When the Christmas tree is packed away and eating mince pies for breakfast is no longer acceptable, the new year can see many of us making resolutions to improve our lifestyles. Perhaps you’ll be vowing to stop online shopping, give up chocolate, or search for a new job.
Three careers experts and a business owner in Cambridge have passed on their advice and all agree the new year is a popular time to think about your work life.
Hilary Jeanes, director of Purple Line Consulting based in Royston, says high points in job searches come in the new year. She said: “People have a bit of time off over Christmas, so they will think about what they are doing at work and what they want from life. These are ideas that we wouldn’t normally have time to think about during the day and we just get on with things.
Gordon Chesterman, the director of the careers service at the University of Cambridge agrees. He said: “January is a time for people to try and state a new chapter in their life.”
Jo Kruczynska, owner of Afternoon Tease in King Street, said: “January is a difficult time to start a new business but it is a great time to plan when you have time to sit, think about it and do your homework.”
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DO NOT TAKE THE FIRST JOB YOU SEE
If you’re not enjoying work, it might be tempting to leave for the first role catching your eye. This could do more harm than good.
Hilary said: “I understand that people have bills to pay and need to get money coming in but people stick too easily in a job and don’t move on. Strive for that in what you do. Don’t just take the first thing that comes along.
“I come across people who are much more frequently disgruntled in the place they are working in and say they feel like a square peg in a round hole. People are more desperate to move and want a quick fix to ever before.”
Gordon added: “Do not jump out of the fire and into the fridge. Look if you’re being attracted to it or riled by your current job.”
TAKE YOUR TIME ON AN APPLICATION
Gordon believes the worst thing a jobseeker can do is use the “spray and pray” approach to applications. He said: “This is a time where people can sit and look for job listings and take time to put an application together.”
Katherine agrees: “It dilutes what you have to offer and it’s insulting to a busy business owner with CVs coming in. This is a very vanilla method and a waste of their time. If you personalise them, you’ll get noticed.”
Gordon added: “Research the role and you will be more likely to get an interview than someone sending an application within an hour of the advert going live.”
DON’T BE AFRAID...
Whether that is to take the plunge and start your own business or in selling yourself on your CV. Jo said: “Starting a business is a very positive, rewarding experience but you can never be fully ready. If you keep planning the day and getting ready, it will never come. You have to take the plunge at some point.”
And Katherine says being specific about the skills you have can get you far. She said: “Be clear about what you have to offer and then develop a clear message so when you’re talking to recruiters you’re telling them what you can offer. Write your CV for your prospective employer. To do that you need to get in their head and know how to sell yourself.”
LOOK FOR A NEW JOB WHEN YOU’RE HAPPY IN YOUR CURRENT JOB
Hilary believes confidence is key in applying for work and avoids having a “desperate” sell of yourself in an interview. She said: “A good place to look for new jobs is when you’re in a good place in your current job because you feel confident about what you’re doing. That will shine through to a new employer at an interview.”
There are many inspiring success stories from Cambridge entrepreneurs.
These include Julie Deane, owner of The Cambridge Satchel Company who started out with £600 to create the satchels with her mum at her kitchen table.
Now, the company is an empire worth £10,000,000.
Raspberry Pi was also created in the region, with the business winning a Social Impact Business of the Year award at the 2013 Startups Awards. The tiny computer was created in 2012 with the intention of teaching computer science in schools. Since then, 2,000,000 of the £25 computers have been sold worldwide.
Marshall of Cambridge was established in 1909 as a chauffeur company in a garage in Cambridge.
This continued to expand to selling cars and creating Cambridge Airport, which has been growing its business and now includes flights to the USA from £320 return.