Career Advice

Looking for a new job can be daunting and stressful, but at the same time it can be motivating and exciting – who knows what opportunities are round the next corner? Our Career Advice section takes you through the key steps in landing your next role, from job searching and CV writing, landing a successful interview through to developing your career.

In this guide:

Career advice

Having children can change your career aspirations. For some that can mean seeking a more flexible job; for others, it’s about being a role model for our children by achieving our full potential in the workplace. Some of us are financially focused, to give the family the best of everything.

Whatever your motivations, we have plenty of advice and support for you.

Careers planning

The best careers advice is to spend time working out what your priorities are.

Set yourself clear goals for the future: are you looking to achieve new qualifications, gain a promotion? Perhaps you want to ultimately leave employment and start your own business.

Once you have a goal, you can work out how to get there. Identify the different stages you need to go through and how to tackle each one.

The best career advice will come from people you respect and whose opinion matters to you. Talk to people you trust for their thoughts – perhaps a colleague or manager, a friend or family member, or a mentor at work.

Finding a new job

Online job boards make it easier than ever to find out what’s available in your chosen field and in your local area. These days you can also narrow down your search to those offering flexible working, if that’s an important factor.

The best way to tackle job seeking is to be organised. Check the listings on a daily basis – but limit it to an hour per day. There are only so many jobs out there.

Write down everything you apply for so you have all the details to hand should you receive a phone call or email from the employer.

It’s also worth registering with relevant recruitment agencies who could do the hard work for you.

CV tips to help you get a job

Recruiters initially look at your CV for just a few seconds to identify whether you’re worth further consideration. So, you need to get it right. Here are workingdads’ top tips for your CV:

  1. CV Structure. Put your name at the top with a short description of
    yourself and your skills. Then list your work history in date order, starting with the most recent. Include a couple of key successes or responsibilities with your more recent roles. Close the CV with your qualifications and education. Make sure your phone number and email address are obvious!
  2. CV length. Two to three sides of A4 is the goal. The recruiter needs to be able to scan through the details quickly.
  3. CV details. There’s no need to include your date of birth, marital status, religion etc. These should be irrelevant in shortlisting a candidate for a job. You don’t have to put dates against your education or list all your earliest roles if you feel this could put you in a certain age bracket.
  4. CV accuracy. Some recruiters will reject your CV immediately if there’s a spelling mistake on it. Get someone to proof-read it for you.
  5. Tailored CVs. The best CVs list skills that are required in the job description. Some recruiters now use software to review CVs and keyword matching is fundamental in this. View more CV tips here.

Remember that recruiters are also likely to enter your name into a search engine to find out more about you. Make sure that your personal brand online shows you in a positive light.

Interview tips

If you’ve got your CV right for a certain job, you’ll land yourself an interview.

While most of us feel nervous at the thought of an interview, it’s important to see it as your chance to assess a potential employer too. Not every company or role will suit you.

Here are our tips to make an interview as painless as possible…

    1. Be early. Don’t add to your nerves with the panic
      of being late. Leave yourself plenty of contingency time in case of bad traffic, lack of parking spaces or issues with public transport.
    2. Be prepared. Always spend time exploring the company website in
      advance – you’ll be asked what you know about the employer. You’re not expected to know everything, but it’s important to demonstrate some interest and knowledge.
    3. Be smart. Even at an interview for a trendy start-up company where
      everyone’s in flip-flops, you need to make the effort. Look professional and you’ll feel professional.
    4. Be curious. Ask questions in the interview. It shows interest and
      enthusiasm and makes the process a conversation, rather than an
    5. Be genuine. Interviewers can tell if you’re being honest and authentic.
      Don’t oversell yourself or, worse, lie about previous experience. Focus on how your skills match the vacancy and what you would bring to the team. This way, you’ll get a job that’s right for you.

Career development

Whether you’re seeking a job or angling for promotion, career development is vital. Most dads find balancing work and family life, but career development doesn’t have to mean working longer hours or taking on more work. It’s about evolving your role and your skills, which keeps work interesting in the long term.

None of us wants to stagnate and get bored at work, so we should all devote time to career development. Think about what interests you and what your next move might be – and be open about it with your employer.

Career coaching might also be worth looking into.

Most employers recognise that giving people new opportunities is a great way to keep them. So, if you’re interested in working in a different area, or being promoted, say so. A good manager will do what they can to help you achieve your goals.

If all you really want from work right now is a salary increase, read our article on negotiating a pay rise.

Changing jobs to further your career

People often say that changing jobs helps you move faster up the career ladder.

It’s certainly faster than waiting for the annual pay increase. If you’re looking to further your career with a job change, there are couple of things to bear in mind.

First, don’t move around too quickly. Recruiters are suspicious of a CV showing numerous jobs lasting less than two years – although it’s not an issue if the roles are all with the same employer.

Don’t be afraid to talk about your plans. Ask for help in developing the skills you need to get the right job – it could be a training course or a project that will give you new experience.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to change jobs for more flexibility, this article on flexible working should help.

Changing your career

We’re living longer and working longer, often caring for children and older relatives, and seeking better balance between work and home life.

As a result,it’s becoming more common for people to change careers completely at least once in their working life.

Step one is to work out what your next career could be. Start by identifying what you do and don’t like about your current job to give you some career ideas. If you like working with people, but don’t want to have to ‘sell’ at work, that helps narrow down your future path. If you’re need inspiration, try an online career test; or visit the government website for its career guidance service.

Next work out what skills, equipment or financial backing you might need to make a move. Do you need to retrain, do unpaid work experience or set up your own company?

Whatever your next move, a career change is often the key to a new and happier life. You’ll find plenty of inspiration and job advice on these pages.

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