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Monthly Archives

January 2018

Disappointed with exam results?

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If or your son or daughter didn’t get the exam results they wanted, don’t panic. Professional career guidance specifically aimed at teenagers can help you and your child can survive the results and still find out what career is right for them – even if it isn’t the ideal career they imagined. It may be that now the education path you had planned is no longer possible, but there are still plenty of education and career opportunities open to them.

Whether it is a rethink of potential career paths, or route to study, our extensively trained and vastly experienced career advisors are here to provide objective and coherent careers advice and career guidance.

We have formulated a suite of career programmes that will help you and your teenager pass through this testing time, especially if they didn’t get the exam results you expected.

Are you experiencing any of these?

Your child doesn’t know what to do for a career:

Teenagers can be non-committal at best, and this time of their lives is filled with hormones and change; this can be unhelpful in getting them to commit to a career path! So instead of being preoccupied with what career they should do, focus on their personality, strengths and weaknesses. What do they like to do? What are they good at? Use this as a guide for study and exploring what career is right for them.

How do they learn?

You may think that your teenager should go to university, but will that really be right for them? What is their learning process? What is the right career path for them? Our career advisors have worked with thousands of teenagers and all of them are different. Our Occupational Psychologists have decades of experience working with teenagers with special needs, such as Dyslexia or Dyspraxia and the careers advice programme takes all circumstances into account. We can help your teenager decide on a suitable and fulfilling career path and show what qualifications they will need to achieve in order to get to their ideal career.

They won’t talk to you!

Teenage years may not ideal in which to help your child in choosing a career! You may be just too close to help them make those objective decisions – you want the best for them in their career, but are you really knowledgeable enough to provide the most realistic careers advice? Talking to a professional careers adviser who is also an Occupational Psychologist will give the most realistic view of what career will make the most of their potential.

Our in-depth psychometric tests reveal a true, holistic profile of your teenager, and the consultation with the Occupational Psychologist will help them make concrete decisions about the education and career choices they are faced with, whatever their exam results.

Want to find out more about our careers advice and guidance for teenagers? Read more about our programme , including our insightful videos and resources!

Studying for a Degree

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One in five pupils is expected to get grade “A” passes this year. This is 8.4% higher than in 2015. However, students should not give up on their education goals, even if the grades they receive do not live up to expectations.

The government has seized on this statistic, saying that it proved the introduction of tuition fees had not deterred students from applying. The most popular degree is now Law, followed by Design, Psychology and then English. Despite today’s hype, how can students ensure that their degree will result in a firm job offer and an opportunity to develop their career?

A degree in one of these four subjects – law, design, psychology and English – does not necessarily lead to a subsequent career in the core field. Indeed, less than fifteen percent of psychology graduates go on to practise as a psychologist in any capacity. Like Psychology, Law has transferable skills prized in other career paths (e.g. well evidenced research, analytical and problem solving skills, attention to detail, and negotiating and communication skills etc.).

Besides skills, commitment and achievement demonstrated through degree level study, employers look for additional extra-curricular activities and work experience. For example, if you are serious about entering the legal profession today, it is too competitive to expect to get just a good degree and go on to take your bar exams or qualify as a solicitor. Many students will have gained legal work experience, perhaps organised by the student law society.

In addition, informal work experience can often be organised with law centres, citizens’ advice bureaux, in the courts and with legal departments in central/local government, and sometimes with solicitors’ firms. If you intend to work within the legal profession, your future employers will want evidence that you have learned something over and above your curriculum. Volunteer prospects can be researched here according to your skills and local area.

When selecting a course to study, you should consider whether you are better off studying something that you will enjoy or something that will provide better career prospects. When considering this question remember that degree courses are three to five years duration and studying for that length of time is going to be very hard work if you hate your subject!

Also the days of a ‘job for life’ are long gone – for many even a ‘career for life’ is not going to work out! Even if you do remain in the same sector, it is unlikely that you will be able to do so without reinforcing and updating your training. Much must depend on your own interests and ambition, and a vocational degree is not going to make you successful in itself.

Figures regarding graduate unemployment make interesting reading, and while professions fair well, they do not guarantee employment (and Computer Science, which one might have assumed to be a particularly safe bet, fares particularly poorly).

I’ve Been Made Redundant – What Next for my Career

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Redundancy is a traumatic time for any person and their families, but as the career market continues to be uncertain and insecure, it is an ever-present risk for many of us wondering what to do next for a career. If you have recently been made redundant, and are thinking of your career prospects or the next steps for your career, here are some tips to get you through this tough time.

Don’t take it personally

You will feel stressed, bitter and resentful. Acknowledge these feelings and move on, as they will do you no good when approaching future employers. Your career role has been made redundant, not you. Make sure you take this thought with you as you start searching for your new career.

Take a break

Don’t forget to take time to reflect on what you have achieved so far in your career. A little relaxation will help you get over the initial stress and rejection of redundancy, and focus on your next steps. Count your career achievements, not your stresses, to help you prepare for the career market.

Update your CV

It’s a good time to review and update your CV. Not only do you need to make sure you are ready for any job offers that come your way, but also this is your opportunity to analyse what you want from your career or next job. Make sure your CV reflects your career ambitions, your experience, your skills and passions.

What do you want to do for the next stage of your career?

Once you get over the shock and pain of redundancy, you can use it to get where you want to be in your career. Most of us are not completely happy with our career, and it’s unlikely that you are the exception. Have you ever considered a career change? Retraining to do a completely different career? Taking your hobby or passion to a level where it could actually become your career? This could be your chance to follow your dreams and find your ideal career.

The gender pay gap continues to distort career paths

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New analysis using figures from the Office of National Statistics has shown that the gender pay gap continues to widen, despite increasing pressure for transparency from large companies. In 2015 women in the UK take home, on average, over £5,700 less than their male counterparts.

The research, carried out by the recruitment consultancy Robert Half UK, revealed that gross annual earnings for women grew 1.4% between 2014 and 2015, compared with 1.6 % for men. This slower rate of growth raises concerns that the “stubborn” pay gap is still not shrinking.

For International Women’s Day, the agency called for all employees, regardless of gender, to be rewarded fairly and equally for their work. Recent research by the World Economic Forum has predicted that full gender parity would not be in place until at least 2133, but the latest indicators suggest it could take even longer.

Katy Tanner, director of Robert Half UK, said: “International Women’s Day provided a platform to highlight the importance of rewarding all employees fairly on the basis of their contribution to the organisation, rather than their gender or indeed any other point of difference.” She added, “Given men have on average higher salaries to begin with, the absolute difference is magnified still further.”

Women are likely to earn £300,000 less than male colleagues over their lifetimes, with a 24% deficit that takes a woman’s pay packet well below the national annual average. Figures show that the median gross pay for full-time male employees in the UK last year was £29,934, but for women it was £24,202. This is a shortfall of £5,732, or 24%.

When the divide is projected over a career of 52 years, it means a lifetime earnings of £1,556,568 for men, but just 1,258,504 for women – almost a £300,000 difference.

Unconventional tactics for a new career

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If you’re searching for a new career, it may be time to look at some unconventional tactics. If you want to pursue your dream career, you need to think big! We’ve had a look at some of the ways you can get ahead in the market for your best career path.

Wait before you apply for a job. Don’t go through the usual recruitment process if you find a job that will suit you. Research the company, find out more about them and make contact with key people. You don’t want your CV to get lost in the application process, so taking your time and making sure you stand out is a great way to get through to interview. Convey your interest – ask questions about the company before you apply, and even ask for advice about their role or industry. You could even take care not to mention the job vacancy at all, and see whether they tell you about the role.

Create your own position. Sometimes you need to approach companies first. Research your industry, think of some ideas, solutions, or how you could help companies within your remit and take the time to talk to them. It’s important that you’re not expecting a job offer to come flying at you, but that the companies notice you and what you can offer them.

Aim for the top. Don’t just wait for job vacancies to come up and apply to the HR team. Find ways of connecting with the decision makers in the company, the Managing Directors or Heads of Department, to get yourself noticed.

Establish yourself as a fan of companies you want to work for. If you know the company or companies you’re aiming to work for, make sure you’re seen as a fan. Follow their social media accounts, like and share their message and make yourself known. Your enthusiasm will put you in a great position once vacancies come up.

Refine your interview technique. Not so unconventional this one, but very important all the same. Remember to listen at job interviews, not just communicate your own message, retain eye contact and focus on your body language. Paying attention to your interviewer(s) is a very important skill and will put you in a great position when they review applicants.

How can you use Linkedin to find a good career?

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LinkedIn, the social network that focuses on business and careers, provides the ideal opportunity to make connections, find career roles and follow the companies that could make a difference to your career path. But are you using it effectively? Here’s how to make sure that your online presence accurately reflects you and your achievements, and helps you get that perfect career.

Don’t treat Linkedin like Facebook or Twitter

It’s a professional network, so it’s not the place to share a funny meme or link to a quiz. Keep your posts relevant and focussed on your career or profession.

Likewise, when making connections, ensure that there is career relevance between you and the contact you wish to connect with, and make this clear in the invitation.

Make the most of your profile

Have you written your career summary? Many people miss the opportunity to write something that accurately reflects them and their careers. Likewise, ensure that you add relevant keywords and ask colleagues, managers and those from previous jobs for recommendations. It builds a strong profile that is searchable and interesting for future contacts and even employers. Make it stand out!

Make sure you have a good, professional profile photo

A profile with a picture gets more views than one without. It also means that connections can recognise you at events or other career opportunities. Bad photos can be just as harmful as nothing at all. You need to look professional and ready to work, not sat on the beach or in a blur!

Keep your profile up to date

Don’t just update your profile when you change, or are looking for, a new career. It gives the wrong impression that you are only using the site at infrequent times, for career opportunities and not for connecting with others. Regular posts, profile updates and sharing relevant content will ensure that you get noticed and help you interact with others, keeping you at the forefront of possible employers’ – or useful influencers’ – thoughts.

Confidence is the secret to career success?

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According to a recent study, the key to a successful career is confidence, not talent. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that those who appeared more confident achieved a higher social status and did better in their careers than their peers.

So it suggests that the secret to career success is not through talent or hard work, but confidence in your abilities.

The study showed that, although more confident employees will make more mistakes in their careers and perform poorly in those careers compared to others, they would continue to be seen as hard working by their colleagues and more successful in career terms. Less confident colleagues have been shown consistently failing to spot the errors made by their more go-getting career peers.

And with the status set so high for confident people in the workplace, they are then promoted into better careers over those who are more competent, as superiors mistake their confidence for talent.

Professor Cameron Anderson, who led the research, said that those who were overconfident often sought power, fame or career success and that overconfidence was encouraged by the prospect of increased social status, respect and esteem. Within a work environment, those in possession of confidence tend to have more influence in their careers and are more admired than those who are less confident.

The study also found that those who were seen to be more confident believed sincerely in their talents. They were shown to believe they were more skilled in their careers than they actually were. As Professor Anderson stated, “Displays of confidence are given an inordinate amount of weight.”

So, what does this mean for your career? Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are finding it hard to progress in your current career:

  • Are you confident enough in your abilities to progress in your career?
  • Do you need to step up and show off your skills?
  • Are you missing colleagues’ errors because you mistakenly believe in their abilities over yours?

A great way to improve or change your career path is to find out where your talents lie. Once you know your key strengths, you can start being truly confident in your ability to do well in your career!

Will a career change affect a retirement plan?

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A career change is a serious option for many people in the current economic climate. Fluctuating life circumstances, unexpected redundancies or technology changes can lead to the necessity of a career change. But have you thought enough about how this career change will affect your retirement plans?

A midlife career change can have a huge effect on retirement planning. With almost half of the UK workforce thinking about a change in career, it’s definitely something to think about. However, the effect on financial security and a fear of failure frequently holds people back from changing careers.

A report released by the London School of Business and Finance in 2015 showed that 47% of professionals would like to change career, with 21% hoping to make a career change within the next year. Salary, a better work-life balance and improved career satisfaction are the main reasons stated in the report as to why people hoped to make a career change.

Many people looking for a career change are classified as ‘midlife’. As types of career change and people live longer, it is realistic to go through at least one career change in your working life. However, you must think hard about the financial implications and plan ahead however your career progresses.

Having a career strategy is key. Map out a projection to see what your income will be if you do change career. You might make a loss in the short term, but if a career change will eventually mean a higher salary, or a better work life balance for you with money you can comfortably live on, it’s worth making that change of career. You can always plan ahead too, making sure you have some savings or money set aside to cope with any short term changes or problems your career change may create.

Don’t forget to keep putting money aside for retirement too. Ensure that you are still contributing to a pension and try to keep you and your family financially secure.

Are you polite enough to progress in your career?

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Being rude might not just hold you back socially – a recent report in the Journal of Applied Psychology has claimed that it can affect your career as well.

The lead author of the study, Trevor Foulk, claims “rudeness has an incredibly powerful negative effect on your career” and this is reported to be a growing problem within businesses. For employers, this lack of personal and business etiquette is reported to lead to increased staff turnover, low performance, missed time, difficulty in recruiting and other career related issues.

You don’t want your lack of manners to affect your colleagues and morale. You definitely don’t want it to reduce your chances of job promotion or career progression either – so what do you need to focus on to make sure you are well mannered in your career?

Think before you speak

Before you send that hastily written email, before you quickly correct your colleague in an important meeting, and before you deliver your thoughts on a manager’s attitude to another while making your morning coffee; take your time and collect your thoughts. Is it necessary to communicate this? If it is, could you manage to put across your feelings in a subtler way, or at a different time? If you can, it will be a boost to your career hopes instead of a drag on your career development.

Remember your manners

Your career, your workplace, is just that. You need to respect others and ensure that everyone you work with is treated fairly and nicely. It is counter-productive to create conflict in your career. You can help create a fair, respectful, calm environment to work in, where everyone is happy to be there. It may also reflect back positively on you too, as these sorts of career skills are well respected in managerial careers.

It’s not always verbal

What you say is not always the issue in your career. People can quickly react unfavourably to facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. These can very easily be misinterpreted. Make sure you:

  • Check how you position yourself,
  • Maintain a healthy distance from others, ensuring you don’t invade their personal space,
  • Deliver your thoughts in a calm and rational manner.

This works both ways too – is someone else’s nonverbal messaging affecting you and your reactions? Before you respond negatively, it’s worth checking and if it is an issue it may be something to take up with your manager.

Setting your career sights high

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What typifies career success for you? Is it a high salary? Is it a career in which you are recognised and respected? Does your perfect career provide a better work-life balance? Recent research has shown that this varies, often across the gender divide, with surprising results.

The career poll, undertaken by employment firm Reed, has shown that although women want to achieve success in their careers earlier than men, they do not expect as high a salary. Men aimed for a higher salary that defined career success, but did not expect it until later in their careers. Over half of women want career success by the age of 40. This is compared to just two in five men. A third of women dreamt of being in their ideal career by the age 35.

Tom Lovell, Managing Director of Reed, stated “Achieving career success is deemed important to 51% of workers overall, yet what is most interesting from this research is what they define as indicators of career success and at what stage of their career they aim to achieve it.”

“With addressing the gender pay gap, and the career glass ceiling, high on the political agenda, it’s particularly interesting that women want to hit key career milestones earlier in their careers.”

“Flexibility is also key for women in their careers – seemingly more so than men. Interestingly, three-quarters of people don’t think they’ve achieved career success, with the average worker saying career success is eight years away. More than half believe they are not yet on the right career path to achieve career success at all.”

Defining success in your career is a key part of knowing what your dream career would be. How do you know how to achieve the right career path for you if you don’t know what you want to achieve in your career, as well as know what motivates you in your career?

Choosing the right career path is one of the most important decisions you will make in life. Take a look at Career Analysts’ career programmes to find out more about discovering the best career path for you.