APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham United FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.
Today, she helps a woman who wants to get back to work after two years out and a woman who is ready to risk it all for her dream business.
Q) TWO years ago, I gave up my job in marketing to care for my elderly father, and I’ve had to live off benefits and my savings. Sadly, my dad died three months ago and it’s been a tough time.
But now I’m starting to feel more like myself and I’d like to get back to work. However, I’ve been out of the industry for a few years and won’t be up to date with the latest processes and innovations, plus I’ve lost many of my contacts.
How do I approach applications for roles when it’s clear I have a huge gap on my CV?
Anna, via email
A) I’m very sorry to hear of your loss – it must have been a truly difficult time. While you are ready to get back to work, before applying for jobs I would first spend some time working on your CV, skills and networking.
This will give you a chance to mentally prepare to be back in the workplace. I would include a line on your CV that you had to leave your former role to care for your sick father, as companies will appreciate the truth, rather than them making incorrect assumptions.
Look at what has changed in your industry since you left, and do any free online courses that can help you develop new skills. Update your LinkedIn profile to show you are looking for a new role, and start networking with companies and talent managers.
Talk to friends to spread the word that you’re looking for work, and if you are still in touch with any former colleagues, offer to buy them a coffee.
Finally, be resilient – the job market is always highly competitive and don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back or you face rejection. Just pick yourself up and move on to the next application.
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.
Q) I'M in my late 40s and have been in continuous employment since I was 18. I’ve often thought about setting up my own design and illustration company, but it never seems to be the right time.
My husband says I’d be mad to give up my solid salary and gamble everything on a new venture that could easily fail – and a part of me agrees.
But I also worry that if I don’t follow my dreams now, I never will, especially as I get closer to retirement. How do I know when it’s the right time to make a change?
Val, via email
A) There will never be a “right” time, but if you want this enough, you have to make now the time to start! It’s great you have the ambition to set up your own company.
There are two key things you need to start up on your own: persistence and not fearing failure. You have years of experience and no doubt plenty of contacts, and the more prepared you are, the greater the chance of success.
Register your business with Companies House and create a plan that shows costs, prices and how much work you will need to take on in order to pay your bills.
Talk it through with your husband, family and friends, because you will need their support and encouragement. Create a website that shows examples of your work, and ask former clients for testimonials, plus follow companies you could offer your services to on LinkedIn.
Then, when you’re ready to resign from your current role, you’ll be able to hit the ground running. I’m excited for your future – good luck!
- Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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