In part two of our exclusive interview, Claire Nelson, CEO of Netball Scotland offers advice on how to progress in your career and what you can do to stand out at interview.
Be brave, take a chance and put yourself out there. You’ve got to work hard, prove yourself, and show that you bring something meaningful to the table. No one wants to get rid of someone who delivers value, so make yourself indispensable. Work ethic is critical, be a good person as people want to work with great people, and be really good at what you do. Get that bit right, take chances and create opportunities for yourself. Often unless they tick all the boxes, women in particular don’t put themselves forward, so talk yourself into it and do it, then figure out. There’s a bit of ‘fake it ’til you make it’ but the important thing is to learn quick, think fast and get really good at what you do.
Don’t wait for permission to bring an idea to the table, your employers will celebrate and welcome your ideas. Even if you’re not right, you’ll get good feedback and this will help you. Even though we are in a really difficult place, you can still create your own opportunities, so establish where the gaps are in the market and what people need. You’ve got to be innovative, think what skills do I have and how can I use that to create an opportunity. Approach companies you think you can help and let them know of your idea.
It takes work but there are some real opportunities for us to start to shape different ways of how we work in a digital age, what we deliver, so go out there and don’t be limited by job opportunities, open your mind to being in control of your own destiny. There is funding, grants are available for start-ups and also there are people who will invest. I’m happy to help mentor anyone out there and there are business leaders on LinkedIn who will be happy to help. Just ask, don’t hold yourself back, don’t be your own blocker, more often than not, people will say yes. Be a bit brave, take some leaps of faith – what else have you got to lose in 2020.
Making a difference
I don’t know where it comes from. I wasn’t filled with confidence as young person, I did not have a particularly happy upbringing. I didn’t believe in myself nor did I have people who believed in me; on paper I should be a bit of a broken human. But I have a strong belief that I am privileged to have a spot on this earth, and my job is to make the most of it, so I use every skill to make a positive contribution, make a difference, inspire my children, always driven by a sense of morality. I have my own self-doubt but I am comfortable in my own skin, and I know that I have a voice and platform to inspire other girls and women. I am going to use that.
There are roles out there, so make sure you stand out. Hundreds of people are applying for roles, so tell me about you what it is you will bring to my organisation, list your skills, who are you and what can you bring; otherwise you’ll look like the other 99%. Some people switch off on Zoom, but how you present yourself on video and the energy you give off is still as critical as you would if sitting opposite someone. You’re in the comfort of your own home, make sure you’re professional, pay attention to your backdrop, have notes around you, smile and engage. Use this platform to your advantage.
Inject some personality
If you’re applying for job with me, I want you to have done your homework, so tell me what you are going to do for me. Often there is too much focus on what a person has done elsewhere or what their skills are but they don’t connect it to the role and what they can do for my sport. I really look to see if you want this job and can you tie your skills to helping us on our journey. Do your homework and position how you can help the organisations achieve its objectives. And show me your personality, so be creative and think of how you can demonstrate your unique attributes. We all love a video!
Remember, you’re not alone…
If you’re struggling, reach out. It’s a really difficult moment in time but I’m hopeful that it’s just a moment in time and better days will come. This is an unsustainable way of working and living. It’s hard and all consuming, so if you are feeling overwhelmed, there are many organisations such as Breathing Space or the Samaritans, who will be able to give some coping advice.
A big thank you to Claire and Jessica Mawer of the Strathclyde Sirens for their time and assistance. And to our own Pamela McCulloch for making it happen!
Read part 1 of our interview with Claire Nelson