The Value of The French Language


English is the most widespread language in the world and is more widely spoken and written than any other language. As English is now considered the “universal language”, does bilingualism in French have any value in the recruitment process?  The answer is yes.

Being bilingual in French leads to more benefits than just raw human dialogue. It opens a new world of communication skills that are essential in the work place. As the world becomes a seemingly smaller place, the influence of the French language is becoming wider in tandem with the internet and new markets. For candidates in the job market, a grasp of the French language might be what it takes to shine out from the rest as its value is ever increasing.

As the world becomes more socially, economically and technologically connected, competence in languages such as French is increasingly important.  There are a total of around 355 million French speakers worldwide including new markets that are considered economically important in the near future. The French speaking market is eminent and drives up the demand for French speakers in the job market.


The French language is also opening new doors for international companies that were not considered valuable in the past. Half of the top-10 fastest growing countries in Africa have French as an official language and we can thus expect Africa to be an increasing focus of global trade and international relations.

Moreover, French is the third most used language on the internet ahead of Spanish. The internet has enabled entirely new forms of communication, research and business in recent years and is now considered a ‘basic need’. Bilingual candidates have goldmines of information at their fingertips that would otherwise be inaccessible to those relying on English.

Good communication skills are valued by many employers as “the most important of all life skills” and the candidate who can deal with a customer in their own language will without doubt have an edge. With the graduate job market crowded and a poor economic climate, bilingual communication skills are bordering on essential.  The recipe for successful communication skills is to understand the culture of the country you are doing business with which comes from being bilingual.

A grasp of the culture gives an understanding of acceptable behaviour and ethical differences that should be recognised for any real communication to take place. Miscommunications may have a serious impact on the success of the negotiation process. Whether it is following instructions or perceiving the motives of a client, it is essential in a working environment.

No one can deny the importance of the English language on an international scale however this does not reduce the value of French.  With the expanding Francophone sphere of influence combined with the necessary communication skills that accompany fluency, bilingual candidates shine out ahead of the rest.  The French language is therefore invaluable during the recruitment process and is becoming even more important with global development. Set yourself apart from the rest and learn French.


Hit the mark!

We all start off the new year with good intentions: I will eat more healthily, I will spend less,  I will stay away from the TV and read more books; but yesterday marked the day when you were most likely to ditch your new year’s resolution. Why? Although the cold January weather might not help, the main reason why people give up on their resolutions is a poor goal-setting technique. Therefore, nail your goal-setting technique and it will help give you the drive and focus you need to succeed.

The first stage of goal-setting is establishing a plan of action. It’s all well and good saying you want to get a promotion but if you don’t have a clear idea how you are going to do so, your goal will lack the direction it requires. Keep things simple and start off with one goal.  Then, write a plan implementing what, when and how you are going to accomplish your objectives.  Revise your plan regularly to monitor progress.

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Losing motivation and focus are the main causes behind falling off the wagon. However, it only takes a few little steps to maintain your drive. Build your peer support group by telling your friends and family about your aim. Find role models and look for inspiration from others who are currently aiming for the same thing on blogs, or in books and magazines. Stick a post-it on your desk or set yourself a reminder to keep the goal at the forefront of your thoughts.  To make an action a habit, statistics show that it takes approximately 30 to 40 repetitions so integrate your goal into your daily routine. For instance, if your goal is to exercise more, you could get off the bus two stops before your usual stop and walk the rest of the way home. The little things add up!

Whilst it is important to focus on one goal, it is a good idea to bear in mind your aspirations for the future. Writing down all of your lifelong ambitions will allow you to prioritise and throw any goals that you aren’t particularly bothered about. This pyramid approach from Lifehacker  will aid you to visualise your goals:


Not only will this method allow you to appreciate what you wish to achieve, it offers an approach to set yourself realistic and attainable goals in the short-term to build towards the final goal.

However, sometimes you can do all the planning in the world and you don’t achieve your aim. What do you do then? Firstly, don’t take the failure to heart. This will lead to demotivation and negative thinking, which won’t be productive. Taking a risk means unfortunately that things don’t always work out as planned. Use this as a learning opportunity to build on for the next stage and remember that without taking risks, you are denying yourself the opportunity to reach your potential.

So, what are you waiting for? There is no time like the present to make positive changes in your life!


What are your thoughts on New Year’s resolutions? Have you ever made one and saw it through until the end of the year?

Ward off the Winter Blues!

Now that the days are becoming colder and the nights are drawing closer, it may feel inevitable to experience a case of the winter blues. But fear not! We have some stellar solutions to help you survive the winter unscathed.

Image via KaCey97007

Embark on a Health Kick

Whilst being healthy is important year-round, during the winter months you’re 80% more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu. Rev up your immune system by ensuring that you increase your intake of fruit and vegetables to consume all the vitamins and minerals required to combat any nasty bugs or viruses. Eliminate your sleep debt and have a good night’s sleep, in fact, studies have shown that sleep deprivation mirrors the same effects physical stress have on the immune system. So make sure you have at least seven hours sleep each night. Although getting out of your warm and cosy bed first thing in the morning may seem a bleak prospect, keeping active is the key to keeping colds at bay. Layer up, find an exercise buddy and mix up your exercise routine to stay motivated.

Go Outside

Sunlight is one of the best ways to improve your mood and energy levels so go outside to get a boost of vitamin D. Have a brisk walk during your lunch break, do a spot of gardening or if the weather’s right, participate in winter sports. Being active outdoors provide many benefits such as reducing stress, burning more calories and even improving concentration levels, focus and memory. So, no more excuses, wrap up warm and wander outside.

Relax and Unwind

At last, a legitimate excuse for those after-work drinks! Socialising with friends is a brilliant way to alleviate stress so be certain to make time to meet up with your nearest and dearest. Take advantage of the cold weather outside by treating yourself to a hot bath. A bath is not only a great way to unwind but it is also a brilliant sleep-aid so you will kill two birds with one stone. Clear your schedule of any unnecessary commitments to allow yourself time to clear your mind. Use it to properly pamper yourself and seize the opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do!

Have a Goal

Does your kitchen need redecorating?  Is there a cause you want to get involved in? A new hobby you want to take up? You can obtain some valuable skills to add to your professional calibre and pass time enjoying yourself.  Having a goal in mind also increases focus and drive, both of which are beneficial in your professional and personal life.  So what are you waiting for? Set yourself some goals during the winter to keep yourself inspired and spring will come sooner than you think!

Embrace Winter

Think about all the winter activities you can be doing rather than wishing your time away until spring. Nothing beats cooking up a storm in the kitchen or warming up with a glass of mulled wine! If you’re lucky enough to have snow, take advantage of it to go sledding, skiing, ice-skating – there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of the winter weather!  The best way to keep the winter blues at bay is to live in the here and now, therefore go out and enjoy the joys of winter!

What does it mean to be fluent? The different stages of learning a foreign language

Image via KEXINO (Flickr).

While working as an English Language Assistant in Germany, I was surprised to hear that many of the older pupils considered themselves to be fluent in English, and although I taught several students who spoke very well for their age, it is debatable as to whether or not they could be described as fluent. The dictionary defines fluency as the ability to express oneself easily and articulately, but is it really as simple as that?

Those who study languages will often be asked if they can speak at a fluent level. Upon being asked this question, it is very easy to say no, just because you don’t have a flawless command of the language; however, it is virtually impossible to describe fluency in such black and white terms. It is not simply a question of being either fluent or not fluent, but rather establishing the point at which you are at within the various ‘in between’ stages which constitute the process of learning a foreign language.

Like with all subjects, this process starts properly when you begin to pursue an interest in learning a language. This may be deciding to study languages at university or taking higher level language classes. Making this decision and getting on to the first rung of the language-learning ladder is an important step in your quest for fluency.

However, there is only so much you can learn from reading books and practising grammar. There comes a point when you have to use what you have learned actively for a prolonged period of time. For most people, this will be on their year abroad and it can be a daunting experience to have to fend for yourself linguistically for the first time in a foreign country. Add in the pressures day-to-day life and it is easy to feel lost and confused. Simple things such as buying a sandwich can seem daunting, but there is no need to panic because you will soon start to see rapid improvements.

You will quickly find that your comprehension of the language becomes less and less of an issue to the point where you can understand most things, but at the same time not necessarily be able to express yourself in the way that you want. Nevertheless, you should soon find that you go from being able to concentrate on one conversation at a time, to picking up things from conversations going on around you, just as you would be able to in your native tongue. This is a big milestone in the language-learning process. How quickly you improve is normally determined by the level of exposure to the language you experience.

Having got to this stage, the wheels are now in motion and being able to understand everything means that you will pick up lots of everyday phrases and begin to get a feel of how the natives use their language. The more things you pick up, the more confident you feel to use them yourself. So despite feeling like you may still lack a lot of vocab, you will notice that you start to express yourself more like a native would. This will, in turn, lead to a level of language where you don’t have any trouble saying what you want to, and although you might not be able to find the exact phrase which corresponds to the point you are making, you will be able to find another equivalent expression. That’s the beauty of languages – there’s almost always more than one way of saying something.

Reaching this stage is a real achievement and you should give yourself a pat on the back for getting this far. On the other hand, there is still one final elusive stage. Understanding and replying without problem doesn’t really show off your personality. The best way to communicate who you really are is to spend as much time as you can with natives in as many different environments as possible. I found a very good way of doing this is to socialise with the locals – if a group of colleagues are planning a picnic on a National Holiday or going on a bike ride at the weekend, ask to go with them. You have to live the culture and the language rather than just appreciate and understand them. Be a part of what makes France French or Germany German.

It is by far the hardest stage to achieve and does require real persistence and determination. Don’t be put off though – you’ve come this far – why stop now? It is true that reaching this level of ‘fluency’ may well require living abroad for a more prolonged period, but it can be done if you put your mind to it.

As far as languages go, you have to play the long game. The longer you stay in a particular country, the better you will become. You also need to factor in time to adapt to different cultures and traditions. It can be frustrating getting to a certain stage whilst abroad and then finding you have regressed the next time you go back to that country. Fear not for this is completely normal, and having reached a particular level, you will find that each time you return, it takes less and less time to get back into the swing of things and start improving once again. Obviously everybody learns and improves at different paces, but these different stages are attainable and can be achieved by anyone if they persist and have the desire to improve. The important thing is to have confidence in yourself and your ability. The rest will take care of itself.

So there you have it. Everybody defines fluency differently, but this should give you a better indication of how far down the language-progression line you really are. So the next time that somebody asks you if you are fluent or not, tell them where you’re at and let them decide!

How to get that elusive motivation.

Motivation is a valuable tool for all sorts of work. Whether you are revising for big exams, working towards a fitness goal, or simply at work, motivation is always conducive to productivity. Motivation can come from really valuing the outcome of a task, finding enjoyment in it, or just really wanting to get to the end! The important thing is that when we feel motivated to work towards our goal, momentum makes the time go faster and the work more enjoyable. Also increasing our productivity, there is no doubt that motivation is hugely valuable, but just identifying the value doesn’t answer the real question; how on earth do you get motivated?

Particularly with difficult or less enjoyable challenges, motivation can be very hard to conjure and even more difficult to sustain. This is hardly surprising, given that most of us approach a huge project without first determining its benefits. The first hurdle to overcome is identifying the worth of the task at hand. Ask yourself what will change once you have completed this task. That way, rather than just ploughing through tasks, you can focus on their eventual benefit. Perhaps they will lead you towards a personal gain, create a feeling of accomplishment or simply bring you a step closer to your greater goal. Whatever it is, being able to work towards an acknowledged goal goes hand in hand with motivation.

It is human nature to take on a whole task at once – the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll finish. This approach however can be incredibly de-motivating. Breaking work down into smaller chunks or separate goals increases motivation. Feeling you have accomplished something is a huge boost, so regularly crossing things off your list is n undeniable help. Embarking on a plan to “exercise for half an hour, three times a week” for example is much easier to maintain than aiming to simply “exercise more”. One technique is to write short to-do lists including just three points per day. Only add new things to the list once all three tasks are completed. This way, you can ensure you get through several vital tasks each day and avoid getting overwhelmed by a never-ending list.

Another benefit of breaking work down into smaller tasks is that it makes your progress easier to track. It is important not only to track progress you make, but also to recognize it. Looking back over past sections of work and seeing how you’ve improved is perfect motivation to go on and improve even further. With revision (or other work that can easily be broken down into chapters or sections), spend some initial time looking into exactly what work needs doing. Although seeing that you have 16 chapters to get through may be off-putting at first, it is useful to know exactly what you have ahead of you and even more importantly, what you’ve already done! Looking at your record of accomplishments will also boost self belief and confidence, making you even better equipped to complete tasks.

A great way to recognize achievements comes through perhaps the best known – and arguably the most successful – motivational technique; giving yourself rewards. Decide on rewards from the beginning of your revision, project or fitness drive and stick to your system. Allocating rewards depending on the difficulty of tasks will make harder tasks more appealing, also decreasing likelihood of procrastination! Make sure to also make time for fun. Nobody can work endlessly and well deserved time off is one of the very best rewards.

It would seem that complete awareness of the task at hand through thorough planning is the best way to find motivation. For all sorts of tasks, taking things step by step and acknowledging the good work you’ve done as you go is the best technique to keep up spirits and stay motivated throughout.

Can stress be a good thing?

At work – as in all walks of live – it is an absolute given that stress is considered a bad thing. Humans have a competitive nature and we are programmed to strive to achieve the highest results possible and to be the best at whatever we do. It is clear then why we as humans are also prone to stress. As a word, stress has all sorts of bad connotations; from hindering performance to causing health issues. So what exactly are the problems caused by stress? Can stress actually be a help as well as a hindrance?

Image via jetheriot (Flickr)

Stress can be caused by a whole range of things; pressure to perform at work, problems with family or relationships, tight deadlines – the list goes on. It is no secret that feeling stressed and under pressure leads to nerves, which can in turn affect performance. Nerves often affect how we think, causing us to over-think tasks and scenarios and clouding our ability to deal with them. Nerves and stress complicate tasks that should be easy and energy is wasted as nervous energy. There are of course plenty of methods of dealing with minor stress, from herbal remedies to breathing techniques. Athletes deal with the threat of stress and nerves through extensive preparation, by analysing the competition, getting to know the court and of course through a lot of practice. This tactic can be applied on other occasions when people are prone to stress. A good example is exam preparation; students practise papers under exam conditions, simulating conditions as close as possible to those of the exam to find out how they cope under stressful circumstances. Even with preparation, nerves are rarely kept completely at bay. Despite this, being as prepared as possible will without doubt reduce the number of unknown elements of a task or situation to feel stressed about. Effects of long-term stress are harder to deal with. Unhandled, stress can eventually lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, exhaustion and depression. It is absolutely undeniable that stress can bring about problems, but can we channel stress to work for us, rather than letting it develop and become a real problem?

So if we forgot all the negative connotations for a moment, what exactly would stress be? A burst of energy and concentration on the requirements of a particular task. Through all the nervous panicking that we do due to stress, we often ignore the fact that stress hormones also bring about a faster heartbeat, sharpened senses and adrenalin. In other words, exactly the things that help you get a task done. Considering these physical manifestations, stress can be viewed as your body’s way of telling you what needs to be done. A moderate amount of stress gives us a short term buzz, enabling us to work efficiently and perform tasks to a high level. After all, when is it that most of us get things done? It’s usually when we are under pressure from a looming deadline! By looking out for stress and using it to complete tasks as opposed to running away from it, we can channel stress into productive energy, turning it into a help rather than a hindrance.

Stress does of course affect everybody differently, so how it can be used to positive effect depends on the individual. I’m not suggesting for a moment that serious stress should be ignored completely; this could of course have severe implications. A little extra energy used as motivation on the other hand never hurt anyone. It’s all about analysing the situation and taking control rather than letting stress take control of you!

Help! I have a really bad boss.

Did you know that many of us spend around a third of our lives at work?

We all know that our boss has a huge impact on our working life, so it follows that bosses have a great effect on our lives and happiness in general. The ideal boss is competent, kind and earns and deserves the trust and respect of their employees. Bosses have the power to determine which tasks we take on at work, decide how much is expected of us and – of course – to ultimately fire us. Feeling under-appreciated, mistreated or bullied by a boss can leave you feeling weary, frustrated, unmotivated and most of all unhappy. It is no surprise therefore, that being faced with a bad boss is cited as one of the main reasons why employees leave their jobs. So what coping tactics can be employed when you are faced with a bad boss? How do you decide that enough is enough and it’s time to take action?

So you’ve just started to pick up on your boss’s behaviour. Perhaps he makes snide remarks or is unkind and critical regarding your efforts at work. Stay calm and take a moment to think. Have you been working hard recently and doing all that is expected of you? If the answer is no, then maybe it is you that needs to change your attitude. If it is a yes, however, then it sounds like your boss is out of line. Keep track of your achievements. Perhaps this is a temporary blip. Can you solve the problem by highlighting what you have done well recently? If you have only noticed your boss make a few unkind remarks, shining the light on how well you’ve been doing might do the trick. Maintain professionalism at all times. It may be tempting to respond to unkind words with more of the same, but this will do you absolutely no favours and there really is no need. Remember that you haven’t been doing anything wrong, so remaining professional and carrying on as you always do will stand you in the best stead should matters get worse. Pay attention to your boss’s behaviour. Should his jibes continue to the point that you feel that it’s more than a blip, it’s time to do something about it. The last thing you want is to let it slide so that your boss thinks that they can get away with treating you (and other employees) like this.

The next question to ask yourself is: Does he realise he’s bad? Think about what exactly it is that your boss does badly. Once you have identified exactly what the problems are, it is much easier to try to solve them. Let’s consider some examples.

The hands-off boss. When you approach a job raring to go and eager to learn, there’s nothing worse than feeling that your boss neglects to give you direction. This sort of bad boss may really be making an honest mistake. Perhaps they are just trying to give you space to learn and develop through your own experiences. If you feel that you need more from them however, take action ASAP. The majority of problems that bosses have with their PAs – and vice versa – are down to a lack of communication. Talk to your boss, but choose the time wisely. NEVER approach your boss to discuss a sensitive issue in a meeting, when he’s in a rush or in company. You want to have his full attention in a calm environment. Tell your boss what help and direction you need, but be careful not to criticise him. He’s much more likely to listen and make an effort to change if you keep the focus on you and your needs.

The bully. If your boss calls you names, intimidates or is critical, the chances are he knows exactly what he’s doing. As ever, stay professional. Focus on things that you know you do well – don’t let this bad boss knock your confidence. You deserve a boss who helps you grow in your job and creates a professional working environment. If this isn’t what you’re getting, remember that you are not the one in the wrong. Try talking to your boss. Even though this idea may be daunting, your boss deserves the opportunity to make changes before you take greater action or seek out his superior. If talking makes no difference, it may be time to talk to someone higher up. Be very careful here. Criticism of your boss could come across as criticism of his boss, so be objective and professional. This conversation could have a great effect on your future in the company – how you are considered by those in another department you could be transferred to, for example – so professionalism is an absolute must. The HR department might be able to give you a second opinion and help you plan what you are going to say. Your boss is likely to react badly to the news that you have gone to his boss, so make sure that you have exhausted all other options beforehand.

Hopefully taking action and talking things over with the right people should solve most problems with bad bosses, whether it leads to a change in their ways, or perhaps to you being transferred elsewhere. If you end up parting ways with your boss, don’t burn bridges. Be gracious and learn from this experience. Think about what exactly this boss did that made him bad and how it made you feel. You can take this information with you to learn from should you ever become a boss. Remember, you deserve to feel at ease at work, in an environment where your self esteem and competences are nurtured. If your boss doesn’t make you feel this way, then don’t just let it go!

Confidence at work: Do you acknowledge your own abilities?

In a recent blog about first impressions, I talked about body language and how first judgements on a person can be made within seconds, perhaps even when they’ve barely said a word. Your level of confidence is one of the things that come across in this first impression.  Appearing to lack confidence is a definite negative in the workplace. Seeming nervous or ill at ease reflects badly on you and your skills, making others less likely to trust your abilities or entrust challenging or important tasks to you.

Lack of confidence in the working environment is not at all unusual and there are many reasons for it. Perhaps you are in a job where you feel insecure about whether your skills match up to requirements? Maybe you feel threatened by having less experience than others around you? Or perhaps you have a poor relationship with your boss or peers? Many people aren’t even aware that their confidence could do with a boost. Although of course it can’t be made accountable for all problems in the work place, a lack of confidence and self esteem can in fact be the underlying cause of a lot of problems, such as bad relationships with co-workers or a lack of acknowledgement of your achievements, for example. Furthermore, a lack of confidence can lead the way into a vicious cycle. If you underestimate your own abilities, you might procrastinate or turn down tasks where you feel out of your depth. If others notice this lack of confidence, or lack of completion of challenging tasks, they may well consider you less capable than you really are. They might then be less likely to consider you for important tasks, thus quite possibly lowering your own self confidence and taking you back to the start of the cycle. To avoid such a scenario, it is clear that any confidence issues really do need to be addressed.

It might seem that feigning confidence is easy – just be more assertive, right? Well, aiming to be more assertive in a working environment is a risky business. There is a fine line between being assertive and being arrogant, a line which you don’t want to cross in the workplace. Arrogance or overconfidence could lead you to take on projects that you are ill-equipped to deal with and that will show you up in the end! Talking up your abilities can make you come across to your peers as off-putting and superior. Let’s face it, a self-assured, competent individual is unlikely to relish feeling superior. The real aim is to be able to communicate in a clear and effective manner so that your skills show thanks to what you do, not what you say.

The key to really being confident is to know yourself. Make sure to identify your weaknesses. Rather than continually avoiding tasks that you feel ill-equipped to perform, make a plan to work on any weaker areas. You should also of course identify your strengths and capitalize on them. Use your skills whenever possible and make sure to reflect on things that you have done well. If your role at work isn’t giving you enough opportunity to benefit from these strengths, then perhaps you should find a position that will!

A part of knowing yourself is of course to be aware of the impression that you make on the people that matter. Take a step back and think about how you act, speak and move. What effect is the way you project yourself having on others around you? Consult a friend whose opinion you respect and trust. Others often notice a lot about us that we are unaware of. They will be able to give you an idea of how others see you and what points you might want to work on. This could help in reverse too. Consider people around you who you consider to be confident and competent. What is it about them that shows their confidence? Emulate this behaviour.

Emulating behaviour is a particularly useful technique if your role model’s confidence shows through their body language or voice. Standing tall, with your shoulders back and your tummy tucked in will work wonders. This posture not only improves your appearance, but also improves breathing and circulation, helping you look and feel composed and in control. Considering tone of voice is important too. While 38% of human communication comes from speech, only 7% is based on the actual words, with the rest left up to the way you say them. Speak clearly, using inflection to punctuate your sentences. Pace your speech well – rushing will show nerves. Make sure to listen, smile and nod when appropriate. Strong, positive body language and a great speaking voice will combine to show you to be a confident, authoritative individual.

Don’t aim to change everything at once. Take on small projects that are challenging but manageable to boost your confidence through their completion. Think about things that you did particularly well and look for opportunities to use these skills again. The absolute key to true confidence has to be believing in yourself and your talents. After all, why should anyone else if you don’t?

The Dilemma of the Career Change


“The only constant in life is change.”


Even though these words are thousands of years old, they remain as true today as the day they were spoken. But if change is the one thing in life that you know you can count on, then why are people so afraid of it? Whether it be in a personal or professional context, the familiar is always the more comfortable option. And this is especially true when it comes to the often discouraging idea of a career change. If you are 15 or 20 years in to your career, the chances are that you’re set in your ways. You have your specific experience in your specific industry and the idea of taking a turn off that career path is not one you want to turn into reality. And if we’re honest that feeling is something that applies to most of us. Even if we’re stuck in a job that we do not particularly enjoy, change scares us. It presents us with the fear of the unknown. But it shouldn’t.

The reason change provokes such fear or anxiety is down to a number of misconceptions. We tend to believe that just because we’ve been doing the same thing for such a long time, then we simply cannot do anything else. We think that we have gained this specific experience to stay in our specific job and therefore we are not qualified to do a different one. Ultimately we associate change with the negative, and the current economic situation only makes things worse. But that doesn’t have to be the case. These misconceptions are just that, they are simply not true. So here are a few reasons why a career change is much less daunting, and a lot less difficult than a lot of us think.

Firstly, with the exception of extremely specific abilities, there is no such thing as a nontransferable skill. And the longer you are into your career, the more transferable skills you are likely to have acquired. So if you’re sitting there thinking that you’ve been doing the same thing for so long that it’s impossible for you to change then stop, because actually it’s really the opposite. Perhaps you’ve worked in an international company, you’ve worked in a team, and you’ve worked under pressure, that’s three desired characteristics already. I can guarantee that if you really think about it you’ll realize that you’re a lot more qualified than you first thought.

Something else that is important to remember is that you can be the solution to a company’s problem. You have a wealth of experience and a range of transferable skills and therefore all the marketing tools you need to sell yourself to a hiring manager. If you can show your interest and passion for the position then you are a lot more likely to succeed then if you only have specific experience but no charisma or drive.

Finally, one of the most important factors affecting the success of a career is positivity. If you are a likeable character who maintains a positive outlook on life then you will be able to do whatever you want. The worst thing you have to fear when it comes to a career change is rejection but what you have to remember is that rejection isn’t permanent. Rejection is inevitable at one point another in your life, but it is the ability to bounce back from it that makes any change a possibility.

You cannot be afraid to make a career change. The key is confidence. And if you can have confidence in yourself and in what you are doing then you can do anything. Taking a turn from your career path doesn’t have to be the end of the path; it can be the start of something great.

How to become the indispensable employee

Times are tough. The economy is suffering, businesses have lost confidence and the future looks uncertain. Companies are making less money, and less money means more cutbacks. And unfortunately the most common cutback tends to be of the currently employed. So it’s at times like these when people start to worry about their job. We ask ourselves: are you indispensible to the company, or are you just another employee? Of course a lot of this will depend on the size of your organization, amongst other things, but in an economic situation such as the one we find ourselves in at the moment no one is safe. Or are they? Are there things that you can do to make yourself indispensible?

Well, as with most things in life, there are no 100% guarantees but there are some things which you can do to make yourself as indispensible as possible.

First of all it is clear that someone within a company who has a strong presence is a lot less likely to get the boot. By this I mean an employee who is constantly visible to their boss, their boss’s boss and so on. This is often assessed in terms of results, but it is also true that being seen and being heard in the office is much more beneficial than hiding away and hoping they don’t notice you. This applies to both professional and personal situations. If you can develop a positive relationship with “higher ups” within your company, perhaps via networking events such as conferences, conventions or after work drinks, then you are much less likely to be let go. After all, it’s a lot harder for the people doing the firing to get rid of someone if they know them well.

Of course if you are going to be maintain a strong presence you have to make sure you are at the top of your game. It’s no use being a visible but poor employee at the same time. You have to be someone who actually adds value to the company. People who show up to work on time, who work hard, get results and ultimately benefit the company are very difficult to let go of. It’s also important to remember that there’s nothing wrong with getting people to recognize your achievements. You should remind your superiors of the great work you’ve been doing, just make sure not to appear overly arrogant. Someone who takes pride in their work and in their accomplishments will keep the job over someone who fades into the background.

One way to make sure you add value to your company is by increasing your skill set. You become a better employee by learning new things, growing your knowledge and therefore becoming a strategic asset. Perhaps you can take a course in computing, go to a convention or learn a completely new skill. When it comes to the final decision it will be much more difficult for your boss to get rid of you if you have a wide and unique skill set. Also it is unlikely your company will risk letting you go to a competitor if they know what you can do.

Finally, your attitude is one of the key points when it comes becoming an indispensible employee. Of course periods of economic difficulty cause stress and anxiety, but if you can remain positive throughout then you stand a much better chance of keeping your job. It is imperative that you don’t let the situation around you affect your work performance. Not only does remaining positive during tough times show you work well under pressure, it’s also undoubtedly true that people like people who are positive.

So there are a few things that can help you become the indispensible employee. However, as I have said, there are no guarantees. Therefore my advice to you, if you hear rumours about future layoffs, would be to get prepared. There’s no harm in some networking and seeking out opportunities just in case the company can’t take the hit and has to let you go.  And even if you do get laid off you should always stay positive and believe in yourself because you never know what’s around the corner. So be the best that you can be and everything will be alright in the end.

Good luck!