Welcome to the Twenty Fifth bulletin
WISH online - we have workshops scheduled weekly over the coming weeks. Please check the page and register if you're interested.
Activity and skill of the week – Reflective thinking
1. What is reflective thinking?
Reflective thinking is a large topic, with many opinions, books, and articles written by academics. This is an overview, but principle of reflection is very simple and easy to do.
Reflection is often used in education and professional circles, but it can just as easily be used when looking for work. The ability to reflect on your own progress as a Jobseeker, to continue to advance your own knowledge and understanding, and develop new skills are all Important.
As adults we are all responsible for our own personal development, including as a jobseeker, by thinking about what we do well, what we need to improve, and setting our priorities. Reflection therefore plays a crucial role in your learning and improvement towards getting a job.
Successful professionals from all walks of life actively engage in reflective thinking, reflective learning, and reflective practice in their everyday activities. Life experiences such as a marriage, divorce, bereavement, the loss of a job or start of a new career, often act as a prompt for reflection. But how often do you actively engage in reflection for professional development?
‘Reflective thinking’ isn’t a term that is often used. Put simply, it is thinking about and analysing:
what you are currently doing
what you have previously done
what you have experienced
what and how you have learned.
In essence, ‘reflective thinking’ is being aware of one’s own assumptions, knowledge, and experiences. This awareness then allows you to interpret, evolve, learn, and enable effective future planning.
Gibbs’ reflective cycle
Key features of reflection
Reflective thinking needs us to recognise, understand and define the learning from experiences that we bring to each new situation. As the above figure shows, it starts with you choosing things to analyse and focus on. This, in a job-seeking situation is quite straight forward and doesn’t have to rely on feedback from others (although that can of course help a great deal). This can include –
Preparation and planning – did you dedicate enough time to carry out tasks effectively…?
Interviews – review and reflect answers you gave to questions
CVs, letters, and applications – review and critically reflecting on the process and content.
Reflection is not a linear process, but as the diagram shows is a constant process, aimed at consistent improvement and learning.
It leads to the development of new ideas which can be used to plan the next stages of learning. Reflection can also quickly provide you with ideas on prioritising how you spend your time, identifying the main areas for development and improvement (and seek help if needed).
Putting together a simple action plan will also help you to set goals that are achievable for you, based on your own reflection, to improve the skills and qualities identified.
Interview question of the week – What does diversity mean to you?
This is a question that is being asked more and more. As employers seek to improve their own credentials regarding diversity and inclusion, they will expect employees to buy into their goals in this area and agree with the principles behind them.
There are many resources available to help you get a better grip on where the laws and best practice on this topic come from. You can browse through the Equality Act 2010 gov.uk - Equality Act 2010
(or look at the summary on Wikipedia) wikipedia - Equality_Act_2010
or take a look at some of the main union websites or ACAS. https://www.acas.org.uk/equality-and-diversity
What is diversity in the workplace?
Diversity in the workplace is all about creating an inclusive environment, accepting of every individual’s differences, enabling all employees to achieve their full potential and as a result, allowing your business to reach its fullest potential. If you value each person’s differences then you are allowing each person to contribute their unique experiences, which can have an extremely positive impact on work, other employees, motivation, productivity, and customer experience.
Workplace diversity isn’t just an inclusion fad, it’s something most companies are trying to achieve. While it will serve to improve an employer's reputation, there are many more tangible benefits which can impact their bottom line also. So, what are the main benefits of diversity in the workplace?
Different perspectives and innovation - As employees will have different backgrounds and characteristics, it also means that their skills, experiences, and abilities are likely to be different.
Problem-solving and decision-making - Again, because of the different perspectives of teams, individuals can come together, utilising their different perspectives to bring diverse solutions to the table.
Increased employee engagement - Research has shown that employee engagement is heightened through diversity and inclusion, because when employees feel more included, they are automatically more engaged.
Increased employee retention - If you’re operating a diverse workforce, it means you are open to different perspectives and characteristics. And, when employees feel accepted and valued, they are more motivated, will respect you and the business and are far more likely to stay.
Better reputation - An employer’s reputation has a direct impact on its performance and sales and those dedicated to creating and building diversity are viewed in a far more positive way by investors, potential employees, and customers. There is more public awareness than ever of diversity in the workplace and so key stakeholders and potential employees are actively searching for it.
Better understanding of customers - With a diverse workforce in place, a business becomes more of a true representation of society.
When you look at the above benefits, you can see why it’s important for all of us to think about how diversity is handled in the workplace. If you, as a prospective employee, is open minded, positive and engaged in the whole topic of diversity, it will present you in a very positive light.
Application skill of the week – Finding and using key words.
Key words are the words that sit embedded in the person specification or job description of a job which can illustrate what the employer is looking for. By using these same words in your responses show the employer that you have seen them, recognise the importance and have plenty of examples to present the attributes you possess in relation to these key words.
One of the best overviews and explanations of all areas of applications can be found on the website www.how2become.com
Here is their take on the use of key words - how2become - keywords
Resist the temptation to use similar or alternative words to explain the same points, these may be missed by either the person who is reviewing applications, or the software that some companies use. Be obvious with your use of their words, but use them in your own way, using your own examples of your experiences.
CV Library also has some good advice - cv-library - how-use-keywords
Take a look at the employer’s website. Their company values and mission statement will contain phrases and key words that are important to them. You can use these to introduce your own perspective i.e. show you have read, understand, and agree with what they are saying and why.
Online learning – Avail Learning Academy.
SETAS has started a partnership with Avail Learning Academy to offer their short online courses to WISH customers. They are all free to you and cover a wide range of courses. They aren’t accredited qualifications, but they are work-related courses that can be completed quickly and give you additional material to add to your CV and help you build your skills and knowledge.
Please take a look, use the voucher code listed and give me feedback if you do decide to try it out.
We will be doing this on a trial basis, so if it is a success and the feedback is good, we’ll extend.
Click on this link to access the courses - Click here
WEA also have some newly released online courses for you to look at - enrol now to secure a place
Courses designed to increase confidence and resilience and support people through difficult times to get back to work.
How to Bounce Back! Resilience. course code C3745601
Identify strategies to improve your wellbeing. Discover ways to manage your feelings during difficult events. Develop habits that encourage you to feel positive about life. Identify strategies to enhance your social support networks.
Starting Wednesday 30th September 10 weeks, 10am-12pm, £64, or Free if in receipt of benefits. enrol online
Computer Skills for work. course code C3745853
Get started using Microsoft Office 365. Enter and format text/data in Word and Excel. Appreciate layout options, margins, headers/footers, page numbering, alignment, print options etc.
Get to grips with cut, copy and paste and Tables in Word. Understand basic formulae and functions in Excel. Sort and filter data in Excel.
Starting Thursday 2nd October, 8 weeks (No Class 23rd October), 10-11.30am, Cost: £38.40 FREE if in receipt of benefits. enrole online
Get that Job! (50+). course code C3745852
The aim of this course is to support you to develop confidence, identity and self-worth. By planning actions towards your goals you can move forward and learn how to adopt positive behaviours to improve your performance and personal effectiveness.
Tuesday 29th September, 8 weeks, 10.00am-12pm,Cost: £38.40, Free if in receipt of benefits. enrol online
Enrol online or over the telephone on 0300 303 3464 with the course code
Maintaining physical and mental health
Struggling with your weight during lock-down? West Sussex Wellbeing is carrying out a workshop in Thakeham village hall on Monday 21st September - weight-off-workshop
There are loads of other events coming up which are all free and aimed at helping residents to live healthier and more active lives.
Also, the NHS change4life has loads of ideas on how we can all eat and live more healthily - https://www.nhs.uk/change4life
Link to businesses who have jobs with immediate starts available - WISH-live-vacancies
If you would like some one-to-one job searching support, then fill in your details on this link contact-us and we will get in touch.
We are committed to helping you on your journey towards employment so please get in touch if we can help you in any way. It has been great to speak, text or email with many of you over the last couple of weeks and hear how you are getting on.
Richard and Mel
Richard Brooks FIEP - Director.
Mobile - 07783 222956
Office - 01403 627766
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Specialist Employment, Training and Advice Services
Mobile – 07855 634679
Email – email@example.com
SETAS Ltd. Bailey House, 4-10 Barttelot Road, Horsham, RH12 1DQ