From #topperformer

Where do you see yourself in five years? Avoiding interview cliches

Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | Personally and professionally, most of us are inspired by ideas and opportunities, which we then slowly turn into plans and goals. These little gems are what help us grow, learn and experience new things, and without them our lives lack colour.

So when you are prepping for an interview, or asked the “where do you see yourself in five years” questions, take a little time out to consider what you really hope to achieve professionally. For this year’s graduates who are on the start on their career journey, use your degree as a starting point, think about the professions and sectors that are linked to your degree, and what do you need to do to get there. Then make your goals personal to the company that you are being interviewed by. Use their online resources, ie. careers page, and if you are being interviewed for a junior assistant post, identify what mid/senior level positions are also available with the company. By understanding the size of the business, are they an independent business or multi-national organisations will help you understand how your career can successfully develop with the company.

A Guardian Jobs guide to writing a CV | The 8.8 second CV challenge

Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | 8.8 seconds, that is the timeframe you have to wow a prospective employer when it comes to reviewing your CV for the first time. So how do you make those 8.8 seconds count, and convince an employer to move your CV across to the ‘to be considered’ pile. Accessible information, concise statements that provide strong supporting evidence is key, & a personal profile introducing your background/achievements is an ideal way to grab the readers attention.

How to keep your CV to two pages

Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | I think I can safely say, that this must be the most common request that I receive from students when reviewing CVs. How can I reduce my CV, or in some cases, how do I grow my CV to 2 pages. It is either too much information, or too little rarely a happy medium. CVs need regular attention, as your skills, achievements, and professional development will constantly be evolving. So, are you up for the challenge of getting your 4 page CV down to 2 pages. It’s achieveable, I promise you 🙂

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | Summer is spread out in front of us all. Who’s up for filling the Summer with some amazing first-time experiences in the form of a summer internships, work experience, volunteering? These types of experiences are ideal for students, graduates and post-graduates.

But, doing something for the first time, is not just for the young. For those who are happy in their career, but may be keen to learn a new skill, or introduce some creative skills if their day job is analytical or technical, can be a lot of fun. Or vice-versa. Just by enquiring within your own company, and looking at a secondment, or work shadowing could tick this box for you. Thinking about experiences for your team, turn the experience into a team away day. Looking for something more extra-curricular? Combine a summer break with vocational workshops, this could be a weekend, week or fortnight experience.

& don’t forget internships are no longer just for the young. So many of us are looking for a career change, or keen to establish a portfolio career, which means that professional internships (short and long) are now available with many sectors.

Just think about how these experiences can transform you, build your confidence, introduce you to new environments, gain new skills. & just think about the amazing stories you will have to tell when you are asked “so what did you do this Summer”?

Don’t even think about becoming a freelancer unless you have these 20 essential skills locked down

Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | How many of us have thought about how wonderful it would be to be your own boss. Setting up your own business, and freelancing, can be so tempting, you have an idea, you want to take that idea and turn it into something amazing. Turning that idea into a product, and then rolling it out to a large customer audience, is hard work, and requires you to be highly skilled and adaptable to a number of roles (or hats as I like to call them). For creative freelancers, artistic talent will not be enough, remember you will need to become the Head of Finance, IT, Marketing, Sales, Business Development, the hat list is endless.

So the question is, are you up for the job? Are you ready to build your hat collection, and start building your business idea, and turn it into something amazing, as well as transform yourself into a highly talented and versatile business extraordinaire?

How to Follow Up on a Job Application: An Email Template

Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | I have been receiving a lot of enquiries from students recently through my 1-2-1 appointments and e-guidance, on how to follow up with an employer, once you have clicked send and submitted your application. This article provides some useful advice, and you can tailor your email template to suit your personal writing style. So when is an appropriate time to re-engage with an employer? Either follow up once the closing date has expired, or if no closing date, contact the employer 10 – 14 working days after you have submitted your application. Re-engaging with employers during the application process, helps you the job seeker feel in control of your job search, rather than feel that you are making no progress with your job search. These small processes will help you identify what applications are currently under consideration. Most job seekers believe that no news, or a deafening wall of silence, means that our job application has been unsuccessful, but that is not always the case, sometimes, the recruitment and selection process can take time, and an email follow-up, may just be all you need to send for a progress update. Good luck.

8 Ways to Be the Person Everyone Wants to Talk to at a Networking Event

Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | Mention the word ‘networking’ and for some of us, we become overwhelmed by fear, get anxious, and go into a cold sweat. We know it is really important for our jobs, and socially, so why do most people label themselves as ‘unsuccessful networkers’? For the students’ I work with, networking is something that they will be exposed to, and this would be in the forms of, career fairs, employer networking cafe’s, practitioner/employer presentations, working on collaborative creative briefs etc. Students will also be introduced to networking through their part-time jobs, volunteering, placement years, internships and extra-curricular activities. In addition, students are introduced to networking via social media platforms, especially through LinkedIn.

Networking is for everyone, not just the confident, outgoing personalities, and you do not need to drastically change your personality to become a successful networker. Identify your skill strengths, and also note skill areas that you can improve on, then find non-threatening environments, experiences to help you improve in these areas. This could mean, finding a supportive mentor/buddy. Connect with friends/peers who have completely opposite personalities to you, especially in group based projects. I guarantee you will both learn from the experiences and your confidence/skill sets will be enhanced by the experiences too.

Freelancing: is there a way back to full-time employment?

Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | Some really useful advice for anyone who is considering, or has already established themselves as a freelancer. The good news is that there is flexibility when it comes to your career path. For some freelancers this may be a temporary requirement to ensure a regular income is generated to help finance their business. For others it is to enable them to develop a long-term portfolio career. Whatever your reasons, this article offers some valuable advice.

How to Convince an Employer to Take a Chance on You (and Ignore the More Qualified Candidates)

Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | This article is highly appropriate to recent or soon to be graduates, who are just about to make the first tenative steps towards their first full-time sector specific position. You have the passion, enthusiasm and genuine interest in the role/profession/sector, but have limited directly related work experience. For some graduates, they will have had the good fortune of organising a summer internship, work experience or university project, society or extra-curricular work. For others grads, it will be their degree and part-time work experience that will be their application supporting evidence.

I am always telling my students never to apologise for their lack of experience, or another common apology, is “I am just a customer service assistant/events assistant/hospitality assistant” the “just” word should be banned when it comes to job seekers. All of our experiences add up to something, and it is about taking the time to review experiences, identify the transferable skills, the client/colleague contact that the role offered, and the opportunity to work with supporting services that will enable the applicant to write and talk in a positive way about their professional background, and convince the employer of their suitability.

CV writing: use role descriptions to paint a picture of your job history

Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | Factual story telling is so important when it comes to CV’s, cover letters and application forms. When you provide concise, supporting evidence which also includes measureable data that can help benchmark an experience, makes the task of reviewing CVs, so much simpler for the hiring manager. This can also include background information to a service delivery, business and team size. This article provides some great advice on how to achieve this.