On Self-Confidence

They say do something every day that scares you, and today I did that.

This year, through my role in the apprenticeship company when I visited schools, most of the time I was coaching the students to have self-confidence – to be able to tell an interviewer, or a CV reader how awesome they are. This morning I was in a school doing just that, encouraging students to be confident in telling someone else all the cool things they do. [Read more…]

How to Get a Job – Interviews with a Bang

Interview

Around 2/3 of my job is helping the teens do well in their apprenticeship interviews. I’ve always been really into giving careers advice so being able to use this in my work is really cool.

I’ve had a lot of interviews in my time. Some of them bad, some of them good and a few of them ridiculously bad. But I’ve formulated an interview structure that helps my students feel calmer, to get their strengths in the conversation, and to end on a high.

Step one: Prepare the opening

The first question you’ll be asked is usually “tell me a little about yourself”. While this sounds like a gentle ice breaker, it’s the perfect time to tell them your strengths without much interruption.

Firstly, take out the job description again, and a few highlighter pens. Highlight in colour one all the skills (things you can do) that they ask for, that you have. In a second colour, highlight all the strengths (things you are) that you have. In a third colour, highlight all the things which you don’t currently have.

Secondly, make a list of your skills that relate to the job. Include a few of the ones that they ask for as well, for good measure.

Thirdly, follow the structure of: intro – what you can do – what you want. Make sure to drop those skills and strengths into the second section! So, for example, this structure for me would look like this: “My name is Charlotte and I currently work in apprentice recruitment. Using my teaching skills and ability to connect with young people, along with my solid knowledge of the recruitment world, I am able to hit targets and help my candidates get excellent jobs. Moving forward, I would like to work more with teenage mental health and work with young people with such challenges.”

You can see that I waste no time – I’m giving details of my experience and my skills, being upfront about what I can do in the role.

Extra tip! For the things that you highlighted as you’re not able to do yet, phrase these as things you’d like to know more about. Obviously, if it’s a huge skills relating to the job then you’ll have to show initiative, like taking online courses.

Step two: Do your research

It seems a bit obvious, but people still do need reminding. Aside from looking at the company’s website, also look at their Twitter feed to get a good idea as to what’s important to them right now, and also the LinkedIn profile for the person interviewing you. Of course, they’ll be able to see that you stalked them, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Any info you can get could be useful in the interview.

Step three: Have questions planned

The last question they’ll ask you is if YOU have any questions! ALWAYS SAY YES!

Good examples of questions are:

“What challenges would someone in this role face?”

“What would be expected of me in my first three months?”

“How would you describe the team I’d be working in?”

If you feel that you made a good connection to the interviewer, feel free to ask them about their own career history (if you’ve LinkedIn stalked them, try not to sound creepy!)

 

Do you have any interview pro tips? I’d love to pass them on to my students!

What it’s like to be… A Trainee Teacher

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Well look what I have here! I have still a couple of surveys left! As before, these are careers surveys that I have asked my friends to complete.

This is one very special to me, because my friend here gave me a lot of advice when I was considering going down this route. There’s a lot of funding and great opportunities for people to become teachers in the UK right now.

So, let’s get on with the questions and find out what it takes to be a trainee teacher!

Questions:

What is your job title?

I’m a Trainee Teacher doing a Schools Direct Teacher Training programme for one year

What does that actually involve? What do you spend most of your workday doing?

Currently it involves teaching 4 hours a week over 4 days, and one day out for training. The amount I teach will increase rapidly after Christmas to roughly 8 hours a week, and after Easter I will be teaching 80% of the lessons. I get to school for 7.45 so that I can prepare resources for my lessons, and I usually leave at 4pm. I plan or work on assignments most evenings and at the weekends. By next September, assuming I pass, I will have my own class.

Did you always want to do this as a job? If not, why did you come to do it?

I actually never wanted to be a teacher because I knew all about the workload and it put me off. I applied unsuccessfully to study to become an educational psychology or a speech therapist but after a number of attempts I conceded that I would need to look for other career paths, so I considered teaching. At the time I was working as a teaching assistant in a primary school so it just seemed the most natural progression for my career.

How did you get to do your job? For example, did you train? Do internships? Did you take exams? What did you have to study at school/uni to do your job?

You can do either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree to become a teacher. The course I’m doing is more practical/ school based than some other routes into teaching, and it is salaried, so it was the best option for me.

If you wanted to, where could you move to from this job? What could you progress to?

Subject leader within a school, head teacher, deputy head, Special needs Coordinator (SENCO), a Government role in Education policy/ research.

Being honest, what’s the worst part of your job? What’s the best?

Worst- the amount of paperwork involved in teaching is unfortunately growing and it has resulted in a disillusionment amongst teachers who love teaching but not the bureaucracy. Teachers are sometimes expected to be miracle workers with children, it is a lot of responsibility to shoulder. Some people assume we work 9-3 and do nothing else- wrong! Perks- working with amazing children and staff everyday, no day is the same, helping others to learn, the holidays!

How is the work/life balance? Do you often have to do overtime?

All the time! I bring home work every night, on top of having to complete Uni assignments. Work/ life balance is certainly tipped one way at the moment but you have to give yourself a break every now and then.

How would you describe the kind of people who are in the same field as you? Are they a good bunch to work alongside?

Most teachers have very similar personalities, however we all bring something unique to the job. Some teachers who have been doing the job for years can get stuck in their ways and won’t accept new ideas, but on the whole we are a good bunch! It’s great to see more men joining the profession too.

On a scale of 1 – 10, how would you rate the salary and benefits that come from your job? (1 being the worst and 10 being amazing)

Salary is not great but the holidays are a big perk! 6

Finally, what advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Training to be a teacher is tough; all of your lessons are observed so get ready for lots of constructive criticism from the start! Be resilient and confident in yourself. Make sure this is something you want to do- get some experience in a school, even voluntary. Teaching is more than just a job and it doesn’t necessarily get easier the longer you do it. Having said that, I look forward to having my own class of children. They are the best sort of people to work with, I genuinely laugh and smile with them, more than I ever did when I worked in an office.

If you have any questions for my trainee teacher friend, let me know in the comments!!

What it’s like to… work in an NGO

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I feel I’ve not done such a good job at giving intros each Wednesday to my careers posts. Each time people keep thinking that it’s me talking, as I forget that people can’t read my mine. This is my bad.

I asked my friends to complete careers surveys, so I could find out what it is that they do. I’ve had some really amazing responses – and today’s is really special. I met this friend when I was at uni, and she is a really spirited person. She always had such a good heart, so it’s not a surprise at all that she’s gone to work in an NGO. Her photos on Facebook are ALWAYS epic, and she’s really humble about it all – not like these people who pose with orphans for selfies.

So, what’s it like to work in an NGO? [Read more…]

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