JOBS- Top Tips on Keeping your Motivation Levels High

Job hunting can be fun, frustrating, long, and sometimes a tiring process. You go through all sorts of emotions when it comes to jobs and job hunting. It’s normal! You’re not the only one who feels like it might be a never ending cycle. Just like with everything else, pace yourself. Think of yourself as a marathon runner. If you give your all in the beginning, then you peak too early. You want to have consistent levels of motivation right throughout the process.

You might even find your enthusiasm levels dropping the more times you are rejected. This is normal too. Trick is to keep your motivation levels high. Why? Your future employer will detect low levels of motivation which come across non-verbally when you communicate verbally or via email/social media.

Here are some Top Tips to help you:

  • Keep your job hunting list updated. Trying to keep tabs using post it notes and paper can be tricky. However, if you keep this information in a spreadsheet, you can update it really quickly.
  • Update your Social Media profiles – Keep your Social Media profile updated regularly, with profiles updated with skills and experience. If you haven’t been using social media, try to make a habit of coming online for at least 10 minutes a day. You may choose to share articles or even write articles/blog posts yourself on a suitable topic.
  • Make sure you avoid having a rant on social media. If you have had a bad day or received a rejection for a role you wanted, don’t go and take it out publically. It’s easy to vent your frustrations online, but guess what, your future employer may well get to read this when you apply elsewhere.
  • Regroup and rethink strategy if you are facing obstacles. Maybe talk about it with trusted friends/advisers. It might help trigger off new ideas or solutions.
  • Make a list of all the things you don’t know and then seek solutions. For example, if you have tried calling someone in the company you know and they are not responding, see if you can speak with someone else instead.
  • Read around the industry you are after and keep updated on the companies you are applying to. It also allows you to talk confidently when you go for an interview.
  • Take a break and recharge your batteries. Job hunting can sometimes feel like an all time consuming process. It doesn’t have to be. Take regular breaks which will help you feel motivated.
  • Be persistent – when one door closes, go out and find the keys to more doors. It may be the next door will lead you to other fruitful opportunities.
  • Go for a walk. Not only did Steve Jobs have walking meetings, he went for walks when working through business challenges. Walking helps you to get a different perspective.
  • Have fun! This is important because it’s really easy to get sucked into the process and think that there is no light beyond the tunnel. It then becomes too much like hard work. Break it up and inject some fun, this will you’ll feel more creative.

For more information and top tips, go to www.iplan-myfuture.com  Download the app- iChoose2 to help you plan better.

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Boost your Career and Live your Dreams!

“It’s ok not to know the “what” and “how” of your career, but it’s not ok not to do anything about it” iPlan-MyFuture Ltd

It’s a fast paced, competitive and very connected global world out there, what with thousands of graduates coming out of universities each year.  No time for being a “passenger” anymore and the quicker you jump into the driving seat and take control, the better.

If YOU don’t think and invest in YOUR career decision process, then YOU run the risk of making expensive career mistakes or being stuck in a job or career, which is uninspiring and boring! No one wants that, especially if you’ve invested so much time and finances getting an education.

This is where iChoose2 app comes in. Thinking about your desired career on the go! iChoose2’s mission is to get YOU to start thinking about career choices even before you knock on your career’s adviser’s or coach’s door. The app will help you understand YOUR Unique Selling Point (USP), and differentiate yourself from other students and graduates.

What’s great about the app is there are no books or folders to carry. Once you download, you are ready to go and start your career journey, WHENEVER you want. You don’t have to wait for a careers appointment, advisor talk or careers presentation! You can start thinking and planning in your own time.

What the app doesn’t do is to solve your career problems! It will provide you with clarity, through SELF DISCOVERY. It helps to figure out the “WHAT” and the “HOW”, which most students don’t do thoroughly and then can end up making costly career mistakes. Better to invest the time now, rather than having career regrets in the years to come!

What’s great about iChoose2?

  • It’s mobile! Download is easy and YOU can take it everywhere where and anywhere!
  • Understanding Unique Selling Point? (USP), especially in a competitive market
  • Get a better understanding of key strengths and weaknesses and opportunities
  • Prioritise tasks and think ahead by setting an action plan which works for YOU!
  • User answers are kept local and can be stored saved and accessed 24 hours a day 365 days a year, so long as the mobile is operational.

Who is the app intended for?

The app is primarily aimed at: MBA students, Postgraduates, Undergraduates, but we know Professionals will want to use it too!

Other additional information available in the premium version includes:

  • Top tips on Networking
  • Using LinkedIn – Do’s and Don’ts
  • Application tips

iChoose2 app is owned by iPlan-MyFuture Ltd. More information can be found at our website http://www.iPlan-myfuture.com

What You Can Learn From The Top Eight Tennis Players.

The ATP World tournament has started with great anticipation this year and most welcomed after the recent events on the international stage. This year the top eight players, including, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, and Kei Nishikori, will be battling it out to be crowned the champion in the finals on Sunday. Their commitment, hard work, tenacity and dedication to the game, is very inspiring.

We get to see great technical ability, precision, mental focus, agility and above all, desire to get the best out of themselves and of each other, every time they come out on to play on court. What we don’t see is the blood, sweat and tears behind closed doors, which goes into making each one of the top four tennis players, a great tennis player. We can learn a great deal from them and here are some points for you to ponder over.

Solid Game Plan

Without the end in mind, it’s hard to generate any enthusiasm because you don’t know what to aim for. If you have a vision or goal in mind, then you can break that journey down into smaller action goals. Just imagine trying to scale Mount Everest without a solid strategy! Having a solid game plan allows you to focus, mentally prepare yourself and deal with potential curve balls which may inevitably come your way.

Each one of the top players has a solid game plan and they work hard with their teams to perfect for each game and tournament. Create your own goal plan and write down what you want to achieve over the next 1, 2, 3, 5 10 years. If a 10 year plan scares you, then focus on the first 5. Break it down by end goal and how you will achieve this.

Hard Work

The top eight are well known to spend hours on court each day perfecting their game. None of them need to work for money, yet they put in the effort to craft their game and achieve excellence. Hard work and smart working leads you to success, because with each day, you make little wins and the little wins lead to bigger wins.

If you feel stuck, then take a step back and reframe the challenge, then put one best foot forward and carry on. Each best foot will lead you to greatness. This helps to proceed forward with different mindset, motivation and enthusiasm levels.

Dedication

Without dedication, you’ll begin to find small distractions will eat into your day and you will find yourself delaying your tasks. Each player is dedicated at an extraordinary level and will have a schedule to work with each day, week, month and year. You can’t become a great player if you don’t have the dedication, because of the sheer commitment required to turn dreams into reality.

Putting it all Together

If you watch carefully, each one of the top players is persistent and consistent. They’ve worked hard to overcome their own demons and development, and they have done this by identifying them and working on them, whilst strengthening their strong points. If you want to give this exercise a go, download the app and try the SWOT to see what you are good at and what you could work on to turn it into a working strength.

The top eight players will battle it out to be crowned ATP World Champion of 2015 and you’re in for a treat. Don’t forget to look out for the great learning. Use the app to then create your own successful game plan. A little bit of effort each day is better than one big blast of effort which might feel overwhelming and exhausting in the long run.

For more information, visit www.iplan-myfuture.com

My name is Bond, James Bond.

James Bond

Seen the latest James Bond movie Spectre? As well as being guaranteed entertainment for a couple of hours, even though this one is longer than the rest, you can pick up some good tips from 007. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, don’t worry, we’re not giving the plot away. However, here are some things for you to think about.

Re-invent

James Bond has a knack for re-inventing himself right from when Sean Connery played 007 at the beginning. The franchise has succeeded across the decades because each actor has brought with him, his own fresh style. Not asking you to go and get a new avatar or make drastic changes to yourself. Instead have a think of what you could do to bring something fresh to the table.

Could you benefit from attending new vocational courses or taking up a new hobby to help you with creativity? Changes don’t have to be big or drastic; they could be as small as looking at your daily routine and seeing if you could make smaller changes to your schedule.

Think on your feet

Regardless of what 007 finds himself in, he has a knack of getting himself out of tricky situations. Ok, he is fictional and yes, he is meant to win, but he can think really fast on his feet. In most instances it’s either a live or die because someone’s out for his blood.

Being able to think on your feet is a great skill. If you find yourself waiting on the baseline and hoping something, magical is going to happen to you. Guess what? You’re missing out on the action, because most of it is on the field. When you are playing your game in the field, you get to experience the highs and lows and sometimes multiple emotions in swift succession. You never see 007 waiting for on a baseline. He’s always creating the action.

Act Fast

007 has to act fast, really fast because he doesn’t have a choice! His life is in danger or someone else’s life in danger. Hopefully, you won’t need to act fast to save your life; if you find yourself procrastinating or leaving something for tomorrow when it can be done today, then it time to act and act fast.  If you wait too long, you can easily talk yourself out of a situation.

When you build momentum, you find yourself feeling enthusiastic and prepared to entertain new ideas or try a different strategy. You’ll find yourself getting in the “flow”, which helps you to make informed choices instead of hasty emotionally charged decisions.

Attitude helps you win

Attitude determines altitude. This definitely rings true, especially when you find yourself facing a challenge. When you reframe a challenge, you begin to see things from a different angle.

For more top tips and information, visit www.iPlan-myfuture.com

iChoose2app

Curiosity didn’t kill the Cat

The old saying doesn’t ring true in today’s working world.  Curiosity is necessary if you want to adopt an enterprising mindset. The challenges faced by businesses and individuals, requires a shift in thought process. The old models and formulas don’t work and a new approach is needed in most cases.

Expecting different results, yet adopting the same approach leads to disappointment, especially when you are looking for new job/project or working on one. It then feels like fishing in the same “shallow pond” as everyone else, where it’s really competitive and crowded. When you can step away from the crowded area, you can start to think more creatively.

When you turn learning into fun, you stretch yourself. The benefits are great, especially when you can stretch your comfort zone, whilst experimenting with different approaches/techniques or ideas. You grow in proportion to your curiosity and the more curious you are, the greater the learning opportunities.

Think different

Think Different is not just something Apple coined, and we can all benefit from thinking differently, especially if you find yourself stuck. When you feel stuck, it’s really easy to want to give up or feel frustrated. Don’t lose heart and don’t forget that there is a solution for everything. The aim to stretch yourself because you don’t know which opportunities will open for you.

Top Tips on getting your Creative Juices flowing:

  • Go for a walk. Walking is great to help you work through a challenge. Choose a route you are not familiar as this will help you to look at things differently
  • Go to Art Galleries
  • Draw – use paints, pencils or whatever you feel unleashes your creative side
  • Read books
  • Write in a journal and try and see if you can come up with a solution. There is something magical about working through a challenge on paper. It doesn’t seem so daunting either
  • Take time out to do nothing. If you take time out and do nothing for about at least 10 minutes a day, you
  • Worrying never helps the situation and makes it much worse because you end up focussing on unrealised fears, which may never manifest.
  • When you get into a specific way of thinking, sometimes, it can be hard to break that pattern. Instead, ask a question like “What else”

Cats are always curious but you don’t have to be a cat to have a great sense of adventure! Next time you feel like something isn’t working for you, leave the challenge aside for a little while and try one of the top tips above. It might feel strange at the beginning, but the more you experiment, the less weird it starts feeling. Your peers might be “fishing” in the same pond and not getting ideal results, but that doesn’t meant to say you have to copy them too!

For more useful advice and top tips visit our website http://www.iPlan-myfuture.com.

Beat those Interview Nerves

You know it’s not you but just before an upcoming interview, you start experiencing weird emotions/ sensations or butterflies in your stomach. Worse still, when you get to an interview what you say or the way you behave wouldn’t really be considered your normal behaviour. You are not alone. Nerves can make us behave in ways which are different to how we behave normally. Interviews can be nerve racking at the best of times, but fear not, use the tips below to help you:

Before the interview

Make sure you’ve done your research, but don’t overdo it. You are not expected to remember every fact and figure about the company. However, not being prepared can also be a source for stress. Get the balance right in what you need to know and the ideas you might like to develop in the interview.

In the interview

Don’t speak fast. When we are nervous, we are in flight or fight mode and everything wants to speed up including our speech. Slow it down. How? Do breathing exercises before the interview and when you get to the interview, slow your speech down if you find you are talking too fast. Just by taking slow deep breaths even in the interview, you’ll be able to slow your speech down considerably. Don’t pant though as this is very off putting.

Hands issues

Place your hands in front of you and never underneath a table. This helps to stop yourself from fidgeting, but also having your hands in front of you means you are demonstrating trust. Wear minimal jewellery because it’s very easy to fidget with jewellery, which can be very distracting.

If you find your hands are shaking as a result of nerves or you are finding the whole experience a bit too overwhelming then try clenching your thigh muscles. What this does is to distract your mind in thinking about something else. You’ll be able to disguise what you are doing as most business clothes will hide this behaviour.

Stand tall

Stand up before the interview as this will help you to ground yourself before you meet the interviewer. When you get seated, select a comfortable position to sit in as you will be sitting in the seat for at least an hour if not more.

Listen, listen and listen some more

When you are nervous, it’s really easy to miss what the interview is saying and then run the risk of giving the wrong answer or worse still, interrupt the interviewer before s/he has even finished speaking. Instead, take a deep breath and listen to what s/he is saying, you’ll be able to provide the best answer.

If you haven’t heard the question correctly or would like it repeated, say so. Better to speak up sooner rather than trying to muddle along and get all confused.

Be yourself

It’s about being authentic. When you are yourself, you come across more relaxed. When you are relaxed, you communicate clearly. Being yourself also means that you won’t “big” yourself up, but to answer the questions in the best way you can authentically.

Being yourself will also mean that you will get your message across as to why you want to the job and why you should be the one who gets selected. This way, you’ll be able to find the best examples to highlight with confidence. Above all, remember, the interview is an opportunity for you to let the interviewer know who you are. Therefore, be YOU. Job done!

For more useful advice and top tips visit our website http://www.iPlan-myfuture.com .

Whose dream are you living? Living your dream or someone else’s?

Whose dream are you living? Living your dream or someone else’s?

Doing something you enjoy, or doing something someone else suggested would be “good” for your career? Sometimes it can be confusing to think whose dream you are living, especially when you don’t really know what we want or where your career is going. Guess what? You are not alone! You’ll also know you’re living someone else’s dream if your current situation doesn’t inspire you or make you feel great.

Many people get trapped into following what other people want because it’s a path and they may be “right” and we end up following blindly, without really questioning the outcome! From an early age or peer through peer pressure, we may have been “encouraged” to follow one path or another and somehow, we end up blindly following it.

We follow because the people who want us to go down that path are usually very close and dear to us, so therefore we don’t want to disappoint them. However, this “charade” can’t be kept up for too long. Why? We get to a point, be thought trial and error or through a challenging circumstance, we realise, we’ve been living someone else’s dream and we’ve bought into their values and beliefs lock stock and barrel, without even realise it!

Time to Live YOUR own dreams

Others around you may also think they know what’s “best for you! Sometimes not “rocking” the boat is a lot easy than trying to convince others of what you really want, because it seems like a real uphill challenge. Going with the “flow” seems to be a lot easier than trying to “swim upstream”. However, only YOU know what’s good for you!

If you are fed up of being told how to manage your career goals, aspirations, time to take control of the YOUR career reins. Ask yourself the following:

  • What do YOU want?
  • What does YOUR dream look like?
  • Where are YOU going?
  • Who can help YOU?
  • What do YOU need to do to make your dream come alive?

Take One Step Forward

Be warned, figuring out what you want may take you some time, so STICK with it! Once you have an idea, you might not know how to get to where you want to, but that’s ok because your dreams will energise you into action. Try avoiding making everything perfect, just start! Nothing needs to be perfect at any stage, remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day! It takes time and taking the first step is the most important step you will take.

Some tips to help you take the first most important step:

  • What research do you need to do?
  • Where do you look for information?
  • Whose doing what you enjoy? Can you speak with them to see what it is like?
  • What next? Trust your judgement and you’ll know which steps to take thereafter!

Time to stop pleasing others and start pleasing YOU, by living your OWN dream!

Stand Out From the Crowd

More than just Grades
It’s no longer just ok to have great grades and a great cover letter. The old formula of getting great grades no longer guarantees being invited to interview. In many cases, it is a little outdated and not the only factor employers take into consideration when deciding who to hire. The working world has changed so quickly. You are not expected to have all the answers, but what you are expected to have is basic skills, business understanding and the willingness to make a difference.

If you want to make a great impression, match the grades with additional skills and great practical experience. Grades might help to attract attention, but it’s the practical experience and “can do” attitude which will HOLD a potential employer’s attention when reviewing your application. Practical experience is priceless because it means you have an understanding of how a business works.

Laying the Foundation

It’s not just what you know, but who you know which is now more important than just good grades and a brilliant cover letter. If you already know people in industry then great, but if you don’t get busy in networking to build your contacts. Nothing beats real professional relationship building and building a community of online relationships is also very important. Remember “people buy people” which is usually built on trusting professional relationships. A recent survey by Jobvine found that 34% of employers recruit based on shared common connections.

Use the following checklist to ensure you profiles are up to date and professional.

  • Good professional headshot photograph on LinkedIn
  • No incriminating photos on any social media platforms. It’s a given fact that employers go through social media profiles to mine information on potential candidates.
  • Ensure all your skills and experiences are up to date.
  • Avoid using generic words like analytical and ambitious. Instead match the skills by showcasing the experience.
  • Keep the profiles updated regularly, especially LinkedIn

How to raise your profile during the selection process?

Here are a few tips to help you raise your profile

  • Utilise your contacts who may be able to recommend you
  • Match the packaging with the product. Take a look at the core skills and experience you need for your chosen industry. How many of those skills can you already demonstrate?
  • If you don’t have the required skills, how will you acquire them? If unsure, ask for advice through friends, family or even people in industry and ask for their advice on how to get the necessary skills and experience needed.
  • If core skills are missing then, carefully select companies for internships or off cycle work experiences.
  • If you approach the big popular companies, then be prepared for a competitive selection process. To increase your chances, try smaller companies and build your internship portfolio that way.

Putting it all together

When your application/CV/resume lands on the desk, you potentially have less than 10 seconds to capture attention. Otherwise you run the risk of being passed over during the recruitment process.

If you require additional information, check out our website for further practical blog posts. http://www.iplan-myfuture.com.

“I’m Never Going to Put Boundaries On Myself”

“I’m Never Going to Put Boundaries On Myself” said Nadiya Hussain the winner of #GBBO British Bake Off. If you followed GBBO from the first episode, you would have seen her going from having a lack of confidence in the earlier rounds, to defying her own limiting beliefs and then going on to win the finals of 2015.

What are limiting beliefs?

Have you ever caught yourself saying “I can’t…” or “that’s not something I can do because it’s not me” or “I’m scared”. These are examples of limiting beliefs which act like brakes and stop you dead in your tracks no matter how hard you want to move forward.

What happens when we have limiting beliefs?

There are a number of downsides of limiting beliefs.

  • Your comfort zones expands
  • You stop growing and developing to your full potential
  • You fuel fear by adding more to the “fire” so it becomes a catch 22 situation.
  • You play small
  • You use your comfort zone as a false sense of security
  • You shy away from reaching out for challenging goals and project
  • You end up chasing mediocrity instead of WOW greatness.

Fear not, you can overcome limiting beliefs.

How can you overcome limiting beliefs?

“I know I can do it” As the competition progressed, we saw Nadiya becoming more confident and won she starting coming first in technical challenges and generally started believing in herself more. She started being more creative and ambitious with her designs and experimented with different ingredients.

When you believe in yourself, you can achieve so much. Nadiya went from potentially playing “safe” and a bit of a wallflower blending in the background to being more visible in the way she spoke to the judges. She was beginning to be taken as a serious contender by her fellow participants as the competition progressed.

To overcome limiting beliefs, firstly you need to identify them. Once you identify them, have a think of the way they impact your life. The behaviours and outcomes can be subtle or be very noticeable. Each one of us reacts very different, but awareness is very important. The more aware you are, the greater the ability to change your behaviour.

Once you’ve figured out how these behaviours impacts you, you will look out for them in the future and you can start replacing them with empowering words or behaviours. Going from “I can’t… to I can…” is a great starting point. You will notice you can sometimes slip back into old behaviours really quickly. Why? This is because of conditioning, which has been repeated so many times, that it more or less feels automatic or on autopilot.

Go to www.iplan-myfuture.com for more top tips

What’s your Story?

What’s so important about your story? When you go to an interview you may recognise the question when the interviewer asks you “Tell me about yourself”. Some people fail to answer this question well because they haven’t thought the answer through or they spend too much time talking about their past in too much or too little detail. How to create a great story?

Think of your story as having three main key parts. The beginning, middle and end. Each one can be broken down further with more detail. Some questions to help you create your own “What’s your Story” are highlighted below:

Beginning

Who are you? Where does your story start?

  • If you have just finished college/University/job, you may choose to talk about your choice of subjects or choice of college/university
  • Why did you choose the subjects/school/university?
  • What’s been your favourite topic?
  • What have you learnt?

Middle

Time to Expand

  • Elaborate on what have you done up until now?
  • What have you been good at?
  • Highlight any successes you may have achieved? You might choose to highlight awards, roles of responsibilities
  • Talk through any changes you might have made to your courses/role/work
  • Did you experience any setbacks and if yes, briefly state what you learnt from it.
  • How did you use the learning lessons to make further changes to your goal/strategy?
  • Where has this got you?

End

  • Where are you going?
  • What are your hopes, ambitions and goals?
  • What would you like to achieve moving forward? This can be broken down into time points (6 months, 1 or 2 years)
  • How have you tried to make it happen?

To make the story more interesting, you might want to add some humour to it to make you story come alive.

Once you know how to answer “What’ your Story”, you’ll start focusing on the important areas you want to get across.

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