Tag Archives: Unemployment

Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories

Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories

starToday we republish an extract from an earlier post. But I make no excuses because I think writing STAR stories can make such an important contribution to your job search and to your career development, if you want to prove to your employer that you are ready for promotion.

STAR Stories Make You A Star

Writing STAR stories is a way to prepare not only to write your CV but also to answer questions at interview. This will be particularly important if the organisation you want to join, or contract with, is committed to competency based interviewing or wants evidence of what you have done so far! Your STAR stories help to give evidence of just how competent you are.

But preparing your STAR stories can also be a real boost to your self-confidence, particularly if you are going through a difficult period at work.

Writing your stories

The STAR method means that for each of your major achievements you will set out the;
  • S – Situation, the background – when where, who and why
  • T – Task or tasks, you need to be specific here – exactly what was the problem you were trying to solve, you were you required to do and what was the required outcome?
  • A – Action, what did you do and what skills did you use? How did you behave? What obstacles did you meet and how did you overcome them? 
  • R – Result . what was the outcome? What happened and what were the benefits that you delivered. How could you measure them? Can you put a price or some dimensions on the scale of your achievement?  How did the organisation respond?

People like hearing a well told story. And telling your stories well will make sure you are memorable for the right reasons; so long as they are not too long, they stay positive and they are realistic!

You will not put all detail from your STAR stories into your CV, but it really helps to remind yourself of the past vividly when you write it.

When you start, think right back to the beginning of your career;

  1. Use your laptop or simply get a notebook and note down all the good things you have achieved. We are talking here about your personal successes!
  2. Don’t spend time on the things that you don’t feel good about! Remember, a whole programme or initiative doesn’t have to have been a total for your part of it to be something you are proud of!
  3. Now pick at least 10 achievements across your career. For job search, include at least five from the more recent past. But there is no limit to how many STAR stores you can produce.
  4. For each achievement, write a STAR story, setting out what happened and clearly explaining your contribution.
  5. Of course you can write as much or as little as you like about each success but for your portfolio record about one page of A4 for each is usually enough.
  6. Start with your early achievements and work forward.
  7. Do your research if necessary about times, places and events. You are building a portfolio to be proud of so make sure your stories are accurate!
  8. After you have completed each story take a pause and review! Enjoy your success.
  9. When you have completed five lay them out before them and feel proud – I bet you had forgotten how good your were!
  10. When you are ready, type them up and print them out on good quality paper! Then put them in a folder with your name on the front!

Your portfolio now has its foundations. You can references and recommendations as well as certificates you hold and any awards. From this material you can draw soundly based evidence of your competencies. It can be drawn on for your job applications and used as reminder of just how good you really are when you hit those career bumps that everyone has to endure sometimes

By the way STAR stories don’t have to be confined to paid employment. Have you had a voluntary role? Are there things you have done for your local community? Well write the stories and put them in! They will all serve to show just what a valuable and competent person you really are!

And I would love to hear how you get on and I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search every success. If I can help, please get in touch.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share

Five Tips to Help You Feel More Confident

confidenceFive Tips to Help You Feel More Confident

This is a post I published a few years ago now but I believe it still useful.

Having a healthy amount of self-esteem and self-confidence is something that helps to make your life happier and more successful. Having confidence in yourself and your abilities goes a long way whether you’re facing a tough decision, adapting to a new situation or facing major change. Here are some tips on how to build your self-esteem.

1. Stay relaxed

Staying relaxed in general can help you see the bigger picture and not sweat the small stuff so much. It’s also a good frame of mind to be in when you’re taking a close look at the things you’re not so good at. There are lots of simple relaxation techniques around that can help – simple breathing exercises are easy to learn and really do help. Try this link.

2. Understand your strengths

Everybody’s good at something, and many people are good at quite a few things. Even if you don’t have a talent or strength that you’re aware of, you probably have some interests you can develop into strengths.Make a list of a few things you’re good at and a few things you’re interested in and would like to be better at. Share this list with someone you like and trust – this is a good exercise to do with a partner who also wants to work on their confidence. They can probably help you find other things you’re good at, too, and help you come up with a plan for developing other skills and interests.

3. Realize your limits.

Remember no one is perfect and no one can do everything. It may not always seem this way, but it’s true. So if you are not the chief executive or a millionaire – that’ is OK! You have a personality and a perspective on the world that’s all your own and completely valuable.

4. Stop criticizing yourself. Now!

This is one of the things that stop us achieving our goals and feeling good about ourselves. You are a mixture of strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else.Concentrate on the good bits! If you don’t do well at a particular project or task the first (or even the second time), it doesn’t mean that you never will. Perhaps you weren’t prepared or the time simply wasn’t right. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or that you’ll never succeed. It is natural to feel disappointed but don’t get hooked on it – let it go and move on. You’ll be that much closer to achieving what you want if you do.

5. Celebrate the good things.

Notice all the good things you do in a day even the small things.Everything – the favor you do for a friend – the help you give a relative – it’s all good.Notice it and give yourself a big pat on the back.Get hooked on feeling good about what you achieve – it will become a habit. You could always keep a celebration journal to reflect on when you are feeling down.  Don’t be afraid to treat yourself when you do something good.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Share

Danger Unemployment – skirmishes ahead!

Today we have a new update on Dave’s page – you can find it here.

It is now over nine months since Dave left the Civil Service and his wife, June,  is still waiting for him to find a “proper job”.

She would like him to be earning enough to give extra financial support to their grown up children and their families.

June has clear ideas for the kind of job she would like him to take.

She knows he is more relaxed now than when he was at work.  She had reason to be grateful that he was around at home when she broke her ankle and then her wrist.  But she thinks if he can find a “professional”  job locally they can have the best of both worlds.

Dave doesn’t agree.  He thinks the children should be independent by now and he is developing quite different ideas about how he wants to spend his time.

When we lose a job, the ramifications can be wide. Certainly it can mean big changes for close family and dependents.  In the present financial climate, parents do provide extra financial support to grown up children.  It hurts when you can no longer do it.

Most people don’t welcome an enforced  change in their life style.  Change of any kind is stressful and feelings of guilt and shame make things worse!

Loss of a job can mean a loss of status and that is hard to bear and not just for the person being made unemployed.

In times like this families need each other.  They need to share the grief and disappointment. Above all they need to talk to each other and to work out a future together, with support from coaches and counselors when they are available.

Now is the time to share feelings and anxieties and to work together.  There is a good future ahead but you need to help each other to find it.  Don’t let getting there tear you apart!


Wendy Mason is a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence. If you would like support finding your way successfully through the career change maze, Wendy would like to work with you. Also you can find her Learn to Be Confident Program at this linkYou can contact Wendy at wendymason@confidencecoach.me  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

Share

Assessment Centres – how to do well!

My friend Jim has just got through to an assessment centre and I think he has done really well.  It is a job he really wants and I think he will do well in the role.

Clearly the recruiters think so too! Assessment centres cost money and you don’t usually call up candidates unless you think that from what you have seen on paper they could do well.

Now Jim has been to an assessment centre before so he knows the kind of thing to expect.  If you are not sure then there is lots of good advice at Prospects, The UK Government Graduate Career’s Website.  But Jim hasn’t been very successful in the past.
He knows I’ve set up assessment centres and acted as an assessor.  So he has asked me for a few top tips, so here is what I’ve told him.
  1. Be Yourself! My top tip is to understand that the assessors know what they are doing – they will be able to see through an act. Of course you should keep your wits about you and present yourself at your best but try to relax enough to let the real you shine through. It is a good idea to have a simple relaxation technique to practice during odd break. 
  2. Know the criteria. Usually, the assessors will be assessing you against a pre-defined list of qualities and competencies. For most public sector jobs you’ll know what these are before the event. In the private sector, openness can vary. But you should try to find out before the assessment centre.  If you applied through a recruitment consultancy they should be able to help. At the very least the job description will give an indication of the criteria you’re likely to be measured against.
  3. Manage your time carefully.  Many candidates at assessment centres fail to do themselves justice because they run out of time in exercises. Where you have to read a brief and then do an exercise afterwards, start by skim reading. After this there is a chance to go back and study important points more carefully once you have a feel for the overall objective and what you are required to do. Keep an eye on your watch and allocate your time carefully.
  4. Don’t put other candidates down. Remember you are being measured, not against other candidates, but against the criteria for the role.  Scoring points off others in group exercises doesn’t make you look good it just makes you look like a non-team player who scores points off others; that is not likely to make the assessors warm to you.  It would be unrealistic to say that you are not in competition but in this situation your best strategy is usually going to be to support, not to compete.
  5. Practice if you can.  It really help if you can run through possible exercises with someone you trust as preparation for the centre.  You will find some good information about the kinds of exercises you might face at this link. You will find organizations that offer paid-for practice on-line.
  6. Know what you are doing and show you are doing it. At the assessment centre listen carefully to all instruction and show you are listening through your body language.  If there is an opportunity to interact with the assessors – say at lunch time – then make the most of it.  But don’t be nuisance and certainly don’t hog the limelight.  You out to make an impression be memorable but make sure it is for the right reasons.
I’ve coached a number of people for assessment centres in the past so if you would like my help please get in touch.   





Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

Share

Assessment Centres – how to do well!

My friend Jim has just got through to an assessment centre and I think he has done really well.  It is a job he really wants and I think he will do well in the role.

Clearly the recruiters think so too! Assessment centres cost money and you don’t usually call up candidates unless you think that from what you have seen on paper they could do well.

Now Jim has been to an assessment centre before so he knows the kind of thing to expect.  If you are not sure then there is lots of good advice at Prospects, The UK Government Graduate Career’s Website.  But Jim hasn’t been very successful in the past.
He knows I’ve set up assessment centres and acted as an assessor.  So he has asked me for a few top tips, so here is what I’ve told him.
  1. Be Yourself! My top tip is to understand that the assessors know what they are doing – they will be able to see through an act. Of course you should keep your wits about you and present yourself at your best but try to relax enough to let the real you shine through. It is a good idea to have a simple relaxation technique to practice during odd break. 
  2. Know the criteria. Usually, the assessors will be assessing you against a pre-defined list of qualities and competencies. For most public sector jobs you’ll know what these are before the event. In the private sector, openness can vary. But you should try to find out before the assessment centre.  If you applied through a recruitment consultancy they should be able to help. At the very least the job description will give an indication of the criteria you’re likely to be measured against.
  3. Manage your time carefully.  Many candidates at assessment centres fail to do themselves justice because they run out of time in exercises. Where you have to read a brief and then do an exercise afterwards, start by skim reading. After this there is a chance to go back and study important points more carefully once you have a feel for the overall objective and what you are required to do. Keep an eye on your watch and allocate your time carefully.
  4. Don’t put other candidates down. Remember you are being measured, not against other candidates, but against the criteria for the role.  Scoring points off others in group exercises doesn’t make you look good it just makes you look like a non-team player who scores points off others; that is not likely to make the assessors warm to you.  It would be unrealistic to say that you are not in competition but in this situation your best strategy is usually going to be to support, not to compete.
  5. Practice if you can.  It really help if you can run through possible exercises with someone you trust as preparation for the centre.  You will find some good information about the kinds of exercises you might face at this link. You will find organizations that offer paid-for practice on-line.
  6. Know what you are doing and show you are doing it. At the assessment centre listen carefully to all instruction and show you are listening through your body language.  If there is an opportunity to interact with the assessors – say at lunch time – then make the most of it.  But don’t be nuisance and certainly don’t hog the limelight.  You out to make an impression be memorable but make sure it is for the right reasons.
I’ve coached a number of people for assessment centres in the past so if you would like my help please get in touch.   





Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

Share

Unemployment – looking after your mental health!

Depression (emotion )

Losing a job is one of the most difficult things we have to deal with in life.  It ranks right up there with losing someone you care for or going through divorce.

“It’s a serious fracture in one’s world view,” says Robert London, M.D., a staff psychiatrist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an executive or a bus driver–your identity is very much wrapped up in your job. And to suddenly be without that identity can be devastating.”

That is why it can make you feel down in the first few weeks and seriously depressed if unemployment stretches over months.

It is all too easy to start believing that there must be something wrong with you personally or that you lack some vital characteristic that the rest of the world seems blessed with.

Sometimes you may not realise you are depressed.  You just want to sleep all the time, you don’t want to mix with other people and/or suddenly you start feeling mysterious aches and pains.

Now that you are depressed, of course, finding a job becomes even less likely and you may not feel you can make the effort.  If you do feel like this, then please do seek help from your doctor, coach or counsellor.

But how do you intervene before things become quite that bad?

Well, first, recognise the risk! Then, you need to take responsibility for looking after your own mental, as well as physical, health.

Being jobless can make you feel you have no control over your own life and that makes you feel insecure and unhappy.  So start to take control by giving yourself a set schedule for every day of the working week.

Make finding your new job your new job.  Set a time to start each day and make sure you are showered, dressed and in your new work space (allocate a space at home for this, if you don’t have a home office) by that time each day.

Work to a flexible but firm timetable for the day.  Explain that you will be working at home during the day to family and friends.

Each morning and evening allocate a time to check and revise your work-search “to do” list.  Make sure you build in some networking time – either by telephone, face to face or on social networks – social contact with others will be refreshing as well as part of your job search.

Make some time as well for your own personal development – are there new skills you would like or need to acquire?  The internet and your local library will help you to find free or at least inexpensive resources.

At the end of your working day, if you can, close the door on your working space or at least make it look different.  Then spend time with family and friends doing what you usually enjoy.

Resist the temptation to hole up in your house and wait for the world to come to you. As Dr London say “Isolation is a dangerous thing. When you live in your head, you ruminate and feed your depression,”

Try each day to find either something to be inspired by – nature is great for that – or something to laugh at.  Laughing at old comedy programs should probably available for us all as part of public health services.

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

Share

Unemployment – looking after your mental health!

Depression (emotion )

Losing a job is one of the most difficult things we have to deal with in life.  It ranks right up there with losing someone you care for or going through divorce.

“It’s a serious fracture in one’s world view,” says Robert London, M.D., a staff psychiatrist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an executive or a bus driver–your identity is very much wrapped up in your job. And to suddenly be without that identity can be devastating.”

That is why it can make you feel down in the first few weeks and seriously depressed if unemployment stretches over months.

It is all too easy to start believing that there must be something wrong with you personally or that you lack some vital characteristic that the rest of the world seems blessed with.

Sometimes you may not realise you are depressed.  You just want to sleep all the time, you don’t want to mix with other people and/or suddenly you start feeling mysterious aches and pains.

Now that you are depressed, of course, finding a job becomes even less likely and you may not feel you can make the effort.  If you do feel like this, then please do seek help from your doctor, coach or counsellor.

But how do you intervene before things become quite that bad?

Well, first, recognise the risk! Then, you need to take responsibility for looking after your own mental, as well as physical, health.

Being jobless can make you feel you have no control over your own life and that makes you feel insecure and unhappy.  So start to take control by giving yourself a set schedule for every day of the working week.

Make finding your new job your new job.  Set a time to start each day and make sure you are showered, dressed and in your new work space (allocate a space at home for this, if you don’t have a home office) by that time each day.

Work to a flexible but firm timetable for the day.  Explain that you will be working at home during the day to family and friends.

Each morning and evening allocate a time to check and revise your work-search “to do” list.  Make sure you build in some networking time – either by telephone, face to face or on social networks – social contact with others will be refreshing as well as part of your job search.

Make some time as well for your own personal development – are there new skills you would like or need to acquire?  The internet and your local library will help you to find free or at least inexpensive resources.

At the end of your working day, if you can, close the door on your working space or at least make it look different.  Then spend time with family and friends doing what you usually enjoy.

Resist the temptation to hole up in your house and wait for the world to come to you. As Dr London say “Isolation is a dangerous thing. When you live in your head, you ruminate and feed your depression,”

Try each day to find either something to be inspired by – nature is great for that – or something to laugh at.  Laughing at old comedy programs should probably available for us all as part of public health services.

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

Share