Age is just a number

Age is just a number. You’re not a number you’re a great candidate!

How to approach a career change at 40 plus.

nothing is impossible

 

What would make you really happy? If you could switch jobs now, what would inspire and interest you enough to make you want to rise early and go to work with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose every day?

 

Perhaps you think it’s too late? It might be true that given the years of study it requires, the career in law you wish you had pursued is now out of reach, but with a bit of thought you might find a related role in which you can use the wealth of skills and abilities you have built up over the years as you took a different direction.

 

Self belief is where this re-evaluation process has to start. To tell yourself that you can’t achieve your goal is to admit defeat before trying. The fear of failure can induce failure, and before you know it you’re on a downward spiral without giving yourself a fighting chance. Don’t waste time on regrets and start your positive thinking journey now. Sometimes we just have to dare to dream.

 

Take stock and think laterally

 

So, you know what you should have done twenty years ago. At forty plus it might be too late to start your career as an athlete or psychologist, but maybe you could still become an athletics mentor or train to become a counsellor; both roles in which experience is valued over youth. It’s time to look at the offshoot careers. Consider the length of the academic courses you might need to do, along with any further training, internships or voluntary work that are expected to achieve your goal. Also consider if at the end of the process you will have the competitive edge against other twenty-something applicants. Does the profession you are considering value experience, or is it associated primarily with younger graduates? If the role fits into this stereotype, would you really be happy working in that environment anyway? This is the time to take a step back and look objectively at career paths, and in turn to look inwards at where you are right now, and where you would feel comfortable in being in the future.

 

Seek advice

 

In the UK, despite anti-discrimination laws, age can be viewed in a negative way. In comparison with for example Japan, where life expectancy is longer and culturally age is associated with wisdom, the UK workplace can seem like an unnecessarily biased environment. To build your confidence and gain that psychological edge, don’t be above asking for help to bring about the change you desire. Attend career development seminars, approach CV writing services, job coaches and employment counsellors. Other opinions are invaluable, and professional job search personnel might be able to help you take a step back and see the opportunities you are missing by being too close to the problem.

 

Ask yourself if this is the right time to make a radical career change. It’s a big step and other aspects of your life need to be stable in order for you to focus all your energies on your career. While you make the transition, maybe you will need to take on a low stress part time job to keep afloat financially. Temporary work as a means to an end could help you pay for a professional development course, and if the work is in any way related to your new career, then that’s even better! Your transferable skills are building all the time.

 

 

Keep a sense of perspective

 

To bring clarity and insight, write a list of all your skills and achievements relevant to your dream job. Start a blog or a website related to where you aspire to be. This will also help with job applications and will build your credibility in the profession. Talk to people already working in your chosen career both in person and online. If possible attend relevant networking events. Start to say ‘yes’ to opportunities coming your way, you never know where they might lead. Often your career path unfolds naturally, but if the direction feels wrong, accept that it’s a mistake and take a sideways step. Don’t dwell on mistakes or obsess for too long about making a decision. Constantly worrying about what might go wrong will not help. Life is full of uncertainties and while you spend time worrying you could be missing an opportunity. Lead an interesting life, socialise and seek out different experiences and people. It will help you to decide where and what you want to be, and if nothing else it will make life much more entertaining.

 

While you go through this transition keep things in perspective. Look at this new experience in a positive way, it’s an exciting time and this could be your best year yet! Learn to bounce back when things get tough, and be prepared to make sacrifices because you know that your future happiness and success are worth the struggle. Be resilient and strong. Find your niche and sell your unique self to the best of your abilities.

 

Sell yourself, be yourself

 

Finally, create your own success by offering your skills speculatively to employers. Make doors open by suggesting how your skills might benefit their organisation. Be polite, professional and warm, and try not to take it personally if your ideas are not accepted. Putting so much emphasis on every attempt creates too much pressure. Yes it’s important, but at the end of the day it’s just a job. Show enthusiasm and charisma and enjoy the process of meeting the people you might be working with soon. If they like you but can’t employ you for whatever reason, they might be able to suggest other departments or workplaces you might try. Look at it as a networking exercise rather than as employers assessing you. If you can do the job and come across as being good to be around you are more than half way there. Why would they not want to work with you? As in all things there are no guarantees, but a calculated risk taken now could mean a look back with no regrets in the future. Surely it’s worth taking your best shot at achieving this today?

 

How Facebook can help you get hired!

Sure, everyone you know uses Facebook, but did you know that in addition to finding long lost friends and playing FarmVille you can use it to find a job? By adding a photo, interests, education, work history and links to your LinkedIn or Twitter account, you can express yourself as the individual you are whilst pushing your “brand”.

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Tweet yourself to the shortlist now!

Maybe you already use Twitter to follow that trendy coffee shop down the street, or  are considering setting up an account for the first time. Whether you are a seasoned Tweeter or novice, utilising Twitter’s vast network, building your online persona, and following influential companies and individuals can hold the key to getting hired!

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Looking for a job? Start marketing yourself with LinkedIn!

Sure, you may be hardworking, dedicated, and creative, but so are many other applicants applying for the same jobs as you! Even if you have a brilliant portfolio sitting in your bookshelf, it will continue to collect dust until you distinguish yourself from those other applicants.

LinkedIn is a virtual network of over 100 million professionals spanning the globe. A professional profile speaks volumes today as it helps you gain an edge over your competition. By creating an account with LinkedIn, you are more likely to gain a web presence as LinkedIn accounts rank high in search results. Continue reading

Interview with the man at the top

As a busy recruitment agency, based in the heart of Leeds, the creative individuals at Gloss work tirelessly to ensure not only that their candidates find the perfect job, but that their clients are offered the broadest range of design talent.

At the helm of one of the region’s top recruitment agencies is Ian Rigby, a man that is not only passionate about design, but who also has years of experience within the creative sector. He took a few minutes out from his busy schedule to answer some questions that will hopefully provide many job hunters with a little guidance in this turbulant and uncertain economic period.

1. Gloss Creative Recruitment, could you please sum it up in five words?

Honesty, integrity, long-term (is that cheating?), networked and reliable.

2. The digital market is growing at an exponential rate; what advice would you give to those that have just graduated and are looking to take their first steps onto the career ladder?

Get some experience ASAP… and by experience I mean relevant, commercial experience. There is no excuse for not having the right experience on your CV today. Put yourself in the mind of the client and think about what you would look for if you were hiring a junior and what would differentiate the quality candidates from the less desirable.

Once you have an understanding that energy and enthusiasm are a given and that the more experience you have the more likely you are to hit the ground running and ultimately secure the job.

If you’re wondering where to go for the work experience, why not try working for your friends or local businesses that may have never considered the services of a designer. Under the guise of a company name, mould your CV into a professional, attractive piece of work, complimented by a varied portfolio of work. If you need further help give us a shout and our sister company, Creative Protege, would be more than willing to help.

3. For those that have come to Gloss with bags of experience, what would you advise them to do?

Be specific. Just like businesses that are flourishing at the moment, individuals will need to become masters of a specific trade to demand the best rates and rise above competition. Employers have choice at the moment, but they also have specific needs – the days of being an all round designer are gone, so go for niche and be great at it.

Remember to keep up with the latest skills, as the latest generation of design talent will always be snapping at your heels. It is essential that you manage your career effectively – better than Fabio Capello manages the England squad!

4. Many people are hesitant when it comes to using a recruitment agency for fear of poor service; how can you guarantee a smooth ride for someone thinking of using the creative guys at Gloss?

 As long as you have a recruitment agent that appreciates your passion and discipline, then I don’t think you can go too far wrong. Gloss is run for creatives by creatives. Therefore when you get in touch with us you can be rest assured that we understand your dream, and empathise with your frustration; whether you are unemployed, stuck in a job that bares no relevance to the degree you studied in or simply want more information about the service we offer so you can make an informed choice as to whether you would like to join us.

I personally feel it is better to find two or three good, honest and reliable recruitment consultants that you can relate to and work with. You need SPECIFIC results and here at Gloss we provide a personal service to ensure we help you into the job that you always knew you were capable of landing.

5. Unemployment is rife at the moment, to all those that are riding it out, what tips can you give them to remain an appealing option to employers?

It is simple: keep busy and stay positive. It is also essential that you talk to recruiters and get specific advice. Most importantly keep growing, through training or with work experience. It is easy to get caught in the rat race and forget what you are working for, but the recession has given people a good chance to reflect and think about what they want from their career. You have to remain proactive; your career is a marathon not a sprint.

 6. You must see countless CVs as a managing director to one of the region’s top recruitment agencies; do you care to divulge to the readers the secrets to a successful CV?

Definitely! As I mentioned earlier – be specific. Having a CV that covers all areas might be good if you are applying to small companies who want that type of candidate, but the trend is now that clients prefer individuals with tailored specific skill sets.

Keep up to date with any technological changes and maintain a clear portfolio of work. The most important part of your CV is what you are up to at the moment and if that doesn’t match up with your target role, then do something about it!

Thank you Mr Rigby, some wise words that all those seeking a creative profession should heed.

Look out for more interviews from the team at Gloss in the coming months!