M&M Roundtable: Being YOU Is Your Best Tool to Achieve Your Dream Career

This month we have four women from very different industries discussing the best ways to market yourself effectively in order to excel in your career.

The Ladies:

  • Tutu Isaac- Risk Management Consultant
  • Jade Hector- Business Support Officer
  • Kay Stewart- Careers Adviser
  • Chimmy Love Lawson – Freelance Fashion Journalist

What are the best ways to get noticed on social media websites by employers?

The kind of websites you use should be relevant to where you are or want to work. For the financial services LinkedIn is good, but the information you put on there should be CV material. A display photo is always good to use on social media, but watch how it portrays you and tailor it to your audience. Tutu

Always write about your chosen field. It will prove you’re passionate and serious. Comment on recent events and all things relevant to your subject but make sure you’re not being rude or offensive. Chimmy

On LinkedIn you can be searched by the skills you possess so make sure to highlight all the skills employers would look for. Try to engage in group conversations about your chosen field. You should keep your personal and professional online presence separate, have different accounts and include appropriate information on both. Follow relevant companies on Twitter to keep your knowledge up to date and take the opportunity to ask questions. Kay

How did you decide what your career path should be?

I did the ACCA qualification because it leads to the widest range of jobs. I think very few people are blessed with a vision of where they want to be working in decades to come. If you are one of the majority who fall into a career, then don’t box yourself in too early and try to do something you enjoy! Tutu

I always knew the 9-5 life wasn’t for me. I had to have a career that would make me happy and fashion does that. Chimmy

I started studying Psychology in university, I expected to end up working in social work but after university I worked as a Team Clerk and found it to be too reactive. I retrained and got a postgraduate degree to work as a career advisor. I knew I wanted to work with people, utilise my skills and do something proactive so this seemed perfect. Kay

What is the best way to dress for an interview?

For an interview, dress for your audience. A suit for most industries is best but may not be suitable for a creative job where they may want to see a bit of personality. If you can, gage what people wear to work in the company. Tutu

Jeans, tight clothes and massively bright colours should be avoided. You should feel comfortable in what you choose because it’s likely to show if you’re not. Jade

You must show respect to the employer by dressing smartly. You need to convey a clean image so make sure personal hygiene is evident. You need to make the decision about how much of your personal style you are willing to compromise for the interview and the job role, for instance whether you think it is necessary to cover tattoos and piercings. Kay

How do you make your CV stand out?

Highlight any experience that is relevant to the role you are going for. Also highlight cases in which you have achieved results. Don’t make it too long. Check spelling and grammar. Write a good covering letter and address it to a named individual if possible. Tutu   

Tailor your CV to fit each different job you apply for. Although it is time consuming, this effort is often recognised and appreciated by employers. Jade

My personal statement is funny. It’s the first thing an employer reads so I wanted to make an impact. It’s worked for me so far! Chimmy

Display your relevant skills and use evidence to back them up. Don’t be afraid to seek help on constructing your CV from career advisers. The creative industries are slightly different; you may use examples of your work. For instance, photographers may want to include images on their CV. You may include links to your personal websites, blogs, social media and examples of your work. Kay

What questions should you ask in an interview?

Ask about career progression in the company, but not too eagerly or else they’ll think you’re going to jump ship as soon as you get the job. Ask about the strategic direction of the company and how your role will help to achieve it. Ask about the culture of the company/team and what the biggest threats and opportunities are in the near future. Tutu

I tend to ask about the training and development provided for the role, whether it’s on the job or if specific courses are necessary. I also like to ask about the organisational structure of that department because it helps me to understand how the department operates. Jade

Do not ask about sickness or holidays. Ask about the size of the team you will be working with and when you will hear the outcome of the interview. Make sure your questions show interest in the role and display the relevant skills you possess that will make them want to hire you. Kay

What tips would you give to someone starting out in their career?

Be the best. Whatever field you want to work in make sure it’s your specialist subject. You can’t claim to be interested and passionate about something if you don’t know the ins and outs. Knowledge is power. Chimmy

Make sure you have a professional online presence as it is becoming increasingly important to employers. Don’t over worry about your first job being the job you end up in, careers are all about development and it takes those small steps to lead to the bigger picture in your career path. Kay

What is the biggest lesson you learned during your career path?

Most important lesson I learnt is to know what is really important to you. Most women will come to a crossroads, usually in their 30s, when career and family life conflict. This is when many jump off their career path and find it hard to really recover. So beforehand try to climb up the ladder as much as possible. The more senior you are, the more you can dictate the terms of a work/life balance after you have kids. Tutu

Well I’m still on it and I’m learning every day. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to grow a tough skin and get on with it. Hard work pays off. Chimmy

Flexibility and initiative helped me to progress the most in my career and taking opportunities as they come. Kay

How do you command respect within your chosen field as a woman?

By ensuring that my knowledge is always up to date and that I fully understand the aims and the direction the company is going in and how they plan to get there. To arm yourself with knowledge in the workplace is a very powerful tool and as a young woman, this is the approach I feel most comfortable taking. Jade

My field is dominated by women, but in a way that is just as difficult. The level of competition is super high. But you don’t need to be the office bitch to get ahead. Work hard, be efficient and solve problems. Chimmy

My field tends to be mainly females as it is seen as a caring profession. Make sure you structure your arguments well, and make sure your points are backed up with evidence so that you are taken more seriously. Kay

What is the best way to stand out during group interviews?

Don’t talk too much. That’s not the best way. Instead, speak confidently and powerfully when needed but remember to still show your personality. Chimmy

Demonstrate the ability to listen, make constructive comments, and show involvement within the discussions. Try not to overbear others when they are speaking, use non-verbal communication like body language to show confidence and interest and remember to be assertive. Kay

How important is your image within the workplace/industry?

It is important to know how you project yourself to others. You need to look professional and capable without squashing your personality. It is rarely a good idea to go for the uber sexy look, you won’t be taken seriously. Tutu

In some cases more important than anything else. You judge a person instantly on their appearance. It’s not realistic to expect otherwise. And that’s in all fields. However, if you can’t back up your appearance with talent, eventually you will be caught out. Chimmy

In my field it is very important. I work with students and so I need to prove my legitimacy by leading by example. Kay

Deciding on your career path is a vital step for any young person, but sometimes life gets in the way and forces you to make other tough decisions, like whether to keep your unplanned baby

Knife crime, unfortunately, can also pull young people into a life they weren’t expecting. But what is the best solution to the growing problem of gang crime in London? Read my thoughts here.


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