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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If you’re unhappy in your current job, you’re probably planning to hand in your notice. As the Dalai Lama said: “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” So if you’re unhappy in your job, perhaps it’s time to move on and identify your ideal job?

But how can you ensure that your next role is more successful?

It’s time to take a new approach to identify your ideal job. Start by throwing out everything you know (or think you know!) already. In order to find a role that’s compatible with you, you need to firstly identify the following three things:

lockedKey Skills: List all the industry specific and specialist skills that you own, along with your transferable skills (the skills that carry across industries and jobs – such as communication and organisation skills).

favouritesAttributes: Now identify the attributes that you possess. From being a problem solver, to a strong leader or a great listener!

.alertInterests: What interests do you have? If your job doesn’t interest you, you won’t last long.

Once you’ve identified your key skills, attributes and interests, it’s time to find the job opportunities that are on the market. If you are looking in the Cambridge area, we recommend using the Recruitment Gateway. Make a list of the roles that you would have previously applied to. But this time, before you reach for your CV…  STOP!!!

The Careers Matrix: A simple tool to filter out roles that are and aren’t suitable

Instead of applying to all those jobs on the list, it’s time to complete a Careers Matrix

Career Matrix

The purpose of a Careers Matrix is to help identify which roles will really be suitable for you – beyond what’s down on paper.

People tend to simply look at a job description and tick the boxes – and if they meet the specifications they fire off an application. The problem with this process is that box ticking overlooks the deeper attributes and interests that make an ideal candidate.

By identifying not only the key skills but also the attributes and interests that you have, you will be able to streamline your job hunt and increase your chances so you identify your ideal job.

Come and join us at Cambridge Network’s Job Fair on 6th May 2016  where you will have the opportunity to talk to key Cambridge businesses. PLUS we will be running 3 short Career Workshops.

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What would you give to find a job that you actually enjoyed? To work in a role where you felt challenged, valued and appreciated?

We’ve heard people say that ‘no-one enjoys going to work’ but we can without any doubt confirm that this isn’t true. Because we do! A large reason for this is that we get to work alongside talented professionals to find them a job – and a career – more suited to their skills, and seeing their confidence, motivation and, ultimately, their life improve as a result of this.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  Socrates.

If you’re unhappy in your job, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be this way.

But remember, it’s you who’s in control of your career. It’s down to you to do something about it to give yourself the career you deserve.

Managing Career Change

Changing career is never easy. It isn’t an exact science.  And it can be done. It is important to be open like a Parachute…it will work better that way! Being open minded means that you will be expanding your horizons.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re either contemplating or are in the early stages of changing your career:

  • Don’t try to change everything at once. If you hate your current job, it may feel like the best solution to jump out with both feet, but something this big does require a degree of planning, and a calm, considered mental state. Do the necessary research / training before making a clean break.
  • Seek help. Discuss things with others who have either previously switched career, or are in the process of doing so. Swap tips and encouragement; this support will really spur you on. Go to network events so that you meet new people and get a different perspective. Use professional career support to ensure that changing careers is what you really want and how to make that move.
  • Invest in yourself.  It’s remarkable how many people will make superficial purchases but won’t invest in the most important commodity of all – themselves. Think about courses, qualifications and professional coaching, which will provide more structure to the whole career change process.
  • Re-write your CV. CV’s are all different and a ‘good’ CV doesn’t necessarily follow the same format – here are some tips on what makes a CV great (not just good). Don’t be afraid to be creative on your CV; employers are starting to think differently and are increasingly interested in motivation and attitude. What’s interesting about you?
  • Keep going!  It can be challenging, however all the hard work, setbacks and stress will ultimately be worth it. This quote from Helen Keller is particularly apt:

“Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere, and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles — a delight in climbing rugged paths, which you would perhaps never know if you did not sometime slip backward — if the road was always smooth and pleasant.”

What Career Discovery

At Career Ambitions, we pride ourselves in working with you. We are not a recruitment agency or even a HR specialist. We simply work alongside YOU to enable you to find the career of your dreams.

Throughout your career change process, we will be with you every step of the way, to ensure that you find yourself a job and a career which you enjoy.

The first step of this process is an all-day What Career Discovery workshop on Monday 28 April that will provide you with the confidence, skills and, above all, the knowledge to set you on the way to the career of your dreams. You will be part of a small group of 6 people ensuring that you receive suitable tailored careers support.

The event forms the heartbeat of our wider What Career Programme, which also includes access to our Premium Career Ambitions Club, a one-hour post-workshop coaching session to help implement your career plan and extra optional exercises and resources to enable you to identify a variety of career ideas.

The event is taking place in Peterborough and represents a great investment for YOU and your career. Discounted early bird rates are available until 20 April, but places are extremely limited so book early to avoid disappointment!

To find out more information and book your place, visit the Event brite page or contact us via or 01223 633535.


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We read with interest a recent article on the HR Magazine which suggested that one in five people were looking for a new job going into the new year.

It stands to reason that, at a time of year where we reflect and make our new year’s resolutions, those individuals not totally happy in their jobs decide that this will be the year in which they find somewhere they actually want to work.

If you feel like your career has been stuck in a rut, a new year is the perfect time to regain your focus and take the necessary steps to get it back on track.

How to boost your career

One of the main things we stress to all of our clients is that it is you who is in control of your career. Therefore, if you weren’t happy with the direction your career was going in 2013, it’s up to you to ensure that 2014 isn’t more of the same.

Every circumstance and industry is different, but if you want to give yourself the career you deserve this year, try to:

  1. Think Positive! It’s a competitive market out there. Try not to be affected by any rejections. Particularly in interview situations, a positive attitude will really enhance your chances. Persevere. The right opportunity will come along.
  2. Brush up your skills: We invest in all-manner of purchases in our day-to-day lives, yet neglect the most important investment of all: Ourselves. Consider courses and opportunities that will help with your professional development this new year. Our career skills masterclass is one such event that will really give your career a real kick-start in 2014.
  3. Analyse: What went wrong in 2013? Go through your CV and reassess what you can edit or add. If you’ve had unsuccessful interviews, consider where you may have missed out and try to remedy this in 2014. If you’re unsure, don’t be shy about contacting the interviewer(s). The vast majority will happily give feedback to all interviewees.
  4. Get visible: Times have changed; 80% of today’s jobs are secured through networking. Keep tabs of suitable events in your area where you could meet key decision-makers and ensure that you have a fully up-to-date LinkedIn profile, which gives you the best possible chance of recruiters approaching you when a suitable position arises.

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do” Henry Ford.

We all say that we want to move forward in our careers. We all hope that this will be the year in which we take huge strides forward.

But when was the last time you really invested in yourself and your career? Our first event of 2014 is taking place on Friday 24 January in Cambridge and will give attendees all the skills and confidence they need to ensure that this is the year in which their career takes off!

For more information and to book tickets online, click here.

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

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Whether you’re 25 or 55, it’s never too late to learn new skills. And it’s never too late to find the career – and job – that you want.

If you’re unsure of your current career path, or are unhappy in your job, the message is simple:

Do something about it.

Too many individuals are sitting around waiting for the country to emerge from the recession when, hopefully, more job opportunities will arise.

But, with the job market being as competitive as it is, what they should be doing is investing in themselves.  Giving themselves further skills and qualifications to be ready for when the right opportunities do emerge.

In other words, fast-tracking their career.

“It is never too late to become what you might have been and it’s never too late to start” ~ George Eliot.

If you’re keen to move forward in your career, it’s important to always be doing just that – moving forward.

How are you bettering yourself? Are you regularly scouring for opportunities?

It’s important to maintain the inherent self-motivation to keep bettering yourself and, where possible, making necessary investments in to coaching and courses that you think will enhance this progression.

Think about personal development.  Are you being proactive? Are there networking events in your chosen industry that you could attend? Are you regularly monitoring industry trends?

Finally, and arguably most importantly in 2013, are your social media profiles up-to-date and visible – and attractive – to potential recruiters?

“If you change nothing, nothing changes.” Dr Joyce.

Employers are already changing their mindset to respond to the evolving economic climate.  They are designing robust recruitment processes, together with innovative employee engagement, training and development strategies.

Now, what are you doing about investing in yourself?

Click here to find out more about accelerating your career, or visit the Career Ambitions Club, where numerous tools and exercises are in-place to help your career progression.

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

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Isn’t it frustrating when you know exactly the person you need to speak to about a career opportunity, but don’t have the contact details needed to get in-touch. Whether it is because you lost touch or didn’t take their details, it’s a missed opportunity.

A large part of ensuring that you have the tools in place to help you find a new job is to possess a growing contacts list: Former bosses and co-workers, friends, colleagues, mild acquaintances, people you meet at networking events. Get their details and keep in touch!

Due to the prominence of tools such as Twitter (and, in particular, LinkedIn) in the business community, networking and making contact has never been easier. There really is no excuse for losing the details of the person who might just be the route to that dream career opportunity.

Whether you’re actively seeking the next step forward or not, it’s important to remember that Networking is still recognised as the best way to secure a new job.

If you’re searching for your dream job, it’s important to ensure that you are doing all the ‘basics’ – looking in the right places, keeping your CV fully updated – as well as actually getting out there, talking to and meeting new people.

Reconnecting with People

If you’ve previously made a connection but failed to capitalise on that connection and have since lost touch, all is not lost.

Don’t let any useful connections go to waste. If you think too much time has elapsed for you to make contact with someone you previously met, think again.

Take these three easy steps to make that potentially awkward exchange much less painful and potentially even fruitful:

1.  Acknowledge the Lapse in Time

There’s arguably nothing more irritating than receiving a call or an email from someone you haven’t heard from in ages who acts as if they’re your best mate. Acknowledge the lapse of time up-front and give that time period some rationale or context. Have you been working or travelling abroad? Did you leave your profession to try something new? Or, have you just been completely busy and self-absorbed? Whatever the reason, you need to acknowledge it.

2. Explain the ‘Why Now?’

There are infinite reasons why you’d need or want to reach out to someone after losing touch. Presumably, you either have an agenda to pursue. You want to reconnect just for the sake of having them on your side if and when you do have an agenda, or you actually owe them something that you never followed up on.

In any of the above cases, it’s important to think about why you’re reaching out now, after all this time, and be transparent about your motive.

3. Offer a Quid Pro Quo

Finally, throw in an offer of help or reciprocity for good measure. Be gracious and generous; emphasise that you’d like to be helpful to them as well to the extent possible. You’re much more likely to get a response when you think about a two-way benefit and not just how you can take advantage of the other person’s expertise or connections.

 For more information on Career Preparation and how we can help you in finding a new job, click here.

Career Ambitions is dedicated to helping individuals realise their dreams by finding the career that is most suited to them. Contact us via or 01223 633535 to see how we can assist you.


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