Career Planning Support & Information
Welcome to Working with Cancer’s Career Planning Support Information Pages
We hope the information we have provided here will begin to inform you about the support available to you as you begin to find and secure a new role/career. The sections listed suggest where you could begin in your search for your next role.
We have several coaches available who could support you at this time. If you would like more information, or based on your experience, you would like to recommend additional resources, please get in touch.
1. Understanding Your Career Opportunities and Looking for a Job
A good job search campaign makes use of most of the following:
- Speculative Approaches
- Recruitment Agencies
- Internet Job Boards/Adverts
Surprisingly, for many people, making speculative approaches (and networking) are the most likely route to a new job. In fact, in some fields over 75% of jobs are filled without being advertised. From the recruiting employer’s point of view these two areas offer opportunities with less risk and less cost.
Why are jobs often not advertised?
- A current member of staff recommends a friend
- Previous applicants for this or other roles are re-contacted.
- Recruiters are approached before an advert is placed.
This means using all your contacts (and your contacts’ contacts!), to provide you with information to approach a prospective employer professionally. List all the people you know under the following headings:
Colleagues; Friends; Professional bodies; School; College; University; Clubs; Family; Neighbours, Suppliers
Try to list over 50 names.
Once you have created your list of contacts, start to build a plan of how best to approach them either by phone, email, LinkedIn, or other social media, and where appropriate try to arrange some time to talk to or meet them in person.
Keep one basic objective in mind when you are networking: “never leave a meeting without a meeting” i.e. ensure the person you meet at least gives you the name, and preferably introduces you by email, to another useful contact.
This is an uninvited approach to a person or an organisation. Use this approach to:
- Contact companies you have thought: ‘I’d like to work there, or I wonder what working there would be like?’ and/or
- To get your name out there and to get an opportunity to discuss possible opportunities i.e. not to ask for a job.
Making an approach
- The approach could be by letter, email or telephone call. Written approaches should be professional, concise and give all your contact information.
- Check out company information before you make contact. What do they do? What is the current news about the company? What does the website say? Research as much information as you can so you make an informed approach.
- Look for opportunities through local media or through your current or new contacts.
- Try and approach a named manager rather than HR. Make contact via email, letter or CV. Before doing this, consider:
- Why do you want to work for the company?
- How could they use your skills?
- Who is the best person to contact? You may need to call a switchboard to get the right name and job title.
- Who can tell you where and how to find out more information about the organisation or the person you are contacting?
- What will you write in your Cover Letter/Email?
- 7-10 days after you send your initial approach, follow up with a telephone call to the same named manager.
- If required, follow up with another letter or email after a sensible period of time has elapsed.
Internet Job boards and Adverts
Any advert can give you lots of information to help you make a good application but bear in mind that they are not always written by experts. Look to read behind or into the words of the advert. What can you read into it about the job/the team/the company?
Agencies are the organisations a prospective employer pays to fill a vacancy. You are not their client; their client is the prospective employer.
Ideally you should try to meet face to face with an agency representative so that they can match you to the right companies. If required, develop a relationship with one or two agencies and work with them alongside the other methods we describe to find job opportunities. Keep in touch with them – do not wait for them to call you.
Temping agencies can also be useful to help you find different jobs to broaden your base of skills and experience.
The following recruitment organisations are particularly sympathetic to individuals looking for work who are either undergoing cancer treatment or returning to work post treatment, including finding opportunities on a part time or reduced hours basis:
• 923 Jobs (Oxfordshire and Manchester based)
2. Types of Interview
If you take up coaching with us, we can give you lots of practical advice and guidance on how to prepare yourself and whether you should mention your cancer. We also have an arrangement with Smartworks who can provide you with a new outfit and interview practice if and when you have an interview arranged.
There are two main types of interview:
- Job history: where an interviewer goes through your CV or application in date order i.e. starting with your educational qualifications and discussing your job history, what you did in each job, what you achieved, why you left each job, what attracted you to the next job, and so on.
- Competency based: this form of interview is increasingly used by employers and is described in more detail below:
Competency based questions are asked to give you an opportunity to describe an actual situation you have been in and the behaviour you displayed at that time to make a difference. You are required to provide evidence, i.e. examples, of the competence the interviewer/organisation is looking for.
Preparation for any interview ought to be thorough, but here you need to think about all the examples you have to demonstrate your capability in each competence. You may have used one example already within your CV or job application. Interview preparation could include identifying additional examples to talk about when in the actual interview.
Depending on the seniority of the role, the competencies will vary, for example:
- Technical Knowledge: able to demonstrate an appropriate level of technical skill; keeps abreast of current thinking and trends; knows how to apply the skill in different circumstances; understands terminology.
- Communication: able to express needs, wants, opinions, ideas; able to give constructive feedback; skilled in written and oral communication.
- Team work: plays an active part in a team; aware of the impact they can have on others; able to build strong working relationships, maybe across departments; understands collaboration.
- Decision making: makes decisions with appropriate speed; knows the parameters of their authority; able to evaluate data; can resolve problems and find solutions; uses facts on which to base decisions.
- Change management: able to make difficult business decisions; has managed or coped with change and its impact on self and others.
- Strategic planning: has developed strategies; has worked on strategic initiatives; understands measures of successful strategy.
- Operational planning: has simplified processes; has resolved challenges within a business; uses management tools to good effect.
- Leadership/People management: able to use a flexible leadership style and is aware of own natural style; able to be tough when required; has put in place succession plans for the team: has made a significant contribution to the business through team working and performance management.
- Analytical skills: able to analyse management data; able to overcome problems; has kept the activities of the business on track.
- Financial Management: understands P& L accounts/cost centres; has undertaken cost reduction or improved efficiency; understands compliance and risk.
3. CV Template
Click here to access a CV template. If you take up coaching with us we can provide expert advice and guidance on your CV including how to deal with gaps in your employment.
4. Personality profiling
Our WWC coaches are qualified practitioners in several well-known and highly trusted personality profiling tools which can be used as part of a coaching programme to help individuals learn and understand more about themselves.
Individuals complete an online questionnaire, prior to completing a self-assessment with one of our WWC coaches to help identify an individual’s ‘best fit type’ and explore how they can use this knowledge to support their individual growth and develop more effective relationships with others.
Our coaches are qualified in using some or all of the following:
- MBTI – The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) helps individuals identify how they see and interact with the world, giving insight into their own preferences and the preferences of others based on a framework of 16 types.
- DiSC – The DiSC profile is a psychometric tool which classifies four behavioral styles. The four behavioural styles are identified by their letters, Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. The DISC model enables individuals to identify personalised strategies to manage themselves and others differently.
- ESCI – the Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI) is a 360 degree feedback tool provided by Korn Ferry to measure the emotional intelligence of managers and leaders within the work environment and helps to raise individual awareness through feedback to an individual from their Line Manager, direct reports, peers and clients. The report highlights both strengths and areas for improvement enabling individuals to create a development plan for their continued growth and development.
- Hogan – The Hogan assessments help individuals by facilitating strategic self-awareness. They enable individuals to understand their underlying work style traits, core values, and derailment risks that may impact their behaviour, allowing them to subsequently apply this knowledge to manage their behaviour accordingly to increase workplace success.
- Emotional intelligence tool TEIQue – The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue) is a personality assessment that measures an individual’s Emotional Intelligence potential. It helps a person to understand their strengths and limitations, how they react under pressure, how well they develop new relationships and how self-motivated and adaptable they are.
- Heartmath – is ascience-based support tool focused on helping individuals reduce their stress and anxiety levels by increasing their inner balance and self-security and through helping individuals to learn to access their heart’s intuition and become the best version of themselves more often.
The personality profiling tools listed above provide a foundation for personal growth and development. There are no right or wrong answers and no result is better than another. These personality profiles aim to help individuals firstly understand themselves better and secondly enable them to understand and interact with others around them even more effectively.
5. Some useful books
Finally, some books you might find useful.
• Transitions – Making Sense of Life’s Changes: William Bridges
• Building a Portfolio Career: Adrian Bourne
• What Colour is your Parachute: Richard Nelson Bolles