Hey, it’s Okay: The Career Edition – Six Pieces of Life Advice

Hey Sweeties,

Every once in a while it’s good to be reassured that something you’re doing/have done, or the situation you’re in or going into, is okay. As women, we are told conflicting advice ALL THE TIME! While I can share some life advice from a very general perspective, I think my particular expertise covers the area of careers. Nowadays, women can do anything in the world of work and yet, the first thing to get sacrificed is our career when it comes to having children, or being married (in some cultures), or just because. But also, the messages around us also say that career women are too focused, too ambitious… or it goes the other way and we are made to feel a little inadequate if we don’t have lots of career aspirations. I’ve only been around 29 years but here’s what I can share about the world of work, here goes –

Hey it’s okay:

To spend your twenties exploring multiple roles and industries –

It is no longer the deal to train in one thing and stick with it for the rest of your life like it was in the olden days. Nowadays, it’s the norm to explore a few things before you find what it is you’re good at/want to do; it’s also the norm to move on from one employer to the next every few years, particularly when you’re still building up your experience and network. But be sensible, show logic and focus in your journey rather than moving on for the sake of it or because you got bored. Do you have an interview coming up? Here’s my five tips on how to nail it.

hey it's okay

To complete as many or as little qualifications as you like –

At 29 years old, I have: 9 (expired) GCSE’s; 3 A-Levels; 2 NVQs in Business Administration; a Dental Nurse qualification (National exam); a Bachelors degree in Media Communications; and a diploma in Copy Writing. I would love to do a Masters degree if time and finances allowed. Why? I enjoy studying and also I just don’t think I’ll ever really shake off the feeling that I was never considered good enough at school, so I spent years afterwards getting myself qualified in everything I pursued. But it’s not essential, a qualification shows you can apply yourself to something, experience demonstrates you can put your learning into practice. But your twenties are definitely for getting yourself qualified in whatever you want to do before time and financial commitments prevent you from having that freedom. Recently got your A-Level results? This post is for you!

hey it's okay

To be Selfish –

No one else is going to give you an opportunity if you don’t put yourself forward/make yourself known, you need to think of number one (that’s you) and work out what it is you want and go and get it. I know it’s difficult to make moves and things when you have a partner, or a mortgage etc. but where possible, don’t be afraid to move to a new location for your dream job, and it takes time to climb the salary ladder so be prepared to start low, but climb high. This day and age, you can do and be anything.

Hey it's okay

To be intimidated by highly successful women –

I don’t mean this negatively, when I read about successful women who have climbed to the top of the ladder before I’ve even got out of bed in the morning is inspiring, but it’s also intimidating. We have to champion our female leaders and those young women who have made a name for themselves in the business world, but it’s okay to be a little overwhelmed by them too. I’ve worked my damnedest to get to where I am now and while for many that might not look significant, but if you’re familiar with my Graduate experience you’ll know how long it has taken me to find my footing. You and me have probably worked as hard as those women we read about, but their journey has propelled them further, quicker, but that doesn’t make them better. See my top ten list of successful women, here.

hey it's okay

To want a family –

It’s amazing how in the 21st Century, women fundamentally still have to chose between being a mother, or having a career. I say fuck society and do both… if you want to. But it’s also okay to choose motherhood and spend some time raising a family because that’s still a pretty crucial role to play. For me I am at that point where motherhood beckons on the horizon but so does my want to still do well and do more in my career first. I also have concerns about what will happen to my job once I go on maternity leave; will it still be there several months on for me to take back or will I begin a frustrating period of life whereby I am punished for having a family? Who knows. But from what I’ve been told, by both men and women, is that you can’t really ever know and if you’re lucky enough to have a family, you’ll make it work and there’s no point delaying it because you’re worried about the what ifs.

hey it's okay

To have your cake and eat it –

Because you can.

hey it's okay

What I am wearing: Shirt – Dorothy Perkins; black leggings – ASOS; Shoes – Dorothy Perkins; Bag – Fiorelli.

 

What life advice would you pass on to your younger self?

Until next time x

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My Top Five Tips to Nail an Interview

Hey Sweeties,

No one likes an interview but for the vast population it’s the process for finding (& securing) that next great job. As someone that has had a fair amount of interviews in her time, I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you all my top 5 tips to nail an interview.

1. TimingĀ 

Most importantly, know where your interview is and check how long it will take to get there! There is nothing worse than getting excessively flustered before you’re due to sit in front of a prospective new employer because you get lost, get the wrong bus or underestimate how long the journey is, so do your research beforehand so you can plan accordingly. 5 minutes on Google Maps is all it takes, even if you have a sat nav, I would still have the route in your head for back up. Admittedly, sometimes being late just cannot be helped so make sure you have the number of the place to handĀ so you can call ahead to let them know you’re running a bit behind schedule.

2. Do your research

I can’t stress how bad, not to mention awkward, it will look when you are asked about the company you’re interviewing for and you know nothing about them. How can they possibly be reassured that you want the job if you haven’t invested any time in getting some facts about them? Also, how can you be sure you want to work for the company if you haven’t read up and done some investigation into their culture, their values, who their customers are? It doesn’t need to be a lot but some basic knowledge on how long the company has been running, roughly how many people they employ (if they’re a large organisation), and an idea of some of the products they make or sell (aka. what they do) should be sufficient.

3. Dress the part

Before you open your mouth, you will be judged on your appearance; first impressions are everything. I hate to say that but it really is, how someone presents themselves speaks volumes. For me, I have never worn a full, proper suit to an interview but I have always worn a suit jacket as this will always formalise an outfit. Here is what I wore to my last interview (just imagine it with a black suit jacket over the top).

Interview outfit

It’s formal, smart, but the yellow top adds a fun element and I feel speaks a lot about me. It shows I can look the part without being too serious and in my line of work, this is perfectly fine. I also feel it’s quite young and modern which is important for me to portray.

However, you can never go wrong with a suit and if you’re interviewing at a large corporate organisation, a suit is a must but ultimately it’s your call. As long as you’re comfortable and can look the part, I don’t think you can go wrong. It also might be worth mentioning to keep your makeup fresh and simple but don’t be afraid of a bold lip if that’s your thing!

4. Be confident

Know who you are, what you can offer and why you want the role. You need to sell yourself so be proud of your achievements to date and go for it!

5. Relax!

Nerves are normal and those interviewing you will know that and expect it and for the most part, shows you care about the role being offered and that you want to make a good impression. As long as you have arrived in good time, done your research, look good and feel confident in your abilities, you’ll be fine. A few deep breaths work wonders and a glass of water always buys you some thinking time between questions. However, if you really do suffer with nerves, I strongly recommend Bach Rescue Remedy -a couple of drops on your tongue before hand can do wonders with helping you feel calm and reassured.

Beyond those 5 tips, the rest is up to you! Good luck!

So, with all the above being said, I think it is time for me to let you guys know that I have been successful in securing a new job! I have been sat on this news for a little while but I am extremely excited (not to mention nervous) about my new role which begins in a little over a week. Eek! Without going into too much detail, I am going to be a Content Marketing Executive so finally a role that will really utilise my skills and enjoyment for the written word. Wish me luck!

Until next time x

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Tying Myself in Knots & Rethinking my Career Direction

Hey Sweeties,

While we’re still in the hype of the New Year, I felt this Sunday chat post needed to remain one of reflection. I have already written this week about 2014 and my hopes for the year going forward (here), but it’s since clicking publish have I thought of other things that happened in 2014 that I completely failed to mention such as my opportunities with Elle magazine. I have read some of your posts and those of other bloggers I follow in regards to reflecting on the year now gone and I can’t help but feel like I have become lost, confused, claustrophobic almost with thoughts about 2015; the year now already ticking away as I write.

Sunday Chat

The past couple of days I have really got hot and bothered about my career which is ridiculous but as you all know, it’s at the top of my list of goals and aspirations and will be for the foreseeable future. I spent the best part of seven years getting myself into the communications industry (read my Graduate Experience) and yet I am now not completely sure this is where I want to be. I wonder now if I just convinced myself I wanted to work in PR and marketing? I enjoy writing press releases but I don’t want to be in PR, I like the creative side of marketing but mostly it’s far too analytical which isn’t me at all therefore I have no desire to progress further down this route. I have also developed a hatred for social media unless it’s for personal use. Oh man.

Ultimately this also narrows down to feeling as though that at 27 years old, I should have my shit together and be a lot further ahead than I am… Although I tell myself and have no doubt mentioned on here previously that there is no rush, that your twenties are for trying out a few things and finding what works for you, I struggle to follow this -my own- advice. Writing is my number one love and if I was given an opportunity tomorrow I would jump at it… But what I don’t want is a role where I am just churning out content for the sake of it rather than for genuine purpose. I also worry that writing can be too isolating and as much as I like getting my head down and working independently, I know it wouldn’t take much to turn me into a hermit & with my battles with occasional loneliness this would be a disaster.

I actually think that having the freedom to try out a few jobs and career options to find the correct fit is not only healthy, but should be encouraged and until you hit thirty, employers shouldn’t necessarily raise their eyebrows at your CV if there seems to be method and lessons learnt from each previous employment. But as someone that has been in that situation and had to explain why -at probably only 21-22 years old- why I was moving from different professions, you do crave stability. This actually was one of the reasons I wanted to go to University so that I could start afresh at graduation and my pre life was merely that. I am also someone that is at my most comfortable when I know where I am going and how I am going to get there and I like to come across like that in interviews, and I do fortunately.

My big goal if you like is that by thirty, I am in a position to start a family (if I wanted to) and to do that, I feel I need to have a career built up enough that it would be ok to take a short break, or it’s something I could do freelance or work flexibly around raising a family. I have a salary in mind and to be honest, thirty is more like thirty-two now but still, I have an aim. This is still the best part of 3 years away, 5 if we’re going for the latter age, it is still all perfectly achievable so I really do need to just chill the fuck out and accept that everything will work out as long as I am keeping myself aware and sharp to the opportunities that become available. I know myself, I just over think and analyse every goddamn thing to the extreme which is why I end up in situations like the one I am busily writing out for you guys now.

One thing I feel I would like to do, is work or be in a position of influence with young people at school leaver age and tell them that trying to decide what you want to do in life is ridiculous until they have gone out into the real world and started experiencing things for themselves. I went to a good school and because I was a hard worker, they were good to me in return, that was until GCSE/A-Level time where I just felt they let me down. I made the decision to not go to University (although I did later) & I found myself in a small group separated from the rest as the school were simply not interested in those not going (to University). Rather than giving us as help and guidance with job applications or advice about alternative further education we were just forgotten. Now, that attitude is (hopefully) almost archaic but I am sure it still exists and schools don’t realise how single minded they are and how actually, they are letting their young people down if University really is the only way they measure student success.

All I am saying, is that just because others seem to have a clear direction outlined, don’t feel that what you’re doing isn’t still leading you in the right direction you think you want to go in. It might not be obvious, but trust your decisions and make use of opportunities when they present themselves, even if you’re not totally sure how it fits in with your life plan. Things have a funny way of working out so trust your instincts, think with your head but follow your heart and I am sure you will be fine.

Until next time x

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