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Wellbeing and resilience advice for jobseekers (Webinar)

29 March 2021

On 25th March 2021 Morgan Hunt hosted a webinar jobseeker wellbeing and resilience. We were joined by Alastair Smith-Agbaje (CEO of Lambeth & Southwark Mind), Dorothée Bonnigal-Katz (Frontline Clinician at Lambeth & Southwark Mind) and Suzanne Penny (Career Coach and L&D Expert. During the session we shared advice for jobseekers on how they can protect their mental health and remain resilient in their job search. Watch the full recording or read our summary below.

Covid-19 has significantly disrupted the UK job market. As most organisations prepared to meet the challenges of the pandemic, growth plans were halted. Normal hiring levels reduced significantly and restructuring in many organisations led to redundancy for many people. As a result, the competition for available roles has increased dramatically, and it is taking many jobseekers longer to secure work.

Although job markets are beginning to pick up, there are many who are still struggling with their job search. The effect of which cannot be underestimated. The experience of submitting applications for tens (sometimes hundreds) of jobs, attending interviews and facing rejection takes its toll on an individual’s wellbeing and ability to stay motivated.

As a jobseeker it is important to take care of your wellbeing and mental health so that you can continue to perform at your best. If you are showing up to interviews stressed, anxious and defeated, it’s more likely that it won’t go the way you hope. You’re far more likely to make mistakes and not communicate the value you can bring to your potential employer. So what can jobseekers do to ensure they don’t burn out?

Dealing with stress and anxiety

As well as feeling stressed or anxious, you are likely feeling tired from your job search. When you feel this way, the best thing may be to take a short break. It is important not to put too much pressure on yourself and to listen to what your body is telling you it needs. However, if you decide to take a break, you should still retain some structure and routine to your days. This will help you to still feel productive and positive. It also ensures you don’t lose your momentum. Don’t forget to include healthy habits like exercising and socialising with others.

Dorothée Bonnigal-Katz, who is a frontline clinician for Lambeth & Southwark mind, highly recommends doing something creative as an antidote to stress and anxiety. Having a creative outlet puts you on the side of love and life, helping to enrich and bring positive emotions into your day.

Dealing with rejection

Rejection takes its toll on us as individuals. It makes us question our self-worth and if we’ll ever make it. But it’s important not to dwell on these feelings.

If you were made redundant, remember that it is not a reflection of your skills and expertise. It was the role that was made redundant, not you, so have confidence on your ability. If you were rejected after an interview, know that you were invited to the interview for a reason. Someone saw something in your ability, which should give you confidence.

Viewing the interview as a learning experience can help change your perspective too. Focus on the elements of the rejection that you can control by using feedback to identify areas of growth and improvement.

If you have faced numerous rejection, you may want to take some time out to deal with the feelings of stress and anxiety, as well as build up your resilience again.

Building your resilience

Resilience is a resource which we build up and is then drained through the challenges we face. When we feel our resilience is low, we know that we need to take the time to build it up again.

The origin of the word comes from Latin, meaning both rebounding and recoiling. Resilience is our ability to bounce back, but in order to do so we must recoil from time to time. To do this, take a break from the tasks that have been draining you. Remember and reflect on positive reinforcement you have received from others. This will be help you rebuild your sense of value and self-worth.

Negative thoughts, which come as a result of stress, have an impact on how we feel and behave. But improving your mood can be as simple as telling yourself positive stories and affirmations   

How to remain positive when job searching and interviewing

After having many knockbacks and feeling like you’re not progressing, it can be difficult to remain positive and determined in your job search. To combat negative thoughts that might arise, try creating a mind map of testimonials and positive comments you have received. Refer back to this whenever you need a confidence boost.

Remember that although you have may have receive rejections, you have been invited to interviews because the hiring managers like what they see. With this in mind, try to relax in interviews and focus on emphasising the elements of your CV that your interviewer liked. And don’t forget to be prepared for your interviews. With preparation comes confidence.

Lastly, if you’re feeling anxious in an interview, view it is an opportunity to see if the organisation is a right fit for you. By changing your perspective, the interview becomes an opportunity for you to find the right fit for you. You’ll then feel enabled to have a relaxing conversation about what both you and the organisation bring to the table to determine if it’s a good fit.

 

By applying the tips above to stay positive and resilient in your search, your chances of getting the job will be improved as you’ll be able to bring your best self to your interviews. However, a positive mindset isn’t all you need to stand out in a competitive market. Here are some tips on how to improve your chances of getting the job:

  • Refresh your CV on job boards every 7 – 14 days. This will improve your chances of being found by recruiters and employers.
  • Join groups on LinkedIn
  • Join a job search group
  • Network with others in your industry
  • Take online course and develop key skills
  • Do some volunteering to fill your time and gain experience
  • Do some form of interview and career coaching

Overall, it’s important to stay positive and hopeful. A negative mentality will not help you to achieve your goals. Pay attention to the areas that you can improve and listen to yourself if you feel like you need a break. Good luck!

If you’d like to speak to a recruiter for career guidance or help finding your next role, get in touch.




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Managing mental health in challenging times webinar with David Beeney

12 May 2020

Our mental health has never been so challenged en masse as we struggle to cope with the coronavirus crisis. Below you'll find a recording of our webinar 'Managing Mental Health in Challenging Times' that took place on the 6th May. We hosted a Q&A with the inspirational David Beeney.

David was recognised in 2018 as one of the top 101 influencers globally on employee engagement, he is also a qualified Mental Health Counsellor affiliated to the BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Practitioners) and a trustee for Mind.

In the webinar we explored how to improve our own levels of personal resilience, as well as the best ways of keeping staff engaged, with particular emphasis on how to stay emotionally connected with remote workers.

Key themes we explored:

  • We explored ideas of how to create a kinder culture ‘remotely’ where people are caring, supportive and more empathetic of each other’s anxieties.

  • We looked at what is considered best practice for managers to inspire employees to remain engaged during exceptionally challenging times.

  • We looked at the importance of using the right language to encourage honest and open conversation about wellbeing.

  • We looked at how you can improve your own levels of personal resilience during challenging times.

  • We looked at how to inspire employees to be more open by saying ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ and by sharing our own vulnerabilities.
     

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How to pass your probation

26 September 2019

6 tips on how to approach your probation


That time has approached, the end of your probation period is here. Most companies will have a set procedure for this so you won't have to worry, others however will be more laid back about it and it is these circumstances you should be more prepared.

When joining a company, it is normal practice to be issued goals that have SMART performance measures or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Your goals are what you will need to work towards during your first few months and up until your probationary period is over, unless your goals are reviewed. If you did not receive any such document or have any discussions like this with your boss then it may be difficult to review your performance as there is nothing to judge against.

You should not be in any doubt about your performance. A good manager will offer you advice and tips to help you achieve your goals. If you are in doubt then you could be working for one of those more laid back companies. In this case be proactive to ensure that you have ticked all the boxes and have done everything that you were required to do. If you have not been able to achieve the goals set out for you, the best approach is to be honest and present the reasons for why you haven't been able to do so.

Here are six tips to help you get through this crucial process.
 

Plan a meeting

You must make sure that you have a meeting booked in with your boss to discuss your probation review. Ideally you should not allow this to linger on much after the due date. Your probation period is up and it needs confirmation as to whether the employer wants to continue with your services and issue you confirmation of this or you part company.
 

Preparation

Before the meeting you should have done some preparation; you may have been asked to fill in a self-assessment form which you should complete and take with you. This is your opportunity to present compelling evidence that your performance has met expectations.

If goals and objectives were given to you then you need to know what these are be able to explain how you successfully achieved them or outline which you have not and why. While it may be acceptable during the first few months not to have achieved all goals, particularly if these are set for the year, you should at least have answers to what progress you have made or good reasons why they have not started.

Using data and statistics to support your arguments is a great way to demonstrate your skills and be accurate about what you have and have not been able to achieve, as well as help you propose changes you would make going forward.
 

Peer feedback

Peer feedback prior to your meeting is always useful. If your colleagues like you they may give you some tips too; after all they will have been through a similar process. If the feedback has been positive then this is always a good sign that you have settled into the company and the culture well.

Your best source of information will be your immediate superior who has observed and rated your work performance during the probationary period. Before the meeting you should check with them to make sure you have everything prepared.
 

Attending the meeting

Be early, be sharp; be smart. Don’t forget your reviewer will have been thinking in depth about how you have performed during the probationary months. It is most unlikely that they will have come unprepared.

If there are areas they are concerned about, not sure about or simply don’t know because they have not worked that closely with you, it is possible they may extend your probation period. This is not ideal but not a disaster. You still have time to prove your worth so be prepared that this may happen, its more common than you think.
 

Be professional

Always be professional no matter how the review goes. Be polite and accepting of feedback. Answer questions and demonstrate your value in a positive way. Give good reasons why some things have not been achieved and good explanations of those things that have been achieved well. Use testimonials where necessary so that your reviewer can easily observe how well you have performed in some areas and how easily you have settled in. No boss wants to break team dynamics for the sake of it.
 

Accept the decision

You should accept whatever the decision is with good grace. If you do not get through probation then treat this as a learning curve for the next role. Be tolerant, calm and remain professional as you will need their references. It is always best to keep on good terms with your employers.

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Consider your career as a life journey and not a ladder

19 September 2019

Success is not a destination but a journey

Most of us tend to associate career development with climbing the professional ladder; trying to manage our careers as an upward only process, re-framing professional development as a journey rather than a ladder can be much more fulfilling and beneficial in the long run.

The career ladder although goal-driven, can sometimes give a limited view of success and it’s possible that an over-reaction to not achieving the vertical climb could be catastrophic through bad post- decisions and mindset.
 

Why ladder climbing is a limiting approach

Stop thinking of your career as a ladder and start to re-frame it as a path; very few people see a career history that goes up all the time, many people have solid years in work experience as preparation for more senior, more challenging or changing roles. Learning to think about career development as a rewarding and enriching experience will help you to focus on professional satisfaction and personal happiness aspirations as opposed to vertical achievement.

 

Reasons why the ladder model is limiting:

  • It’s important to remember that everything is possible and to keep open to new ideas.
  • You don’t have to pursue a strict and rigorous career plan, in order to be fulfilled.
  • Many people discover true happiness once they become open to alternative options.
  • Chances are that your dream job could be in a completely different sector or a different job type. Changing careers midlife is quite common.
  • Going for the career ladder approach will limit you and curb your attempts to unleash your full professional and creative potential.

The ladder-based career approach has a very narrow vision in terms of your own self-assessment of your potential. For example what if your ability is much more than the career goal you have set yourself and what if you have set yourself timelines that interfere with relationships and life interruptions; small successes need to be enjoyed at leisure.

But the biggest limiting factor of all to the career ladder is using this as the measure of success in life. There are many flavours of success; continuous work, happy job, work-life balance, etc. And here’s the key point; if you know a person who has reach the grand age of 100 years old, ask them whether they considered their life a success, the chances are they would say ‘yes’; not because they made manager in their 20’s, director in their 30’s and executive management in their 40’s, they’re more likely to attribute success in years gone by, family and friends, indeed survival.

So there’s a good and wonderful alternative you can adopt right now; to view your career as a life journey to help you accomplish the growth that you need, in the knowledge that the process will be accompanied by a lot of excitement, happiness and personal satisfaction.
 

A career path as a journey rather than a destination

You might change jobs a few times and adapt in order to discover your potential. The journey may take a few hairpin bends, it might get rocky or it might go straight along the tow path, you might reach a motorway for the fast lane and then turn off on the ‘B’ road; remember that exploring the possibilities and irrational job-hopping are two completely different things.

Seeing your career as a journey still means that you have a purpose and a goal, but you are measuring success entirely differently and experiencing fun along the way.

Discovering happiness and the perfect job is much more than being one hundred per cent committed to getting a promotion. The pursuit of the right career involves a bit of experimentation, an open approach, a bit of luck and planning, and on occasions some professional guidance.

 

For more information on Morgan Hunt jobs and careers, contact us today.

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Tips for Managing Stress

24 April 2019

Stress comes in many forms and can be caused by many factors, especially pressures at work.
Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive show that in the UK during 2017/18 roughly 600,000 workers suffered from some form of workplace related stress, depression or anxiety which led to a total 15.4 million working days lost in the same period.   
 
The public sector is especially affected by these issues. Staff in education, human health, social work and public administration and defence on average experience higher rates of stress and mental health issues than any other industry (HSE, 2018).
 
The important first step to being able to manage your stress is to identify the cause. It could be the pressure of a specific project, difficulties with a colleague, having responsibilities that you find overwhelming or, inversely, you could feel that you don’t have enough work and aren’t experiencing change in your life. Whatever it is, take some time to reflect on your personal situation.
 
Once you know why you’re stressed you’re in the best position to be able to resolve it.
 
Here are 5 tips to help you manage your stress:

  1. Be active & healthy
    Performing some form of exercise or physical activity can help alleviate the intensity of the stress you’re feeling. This will help you assess what is stressing you out with a calm mind. Exercising will also help you sleep better, which combined with a healthy diet will give you the energy to tackle the root cause of your stress.  
     
  2. Be proactive
    If you’re feeling stressed because of an issue that seems to be looming over you but that you know you have the ability to influence or resolve, the best approach is to take control. The more you let an issue linger the more stressed you will feel, so begin by taking small steps towards the solution.
     
  3. Learn to let certain things go
    Not every situation is in your control and there will be factors you can’t influence. It is an important skill to learn to accept the things you can’t change and to concentrate on the things you can.
     
  4. Work smarter, not harder
    Prioritise your tasks to focus on those that will make a difference. Certain tasks may be urgent, certain may be important, others may be both and some will be neither. Complete the tasks that are both urgent and important first, the urgent tasks next and slowly start to make progress on those that are important. The rest can wait.
     
  5. Talk to someone
    Talking about your stress and the cause can not only help distract you or release the tension, it may help you think of solutions that you couldn’t before. At work your HR department are a great first port of call and are there to make sure you’re happy at work. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your Human Resources team, then reach out to family and friends.   

 

This article contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence. Also contains public sector information published by the NHS. 

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Don't panic, if you're an accountant

01 December 2017

Never has Corporal Jones catchphrase been more relevant.

In the past 12 months, the ramifications of both domestic and international politics have created a tsunami of uncertainty, anger, fear and division.

Is there any wonder why? We have been hit with a barrage of headlines about the dire predictions for the UK economy including;


“Pretty grim reading” 
“Two decades of lost earnings growth”
“Declining living standards”
“The endless living squeeze”


Throwing in the mix about Brexit threatening to move your jobs to mainland Europe, the rise of Artificial Intelligence, plastic pollution and the all the other horror stories. The idea of hiding under the bed with Moz, the John Lewis monster seems most appealing.
 
However, there are grounds for optimism especially if you are fledgling accounts trainee, newly qualified or an established and seasoned accountant.

Singularly the biggest issue facing Professional Service clients who are recruiting is not the competition.  It is not unrealistic salary demands but it is the ongoing skills shortage amongst candidates particularly around Audit / Assurance / Tax / Advisory / Risk and Insolvency.

Demand for accounting staff has remained consistent throughout the year and will continue into 2018. We do not hear from our clients about the imminent collapse of the UK economy.  Far from it.  The expectation is a push on hiring next year.

The question to ask job seekers should be, what are you doing to make your profile stand out? what skills do you need to develop? where can you focus your efforts to secure your next role?  How are you approaching your job search?

For those employers out there, the message from the UK working population is very clear.  The drip feed for improved flexibility and work life balance driven by the millennials is now matched by all generation types.

It is by far the biggest motivator for job change.  Money, reward and career development is following closely behind. The thinking is; if purchasing a house is a distant dream and materialism and the requirement for “things” less important, life experiences and time to enjoy them is the compensation.

A business with innovative ideas, working flexibly with clear objectives whilst operating as an achievement focused meritocracy is an easy and compelling sell.

So, accepting change, embracing it and leading change for candidates and clients alike is the optimistic message as Christmas and a New Year approaches.  Time for calm and hold of nerves, panic is no use to anyone.

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