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Do women need to be more like men to progress their career?

Whilst doing some research recently I came across an interesting article about women and how they fail to compete with men in the career development stakes

The article entitled Four Ways Women Stunt Their Careers Unintentionally appears on the Harvard Business Review website and is guaranteed to get peoples’ attention (or fuel their ire).

It was written by consultants Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt, of Flynn Heath Holt Leadership.

They cite a survey of British managers from the Institute of Leadership and Management and offer advice for career women which derives from their belief that they are less confident than men in their professional abilities.

The survey itself was published in 2011 may well be relevant today and it revealed that:

Men are more confident than women. About 70% of men have high or very high levels of self-confidence, compared to

about half the women surveyed.

Women are more prone (more…)

What is Impression Management?

“Impression management refers to the activity of controlling information in order to steer others opinions in the service of personal or social goals.” (Erving Goffman).

So how important is impression management in the whole job-hunting process?

I would suggest that it starts with your application form or CV and covering letter. Questions that you need to consider are:-

Who is your target audience?
Have you researched your audience?
What will their expectations be?
What kind of business language will they expect?
Are you familiar with professional and organisational “buzz words and phrases?”
How will you set the document out?
Is there a standard format for CV and covering letters
Can you “sell yourself” – orally and written

Next we come to the interview process.

For men the convention is a business suit and smart shirt and tie……..and don’t forget clean smart shoes. I have seen numerous candidates with smart suits and dirty / scruffy shoes and as one very senior manager once said to me “the first thing I look at is their shoes”

For women, again a business suit and smart blouse. Above the knee skirts and low cut tops are (more…)

Recruiters’ Application Form Fears

Many companies, particularly the larger ones will require candidates to complete the company “standard application form” and they do this for one simple reason… it gives them control of the information the candidate discloses (as against the CV where the candidate only discloses what they want to).

Completing these application forms is a trial in itself as they often run to several pages and then you have the inevitable “equal opportunities” section tacked on to the end (and all the cynicism that accompanies the use of these forms).

The factual information required is the easy bit but then your heart sinks when you get to (more…)

The First 100 days

Filed under: Job Search — Tags: , , — Alex @

You have laboured long and hard over the application form, filled in the competency based questions, undertaken a short presentation prior to your formal interview and then been grilled” by very professional interviewers about your suitability for the role.


Shortly after you receive a telephone call saying that they would like to offer you the position and you try to sound very controlled and nonchalant about the offer but deep down inside you can barely contain your joy…………and haven’t we all been there!

Over the next couple of days you begin to think about starting the new job, what are your expectations?, what will the company expect of you? And how will you ensure that you create a favourable impression, particularly amongst your new co-workers.

It is said that when you start a new job the first 100 days is a crucial period to make an impact and become a valued and respected member of staff (some might say that the “forgiveness” period is now 30 days). The following is in no way meant to be a definitive list but I believe that they are some of the things a new starter can do to smooth the path to integration and acceptance within the new company:-

  • Start and finish work on time
  • “Look the part” – dress according to the culture (more…)

The Big “R”…Redundancy And How To Deal With It!

Filed under: Career Advice — Tags: , , , — Alex @

It is quite often said these days that “redundancy” is a rite of passage” and if you haven’t been made redundant, then be prepared as it will probably come sooner or later.

Based on my own personal experience (made redundant 4 times) and working as a coach on outplacement programmes, here are some of the rules you need to apply:-

  • Manage your emotions in response to the redundancy, if you are angry and bitter then this will have detrimental effect on your ability to move forward.
  • Do not take it personally (easier said than done), remember that it is (more…)

Your Interview Starts in the Car park!

When you go for interview remember that immediately you enter the premises or building you are on “display.”

Make sure you park in an appropriate spot, not the Chief Executives reserved space……..obvious I know, but you would be surprised at the naivety of some candidates.

Treat EVERYONE you meet with courtesy and consideration including (and especially) the car park attendant and reception staff.

I have known interviewers go to these people after an interview and ask about the candidates attitude and behaviour when they arrived, particularly appropriate where the role on offer is a “customer facing” one.

Behave with decorum in the waiting room as there may be CCTV observing you.

There is a story (maybe apocryphal) about a male candidate on his own in a waiting room prior to interview and deciding he needed to relieve himself. So he went over to (more…)

How Competent Is Your Interviewer?

When candidates go for interview they tend to assume that that those conducting the selection process are competent and have been trained in effective recruitment and selection techniques.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case and some candidates end up being subjected to a less than professional experience.

Many interviewers end up on selection panels because of position, status or politics (or often a combination of the three).

As a “rule of thumb” if you can answer ‘yes’ to the majority – if not all – of the following questions on the checklist below (more…)

3 Signs Your CV is Outdated

When recruiters and employers look at CVs for job applications they review and judge literally everything so you have to be prepared to for that.  But why give them a reason to judge your CV?  It should be your aim to give them as little reason as possible to judge your CV, focus their attention on your ability to the job and avoid the following.

Convoluted use of English
Remember that it is important to write your CV in a language and style that everyone can understand so avoid using long words where a nice short sharp word would suffice. ‘Herewiths’ and ‘therefores’ on your cover letter and CV mean (more…)

Job search views with Richard Bolles’

We often hear our users say ‘can you help me find a career that suits me ….?’  And the answer is, yes we can!

But for a change we’ve tapped into the great mind of world renowned careers author Richard Bolles – whose highly coveted book ‘What Colour is Your Parachute?‘ sold 10 million copies.  He recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions exclusively for’s members.

What you’re about to read is not a transcript, no!  Richard kindly wrote the answers to a variety of questions posed by our members and in his answers provides bite-sized advice on how to figure out if you’ve blown an interview, why more than 50% of job seekers abandon their job search, and exactly which kinds of companies ‘yield the most opportunities.’

What inspired you to write what colour is your parachute and did you envisage that it would be so successful?

Richard Bolles: Back in 1969 I had a bunch of friends who were losing their jobs, right and left.  They asked me for counsel and advice.  I had none to give.  Tired of being an ignoramus, I decided to research the whole field of job-hunting.  I self-published the result of my travels and research, in December of 1970.  A commercial publisher, Ten Speed Press, asked permission to publish it in 1972, and I said ‘Yes’, provided I could revise, update, or even rewrite it, each year. We agreed.  And the rest if history.  10 million copies sold to date, and designated by TIME magazine as (more…)

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