Blog articles covering the topic of career coaching and career advice.

Career Change

Free online careers resources – part 3 – career change

Looking for a career change?

I have just had a very interesting time exploring a careers resource used in schools, colleges and universities, but which is also great for anyone seeking inspiration for a career change.  One of its unique features is the number of videos – over 1000 – of ‘real-life’ workers sharing their experiences about their career.

Transferable skills

The workers’ stories also help to dispel the myth that you need to have done certain things if you are ever to have a particular job – as their routes to their jobs are often anything but straightforward!  Of course, for some roles, you do need particular qualifications, but for many jobs it is the transferable skills that matter more to employers than your knowledge – examples of transferable skills being communication skills, leadership skills, teamwork, project management, problem solving, time management and so on, skills you develop as you progress through education, employment and training. So, if you are looking for a career change at 30, 40, 50, 60 or more, this resource would be an excellent place to start.

What job could I do?

I found it helpful to look up jobs by ‘Job Type’ (ie. sector) such as Energy and Utilities, Logistics and Transport, or ‘Subject’, such as Geography or Engineering.  This pulls up a number of videos for you to watch – around four minutes maximum in length. Information is also given on average salary, working week, male:female ratio in the UK, and any specific entry requirements. 

Where do I find it?

Explore Careers

My career coaching and advice sessions will help you identify your transferable skills and plan your career change route from where you are now to where you want to be.  It would be great to talk to you so please contact me for an informal chat and an idea of cost – no obligation and no pressure.  

Skills Matching

Free online careers resources – part 1 – career matching

Career skills matching

I’m doing a series of blogs on free online careers resources.  Today I have had a look at the Skills Assessment on the National Careers Service site. It is a tool suitable for generating ideas for your first, or next, job.  It takes about five minutes and asks you questions about how you like to work.  The results match you to a selection of roles in different industry or professional sectors, giving an indication of the salaries you might expect.

I have just had a go and these are my results:

  • you enjoy helping and listening to other people
  • you like dealing with complicated problems or working with numbers
  • you are sociable and find it easy to understand people

So how accurate is it?  

As my job is to help people with their careers decisions, I thought this was pretty much spot on.  I agreed with the first point:  being a careers adviser it is essential that I do enjoy helping and listening to people.  I also agree with the second:  I do like dealing with complicated problems – clients often arrive to see me with many factors to consider (and I do like working with numbers too!).  The final point is ‘you are sociable and find it easy to understand people’.  I think I am sociable, most of the time, although I do like some time on my own.  Do I find it easy to understand people?  I am not sure that I find it easy as I believe it requires a great deal of thought and skill, but it is certainly true that I am fascinated by how we make career decisions, what encourages us to do things and what holds us back, and the importance of learning why we might behave in certain ways.    

My results generated ideas for jobs and salary indicators in sectors including Hospitality and Food; Sports and Leisure; Teaching and Education; Science and Research; Manufacturing; Computing, Technology and Digital – lots of options for inspiration.

This activity gets you thinking 

It is ideal to break you out of that awful never-ending circle of indecision that can often befall us!  I hope you find it helpful.  

National Careers Skills Assessment

I will be trying out other free online careers resources soon.  When you are on social media, please like and share my page and set up notifications for my posts.

Returning from a break from work

Question: I have had a break from working for five years while my children were little. I would like to go back to work part-time now but feel that my skills are out-of-date. Do you have any suggestions?

Judith’s answer:

Many people lose some confidence after taking a break from work and it makes it difficult to present a positive image – on paper and at interview. One way to tackle this is to start with a bit of voluntary work – if you can find the time – as just a couple of hours a week will get you back into things and remind you of all the skills you actually have.  As far as the application form goes, you have a lot to offer from your time at home (and many things won’t have changed at all in five years!).  You will probably have developed excellent organisation skills, be calm in a crisis, have good time management, project planning, self-motivation, discipline, communication skills, budgeting and stamina.  All of these are skills and qualities which employers seek – no matter what the nature of the job.  So, it’s time to look at what you can do, not what you can’t.  Please get in touch if you would like some help.

I am a sole trader and have just become a member of a couple of business networks.

I go along to these on my own but I don’t really make the best of them. Everyone seems to know each other and I feel like a spare part. How can I join in – without feeling like I am butting in – and promote my business?

Judith’s answer:

These events can be very off-putting.  You have had the courage to set up your business on your own so you will be able to find the courage to network more successfully –it’s just a matter of deciding what to say to people and how to find a ‘way in’.   I can help you develop some introductory phrases to use which are neutral (business-wise), friendly and welcoming and we can gradually work on techniques to get you involved.  Then it’s back out there to practise them and back to me to help you refine and improve them – and back out there again…  We’ll have you networking effectively in no time!

Improving business proposals

I am trying to get work for my business but my proposals are being rejected even though I know we could do the job really well? Have you any advice?

It is difficult without seeing the proposals myself but a common problem that occurs is that businesses describe themselves and their products (ie. they write about their features) rather than supplying information about what they can offer to the prospective customer (ie. write about the benefits).  It may be that this is what is happening to you.  Please get in touch so that we can look at your proposals together and see how you could change them to get better results.