We are delighted to be partnering with Shell to promote their new and exciting Return to Work programme and we were thrilled to see such a fantastic response when we asked if you had any questions about it. Shell were really keen to provide answers to your questions as this helps them enormously too. So whether you asked a question and want to see the answer, or you just want to find out more, please read on. And you can find all the details about this great opportunity for anyone who has been on a career break of 12 months or more here including information about the roles available in the following disciplines: IT Project Management or IT Advisory Corporate Accounting & Treasury Management Geology & Geophysics Reservoir Engineering 1. Is there a requirement to work full time after finishing if one of these 6 month 3-day placements is secured, or will later jobs be similarly flexible? Shell supports flexible working and we seek to offer flexibility in all roles, where business requirements allow. If after completing the Return to Work Programme, an individual is successful in securing a permanent position within Shell, working patterns and arrangements can be discussed and agreed with the line manager of the role. 2. Are detailed job descriptions available for the roles? More detailed job descriptions will be provided to candidates who successfully progress through to the next stage following telephone interviews with Inclusivity Partners. 3. What is the day rate for the programme? Contractors will receive a day rate in line with UK market practice. If you are selected for a telephone interview the day rates for each project will be discussed at that time. 4. Is the scheme open to those who have done some work on a part-time/freelance/self-employed basis as part of their career break? In order to be eligible for the programme, you must have taken a career break of 12 months or more immediately preceding the date you commence the programme. Shell defines a career break as a period during which you have been unemployed and not otherwise engaged to provide paid work/services (excluding any periods of less than three months during which you have undertaken contract work). 5. I am hoping to make an application to the Shell Return to Work programme but am unsure which area would be most suitable for me. Is there a matching process or will you help find the best possible match for my experience and skills? It is recommended that you apply to the role that best matches your skill set. If the recruiter feels you may be most suitable for another role, they will discuss this with you. 6. Who will be involved in the interviews? Inclusivity will hold the telephone interviews with applicants. If you are successful, Shell will hold the face to face assessment in the office (or virtual if you are unable to come into the office). 7. What support and training is on offer? We are offering projects in disciplines that require specific skill sets and experience and so candidates will need to come with a background to deliver in role. You will receive coaching and mentoring within Shell to get back up to speed with industry knowledge. In addition, you will receive: Ability to request flexible work patterns either on a formal or informal basis during the programme Career coaching from our external coaching experts A buddy to help navigate your way in Shell Support from a dedicated programme manager Access to Shell discounts with Bright Horizons Online learning resources Participants in the programme will also be able join events run by our UK networks including our Asian, African, Disability, Experience Hire, Gender Balance, Ibero-America, Parenting and our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender networks. 8. If I get accepted on the Shell Return to Work programme, would it be possible for me to defer my start date? Unfortunately it is not possible to defer a place on the programme. We encourage you to express interest in joining Shell through shell.co.uk/careers. 9. Are you looking for mentors for the programme? At the start of the programme, all participants will be partnered with a mentor from the line of business that they are working. The mentor will meet regularly with the returner to share career advice, discuss market practice and offer guidance.
A mix of freelancers and part-time workers have been instrumental in making independent research firm Edison a success, Neil Shah tells 2to3days. Investment research firm Edison Group believes in doing things differently. Its model of providing business-commissioned research is thriving under MiFID II regulation on financial markets, while its employment model offers a flexible approach rare in City firms. Since its inception in 2003, Edison has offered its analysts flexibility in how and when they work. “It’s a core part of Edison’s value proposition,” says Director of Research Neil Shah. “When we started we needed to be innovative. We took on freelancers who were typically mums who had stepped away from city careers and didn’t want to go back to 7am-9pm full-time roles and not see their families.” The approach has been hugely successful. “We have been struck by the positivity exuded by people who have this as part of what they do but not the entirety. It rubs off on the whole firm.” Shah adds that flexible workers tend to be highly efficient and having people with a portfolio of different things brings a ‘creative spark’ to the office floor. “Flexibility is not a small part of the firm’s strategy, it’s a core part of our success.” Of 120 staff members, around 40 people work part-time – ranging from freelancers to those working two, three or four days a week. Edison’s analysts cover a wide range of industries and companies – currently the firm is looking for analysts in technology, financials, real estate, investment trusts, mining, healthcare, oil & gas and fintech, as well as supervisory roles. The company set out to be independent of traditional conflicts of interest in banking. Its business-funded model has gained further traction since the financial crisis and growing European regulation in this area. In the first quarter of 2018 business expanded by 10% and the second quarter is on track for similar growth. While a team of senior analysts manages each sector on a day to day basis, all analysts report to Shah. “Everyone is different,” he says. “In our initial meeting I try and get an understanding of what they are looking for – some people are hungry to get on and are willing to offer three days, others may be at the point where their child has just started nursery, they aren’t sure how it will go and want to start gently.” Eventually the business aims to have all analysts covering at least five stocks, but this happens over time and is tailored to an individual’s capacity. Those working flexibly are not left to their own devices. Initially, Shah suggests they come into the office regularly while they bed down in the role. “We offer flexibility around that,” he says. “We try and get new joiners to develop a routine where they come in at least once a week to spend time with the team and build their network. As that develops it’s much more flexible. Most of my contact with some team members is by email or phone but I’ve got to know them well enough to do that.” There is a strong team ethos. “If you can’t attend a meeting because of other commitments someone will try and step in and attend on your behalf. If you need someone to review a note before it goes to the editorial team someone will help.” Shah adds that it is gratifying to see mums returning with low confidence and making a success of their careers. He cites one analyst who went on to a full-time role in asset management at UBS, while others have moved from freelancing at Edison to working part-time for the firm. “Other people like the flexibility and prefer to stay freelance.” The flexibility offered by Edison is a source of real pride, says Shah. “It’s a key strength of our business. We care about the people working for us and they care about the work they do, which is the best thing for our clients.” See all of Edison's latest opportunities here.
True flexibility can be hard to find in the professional services sector. Many companies make promises but these can be a far cry from the reality. Niche tax firm Frank Hirth explains how it strives to support its employees in work and life. Head of human resources Victoria Patricks has worked at Frank Hirth since September 2017. She has experienced the company’s flexible approach first hand, having applied for a position advertised as full-time. When she applied she asked to work a four-day week and to leave the office at 4.30pm. “They were completely open to the suggestion – and I had applied to other places that weren’t,” she says. “Some working patterns may not be suitable, but we will always have a conversation about it.” Flexi-time as standard Founded in 1975, Frank Hirth is a niche firm that specialises in UK and US tax advice and compliance including personal tax, corporation tax, owner-managed businesses, trust and estate taxation. Although it has grown to around 200 people, with offices in London, New York and Wellington, it retains a family firm culture. The firm offers flexi-time as standard – based around the core hours of 10am to 4.30pm. Employees are then free to decide how to make up their hours between 8am and 6.30pm. A two-hour lunch break is also possible. This allows individuals to manage their workload in a way that fits their other commitments. Retention is strong, with 44% of staff having been at the company for more than five years and another large proportion of workers who have joined from school or university in the last five years. At busy times the whole team work together to meet deadlines and good communication is encouraged to make flexibility work for all. “We don’t have a divide between fee earners and support staff,” says Victoria. "Everyone sits together and the only people in offices are directors, who have an open-door policy." As well as the flexi-time option, some team members work part-time or from home. The MD of Frank Hirth, Robyn Limmer, is a mother of three grown up children who has experienced life as a working mother and understands the challenges. A positive experience Victoria’s own experience has been extremely positive, and she is keen to ensure mothers have access to flexible roles in the business. Not all roles are suitable for people who would like to work from home, for example reception staff - but in these cases other flexible options are considered. “Having had a child and experienced redundancy at the same time I know you can lose confidence when you have a break from work. It’s silly really, but it’s a reality,” she says. “We know how productive someone can be when they have other things outside work. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter to us if you are a mum or want to do charitable work and pursue other goals, we know that people have a life and we want them to enjoy it.” Families are invited to the firm’s annual summer party, this year taking place in Brighton, and the office is closed between Christmas and New Year in addition to normal holiday allowances. There is an energetic board driving progress and an employee committee implementing initiatives focusing on employee engagement and making Frank Hirth a great place to work. Flexibility works for the clients too “The flexible approach is not an issue for clients,” says Victoria. “In fact, there is strong feedback from them on service and response time.” A genuinely flexible approach is rare in professional services – with employees often finding that the reality does not match the promises made. It doesn’t have to be this way. “Flexibility is harder to implement in professional services but only because of the attitude,” says Victoria. “It tends to be that a number of senior roles are held by men. Women still tend to have the main childcare responsibilities and this, coupled with inflexible working hours, means they may never progress as far as they should. This is gradually changing in the industry but Frank Hirth is ahead of the game.” The fact that Frank Hirth is not a partnership helps maintain a flexible balance. “We are a privately-owned company, with more than 50% owned by an Employee Benefit Trust. Not being a partnership helps as that can drive certain behaviours and our directors aren’t assessed on their own P&L.” Candidates should be upfront about their childcare needs Using 2to3days is part of the company’s open approach around flexibility. The firm feels candidates should not have to hide their childcare needs and family lives. Instead they should be upfront about their requirements and what they can offer. Associate Director Laura Knight says this has made all the difference to her career advancement and she has returned to the business after taking maternity leave twice. “I am fully supported as a respected employee and have continued on in my career, having been promoted since having two children and only working part-time,” she says. “There are no boundaries apart from those we set upon ourselves and being a parent has not stopped me from achieving my goals. The firm offers flexi-time which helps fit around childcare and the support given helps make the juggling act so much easier.”
Global design and consultancy firm Arcadis recognises and celebrates diversity, encouraging its people to be themselves at work. As the company releases a series of career opportunities with 2to3days, Head of Talent Acquisition Emma Heerah explains that diversity improves the quality of life for its people and drives design innovation. Juggling life and career development can be challenging. Whether that's working parents struggling to make it to school events; carers wrestling with conflicting responsibilities, or people feeling they need to hide aspects of their identity to fit in and get ahead. At Arcadis we don't think it should be this way. We believe diverse teams are better teams. We embrace an open and unique outlook on life from every one of our employees. We know that the best creative and innovative thinking for our clients comes from individual diversity and a supportive dynamic work environment. With the right conditions, it is possible to have a fulfilling career, successfully manage other commitments in life AND enjoy it. Removing the barriers to our people fulfilling their career potential is something we work hard to achieve. Our work spans many disciplines - from consultancy to engineering and architecture to cost management - but its united under a common vision to improve quality of life. We see people where others see projects, and we recognise that when we design environments we impact lives. That philosophy is embedded in the way we work. Part-time and flexible working empower our people to own their time and performance. We have created an environment where output and achievement are the measures used, not the amount of time you sit at your desk. Arcadis has successfully moved away from work as a physical place, instead embracing the notion of work as an activity. We work to improve cities, housing and infrastructure across the UK, using our skills to ensure places are well-designed and improve the lives of those who live and work in them. Working from home, the train, and occasionally on the move means our team members can come to work confident that they can manage their other commitments and collaborate in office-based and face-to-face meetings. Our multiple office locations mean team members can change their work locations when they need to, driving team engagement and stronger working relationships. Flexibility for all Ten years ago, flexible working was exclusive to a few forward-thinking industries (and roles) but that has changed. We see it as a basic requirement, not a benefit reserved for a few. All our people want to feel they can be themselves and that fulfilling work doesn't cost them in other areas of their lives from family and caring, to studying and sports. Elisabeth Selk, Strategic Research Consultant, has experienced this first-hand after taking a career break. I was keen to re-launch my career but equally keen to keep a degree of flexibility, she says. After taking part in a Women Returner initiative she realised that there was a market for experienced professionals seeking flexibility and applied for a position with Arcadis, advertised on 2to3days. "It turned out that this position was not quite the right level for me. However, I must have made the right impression with the team, and when a new position became available in the team a month or two later, I was offered a role in the Strategic Research team in Client Development." She adds: "I have now been working as a strategic research consultant developing and communicating thought leadership and strategic research for buildings and infrastructure. I really enjoy the challenge, working with the team, while enjoying a good work-life balance through my flexible working arrangement." We believe in working in a team where you are trusted and empowered to work to a schedule that fits you and your life. You should feel confident that you can fulfil your life ambitions and commitments as well as pursuing a fulfilling career one is never at the cost of the other. Arcadis is an aspirational place to work which recognises we are never the finished article and strives to stay ahead of the challenge inequality in the workplace presents. We are working with all parts of our business to create more part time and flexible working opportunities which we hope will attract greater diversity. This includes roles at all levels of Arcadis, including management and leadership level where we can create positive role models. Our latest part-time career opportunities demonstrate that Arcadis is a place where diversity is valued, enabling our people to thrive and raising the quality of the spaces and places we design. See all their current opportunities here.
Companies need to effect real change in the way they attract and support senior women if they are to plug the gender pay gap. The power of the 2to3days ‘hood’ means firms can reverse the exodus and change public perception. The deadline for gender pay gap reporting is upon us and there have already been some nasty surprises from companies that have revealed their figures. From Channel 4 and ITN to Goldman Sachs, HSBC and beyond, companies have been forced to reveal large gender pay gaps, often caused by gender imbalances at senior levels. Those employing more than 250 people have until 4th April to publish their gender pay gap figures. “Businesses are facing the consequences of past inflexible cultures, which forced women out of the workforce when they had children,” says 2to3days founder Juliet Turnbull. “They made it almost impossible for women to stay on and progress their careers.” The resulting exodus of senior women and gender pay gulf means companies have a huge issue to tackle. The business world needs to hire women who left their industries back into senior positions. The way to do this is by offering genuine flexibility – the kind of flexibility that truly allows people to manage their lives and careers without sacrificing one for the other. Those whose gender pay gap audit results are looking less than stellar need to review their approach and start offering the flexibility that will attract talented senior women to the organisation. There are so many reasons to do this aside from the legislative push – diverse teams make better decisions, for example. In the past these arguments may have met boardroom disinterest or resistance. Now gender pay gap legislation is focusing minds on the perils of ignoring the issue. There is talk in political circles of future fines for firms that fail to publish their data or tackle their gender gaps. So, if your audit shows you have a gap to close, now is the time to do something about it. This means changing the way you recruit and reward women. “By offering genuine flexibility at the top, businesses send a very clear and positive message that life and work can be integrated and will be fully supported,” says Juliet. “This message will be received by their female intake, from graduates upwards.” Anything less than genuine flexibility, fair pay and transparency will not plug the gap. Even then, it’s going to take time to raise levels of senior women. Once a company has a poor reputation for gender equality that can be hard to shift. It’s time to make changes and shout about those changes. At 2to3days we offer the solution to the problem of finding and recruiting senior women. We have 27,000 women registered with us looking for flexible roles and we are being talked about from the boardroom to the school gate. Mothers champion mothers and share our jobs between themselves, so use the power of the 2to3days ‘hood’ to plug the gender pay gap and change public perception of your business. We are already working with firms such as Nationwide, Grant Thornton, Arcadis and Santander to move the pendulum on their female hiring approach. Join the 2to3days 'hood' (our community) and work with us to create sustainable change so the gender pay gap issue is no longer an issue.
Rowena is Head of Architecture Operations & Development at Nationwide. Here she shares her thoughts on the value of mentoring, and her top five tips for women considering STEM careers. Rowena joined the Society 31 years ago as part of the graduate scheme, working in Retail and Direct Sales, before joining IT as a retail expert in 1994. More recently, she set up the Programme Architecture team at Nationwide, also known as Solution Architecture. What makes a good female mentor? At University, Rowena studied Geography, which she describes as the ideal blend of logic and creativity - much like her current role which combines logical thinking and innovation with a love of people leadership. Mentoring allows Rowena to ask the questions others, including the colleague’s line manager, may find hard. In doing so, she believes it can help force the individual to get to the real route of an issue. “I’ve been told I have an ability to see patterns in what they’ve done before, which can help them forge a new perspective. It’s about combining the logical with emotional.” Since joining Nationwide, Rowena has mentored many women, a total of 10 in the last few years. This is usually as they consider the transition from a senior role to a leadership role. Mentees are either 'matched' to her via recommendations from others across the business, or via HR if they’re believed to be a good match: “I enjoy mentoring because I’m fascinated by people, their journey and their aspirations, and also because I think it’s important to give back - lots of people were instrumental in helping me to learn about myself and the organisation.” “I worked in Rowena’s team for 18 months and observed first-hand how she successfully led in a male-dominated area. I knew I could learn a lot from her, so I approached her to be my mentor.” Mei, Senior Enterprise Architect “Rowena has a fantastic ability to listen, ask astute questions and provide thought-provoking insight, whilst at the same time leaving you feeling the accountability and ownership for your own development. She is first-rate at coaching and has helped to draw things out of me that I hadn’t considered previously.” Claire, Head of Sales and Service Simplification Her background also allows her to see things others couldn’t in this space: “Having been on the journey myself I can help individuals make the jump,” She explains. “There can sometimes be a tendency for females to think they’re not quite good enough, or we’ll have a lack of self-belief. Sometimes the women I mentor will even ‘catastrophise’ their minor failures.” “I found Rowena’s help invaluable when I returned from Mat Leave after my 2nd baby. I only took a 4-month maternity leave, and the number of comments I had about only choosing to take “5 minutes off” made me feel like I couldn’t tell people that I was actually finding balancing the lack of sleep from a baby who fed 3 times a night with work pretty tough.” Lara, Head of Treasury Modelling Considering a STEM career? Here's Rowena’s advice: 1. Be more open-minded and curious. Behind the big banners, e.g: ‘financial services’, there’s actually an enormous variety of creative and logical IT careers that aren’t ‘geeky’. 2. If you’re unsure what to do after school or University, follow your passion. Looking back I wouldn’t change my degree to do a typically ‘STEM’ degree. You can still secure a STEM career even without being certain you’ll end up there. Geography was good as it was a broad mix of analysis, creativity and logic.” 3. Good qualifications can open up a world of opportunities. Hiring managers shouldn’t only look for typical STEM careers. What’s important is the high-end logic that can be transferred into a role. 4. Take time to understand what it is you’re looking for in a career. I now know what the key attributes a role needs to offer to be right for me; I need to feel part of a team to share collaborative energy. There have been points during my career where I felt ‘I must be rubbish’ but that was before I learned that I wasn’t going to be good at every role, and some may not be a great fit for me. 5. Take some risks. Sometimes it can be healthy to step into a job where you don’t know it all, as it could lead to some of your biggest learnings: don’t be afraid of failure. “Since I have been seeing Rowena, I have really changed my approach. Rather than plan to do something in 5 years’ time, Rowena has helped me to understand that there is nothing stopping me from achieving those goals today – except my own limiting beliefs.” Lisa, Operational Performance Lead
Grant Thornton Select is a new way for ACA, ACCA or CIMA qualified accountants to work on stimulating projects on an interim or project basis whilst benefitting from the training, development and support of one of the UK’s top accountancy firms. With the help of 2to3days, the firm has recently launched the scheme to attract a large team of working mothers and others wishing to work on short to medium-term client projects whilst leaving time for family, school holidays or other commitments between assignments. The idea is the brainchild of Grant Thornton Director Emma Davies who leads this new network of interim accountants from the organisation’s Sheffield office. 2to3days’ Julie Kangisser caught up with her to find out more. How did the idea for Grant Thornton Select arise? Over the past six years, I’ve led a Special Projects team, sending our Grant Thornton team members into fascinating interim or project roles with clients. I’ve done these sorts of immersive stints in the past myself for a number of companies including General Electric and a fast-growth business looking to restructure its in-house finance team. These briefs always arise out of change, transition or growth. In today’s rapidly changing business world we are increasingly asked to provide interim support. But Grant Thornton does not have enough people in the Special Projects core team to proactively seek out this work and that’s where Grant Thornton Select comes in. I’m proud that we’re the first professional services firm in the UK to develop this innovative and flexible model. I’m passionate that mothers should have the same opportunities to do stimulating work as everybody else. As a working mother myself, I understand that on-off working holds huge appeal for many ambitious mothers looking to have both a fast-paced career and plenty of quality time with their children. The Grant Thornton Select scheme has been widely supported throughout the firm. Grant Thornton’s culture is set from the top by our inspirational CEO Sacha Romanovitch, herself a working mother of two, who is pioneering an inclusive and diverse workplace culture in a sector that is often regarded as behind the curve in this regard. This is reflected in our inclusion in the National Association for Female Executives’ Top Companies for Executive Women for four years running and in Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies for eleven consecutive years. The market is responding really positively to the lead we are taking. Tell us your own tips for flexible working in a fast-paced professional services firm? I fit work around my life and not the other way round. Many mothers think they have to pretend that they don’t have a family but I say “be yourself and bring your whole self to work”. I have to be very organised and also accept that I can’t do everything exactly as I did before having my son - but there are usually great alternatives. Gone are the days of networking drinks in the evening, but now I meet people for breakfast or over lunch and get the same if not better outcomes. I used to struggle to say no to anything but now I find that if you set reasonable boundaries people respect you for it. I’m also better at delegating than I used to be! Are there limits to the types of flexibility that can be accommodated? Meeting our clients’ business needs is paramount so it’s a case of what works well for them. Although any arrangement could be possible, I think that most of our clients would be comfortable with contractors working 4-day weeks and taking time off during school holidays as part of their annual leave plans. Short to medium term projects can allow our Select team members to earn good money for part of the year and then take several months off to pursue other priorities or take extended summer holidays, for example. Working school hours only is likely to be unfeasible for many clients, although many are flexible with start and finish times. Although I usually work more out of Grant Thornton’s offices rather than client-side on a day-to-day basis, a red line that I won’t cross is being able to drop off my son at school every morning and collect him from after-school club at 5.45. This pattern fits largely into a standard working day and, if needed, I am happy to pick up a few additional tasks in the evening. What makes a brilliant contract finance professional? Someone who thrives on variety and challenge and who is a self-starter. Whether acting alone or within a small Grant Thornton Select team, our interims need to rapidly understand their client’s business and operating environment and how to get to an end goal quickly. Of course, they are doing this with all the support of Grant Thornton behind them. One of our newest Select members was struggling to fit a full-time Finance Director role around her family life but she is delighted to work intensely for several months and then take time off. Other members have taken career breaks to raise children and this is an ideal way for them to return to work and have the best of both worlds. What are the best things about hiring working mothers? It may surprise you, but one of the top assets working mothers bring is their good life perspective and their ability to recognise that there is more to life than work. I know from my own set-up that we need to be super-organised which means we naturally prioritise well and don’t waste time on unnecessary or inefficient work. What support will I receive as a member of Grant Thornton Select? We have done lots of research into the challenges of being a totally independent contractor and the top concerns were loneliness, the difficulty of finding work and the lack of career development support. That’s why community is at the core of Grant Thornton Select. Our interims and core staff team are encouraged to connect and share with each other, much as you do in the 2to3days community. We’re working on an internal social network to facilitate this knowledge transfer. Our interims will have access, at no cost, to a vast array of our CPD courses and soft-skills training as well as weekly check-ins with a colleague at Grant Thornton whilst out on assignment. We’re also organising monthly social events such as drinks or lunches to eliminate the isolation factor of contracting. The support we offer to all our staff, including the Select team, fits into our wider company purpose of shaping a vibrant economy by connecting people so that people and places can thrive. Have you met any resistance to the idea from clients? Quite the reverse. So long as they are getting the right person, clients don’t get hung up on whether that person has other facets to their life outside of work. It actually makes them more ‘normal’ and appealing as a colleague. They also know that they are getting more experienced people than they might otherwise attract directly. To embark on interim work, most of the Grant Thornton Select team have amassed years of experience and a degree of financial security. In addition, clients know that all Grant Thornton Select staff have been through a rigorous application process and benefit from ongoing support and quality control from Grant Thornton.
Have you recently returned to work, or are you planning to soon? Does the prospect of continuing in the same career you had before the kids came along fill you with joy or trepidation? Whilst many mothers relish the chance to jump back onto the same career track, perhaps you’re considering your options. What do you do if your old career isn’t entirely compatible with family commitments – such as hours that don’t work around childcare? Or, if you’ve been out of the market for a while perhaps the business or technological landscape makes the prospect of returning to your old profession either daunting or unappealing. Necessity is the mother of reinvention Working out what to do next can feel tricky. To help you Corinne Mills, a highly experienced career coach, has put together five ways to navigate this and get the right career for you. What needs to change? It was Einstein who supposedly said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It's important to think carefully about what you want to be different in the future, otherwise, there is a danger that you could replicate your situation. Make a list of your priorities, including practical considerations, such as pay and commute time, the type of work you want to focus on and the environment. Which are non-negotiable and which could you compromise on? Have this list to hand as you look at jobs. Think about whether a complete career change is needed. Sometimes this process can remind you of the things you like about your current job, so it may be worth exploring whether you can improve things where you are, rather than moving on. Take a wide view of your options There are always more options available to you than you think. Ask people you know for their ideas about what they think could be a good fit for you. Look at different job profiles on the National Careers Service website, consult a career coach and browse LinkedIn to find people who work in the types of roles you are interested in, and see how they describe their job, and the career path they took to get there. When it comes to searching for jobs keep your search options broad – on 2to3days.com you can select up to 10 industry sectors and 5 departments to ensure you’re not missing out on the perfect role. Close the skills gaps Be realistic about the gaps that separate you from those who are already working in the roles you are interested in, and close as many of them as you can by acquiring the relevant skills, knowledge and any qualifications you need. Think about whether a lateral move within your organisation or voluntary work experience could also take you closer to where you want to be. It's also worth considering temporary work as another route into organisations you are interested in. Professional associations are also helpful for those who are new to the field. Many offer training, speaker events and publications to keep you up to date with industry issues and encourage networking. Focus on your transferable skills A functional CV format, where you use the first page to highlight relevant skills and experience drawn from your entire career history, tends to work better for career changers as they enable you to focus on your transferable skills. This is useful for any prospective employers that are wary about career changers. Luckily, employers on 2to3days are open to all sorts of career paths, that’s why they’re drawn to the site. Avoid getting into lengthy personal justifications for your career change as these often raise more questions for the employer than they answer. Instead, position your career to date as one of natural progression as you discovered more about the things you were good at and enjoyed. Stand out from the crowd Typically, jobs advertised on 2to3days.com attract on average 12 applications but it can be as high as 50+, including some who may be a more obvious fit for the job than you. Stand out from the crowd by demonstrating that you are up to speed with the challenges and trends in the sector; how technology, impending regulation or even Brexit might impact on the role. Craft an original and enticing approach to a recruiter to avoid being put in the rejects pile with the other proforma cover letters. Whatever you do, don’t hold back from applying for jobs – you’ve got to be in it to win it. Worst case, the application and interview process will help you to refine your job search strategy. Best of luck. See what jobs are available on 2to3days now! Corinne Mills is Managing Director of Personal Career Management.