How to win from the start


This is an article by Laura Crimmons.
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How to Win From the Start
by David Royston-Lee
128 pages, Artesian Publishing, 2010

This book is a career guide aimed, primarily, at people leaving school, college or university.

It would also be relevant for anybody who is thinking about a career change or generally wanting to explore how they may be happier in their work-life. The book concentrates on finding out what you’re passionate about to help find a job to suit that.

According to the author there are three key areas to focus on during the job search process and career management, these are:

  • Who am I?
  • Where am I going?
  • How am I going to get there?

The book is broken down into these three sections with the largest proportion spent focusing on the first area, who am I?

Within this section you are encouraged to take a deeper look at yourself and discover the reasons behind what you do, what you like and what you don’t like, to try to discover common themes. For example:

“I don’t like cooking without a recipe because leaving it to chance, for me, is unsafe. In terms of things I’d like to do, piano is safe (I am in control) and the same might apply to, for example, learning a new language (it’s all up to me). The horse riding shows I can control something apart from myself, but I still know that, with practice, I can be in control.”

There are exercises running throughout the first section to help you discover more about yourself, you are also encouraged to include friends, family and colleagues in these exercises to find out more about how they see you as well.

So overall the first section, through various exercises and models, aims to help you discover your talents, your values and your optimum working environment so that you can then use this to work out what career will best suit you.

The second section, focused on ‘Where am I going?’, takes you through using the knowledge that you have built up about yourself in the first section, or the ‘blueprint’ as it is referred to, and translating that into something which you can show to contacts and prospective employers.

In this section it tells you to avoid writing and sending a CV to anyone at all costs, the advice given is:

“If people ask for a CV, you need to say that at this time you are not looking for a job…you are exploring the opportunities that may lead to a job.”

Now in my – limited – experience of the job market this is not something which prospective employers would respond well to. Almost every job advertised will ask for a CV before you will be considered for an interview or anything else. I’m not really sure that this piece of advice would necessarily help people in finding a job in the real world.

The author instead advises people to create a statement of the ‘Unique You’, which basically is a strap-line explaining who you are. This seems, to me, a lot like the first section of your CV. However it does provide good advice for what to use for this.

You are then encouraged to write a ‘Present and Future Statement’ (PFS) which is basically like a covering letter.

“You need a document that talks about what you can do in the future, drawing on what you have learned from the past.”

This is good advice for how to compose a covering letter.

The second section also talks about the importance of networking and building a wealth of contacts and encourages the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

The third and final section is basically about preparation for applying for a job you want so it now talks about creating a short CV and useful advice preparing for an interview. This is the shortest section of the book.

My top 5 tips from the book

  1. Get used to saying ‘I’ instead of ‘we’ especially for interviews.
  2. Don’t think in terms of job titles but think in terms of what people do in their jobs; what talents and values are expressed.
  3. Networking and building contacts is key – it helps to unlock the ‘hidden jobs market’
  4. Always make sure you research the market and company before contacting them and especially before interviews.
  5. Make sure you understand all of your talents and have stories and experiences to back them up in interviews.

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  1. […] Posted in Uncategorized at 10:24 am by lauracrimmons Just a quick post to say that I have reviewed a careers book for Behind the Spin which can be viewed here […]

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