The 9 Step Plan for a Career Change

Are you facing that career change plunge? Do you wish you were? Take it slowly and make sure what you really want to do is change careers. Then use this 9-step plan, and you will be on much more sure footing — and on a path toward career change success. Finally, remember that career change is a natural life progression; most studies show that the average job-seeker will change careers (not jobs) several times over the course of his or her lifetime.

Step 1: Assessment of Likes and Dislikes. A lot of people change careers because they dislike their job, their boss, their company. So, identifying the dislikes is often the easier part of this step; however, you will not know what direction to change your career unless you examine your likes. What do you really like doing when you’re at work, when you’re at home – in your spare time. What excites you and energizes you? What’s your passion? The key is spending some time rediscovering yourself — and using your self-assessment to direct your new career search.

Step 2: Researching New Careers. Once you’ve discovered (or rediscovered) your passion, spend some time researching the types of careers that centre around your passions. Don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit unsure or insecure — it’s a natural part of the career change process. How much research you do also partly depends on how much of a change you’re making; for example, changing from a teacher to a corporate trainer versus switching from a nurse to a Web designer.

Step 3: Transferable Skills. Leverage some of your current skills and experiences to your new career. There are many skills (such as communications, leadership, planning, and others) that are transferable and applicable to what you want to do in your new career. You may be surprised to see that you already have a solid amount of experience for your new career.

Step 4: Training and Education. You may find it necessary to update your skills and broaden your knowledge. Take it slowly. If the skill you need to learn is one you could use in your current job, see if your current employer would be willing to pick up the tab. And start slowly. Take a course or two to ensure you really like the subject matter. If you are going for a new degree or certification, make sure you check the accreditation of the school, and get some information about placement successes.

Step 5: Networking. One of the real keys to successfully changing careers will be your networking abilities. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. Even if you don’t think you already have a network, you probably do – consider colleagues, friends, and family members. You can broaden your network through joining professional organizations in your new field and contacting alumni from your college who are working in the field you want to enter.

Step 6: Gaining Experience. Remember that, in a sense, you are starting your career again from square one. Obtaining a part-time job or volunteering in your new career field not only can solidify your decision, but give you much needed experience in your new career. You might also want to consider temping in your new field. Work weekends, nights, whatever it takes to gain the experience.

Step 7: Find a Mentor. Changing careers is a major life decision that can get overwhelming at times. Find a mentor who can help you through the rough patches. Your mentor may also be able to help you by taking advantage of his or her network. A mentor doesn’t have to be a highly placed individual, though the more powerful the mentor, the more success you may have in using that power to your advantage.

Step 8: Changing In or Out. Some people change careers, but never change employers. Unfortunately, only the very progressive employers recognize that once happy employees can be happy and productive again – in a different capacity. It’s more than likely that you will need to switch employers to change fields, but don’t overlook your current employer. Remember not to start asking about a job switch until you are completely ready to do so.

Step 9: Be Flexible. You’ll need to be flexible about nearly everything – from your employment status to relocation and salary. Set positive goals for yourself, but expect setbacks and change – and don’t let these things get you down. Besides totally new careers, you might also consider a lateral move that could serve as a springboard for a bigger career change. You might also consider starting your own business or consulting as other avenues.

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Top Answers to The Most Challenging Interview Questions

A well-trained interviewer will throw all sorts of challenging questions at you in an attempt to assess your true suitability for the job. They often deliberately create stressful situations to see how you react. In fact, the tougher the questions, the better you’re doing.

To help you get to grips with the range of possible questions you might get asked, we’ve listed them under four sections:

 

Selling yourself: How to mention your strengths and good attributes when answering a question.

Informative answers: For questions that are looking directly for information on your experience and skills.

Dealing with objections: Answering direct objections the interviewer may have with your profile.

Turning negatives into positives: How to turn an interviewer’s attempts to weed out your weaknesses into an opportunity to show your strengths.

 

Selling Yourself

What kind of experience do you have to benefit this particular job?

The answer to this question lies in understanding the role when it is first described to you and taking the trouble to ask lots of questions about tasks involved in effect they are really asking how much training and instruction they will have to provide for you.

 

Can you work well under pressure?

This is a closed question and can be a sign of an untrained interviewer. Use the opportunity to give a comprehensive but brief answer focusing on several clear-cut examples showing your ability to cope under pressure.

 

What is your greatest strength?

If you’ve done your homework before the interview, you would have several strengths to choose from. The obvious choice would be the strength which best suits the demands of the job. This common question is a good opportunity to assert your profile.

 

What interests you most about this job?

Answering this question properly requires that you fully understand the job description, and if you ask plenty of questions you should be able to respond with some specific explanations that show your enthusiasm. Some good responses include: challenging, exciting, scope for learning and developing, departmental growth, teamwork etc. This question can also be turned around so that you can glean more information from the interviewer regarding the role and the company’s expectations.

 

What are you looking for in your next job?

You want a role where your skills and experience can be put to best use in contributing to the company. Avoid an over emphasis on what you hope the company can do for you.

 

Why should I hire you?

Be careful not to answer with a broad description. Keep it brief and to the point. Each point should be a direct link between your skills and experience and the demands of the role. A precise answer shows that you accurately understand the role and what you can bring to it.

 

Informative Answers

Do you consider yourself a natural leader?

In reality not all of us possess the confidence required to lead. You can substitute ‘natural’ with ‘competent’ or ‘conscientious’, focusing more on leading by example with good organisational and interpersonal skills.

 

Tell me about yourself.

This can be a frustratingly open question. It’s a good opportunity to reveal the strengths that you would have identified in your personal profile. Aim to keep it professionally orientated, specific to the characteristics that the interviewer may want to hear.

 

What are your biggest accomplishments?

Answers to this should be job-related. Modesty should again be applied, hinting that your best work is yet to come. A big accomplishment doesn’t need to be overly impressive, but rather show your competency. Don’t be hesitant or vague when answering this question. Show that you have a clear idea of your achievements to date.

 

Dealing with Objections

What did you like or dislike about your last job?

Ideally you would answer that there was nothing you disliked. Hiring someone who easily fits into the existing complement of staff is very important, so steer clear of criticising former colleagues, managers etc.

 

How long have you been looking for another position?

Whether you are employed or not, this question can be potentially fatal. If you are currently unemployed and have been looking for some time, try to minimise the ‘time gap’ by mentioning any other activities in which you have been involved. If your work is of a specialist nature and you’ve been fussy, or determined to continue in that field, point this out provided it isn’t at odds with the demands of the new role.

 

Why were you made redundant?

If you were made redundant then this is a legitimate excuse which most recruiters will understand, seeing as they have most probably been involved with laying off people themselves. Try to give acceptable reasons (such as downsizing, restructuring etc), be brief and move on to the next question.

 

How do you handle criticism of your work?

Try to portray an attitude that all criticism has a benefit and provides a chance for improvement. Try and elaborate on this question by giving an example of a poor idea that was criticised, rather than substandard work which you had produced.

 

How will you be able to cope with a change in environment?

This sort of question is usually posed if you’ve spent a long time in one particular job. It sounds like a negative but can be turned into a positive, especially if you’re looking for a change or a chance to grow.

 

 

 

Why aren’t you earning more at your this stage of your career?

Another implied negative which can be turned into a positive by emphasising your desire to gain solid experience instead of continually changing jobs for the sake of money. This question gives you scope to ask; “How much do you think I should be earning?” This could possibly lead to an offer.

 

Why have you changed jobs so frequently?

Emphasise that the variety of jobs has been good experience and that you’re now more mature and settled. Questions like this can be turned around to portray a positive, but be careful not to dwell too much on the subject or over- justify yourself.

 

Turning Negatives Into Positives

What can you do for us that someone else cannot do?

Don’t let this tough question intimidate you. If you have properly understood the details of the job then try to answer with a unique combination of your skills/experience which others are unlikely to have. Describe a difficult problem you’ve had to deal with. Outline an example of your success in troubleshooting and organisation. It’s always good to go into an interview armed with one of these. Clearly explain how you approached the problem, the result and how a difficult outcome was averted. Try to give an example which is relevant to the new role.

 

What is your greatest weakness?

If you lack a certain skill or experience in a particular field, express your desire to fill that gap or mention that you’re studying to rectify this. On a personal level you may be impatient or lack analytical ability, but mention any progress you’ve made in dealing with this, briefly giving an example showing how much you have improved.

 

What type of decisions did you make in your last/current job?

Prepare the answer for this straightforward question before the interview. Whether or not you made lots of decisions, make sure your answer reflects that they carried responsibility, were important within the role and required sound judgement.

 

 

 

 

 

How do you take direction?

You need to show that you are the type of employee who can be easily briefed and can finish the task at hand without any unnecessary disagreements or issues with your colleagues. Don’t give simplistic or vague answers. Try to give examples from your previous or current job showing your ability to follow instructions without being difficult.

 

Do you prefer working with others or alone?

Answering this depends on the nature of the job you are going for, but team players are usually favoured so it’s best to show that you function well in both situations depending on the nature of the task. Describe an atmosphere that is conducive to work. Without a clear idea of the company’s office environment, you run the risk of saying the wrong thing. Keep this answer short, base it on your previous role, mention conscientious factors, such as “a professional team”, “not too noisy”, etc.

 

What kind of people do you like to work with, or have difficulty working with?

Don’t get into personal details here, just give a short, sweet and obvious answer that you prefer working with people who are motivated and have integrity and pride in their work. No one likes working with slackers so you’re not likely to offend or influence the interviewer negatively with this comment.

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus Tip: Being prepared for an interview puts you in the top 5% of all interviewees. This alone can make the difference between success and failure.

 

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Construction Careers Need Better Promotion

A new survey by construction giant Kier has revealed that much of the careers advice given to young people at school and college is limited and out of date. In particular, the organisation revealed that the variety of jobs in the construction industry is rarely communicated.

The firm spoke to parents about their perception of the careers advice given to their children and found that 74 per cent believe it’s too focused on academic pathways, while 68 per cent don’t feel that their kids get given enough advice.

Where the construction sector is concerned, Kier revealed that the lack of information provided about jobs in this industry is exacerbating challenges already faced in construction recruitment.

The sector currently needs to hire approximately 400,000 new recruits each year to keep up with demand for housing and infrastructure projects, the organisation noted.

A misconception of what working in construction is like is also hampering the industry, Kier found, with 54 per cent of the teachers and parents associating the sector with a lack of career progression and solely manual work.

Kier pointed out that in its organisation alone, there are over 2,000 different job roles with varying entry levels and progression points.

Head of employment and skills policy at the Institute of Directors Seamus Nevin commented: “We are in a period of significant change in the labour market and we need to produce more home-grown talent with the right skills.”

It seems that more people are realising the opportunities available in the construction sector though, with a survey published last month noting that construction industry jobs were the most sought after in the UK during the first six months of this year.

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Construction Most ‘Sought After Job Industry’ Says Survey

In a recent survey, construction industry jobs came top of the poll of the most sought after roles, which may be no surprise for some job seekers who have experienced what a competitive marketplace there is for construction sales jobs.

The research, which looked at job applications for the first 6 months of 2017, found that construction, administration and engineering had the most applications over that period according to smallbusiness.co.uk.

For employers, this is both a benefit and a burden – great if the level of applicants fits the roles and experience they are looking for, but not so great if they’re having to wade through endless unsuitable CVs. This is why many top employers in construction sales tend to work with specialist recruitment firms such as SRS, to help pair the right people to the right gaps from the outset to streamline these processes.  

For jobseekers, this means you need to work hard on making sure that your eventual application stands out from the crowd. You’re selling your entire career in a relatively short space (or time), so it’s key you place importance on what really matters, playing up your strengths and being mindful of areas of weakness. In a crowded marketplace, unique points of difference, strong pre-established relationships and strong product knowledge will all stand you in good stead for progressing into a new role.  

However if this is to be your first role in sales within construction, think about why you wanted to make this move in the first place. If it’s a more junior role where the above factors are considered so important yet, demonstrating why you, above the many other applicants, want to work for this company and industry, may be just enough to stand you head and shoulders above the crowd.

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Fewer Candidates Seeking Work In UK Jobs Market

The number of candidates available to fill vacant roles in the UK jobs market has declined markedly in the past month, according to new figures.

Research by Markit and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), found that candidate availability dropped in July, for both permanent and temporary positions.

Meanwhile, the private sector saw the number of vacancies available increase last month, with engineering, accounting/financial and IT and computing the sectors that saw the highest number of jobs come on the market.

Kevin Green, chief executive at REC, commented: “It’s clear that employers are having to work even harder to fill jobs as vacancies rise and candidate availability shrinks.”

He added that sectors that are “most reliant on European workers are under even more pressure as many EU workers return home”.

So, if you have construction industry jobs that you’re trying to fill, what can you do to ensure you attract the best candidates to apply for the position? It’s important to highlight the benefits of working for your organisation, which involves more than just the headline salary of a construction sales role.

In June, a poll by Bankingrefunds.co.uk found that many employees really value perks at work, so being able to clearly demonstrate what you offer beyond the basics could be one way to encourage a wider range of candidates to not only apply for your role, but to really want it.

Whether you’re able to offer flexible working, provide free food and drinks at work, or have a comprehensive benefits package, it’s worth looking at how you can communicate that to job seekers.

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Do You Use Social Media To Snoop On Potential Job Candidates?

With social media such a prevalent force in our lives these days, it’s perhaps unsurprising that recruiters turn to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to have a little pry into the lives of candidates applying for jobs within their companies.

But if you do this in the near future, you could actually be breaking European law, with an EU data protection working party just ruling that businesses should need to have legal grounds in place before checking out individual social media accounts, the BBC reports.

The General Data Protection Regulation laws are to come into force in May next year, with these recommendations from this working party also suggesting that data collected from internet searches of job candidates be both relevant and necessary to the job in question.

Speaking to the news source, tech specialist at law firm Linklaters Peter Church said: “The general rules are that employers should inform applicants if they are going to look at social media profiles and give them the opportunity to comment. The searches should also be proportionate to the job being applied for.”

CareerBuilder’s most recent social media recruitment survey, released in April last year, found that 60 per cent of employers in the US use social networking sites to look up prospective employees, up from 52 per cent in 2015 and 22 per cent in 2008.

Companies were put off would-be members of staff by information such as inappropriate photos, discriminatory comments, poor communication skills and negativity towards fellow employees or previous companies.

Give construction recruitment company SRS UK a call if you need help finding the right talent for your business.

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How Satisfied Is Your Sales Team?

When you manage a construction sales team you want them to be happy to get the best performance. It’s well known that employees who are happy in their roles are more motivated and generally perform better than those who aren’t.

A new survey of workers across the UK by Qualtrics has revealed which sectors have the most satisfied workers, as well as where in the country people are more likely to be happy with their jobs.

Media and advertising – which often encompasses sales roles – has one of the highest levels of dissatisfied workers, with 23 per cent of people in this sector claiming they were slightly dissatisfied or worse.

The manufacturing and finance sectors were also on 23 per cent, while only the public sector had more unhappy employees at 24 per cent.

In addition, the survey found that people are happiest at work during their first year with a company. At this point 56 per cent of people said they were moderately or extremely satisfied, compared to 46 per cent among those who’ve been in a role for a year or longer.

Being able to keep your sales team happy in the long term is important if you want to retain talent and given that the survey also found that the media and advertising sector has the toughest job when it comes to keeping staff, it’s certainly worth looking at.

Stress is an issue for many UK workers, with a different survey earlier this year revealing that 40 per cent of the country’s workforce have suffered stress due to high workloads or have felt burnt out in the past year.

Taking steps to help people talk to managers about how they’re feeling is one of the keys to improving the situation and having such a policy in place could also help you with construction recruitment

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UK Workers Struggling With Mental Health And Wellbeing

There is evidence to suggest that as many as one-third of UK employees have a health and wellbeing issue.

A survey conducted by PwC found that 34 per cent of people could be struggling with issues such as stress, anxiety or depression.

However, the research also revealed that 23 per cent of those questioned don’t believe that their organisation takes the issue of employee wellbeing seriously, while 54 per cent work for organisations that don’t offer their staff health benefits such as counselling or health screening.

With a greater awareness of mental health issues and people increasingly looking for employers that take care of their staff, it could be worth looking at how you can improve the wellbeing of your teams to improve recruitment and retention.

Director in PwC’s people and organisations business Jo Salter said that firms need to understand the root causes of problems with employee wellbeing and take steps to address those if possible.

“Healthier and happier staff perform better, stay in their business longer and reduce costs and risks for organisations,” she added.

In competitive and high-pressure environments, like construction sales, being able to effectively manage employee wellbeing is particularly important. As well as focusing on how you can have a healthier team, you can also look at ways to make them happier.

Last month research was published which found that 40 per cent of staff feel like they’re getting a better deal if they receive workplace perks, such as private healthcare, flexi hours and complimentary food.

If you need assistance with construction recruitment in the UK, contact us today.

 

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Staff Value Perks At Work

Workers in the UK really value being offered perks by their employer, new research has found. Things like flexible working, private healthcare and complimentary food and drink were all named as top workplace perks among the 1,500 people surveyed.

OnRec reported on the poll carried out by BankingRefunds.co.uk, which found that 40 per cent of Brits feel as though they’re getting a better deal when they are offered a perk at work.

In addition, the research found that private healthcare was the most popular employee benefit, with 45 per cent of those questioned stating that this is the perk they most value.

However, 41 per cent like being able to use flexi hours and 42 per cent like receiving complimentary food. Another popular option was being able to finish early on a Friday.

Carl Miller, managing director at the company, explained that the research initially began by looking at how people perceive perks offered by their banks, but that the scope of it was widened because it became so interesting.

“We discovered that when employers show they are invested in employees’ welfare and happiness, they can create a culture of mutual appreciation,” he stated.

If you’re looking for ways to motivate your sales team that go beyond their bonuses, you may want to consider how perks are used within your firm. It’s also good to think about how you’re marketing any perks you offer when you embark on the construction recruitment process too.

Employee wellbeing is a hot topic across a range of industries, and one that’s worth considering given that 40 per cent of UK workers recently reported feeling burnt out or under pressure because of high workloads at least once in the past year.

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How To Beat Job Interview Nerves

Looking and applying for construction industry jobs can be difficult and stressful, but when you do get a call to say you’ve got an interview all the hard work will really pay off. That said, the hard work isn’t exactly over – you’ve still got to perform well and do your best at the interview stage.

It’s completely natural to feel nervous about going for an interview. In actual fact, a few nerves can be quite helpful as they keep you alert, on your game and will show your prospective new employer that you do really care about the position you’re going for. But when the nerves take over, that’s when you could start running into a few problems and potentially putting your new job at risk.

The key to beating job interview nerves is being as prepared as you can be. Do some research into the company and what the role requires, but also spend time thinking about the qualities you have that you want to tell your interviewer about. View your interview as a conversation and less as a question and answer session, and you’ll feel more confident, comfortable and natural throughout.

The night before, make sure that you go to bed at a reasonable time and get a good night’s sleep. Nerves may keep you awake so stay off your phone a few hours before bedtime and have a hot drink to help you nod off.

And there’s nothing worse than rushing to get to the interview – being late won’t make a good impression and won’t help your nerves. Always get there ahead of time if you can.

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