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My mother didn't teach me to cook. But she did teach me how to succeed

Posted on 7 June, 2016 at 9:25 Comments comments (0)

My mother didn’t teach me to cook.

But she did teach me how to succeed.

 My mother was a really good cook!

Growing up, our kitchen was like a mini French restaurant, where after a full day of work, my mother came home and often (by request) made lovely meals – all EXACTLY to me and my sisters liking. But, since she did all the work, initially I never learned to cook until I left school.

However I learned her most powerful quality: how to succeed in your career.


As a teenager our dinner table conversations (me, my sister, mum & dad) was almost a real-world MBA – I’d listen with intent to understand and keep up with the conversation, and I’d learn through my parents’ dialogue how to run a business.

I picked up life-lessons from my mum by observing, listening, asking questions, trying different ideas, and of course through our one-on-one mother – son conversations.

Recently I took some time to reflect, gather thoughts, and be grateful for her insight and wisdom.

Here is my take on her key recipes for success:

1. Just a spoon full of sugar. Be nice to people – no matter what. (This can be difficult sometimes in the London!) Smile, look others in the eye and say hi, and get to a laugh (rapport-building) in your relationship as soon as possible. My mum got along with everyone and made the “stop and chat” her thing. My mum taught me to be nice to others, even when you are having a tough day.

2. Don’t run out of food. I never understood this when I was younger – we would have 10 people over for a holiday and my mum would cook for 15. Of course we all have relatives who eat for two, but that’s not why my mum did it. I later worked out that my mum cooked for more than would arrive so that we would never run out of food. We had leftovers for weeks! She always offered more than was needed – when you go above and beyond, it’s noticed and appreciated.

3. Be the “hostess with the mostest.” After the food was procured and prepared, she made sure each person knew each other. If there was someone who didn’t know the others, I watched her make them feel comfortable by pulling out their commonalities and help make the connections for them. She’d then walk away to check on other guests and they’d be talking about whatever it was they had in common. She was a born networker. My mum worked the room guest-by-guest. She made everyone feel comfortable.

4. Delegate to trusted people. As a manager, my mum sometimes needed help transporting me to my activities (Uber wasn’t around then). She delegated to only her most trusted friends and family. This made us both feel comfortable. Challenge yourself to delegate 25% more of your workload and tasks to trusted individuals. You’ll be amazed by how much more you can accomplish.

5. Work your socks off. Mum was a tireless worker. Almost by instinct. She brought me and my sisters up, worked more than full time, cooked dinner like it was her job, made time to be a leader in her professional groups, and still had time to be my mum when I needed her. This lesson is simple: Work your hardest for the things that mean the most.

6. Show your customers your appreciation. Genuine appreciation. My mum looks for personal customer gifts all year round. As a result, she is able to send her customers something meaningful TO THEM. For example, one customer loves pansy flowers. So each year my mom finds her something special with a pansy. Another one loves quality brands so my mother would get her something simple but nice. These customers were always being considered by my mother, and after sending them meaningful holiday gifts my bet is she is top-of-mind for them all year round too. My mum taught me that by finding something personal for your customers, you will remain meaningful to them all year round. I tried it. It works.

7. Serving and delivering leads to loyalty and trust. My mum and dad set high standards. They did things different from their competition, including how they helped their customers. Until she retired, my mother had calls (even at the weekend and evenings from customers needing help. She not only takes their calls, but she would stop what she was doing to help them. Customers knew my mum was on their side. Some of these customers worked with my parents for more than 30 years. There’s a reason (besides the gifts) they’re so loyal! When my parents sold their business, their customers still wanted to work with my mum (and dad) because they TRUSTED she would always get the job done. She taught me that by providing a strong professional service and delivering as promised leads to trust and EXTREME LOYALTY.

8. Invest in education. My parents were smart and well educated - sometimes from school, sometimes on-the-job, and sometimes from THEIR parents. My mother placed an incredible value on education. And to this day, I am a life-long learner (as long as I’m picking the subjects). My mum knew the importance of education, with dedication to life-long learning, and looking for educational moments everywhere. I have done the same (are you ready for the way artificial intelligence will change your job)?

9. “No” often means “not right now.” To get what you want, or feel you deserve, you must be persistent. In business, the first "no" often means "not right now." Don’t get discouraged by a “No.” Instead, let it inspire you and increase your drive for "YES." Mum’s example: Define your level of desire for what you really want. Find out what’s important to the other person and create allies from within to advocate for your cause. When others see your desire and drive, they want to join you. My mother’s desire for what she wanted was immeasurable.

10. It’s all in the details. My mum would challenge me to find hidden objects when we were in the car or on a walk, and I loved to try to find them. From a very young age this trained me to both seek and observe the smallest details. Now when I’m speaking to clients, I can’t help but notice the hard-to-find details. And it’s amazing how often those details are the most important clues to transforming the impact of a CV or finding the key needs of a hiring manager.

And it’s not just about trophies and family photos – voice and tone. My mum taught me to look at and listen to your client’s non-verbal clues – observe their gestures, body language, and eye contact, listen to their questions, and interpret their subtle messages. My mum could uncover the details underneath the big picture that lead to more sales.


11. Prove your value and don’t accept less than you’re worth. When I graduated from college, I was ready to accept any job where I saw a future, as long as it met my minimum salary expectations. My mum pushed me to negotiate for a higher starting salary, explaining that I was worth it and that every raise thereafter would be based on my very first salary. And she was right. Not knowing the business world and how hard it can be to find good employees, I didn’t recognise my own value at the time. Sometimes you need others to show you how much you’re worth. Make sure you have a mentor to encourage you, inspire you, and push you to push yourself in your career. Your mum & dad are your first mentors – but who are your career advisors now?

 Life gives everyone the same number of mothers. ONE. She’s, by birth, the closest person to you. Forever. Through all kinds of situations. Through all of life’s curves. Through all of life’s joys and sorrows. I am so grateful for mine. Over 40 years of love, support, and encouragement. Her work and her accomplishments will forever impacted on me and moulded me, and if she was still with us, I would tell her how much I appreciate what she did for us every day.

Thank you, Mother. 

JOHN

 

I hope you find these suggestions helpful - please share your own top tip below - and do contact me for specific feed back via email or LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/johnaskthecvexpert

John Hodgkinson is the Head of Newhampton CV - the London based Career Experts, and is one of the UK's leading CV writers. He is also a Partner at Aston Hill Selection, an international Executive Search Consultancy. His work includes advising on key career moves, CV writing, interview coaching and talent management. John has both worked and lived in the UK, France and Sweden. He enjoys blogging as a way to share his up to date knowledge of the modern recruitment process, career planning, advancement and related topics.

Please book mark this blog or ask to connect with John on LinkedIn if you would like to hear more from John in the future. Feel free to also connect via the Newhampton Web site: www.newhampton.co.uk Where you can request an expert review of your own CV. If you are thinking about an important career move - do feel free to get in touch to get some direct advice for a key application or to optimise your CV.


5 Great Job Search Tips For Your Next Career Move

Posted on 31 May, 2016 at 4:55 Comments comments (0)

THINKING ABOUT A POTENTIAL JOB CHANGE?

FROM LEVERAGING YOUR CONTACTS TO BEING MORE FOCUSED IN HOW YOU APPLY, THESE TOP TIPS WILL DEFINITELY HELP TAKE YOUR SEARCH TO THE NEXT LEVEL

1. BE SEEN FOR HIDDEN VACANCIES

Instead of advertising their available jobs, employers now often look to fill vacancies by searching digitally for top talent rather than advertising or word-of-mouth (think CV’s on job boards, LinkedIn etc). Knowing how to get yourself in contention for a position above the one you are currently doing could give you a major boost when it comes to finding your next role. It’s all about ensuring you include the key requirements, competencies and track record employers are seeking at the next level of your career. Find out more.


2 THEREFORE - GET EMPLOYERS TO COME TO YOU

Being headhunted is no longer the preserve of employees in Executive or management roles. When you post your CV online or update your LinkedIn profile, you are immediately putting your details within reach of thousands of employers which may save you the trouble of searching through job adverts. Find out more.

3 TARGET THE CORRECT COMPANIES

Do you want to be a big fish in a small pond? Or would you rather have the safety of a large organisation with job security and a clear career path? Knowing what you want (and who you should be targeting to secure it) allows you to narrow down your search and spend more time on applying for the roles you really want via the most productive channels. A scatter gun approach is of limited value so talking this through with an expert will help Find out more.

4 BUILD A NETWORK

Networking is getting to know people who can help you develop your career prospects. You don't need to be a big shot or the most outgoing person in the world to network effectively, just keep your ears open and listen for information that could work to your advantage. Having an effective LinkedIn profile is the first step. Find out more.


5 KEEP YOUR MOTIVATION HIGH – YOU ONLY GET ONE CAREER

As time passes, if you are still using a DIY CV or only have a basic profile, the rejections may mount up and the budgets may get tighter - it's easy to become disheartened. However, this is exactly the time when you need to dust yourself off and put in more hard work than ever.

One of the main attributes of a successful job seeker is smart persistence. Remember you may be making fundamental mistakes with your CV or on your LinkedIn profile, killing your ability to gain short list. Consider speaking to a professional to check that your CV is impactful and aligned to the role(s) you are targeting. Recruiters often receive a large number of applications - so make sure they don't over look you Find out more here.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful - please share your own top tip below - and do contact me for specific feed back via email or LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/johnaskthecvexpert

JOHN

John Hodgkinson is the Head of Newhampton CV - the London based Career Experts, and is one of the UK's leading CV writers. He is also a Partner at Aston Hill Selection, an international Executive Search Consultancy. His work includes advising on key career moves, CV writing, interview coaching and talent management. John has both worked and lived in the UK, France and Sweden. He enjoys blogging as a way to share his up to date knowledge of the modern recruitment process, career planning, advancement and related topics.

 

Please book mark this blog or ask to connect with John on LinkedIn if you would like to hear more from John in the future. Feel free to also connect via the Newhampton Web site: www.newhampton.co.uk Where you can request an expert review of your own CV. If you are thinking about an important career move - do feel free to get in touch to get some direct advice for a key application or to optimise your CV.

 

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Where do I go from here? The Next Phase of Your Career

Posted on 5 May, 2016 at 7:55 Comments comments (0)

Where do I go from here? Harvesting - The Next Phase of Your Career

Over the past two weeks I met with the departing CEO of a major global entertainment company and the number two at one of the city’s largest financial institutions. Both wanted to strategise about where to take their careers. Despite their elevated positions, their concerns - and the thought processes about how to address them - were no different than anyone who finds themselves grappling with the vexing question, “Where do I go from here?”


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to “The Harvest Phase,” the next stage of your career. In this phase, you need to find a way to apply your skills and track record to new situations, essentially reinventing yourself, to ensure your value in the marketplace continues to grow.

The key to navigating this phase, therefore, is to:

1) Determine how your experience and expertise can be applied to new situations, and

2) Set new goals. Doing this successfully will allow you to maintain career momentum and enhance your value as well as increase your ability to have a positive impact on others.

Let me describe one of the conversations to illustrate how you might attack The Harvest Phase.

The entertainment CEO had worked every day of his life since graduating from University some 20 plus years ago. After working as a teacher he moved into media and built up a well-deserved reputation for being tough, creative, and knowing how to make money. In our conversation he answered some basic questions necessary to set some parameters for his go-forward plan:

• Geographic flexibility (high)

• Importance of making money (low, fortunately for him)

• And passions (media and education – he has been on the board of his University and a quality not-for-profit organisation)

Through more discussion and brainstorming we concocted a plan that had five alternative tracks:

1. Lateral. He could move to become MD/CEO of another major entertainment company. Since there are only a small handful of these and there are no current openings he can’t bet on this, but if any solid positions open up he will be my logical first call.

2. Adjacent. He could be a candidate for other major media related executive positions that are open or coming down the line.

3. Start-Up. He could take his relationships and know-how and create an independent production and media company, as Peter Chernin did after stepping down from the COO of News Corp.

4. New Sector. He could go in a different direction and pursue his passion for education, although this would require more effort, patience, and creativity since this represents his most fundamental prospective reinvention. He could also pursue a senior role at a film or journalism school, where he could draw on his deep professional expertise. Or be the head of an independent school, where his early teaching background, management skills, leadership, and prolific ability to raise money would all be essential ingredients to be appointed to and succeed in a position. He could even potentially be a candidate for the presidency of a liberal arts college, building on his general management track record, experience as a University trustee, and fundraising abilities.

5. Portfolio. Finally, he could build a portfolio of activities including pursuing one or two board directorships, writing blogs, articles, or a book, speaking, teaching, consulting, and affiliating with a venture or private equity firm (he said he is too young for Non Exec roles).

Of course not everyone will have as many degrees of freedom as this executive, but I can assure you that the thought process of diagnosing your skills and passions, and thinking expansively about all the different areas you can potentially apply them is valid.

Here are a few other important things to consider with regard to The Harvest Phase. Life does not always unfold in a linear path and you may not reach the pinnacle of your profession before thinking about reinvention. Unforeseen changes, crises, or even opportunities may instigate the necessity to start your Harvest Phase at a different time than originally planned. If this is the case, don’t wait. Reinvent now.


Also, the personal journey through this phase is equally important, maybe even more so, than the professional. Reinventing means maintaining or even increasing your energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity. It is about having an open, expansive, learning mindset.

Finally, the importance of building goodwill cannot be over-emphasised. A long-term principal of career success, not just in The Harvest Phase, is to invest in the success of others. Focus now on building a motivated team and helping those around you to be as successful as you can be. Doing so will create the loyalty and support that will come back and benefit you many times over.

So let me highlight some of your comments that I think are especially relevant as you think about The Harvest Phase. One client agreed that while there are definitely phases in our careers, we are all responsible for the speed in which we go through these phases. If an organisation is not allowing you to thrive and realise your value despite your best efforts, then it is up to you to make a change.Sometimes you need to make a break to keep the momentum going.

Another client affirmed that there is much to be said about goodwill, which takes time to build and is invaluable both to you and your organisation. Goodwill is developed by having a positive attitude, being responsive, proactive, maintaining integrity, and by being helpful to others. Building goodwill is critical to creating great teams that not only support you "when life happens", but also help an organisation thrive through challenging times.

As ever if you are thinking about your own need to harvest your career, contact me for a chat about ensuring you have the best possible CV, supporting documents and job strategy to get you ahead of those you will be competing against, to ensure you move your career forward.

I hope this helps you and please add your own thoughts and tips on this below.

John

John Hodgkinson is the Head of Newhampton CV - the London based CV Experts, and is one of Europe’s leading CV writers. He is also a Partner at Aston Hill Selection, an international Executive Search Consultancy. His work includes advising on key career moves, CV writing and interview coaching. John has both worked and lived in the UK, France and Sweden. He enjoys blogging as a way to share his up to date knowledge of the modern recruitment process, career planning, advancement and the related topics.

Please book mark this blog if you would like to hear more from John in the future. Feel free to also connect via the NEWHMPTON Web site:

www.newhampton.co.uk

Where you can request an expert review of your own CV. If you are thinking about an important career move - do feel free to get in touch via this web site, to get some direct advice for a key application or to optimise your CV.


To Have a Successful Career Adopt These Key Characteristics

Posted on 13 April, 2016 at 11:45 Comments comments (0)

To have a Successful Career (A Big One), Adopt These Key Characteristics

1. You’ve Got a Dream (A Big One!)

What’s your career vision? What do you want to accomplish? What are your hopes and dreams? Having a dream – even if it’s a little vague – is crucial for career success. Before you can start your journey, you need to have a goal in mind!

In the words of Walt Disney, "If you can dream it, you can do it." And before you can do it, you've got to dream it! (Plus smart people write their core objectives down with a time line for each one).

 

2. You’ve Got a Road Map, But You're Prepared To Take Detours

They say success is where preparation and opportunity meet. So, when opportunity comes ‘a knockin,’ you’re going to want to have your plan already in place. Think of it as your road map to making it big!

What steps do you need to take to get where you want to be? Who do you need to know? What skills do you need to have?

But, let's be real here, nothing EVER goes exactly according to plan. You need to be able to adapt to whatever life throws at you. Think of those things as detours. They're not a huge issue as long as you work out how to get back on track swiftly!

 3. You’re Extremely Curious

You need to have an innate fascination with whatever it is you’re working toward. You've got to learn as much as you can about the industry, the people, the culture, and so on. You need to want to be consumed by it. You've got to understand the problems and be excited about finding solutions. You’ve got to be passionate, excited, and curious about all areas of the biz.

When Larry King made his debut in radio, he made a point to become consumed in the biz. In addition to doing his own show, he did the weather reports, the sports updates, and the news broadcasts. He even volunteered to fill in for people who were out sick, and took on double shifts.

Why? He wanted to learn all there was to know about broadcasting. He wanted to practice. He wanted to be outstanding at what he did. The only way to do that was to explore and go above and beyond what was asked of him. He called it "taking extra batting practice."

4. You’re Confident but not Cocky

If you really want to make it, you’ve got to have confidence in yourself and your abilities. Without confidence, you can so easily get crushed by negativity and criticism – things you will have to deal with once you hit the spotlight.

You have to be confident. You have to trust yourself. And you have to have a deep understanding that you’re going to make it. For actress Jennifer Lawrence, that understanding came at a young age.

“I always knew that I was going to be famous,” she told Vogue magazine. “I honest to God don't know how else to describe it. I used to lie in bed and wonder: ‘Am I going to be a local TV person? Am I going to be a motivational speaker?’ It wasn't a vision. But as it's kind of happening, you have this buried understanding: Of course.”


5. You Realise Failure is a Setback, Not a Game Changer

If you’re even thinking about making it big one day, the word “quit” can’t be in your vocabulary. In the end, you don’t succeed because you don’t fail; you succeed because you don’t give up. The second you give up, you’ve lost.

Take Michael Jordan, for example. He has a famous quote, "I've failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed." The only reason he succeeded was because he didn't let those failures discourage him to the point of quitting. Why? Because he realised his failures were only setbacks - not game changers and he invested time, effort (getting professional help and support as required) to ensure he did it better next time.

I guarantee you that everyone you aspire to be like has failed at one point or another, but did that stop them from picking themselves back up and moving forward? Absolutely NOT. And that’s why they’re successful – often seeking out expert advice, to ensure they optimised how they spent their precious time to secure both the career breakthrough’s and accelerated promotion targeted.

What are your secrets to success? What else do you think is necessary for making it big in your career? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

And please let us know if you found this article helpful.

JOHN

John Hodgkinson is the Head of Newhampton CV - the London based CV Experts, and is one of Europe’s leading CV writers. He is also a Partner at Aston Hill Selection, an international Executive Search Consultancy. His work includes advising on key career moves, CV writing and interview coaching. John has both worked and lived in the UK, France and Sweden. He enjoys blogging as a way to share his up to date knowledge of the modern recruitment process, career planning, advancement and the related topics.

Please book mark this blog if you would like to hear more from John in the future. Feel free to also connect via the NEWHMPTON Web site:

www.newhampton.co.uk

Where you can request an expert review of your own CV. If you are thinking about an important career move - do feel free to get in touch via this web site, to get some direct advice for a key application or to optimise your CV.

 

What to do When Your Boss is Holding Your Career Back

Posted on 31 March, 2016 at 4:00 Comments comments (0)

The Insider View on Promotion? You’re Ready But Your Boss Is Stalling!

When companies have a capable person to promote, there's no such a thing as “appropriate tenure” any longer.


Yes its ideal when internal candidates have logged three or four years to prove their mettle in good times and bad. But in today’s high-demand global marketplace, talented people are so hard to retain and Gen-Yers and millennials have so little tolerance for dues-paying assignments, why would any company put a high-performer through unnecessary paces and delays just to satisfy a bureaucratic requirement? Yet some managers still do!

That uncompetitive practice is a throwback to the days when an employee’s time served could, and often did, trump their value added.

So, should your bosses come at you to defend their decision to delay promoting you (again), or worse still hiring from the outside, You Need to Take Action.

Career Progression and Promotion is more art than science. Clearly you need to swiftly confirm your value in the market place by quickly targeting and securing interviews with competitor firms that will recognise your ability to work at the next level (and pay you accordingly)

Hiring Managers will generally look to confirm you pass a few simple tests.

The first, obviously, concerns performance – They will want to understand:

  1. Do you consistently post superior results? We’re not just talking numbers. Superior results also mean a person has expanded his job duties and brought insights to the team, be they about work processes, market challenges, or unseen opportunities. Basically, superior results mean a person has over delivered—a leading indicator that they are ready for more.
  2. The second test concerns values. Do you consistently demonstrate the behaviours the company wants to see from its high performers and leaders?
  3. Are you customer-focused? Do you share ideas? Different types of companies have different values. But when it comes to promotions, the question about values is the same. Do you live and breathe them?

Now, even if you pass these tests, they might want to examine one last factor. Can you arrive and swiftly generate a “tailwind”— perhaps a backlog of new orders, the transformation of a service or help build a high-functioning team?

Getting this across isn’t easy, but an expertly written CV with an aligned, high impact LinkedIn profile will quickly get you in front of decision makers, with the right CV even steering the interviewer towards the above questions (and resulting conclusions), on your worth to their team.

Don't let your manager waste your time - get out there and forge your own career path. There has never been a better time to do so - and please let us know if you found this article helpful. 

JOHN

John Hodgkinson is the Head of Newhampton CV - the London based CV Experts, and is one of Europe’s leading CV writers. He is also a Partner at Aston Hill Selection, an international Executive Search Consultancy. His work includes advising on key career moves, CV writing and interview coaching. John has both worked and lived in the UK, France and Sweden. He enjoys blogging as a way to share his up to date knowledge of the modern recruitment process, career planning, advancement and the related topics.

Please Follow this blog if you would like to hear more from John in the future. Feel free to also connect via the NEWHMPTON Web site:

www.newhampton.co.uk

Where you can request an expert review of your own CV. If you are thinking about an important career move - do feel free to get in touch via our web site, to get some direct advice for a key application or to optimise your CV.



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