Karren Brady’s career advice on dealing with rejection

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.

Karren Brady, Baroness Brady, CBE is a British business executive and television personality


Karren Brady, Baroness Brady, CBE is a British business executive and television personality

Q) I keep reading headlines about how many job vacancies there currently are in the UK, but I’ve been applying for jobs for the past six months and still haven’t been successful, and it’s really getting me down.

I’m not fussy about what I do – I’ve been applying for anything and everything – but if I get any response at all, it’s that I’m not qualified enough in that area or that I’m too qualified!

I am so confused and frustrated, as how can both be true? I’ve worked in offices and shops over the last 20 years, though I’ve had some chunks of time out when my kids were young and, more recently, when I was recovering from some health issues. How can I move my job search forward?

Esther, via email

Karren Brady's career advice on being a better leader to your team
Every refereeing decision went with home team as West Ham were robbed of glory

A) Maybe it’s time to start being more fussy! If you’re applying for every job you see, it may suggest no direction, passion or actual interest in a particular sector or role. Take some time to consider what it actually is you’d like to do.

What did you enjoy about working in an office? How did that compare to working in retail? Which would fit better with your lifestyle now that your children are older and possibly less dependent on you?

Drill down into what interests and excites you, and when you find a role that ticks these boxes, review the job description and responsibilities carefully.

Also, have a really good look at your CV, as it’s clearly not having the impact you want it to, and tweak it so it’s bespoke for every job you apply for, along with an informative but concise cover letter.

Finally, don’t give up – be resilient and eventually you’ll find the role for you.

A day in the life of…

Former Olympic speed skater Sarah Lindsay, 41, is the founder of Roar Fitness. She lives in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, with her business partner husband Richard.

I wake up at…

5.45am. I have a pint of warm water, then do 10 minutes of meditation and stretching, or 30 minutes of skipping or power walking to raise my heart rate. After a shower, I drive to one of our London gyms. I listen to rock music on the way – it puts me in a great mood.

A normal day involves…

I arrive around 10am and check my diary to remind myself of consultation and training appointments. I train a few stars, including Vogue Williams and Dame Kelly Holmes. Celebrity support is one reason why I’ve never paid for marketing, as it naturally attracts business. My day often features bits of PR – perhaps a media interview – and social media, which can be stressful.

I love interacting with followers, but often think: “I haven’t posted any content for four days!” then panic-record a set of biceps curls. The business is constantly evolving, but there’s no five-year plan. I like the fluidity of how we operate because we can jump on opportunities.

We employ 45 staff and I dish out bonuses pretty regularly, especially if someone gets a glowing mention on Google reviews, and I like surprising them with pay rises.

As a professional speed skater, before I retired in 2010, I rarely had any time off, so now I work for myself, life is more balanced. On Fridays, I work from home, and during the rest of the week I leave work by 4pm if the diary’s empty to avoid rush-hour traffic.

The best part of my job is…

Helping people. It’s cheesy, but true. Most clients cry in their consultation as they tell me why they don’t feel good about themselves. Seeing their confidence grow with their physical capabilities is incredible.

And the worst…

When you’re a business owner, you never switch off. I’m always thinking about work!

I wind down by…

Cooking. Every evening I prepare the following day’s lunch. After a bath, I have a hot chocolate, then by 9pm I’m done.

  • Follow Sarah @Roarfitnessgirl and visit for details of live workouts and studio classes. 

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!


Compiled by: Claire Frost & Gemma Calvert

Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.


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