Monday, 15 August 2016

5 Ways To Boost Your Career Resilience

What actions are you taking to boost your career resilience?

In times of uncertainty, it’s important to do what you can to build your own career resilience which will enable you to respond to change effectively and with confidence. Here’s 5 things you can do right now to help boost your career resilience:

Upskill & Diversify

Ensure your skills are up to date at all times and diversify your skills wherever possible. In times of uncertainty and downsizing, employers are seeking versatile, multi-talented team members who can adapt to changing circumstances. There are many ways in which you can increase your knowledge and skills from taking an online course through to attending a workshop or webinar through to being coached or mentored.

Up-to-date CV

Even if you are not looking for work right now, it is good practice to update your CV every 6-12 months. Aside from keeping your CV up to date, regularly reviewing your CV can also help you identify areas for development. Be sure to include any achievements you have made in the past 6-12 months in terms of improved efficiencies, revenue boosting, outstanding performance etc. A CV that includes achievement statements demonstrates your competencies, can highlight your suitability for a role and can also be used to negotiate higher duties or a pay rise in your current role.

Know Your USPs

It’s vital that you have a deep understanding of your own unique selling points (USPs). Being aware of and being able to effectively communicate your USPs is the key to standing out from other candidates. In a competitive job market employers don’t have time to tease this information out of you. They expect you’ll know your strengths and weaknesses and be able to talk about them with confidence.

Build Your Network

Building your network is something you need to be working on at all times so it’s there when you need it. There are online platforms such as LinkedIn as well as a range of networking events organised by interest groups and professional associations which can help you develop your network. If you lack networking skills try watching an online tutorial, reading a relevant how to guide or just get out there and observe and learn from those who do it well.

Take Control

Understand the value you bring to an employer in terms of your qualifications, skills and experience. Employers these days want to see that you are committed to managing your own career development. With the rise of contract employment and reduction in staff development spend it’s up to you to get behind the wheel of your career. This means taking stock of your career at regular intervals and taking any action necessary to keep up to speed in terms of industry changes and developments.

What action will you take today to boost your career resilience?

Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(Couns&HumServ), DipCareerGuid,  RCDP, MCDI, MAC is a Registered Career Coach and Career Development Consultant at CareerWorx with more than 18 years' experience helping people plan and manage their careers.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Are You Managing Your CPD Effectively?

CPD ensures you remain competent throughout your career.

What is CPD?

Continuing Professional Development or CPD refers to any career development activities which develop your professional skills, knowledge or experience. CPD is important because it ensures you remain competent in your profession throughout your career.

CPD activities can be formal or informal and gained either on the job or outside your work environment. It’s a good idea to keep track of your CPD by recording and reflecting upon the resulting learning and development. 

Advantages of CPD

  • Ensures that your skills remain up to date and relevant
  • Helps you maintain and develop the knowledge and skills needed to do your job effectively
  • Keeps your up to date the current standards and best practice in your field of expertise
  • Helps you be more effective in your role leading to higher levels of job satisfaction, productivity and professionalism
  • Facilitates career progression by ensuring you constantly learning and developing
  • Enables you identify further areas for growth and development
  • Helps you remain connected to the objectives of your job role

Why you should document your CPD

There are many advantages to documenting your CPD including:
  • Gaining recognition for professional development which can lead to career progression
  • Helps you identify how your career is progressing and where you’d like to develop further
  • Evidences your competencies which can be helpful for salary reviews and promotion
  • Documents your activities making it easy to meet professional association CPD requirements
  • Provides details for CV development, job applications and interviews

What constitutes CPD?

  • Attendance at courses (face to face or online), workshops, seminars and webinars
  • Conferences, talks, professional networking events
  • Job shadowing and observation of colleagues in the workplace
  • Coaching, mentoring and professional supervision
  • Acting/covering another role in the organisation
  • Learning new duties and assisting colleagues in other roles or teams
  • Participating in activities that promote skills development such as delivering a presentation or hosting an event  
  • Contributing to a professional publication, knowledge sharing (e.g. mentoring/coaching others, writing a blog)
  • Reading or researching to gain insight or knowledge on a particular topic
  • Self-reflection on growth and development in response to incidents, change or other events

How should I record and manage my CPD?

It’s advisable to update and review your CPD record every 3-6 months to ensure you are meeting your career objectives. If your employer or professional association doesn’t have a CPD recording tool for you to use you can create your own. Simply create a table in word processing package such as MS Word or Excel table headed with the following columns: CPD activity, Date, Type, Details, Learning outcomes. You should also keep any evidence documents in a computer folder or a physical folder for later reference. 

Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(Couns&HumServ), DipCareerGuid,  RCDP, MCDI, MAC is a Career Coach and Career Development Consultant at CareerWorx with more than 18 years' experience helping people plan and manage their careers.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Top 5 In-Demand Non-Medical Roles In The NHS

There are over 350 different job roles across the NHS
The NHS is one of the biggest employers in the world with over 1.6 million employees. When thinking about the health service, most people primarily think of doctors and nurses, but there’s a whole network within the organisation consisting of different roles - including non-medical.

From the caterers who provide daily nutritious meals and skilled security personnel ensuring everyone is safe, there are also Human Resources departments focusing on retaining staff and keeping employee morale high.

Working for the NHS can lead to a rewarding career, with benefits including flexible working options, pensions and opportunities to progress. Knowing you have contributed towards helping someone’s health can be also offer job satisfaction that you won’t receive in a regular office position.

In order to treat millions more patients, there is an increased need for more professionals to join the healthcare sector. Here’s a look at five roles within the non-medical sector that are currently in strong demand.

Administrative staff

Without admin staff, the NHS wouldn’t be able to properly function. With so many departments heavily relying on administrative services, it’s one of the most in-demand roles in the health service.

In most cases, administrators will be the first port of call for patients so staff will need to have a friendly approach and be helpful in assisting them. It will also be their responsibility to manage appointments for both patients and staff, alongside many other record-keeping tasks in order to help the NHS treat as many patients as possible.

Anyone looking for an admin role in the NHS will need to have great communication, literacy and numerical skills. It’s also beneficial for candidates to be IT-literate, as most NHS systems are now IT-based.

A keen eye for detail is also essential as any mistakes could have serious implications for patients.

Project Management staff

In March 2016, there were over 30,000 staff working in managerial roles within the NHS.

It is the duty of a Project Manager to ensure that every task is completed efficiently and to provide expertise and insight to their team to deliver projects on time and in budget. Whether it’s looking for solutions to issues with already-existing systems or looking for new ways to do things, the core focus is to improve services for both patients and staff.

Anyone considering a role within Project Management needs to have great leadership skills and excellent time management, in order to meet demanding deadlines. Many roles will also require candidates to already be experienced in budget management and risk assessment.

Human Resources staff

Focusing on policies and processes, the Human Resources (HR) department are responsible for ensuring staff are happy and motivated to work.

Anyone working in HR needs to have excellent communication skills, be compassionate when dealing with important issues and be able to negotiate with people encouraging them to work together. Often seen as a mediator in employment and personal issues, the HR department are the first point of call for many employees when a problem arises.

When considering a HR position, you’ll need to have previous NHS experience as you’ll need to understand how the organisation works from the inside out, as well as having a qualification from institutions such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Financial staff

As the NHS is funded by UK taxes, it’s important for financial staff to be as efficient with money as possible and make sure every penny is well spent.

Accounting and financial professionals will be tasked with bookkeeping, managing statements and payroll. Regular audits are necessary to help identify areas of overspending and create reports based on their findings.

It goes without saying that anyone working within the financial department will need to have strong numerical skills. Pair these up with the ability to thoroughly plan and a nature for problem solving and you’ll be a strong candidate for a financial role within the NHS.

IT staff

Having a reliable IT system is crucial to the running of the NHS and the skills of an IT professional can really make a huge difference.

A day in the life of a member of IT staff will vary, with tasks being more than just fixing and improving tech issues. Working around sensitive information, staff will be required to know how to make sure that networks are consistently online as well as information remaining safe and secure.

Anyone looking to work in IT within the NHS will not only need to have prior experience working in a similar role but will also need to have problem solving skills, a detailed knowledge of operating systems including software and hardware, alongside a deep understanding of how to monitor and safeguard systems.

Finding the job role for you

Working in the NHS can be an entirely satisfying and rewarding experience and with over 350 different job roles within the organisation, there is sure to be a position suited to you.

Adam Maidment writes for GoToJobBoard, a dedicated job board which specialises in non-clinical and non-medical roles encouraging candidates to consider working within the NHS.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Should you be working part time?

I was invited to speak on BBC Radio recently in response to a BBC article Three-day working week 'optimal for over-40s'. The article referred to a study undertaken by researchers at the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne. Intrigued, I had to read the full working paper: Use It Too Much and Lose It? The Effect of Working Hours on Cognitive Ability.

The findings of the study were that working up to 22-30 hours per week had a positive impact on the participants and that any hours worked in excess of this resulted in a negative impact on cognitive functioning. Why was this? It was discovered that stress and fatigue played a large part in impairing participants’ cognitive functioning. The study concluded that ‘too much work can have adverse effects on cognitive functioning’.

This got me thinking about the many clients I work with who are keen to explore ways in which they can slow down, take it easier and reduce stress in their lives. They talk about how their working lives impact massively on their emotional and physical health, relationships and levels of happiness. Working part-time is a common desire yet the challenge is how to achieve part-time work whilst maintaining a degree of economic stability.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why people might want to work part-time.

Benefits of working part-time:
  • Research shows that a good work life balance leads to boosted cognition, improved physical and psychological health leading to increased well-being and happiness 
  • Time to care for children or other family members 
  • Time for doing things you enjoy doing such as hobbies and interests 
  • Ability to set up and grow your own business (if that’s a dream of yours) 
  • Time to study or learn new skills (to help you earn more or get a job you would enjoy more) 
  • Reduced expenses e.g. travel costs, childcare, work clothes, lunches, wear & tear on car etc. 
Disadvantages of working part-time:
  • Reduced income although some would argue that the less you earn the less you spend e.g. ‘lifestyle inflation’ phenomenon whereby the more you earn the more you find ways to spend it. 
  • Part time roles can be difficult to find. Most part time roles are negotiated with a current employer (through job share or a change in role description) or created (e.g. self-employment or contracting) 
  • Some part time roles can expect you to work more hours than you are paid for e.g. full-time workload but only pay for part-time hours 
  • Although labour laws are meant to protect part time workers’ rights, full-time staff are still often favoured over part time staff for career progression opportunities within organisations 
  • As a part-time contracted staff member you are likely to miss out on basic benefits such as pension, health insurance etc. 
Once you’ve made the decision to work part-time you need to ask yourself the following questions:
  • Is part-time employment a good fit for you?
  • Can you manage on the income a part-time role can generate or will you need to take on more than one part-time role? (portfolio career) 
  • How do your skills and experience fit in a part-time role? 
  • Is there an opportunity or do I need to create one? (at your current workplace or by going freelance/self-employed) 

Given the above, what are the compromises available that might achieve the same benefits?

Portfolio working – Portfolio working is when you work more than one job. The idea here would be to find the optimal working hours that suit you and developing a portfolio of work that meets your needs. Combining part-time employment and self-employment is increasingly common way for people to transition into self-employment without the risk of leaving secure employment.

Self-employment – Self-employment can take many forms. You might use your skills as a freelancer or contract worker or perhaps you have a business you want to get off the ground. Self-employment allows you the freedom to work on your own terms and generally offers a high level of flexibility.

Flexible working – Flexible working enables you to work in different, non-traditional ways for example remote working/working from home which can free up a lot of travel time if that’s an issue for you. Other ways to claw back more time through flexible working include the compressed working week where you work a little longer on a daily basis in order to take a day off a fortnight also known as the ‘9-day fortnight’.

Finding more enjoyable and fulfilling work – There’s no doubt that those who are happiest at work love what they do and where they work. Many research studies support the idea that being happy in your career impacts on your general health and well-being.

How can I get a part-time job?

Investigate the practicalities:
  • Speak to your boss or HR manager – go to them with a list of all the positives for them and the organisation – don’t make it all about you
  • Have a backup plan in case things don’t go as you had hoped
  • Job boards specifically for part time jobs and regular job boards allow you to filter your search to seek out only part-time roles. Try or 
I hope these thoughts have been helpful in exploring whether part time employment is for you. Please feel free to comment in the comments section below.

Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(Couns&HumServ), DipCareerGuid, MCDI, RCDP, MAC is a Career Coach and Career Development Consultant at CareerWorx with more than 18 years' experience helping people plan and manage their careers.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Powerful Questions To Transform Your Career in 2016

As the year draws to a close many of us start to reflect on the year that was. Perhaps you feel you’ve accomplished all you set out to achieve, or maybe you’re beating yourself up for not getting to where you wanted to be.

Whichever is true for you, now is the ideal time to start thinking about what you want to change in the coming year.

Some key questions to ask yourself:
  • What went well this year?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What would I like to change?
  • What do I need more of?
  • What do I need less of?
  • How do I want my life to look this time next year?
  • What specific actions will I take to achieve my goals?

Armed with answers to these questions, you will be clearer on what you need to do to achieve your goals in the coming year. It can be helpful to answer these questions in terms of your work life and personal life separately since even though they are closely intertwined, they make up different elements of your life. 

Now is also a good time to identify your work values, interests, skills/transferable skills and strengths. This will help you understand where you fit in the world of work as well as identifying where you might like to develop your career.

Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(Couns&HumServ), DipCareerGuid,  RCDPMAC is a Career Coach and Career Development Consultant at CareerWorx with more than 18 years' experience helping people plan and manage their careers.