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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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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cork-796138_1920When it comes to careers, self-awareness is one of the most powerful career tools out there.

So many people drift through their working lives, never really knowing what they want to be doing with their careers. We often ‘fall into’ jobs, and then find ourselves stuck and feeling frustrated. What a shame!

40% of people at work ‘fall into a career’ they didn’t choose.

Some of these people actually end up loving the job they ‘fell into’, but others wish they had fallen into something else. The other 40% chose a career because of the possibilities, the variety and the way that job made them feel. Then the 20% in the middle did a bit of both, falling and choosing. Which camp do you sit in?

What most people don’t realise is the power of knowing what drives you subconsciously. By finding out what makes you tick at work, you can consciously choose a career that will involve more of what you love, and less of what you don’t.

This is where the LAB (Language And Behaviour) Profile steps in.

The LAB Profile allows us to understand exactly what motivates us, through simple analysis of language. This understanding allows us to pinpoint the traits that make the difference between behaviour that is very effective and behaviour that does not provide the desired results. With this new knowledge, you can identify your ideal career – based on your innate motivations and passions – and ultimately find a job that will keep you interested and engaged!

How can you discover your ideal career with the LAB Profile?   

That’s easy! Unlike a psychometric test, the LAB Profile can be carried out on the phone, Skype or face-to-face. All you need is a LAB Profile Master Practitioner, such as Katherine. After a 30-45 minute conversation, Katherine will help you to understand what makes you tick., what motivates you, and what leaves you feeling disinterested! Once you know that, choosing your ideal career is easy.

We spend around 90,000 hours at work during our lifetime, and that’s a lot of time to be stuck in a job you don’t enjoy. Don’t wait a lifetime to figure out your ideal career!

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Beer testFor job seekers, it’s a challenge to stay on top of the latest recruitment trends. One week it’s CVs printed on balloons and sent into space, the next it’s video interviews and soft skills assessments.

Now, it seems to be The Beer Test.

What is The Beer Test?

The Beer Test involves employers inviting a candidate to join the team for lunch or a drink, in order to test-drive them and see if they can get on with colleagues in a more relaxed, social setting. Or there’s the hypothetical Beer Test, whereby a hiring-manager simply asks themselves the question: “would I like to go for a drink with this person?”

For the employers, this is a way to see whether a candidate will be a good culture fit with their organisation. It can also allow them to gather the opinions of other team members on that potential candidate.

As a job-seeker, how can you benefit from The Beer Test? 

Start by asking yourself the same question: “would I like to go for a drink with this person/team?” If the answer is no, then it’s likely that the job isn’t a great fit for you. We spend around 90,000 hours of our lives working, so it’s important to find a job that you enjoy! If you’re surrounded by people who you don’t enjoy spending time with, then it’s unlikely that you will remain motivated or driven in that role for long. Why waste time with jobs that aren’t right for you?

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Have you ever sat down and considered what your ideal work environment would look like, feel like, sound like?

Find your ideal career, not just a job.

Job-seeking is an exhausting, disheartening and often confidence-knocking process. Why go through it time after time? Many of our clients come to us feeling lost having been made redundant, or simply feeling dissatisfied or disengaged with their current jobs. They aren’t sure where to go or what to do with their careers.

Using the Language and Behavioural Profile (LAB Profile) allows us to pick up on the core emotional response and triggers we all have at work and turn these into words you can use on your CV and in networking situations to articulate what you are good at and enjoy doing. In a nutshell, it allows us to discover what motivates you, and therefore determine which jobs your skills and motivations would be best suited to.

When it comes to interviews and/or The Beer Test, the LAB Profile can also become an invaluable language tool. A few simple tricks will allow you to use language in its most powerful form, in order to influence others and even secure your dream role. There’s no test, no questionnaire, no lengthy process. All you need is a relaxed 45 minute chat with a LAB Profile Master Practitioner such as Katherine, followed by an in-depth feedback session.

Is it time to learn a new tool to help your job search or to identify your ideal career? Remember, it’s not just employers who can benefit from the social aspects of The Beer Test. Cheers to that!

Would you like to find out more about the LAB Profile and how it could improve your job search? Get in touch with Katherine today, or find our what our clients have to say: 

“I found your profiling to be very in-depth and believe it to be an accurate account of how I feel currently and how I work.”  Dr. Mark O’Connor PhD 


“Working though my LAB Profile with Katherine has identified what my key motivation and working traits are.  Not only did this highlight why I wasn’t enjoying my previous role it also highlighted clearly what I need to be looking at in a new role.” Sarah Stones

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Turn Weaknesses into Strengths

Turn Weaknesses into Strengths “What are your weaknesses?” 

 It’s a question that we’ve all heard. From job interviews, to annual reviews… So ask yourself, what are your weaknesses?

Perhaps you’re impatient. Maybe you are dis-organised, or stubborn. Awful, right? Who would want to employ you?

Hold on a second. Let’s flip those ‘weaknesses’ on their heads and turn weaknesses into strengths:

  •  Impatient? Actually you’re an extremely passionate person, who wants to act now and get the ball rolling!
  • Disorganised? You are probably a creative, who wouldn’t work well confined to structure and timetable.
  • Stubborn? Read “dedicated”. You know what you want to achieve and you know just how you’re going to get there.

When you put them like that, are those traits really weaknesses? Absolutely not. Yes, they may be areas that could do with improvement. But in reality, we can turn weaknesses into strengths; these can actually be perceived as strengths and vice versa. So identify your weaknesses and then flip them!! See them in a different light.

“Believe in yourself. Our strengths grow out of our weakness.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s all about mindset. We all have weaknesses, however it doesn’t take much to turn weaknesses into strengths that can actually enhance your career prospects.

One of our friends used to be very shy as a teenager. He found it difficult to start a conversation with a stranger. Over the years he has practiced and practiced. And now, he is amazing at chatting with people – engaging, asking open questions, interesting and interested.  In fact he didn’t realise that his weakness has now turned into his strength!

Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, instead of trying to ‘fix’ these, embrace the strengths that come hand in hand, and build on them.   Reframe these or decide to grow, and develop your skills and push your personal boundaries.

Katherine has done just that – pushed her personal boundaries. When we started our business together and ran our first career skills workshops, she would spend hours practicing and rehearsing as she was petrified of public speaking. She then pushed herself and joined Toastmasters. Through developing skills and overcoming fear she has been able to turn weaknesses into strengths. Two years later she now actively seeks out opportunities to speak in public.

We are often told to only ‘play to our strengths’. But actually, in order to achieve greater career success, should we be taking risks and paying more attention to our weaknesses?

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” Marilyn Vos Savant

Next time someone asks what your weaknesses are, what will you say?

Get in touch with Katherine or Lindsey at Career Ambitions today and find out how we could help to accelerate your career, so you can turn weaknesses into strengths or book onto our next Career Clinic.

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Resilience shutterstock_300737174Welcome to the fifth in our series, highlighting the importance of having a Growth Mindset. Over the past few months, our #LeadingLights research project has allowed us to model plenty of aspirational people. And throughout, we have discovered that they all share a common characteristic: a growth mindset.

Could this be the secret to their leadership success? We certainly think so! In the final instalment, we discuss the value of learning to overcome stumbling blocks on the path to success…

Growth Attribute No.5.  Resilience

 Being resilient in the face of obstacles and setbacks is easier said than done, we know! Trust us, we have been there. You step out onto the road to success and bang, you come face to face with an obstacle. What happens next could mean the difference between success and failure. Do you find a way round, or do you take the easy road back to where you’ve come?

Those of us with a growth mindset would instantly choose the first option, while those with a fixed mindset would turn their backs, never knowing what might have lay in wait just past that obstacle!

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” Napoleon Hill

One of the keys to being successful in life is resilience. We can’t always predict what life will throw at us, so we need to prepare to be surprised. Embrace challenges, and as #LeadingLight Doug Shaw recommends, “find a way to be as comfortable as you can with uncertainty”.

We’re not suggesting you leap off any cliffs, but in life it can pay off to take a few risks here and there. And why wait? “Patience is for losers” says serial entrepreneur and #LeadingLight Frances Preston.  Perhaps she’s right. We aren’t going to be here forever, we have to live for the moment and take advantage of every opportunity that arises. Don’t let anything hold you back or knock you down (at least for longer than 10 seconds unless you want to be thrown out of the ring!).

Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Otherwise everyone would be doing it!

 “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” Dr. Carol Dweck

And so we end our series exploring the attributes of a Growth Mindset. We hope we have opened your mind to a new and rewarding way of thinking that will help you to keep aiming for the stars!

Not sure whether you have a fixed or growth mindset? Book a one-to-one LAB profiling session with Katherine or Lindsey and we can help to determine and fine-tune your mindset. Either call 01223 633535 or email us today.

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Difficult Conversations? There must be a better wayWelcome to the fourth in our series, highlighting the importance of having a Growth Mindset. Over the past year, our #LeadingLights research project has allowed us to model plenty of aspirational people. And throughout, we have discovered that they all share a common characteristic: a growth mindset. Could this be the secret to their career success? We certainly think so!

We started by looking at the importance of learning from others, then focused on the importance of welcoming feedback in order to improve.  Most recently we wrote about the importance of self-belief and being proud your achievements! This time we look at why continuous improvement is actually one of your most valuable assets…

Growth Attribute No.4: Continuous improvement “Becoming is better then being”

If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that you are dealt a hand at birth, and that sticks with you throughout the game of life. But is that right? Absolutely not, says Dr. Carol Dweck. Her research found that those people with a growth mindset had a far greater potential to become successful, than those with a fixed mindset.

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” Maya Angelou

The nature of a fixed mindset means those people avoid new challenges, and prefer to stick with what they know in order to avoid any embarrassing failure. On the other hand, those with the growth mindset embrace challenges, seeing them as an opportunity for continuous improvement. Dweck wrote: “When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In the [growth mindset] world  – the world of changing qualities – it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.”

As we’ve previously discussed, learning is an invaluable tool that can benefit your health and happiness, consequently having a positive effect on your career. No one is perfect! There are ways that we can all improve, so a crucial part of a growth mindset is being able to identify your own potential. Many of us have perceived fears or barriers which keep us in our comfort zone and prevent us from reaching our full potential.

People with a growth mindset like sports performance coach and #LeadingLight Nigel Hetherington is a great example of this.  He is passionate about “giving everything your best shot”. Give your all, and you will surely get what you deserve!

It’s a continuous improvement mindset which some of us may have, but of course for others it will need to be learned. By encouraging your team to not fear failure and believe in themselves, you will help to instill a growth mindset.  HR Director and #LeadingLight David Frost loves to inspire people to develop.  He expands people’s minds in unusual ways by getting them to work with a Horse Whisperer or an Opera singer!

Patricia Pearce MBE, another of our incredible #LeadingLights singlehandedly raised funds and arranged logistics annually to give children with a bad start in life a trip to Disney World.  Their self-confidence boosted and no longer the odd one out with a disability, some of these children have gone on to become Paralympians. No matter what your age, there is always more to learn, something new to accomplish, someone better to become.

Don’t miss the next in the series; send us an email and we’ll add you to our mailing list so we can give you a nudge when it’s ready

Career Ambitions is dedicated to enabling individuals to achieve their career aspirations and proactively manage their careers.

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Welcome to the third in our series, highlighting the importance of having a Growth Mindset. Over the past year, our #LeadingLights research project has allowed us to model plenty of aspirational people. And throughout, we have discovered that they all share a common characteristic: a growth mindset. Could this be the secret to their leadership success? We certainly think so!

We started by looking at the importance of learning from others, and then focused on the importance of welcoming feedback in order to improve. This time we discover the importance of self-belief and having confidence in yourself…

Growth Attribute No.3: Self-belief – “I am somebody, regardless of success”

Dr Seuss The power of the mind is incredible. Believe you can, and you will! Stanford Professor Carol Dweck found just this when researching the growth mindset.

“Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over.” Dr. Carol Dweck

But who exactly are you proving yourself to? Why live with the sole purpose of showing others what you can do?

Be proud of yourself and your achievements. By embracing a growth mindset, Dweck recommends looking at the hand you’re dealt as a starting point, rather than the be all and end all. Strive for more, learn more, do more, be more. But never put yourself down. When something you are attempting doesn’t go to plan – is that failure? No! It’s an opportunity to learn.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas A. Edison

Almost all of our #LeadingLights stressed the importance of believing in yourself and going with your gut. Why would anyone believe in you, if you can’t even believe in yourself? #LeadingLight Keren Limor-Waisberg who pioneered a web-based platform to help people discover, understand, and explore scientific texts has got where she is by being honest with herself and strongly recommends you “appreciate who you are”.

Up and coming artist and #leadinglight Charron Pugsley-Hill says “be genuine and authentic.” She has tremendous self-belief and doesn’t compromise her ethics.  This led to her turn down the opportunity to exhibit with Tracey Emmins and Banksie because it was connected to a political cause she didn’t believe in.

Self-belief means not pretending to be something you’re not.  Pretense only leads to inner conflict. Be proud of what you have achieved, and what you will go on to achieve. With a growth mindset, the possibilities are endless!

Don’t miss the next in the series; send us an email and we’ll add you to our mailing list so we can give you a nudge when it’s ready

Career Ambitions is dedicated to enabling individuals to achieve their career aspirations and proactively manage their careers. 

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Change rutWelcome to the second in our series, highlighting the importance of having a Growth Mindset.

Over the past year, our #LeadingLights research project has allowed us to model plenty of aspirational people. And throughout, we have discovered that they all share a common characteristic: a growth mindset. Could this be the secret to their success? We certainly think so!

In the previous blog, we looked at the importance of learning from others, and the positive benefit that can have not only on your CV, but also your team spirit, confidence and even mental health. This time we discover how welcoming feedback and being open to challenge could benefit you and your career…

Growth Attribute No.2: Welcoming feedback

Let’s be honest, not many people like being criticised or told they could have done something differently, or indeed, better. However, people with a growth mindset look at this criticism in a different light – rebranding it as welcoming feedback.

Constructive criticism has been found to have hugely positive effects on development: leading to improved performance, a steeper learning curve and ultimately increased personal growth (according to Todd Smith). How often do you ask your colleagues and peers for their opinion on your work? By welcoming feedback in order to improve your work you will become better at what you do! Our #LeadingLight David Whitaker has first hand experience of this following an intensive week on a Relationship Management Program run by Homi Mulla (in India). One of the key lessons he learnt was how to give and take good critique (as opposed to criticism).  He feels he is now always  “prepared to react and respond to opportunities.”

When someone suggests a way you could improve, remember that every single person on this planet is an individual, and will therefore offer a new perspective and opinion. Theirs may not match yours, and you may not agree with their suggestions, however by being curious rather than closed may lead to valuable learning!

Think of feedback as a discussion, rather than a one-way street. As #LeadingLights David Crabb and Simon Chaplin suggested, believe in yourself and your opinions! But take nothing as fact. And consider that on some occasions, you may not be right! But there is nothing wrong with that. Just think you are growing rather than standing still …

Don’t miss the next in the series; send us an email and we’ll add you to our mailing list so we can give you a nudge when it’s ready.

Career Ambitions is dedicated to enabling individuals to achieve their career aspirations and proactively manage their careers. 

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Growth mindsetWelcome to the first in our series, highlighting the importance of having a Growth Mindset. In the next few blogs, we’ll share with you how our #LeadingLights research project has allowed us to model plenty of aspirational people. Throughout the project we have discovered that they all share a common characteristic: a growth mindset. Could this be the secret to their success? We certainly think so!

Over the next few weeks, we will take a closer look at the growth attributes that these successful people boast, and discover how they could benefit you and your career…

Growth Attribute No.1: Learning from others

As #LeadingLight and entrepreneur Simon Chaplin rightly said, it’s all about collaboration: “never refer to your team as them – always us”. The difference between those with a growth mindset and a fixed mindset, is that people with a growth mindset are open to learning from others.

“Although bright people aren’t more likely to have growth mindsets, those with growth mindsets tend to become ‘brighter’ over time. Fortunately, we can change our mindset.” Dr. Carol Dweck

You may be highly skilled in one area, but let’s be honest, no ones perfect! Having the ability to look at others and identify the skills that they have that you could benefit from, is priceless. Modelling and learning from others allows you to expand your portfolio of skills. As Howard Gardner writes in his book Extraordinary Minds (1997): ‘exceptional individuals are especially talented at identifying their own strengths and weaknesses’.

What are your weaknesses, and who can you think of who you admire for having those skills? Not only will you end up with a new skill, but you’ll also be making yourself more valuable to your company or employer, as well as adding another tool to your belt!

In a team scenario, it’s important for all members to feel equal and valued. Peer mentoring encourages the barriers to be broken down, putting people on a level playing field.  At work is there a young intern who is amazing with technology? Why not do a skills swap? You could teach them something you know well, such as the art of presenting, and in return get 1-to-1 coaching to bring you up to speed with new technologies. Not only will this be empowering for the younger team member, it will also save money on unnecessary external training and resources. #LeadingLight Jo Cullen (Group Head of Information Systems for Bakkavor Group), stressed the importance of teamwork, pointing out that “nothing is achieved alone” and therefore it’s vital to “respect the team who will help you deliver your vision.”

There has been plenty of research into the benefits of learning recently. Many have found that lifelong learning has a positive effect on health and happiness – with the NHS even suggesting it can help to maintain and improve your mental health (read more here).

So what are you modelling and learn from others around you? Take your eyes off the screen and take a moment to think about friends, family and colleagues who inspire you like our #LeadingLights. It’s a two way street – by stepping into their shoes you learn from them and we are sure you have something to offer them in return.

Don’t miss the next in the series; send us an email and we’ll add you to our mailing list so we can give you a nudge when it’s ready…

Career Ambitions is dedicated to enabling individuals to achieve their career aspirations and proactively manage their careers. 

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