How to write a powerful personal statement?

How to write a powerful personal statement?

Did you know that recruiters spent on average 6 seconds looking at a CV?

That’s it.

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Sorry, I know you spent hours working on it but no one will read the whole thing. 

Instead, they’ll probably just look at your personal statement and your current or most recent job. 

You need to use those 6 seconds to grab their attention and stand out from the hundreds (or thousands) of other applications.

How?

By writing a powerful personal statement!

A personal statement (AKA personal profile, career objective, opening statement, executive summary, etc..) is a short paragraph at the top of your CV. 

Think about it as your elevator pitch and opportunity to make a good first impression. 

Writing a strong introduction isn’t easy but if you get it right, you’ll be flooded with interview requests. 

First, let me give you my 4 Do’s and Don’ts:

Do:

1. Get the structure right

There are 3 parts you must include in your profile: 

  • Who you are: The first sentence of your statement is here to introduce yourself to the reader. Tell them what you do now, what project are you working on, what industry you know about, what you specialise in? Or have been if you’re not working right now. 
  • What you’re good at: This next part is about showing you’ve got what it takes to do the job. You have to understand what the job needs and talk about what you have got to offer. Not by saying you’re good at something but by referring to achievements that will demonstrate what relevant skills and experience you possess.
  • What you want: In this final part you need to talk about your career objectives. What are you looking for? What do you want and don’t want? Make sure it matches the role you’re going for. 
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2. Make it personal

Most of the statements I read are a complete waste of space, they’re generic AF and don’t tell anything about the person at all!

It is your statement and needs to talk about you. 

If what you write can virtually apply to everyone, don’t write it. 

3. Tailor it to your application

It’s not a cover letter and you’re not expected to mention the company or exact job title. 

But you need to make sure the skills and experience you highlight and your career goals are aligned to what job you’re applying for. 

4. Aim for perfection

It is the first, and maybe only, thing the hiring manager will read on your CV. 

Check your spelling and grammar, make sure your sentences flow well, format it in the same way as the rest of your resume….

Any little mistake will stand out and can get you disqualified.

You have to get it right! 

Don’t

1. Talk too much

I know it’s tempting to cram a lot of information in your profile but you’ll only end up with something that’s hard to read and too cluttered. 

Make those 6 seconds count and put a limit to how much you say.

Anything else can be detailed in the body of your CV or cover letter. 

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2. Go on a tangent

Your opening statement needs to be clear and to the point. 

It’s here to talk about you at work. 

There’s no need to include personal information or give your life story.

3. Be too generic

Of course you are a trustworthy and reliable individual, who can work independently but also as part of a team… but everyone else is too! 

Those adjectives are meaningless in an opening statement and, even worse, contradict themselves when you’re trying to cover all bases.

If you’re applying for similar roles, your statement should work but you’ll need to tweak what you say if you are targeting completely different roles. 

4. Sound pretentious

Talking about yourself in your profile needs to be consistent with the rest of your CV. 

Use ‘I’ or the 3rd person but do not write your executive summary as if someone else was talking about you.

Who wrote the statement? You or someone else?

  • I am a project manager with …I am looking for…
  • A project manager with…. Looking for…
  • NOT: Helen is a project manager with… She is looking for…

Overusing buzzwords and flattering adjectives is also going to make you sound like an idiot. 

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Instead, stick to specific skills and keywords taken from the job advert.

Sounds tricky? 

Let me give you some examples:

It’s not that bad, I promise.

Here are a few examples to get you started.

Ambitious young grad

I am a recent graduate with a 2:1 Bachelor of Laws (LLB), specialised in employment law. I have recently completed an internship in Human Resources Administration where I have successfully updated all employment contracts to comply with new legislation. My career goal is to enhance my knowledge of employment law and I am now looking for a role in the legal or human resources department for a market-leading company. 

Career changer 

Experienced estate agent with a track record of leading complex sales to completion. Recognised as the top biller in my agency for 3 consecutive years, thanks to my excellent negotiation skills and ability to develop strong client relationships. Looking to make use of my sales experience to secure a role as a Business Development Manager in a new industry. 

Looking for a part time job

I am an office manager with over 10 years experience in the Financial Services industry. 

I am currently responsible for all Covid-19 adjustments for my company, ensuring our facilities are safe for our employees and visitors and coordinating the transfer of equipment to staff’s homes to support the running of our operation. My objective is to bring my expertise in looking after the smooth running of an office to a business requiring a part-time Office Manager.

Career breaker

An experienced and passionate secondary school teacher, specialised French and Spanish, currently on a career break to look after my family. Kept up to date with teaching during my time away from work by volunteering to teach languages for a local charity and tutored a student on a weekly basis. Now looking to resume my career on a full-time basis.

Recently unemployed

I am an experienced team manager in the food and beverage industry and have been managing one of the busiest restaurants in the region. I have been responsible for the day to day running of the operation, driving profit and sales, and delivering outstanding customer service by recruiting, training and inspiring staff. Currently out of work due to the company downsizing as a result of Covid-19, I am available immediately for a Store Manager opportunity in the retail industry.

5 reasons to stay positive after a s*** interview

5 reasons to stay positive after a s*** interview

Thank you for taking the time to attend an interview with us.  I am sorry to inform you that, on this occasion, you have not been successful…

Here we go…

You didn’t get the job.

  • Was it your first job interview ever and you panicked?
  • Have you been out of work for a while and couldn’t handle the questioning?
  • Have you not had an interview since you got your last job and are a bit rusty?
  • Are you in full job seeking mode but someone else was better?

Doesn’t matter. 

Rejection can hit anyone.

Being rejected is hard but I’ve got 5 good reasons for you to stay positive after hearing the news.

First, let me tell you a story:

When I was on maternity leave, a job opportunity came up. I was ready for a step up so I applied, and got an interview. 

The day before my interview I felt as prepared as I could be. I had spent a week thinking hard about what questions I’d be asked and writing down well constructed examples.

On the big day, I sat in the interview room ready to open my notebook full of all the great answers I prepared.

But as soon as I was asked the first question, my brain froze! I realised I’d left my mojo at home (or in the delivery suite). 

I couldn’t remember any examples (or even that they were right in front of me in my book), could barely string a sentence together, half way through an answer forgot what the question was and to conclude I did a nervous over the top laugh… 

It was awful!

And it won’t come as a surprise when I tell you that I didn’t get the job…

But I didn’t beat myself up. 

Why?

Because I focused on the positives. 

When you interview for a job, regardless of how well you performed, you’ll go home thinking about all the stuff you should have said. 

You’ll spend the next week constantly checking your phone for your outcome and if a rejection email hits your inbox, you will feel like crap. 

It’s normal. 

But pick yourself up, you have 5 reasons to stay positive!

  1. Be proud of yourself: You got out of your comfort zone and pushed yourself to go for it. This rejection means that you’re one step closer to getting your next job! 
  2. Learn from it: Yes, the interview was a disaster, but you know what went wrong. Ask for feedback too. And use your insight to avoid making the same mistakes twice.
  3. Don’t dwell on it: You know what you could have done better and what questions to expect next time. Instead of thinking about what you should have said, just write down ready for next time. 
  4. This was just practice: And practice makes perfect. This job just wasn’t for you. Keep looking, your dream job awaits.
  5. You’re worth it: Maybe you could have done better. Maybe there was someone stronger. Maybe the interviewer failed to see your worth. You haven’t been successful but you should never tell yourself that you’re not good enough! You WILL find the job you deserve. 

Remember that any interview experience, good or bad, is an opportunity for you to get even better.

So f*** it! Go for the job and give it your best shot.

If you don’t try you don’t get and if you don’t fail you don’t improve.

Follow up after an interview

Follow up after an interview

You’ve just had an interview and it went well.

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Now you’ll be anxiously waiting to hear the news. 

But instead of just waiting, there’s something much more proactive you can do to show your interest and initiative. 

Follow up! 

Before I tell you all about when and how to reach out, I want to give you my 4 golden rules when following up after an interview:

  • Don’t be a Ghost 👻 

Rule number 1 to follow up: follow up! 

I’m not saying they’ll forget about you if you don’t but a little message after an interview won’t hurt. 

It’s polite and it reminds them you’re the ideal candidate for the job. 

  • Don’t be over-familiar 🤬 

I cant wait to work with u xx

Nope!

Ok, you’ve had a good feeling with the interviewer, doesn’t mean you’re mates.

Your message should be professional. 

Check your spelling and don’t use any familiar  language or emojis 😊 

  • Don’t be creepy 😏 

Do you have an update? Any news yet? Have you made a decision? Why are you not answering? 

I said follow up, not harass them. 

Don’t turn into the psycho girlfriend who keeps over texting or calling every day until she gets a reply. 

Send your follow up message and patiently wait for your update.

  • Don’t embarrass yourself 🥴 

I really love the job, I really need it and I don’t think I will be able to cope if I am rejected. This job is my life. 

Wow!! 

Please please don’t sound desperate and give your life story. 

If you get the job, it’s because you’re good, not because they took pity on you. 

Got it?

Now let me tell you when and how to follow up: 

The day after your interview 

Head to LinkedIn and send a connection request to everyone you’ve met in your interview, if you’re not already connected to the recruiter add them too.

Write them a short message to thank them and reiterate your interest. 

Good morning/afternoon {{Name}}

I wanted to send a little note to thank you for taking the time to {{meet with me/arrange an interview for me}} on {{Date}}.

I have really enjoyed meeting {{Interviewers’ Names}}. {{Projects you discussed / things the company is launching}} sounds great and I’d love to be a part of it. 

I hope I’ve convinced you that I would be an asset to {{Company}}

If there is anything you would like to discuss further with me, feel free to contact me on {{Phone Number}}

I look forward to hearing from you. 

{{Your Name}}

Boom! 

Send this and wait patiently for your outcome. 

You did ask them during the interview when you’ll hear back, right?

If you didn’t, add this to your message above:

One thing we didn’t discuss when we met is your timeline. When can I expect to hear back with {{an outcome / the next steps}}?

Now you can wait…

The day after you should have heard back

They told you they’d get back to you and didn’t… 

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They probably have a good reason: too busy,on holidays, haven’t made a decision yet, completely forgot about you…

You’re in your right to chase. 

For this one, go to the recruiter rather than the hiring manager. 

Hi {{Name}}

I attended an interview on {{Date}} with {{Interviewers’ Names}} for the role of {{Job Title}}

From our conversation, I understand that you were hoping to make a decision by {{Date}}.

Do you have any updates for me?

Thanks a lot, 

{{Your Name}}

Give it a few days…

A week after you should have heard back

Are they ignoring you or what? 

Time to get back to the top of the recruiter’s inbox

Hi {{Name}}

I just wanted to follow up on last week’s email. 

I was expecting to receive an outcome after my interview for the role of {{Job Title}} by {{Date}}.

Is there any news on my application?

Thanks a lot, 

{{Your Name}}

Now is also a good time to chase the interviewer again. 

Hi {{Name}}

Hope you are well. 

We met on {{Date}} to discuss the role of {{Job Title}}. I am getting in touch to find out if there are any updates on my application. 

I just want to reiterate my interest in joining {{Company}}, the role sounds like a great opportunity to {{solve their problem, work on an exciting project, etc.}}

If you need to contact me, I’m available on {{Phone Number}}

Looking forward to speaking to you. 

{{Your Name}}

That’s it. 

You’ve chased both the recruiter and the interviewer a couple of times. Now leave it. 

They’ll get back to you, or not, when they’re ready. 

Keep applying for other roles… 

And if they get back to you after you found another job, you’ll decide if they deserve you.

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How to get your job back during a restructure?

How to get your job back during a restructure?

Just under 50% of UK companies think that they will have to make redundancies in the next few months because of the Coronavirus crisis. 

If your company has already made use of the furlough scheme, it will come as no surprise to hear one of the big R words: Redundancy, Reorganisation or Restructure. 

They all mean the same; jobs will disappear and most employees will have to successfully apply for their job or be made redundant. 

Have you been asked to reapply for your own job? 

I bet your first reaction was ‘WTF! This is my job, why do I even have to reapply for it? I’m already doing the job!’

Even if you were expecting a restructure to happen, it’s still big news to you and it’s natural to feel angry, sad or betrayed.

But you need a clear head to think calmly about what to do next. 

Take a deep breath and consider your 3 options:

Leave it

Since the reorganisation means your job is gone, you’re not obliged to apply for this new one. You can take the redundancy pay and go. 

Even if you are really really angry and want to give your employer the finger, don’t! You don’t know who you’ll work with in the future. 

Leave gracefully and remain professional until the end.

Fight for it

If your company is going through a consultation process, you can challenge the proposal if you can prove that the job really is what you are doing right now. 

It’s worth a try if you have a union rep who’s ready to fight your corner. But chance is the company has already decided to go ahead with the restructure and that this ‘new job’ is too different to your ‘old job’ to just give it to you. 

So you’ll be wasting your time and can be a bit risky as you can be seen in a bad light for being too militant. 

If there are other people in the same situation, tackle it together, there is power in numbers. 

Earn it

If you want to stay and want the job you’ll just have to go with the flow and apply for it. 

Here are my 4 tips to earn your job back:

  1. Be quiet

You do NOT have to give your opinion about the new structure, you do NOT have to share how you feel, you do NOT have to say what you plan to do next to your colleagues or boss, even if they ask you. 

Let’s be honest for a second, if you are really negative about the new proposal and air your frustrations with everyone, you’ll not only look bad but also make others around you feel bad.

If you’re going to discuss your views about the reorganisation, do it with someone you trust who will not use what you say against you. 

  1. Be nice

Be a model employee! You don’t know yet who your next boss is going to be, be nice to everyone… just in case… 

  1. Be confident 

Of course, there’s no guarantee that you will get the job! Nothing in life is guaranteed. 

Don’t start speculating about who will be made redundant and who will  compete with you for this role. Don’t listen to those who are trying to intimidate you by telling you that they think the job is theirs. If it was their job, they would have been appointed already. 

If you don’t believe you can get this job, whoever is interviewing you won’t believe it either. This is YOUR job and you’re going to earn it. This is YOUR job!

  1. Be proud

If it’s your job, you’ve done it before and I bet you’ve done it well.

Remind yourself of your accomplishments, look at your past end of year reviews, quantify your results where you can and write down your successes. 

Gather evidence that you are the right person for this job and show it off in your CV, application and interview (or whatever hoops you have to jump to get your job back). 

Got it?

I get it,, going through a restructure and reapplying for your own job may seem like a waste of time but it is also an opportunity.

An opportunity to renegotiate your offer. It is a new job after all…

An opportunity to practice your interviewing skills. If you don’t get it and are made redundant, don’t panic… Your CV is up to date, you know what questions to prepare for your next interviews and you have (hopefully) a decent redundancy pay package to keep you going until you find your dream job. 

So remember, be quiet, be nice, be confident and be proud! This is your job and you’re going to earn it!

Is Covid19 your opportunity to pivot your career?

Is Covid19 your opportunity to pivot your career?

Are you about to lose your job because of Covid19?

Right now, the Coronavirus health crisis is putting a lot of jobs at risk. Some governments are offering furlough schemes to support businesses and avoid redundancies but there’s no doubt that, when it all ends, some companies will have to lay off part of their workforce. And if you haven’t already, you’re likely to be impacted in some way.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first job, if you’ve only just returned from maternity leave, or if you’re over 50. Losing your job will be devastating but you’ll eventually have to find work again. And you can find a new one if you have the right mindset!

Let’s talk about companies for a second. Some have been lucky and have thrived in the past few months. But the rest of them have had a tough time keeping their business afloat during lockdown. Those who will make it through this crisis are those who have changed their strategy. Remember the bakeries who started delivering bread and selling flour, manufacturers who made masks, PPE and even ventilators, fitness companies who moved their workouts online… They have too been victims of this crisis but instead of doing nothing, they have used it as an opportunity to try new ideas to adapt and survive.

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You too, have the choice between doing nothing or pivoting your career.

Doing nothing is not an option, so here’s how to change your career path:

Go fast

Some industries are really suffering from this crisis but others are booming and are urgently looking for new talent. And guess what, you’re available right now!

If you’ve lost your job, chances are you won’t be able to find a similar job in the same sector so easily. 

But here are some jobs and industries for you to target:

Companies that keep us alive

  • Health & Social care
  • Pharmacies
  • Supermarket
  • Food production

Companies that keep us at home

  • Ecommerce
  • Warehouse and delivery
  • Technology
  • Call centres

Even if it’s not your ideal career, you can find a job in a different field or industry to keep you going while you look for your dream job.

Go Big

If you can afford to take your time, now might be the perfect for a change of career path.

Have you always wanted to do something different? 

What stopped you? 

  • I would earn less money
  • I don’t want to leave my colleagues
  • I’m over 50
  • I’ve studied for my job, it would be a waste 
  • I’m scared of failing, it’s too risky
  • I have no relevant experience to get this job

Those were (kind of) valid excuses when you had a job but now you’ve been kicked out of your comfort zone, there’s nothing stopping you from trying something different.

  1. Be clear on what you want to do. Be realistic tho, is your dream job really a good fit? Do your research about what the work involves and reach out to people in this field to ask for their advice. 
  2. Understand what skills you need. Hard skills are anything you can learn through training (degree, experience on a specific software, language, etc.) while soft skills are related to the way you interact with people (teamwork, problem solving, communication, etc.). 
  3. Get the hard skills. There’s no secret, if you want to be a nurse, you’ll need a nursing qualification. Invest time and effort in getting the technical skills you need.
  4. Transfer the soft skills: You already possess some of the personal attributes needed for the job, you just need to show they can apply to your next job too. 

Whatever option you choose, when you change industry or career, you’ll have to connect your experience so far with the skills that are needed for your next role. 

OK, but how to do that if you have no experience in this industry or job?

The idea is to use ‘Transferable Skills’.

Transferable skills are interpersonal skills that can be applied to a wide range of careers or industries. They’re the best way to show you’re a great fit for the role, regardless of your previous experience.

You learn and develop those skills at work, but also outside of it, at school, in sport and even at home. 

To get started, you’ll need to find out what soft skills are needed for the job. Read some job descriptions for your ideal role and notice what words keep coming up in the requirements. 

But saying you have those skills isn’t good enough, you need to demonstrate how you’ve used them until now in your CV, application and during the interview process. 

Here are some examples to get you started:

Don’t saySay
TeamworkI worked collaboratively with the training team to deliver a new induction programme
Problem solvingI successfully introduced a new way of dealing with customer complaints
CommunicationI created monthly reports and delivered presentations at the quarterly management meetings
LeadershipI have been the team captain of my local netball team for the past 5 years
OrganisationI coordinated the school fair with parents, local businesses and the council and raised more than £1000 to refurbish the library

When you display the right behaviours you’re also showing you have potential to do a great job, regardless of what training you need. Remember that!

This Coronavirus crisis might mean that you’ll be on furlough for the next few months, or will be made redundant but you can still find a job you love. And if you want to try something different now is your chance to do it!

So I’ll say it again for good measure: Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!!

Epic questions to ask in a phone interview

Epic questions to ask in a phone interview

What do you expect from a telephone interview?

Phone interviews are a powerful screening tool for employers to make sure they only see great candidates when a CV is not enough to differentiate between them. 

It is part of the interview process and one of the best tips I can give you is to prepare it as you would do your homework for an interview. Research the company and review the job description to build a list of questions about what you don’t know or want to clarify during your telephone call. 

What’s good about screenings calls is that they’re a lot more informal than face to face interviews and you will usually be talking to a recruiter rather than the hiring manager. You don’t need to wait until the end of the call to ask your questions. Instead, engage in a two-way conversation where you both can find out if you are right for each other. Yes, you also need to use the telephone interview to screen the company by asking them killer questions. 

Asking great questions will not only help you decide if you want to continue with the process but will give you a competitive advantage on the other candidates. You will know a lot more about the job by the time you reach the face to face interview stage and will be able to ask even more epic questions! That’s what makes them so powerful.

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Enough about how good phone interviews are… Here are my top tips to answer and ask killer questions during a phone screening:

The company: What do you know about us? 

You’ve done your research so tell them everything that you’ve learnt about your potential employer. The recruiter will also give you a bit more information about the business. Ask about anything you couldn’t find on the internet and they haven’t talked about already:

  • What are the biggest opportunities for the company in the next 5 years?
  • What are the biggest challenges the company is facing right now? 
  • Who are your key competitors?
  • Can you tell me more about the company culture?
  • Can you give me more information about your services / products? 

The job: What is your understanding of the job? 

Here they want to know if you’ve grasped what the job is about. Again, the recruiter will fill in the gaps if you haven’t covered everything. When they’re done talking, ask them:

  • Can you tell me more about how this job became available? Find out why they need someone. Are they recruiting because the last person in the job left or was promoted? Is it due to growth or because it was too much work for one person to do it alone? Is it part of a strategic change in the department? 
  • What is the typical career path for someone in this role? Here you are asking about career progression in a more subtle way than ‘When can I be promoted?’
  • Who does this job report to? Once you know, go and stalk them on LinkedIn to find out more about them.

The requirements: Can you talk me through your CV? 

They can also ask you specific questions about your work experience or qualifications. Needless to say that you need to only highlight what’s relevant to this role, remember that they have already read your resume (it’s probably right in front of them as you speak).. 

  • How often will I use XX skill / method? What systems do you use? Etc. You can ask more technical questions but the likelihood is that the recruiter’s knowledge will be fairly limited. If they can’t answer, keep those specific questions for the face to face interview. If they can answer, great! Use this to build more questions for the next stage.
  • Can you tell me more about the company’s induction process? What training will be provided? Find out how much they are going to invest in you when you start your job.

Wrap up: What is your current salary? Notice period? Do you have any holidays booked? When are you available for an interview? 

Those are all the deal breaker questions; if you give them a straight answer it might disqualify you so tread carefully and be as vague as possible. But it’s also your chance to ask for anything that is a deal breaker for you. If it’s one of your top priorities, don’t leave it until the offer stage to talk about it. You’ll be devastated if you have to decline the job because they can’t give you what’s important to you, plus you’ll have wasted precious time and energy.

  • Can you talk me through the bonus structure? Especially important for commission-based roles where you are promised a six figure salary if you meet your targets.
  • What is the likelihood of working flexible hours / part-time? If they don’t know, that’s fine. Ask them to find out and come back to you with their answer. You can then consider if it’s worth your time or not. 
  • How much travel is involved? What is the company policy on working hours, working from home, taking work home? Work-life balance is important and you should understand what your life will be like if you take this job. 
  • What is your timeline and what are the next steps? If they haven’t yet explained when you’ll hear back and what’s next, now is your time to ask. 
  • Who will I meet for the next stage? Again, once you know, stalk stalk stalk!

Remember than interviews are like dates, you’re both here to decide if you’re right for each other before you commit. Don’t go hitting on the recruiter tho. You don’t want to be remembered as the candidate who epic failed her screening!

Let’s talk money…

Let’s talk money…

When you apply for a job, do you know how much it pays?

Probably not. But why? Because companies don’t want to disclose how much they pay to their candidates who will keep asking for the max, to their employees who will all be wanting a raise and to their competitors who will offer more than them and snatch the best candidates. 

But, let me ask you a question… Why do we all work?

  1. To earn money, pay our bills, buy nice shoes, go on holidays
  2. Because we like what we do

Still, the most critical piece of information about a job is hidden and you end up taking a gamble every time you send an application. 

I’ve even got a friend who went through THREE stages of interviews before being asked about her salary. Turned up the job paid HALF of what she was on… What a waste of time! 

If you don’t want to go to pointless interviews for a job you’re not going to take, here’s what you can do:

Before you apply, go to Glassdoor and search the salary for this job or a similar role. If you can’t find it, you can still have a look at their salaries, it will give you an idea of whether this employer pays well or not. 

Then, during the screening call with the recruiter, they should ask you what you want. If they don’t, when it comes to the end of the chat, just ask them straight. It will probably go like that:

  • You: ‘Can you tell me more bout the salary?
  • Recruiter: ‘It’s company policy not to disclose our salaries; the remuneration will depend on the right candidate’s skills and experience, blah blah blah.’ At this point, they should finally ask you what you’re expecting. If not:
  • You: ‘Ok, I understand. Well, I am looking for around £££. Can you confirm that if I was successful, you would be able to match my expectations?

Based on their reaction you’ll know what to do next:

  • Yes of course.’ —> Darn, you should have asked for more! If you get an offer, make sure you add up bonuses and other benefits to your package to get a better one.
  • It’s a bit higher than what we would usually offer for the role but for the right candidate we can discuss this further…’ —> If you smash your interview, there will be room to negotiate. Go get it!
  • ‘Awkward silence’ —> You are earning far more than what they’re offering and you’re probably overqualified for the job. Stop the process there and rethink the kind of roles you’re applying for.

Sometimes, there’s no screening call and you go straight to the interview. If that’s the case, try to get in touch with the recruitment team or hiring manager before the interview. 

Your time and energy are precious. Don’t wait until the offer stage to talk about what is important to you. 

You go girl! 

How to answer: Why do you want to leave your job?

How to answer: Why do you want to leave your job?

When job hunting, there are a few questions you can expect to be asked. In the top ten interview questions you’ll find the dreaded strength and weakness question and one that you might not expect: ‘Why do you want to leave your current job?’.

Don’t let the question throw you off and answer that it’s none of their business. Obviously you want to leave because something is not going well. If it was perfect you wouldn’t even be looking for something else. But don’t take it the wrong way, it is NOT an invitation to bitch about your job. It’s just a way for the recruiter to understand what motivates you. The real question they’re asking is ‘What are you looking for in your next role and why does this particular position attract you?’.

By being honest(ish) about your reason for leaving you won’t make the same mistake twice. And if they can’t handle your answer then they’re not the right place for you. 

To structure your answer use the ‘shit sandwich’ approach. 

  • Positive: start by talking about what enjoy in your current job and what you’ve learnt
  • Negative: to describe what you don’t like about your it, talk about what was missing / what you need to grow in your career
  • Positive: finally, tell them how great their job is and what a good match it is for you

Here are some diplomatic answers you can give when asked ‘Why do you want to leave your job?’

My job is boring → During the past 5 years I have learnt a lot about [product / service / industry] and I am now looking for a more varied role. Your position would offer me the opportunity to expand those skills in a more challenging setting. 

I hate my company → Working in my department has been an enriching experience but I would now like to join an industry I am passionate about / a company whose mission and values strongly align with mine.

I don’t want to work so many hours → My role was really exciting and required a lot of personal commitment. For my next step in my career, I am looking for a change of pace and I know you are committed to your employees wellbeing and helping them achieve a good work-life balance. 

I can’t stand my boss → I have learnt a lot during my time in my company. I would now like a position where I can explore new ways of working and take more responsibilities / work independently / work closely with directors / or whatever your boss didn’t allow you to do.

I didn’t get a promotion → While I love working at my company, the opportunities to progress internally are limited. I am now looking for better career prospects and your position would allow me to grow my leadership skills.

This isn’t the job for me → My time at my company has been an invaluable experience but my real passion in this sector and this role does not exist in my current organisation. Your role is better matched to my long term career goals and would allow me to develop my skills.

I am not paid enough → I thoroughly enjoyed my job at my company and have consistently achieved my objectives every year. I have now reached a growth ceiling in my role and am now looking for a more challenging and rewarding position. 

You get the gist of it…

How to deal with rejection

How to deal with rejection

When you’ve set your heart on a job it’s hard to hear you didn’t get it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just applied, not been selected after an interview or lost your job, you’ll naturally be disappointed not to be the chosen one. 

The intensity of your sorrow and the speed you’ll get over it will vary depending on your personality, how much you wanted the job or what else is going on in your life but you’re likely to go through the ‘5 stages of grief’ before you can move on.

There is nothing wrong with experiencing those feelings and you will eventually get over it but the longer you take, the more time and energy you’ll waste, potentially missing opportunities to find something else. 

To start with, you’ll be in denial. I just can’t believe this is happening, I need to read this rejection email another 10 times to be sure. Don’t bother, you’ve truly been rejected, that’s a fact. Have a good cry and move on. 

Then comes the anger. Those bastards! That’s so unfair, I deserved this job. The reality is that you’re not pissed at them but at yourself for not getting the job but all this negative energy will get you nowhere. Turn your rage into action and start sending loads of new applications. 

Now that you’ve calmed down, you’ll start wondering if there’s still a chance. That’s the bargaining phase. I said bargaining not begging, it’s not time to sound desperate. First, try to get some feedback and, if it sounds like you did ok but there was someone else better, just let them know that if there is another opening in the future, you’d be interested. 

Although they’ve said they’d be in touch if something else came up, you’re not stupid and know they’re just being polite. Depression kicks in and you start to feel like shit. I’m so rubbish, no one will ever hire me. You’ll naturally be reminiscing about where you messed up. Go on, do it. Think about what happened and where you could have performed better. What questions did you stumble on? Was your CV really showing the skills needed for the job? Did you show enough motivation for the role? Identify where you’ve gone wrong and fix it for next time. 

You’re almost in the final phase: the acceptance stage… Yes maybe you could have done better and got the job, maybe there was someone else stronger than you. It still doesn’t make you worthless. This role just wasn’t right for you at this time, that’s it. 

Being rejected is hard and you will find yourself being negative and sometimes frankly ridiculous… I have cried on the phone while being told I didn’t get a job, refused to listen why I wasn’t ready for a promotion and just quit, contacted a recruiter far too many times after a rejection, considered changing careers when things didn’t work out… Not all at the same time. I have made all those mistakes so you don’t have to!

Just be aware of your feelings and refocus your energy to bounce back as quickly as possible. 

Realise that this was just practice to land your dream job. You’ve learnt and improved thanks to this rejection and you come out of it a better candidate. You WILL find a job you love. 

It’s not you, it’s me!

It’s not you, it’s me!

A few weeks ago, I got a call from a friend who just had just been told she was being made redundant. No warning, nothing, just like that… 

The current situation is tough on people but also on many businesses who have to adjust and do whatever they can (or want) not to go under. For them it’s all about survival. 

There will be some cowboy businesses who use this as an opportunity to do whatever they want. Some others will truly try their best to save jobs but just can’t. And now, you will see what your company’s strategy is. 

Choices will be made to save money, jobs, maybe both. You might agree or disagree with them but your opinion won’t influence the outcome. Whatever has to be done will be done and for a minute you’ll feel like a spectator in your own life. 

Maybe you’ll be safe, maybe you’ll be furloughed, maybe you’ll be made redundant. Only time will tell. But whatever happens, don’t take it personally! It’s not your fault. 

You haven’t done anything right or wrong, you are just a resource (think about it, that’s what HR is about: human ‘resources’) that is or isn’t essential for the survival of your company right now. Tough love I know but feeling sorry for yourself or getting angry at the situation won’t change the outcome, you have to get over it quickly and think about your next move. 

Maybe you’ve always wanted to go travelling the world (well, when at least after this lockdown is over), spend more time with family, write a book or change career. It’s your opportunity to do so. But if you don’t, that fine too, you can now focus solely on finding a job you love in a company you’re proud of. 

Take time to think about what you really want to do and turn your energy into making it happen. 

Good luck!