APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady answers your careers questions and meets an inspirational CEO.
Here she gives a reader advice on how to be resilient during an unsuccessful job search.
Q) I’ve been an operating theatre practitioner for 30 years, but following the pandemic, I’m desperate to leave the NHS.
Before this, I held an admin role, which I enjoyed, so I’d like to apply for a part-time office job.
However, the job-hunting process has changed so much that I’m finding it difficult.
I’ve tried online job recruitment companies, but the positions that pop up are way off the mark.
I’m also aware office tasks have changed over the past 30 years, so I’m keen to sign up for courses to help me to brush up on my skills, but I don’t know where to start.
Do you have any advice?
Linda, via email
A) There are many different office jobs, so take some time to research what industries and roles interest you.
Once you have a better idea of jobs you can actually see yourself doing, look deeper into what skills those roles require – then you can see where your gaps lie and start upskilling.
The government launched The Skills Toolkit in 2020, which offers a range of free courses, covering everything from effective email use and social media, to spreadsheets, presentations and even coding.
All courses are online and flexible.
While there are now many more ways of applying for jobs, the fundamentals are still the same: a strong CV that shows off all your valuable experience, and a cover letter that succinctly explains why you are the best person for the job.
Whether you are applying via recruiters or directly, you need to make sure your CV and cover letter are tailored to each role.
Don’t just apply for every job going, because this will only lead to rejection and you feeling disheartened.
Best of luck in this new phase of your career.
A day in the life of…
Louise Deverell-Smith, 42, is the founder of Daisy Chain, a flexible working recruitment platform. She lives in south-west London with her recruitment CEO husband Andrew, 42, and kids Max, 12, Freddie, nine, and Daisy, six.
I wake up at…
6am. I’ll check my emails, diary and Instagram, then make tea and get myself ready. Once I’ve organised the kids’ uniforms,
I get them up at 7am and we set off for school at 7.45am on our bikes. I’m back home at my desk for 9.15am.
A normal day involves…
I start with jobs I don’t like, such as chasing invoices. I can spend ages mulling over content for newsletters – I write one for our 10,000 candidates, another for clients and a third for potential leads – so I try to limit procrastination.
Running a tech platform, I’m constantly across the website, working with my team to make it the best it can be. I wish at school I’d been taught more about tech.
I’ve watched YouTube videos and can find my way around the back end of Daisy Chain to do updates, but coding is tricky. It’s why I’ve signed my kids up for coding clubs.
I have two employees to help with finance, plus another for social media, marketing and PR. A big part of my job is researching companies, looking into their culture, seeing how flexible they are and sourcing the right contacts.
Other female-led businesses have been so supportive since I launched six years ago, as have big corporates, including Savills and The Ivy, who give lots of feedback.
Once I stop for the 3pm school run, I no longer make calls – I can’t parent and work at the same time. If I have to catch up on work, I do it when the kids are all in bed.
The best part of my job is…
Hearing success stories, such as someone having an interview for the first time after not being in the workplace for years after having a baby, or getting a job through us.
And the worst…
Asking clients to pay. We work with small businesses and I know that cash flow is tricky for many.
I wind down by…
Having a bath, then a camomile tea and a biscuit. In the week, I try not to drink much – but that doesn’t apply on Friday nights!
Be a boss
Bossing It is Fabulous’ series about ordinary women who have launched incredible businesses.
It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you!
Read more at Thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.
Compiled by: Claire Frost & Gemma Calvert
Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.