How to make your career work for you…

How to make your career work for you...
Kayode Damali

My career journey from working at Charlton Athletic Football Club in merchandising to featuring on the 2018 series of the BBC show The Apprentice to launching the educational and professional podcast The Right Route, means I can now say I know what works effectively when it comes to securing a dream job.

After Christmas, many people feel a negative weight of returning to a monotonous cycle that leaves them feeling uninspired and lacking in enthusiasm in their workplace. But faking it can only last so long! It’s important to remember that though it can be an exciting time in terms of looking for a new career challenge, a considered approach is key to making sure you take the right route. Here are my top tips:

Where to start? Don’t accept a job because it looks like a glossy escape from the doom and gloom of your current situation. You really need to think about whether you can see yourself working there in years to come. The grass is not always greener, and a hasty decision could mean that you end up having to look for another role soon afterwards.

The job search: before making contact, really read the company website. Make sure you know what the business ethos is, what their company values are, who their clients are, and ask yourself ‘would you be a good fit, would it suit you?’ Social media also means you can sneakily check out the people, their employers and make contact on LinkedIn.

My top CV tips

Your CV is what will get you that interview. It’s the chance to showcase your experience, skillset and show a business how they can benefit from hiring you. Your summary paragraph is the opportunity to hook them in, let them know what you have to offer, what it is that makes you stand out. And remember, though predominantly work focused, they will want to know about you and how you will fit in.

Make it relevant. Employers’ needs will all be different so ensuring your CV is topical to them will help encourage their interest in you. There is no point sending one general email to all potential employers, this could get you discounted quickly before they even know what kind of professional you are. Personalisation and relevance are imperative, it shows you have done your research and are taking the time to get to know them and their brand.

Don’t lie! Always be honest There is a high risk you will get found out and sometimes your time out of work is what makes you interesting. Were you travelling? Or maybe you’re volunteering? You are who you are and that is what makes you a one-off.

Include personal information. What do you love? I don’t mean your pet or favourite food! Potential employers are always keen to hear about what you do outside of work. Do you have a sports team you play for regularly? Are you a champion of chess? Where is your top travelling location and why? Tell them something attention-grabbing.

The interview 

Being prepared will come off positively, knowing the job spec, the people interviewing you and having questions ready for them will show you have made the effort.

Have examples of your work that you can talk them through because this is the chance to showcase your knowledge and experience.

Some interviewers like to throw a ‘weird’ question out there. For example ‘what would you do if you were trapped inside a giant’s pocket?’ They do so because they want to see how you react and are keen to know what your escape strategy would be.

Finally, be proud of who you are and what you have to offer. It’s important to show courage and confidence in your abilities and these, in turn, will result in both professional and personal success.

The educational and professional podcast The Right Route is carried out in collaboration with the national training provider Qube Learning. You can download The Right Route podcast series from Apple and Spotify

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