You've got to the stage where you know you want to (or need to) return to the workplace - but you also know that things have changed. Social media is now part of the recruitment process, flexible working is the new norm and you aren't quite sure what employers (or clients) are looking for now you've been out of the game for a few months or years. Sound familiar?
I worked with a group of chartered accountants recently on their 'personal brand'; what makes them unique and how they can promote their skills and value to their chosen audience.
Almost without exception, people described how much change is going on in the world of work. Many talked about feeling anxious about asking for flexible working patterns and others really wanted so gain clarity around what words they should use in their CV, LinkedIn profile or networking discussions, which would best describe their 'value add' without sounding like a sales pitch! By and large, British folk can be a fairly reserved bunch. The idea of 'boasting' or 'bragging' about our strengths and value add to clients or future employers, is a bit uncomfortable for many of us.
It was also fascinating to discuss with accountants how attached we can become to job titles or qualifications. Some accountants told me that they find that as soon as they say "I'm a chartered accountant" the listener (or reader) immediately puts them into a 'box'. This is an example of cognitive bias. It often leads to unsuitable roles being offered by recruitment consultants or people simply assuming a list of pro's and con's of accountants before you've even opened your mouth to discuss your skills and strengths.
It can be particularly frustrating if you are looking to use your qualification in a non-traditional role or business; if you want to use the ACA but not in a traditional 'accountant' type role, is it okay to steer away from the word 'accountant'?
Others may be delighted to fit into the Finance Director, Controller or CFO 'box' but find that they simply aren't confident about their skills any more. Time away from the world of work can dent our inner strength and resilience. It is completely natural to feel this way and thankfully we can develop confidence by getting out there and practicing networking and talking about the fantastic skills we'll add to our chosen employer. As my friend and business coach Zena always says - if we wait for confidence to come, you'll never get anything done. Confidence comes by practicing and doing and not by thinking and planning at home.
Finally, you may be coming back into the same (or similar) role with your employer, and might wish to consider requesting a more flexible working pattern. We'll run through the right to request flexi-work in the forthcoming Comeback Community session too!
Join us on 9 October at Chartered Accountants Hall when we will explore 4 key topics;
This is the final session of three that have run in 2017. Don't worry if you've missed the others - you will be among friends and we'll have a productive and forward focused half-day together!
See you on 9 October! Until then, best wishes, Lucy.
Can't wait for the session Lucy. ICAEW will soon be publishing our guidelines on flexible working and we will share some case studies on members who have embraced flexible working. Watch this space!