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S.U.R.F. your way to a new career

… By Katherine Wiid of Recrion & Career Ambitions, specialist in Career Management, Recruitment and Retention.

Earlier this month, Katherine Wiid opened our CamAW1SE Conference with an intriguing talk titled ‘From Label to Able’. And rather than leaving delegates drowning in information, they discovered a new approach to their careers and job search that would leave them riding high on the choppy waves of the job market…

 

S.U.R.F. your way to a new career…

Do you at times have doubts about whether your skills, experiences and qualifications are relevant for the local job market?

Often when I meet a client for career coaching for the first time, they say things like, “I’m a C++ programmer but I haven’t got all the latest languages like Rust and Swift, so I’m not getting any interviews.”

And there’s the problem. They’ve been caught in the label trap – seeing themselves as a set of skills on a job description. Candidates often see their applications getting rejected, with no feedback to help them improve their applications. Often candidates tell me it’s as if their CVs are going into a machine that strips their carefully crafted experience and skills into a series of ticks and crosses, translating to ‘not a good match’.

But we are all much more than a list of skills. We just need to look beyond the check list, see past the labels and identify what we have to offer a potential employer beyond their job description.

Learn to S.U.R.F.

What does surfing have to do with your job search? To change careers, start afresh and tackle the choppy job market, we need to have a balanced approach so that we can ride the rough with the smooth…

S = Skills
If you ask yourself “what do you do?” you’ll probably instinctively answer with a label. But is that all you are? Can you not be something else also?

Labels narrow down our options. Don’t assume that your qualifications speak for themselves. I see too many career professionals with impressive qualifications who fail to see what those skills actually enable them to do, beyond the label.

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Ask yourself:
• What did I learn that has added to my skill set?
• How does the experience allow me to offer something different in a market flooded with qualified people?
• How do I use or hope to use this qualification?

To master the art of S.U.R.F.ing we need to be skillful at identifying our skills. One of the main reasons that people aren’t motivated in their careers is because they only see half the skills they have. They only really develop and use a quarter of those skills, and they only put a fraction of them on their CVs! No wonder those CV machines are coming back as ‘not a good match’…

To uncover your hidden skills and talents, think about and write down:
• The activities you enjoyed at school / university / in your spare time. Everything we read and learn about in our own time – not just when studying – gives us new skills
• Think about how you do what you do. From day to day how do you manage your home, family, work, social life? You might be a great organiser or the person who comes up with the ideas!

It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with what you’ve got!

U = Unconscious

How many of your skills are unconscious, undeveloped, undiscovered? Knowing yourself and what drives you at a deeper unconscious level is one of the most attractive qualities in a candidate.

If we aren’t consciously aware of what motivates us we can end up working in an environment where we are not challenged or passionate about we do. This can knock our confidence and lead to a wasted, unfulfilled life.

To help you become more consciously aware of your unconscious motivations here are three questions to ask yourself:
• What’s important to me and has to be in my work?
• What gives me the greatest buzz at work
• If all jobs paid the same what would I do?

Remember, it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with what you’ve got!

R = Relevant

As you are learning to S.U.R.F. you will become skillful at assessing your skills and tapping into what unconsciously motivates you. Now it’s time to make these new discoveries relevant to the job market. How can your unique skills, experiences and passions be of use to the hundreds of companies seeking new talent? How can you help them to choose you?

To do this, we’ll need to step into the shoes of the employer. If you see a job you like the look of, but they’re asking for a skill you don’t obviously have, don’t reject it. Employers aren’t always able to articulate exactly what they want and job descriptions aren’t always accurate. Ask yourself, why do they need this? What problem will it solve?

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Try doing a SWOT analysis, which will help you to understand the context of the job within the company and within that market. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are the external opportunities and threats for the organization? Now do the same exercise on yourself. What are the strengths you have that might minimize their weaknesses and threats? What have you got that will enable them to take advantage of an opportunity.

Now tailor your CV and cover letter to address what might be going through their minds when they are assessing you. This will set you apart as you are answering the problem posed by the job, showing them how skillful you are without necessarily having the exact skill they thought they needed!

Remember, it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with what you’ve got!

F = Flexible

To be able to S.U.R.F. well, you need to be flexible and see yourself and the job market with fresh eyes.

For you, that might mean experimenting with new career ideas, trialing new roles and being prepared to make mistakes. Ensure your mistakes are positive steps in your learning.

Flexibility for you might not be sitting and waiting for that career opportunity to come knocking, but to increase the odds in your favour by learning to think openly, being curious, asking decision makers for 30 minutes of their time to give you an insight into what they do. Be alert to the possibility that your skills and motivations might be suited to a job that didn’t even exist.

Remember, it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with what’s you got!

Effective S.U.R.F.ing is about finding a career that works for you, matching what you’ve got and who you are with the life you are going to lead.

Believe me, there are jobs hiding behind every wave, you just have to get up and S.U.R.F. them! Enjoy the ride…

Relaunch your career November 4th

Are you looking to change careers but have no idea where to start?

Have you taken a career break and are looking for advice and support on how to re-enter the workforce?

Have you relocated because of your significant other and now find yourself unemployed?

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We have a special event just for. On November 4th 2017, at the British Antarctic Survey’s Aurora Center, we will be hosting ‘Relaunch Your Career’.

We aim to give you the tools, confidence and support system to take that first step. A full day of training for women with a background in Science, Technology, IT, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine, it will include expert speakers, workshops and plenty of networking opportunities.

We invite all women, regardless of your career stage, to take advantage of this incredible event.

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Aurora Centre

The morning will be devoted to talks from experts about identifying your skills, job flexibility, confidence, negotiation and more and the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the speakers.

Following a lunch break, we will have workshops to give you hands-on experience on creating an online presence, crafting your CV, finding your career anchors and more.

Finally, we have organised an inspirational woman in STEM career panel so you can hear from women who were in your situation and how they coped. Learn from their successes and failures and feel supported.

Schedule

From 9:00 Registration
Networking
9:30-9:45 Welcome BAS & CamAWiSE.
10: 00 First session From Label to able by Katherine Wiid

How to Shine When Returning to Work by Claire Button

11:00 Coffee break
11:30 Second session Job sharing in STEM by Sara Horsfall

Confidence and negotiation  by Christina Youell

12:30 Lunch break
14:30 Workshops Self-Promote Through Your CV – re-write your CV to kick-start your dream career: with Claire Button

Careers Anchors, identify your strengths & values with by Tennie Videler

Getting noticed on LinkedIn and online presence with Catherine Sorbara

15:30 Tea break
16:00 Panel and Q&A Chaired by Jenny Brookman.

Sarah Bearpark – Returner

Ruchi Chauhan – Relocated from the USA

Claire MacDonald – Former Attendee

Catherine Onley – Returner

Ruchi Sharma – Career changer

17:00 Networking 
18:00 End of conference

Booking is now closed!

November 4th 2017,  British Antarctic Survey’s Aurora Center

British Antarctic Survey’s Aurora Center

Coffee break, Tea break, Lunch, and materials included.

Members £35

Non-Members £45

Event + Membership  ££60

With the collaboration of

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Do you feel like an imposter? by Aldara B. Dios

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right”
Henry Ford

In front of a full and expectant room, Kate Atkin started her remarkable talk on 23rd April asking us the questions: “What do YOU want to know? What do YOU want me to answer?” that was the beginning of a great and interactive workshop about the impostor phenomenon; it’s not a syndrome – she quickly clarified – and what lies behind success.

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The audience had a lot of questions. Some of them were about how to recognise the phenomenon: What is it? Does it affect women more than men or older people than younger? Does it depend on culture or family?

Others tried to understand the phenomenon: Does it have advantages? How to avoid it? How to recognise it? we even had a sarcastic: Is it another feminist nonsense?

So, what is the imposter phenomenon? 

As Kate put it “It is an intense feeling of intellectual phoniness despite one´s success”. It happens to successful people, and although it was first detected in women in academia now men and women from all over the world experience it. People like Michelle Obama, Art Garfunkel or Robin Ince have suffered from it and some studies say that up to 70% of all professionals will or have suffered with it.

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The imposter phenomenon it is not about having doubts the first time we do something. It is about still doubting ourselves after having done something successfully several times.

How to control it?

First thing: not everything has to be perfect and we have to learn to fail. Recognise our own patterns, perhaps you think that you are successful because you’ve worked harder than other people, when in fact, you should acknowledge your our own skills and abilities. Understand that success comes from expertise and know-how.

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Do you feel like an imposter? Kate recommended focusing on your successes: Make a confidence wall with all the things you are proud of or start a success log. Take control of your thoughts, take note of the positive feedback and finally avoid the dreaded “Yes,… but”…

As always, Kate delivered an engaging and amusing talk, full of useful facts and very enjoyable.

Thank you all for coming, and thank you, Kate.

Getting noticed on LinkedIn

If you missed this workshop or love it and want to attend to an improved version book now for the Relaunch your career event. Read more here

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“I have attended events on LinkedIn before, but this workshop’s step-wise approach to building a meaningful and strong profile had much more impact”, said one attendee coming out of the CamAWiSE event. The ‘Getting noticed on LinkedIn’ workshop was conducted by Cathy Sorbara, COO of Cheeky Scientist and a steering group member of CamAWiSE. LinkedIn is proving to be a ‘must-have’ social presence for professional growth whether to seek job opportunities or to build your brand. 

Cathy asked the attendees to consider questions like –

  • What is the goal of your LinkedIn profile?
  • Who is your target audience (hiring manager or business partner?)
  • If someone doesn’t know your name, what keywords might they use which would lead them to your profile?

 

Cathy emphasised making use of the headline and summary space to create a crisp account of your achievements and aspirations. The headline, she explained, should use your transferable and technical skills to define you as a person. Make a connection with the viewer using an elevator pitch! The summary should not be a resumé–like account but an expression or narration of your aspirations. List the achievements that relate to those goals in a manner that stimulates the viewer to connect and find out more about you. Visual assets including PowerPoint presentations, links to blogs, pdf files, and pictures can be added to reinforce your achievements and the trajectory you aspire to.

img_4458-copyRecommendations and skills endorsements from connections (usually colleagues) are important ways to build credibility and increase profile views. Cathy added: “Everybody has transferable skills, even if they don’t know it, and these skills are in popular demand over technical ones”. Your profile photo must be high-quality and professional-looking, while a background photo is a great way to give further weight to the image you would like to promote. Volunteer experiences and publicising your interests by content sharing are great ways to connect to your target audience and showcase your communication and knowledge-based skills.

When requesting connections, it is more rewarding and respectful to personalise the standard message provided by LinkedIn. You can refer to a common interest or connection, for example, but keep to no more than 50 words.

getting-noticed

A great profile will help you begin to capitalise on the most powerful online networking tool in the world that is used by 98% of recruiters. However, networking on LinkedIn is the next essential step to connect directly with target viewers and their secondary connections, helping you build a strong network which enhances profile visibility. Other social media platforms like Twitter, as well as in-person networking, also play an important role. Let’s connect!

by Ruchi Chauhan

Finding your career anchor with Tennie Videler

If you missed this workshop or love it and want to attend to an improved version book now for the Relaunch your career event. Read more here

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We all have a particular orientation towards work and our professional goals. We approach our work with a certain set of priorities and values, which we call “career anchors”: a combination of perceived areas of competence, motives, and values relating to professional choices. Knowing and understanding these will help us be more self-reliant, make better career choices and thus enjoy a more productive and satisfactory career.

Tennie Videler

Tennie Videler

This was the objective of the first WiSE UP 2016 ‘Career anchors: Identify your strengths & values’ workshop facilitated by Tennie Videler and based on Edgar H. Schein and John Van Maanen’s publications. The evening started with a networking session and a mock-up job interview to help us get to know each other. After that and during the main part of the workshop Tennie helped us identify our career anchors among the eight possible:

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  • Technical/functional competence
  • General managerial competence
  • Autonomy/independence
  • Security/stability
  • Entrepreneurial creativity
  • Service/dedication to a cause
  • Pure challenge
  • Lifestyle.

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As Tennie pointed out, there are no good or bad anchors, only personal choices and preferences. And although Schein and Maanen imply that there should be only one anchor, Tennie’s experience suggests that many of us may have more than one to consider. In fact, many of the attendees had more than one career anchor and some of them even suspected that their career anchors could change with the passage of time. Tennie also pointed out that considering our anchor when selecting a career will help us choose the right path, avoiding incompatibilities with our true values. This prevents feelings of discontent and lack of productivity at work, and allows us to uncover our real values and use them to make smarter career choices.

Afterwards, we had a lively discussion about our career anchors and how being aware of them could be useful in all career stages.

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