Category Archives: Careers Column

a series of essays, commentary, opinions, roasts and research on all matters relevant to careers, career development, job hunting, psychology and all that jazz

3-day Career Coaching Counselling and Assessment Course Training Dates for 2018. Book now!

3-day Career Coaching Counselling and Assessment Course Training Dates for 2017. Book now!

We have New Training Dates added.  We are taking bookings for both our public courses and in-house private courses right now.

Public dates for our popular accredited 3-day Career Counselling, Coaching and Assessment Course.

Bright Assocs 3-day course

Sydney September 5 – 7

Melboune August 29 – 31

Adelaide October 9 – 11

You can book places for our 3-day course  here

 

 

 

Other Training Courses offered by Bright and Associates

Bright Assocs training brochureGrab a copy of our training brochure here

Book online, email us or call to discuss your group bookings or in-house courses

Many organisations elect to run our courses in-house for their staff.  Please contact us or call us on 0414 875300 to discuss your needs.

Conferences and Keynotes

Dr Jim Bright is a well-regarded and experienced keynote speaker. You can see him in action here  or here

Jim presents on topics such as Uncertainty and Change – Shift Happens!, Creativity  – Beyond Personal Mastery and Beyond Corporate Mastery, Ethics and Good work, Leading with Complexity and Job Hunting.

Please contact Jim to discuss your conference needs.  He regularly acts as an opening or closing keynote speaker at conferences and in-house events.  In recent years, he has delivered keynotes in China, New Zealand, USA, UK, and Canada, in addition to every state and territory capital in Australia.

 

10 steps to develop your online brand

10 steps to develop your online brand

This is an extract from our new book on the 10 steps to develop your online brand, published today called You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online: The Complete Guide. by Tristram Hooley, Jim Bright and David Winter. Published by Trotman.

1. Decide what it is you have to offer.

The first step in the 10 steps to develop your online brand is to decide what you have to offer. For instance, you might have a law degree or be an excellent user of Photoshop.

2. Think about what you want.

For instance, you may want a job as a corporate lawyer or a graphic artist. Thinking about what you want helps you to clarify what content you need to create and who you would like to read it.

3. Decide who you want to talk to.

It is important to know your audience. What are they looking for? What are their expectations in terms of presentation, customer service, professionalism and expertise? Also consider, what gets your customers interested and excited? For instance, corporate lawyers are likely to expect a corporate and reasonably serious presentation. They will expect ethical behaviour, so no sharing indiscreet remarks about clients or yourself. They are likely to get excited about legal updates, information about potential clients, stories of lessons learned from the corporate legal world, information about what is coming next or the next big thing in their world, and most importantly how to improve their practice and profi tability. Personal interest stories that your readers can use as examples in their own work are also likely to be popular.

4. Do something.

You will only build your brand by putting yourself and your content out there. It can be frightening at fi rst but you need to push through that and actually post. Start by being extra careful and cautious, but recognise that practice makes perfect and that you will fi nd each public post easier than the last.

5. Be consistent and reasonably focused.

Treat your audience with respect. Treat them as though they have paid to come into your theatre and are expecting a good show. This means sticking to a subject area or topic, and not straying too far from this. In the same way, many actors can lose credibility and our patience when they start pontifi cating about political matters: your audience doesn’t care about your cat, your passion for tiddlywinks or other topics unrelated to your expertise. You may have strong views on the decline in church architecture in the 19th century, but sadly nobody cares if they are there to read about new innovations in transporting. We are halfway through our 10 steps to develop your online brand!

6. Be careful in your use of different platforms.

If LinkedIn is the formal business meeting, Twitter the business text message, then Facebook is the conference bar, or weekend company event. Although it may be expected that you are more personal and forthcoming on Facebook compared to the other platforms, if you choose to allow potential employers or colleagues access to all three platforms, then it is important that the way you present appears to be shades on a continuum rather than Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

7. Don’t trash your brand.

Many years ago, Gerald Ratner, then Chairman of the jewellery company bearing his name, described their best- selling product in a public meeting at the Royal Albert Hall as ‘total crap’. The reaction was instantaneous – £500 million wiped off the value of the company that very nearly collapsed, and Ratner himself was sacked within the year. This happened before the time of social media! These days that remark may well have led to an irreversible collapse. Don’t do a Gerald on yourself!

8. Develop a style and stick to it.

Usually the best style is write as you sound in real life – in other words, try to be authentic. It might take some experimentation to work out which style works for you. For instance, if you are not very funny, leave it to those who are. There are many difference ‘voices’ you could adopt including: fair- minded; independent; factual; critical; sarcastic; satirical; humorous; up- to- the- minute; a sharer; an originator of ideas; a supporter; a representative; a booster of other initiatives; the insider’s perspective; the view from the top; the voice of the masses; the customer; the technical wizard; the helper; the objector; myth buster; taboo breaker; campaigner or the spokesperson for a group. You do not necessarily have to adopt only one voice, but trying to speak in too many different voices is likely to confuse your readers and even alienate some who have come to expect or prefer one of the other voices

9. Keep on keeping on.

The last but one step in our 10 steps to develop your online brand is persistence. Your brand will be built slowly across thousands of small acts and conversations. Setting up a LinkedIn profi le or a blog is great, but it is only when you start to use this regularly that it really starts to have an impact.

10. Review how it is going.

There is no point in banging your head against a brick wall. It is important to spend a bit of time thinking about what you are doing that is working. Many social media platforms offer you a range of statistics. Have a look at these and see who is looking at you (and who is not). Are you unexpectedly big in China? Is there a topic that you talk about that everyone seems interested in. Once you find out what things are working, then do more of them!

Extract from our new book published today You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online: The Complete Guide by Tristram Hooley, Jim Bright and David Winter

10 steps to develop your online brand

My top 10 career development books

My top 10 career development books

It is an almost impossible task to come up with a definitive list of my top ten career development books. However I set myself the task of choosing a list of books that met my following criteria.

My top ten career development books:

  1. I have personally found them useful and inspirational and I continue to draw upon them in my practice or
  2. They reflect my practice as I have had a hand in writing them
  3. They are evidence-based how-to guides                                                                                            or
  4. They provide insights into how the world operates that we need to understand to assist our clients
  5. They are well written, based on research and reflect the realities of career development work in the C21st – which means they are compatible with my Chaos Theory of Careers.
  6. Between them they need to cover: theory, practice, counselling and coaching techniques, job application preparation advice including social media and the web generally.
  7. They need to have been published in the C21st.

These are books that I recommend for anyone working in career development coaching, or the educated client, looking for self-directed learning. They are drawn from organisational coaching, counselling, self-help, economics, general science, and psychology.

So my top ten career development books are:

10. Luck is no accident. Al Levin and John Krumboltz.

This is a great and readable account of John Krumboltz’s Happenstance Learning theory.  The book sets out practical strategies to take advantage of and to make your own luck.  John has argued for many years that a lot of career development is down to lucky breaks, and I agree we need to take more account of luck in careers.

Career Development Books

 

9. A perfect Mess. The Hidden Benefits of Disorder. Eric Abrahamsson and David Freedman

I love this book. The authors provide a series of compelling cases studies showing how over-planning and over-organising can lead to worse performance than being open to opportunities. From highly successful book stores that don’t bother arranging their books into subject sections to successful companies that don’t bother with strategic plans, this book provides an antidote to a lot of the received (and untested) wisdom found in career planning ideas.

Career Development Books

 

 

8. Why most things fail.  Paul Ormerod

This is a fascinating insight into, why amongst other things nearly all brands fail and most do so rapidly. That alone is worth the price of the book, when considered against the heavy emphasis placed on the idea of a personal brand in career development. The analysis further reinforces the notion that centralised planning does not work well for companies or economies and that at the individual level, failure is not only inevitable but it helps to rejuvenate the whole system.

Career Development Books

 

7. Beyond Goals. Susan David, David Clutterbuck and David Megginson

This is an edited collection of writings by some of the leading coaching practitioners and researchers in the world today.  The book’s premise as reflected in its title is to examine the role of goal setting in coaching.   This is a critical examination, and the chapter authors do not always agree with each other.  Some, for instance, Tony Grant, see all human activity as intrinsically goal-directed, others argue this is a too inclusive definition to be useful. Whatever your position, this book is likely to challenge your thinking about goal setting, and again it is one of those books that challenge much of the conventional wisdom in career development, coaching and planning.

Career Development Books

 

6. Chaos Theory of Careers. Robert Pryor and Jim Bright

This book represents a summary of the first decade of work on the Chaos Theory of Careers. The theory that we developed was based on the principles of change, complexity, chance and constructedness. It provides the most comprehensive coverage of our theory, the evidence for it and counselling and assessment tools and techniques.  This theory is being adopted all over the world and attracting an increasing amount of research interest (and support).

Career Development Books

 

5. The Cunning of Uncertainty. Helga Nowotny

This is a wonderful musing on the inevitable and changing nature of uncertainty. This is a wonderful adventure of a book that takes us into scientific enquiry, big data and the arts to make the point that uncertainty is ever-present, elusive and ultimately never to be tamed. It sets the scene for progressive career development work and challenges conventional notions in our field.

Career Development Books

 

4. Hope Filled Engagement. Gary Poehnell and Norman Amundson

This is a lovely book and companion to Active Engagement. This volume makes the cut in this particular list, mainly because it is newer and captures more of their recent thinking. It is an excellent career counselling book, that is written in a very engaging, clear, almost folksy style, but don’t let that fool you, as you are in the hands of two very sharp minds indeed.   Their gift for developing counselling and educational techniques to illustrate key points and to move clients towards a positive outcome is remarkable.  You will pick up many tips and techniques of value.  I have said before that most if not all of the counselling techniques presented are entirely compatible with the Chaos Theory of Careers.

Career Development Books

 

3. The Black Swan. Nassim Taleb

Taleb is a provocative writer.  His tone puts one in mind of the insistent Manhattanites asking (demanding?) in no uncertain terms that you get out of their way as they are coming through on the sidewalk!  His take no prisoners approach, I personally find amusing and persuasive.  He has a fierce intellect allied to an even fiercer distrust of many academics – particularly in Economics, and he makes a strong case that models of risk based on the normal curve fail to appreciate the true nature of risk, and therefore all of our so-called risk-management strategies are dubious or wrong-headed.  This is directly relevant to approaches to career development that very often appear to be predicated on reducing risk and uncertainty as if we understood what these things are and can control them.

Career Development Books

 

2. How to write a Brilliant CV. Jim Bright, Jo Earl and David Winter

I am very proud of this book.  It is now in its 5th edition for Pearson, not counting the three Australian versions (it was published there between 2000 and 2009 as Resumes that get shortlisted) and the two US versions (Amazing Resumes).  This is the single version we are keeping up to date, with the welcome addition of David Winter as co-author.  Why does it continue to sell and sell? Because it remains the only book on the market that is extensively based on evidence – quite a bit of it from behavioural studies conducted by Jo Earl, myself and others in the team.   If you want  proven strategies as opposed to opinions, this is the book on which to based your job application advising.

Career Development Books

 

1. You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online. The Complete Guide. Tristram Hooley, Jim Bright and David Winter.

Here it is!  Hot off the press published on April 21st 2016!  This is my latest book with my friends and colleagues Tristram Hooley, Professor at the International Centre for Education and Guidance Studies at the University of Derby and David Winter, Head of the Careers Group at the University of London.  I am very excited about this book as it provides a really thorough coverage of the skills required to have an effective online presence to get the job you want. Covers all the major platforms. It is appropriate that the authors met online before we met IRL!

Check it out now on Amazon and of course if you like it, we’d be thrilled if you could provide a positive review on Amazon. These reviews really do matter and we’d be very grateful if you are so minded and get give some of your time to writing a positive review!  I hope you enjoy our new book!

10 steps to develop your online brand

 

 

So that is my top 10 career development books. What have I missed out?  What are your favourites using the same criteria? What do you think of my top 10 career development books?

Oh Bad – the Larkin poetry of paperwork

Oh Bad – the Larkinesque poetry of paperwork

by Jim Bright

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I work all day and get half finished at night,
I wake at four to soundless dark, I stare,
In time my iPad will backlight
Till then I see what’s really always there
Unresting paperwork for the whole day now
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall type
Arid duplication: yet the dread
writing that is brain dead.
Paperwork is no different whined at than withstood.
The report not done, the form not filed,
ignoring it will do no good
Orders waiting, the in-tray piled
The memo shall be lost always
Not to be here, not to be anywhere
And soon, nothing more terrible,
And nothing within it true
Paperwork stays just on the edge of vision
A small, unfocused blur, a standing chill,
The knowledge we must make a decision
Most things never happen, paperwork will
The mind blanks at the questionnaire, Not in remorse
The goals undone, the feedback given
Time sheets torn off unused, nor wretchedly because
The career ladder can take so long to climb
Clear of its low beginnings and may never
But at the meetings that take for ever
The sure committees that we travel to
And shall send apologies. Not to be here
Not to be anywhere
Paperwork; nothing more terrible, nothing more true
This is a special way of being afraid,
No tricks dispel, HR used to try,
That vast, cliche-ridden form-filling brocade
Created to pretend work makes us high
And specious stuff that says that no trained being
Can fear a form it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear – no power, no say
No touchscreen, nothing to think with
No web connection to link with
The dulling work we do for pay
Slowly resolve strengthens, and the report takes shape,
It stands plain as an in-box what we know
have always known, know that we cant escape
yet can’t accept, the paperwork has to go
Meanwhile emails crouch, getting ready to ping
In always open offices, and all the uncaring
Cced messages designed to rouse
The cubicles as beige as clay, no sun
Paperwork is sent from mouse to mouse
With profuse apologies to Phillip Larkin, and his masterpiece “Aubade”.

Learn how to coach and assess people undergoing change in their career

Learn how to coach and assess people undergoing change in their career

Go here for further details and bookings

The 3-day Career Coaching, Counselling and Assessment course is running on a limited number of dates in 2016.  The course led by Professor Jim Bright, takes you through the latest theories of career development and shows how to apply these in your coaching practice. There is a special emphasis on approaches that help people adapt to change in their careers.

The course also provides insights into coaching techniques and how to provided evidenced-based job hunting advice.

Two complete career development psychometric assessments are included for all delegates, and their application, administration and interpretation is covered along with the criteria for selecting high-quality tests.

The course comes with an extensive 300-page workbook, several published books and two sets of psychometric tests.  The materials alone are worth in excess of $700.

Book now – spaces available for

Melbourne April 5th – 7th 2016

Sydney September 7th – 9th 2016

Adelaide 4th – 6th October 2016

Go here for further details and bookings

This course is routinely attended by:

Coaches, Counsellors, Rehabilitation specialists, teachers, HR managers, Psychologists, personnel working with elite sports, Independent Practitioners and University Career Service personnel amongst others.

use as part of a Graduate Certificate in Career Development

The course benefits from a formal Credit arrangement with Australian Catholic University (ACU).  Graduates who attend the course, can apply to undertake the end of course assessments (fee $198). Successful attendance and completion of the assessments is recognised by ACU as a full credit agains the subject EDSS612 Career Assessment, theory and  Job search advice. This is one of four subjects that comprise the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) endorsed Graduate Certificate in Education (Career Education).  This course can be taken in North Sydney and Fitzroy and combines face-to-face and online teaching.

Go here for further details and bookings

Seeing the wood for the trees in online delivery of career guidance

Seeing the wood for the trees in online delivery of career guidance

Here is the abstract of my new published paper in the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling on guidance career development services. You can read the complete paper by following the link at the end of the abstract

If you go down to the woods today you are in for a big surprise: seeing the wood for the trees in online delivery of career guidance

Arguments about online delivery of career development are too frequently couched in polarising terms setting traditional face-to-face guidance practice against online systems. The focus has been on the alleged dehumanising impact of technology and the speed, economy and efficiency of online systems. The possible synergies delivered by the appropriate integration of online systems into career development need exploring. The potential of eguidance, elearning, social media and online information and assessment systems has been insufficiently explored. The user experience has been overlooked, despite evidence that user-interface issues and usability are critical factors in the effectiveness of online systems. The application of artificial intelligence remains largely under-researched in career development. The potential for online systems to assist individuals respond to their chaotic careers has yet to be adequately addressed.

Read it all here

Life is limited

An inescapable reality of life is that it is limited. We are all limited, in different ways to differing degrees. We are limited in the amount of time we have left, limited in the time we have now, we are limited in our knowledge, we are limited in our talents, we all have physical limitations. Accepting those limitations, working with them and within them can be the difference between achievement or failure, contentment or despair.

life is limited

Contrary to the cod insights of shonky motivational speakers who encourage us to believe there are no limits, this simply is not the case. No matter how inspiring an “against the odds” story may be, there is a large difference between unearthing hidden talents and the idea that because I underestimated my capacity in one realm, my potential in all areas is infinite. That is simply not true.

If there are no limits, how come even drug-assisted athletes and bookmaker-assisted batsmen cannot run the 100 metres in 5 seconds, or average more than 99.94 over a 20-year test career? There is nothing wrong, and indeed, everything right in trying to encourage others to fulfil their potential. However, while we all have potential, our talents are not evenly scattered across all human endeavours. My office is within multi-instrumentalist James Morrison’s studio. I can’t get beyond about six wooden-fingered chords of Song for Guy, and boy, have I tried. When it comes to music, James is the silk purse, Jim is the sow’s ear!

However, one of James’ greatest strengths, his ability to improvise and make a well-worn tune take flight, is a demonstration of how to make limitation a creative asset. As Morrison says in his song Freedom in the Groove, “jazz musicians can’t do anything they want, you have to play within certain parameters, you play in a certain key, you play at a certain tempo, you follow a certain chord progression”. In other words, improvisation works when there are limits within which to play. Read more here