All posts by opendoortraining

February Blog

#Lovemywork#

I regularly use the above hashtag when I post updates on my Linkedin page.  Why?

Quite simply, I have come to know some remarkable people.  Every client has a different tale to tell – different skill sets, ambitions and goals.  My work is to create order and to get their ‘ducks in a row’.   My work with the client is from day one to get them to think differently and then they will act differently.  The acting differently achieves the results.   Not just in the number of job interviews and job offers [of course these are important] – the inner goals and dreams are the most precious part of my work.  Encouraging them to pursue their dreams and formulating the plans to turn the aspirations into actions is why I love my work.

Many years ago I was working with a client in Gosport, Hampshire.  He told me that ‘for the first time in my life – I am a person not a number’.  His comment made a deep impression on me.  The premise of my work has since I began Open Door Training been a simple one: Opening the door – both into employment and into a brighter future.

In the past I have worked with clients across the academic and professional spectrum.  Lone parents returning to work, long term unemployed, young people not in education or training, people on health benefits.  I have worked in some of the most deprived parts of the United Kingdom and the most affluent.  [Port Talbot, Newport, Bristol, South and West Yorkshire, Hampshire, Avon, Kent and London are just some of the locations].

A common thread is shared by all.  Loss of hope and zero self-belief.  The skills I accrued in over 10 years’ consultancy work supporting the hardest to help and the organisations that work with them – have been adapted for my work with the military and ex-military community.

The combination of aptitude and attitude has achieved some astonishing results.  Multiple job offers are not unusual.  As they grow in confidence so do their level of aspiration.  I stand at the side of ‘their stage’ smiling broadly and try to mask the lump in my throat.

I wanted to phone you yesterday but didn’t want to be rude. I was finding it difficult to get into the IT sector and decided to change my focus to sales. After two interviews this week I accepted the second offer and I’m going to Kuwait! I just wanted to say thank you so much as if it wasn’t for my CV I wouldn’t have been accepted for this life changing opportunity. I will forever be indepted to you and I will always be available if you need anything from me. Once again, thank you so much Kerry.

The above note was sent to me a couple of weeks ago on LinkedIn.  The client in question was a former Royal Marine Commando.

No other comment required.

#Lovemywork#

January Blog

Fill in the Blanks

Happy xxx Year

Xxx Beginnings

Xxx Look

Brave xxx World

Xxx Year Resolutions

 

This is the time of year when we look back at the old year and see a new year beckoning.  Full of possibilities.  I have always told my clients that this is the time of year when they need to look at their CV.  Give it a ‘spring clean’.  Review the content, decide what information is still relevant [or not].  The task is not onerous.  Put the kettle on [those that know me will be smiling at that comment] and spend no more than 3 minutes reviewing your CV with cold eyes.  Pen in hand, mug of tea in another.

Why you may be asking?  It is important to give your CV a ‘health check’.  It is a record of your work. [Present and past].  Mark on the CV skills you have learned in the last 12 months, increased responsibilities at work [promotions and so on], CPD activities, new career highlights etc.

When you have done all of the above, put the day’s date in the top left hand corner and make a note to yourself to update the CV,  the first week of January.  If you don’t already do so, keep a paper copy of your CVs on file. With the year marked in red in the top right hand corner. Inevitably they will in years ahead, be viewed as a resource for meandering down Memory Lane/Amnesia Ave.  Which is fine!

An updated CV is a resource.  Not only for job applications but as a ‘marker’ of your progress.  It is a record that you use as an aide-memoire when preparing for Performance Review Meetings, promotion boards and last and certainly not least a way of checking salary levels.

I have saved my favourite saying for now.

New Year New You.

The 3 minutes you spend reviewing your CV is the first step.  Small steps at the beginning of a longer journey.

Finally, in 2018, my military or ex-mil CV clients accrued 379 job interviews, 153 job offers and 74 started new jobs.  The interviews are already trickling in for January.

December Blog

I love words – correction I love words with attitude. Words that make you smile, words that make you think and reflect, words that inspire – ease your soul and bring forward outbreaks of joy and laughter.

There are many reasons why I love my work. I gain huge personal satisfaction from witnessing the journey my clients take. I tell them from Day One I will get them to think differently and then they will act differently – then the magic begins…… How does this happen? Words spoken with care, words are crafted on a CV and LinkedIn. They leave ‘my care’ with concise clarity of purpose. The journey from an initial 1st draft to the final draft is a challenging one. Intentionally so. The magic bubbles under the surface of all activities. Then the breakout of positivity and confidence as they ‘Get it’. They are empowered. I remain in regular contact with many former military CV clients. I am used as a sounding board for future job applications. Which of course is delightful – but unnecessary.

They all use words with attitude.

This year many ‘Kerryisms’ have entered the Lexicon. Here are some of them

  1. Think aspirin – take away their headache
  2. If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck – it is a ………
  3. Kerry PESTLE – similar to the Management one – but far more fun.
  4. Have you had your banana? If not eat one now.
  5. Have you swilled your mouth out with water?
  6. Homework – not good enough do it again.
  7. Get some colouring pencils.
  8. Spell Checker should be banned
  9. You have ruined my day – your work is excellent.
  10. Kerry guile – courtesy of the SBS.

I will be back in early January with the 2018 stats. I should on paper be astonished. Then I pause and remember the calibre of my clients. Aptitude and attitude in Spades.

November Blog

100 not out.

In 2016, my coaching and mentoring support for the military began with occasional requests for help. The requests initially from people who had served in The Royal Navy or remembered when I worked as a civilian instructor at the Army Education Centre in Bordon Hampshire. However, the work began in earnest in January 2017. This was when I started posting this familiar post on a Sunday:

4 not out’. The number referred to the week in the year.

I cannot remember why I decided to use a cricket metaphor – just very pleased I did. Every week from 1st January through to 31st December 2017, my military and ex-military clients have been ‘opening doors’.

On 1st January 2018, I began again. New Year – new game. Or so I thought…….. 2018 has been illuminating. The number of job interviews, job offers and job starts has been astonishing. A significant majority using their ‘Master CV’ as a guide; for their second, third, fourth, fifth and now their sixth job. There is one former client who had 30 job offers, 10 in one week alone. The job interviews are for diverse employment sectors. None are ‘entry level’ positions. All show skills, knowledge, expertise and quiet visible professionalism. The jobs and the clients I support, are global.

It is wonderful and humbling in equal measure, to see first-hand how the ‘Open Door military family’ supports, guides and engages with each other. The tales are heart-warming. Their work is conducted in the shadows. Intentionally so. Only those that need to know their identity, are aware. The fellowship of mutual trust and respect is invigorating. The alliance has strength and has teeth. The premise is simple: They help me to open doors into new employment.

In addition, they provide guidance on training programmes, generate constructive work experience placements and if appropriate engage directly by phone or face to face with my military client. On Linkedin I refer to them as my alumni.

Collectively, we quietly applaud when doors are opened or when new qualifications have been achieved. The cheers grow louder, when the recent client becomes an alumni and in time becomes a mentor. Last week a member of the Open Door military family used the phrase ‘the golden thread that binds us.’ Poetic and apt.

My military and ex-mil CV clients have confirmed job interviews up to Friday 30th November. [Post written on 22 November].

100 consecutive weeks – since the Game began.

The word ‘Game’ has been chosen with care. They know the rules of this Game. They have worked hard and it shows. To misquote [intentionally] the ‘7 P’s of the Royal Artillery’

Proper prepared preparation prevents pitifully poor performance.

I am incredibly honoured to be their Coach and Mentor. The crafting of a new CV is just the beginning of their journey.

October Blog

First impressions matter.

When working with a military client I explain from their initial contact that it is my intention to ‘get them to think differently and then they will act differently – then the magic begins’.  A bold statement that needs reviewing.

Think differently: I tell them that first impressions matter.  I explain that the information they have on their CV has to have an immediate response.  The door is ‘ajar’ for 6 seconds.  They have a limited time to make a positive first impression.  In those 6 seconds the person [in 96% of cases the first person is Artificial Intelligence], decides if your CV will be read by a suitable Manager.  Every word has to earn its place on the CV.  No waffle, no clichés.

Act differently: From day one of working with me I ensure they act differently.  The regular homework is set for a purpose.  I am preparing them for a first round job interview.

Magic begins: A bold statement certainly but a true one.  The magic begins when they make progress.  Multiple interviews are not uncommon – as are the job offers.  Their self-confidence and visible aptitude are visible.  Both to me and to the Hiring Manager.

 

Since 1st Aug – 26th October my military alumni have accrued:

147 job interviews.  Ranging from an informal ‘chat’ over a cup of coffee through to a 1.5 hour presentation to the Board of Directors.

64 job offers.  Many clients have had multiple job offers.

26 job start dates.

12 work experience start dates

 

I have used the word ‘Magic’.  It is more than that.  It is wonderful.

September Blog

‘This summer has been astonishing for job interviews. What really pleases me is how many of the interviews have been secured for non-advertised vacancies.  Many years ago I was told 80% of jobs are never advertised.   At that time I had no idea if that figure was a random one picked from thin air.  I now realise the information is correct.   This summer [July, August and up to mid-September], my mil and ex-mil CV clients have accrued over 100 job interviews.  Hasten to add this is not 100 individuals but the accumulated figure of first, second and third round interviews.  Of these a comfortable 80% were for jobs not formally advertised.

How come?  They have all done the following/

  1. Network, Network, Network. Have a plan, get yourself known, join appropriate social media groups and of course phone me up and go ‘Kerrrrrrrrry………..’.    This is not an ad-hoc approach.   They have thought with care and put their thoughts into acts.
  2. Research, Research, Research. Take time to get to know the Company you would like to work for.  Do not just rely upon their Company web page.
  3. Make polite contact and show enthusiasm.

It is far better to spend several hours on diligent research than spend the same amount of time sending out hundreds of speculative ‘pebble dash’ emails.  You are wanting to create a good impression so to achieve that you need to plan well.

The above approach works. I am aware of 48 job offers since 1st July.

The company know they have a potential employee who has shown tenacity, enthusiasm, hard work and determination.  The right attitude.  First impressions matter.  My alumni are ‘smashing it’.   I am always proud.

Traditionally, high summer has always been a quiet period.   Not this year and certainly not with the calibre of my mil and ex-mil CV clients.

Although I now have a ‘Pavlovian’ reflex to a curved yellow fruit………’

August’s Blog

Future Plans

When I look back at my career in Education, Training, Recruitment support and Consultancy guidance, the highlights have always been in actions that support the individual.  This is the premise of my work and why my business is named Open Door Training.  Opening doors [short term] as in providing expert support with job seeking and brokering connections [80% of jobs are never advertised].  Opening doors [long term] by guiding for the future.

Since January 2017 my mil and ex mil clients have progressed.  Be it into employment, further training and entrepreneurship.  This has been recorded weekly on my Linkedin page.

A few months ago I noted a pattern.  I was being contacted for advice and support from those still serving in the military, as well as those on their transistion ‘journey’ and beyond.  I have decided with the active support of former clients and Pablo Snow of The Sand Bag Times to have a monthly ‘problem page’ .

‘Ask Kerry’.

I promise to read every problem.  A selection will be chosen to be answered in the ‘Ask Kerry section in the monthly Sand Bag Times.   I must stress that all published information will only be included with the permission of the person concerned.

 

Please send your queries to Kerry@sandbagtimes.com

July’s Blog

Until very recently I would use Linkedin as the main form of sharing information.  However with the new website I am able to share my skills, experiences and knowledge in a longer format.  Sadly I am known for having a butterfly ‘mind’ which is a kind way of saying memo to self: Kerry keep to the point.

I will try very hard not to be side tracked by the joys of owning a cocker spaniel or my daily battles with slugs in my vegetable patch.  Although I suspect the occasional photo will be shared.  When I was an Instructor at an Army Education Centre I overheard the following conversation:  ‘Don’t worry about not doing your homework – distract her by asking how her dog is – works every time.’  Which was and is still sadly true.

My coaching and mentoring support and guidance for the military and ex-military,  has now supported every branch of the Armed Forces.  Some alumni can remember attending classes I ran, all have come to me from word of mouth.  I frequently write the following message at the end of my Linkedin posts: ‘I love my work’.  I certainly do.  I have come to know some remarkable people and made some very dear friends.  I have been with them every step of their journey.  Many using their original CV to gain their third and fourth job.

In June 2018,  clients had 7 job offers and 6 confirmed job starts [between them 27 job interviews].

Every month I will be posting a Blog.  Future content will refer to the collaborative plans being implemented between Open Door Training and The Sand Bag Times.

Watch this space.   Will stop for now.   Bumble is chewing something she really shouldn’t be………..

Open Door July Update

20 Job Interviews

6 Job Offers

4 Confirmed Job Starts