7 steps to a successful CV

Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

While we’re waiting for the Job Search Boot Camp to start you can download a FREE guide on how to write a successful CV in 7 steps.

You may not always be asked for a CV but you may wish to be proactive in your job search and make sure potential employers know you are out there.

Download your FREE guide now to make a great start ……

Coming Soon! Job Search Boot Camp

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

It’s a worrying time with furlough coming to an end. Are you uncertain about your job and future employment opportunities?
When I was made redundant I know I found looking for a job is so different now. I was well qualified and experienced. I should know how to get a job again! What I found was a different landscape.

That’s why I want to help people who are experienced, well qualified but still feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

Coming soon will be job search boot camp to help you through and prepare you for the road ahead. Look out for more information coming in the following weeks.

Sign up to keep up to date with the latest developments and for further dates.

Keep Opening Doors

Successful Career Changers

by Yvonne Owen-Newns|4th August 2020|Career Change|Employment

Nicola John’s career started out in a very straight forward way but took some twists and turns before today where she is heading up her own business solutions company, NJJ Business Solutions (https://njjbusinesssolutions.com) supporting others to build their successful businesses.

When Nicola left school, she headed for her local college and completed a hotel reception/management course.  Part of the course meant doing a six-week placement and Nicola was excited to be heading off to The Ritz, in London.  Unfortunately, the accommodation didn’t work out and her parents were concerned about their young daughter living independently in London for six-weeks!  Alternative options were investigated, and Nicola completed her placement at a large hotel close to home. Luckily, she was then offered a full-time job there at the end of her course.

This launched a successful career in the hotel management sector, with promotions to duty manager quickly following.  Nicola loved the work, met her then husband and had a family.  Nicola then realized that hospitality and supporting a young family were not a good mix and she had choices to make.  At this point, Nicola embarked on a business and finance HNC, post graduate certificate and diplomas in management then finally an MBA.  During all this time, Nicola was working full-time and bringing up three young children.

From booking rooms to training managers

As her studies progressed Nicola moved jobs, working in a regional newspaper then as a practice manager for a large dental practice of seven dentists and twelve nurses.  While working at the practice, Nicola liaised with training providers and an opportunity arose to join one of them as a trainer and assessor.  Never one to stand still, Nicola continued educating herself, gaining more qualifications in health and safety, training and quality assurance.  In this role, she worked on a pilot project to develop an NVQ for team leaders and as a trainer for NEBS management.  This work naturally brought Nicola into contact with many organizations and through this, came her next career move.

While supporting a student on change management, Nicola became known to an organization that had ambitions to grow and were looking for a manager to facilitate the growth.  This construction company, which provided maintenance services to housing associations and held contracts with local authorities, offered her the opportunity to work with them.  This stage developed Nicola’s skills and experience in leadership and management, strategic planning, tender bidding and process management – a completely different world of hotel management that Nicola had embarked on when leaving school.

Taking up new opportunities

The company had difficulty in sourcing and supplying the doors they needed so the solution was to manufacture them.  Nicola took the chance to set up a manufacturing unit of composite doors to supply their main construction business and worked as a director of the building and doors divisions for some years. 

Do you want appear here as a Career Changer? If you wish to share your career changer story please contact me. I’d love to hear about your story.

not a sponsored article.

Nicola John of NJJ Business Solutions Ltd https://njjbusinesssolutions.com Find her on LinkedIn at: linkedin.com/in/nicolajaynejohn

In 2015 Nicola was appointed as the managing director of the door manufacturing business. The business had grown and was producing doors for housing associations across the whole of the UK and the decision was taken to make it an independent company.  Again, Nicola was gaining knowledge and experience of compliance work, lean manufacturing, health and safety and quality assurance.

One door closes, another opens

Then the dreadful night of the Grenfell tower fire in June 2017 had a devasting knock-on effect to the business.  Changes to legislation and government requirements meant that the sale of the doors halted almost over-night and despite keeping the company trading and complying to the new legislation for over a year, confidence in products was slow to return.   Eventually, the company ceased trading in 2019 and staff, including Nicola, were left without jobs.

Nicola looked back across her career with the satisfaction of knowing that she had studied, worked hard, and earned enough money to support herself and family.  Over her career, Nicola had taken many opportunities to learn through training and study then apply that learning in gaining new experiences.  Now was the time, Nicola took the decision to set up her own consultancy business rather than embark in a post with another organization.  This is giving her the opportunity to share her knowledge and expertise with a wider range of people and organizations.  It’s giving her the control to balance her life and work, spending more time with her now adult family and grandchildren.  Nicola still has the satisfaction of starting a new business and helping others with their business goals.

While her career clearly did not turn out the way she originally intended, Nicola was able to place herself in positions where she was able and ready to move when the time was right for her.  By continuously learning and improving, she was able to keep doors open and stay in control of her career, seizing opportunities to make a difference. 

If you need Nicola’s help and learn from her extensive knowledge and experience contact her directly via her website: https://njjbusinesssolutions.com and on LinkedIn at: linkedin.com/in/nicolajaynejohn. Or phone her: 07850257614

Thank you to Nicola for your time, freely given, to share your experiences of your career pathway. Yvonne

If you need to talk through your ideas for your next career move contact Mid Life Career Services for a free discovery call

Going full circle: start and finish in engineering, via a diversion in the police.

Successful Career Changers

by Yvonne Owen-Newns|23rd July 2020|Career Change|Employment

In the next story of successful career changers, I found out about the career path of Dan Minto, from South Wales.  Here is his story of completing a full circle, starting his working life in engineering and currently working back again in the same discipline, albeit in a different role.  It wasn’t a straightforward route, however.  Read on to find the circular path he took.

Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

Step 1 – engineering and computers

Dan explained that when he left school, further studying didn’t appeal to him.  Instead he took up the opportunity to follow an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering.  At the time, the company he was working for invested heavily into computers which piqued his interest.

Up until the age of 21, Dan followed his engineering career but started to branch out more into the computing side.  At this point, Dan started another career focused on computing and held jobs which paid well, with generous bonuses.  This job had good prospects, but the work was often short-term contracts, so Dan was keen to find more secure work.  On one job, where he was installing computers in a pub, he realized that the trade was vulnerable to financial fraud and he could see how computers were used for criminal purposes.  Dan began thinking that this maybe an area of work he could follow.

Step 2 – the police service

Someone suggested the police to him and aged 29 he applied.  Dan joined the police service when he was 32 and so began a 22-year career with the police.  While working with the police he found himself working back with computers to fight crime.  His original interest in tackling financial crime didn’t entirely materialise.  Instead, much of the police work concentrated on how computers were used in violent crime. 

Do you want appear here as a Career Changer? If you wish to share your career changer story please contact me. I’d love to hear about your story.

Photo by Connor Danylenko on Pexels.com

Once he reached 55, Dan retired from the police but felt he still wanted to work and had plenty to offer society. He saw an advert for a technician working in the engineering department of his local further education college.  He applied and started working there in June 2019. 

Step 3 – back to engineering, computers with cyber crime prevention

The college recognised that Dan has significant expertise in cyber security and have since offered him the opportunity to study for a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE).  This means that now Dan will be giving lectures to students focused on cyber security, bringing together all of Dan’s experiences from his previous roles.  In this new role, Dan will be using his knowledge and expertise in the way he had hoped for.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-photo-3758848.jpeg
Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels.com

I asked Dan what he felt was the most important skills set that he has needed across his varied career path.  Without much hesitation, Dan highlighted the need to be able to talk to people, who ever they are, at all levels.  Demonstrating empathy over sympathy, not talking down to people, leads to successful outcomes in some of the most difficult situations he has faced, certainly as a police officer.

Dan has undoubtedly had successful and satisfying careers across engineering, computing, and the police.  He is now pleased to be back where he started, helping young people to launch their career.  Dan has the advantage of understanding the wide range of backgrounds that students come from and is making use of his knowledge and expertise gained from across engineering and computing. 

Dan’s career path shows that there is no one route or destination to the career of your choice. It’s your journey to take forward.

From Shop Keeper to Bookkeeper

Successful Career Changers

by Yvonne Owen-Newns|6th July 2020|Employment|Career Changers

Stewart Brown moved from a successful career in retail to setting up his own bookkeeping business following redundancy. I had the the privilege to interview him recently.

I wanted to hear more about his career path which brought him to this point in his working life.  Stewart explained that, after leaving school followed by a stint in the Army, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do.  He spent time trying out different jobs without any commitments holding him back.

Successful retail career

During a spell at catering he realised he wanted a life at weekends. Eventually, someone suggested retail and as he had always liked the idea gave this a try too.  It worked out. Several promotions followed to a range of store manager roles, and he built up a successful sales record.  This career gave him the job security and finances for adult life at a time when marriage and mortgages came along.

While working as a store manager, he had access to financial reports including profit and loss schedules and other account records.  These reports grabbed his attention and began to fascinate him.  At the same time, he was beginning to find that his career in retail had reached a plateau.  Stewart had moved to different stores, built them up and sometimes had to close them down.  There were some difficult and challenging times with many issues that he had to manage.  His success in increasing sales meant that, unless he moved a long distance, more promotion opportunities were closing down to him.  At this point in time, Stewart was not interested in moving into regional management roles. 

Do you want appear here as a Career Changer? If you wish to share your career changer story please contact me. I’d love to hear about your story.

Stewart Brown from Stewart Brown Bookkeeping Services
Changing career direction

Stewart discussed the situation with a friend and colleague who could see that he was restless.   The whole situation meant that Stewart started making plans for his future.   It was then, Stewart started studying bookkeeping and accountancy, taking exams to qualify himself.  He talked to others in the accounting field who gave him advice on working in the sector.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, he was working in a store which closed and was made redundant.  This was Stewart’s opportunity to make the leap and change his career.

Following his redundancy, Stewart was well placed to set up his own bookkeeping business.  He had studied hard for his qualifications and started by gaining some experience by doing the accounts as a favour for another business. 

Stewart is now working in a career that he is passionate about, providing him and his family with the lifestyle they want.  With planning ahead, when the time came, Stewart had the freedom to make a well-informed choice and make the change to a career that keeps him motivated and productive.

During the lockdown period Stewart can see that many of us have probably been taken the time to take a step back and consider what is important in life to us.  We can now realise that there is more to life and that there are other options that could become reality, with a little clarity of thought and planning.

NEWS FLASH: Find your Registered Professional here!

I’m very pleased to announce that I have been accepted onto the Career Development Institute’s Register of Professionals.

This means you can have confidence in my competencies in delivering careers education and guidance. The Career Development Institute demands that I undertake a minimum of 25 hours continuous professional development to remain on the register. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to refresh my skills and formally learn about the world of work around us, in these challenging times.

Code of Ethics

The Career Development Institute also has a Code of Ethics which I’m obliged to abide by. These are important to me as I want to deliver a confidential service which is focused on being able to deliver a person-centred approach. Providing an impartial and independent service is essential so that you can achieve the best outcomes for you.

Career guidance provides positive economic, educational and social outcomes

In its recent report, “Investing in Career Guidance“, the Inter-Agency Working Group for Work Based1 Learning defined career guidance as “services which help people of any age to manage their careers and to make the educational, training and occupational choices that are right for them.” This report concludes that access to quality careers guidance shows “evidence of positive economic, educational and social outcomes.”

Access Career Guidance

You may well have had a career guidance interview with a career adviser when you were at school or college. Since then, there are very few opportunities to discuss your career with a professional that is truly focused on helping you to manage your career. You may feel you need to address your work-life balance or that your health and well being is compromised by the demands of work. If this is you, it maybe worth investing in that career conversation to find the way forward. Research shows that career guidance can help to:

  • identify future options
  • negotiate better working conditions
  • improve health and well being.

1 Inter-Agency Working Group for Work Based Learning membership includes: European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), the European Commission, the European Training Foundation (ETF), the International Labor Organisation (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

What can you be paid for?

by Yvonne Owen-Newns|10 June 2020|Employment|Jobs|Opportunities

“What job can I do?” is often the first question people ask when talking about career development. Once you have carefully considered your strengths and preferences then have a look at where you have the potential to make a good fit.

It’s easy when thinking about your future career direction to launch straight onto job vacancy listings and see what appeals. With so much information out there, it’s a bit of pot luck approach. Knowing what jobs and skills are demanded is an important step though. Make this part of your research focused with clear objectives to avoid being overwhelmed and missing potential opportunities that suit you.

Spending time doing some research into this area is worth investing in. You don’t book a holiday without spending time looking at all the options then filtering down and focusing on the ones that meet your needs before enquiring further.

Be strategic about the information you are looking for. You are aiming to make a great match between yourself, the work and the organisation. There are tasks that you can do to help with this process:

  • Look at job descriptions and person specification on job vacancy listings. List the skills, experience, qualifications etc that is being asked for. Do this for a number of jobs.
  • Know what is happening to jobs in your local area or the geographical area you’re interested in. Could you work from home? What organisations are there and likely to be there after the coronavirus crisis is over? What jobs are based there?
  • Follow organisations on social media, get to know them: their products, markets, values and culture.
  • Use professional bodies websites to find out more about careers, qualifications, skills and experienced needed.

You’re looking to make that great match between you, the job and the organisation. All this research will help towards active job searching when it comes to applying for the jobs you want. Keep on looking ahead in this way, to stay fresh and up to date with your skills and experiences.

Why do you do the job you do?

Have you been in the driving seat of your career choices? Do you want to change career direction? There is no one destination and your career journey has started.

Life is a journey and you hold the map.
(photo by D Roseclay)

Many people end up doing jobs and building their career for various reasons. Family, especially parents, are often the biggest influence on your choice of careers. Other influences include peers, teachers and the opportunities that appear in front of us. We’re asked to make decisions at ages 16-18 when we haven’t had the chance to find out who we are yet.

I’ve heard many people throughout my working life saying things such as “I wish I had done x,y,z rather than what I’m doing, but I just didn’t know about it”. Sometimes jobs today didn’t even exist when we left school!

Others have a sense of freedom following children leaving the nest, a divorce or other changes to family life. Covid-19 has left many of us re-evaluating life and has accelerated the need and desire for change.

It’s not always easy to change careers though and it can take months, even years to make the transition. Never say never though and the sooner you start to plan your next move the easier it will be. Remember, you career is continually evolving and changing anyway so take control.

If you have any stories of how you changed your career it would be great to hear about it. If you’re considering making changes then start off with a free 30 minute discovery call.

What are you GOOD at?


My mission is to help people remain fulfilled and confident in their working lives.  With no one career destination anymore, you have the opportunity to carve out what you want to achieve, where and how. Make some well informed decisions to find your purpose so that working life doesn’t feel like work.

This week I’m looking at “what are you GOOD at?” element of “IKIGAI”, a Japanese idea of finding your true purpose in life. I’m using the ideas here to look at what we should be considering when heading off on our career journey.

Do you know what you’re already good at? Your qualifications and awards are hard evidence demonstrating to yourself and everyone else what you can do successfully. Some you’ve enjoyed doing and others you may have done to do the job? You probably have many other strengths too. Being fulfilled at work means building on and using our strengths. In which case, focusing on your strengths can help to guide you to the next direction.

Strengths such as communication skills, leadership, emotional intelligence and a customer focus are all examples of transferable skills that could help you move forward to other areas of work.

Think about what your current strengths are. Do some of the freely available online quizzes and tests to identify personality traits. Ask for feedback from family, friends and work colleagues, ask them: “what three words describe me when I’m at my best?”

Add your lists of qualifications and strengths to the list of what you LOVE doing from last week.

Next time: Combining what you LOVE with what you’re GOOD at!

What do you LOVE doing?

Ikigai, flow and longevity

My mission is to help people remain fulfilled and confident in their working lives.  I’ll help you on your journey and find your purpose so that you’re working life doesn’t feel like work.

This week I’m looking at “IKIGAI” – just say icki-guy.  It’s a Japanese idea of finding your true purpose in life, a mindset to change your life for the better, the reason for getting out of bed in the morning.  I’m using the ideas here to look at what we should be considering when heading off on our career journey.

TODAY – lets start with “WHAT YOU LOVE” – it’s probably the easiest to starting point.  In the comments below – write about 3 things you LOVE doing.  Don’t think about work/career as such. 

To start off, I’m sharing with you what I LOVE doing. 

1        Firstly, I love connecting with people.  I don’t mean I have to be meeting loads of people, at parties and large social events all the time.  I do mean taking time to really listen to what others have to say, uncovering their meaning and finding out more about them as a person.  You know the times when you feel a real buzz when you have connected with someone and have a meeting of minds? 

2        The next on top of the list of things I like doing is being outside walking, cycling and recently some running (very slowly!).  It’s always been important to me to be able to be in the fresh air, in the hills and close to nature.  Any good weather and it’s my “go to” place.

3        My third choice is about being creative.  I’ve always loved sewing in any form and music – listening and playing.  During this lock down period I’ve even dusted off my flute and practiced again.  I really do need loads of practice!!!  Of an evening, picking up some sewing or learning how to crochet is just one of those things that makes me feel OK with the world.

What 3 things are at the top of your list that you LOVE doing?  Leave a comment below and we can see how this journey develops!