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The importance of self-motivation

21 March 2017

Keeping yourself motivated is a key skill


Part of the role of a manager is to keep the organisation’s workforce motivated through clear communication and regular evaluation, rewarding hard work and success, as well as developing personnel who have skills gaps.

Generally speaking most of us have a fairly clear idea as to what our role is at work, and if we are doing well or if we are not quite coping. To help us achieve we’re often motivated by those around us simply by being aware as to how well they are doing and naturally doing our best to keep up.

But there will be times when these things will be missing when we don’t have a clear idea of what we’re supposed to be doing, or when there is a lack of group drive from colleagues around us. Keeping oneself motivated in these situations is essential to maintaining a successful career, building a business or generally keeping up with the monotony of every day working.

Here are some tips on how to do it:

Get in early

Getting to work on time is a given, but if you get in a little earlier than strictly required, you can often find that this makes things easier as the day goes on. You will for one thing not feel rushed and be able to clearly evaluate what needs to be done, and you’ll be ahead of the curve when the day starts. It will also mean that you are less likely to have to stay late, which is always a bonus.

Short and long term goals

Setting yourself clear goals in both the short and the long term is key. Your boss may have already given you these, but it’s still important to translate these into every day tasks.

When you get in, draw up a to do list. Don’t be over-ambitious, as you won’t be able to finish all your set tasks and this can leave you feeling demoralised at the end of the day, but do be ambitious – you’ll feel satisfied once you’ve ticked everything off your list and there won’t be a hint of guilt as you shut down your computer.

Doing this day to day not only helps you keep tabs on what you’ve done, but ensures that you feel satisfied with yourself over the weeks and months.

Setting clear long term goals is equally important, maybe the goals that you have been given need further refinement into practical work over a period of time.

Ensure you have clear aims in mind for the week, month and quarter, and you’ll most likely achieve them. Fail to do this and you won’t be able to evaluate your performance, which can mean that you find it hard to account for your efforts in appraisals. The best part is that if you have a good idea as to your achievements over the year, you can easily make a good case for a pay rise or promotion.

Be organised

Making plans is a key part of this, but there are other elements to being organised. First of all you should commit to doing everything you undertake properly. This means that whatever it is, from a presentation deck to a report or even an office social event, you should set out to do it with everything in hand and as it should be.

If you don’t make a habit of cutting corners or leaving things half done, this keeps you psychologically prepared for any unforeseen circumstances that might arise, or new tasks that you might not be quite so used to or well prepared for.

Overall, this will mean that you learn new skills faster and more often, enhancing your career over time. It may seem petty, but this should extend to even the smallest of things, like keeping your desk tidy and managing your email inbox, calendar and contacts list – it all adds up and if you have the right tools to hand this will make life easier in the long run. Every little thing you neglect will in turn make bigger tasks that little harder.


Hitting the career ceiling

14 March 2017

Career ceilings can hit anyone

The glass ceiling is often used as a metaphor to describe the barriers that women face to success within the workplace, but this is a phenomenon that can affect both men and women. Career ceilings can in fact affect anyone, so that they find themselves in a position within their career when they feel they can go no further.

This might be due to any number of reasons – class and social background, age, disability, weight, appearance or simply being in a role that presents no options for career progression. Most of us possess a strong, in-built drive for success, and when we find ourselves in this position it can be immensely frustrating. Here are a few pointers that can help you combat the issue, should you find yourself in this position.

Regularly evaluate your prospects and position

The first step towards solving a problem of this kind is knowing that it exists in the first place. Many of us, once stuck in a rut, can simply sleepwalk our way through the day without making any effort to evaluate our position. If we do this for too long, the problem can become insurmountable, so the first thing you need to do is to ensure you recognise that you are being prevented from moving up the ladder if this is the case, then take steps to improve your situation.

Keep tabs on your performance – are you doing well? If you have been in a role for some time and produced consistently good work, you should eventually be in line for promotion, or at least for a review and most probably a pay increase. You should also keep an eye on what is happening to your colleagues. Are they in the same position or are they often being promoted at your expense? If the latter is the case, and you feel you are being overlooked, then you should consider the reasons for this. If you feel you are being discriminated against, this is unlawful and you could have grounds to protest.

Be vocal

If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and very often the reason you are not rewarded for your efforts is simply because you have not made it clear that you expect more. Others may be more vocal and employers will often put these people first in line for promotion of salary increases, as they are more likely to put up a fuss. This being the case, you should make sure that your employer is clear about your expectations, and if you are not offered regular reviews or opportunities for promotion, actively approach your line manager and bring the issue up. You may find that they respect you all the more for it.

Be prepared to create change

If you have done all you can within your current circumstances, then be prepared to think about alternatives. You may be better off looking for a new role elsewhere, where your talents will be more valued, or you may even find it is possible to set up your own business or to work on a freelance basis. Whatever the case, don’t stick with your current situation if it just hasn’t been working for you, but actively seek to make a change.

To find out more about how to get past these kind of barriers within the workplace, get in touch with one of our recruitment consultants at Morgan Hunt.


How to get promoted

28 February 2017

Getting ahead in the promotion stakes is more than the sum of your hard work

Believe it or not getting a promotion isn’t just down to hard work. Although it’s a given that you do have to work hard, but you need to be tactical too.

Nowadays, everybody works hard, so you may find yourself giving your all but barely getting any recognition for it, let alone that promotion you want. It’s not all about hard work though – there are many other things you should consider when your aim is to take a step up the career ladder.

If you’ve just secured the job you wanted then you’ll be wanting to learn how the role works, master the skills needed to carry out your duties, and carve your own specific niche within the company for the first 6 months. But after this you’ll be thinking about your next move and hopefully, it will be a move up and not down.

Here are some tips on how to see off the competition, not forgetting that a company does not have to have an opening in order for you to get promoted. Sometimes a role can be created if you have unique attributes. 

Think about promotion tactically

You may have thought you had your entire career progression worked out when you left uni, with a clear, linear route from entry-level job to CEO glory. However, real life doesn’t work like this. You could find that there is a ‘blocker’ in the organisation above you, who favours others time and time again, or above a certain level, positions within your company simply don’t come up very often. You may even have your eye on a very specific role only to find that you are only willing to move up if promoted on this basis.

If any of these are the case, you need to start thinking more tactically about your position. If your original plan is no longer plausible, look into the alternatives. This might include keeping an eye out for roles in other departments or moving to a different company. You might need to compromise or take a temporary side-step in order to progress up the ladder.

The best careers are often forged opportunistically, so if something unexpected but positive comes up, don’t dismiss it just because it’s not what you planned for.

The importance of attitude

No recruiter or executive will admit this openly, but being a hard worker, or even being good at your job, will only get you so far. If you’re the most capable, driven person in the world, but you’re surly, humourless or you make those around you feel awkward, you will usually lose out to those who offer a more personable alternative.

Simple things like saying good morning, thanking people for their help, having a good phone manner and making an effort socially within the work environment will really get you noticed, and can pay off in spades. People may forget your killer presentation or the hours you slaved over a difficult spreadsheet, but they won’t forget you if you were great fun at the Christmas party or you stayed in late to help them get something difficult done. Your superiors will notice you if you are a key part of the team and a social asset to the company. If you want to get promoted fast, get on with your colleagues.

Know what you’re worth 

Finally, it’s worth taking a step back and being able to evaluate yourself objectively – what is your value to the company? If you know that you are already paid more than some of your colleagues, that the company is making people redundant or that your skills are not highly specialised, you are probably not in a strong position for a promotion.

If the opposite is true, for example you know that you have brought in a large amount of income recently and that the company will find it hard to replace you, then your prospects are a lot better, and you would do well to use this window of opportunity to ask for a promotion, as circumstances can change quickly.

For more advice on how to make your way up the career ladder, speak to one of our recruitment experts at Morgan Hunt.


So you think it's ok to use LinkedIn like Facebook or Instagram?

24 August 2016

Think again..

LinkedIn is not only a useful tool for job seekers in recruitment terms, but it has also become a necessity for business and professional users, yet as a social media channel it’s easy to fall into some bad habits.

LinkedIn is a professional forum for the working world and some content that you might post on your Facebook page is not appropriate. You can be conversational, but keep the conversation focused on the professional.

LinkedIn is often the first port of call for anyone thinking of hiring you. Your profile needs to make a good impression and it should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, there are many pitfalls that you can succumb to when putting a profile together or posting content and a small thing can make a lot of difference – here are some tips on what not to do.

Remember that it’s not a dating site
Profile pictures are important and you should pick one which makes you look professional and well-presented. However, posting pictures of yourself in swimwear, with a bunch of friends on a night out or on your skiing holiday is not appropriate for LinkedIn. Your picture is the first thing anyone looking at your profile sees and, if yours looks unprofessional, prospective employers will immediately switch off and click away.

This is not to say you can’t show a bit of personality in your profile picture, and you should by all means use one which shows you in your best light, but it must demonstrate that you are a competent, confident professional, rather than someone with a great tan who likes to drink blue lagoons.

Know your audience
Technically, LinkedIn is a social media site, but please note the use of the word technically. The platform is unique in that it uses the format, functionality and structure of a social media portal but targets a very different audience.

When people spend time on Facebook or Pinterest, they are looking to be entertained, amused or inspired. When people spend time on LinkedIn, they are in a completely different mode and are more often than not looking for something that can help them enhance their own career or achieve a specific goal.

This means that unusual content or anything that is not strictly to the point and providing necessary information is a useless (and annoying) distraction. What you may think are inspiring quotes or amusing asides on your profile page are very likely to turn off anyone who has taken the time to check you out, so you should make sure that everything you post is relevant and provides useful and insightful information about you and your expertise.

Keep it neutral
The above can make you look unprofessional, but if you really want to risk alienating prospective employers, the best way to do this is to clearly demonstrate your political or religious opinions. LinkedIn, as an extension of the work environment, is no place for politics or religion, and although discrimination on either ground is not allowed officially, if someone doesn’t agree with beliefs that you hold strongly they are that much less likely to hire you.

You can fall foul of this most easily in the ‘causes you care about’ and ‘organisations you support’ sections. Marking yourself down as a member of the Suffolk Society for Bird Conservation is probably fine, but anything relating to the Brighton & Hove Trotskyist Collective, Young Donald Trump Supporters of Reading or anything to do with God is not recommended.

For any more tips on how to make the best of your LinkedIn profile, contact Morgan Hunt’s recruitment specialists.


How to make a positive out of redundancy

27 May 2016

Losing a job is an increasingly common career event

Very few of us want to hear that dreaded word: ‘redundancy’. It’s a term that has had severely negative connotations in the past and an air of finality about it. However, this is no longer the case, and being made redundant actually offers employees a number of opportunities to better themselves and move forward positively.

If you get made redundant, think about the following:

There is no longer any shame attached to redundancy

Corporate culture has changed in the last decade or more, and there is no shame attached to redundancy, largely because companies tend to make employees redundant for a series of different reasons these days.

Companies, especially larger ones or ones which are growing rapidly, tend to restructure or to revamp their departments much more often than they used to. This means that staff turnover is higher, which in turn means that staff are more likely to be made redundant.

However, it also means that companies are more likely to be hiring on a regular basis, and there is more opportunity to secure a new position. It also means that being made redundant is no longer a negative indicator regarding your performance, and it should not affect your prospects with future employers in the way it used to.

Redundancy comes with a redundancy package

Remember that when made redundant you are entitled to a redundancy package, and this can often be quite generous. Your package is usually based on your current pay, your age and how long you have worked for your employer. Granted, you will need to have worked for your employer for a certain period to qualify for one, but if you have spent a few years in the job then you may get a reasonable payout, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

Take a breather

Redundancy can be a great opportunity to take a breather, one you might not have opted to take advantage of otherwise. If you have harboured a desire to travel, take up a hobby, volunteer for charity or take on a personal project, then this is a good time to do it and will be seen as a ‘natural’ time to take a break between jobs by any prospective future employer.

Trade up!

If you’ve been working somewhere for a while and are used to a degree of job security, there may be a few opportunities to move up the ladder. Being made redundant can be an excellent catalyst for change, and when you go for your next role you are very likely to be able to consider positions which are an improvement or step up from your last one.

You might even be itching for a change of scene and, if this is the case, this is again the perfect time to try your hand at something different and go for a new role or even a job in a completely different sector.

At Morgan Hunt we hear more often than not from candidates who have been made redundant that it was actually the best thing that ever happened to them.


What Do Employers Really Want?

03 May 2016

The art of job hunting is reading between the lines of a job description

Employers often don’t know what they’re looking for until they find it. On this basis a candidate potentially has quite a wide berth, and in-precise boundaries in which to be creative, to put forward their case, for every job they see that is relevant.

If tech companies had relied on research the smart phone would probably not have been invented since few consumers would have asked for it. And this is much the same in job search. Offering employers more options than they had originally asked for gives more choice and opens up a wider range of possibilities.

It’s often rather like looking for a new home – you give the estate agent a brief but end up going for something completely different. So, part of the art of job hunting is in developing your own understanding as to what might win you the role, provided you have the essential qualifications to do the job.

Here are a few tips on how to do this:

Think about the role in the abstract

Don’t just read the list of responsibilities outlined in the job description itself, but think about the importance of the role in the wider context of the company as a whole. What is its purpose? Is there a broader objective other than the day to day fulfilment of your duties? Why does the overall department in which you would be working exist at all?

These are all considerations you should make when applying for a job. It’s also worth bearing in mind that most companies expect employees to be proactive in establishing their role’s boundaries and carving their ‘niche’ within the organisation once hired, so if you can make a start on this from the outset it will put you in an excellent position.

Consider the size of the company

How big the company is and what stage it’s at in terms of growth or expansion can make a huge difference to the requirements of a role.

If the company is well established, large and heavily regulated, your role may be quite restricted and subject to the influence of other departments such as procurement, finance or HR.

If it’s a startup or a small outfit you may find that your duties are extensive and quite varied. Both have their pros and cons. In the first scenario you will probably find it easier to slip into the job and may not have to take full responsibility for many things but there could be less room for promotion or possibilities to expand your skills.

In the second scenario, you may find that many things are required of you which are outside your comfort zone and you will have to learn fast, but it may be easier to make an impact within the company and to get promoted fast.

Consider the industry as a whole

Think about the industry within which you would be working and where it is heading. Is it an industry that’s in decline or experiencing rapid growth? What skills does the sector demand as a whole? Is it one which tends to have high staff turnover and allows you to change jobs quickly or not?

All these things play a part and you need to consider how you would fit in within this wider context. For example, the music industry traditionally provided for a fairly creative, unrestrictive working environment, but has suffered a long period of decline and consolidation and is now a far more corporate environment which values financial experience.

Think about the company’s ‘character’

Companies within the same sector often have very different corporate cultures. Some are more conservative, some very innovative, some very laid back, some value creative thinking in non-creative contexts. You should heavily consider this when you apply for a particular job, as it can make an enormous difference in terms of what is expected of you, even during an interview. For example, both Google and IBM are large players within the tech/computing industry, but have very different corporate cultures – ignore this at your peril!

Get in touch

To find out more about how to approach job applications and interviews, get in touch with our recruitment experts at Morgan Hunt.