailor your CV for THEM, then your great CV may land on the REJECT pile.

Yes, there are many books out there that will instruct you on how to write a great CV, they may give you exercises to determine your transferable skills and give you a template so the style is logical and neat. This is all good stuff. However what many books do NOT cover is the psychology behind writing a great CV from the decision maker’s perspective.

Great CV for the readerMany people think that they have written a great CV: it demonstrated their achievements and is grammatically sound – however they forget who the CV is for. Remember, your CV is about you but it is not FOR you. Your CV needs to be aimed at various different readers; the Recruitment Agent, HR, Line Manager, CEO…and the challenge is to have a CV that they all think is great!

 

At the beginning of the recruitment process someone will read your great CV and decide whether it will go to the next stage or be rejected. Your CV has about 6 seconds to make a positive initial impact. The person reading your CV at this stage may just have a checklist to see if you have the right skills and knowledge.

 

If your great CV passes this initial stage then it will be given to the line manager or Director. Someone who knows about the details of the role – they will be looking to see how you will benefit the Organisation.

 

So you have about 2 x A4 pages to get the right messages across to these people who are looking at the CV from different angles.

On our CV workshop we cover the psychology behind the CV so that you can write a great CV that will quickly connect to the decision makers so that they will want to invite you for an Interview – and of course – that is the whole purpose of your great CV!

 

 Thanks for all the help I received from you both. My CV really impressed my new boss after the workshop and being reviewed by yourselves. Eric

 

I’m delighted to say that shortly after your workshop (and excellent CV advice) I secured a new role. Thanks again for your assistance. Steve

If you are facing redundancy, looking for a new job or contemplating returning to work after a career break and need to make a strong impression on paper and write a great CV, then our next Writing a Great CV workshop is for you.

Career Ambitions is dedicated to enabling individuals realise their dreams by finding the career that is most suited to them. Contact us via support@careerambitions.co.uk or 01223 633535 to see how we can help you.

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Job interviews might be one of, if not the most important factor in our career progression.  For the vast majority of us, however, they are something to be dreaded.

We all know that feeling.  The nervous tension, the utter desperation to impress, the sudden realisation – and panic – that you don’t know the answer to that all-important question. It doesn’t matter how ‘big’ or successful we become, you’ll be hard pushed to find many people who can conquer nerves and truly excel at the job interview.

Instead, we hope to simply get through it, valiantly trying to show off our skills and knowledge and, of course, land that dream job. But it’s often far from an enjoyable experience.

Even with extensive preparation and research, many of us are absolutely terrified when it comes to the big interview.  And it is these nerves that can often cost us our dream job and, subsequently, drastically reduce our confidence.

Our message is simple: Don’t let fear of interviews ruin your job prospects.

We are hosting a half-day workshop that will take away all the accompanied stress and panic that goes with interviews and leave you feeling wholly prepared and full of confidence, no matter what is thrown at you.

Our ‘Interview with Confidence’ Masterclass is being held in Cambridge on Wednesday 24 July and will give you:

  • Advice on what’s been holding you back in interview situations – and what you can do about it
  • The skills to ensure you’re in the right frame of mind for your next interview situation
  • The key to building a rapport with the interviewer(s)
  • And so much more!

For more information visit our events page.

In addition, you also have the option to attend an additional Career Executive Spotlight session in the afternoon for £20, where we explore how you can reduce your Money Worries so that you don’t come across as “desperate” in the interview.

By the end of these workshops, you will be left feeling revitalised, confident and, most importantly, have none of the current anxieties and stress that you may currently associate with a job interview situation.

Can you really afford not to do something that could dramatically boost your career prospects?

Call 01223 633535 or email support@careerambitions.co.uk to book your place, or click here for more information.

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We previously discussed how the interview process is no longer as formulaic as it once was, with more and more companies trying different approaches when it comes to recruiting the top talent to their organisation.

But, for many interviewees, the issue with a job interview is not with the interview itself. The sting in the tail comes in the form of a psychometric test.

Whether it’s through a lack of preparation, or added nerves at being faced with this still often misunderstood approach, the psychometric test has tripped up even the most confident and experienced individuals.

To lay our cards on the table, we’re not massive supporters of the sort of psychometric test that is employed by many organisations as a recruitment tool. However, we – and you! – have to accept that more and more companies now see this as a way of determining a candidate’s suitability for their vacancy.

As such, if you haven’t yet undertaken a psychometric test, the chances are that you will have to in the future.

Which means that it’s important to fully understand what they are, why companies use them and, above all, to ensure you’re ready for the test, as it can often prove the difference between landing the job or not.

Preparing for a Psychometric TestThe Psychometric Test - how to prepare

First of all, consider what you can do to prepare. Think simple: have a good night’s sleep, a decent breakfast and get into a positive state of mind. Do not spend time concerning yourself with the psychometric test as there are many aspects to it that are beyond your control. It’s better to spend your time preparing for the interview itself.

Things you can prepare for and spend time considering are:

Find out the purpose of the tests and what they will be using: A psychometric test isn’t to try and trick or confuse you. Organisations employ them because they see it as the most efficient way of finding out the best suited individual for the job. In theory at least, if the psychometric test shows you’re not suited to the job, you’re better off not getting it.
Look at the Job Specification! As you would for a standard interview, read and re-read the job specification and learn it inside-out. It will directly relate to the sort of questions and scenarios that will be asked in the test.
Practice working against the clock: The timing element of a psychometric test can panic many people into making mistakes, so get plenty of practice at working under time constraints to make yourself feel more comfortable – Sudoku is a favourite of Lindsey’s!
Refresh your maths skills: Should one of the tests be on numeracy, then you can expect the questions to take the form of a mathematical problem, with five or six possible answers. So if your knowledge of percentages, fractions, decimals, proportions, ratios, and numerical relationships are rusty, it’s time to re-acquaint yourself!

While you can prepare for these practical elements, it’s important not to change your mental approach or attitude in anyway as a means of ‘passing’ the psychometric test. Be authentic.

A test you can’t prepare for – the Language and Behavioural (LAB) Profile

At Career Ambitions, we are big advocates of a psycho-linguistic tool called the LAB Profile. The reason for this is that, unlike psychometric tests, there are no right and wrong answers.  As the candidate you are unable to manipulate the answers in any way, simply because the ‘test’ is simply a 30-minute conversation to find out what motivates you at work!

You cannot prepare at all for the LAB profile because your inherent motivations are revealed to a trained Profiler in the everyday language that you use.

So the bottom line on completing a psychometric test is this.  If you feel like you have to bust a gut to be what the company wants you to be rather than being true to your inherent motivations, is the job really for you?

Find out more about what a LAB Profile can tell you about you and your career which can also enable you to prepare for a psychometric test!

Career Ambitions is dedicated to enabling individuals realise their dreams by finding the career that is most suited to them. Contact us via support@careerambitions.co.uk or 01223 633535 to see how we can help you.

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