Categories
Career Change Careers Flexible Working Mental Health

Finding Your Passion: Working part-time in Health & Social Care

In the past fourteen months since we first heard of the words ‘Covid 19’, we’ve all been searching for more meaning in our lives.

Some have found it in sourdough & Joe Wicks whilst others are frantically looking for new careers.

Like so many of you reading this, Find your Flex hope that through collective action, we can all play a role in helping the world undergo the much needed ‘Great Reset’:

(https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/covid19-great-reset-gita-gopinath-jennifer-morgan-sharan-burrow-climate/).

The world of work is on the brink of huge change and finding your passion is now within touching distance.

One (if not the sole) positive of the pandemic is that it’s brought flexibility within the workplace, to the fore (thanks Covid!).

It’s also forced us to reanalyse what our real career values are, what our purpose in life is or should be and to also question –

Are we living authentically?

Do we ‘love’ the job we currently do? Is the love enoughto be dedicating most of our working lives to it?

Does your job bring you enough happiness or make you feel content? 

Luckily for anyone still trying to understand what their true passion or calling is– the rise of the portfolio career is becoming the new norm: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zktbn9q.

The days of working in the same career or company all of your life before being rewarded with a carriage clock, are fading for most of us.

If you’ve been considering your next move but aren’t quite sure how to execute it – we might be able to help.

If you’ve always felt a pull towards working within an industry where caring for others and building meaningful relationships – is on the important list, then there’s never been a better time to get experience within health & social care. You can get flexible work experience that pays and you can fit around your life, exactly as you need too.

The Health & Social Care industry is one we feel passionate about at Find your Flex.

It’s an industry you’ll always have a job in, you won’t be replaced by a robot and you always have the opportunity to work as flexibly as you need.

While it’s been a sector cast in a negative light for decades, we want to do ‘our bit’ to shine a light on all the positive & immensely rewarding work that happens day in and day out.

If you’re searching for flexible work and a job with more meaning, becoming a Support Worker could be the experience you need to begin transforming your life for the better.

Considering a career in Health and Social Care but not sure if you have the right skills?

Here’s are the scenarios it could help you with:

Maybe you’ve been curious about working with elderly people ever since you watched your Grandparent (s) experience the Care System?

Or perhaps you’ve had a hunch you’d find helping young and older adults living with mental or physical disabilitieshugely rewarding?

Have a listen to these podcasts:

Hear are some really inspiring stories about what motivates so many to work in the Health and Social Care industry (and try to not be moved or cry):

Working as a Support Worker on either a part-time or ‘Bank Staff’ basis, will give you the chance to see and feel, what a career in health and social care is like in reality. Not just through our preconceived lens.

And if the role of Support Worker doesn’t feel quite right but you develop a love for the sector, there are many ways your employers can help and support you in establishing which area of the sector you are most suited too: https://careers.cygnethealth.co.uk/learning-at-cygnet/

Considering retraining into Counselling, Therapy, Psychology, Nursing or Psychotherapy?

Perhaps you need to do some academic training over the next two to four years in order to start this new role?

If you’re about to enrol onto a part-time Btech, Diploma, Degree or MA; this could be the part-time income you need to facilitate a period of retraining.

Working part-time or as bank staff is a brilliant way to see if you have the skills you need to work with a diverse range of people with diverse conditions.

While you study to gain the academic foundation required, you could also develop your people skills, listening skills and empathy. And make some money.

Working part-time as a Support Worker usually requires a minimum of two 12 hour shifts per week.

That equates to £223.20 per week so £892.80 per month. Bank Staff are expected to do just one twelve-hour shift per week, £111 per week and £446 per month.

Rather than take a part-time job in retail or hospitality to make ends meet while you study, this could provide you with something truly rewarding.

You want to live a more nomadic lifestyle? A career in Health and Social Care could be the solution

We know remote working will become ‘normalised’ over the coming years.

Flexible office space and collaboration venues are popping up all over the country (YEY!).

If you think you’ve got a book within you, or a desire to run your own business; working as a Support Worker can provide you with a regular and steady income to balance your passion projects.

Care work also teaches you an awful lot about life and the psychology of people. An untapped source of inspiration if you ask me.

I’ve also heard that if you work your hours right in part-time vacancies (which entitle you to holiday pay), many staff take a full month or two off every year to do extended holidays.

Imagine sitting on a Greek island and writing that novel or self-help book with your face in the sun?

Want to break out of the Corporate shackles?

If you’re about to return to work after a career break or perhaps have fallen out of love with the corporate world. Working with the more vulnerable in society could be just what you need.

You’ll understand what it means to feel truly valued. Knowing your contribution helps the wellbeing of others, every single day.

The organisations that have struggled to meet the well-reported increased demand in this sector are at the point where they recognise fundamental changes are needed ASAP.

https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/life-sciences-and-healthcare/articles/global-health-care-sector-outlook.html

Digital innovation and a desire to change are happening. The next phase is acceleration.

If you want to be part of meaningful change, this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

We work with a number of health and social care organisations at Find your Flex.

We’re currently in partnership with Cygnet Healthcare who are doing a lot of brilliant and innovative work in this space.

Cygnet offer constant paths for career progression to any of their staff who want it. They offer a list of staff benefits longer than my COVID roots (very long).

Have a look at all their current vacancies– https://jobs.findyourflex.co.uk/clients/cygnet-healthcare

If any of this has sparked your interest and you’d like to talk to one of our Careers Coaches – you can meet our Team here: https://findyourflex.co.uk/coaching/

They’re happy to offer an initial 20minute FOC consultation to establish whether you’d benefit from their coaching framework.

If you decide to work together, hourly rates apply. But they offer a 10% discount for anyone considering a career in H&SC. Find Your Passion and purpose in life– it’s honestly there for the taking!

Categories
Automation Careers Equality and Diversity Flexible Working Press Release

Find Your Flex Join The Tech Talent Charter

Who is The Tech Talent Charter?

“The Tech Talent Charter (TTC) is a non-profit organisation leading a movement to address inequality in the UK tech sector and drive inclusion and diversity in a practical and uniquely measurable way.  The TTC’s ultimate goal is that the UK tech sector becomes truly inclusive and a reflection of the society which it represents.  There are now over 500 UK employers of tech involved with the TTC and working together to drive change.

Signatories of the TTC make a number of pledges in relation to their approach to recruitment and retention. Although it is very much an employer-led initiative, the TTC is supported by the UK Government’s Digital Strategy.”

Their goal: that the UK tech sector becomes truly inclusive, reflecting the society which it represents. They focus on the how, not just the why of inclusion.

Tech Talent Charter – Diversity In Tech Report 2020

Why We’ve Joined TTC

We want to see the innovators innovate, the entrepreneurs create and organisations step up with corporate social responsibility. Our belief is that diversity and inclusion is the key to better futures for both employees and for business. We know we can play our part by driving access to flexible working and raising the profile of those employers who share our beliefs. 

We might only be a micro business but by joining forces with The TTC we are saying that everyone can make a difference. Consider that 

  • only 19% of the workforce in the tech industry are women. Yet over 50% of women surveyed by the TTC would retrain in tech given the support and opportunity. 
  • flexible working is far more likely to be sought by women or other underrepresented groups such as people with disabilities (Timewise). However our stats show men are also seeking flexible working too.
  • research commissioned by the Fawcett Society revealed that 1 in 3 working mothers lost work or hours due to childcare needs, that women were more likely than men to lose work or be burdened with childcare during the crisis, and that ethnic minority women were more likely to have concerns about losing their jobs.
  • the latest McKinsey Report on diversity reveals that businesses who embrace D&I are not only more innovative and profitable but are also attracting and retaining quality talent.

and you can see there is work to be done.

Our mission as a flexible working jobs board is to bring true flexible working roles to everyone. Regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, parental status etc. We work closely with employers who already value flexible working. We hope to bring the issue of automation and re-skilling to the forefront of their strategies. 

We believe that with the TTC and their signatories we can drive a movement for change. One that benefits all members of society regardless of which gender you were born, what your socio economic background is or which ethnic group you belong to.

Not yet a signatory? Take a look at signing up here.

Tech Talent Charter Logo

TTC CEO Debbie Forster:

The importance of greater inclusion and diversity in tech is, thankfully, no longer up for debate. Sectors and organisations now need to work together to shift the dial – and this will happen a lot quicker if we pool our successes, failures, ideas and learn from them to bring about real structural change.

In our inaugural report we stressed the importance of collaboration. One single company can’t do it alone, which is why we’re asking organisations to sign up to the Tech Talent Charter and join the movement (now approximately 500 Signatories).  Companies can also access our TTC Toolkit, a set of free resources designed to help organisations improve their inclusion and diversity”.

Categories
Careers Flexible Working

Remote Working – Stay Connected

“Out of sight, out of mind” wrote John Heywood, a favoured playwright to four Tudor monarchs, in his collection of proverbs. With the initially forced and now inexorable rise of alternative employment patterns, this epigram is as poignant today as it was centuries ago. For remote workers, several questions arise – how does a person stay connected, visible, remain part of a team and secure good work and promotion whilst not being on site?

The Challenge For Remote Workers

No commuting, less stress and concentrating in the relative quiet of home (in non-Covid times) mean that homeworkers are ready to attack their to-do lists with more gusto than otherwise. But there is a lingering sense that being physically present in the workplace indicates that an employee is more available, more obviously diligent or perhaps even just more personable. These issues increase with the amount of time spent out of the office, with full-time remote workers facing particular challenges.

It’s Good To Talk

Email has become the default manner of communication but it’s good to talk. When you pick up the phone and speak, you can modulate your tone of voice and nuances come across far better. There is also the chance to ask for clarification and further information on a real-time basis. With people’s in-boxes increasingly cluttered, the direct personal approach can be more effective. If concerned about interrupting someone, use instant messaging to check availability. Alternatively send a meeting invite for an Outlook calendar which can be accepted or used to propose a more suitable time. 

Responding Promptly

In an office, a line manager can walk up to a desk, ask if something can be done and get an instant, and reassuring, response. Where appropriate, it is helpful to recreate this interaction by responding promptly to an email or voicemail. Even if the deadline for the work is far into the future, reply immediately to say that you have received the message and that you will be actioning it.

Make Your Voice Heard

Meetings can be testing, as everyone is in the room except the remote worker. You need to prepare carefully to maximise your meeting participation. Do not irrelevantly say things just for the sake of it (trust me, this will not make you popular) but rather focus in advance on what your contribution will be. Body language, in particular, may not come across in Zoom and certainly not on a voice-only call. Instead of just nodding your head and hoping someone will notice this on a screen, you may need to speak up to make sure you get your point across.

Communicate Your Aspirations

Remote working has many advantages. But it does not feel that way when you are at home wondering why X or Y got a plum project when you missed out. Sometimes work just gets handed out to the person who is more obviously in a line of vision.

To mitigate against such disappointment, communicate aspirations and preemptively volunteer for what you want. Your supervisor is not a mind reader. Whatever work you do get, schedule progress check-ins to get feedback and ensure that you are on the right path. This also indicates to your boss how productive you are and reassures that there are no surprise problems lurking in the background.

Connect With A Mentor

If you want more long-term input into your career, being matched with a mentor can be a great move for mapping and achieving progress. It is always beneficial to have someone to discuss how you can get ahead and to advocate for you when you are not in the office yourself. You could also offer to buddy a newcomer and thus have a positive impact on the work environment in that way.

stay connected, photo of team with one remote worker

What Next For The Remote Worker

Offices are buzzing places with collaborative relationships often built around chit-chat and water-cooler conversations. Remote workers may miss out on that sense of camaraderie and the networking that comes with it. To combat this, it is smart proactively to instigate social interaction. You can schedule in a coffee Zoom or a lunch Skype since nowadays eating “al-desko” has become popular. Other options include ensuring that you participate in Away Days and attend firm-wide events such as the Xmas lunch. 

When it comes to remote employment, the only thing that should be remote is the work, not the worker. 

Susha Chandrasekhar

Read more about how Covid could change how and where we live.

Categories
Business Careers

Flex From Day 1 Won’t Work, Here’s Why:

A fight for real change in Flexible Working, is about the long term. And if we lose sight of that by aiming for short term changes, then we are creating larger hurdles for ourselves down the road.

Katy Perry once sang ‘I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything’… which is a self awareness statement many of us will have felt over the last few years.

Standing up for what you believe in can be hard and rewarding and grey making and sleep depriving. But those who do it, lead us in new directions and drive the change we need for all of our futures.

Pushing the boundaries of the accepted is something I ask of my team on a day to day basis, we knew before the impact of Covid19 on work, just how hard our fight is – I cant say the ‘flexibility’ some of us have been rewarded with, has helped our cause…

Whilst many continue to see #FlexibleWorking as a female or mum based issue, we will never see change and whilst we applaud the CIPD #FlexFromDay1 campaign, in reality, the firms who say NO to #FlexibleWorkRequests at 6 months, are in no danger or pressure of changing their views from delivering the same verdict at Day 1.

So where does that leave us?

Well in my humble opinion, it leaves us with a rather large education piece to deliver.

Businesses need to share their best practice. Businesses need to share the trials and tribulations of their journeys to flexible working and the positive impact it has had on productivity and the bottom line. It is only by showcasing the positive impact on business, including profiling the men who work flexibly and highlighting the diversity of thought and people a flex work program can deliver, that we will finally get movement in this space.

We can’t be distracted by the ‘progressive’ #4dayweek tribe – delivering another cunning move to shut us up. A ready made excuse, for companies to not look at any other form of flexibility you may need, why would they if you already get to work 4 days a week?

We can’t just leave it to Mother Pukka and Joeli Brearly to fight for mums or Ian Dinwiddy and Han-Son Lee to fight for dads. We as a nation of workers need to be open about what we want and share with our employers HOW we can make it work.

A move to output based employment contracts?

We business leaders and owners need to find the skills to reward OUTPUT not HOURS when it comes to the relationships with our employees. We need to move away from the archaic work models of the 1950’s when only the ‘Man of the house’ was expected to work and that we are still fundamentally adhering too.

This is about the future of work (of which flexibility isn’t the only factor) and (un)fortunately its not politicians who can deliver this. The onus IS on us.

We need a reset. We need to learn. We need to want to change. And we need to do it.

If you can help our #CallForChange in working practices please do get in touch, we would love to share your journeys and the reasons why you want to see #changeinourlifetime.

Categories
Careers Flexible Working Students and Graduates

The Apprenticeship Route: Why it is a smart choice

The Apprenticeship route is a path to employment that has been around for decades. Despite many positive attributes, apprenticeships have almost become a second class career path. Taking a backseat to other means of gaining employment. This blog post will be looking at some disillusioned stigmas associated with apprenticeships. And why currently it is one of the smartest routes to take to gaining employment.

Are schools diverting traffic from the Apprenticeship Route?

In 2019 I conducted a survey within high schools with students and teachers as part of my internship. To find out which routes to employment they were most encouraged to take. The results were that the majority of students found apprenticeships appealing. Yet only a minority would actually choose this route. Students felt they did not have enough accessible information on apprenticeships.

The teachers’ survey yielded similar results. They claimed that the majority of students go to university. The teachers also admitted that there is ‘sometimes’ a stigma with other post-education career paths. They did say these attitudes are changing, but felt the other career paths are not as encouraged as university. Many said there could be more accessible information within schools on the apprenticeship route.

The results showed schools encourage the university route more than other career paths. A general comment made by teachers is that views on the apprenticeship route are changing and becoming more positive. Yet, that implies it is changing from a negative view, which should never have become prominent in the first place. One thing is clear, schools need to provide more encouragement and accessible information on apprenticeships. To do otherwise if depriving students of opportunities that could potentially lead to a fulfilling career.

The Impact of Parental Views on Apprenticeships

Parents want what is best for their children, it is their innate priority. And for a lot of young people, family opinions/encouragement is what impact’s their decisions the most. Parents can often map out their child’s career journey before they can even walk. Could pre-existing bias or misconceptions of post-education routes be impacting their children’s choices?

A survey on Young Persons’ Behaviour and Attitudes relating to careers advice and guidance, was conducted Island between September 2019 and February 2020. Statistics showed that over two thirds (68%) of pupils agreed their family encouraged them to go to university. 2% more than the number of students who agreed it was their own choice to go to university. These statistics are worrying. Showing that parent encouragement of the university path could be detracting from the number of children choosing other (just as successful) routes to employment.

This shows a bias towards the university route. It’s clear the majority of parents think that university is the best path their child can take. They should focus on what career their child is pursuing. As the university route is not always the best way to get there. For many parents, their proudest moment was when their child received their degree. And they should be proud, that is an amazing achievement. However they also need to keep their priorities straight; which is more important? That framed cap and degree, while their child is upstairs on their computer struggling to find work? Or the knowledge that their child has a fulfilling career and were encouraged to choose the best means to get there? Parents must not let misconceived bias and pride derail them from doing what is best for their child’s future.

The Apprenticeship Route vs The University Route

Every job role is subjective; some require certain routes to get there. This section is less about deciding which route is better and more about creating a level playing field. It is true that there are many pros to going to university. Yet there are more than a few cons too. And it is a fact that apprenticeships do not have these same cons.

Certain job roles specify that they want a degree in the field. However, to some employers its does not mean that much. University is expensive, often new students have to borrow the money to go to university. You are essentially in debt before you have even gotten into a full time career. Also you are giving up three or more years of your life to studying. There may be less time consuming routes that lead to the same outcome. There is a level of exclusivity to some courses; they can be difficult to get into. You may find yourself a few points shy of the minimum and unable to get onto the course you want. An apprenticeship can be a worthwhile alternative.

You don’t pay to do for the apprenticeship route, you get paid. Although payment is the least you get out of an apprenticeship. What is more important is the experience you will gain. Employers are becoming as interested in experience as they are in a high level qualification. You may be able to do work placements and voluntary work while in university. But won’t gain as much experience as the full specified training while doing an apprenticeship. Some employers conducting apprenticeships tend to take on once they have achieved that qualification. As they have spent time and money training someone how to do a job and to do it well. No route is better than the other, they are equally beneficial. But you may find one will yield results more than the other depending on the job role you’re aiming for. 

The Flexible Route

It is important to point out that more young people require flexible working hours and study time. They could be young parents. Or have relatives they need to look after or have physical or mental health needs that need catering too. There is a stigma that flexible working is primarily reserved for single mums or people over a certain age. However on, Find Your Flex, 47% of flexible job seekers using the site are male and around 60% report they don’t have children or their children are aged 17+. So no one should make this assumption. Everyone should be entitled to flexible working and young people are no exception, the same goes for their post-education routes. Is it fair that a young person cannot gain a higher qualification because they may have to look after an unwell relative? Of course not. Which is why apprenticeship providers, universities and employers need to begin making changes. To incorporate not only flexible working but flexible study into their courses.

Covid-19 has shown us how vital this is. In the face of the greatest threat of our generation, we have had to make changes. Yet we shouldn’t have had to adapt as much as we have. If society made changes to incorporate flexible working and study before this pandemic, not as many people would have suffered. We wouldn’t have has such a drop in grades and rise in unemployment. When we return to normality, we cannot forget the lessons it taught us. We cannot throw away the importance of flexible working and study; we cannot make the same mistakes twice.  

The rise of the Apprenticeship Route

Find Your Flex has been on this mission long before Covid. Yet we will continue to ensure flexible apprenticeships continue long after the fight against this virus is won. Visit out apprenticeship hub: at https://jobs.findyourflex.co.uk/apprentice-hub to find out more. We work with organisations that are making the significant changes to ensure that flexible working is available for everyone. If this encompasses you, do not hesitate to look at our apprenticeships. As you may find the perfect apprenticeship for you that will lead to that job you are striving towards.

The apprenticeship route isn’t exclusively for school leavers either, it is available for anyone older than that. Even graduates, don’t assume that because you chose to do a degree that you cannot or should not consider the apprenticeship route. If you find yourself struggling to enter the field you want, an apprenticeship could be the perfect way in. For more advice on what graduates can do or should not do to gain a career after graduating, have a read of this blog post: After Graduating: Getting that first step on the job ladder

Categories
Careers Students and Graduates

After Graduating: Getting that first step on the job ladder

The first thing on a graduates mind when leaving university is getting their dream job. Yet, this is not as easy as it seems. This blog post we will discuss steps graduates should take both during and after graduating to get that first step on the job ladder.

Do more than study hard.

It can seem logical while in university to put your entire focus on your studies and nothing else. This way you come out with the best degree. That should grab an employer’s attention, showing them you are hardworking, dedicated and know your stuff right?

No. That may seem blunt, but it is important to rid yourself of that style of thinking as it is self-sabotage. Yes, you should put as much effort as you can into achieving the best grade possible. But your degree alone will not get you your dream job.

This doesn’t make your degree is any less valuable and it will still count for something when an employer is looking at your CV.

The Paradox of Experience.

There is a lot of competition for job roles out there and for employers their main focus is one word. If you haven’t got it, it can become public enemy number one when trying to secure a decent job role in your desired field. That word/attribute is; experience.

This is becoming an all too essential requirement in job descriptions these days. It can lead to hair pulling frustration for graduates when reading job descriptions. You have all the knowledge and skills, then the bottom of the page and it reads: “A minimum of 1 years experience required”.

For graduates experiencing this first hand, you realise the paradox you are presented with. How can you gain experience for a job if you can’t get a job to gain the experience?

Overcome this barrier (early on).

The answers are hard to swallow for those who are looking for work after graduating. It is important to gain access to these while still studying. The best way to gain experience is through securing work placements, internships or voluntary work.

Most of these will take up a decent amount of your free time and most of these positions are unpaid. Yet, you will find that in the long run the experience you gain from these opportunities is worth far more than any wages the company would pay. The more experience you have on your CV the better.

Though you should do this after graduating, it would be better to secure this kind of work while studying. Most universities have resources or facilitators that can help to secure these roles. Don’t let experience become the biggest road block on your career journey; it can be a difficult one to overcome.

Apprenticeships After Graduating

For a graduate fresh out of university, their primary goal is full time employment. Though as discussed before, a degree isn’t a guarantee that you will secure a role, especially in the field you are aiming for. Even experience through work placements and voluntary work may not be enough.

If you have a specific job in mind, the internship/apprenticeship route might be the best option to get you there. For some graduates this can be frustrating, apprenticeships can feel like a career path that you choose instead of university. This is not the case, from 2017 to 2018, a 34.37% majority of apprentices in the UK were aged between 19-24, a further 18.55% being 25-34 year olds.

Apprenticeships have their own advantages that can be used in conjunction with the knowledge you gained from your degree. They answer key parts of job descriptions. Tending to be more specified to roles and they answer that experience need. With an apprenticeship you learn the job while doing the job, which is becoming more and more appealing to employers.

 See an opportunity for what it is.

It is important graduates don’t let preconceived views of apprenticeships deter them. There is no reason why you shouldn’t seek to gain an extra qualification; it makes your CV look better not worse. Society has made university the more encouraged path of higher education for years. The truth of matter is, apprenticeships are equally rewarding in terms of gaining employment.

This is a stigma that is changing, so don’t let this influence you when deciding whether to go down this route. It is understandable that beginning an apprenticeship after graduating from years of study can feel like spending more time in education. A frustration to some who hoped to be done with education and want to start work.

However, with an apprenticeship you are working. And your getting paid to learn the job whilst you are in it, so it is not the same. There is also unavoidable factor that with some companies it is the best/only way in. If in the end it gets you the dream job you’ve always wanted, why wouldn’t you take this opportunity that lies before you?

Don’t limit yourself.

Do not place restrictions on yourself while looking for work. You may have secured your degree in your chosen subject with one specific job in mind. Yet, the chances of you walking straight into that job after graduating, are slim to none.

This of course depends on what your personal dream job is. If it requires a certain level of experience, you need to lower your expectations. Some employers want to see your skills and experience demonstrated in another role. They may see potential in graduates, but sometimes they want more than that. You must also be prepared.

If you are adamant about only applying for one specific type of job, you are limiting the number of opportunities that will come your way. What if the job you want isn’t out there right now? If you do nothing else in the meantime, you’re even less likely to secure that role when it does appear. Those gaps in your CV don’t go unnoticed.

Be Flexible in your choices.

There is no reason why you can’t get a different job in the same sector your desired job is in. You will gain invaluable skills and experience which can only benefit you. Employers will be drawn to fact that you have spent time working in the industry and will have an idea of how things work.

Though, you should still not rule out working in a different industry than the one you are aiming for. A diverse knowledge and skill set will look impressive on your CV. When applying for other roles you can make these transferable to said role. Employers will see you as versatile, someone who is looking to develop a broad skill set which can be appealing to them.

The Job for you is not always the Job you want.

There is a personal aspect to keep in mind, it’s a bit cliché, but it rings true; when job searching after graduating, be careful what you wish for. Gearing your education and focus towards a certain job, that does not mean it will be what you thought if/when you get it.

That may sound negative, and an attempt dissuade you from your dreams, but that’s not the case at all. It means you may think a certain job is perfect for you and when you finally get into it, it doesn’t fit you as well as you might have thought.

Which is why it’s important to pursue other job opportunities. You may find that a job you were not dreaming of, is more comfortable and rewarding than the one you were aiming for.

Where to look?

Finally, it’s important to use every resource out there to gain employment. Don’t just think indeed and total jobs are your only options. Check company websites, jobs boards and that ever growing behemoth social media.

There are job boards that target specific niche target audiences. Don’t avoid these if you feel you don’t fall into that category, you might find a job you know you can do well, so go for it!

Your career journey begins after graduating. And there are infinite roads with their own twists and turns. Don’t be afraid to divert from you planned course to explore them, you may find it suits your far better!

You can start by looking here: https://jobs.findyourflex.co.uk/jobs/

Here’s another blog advising how to create a good Linkedin Profile: Top 10 Tips for a Compelling LinkedIn Profile

Categories
Careers Interviews And CV's

Top 10 Tips for a Compelling LinkedIn Profile

You need to be on LinkedIn. So many hundreds of millions of people have joined. These days, it looks strange not to be at the party. 98% of recruiters use it as a database and employers regularly access it to check out candidates. Your LinkedIn profile is also a fantastic way to build your personal brand, create a persuasive online presence, source new leads and network virtually. 

But merely having a profile is not enough. It has to be stellar to make you stand out.   

Use visuals for impact

Access our blogpost entirely devoted to this topic here. In short, use a smart headshot, customise your background banner, use the feature function to showcase blogs and vlogs, utilise symbols and other formatting, and link to logos. 

Get a custom public profile url

Linkedin assigns every user a clunky url full of random characters and numbers. Alter this to a shorter one which is easier to put on CVs, business cards and websites. LinkedIn also has a badge to place on your website. Your url will start www.linkedin.com/in – but you can add more individualised wording after that. 

Make the headlines

Most headlines are just a current job title as this what LinkedIn auto-fills. But the headline offers more character space which you can use to reference other experiences, qualities and values. Leaving it lonesome is a missed opportunity to make a striking and powerful statement. Consider “Speaker and Blogger on Parenting” and the more memorable tagline of “Solo Dad, Writer, Public Speaker, Blogger, Master of Ceremonies, Advocate for Equality and Change.”

Call to recruiters

LinkedIn has a spot which allows you to show that you are open to job opportunities. Limit viewing rights so that only recruiters can see this, as you presumably do not want your current boss to have advance notice of your plans.

Elevator pitch

Your LinkedIn profile has an ‘About’ section near the header. Many leave this blank or under-optimise by discussing solely a current job position. Neither of these approaches gives a sharp overview or entices busy people to press on. You need to create a hook fast because other profiles are just a click away. For a sparkling start, use this opening section as an elevator pitch distilling your career to date and targeting your offering. 

Storyboarding

Your LinkedIn Profile ‘Experience’ section should tell your professional story using compelling language. Access our blogpost on word choice here

  • Summarise key achievements, accomplishments and attributes
  • Quantify success – instead of “grew sales”, state “grew sales by 50%” 
  • Use bullet points to break up the text and leave white space
  • Be selective about what you cite. People want to a quick scan, not a deep read 
  • LinkedIn has a separate part for honours, awards, courses, publications, languages so you can place info under those headings to avoid cluttering the ‘Experience’ section.

Skills and recommendations

Audit your character and career to ascertain what you can bring to the table. Recruiters often search using keywords and job ads list required core competencies. Do you have them? You can also ask for endorsements for these skills or more specific recommendations from other LinkedIn users to increase your credibility.

Engage

Log in frequently and join groups related to your subject area, education or interests. Post updates or at least make pertinent comments on posts in your feed. Keep it professional – you could refer to business books/articles you have read, seminars given or attended, or the latest statistics and industry developments.                                                             

Know when to disengage

LinkedIn is for business so omit snaps of holidays, social evenings out, weddings etc. Beware of releasing confidential information or stating anything embarrassing to an employer. And this is not the forum to air grievances.

Refrain from descending into heated online exchanges or unnecessary point proving – disagree politely. LinkedIn has a digital footprint so anybody can scroll through your activity and draw unflattering conclusions based on off-the-cuff remarks. To err on the side of caution, review your LinkedIn history and delete anything that could come back to haunt you.  

Connect

LinkedIn is a good way of staying in touch with people you already know. But it is also an effective means of widening your network. 

If you ask a stranger to connect, add a reason why it would be beneficial to accept your invitation. After all you would not march up to someone, foist your business card on them, and then stalk off in silence. Perhaps you have a common acquaintance, a shared employment field, similar volunteering or a passion for a cause. Whilst tempting to link to anybody anywhere, in the long run your time is more efficiently spent nurturing valuable contacts that you can leverage.

Your LinkedIn Profile In Summary

Creating a LinkedIn profile is akin to planting a garden. Once the spade work is done to get it in shape, you still have to keep pruning and tending. But it looks great when it’s in bloom.

Susha Chandrasekhar

Categories
Careers Flexible Working

The Coolest, Weirdest & Most Christmassy Jobs Ever

2020 has seen mass unemployment, the introduction of the word furlough to our dictionary and the boom in flexible and remote working opportunities.

The year may be almost over, but that hasn’t stopped us thinking about the most amazing jobs that have popped up on the radar over the years during the festive season.

In this article we look at the most amazing jobs that are available during Winter and a lot of them are even available with a flexible working schedule!

Santa Claus

Do you love Christmas? Can you shake your belly like a bowl full of jelly? Can you grow a big beard, name all 9 reindeer AND “Ho Ho Ho”?!

Then your perfect festive job is becoming SANTA!

Santa Claus has been a figure of popular culture since the mid 1700’s and you’ll be responsible for keeping the magic alive. You’ll need to be able to work a crowd of festive fun goers, let out some big Ho Ho Ho’s and captivate children into believing in Santa Claus.

Some background in acting, drama or performing is usually expected as well as being able to improvise and think on the spot – you never know what children might ask Santa for! Preferable attributes include enjoying mince pies, not having a fear of flying and previous reindeer handling experience. This is not essential though as full training will usually be given.

Christmas Elf

Become a part of the yuletide tradition, and turn yourself into a Christmas Elf! If you love Christmas, enjoy working with children, and thrive on helping people create magical memories with a fantastic festive experience then this is absolutely a job you should consider. As an Elf, you will spend early December through to Christmas Eve assisting jolly Santa. 

Experience is desirable but not essential as training will usually be given. A theatrical interest is beneficial, as are any additional special talents to bring a smile to small faces, such as dancing, juggling and general wackiness.

Ice Sculptor

Ice sculptures are created by highly-skilled artists who carve impressions out of ice. Before even a small chunk of ice is removed from a budding ice sculpture, an ice sculptor must first come up with an idea and design. In many cases, this design is dictated by the sculptor’s clients. Once an ice sculptor has decided on what type of masterpiece he wants to create, they must then obtain a suitable piece of ice. The most desirable pieces of ice are rather large and completely clear. Since regular water has a tendency to become cloudy when it freezes, special measures must be taken to create suitable blocks of ice. 

After the idea has been sketched and the ice has been obtained or created, an ice sculptor then starts creating his masterpiece by removing small bits or ice from the block. This can be done using several different tools. Some tools that are used for sculpting ice include chainsaws, chisels, rotary tools, files, rasps, and torches.

Ski Instructor

There are many types of jobs available to people who would like to do temporary seasonal work in a ski resort. One job that is competitive is that of the ski instructor. When dreaming of working in a ski resort, it’s perhaps this role that springs to mind as it is seen as one of the most glamorous positions. You’re out all day on the ski slopes – but isn’t that what people work in ski resorts for; to get as much time as possible on the mountains? 

But working as a ski instructor doesn’t have to be just a temporary seasonal position. A lot of students and graduates who take on holiday or part time work end up making a dedicated full time career out of it. Ski instructors earn between £9-£14 an hour depending on where they’re based.

Professional Gift Wrapper

This is a role with a variety of flexible working options. You could work for yourself, wrapping presents for people with money to spend but are short on time, or you could set up a business where you train others on how to wrap correctly. Wouldn’t it be amazing to go into a shop like Harrods or Selfridges and teach the staff how to present the gift-wrapped purchases beautifully? 

You need creativity and an open mind to become a professional gift wrapper, as well as impeccable attention to detail – every has to be absolutely perfect. People start out on pretty much the minimum wage, but once you’ve got going, you can charge £150 a day. It’s seasonal work though, so you’ll need to think about how to expand your business during the slower times.

Christmas Tree Decorator

If you’ve got an eye for detail, as well as boundless ends of creativity and energy then you could become a professional Christmas tree decorator. You will also need to have steady hands to ensure that ornaments are not damaged, as well as nerves of steel as you may be working up a ladder quite a bit of the time. 

Working schedules are usually quite flexible, however when you do work, you need to know that most decorative work takes place overnight. If you are thoroughly professional and dedicated to ensuring that your work exceeds all client expectations, then this could be the perfect role for you. Chances are you’ll also spend the whole time working with Christmas music playing!

Ice Rink staff

Are you on the hunt for an exciting and different temporary job? Working at a festive ice rink offers plenty of flexibility with schedules and there’s usually loads of overtime up for grabs! Tasks will vary, but ultimately you will be looking after customers on the ice, so you will need to be a strong skater. You will also need to have a great head for health & safety, as the safety of the visitors will be of utmost importance.

The bonus… most seasonal ice-rinks that popup during winter are usually part of some kind of alpine village which includes a bar, food and live entertainment and you will usually get a discount at these places or possibly even some freebies.

Mince Pie Chef

The average pastry chef in the Uk earns between £16k – £29k, with bonuses available of up to £3,000. So if you’ve got a cracking mince pie recipe that the world just simply needs to taste then this might be the job for you. Pastry chefs are responsible for the creation, decoration, and presentation of desserts such as cakes, pastries and pies.

Christmas Card Designer

Are you able to produce contemporary and cutting-edge designs for Christmas? You will need to be full of original ideas and thrive working in a busy studio environment. You’ll need to be passionate and able to keep up to date with the latest trends in colour and product development. Your day to day will consist of creating new designs and reformatting past successes. Sitting and designing Christmas cards all day really does seem like the dream!

Personal Shopper

Are you the kind of person who always manages to buy the exact gift that someone wanted, or went above and beyond what they’d asked for and bought them something even better? If you answered yes then you could be a personal shopper. You may find yourself working for busy families, super-rich celebrities, older people with mobility issues, department stores, corporate executives, image consulting agencies, or event planning companies. The market you work for, will dictate where you shop.You will usually work individually with your clients, who will be short on time and just need someone to take care of everything for them. The role involves you needing to get to know your clients as well as you do your family within a very short space of time. 

If you don’t want to be restrained by a typical 9-to-5 job, then this role is perfect for you! If you’re working for yourself (which is usually the case for many personal shoppers), you’ll decide your own working hours, based on the demand for your services. Starting salaries for personal shoppers are usually around £14,000 to £18,000. With experience, this can increase to between £19,000 and £23,000, while in high-end retail you’ll typically be able to command a salary of about £25,000. If you’re self-employed, you’ll be able to set your own rates, which will largely depend on your location and clientele. Generally speaking, though, you could make an average £250 for a day’s work.

2021 Is On The Way

Christmas this year has felt very different to what we’re used to due to ongoing global pandemic challenges, but 2021 is a brand new year and we’re confident that no matter what happens we’ll all pull together.

Although we don’t currently have any live roles for the job of Santa Claus, we’ve got plenty of other flexible working vacancies on our site.

From everyone at Find Your Flex, we wish you all the best and a very Happy New Year!

Article written by freelance marketer & copywriter Jessica Ross.

Categories
Careers Interviews And CV's

LinkedIn Profile – 5 Ways to Add Visual Impact

When it comes to LinkedIn, much attention is sensibly devoted to finding exactly the right phrases to reflect careers, experience and values. But the old adage that a picture speaks a thousand words still remains true. Follow these 5 pointers to boost your Linkedin presence through visual impact.

Upload A Professional Photo

Profiles with photos are 12 times more likely to clicked on and 36 times more liable to receive a message than those without.

 A studio portrait is best but not strictly necessary. Select a well-lit, high-resolution headshot with good posture. Dress smartly as this is business, not Facebook. Unless relevant to your job, avoid anything that shows you doing a hobby such as cycling etc. Use LinkedIn’s crop and filter functions to get your image spot on – your face should take up at least 50% of the frame. It should be a solo picture. 

Photo of Cheney Hamilton
Photo of Cheney Hamilton

Adopt a positive and engaging expression. No need to grin like a toothpaste ad but a stern countenance radiates less warmth. Ditch fussy backgrounds and heavily patterned clothing. Ensure the photo depicts you accurately. Arriving at an interview looking rather different can be disconcerting for others.

The best size for your Linkedin portrait photo is 400 x 400px.

Modify Your Linkedin Background Image

LinkedIn provides a background, which sits behind the headshot, where you can insert a relevant image. This could be your company logo, a cityscape of where you are based, your ideal workspace, the front cover of a book you have written or a picture of you speaking at an event. 

Linkedin Banner – Rebecca Amin

Due to its size, the background photo is the first thing that a visitor’s eye will land on. Do not settle for the default option – it’s a lost chance to pack a punch and create a unique identity. For example, career coach Rebecca Amin, has chosen “Dare to Begin” that acts as an incentive for visitors to her profile to take action.

The best size for the Linkedin background photo is 1584 x 396px.

Use The Featured Section And Embed Function

Have you written an article or a blogpost or made a video/vlog that you can reference? If so, place these in the featured section at the top of your page or embed in a career entry. 

This is one way in which LinkedIn has more force than a paper copy CV. You can present more about yourself than on two A4 pages, so don’t miss this opportunity.

Site visitors and recruiters are too busy to  look for you in multiple places online. Make life straightforward for them by signalling your media output.

Formatting Your Copy

Linkedin entries can become densely written which makes them energy-sapping to scan. It is also harder to pinpoint key achievements. Whilst a profile benefits from detail, it also needs white space to be reader-friendly. 

  • Bullet points and numbering can provide formatting solutions. 
  • You can also cut and paste colourful icons from online resources. 
  • Ensure the symbols you select are professional.
  • Do not overuse icons to the point that they detract from your message.

LinkedIn does not provide a method of adding words in bold or italics. To do this, type Unicode Text Converter into Google to access a number of sites which allow you to insert phrases which are then transformed into bold and/or italics. Simply cut and paste the newly “converted” words into a LinkedIn entry. 

Grey Matter – Making Visual Connections

You can connect each LinkedIn entry to a LinkedIn page belonging to the company you worked for or the institution you studied at. Do this wherever possible, as a line of bright logos conveys more information and is more visually enticing than a string of dull grey boxes. Sometimes a grey box is inevitable but minimise this. 

Use Linkedin links to institutes or companies

If you cannot find a specific link, consider connecting to pages that are generic. For example, if you took a career break to see more of the world, you could link to a general travelling LinkedIn page. 


Make Your Linkedin Profile Colourful And Interesting – Just Like Yourself.

LinkedIn is your digital reputation, your online calling card. We all react strongly to visuals and live life in colour, so do not overlook these as important aspects to integrate into your profile.

Need some CV Tips?

Try these…

CV Clinic: 10 Tips for choosing the right words.

Online Interview Tips

Categories
Careers Equality and Diversity Flexible Working Lifestyle

Equal Pay Day 2020: Women Should Not Be Working For Free

What Is Equal Pay Day?

Did you know that Equal Pay Day falls on the 20th November this year? 

Equal Pay Day is recognised each year as the day in the year when women effectively, on average, stop earning relative to men. How crazy is that?

The Fawcett Society uses the full-time mean average gender pay gap to work out the day each year, which in 2020 is 11.5%, down from 13.1% in 2019. That means that Equal Pay Day has moved 6 days later in the year, compared to 14th November in 2019. The mean gender pay gap for all employees, not just those working full-time, is 14.6% this year, down from 16.3% last year.

So while most of us spend the rest of the year essentially working for free, we thought we’d take a look at some absolute badass ladies who’ve taken 2020 and smashed it against a wall.

Kamala Harris

(Image credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Kamala Harris just wins 2020 in our opinion. She is the first woman – and the first woman of colour – to be elected Vice-President of America. Being the first to do something seems to come naturally to Harris. In 2017, she became the first South Asian-American senator in US history, and the second African-American woman elected to the senate. For countless women and girls, Harris’ achievements represent hope, validation and the shattering of a proverbial glass ceiling that has kept mostly white men perched at the top tiers of American government.

Sundas Khalid

(Image credit: Instagram @sundaskhalidd)

Sundas Khalid is a data science leader and a passionate advocate for diversity in the workplace. She leads search engine analytics at Google and participates in their IamRemarkable initiative, empowering underrepresented communities to celebrate their accomplishments. Outside of work, Sundas volunteers with organizations that promote diversity and inclusion, including Pakistani Women in Computing and North Seattle College, and provides career coaching to help people achieve their dream jobs. 

Lizzie Valedquez

(Image credit: Today.com/Wire Image)

Lizzie is an American motivational speaker, activist, author, and YouTuber. She was born with an extremely rare congenital disease called Marfanoid–progeroid–lipodystrophy syndrome that, among other symptoms, prevents her from accumulating body fat and gaining weight. Her conditions resulted in bullying during her childhood. During her teenage years, she faced cyberbullying, which ultimately inspired her to take up motivational speaking. In addition to being a motivational speaker, Velasquez campaigns for awareness of online bullying, taking part in Kylie Jenner’s #IAmMoreThan project and supporting anti-bullying legislation across the United States.  

Munroe Bergdorf

(Image credit: The Guardian/Luke Nugent)

Model and transgender activist Munroe Bergdorf was featured in the 2020 100 Great Black Britons list and in September was featured on the cover of Teen Vogue. Bergdorf was hired as L’Oréal’s first-ever trans model in 2017 but was axed weeks later when the Daily Mail seized upon comments she had made as white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia and killed anti-fascism protester Heather Heyer. After L’Oreal sought to align itself with Black Lives Matter, the author and DJ lit into its “meaningless”, hypocritical show of solidarity and called out its “racist snakes”. Bergdorf told Vogue how her outcry prompted a phone call with the brand’s new president Delphine Viguier-Hovasse, who joined after she was fired, and the offer to be L’Oréal Paris’ diversity consultant.

Samira Ahmed

(Image credit: The Telegraph/Jeff Gilbert)

Taking home The Glass Ceiling Award this year. this award-winning journalist took the BBC to tribunal for being paid six times less than a male journalist hosting a similar show – and won the case in a landmark victory that could change the lives and salaries of so many in the future. Her move came after the BBC published the salaries of its highest earners in July 2017 under the terms of its new royal charter, which revealed that only one-third of the list of talent earning more than £150,000 were women, with all the top names being men.

Adwoa Dickson

Image Credit: Dave Benett/Getty Images for Women)

The Woman of The Year 2020 award was presented to the inspirational Adwoa Dickson by Lorraine Kelly, for her work with Amies Freedom Choir. The unique choir aims to develop the musical and cultural awareness of young women who have survived trafficking. It also helps them to explore songs and musical styles from each others’ cultures and languages.

Equal Pay For Everyone

In 2020 things really shouldn’t still be this bad. Equal pay should be a fundamental right and not something that women have to fight for.

Though there are some absolute trailblazers out there paving the way for the rest of us, we need to consider what we can all do to ensure that everyone is treated equally and paid fairly.

Article written by freelance marketer & copywriter Jessica Ross.