Karren Brady gives career advice — from getting your dream job to recruiting maternity-leave cover

APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.

Today she helps out someone who is struggling to get promoted and an employee looking for maternity-leave cover.

Q) I graduated five years ago and all my uni friends have high-flying jobs, earn loads of money and constantly get promoted, but my own career seems to have stalled at 27.

I work in the operations department of a small firm and don’t hate my job, but I don’t love it either, and I only earn a few thousand pounds more than I did five years ago as I’ve stayed in the same role.

I search job vacancies online every day, but nothing ever jumps out at me.

I’m struggling to see a way forward – do you have any suggestions?

Hannah, via email

A) It sounds as though you have become complacent in your job and you’re struggling to see a way out.

At 27, you have a lifetime of work ahead of you so you need to feel excited by your future.

It’s easy to compare yourself to your friends‘ success, but stop wasting your energy focusing on what they have, and use it to get what you want!

If you’ve been looking at the same job websites every day with no joy, are you really expecting exciting jobs to suddenly appear?

You need to widen your search and approach it from a new angle.

What would your dream job be? Who would be your ideal employer?

Make sure you have an up-to-date CV and LinkedIn page and get networking.

Look up your target companies’ HR/talent managers and get in touch

Write an introductory email explaining what you have to offer and what you admire about their company, then ask if they could let you know if any opportunities come up.

Even if you don’t have direct experience in their industry, I’m sure you have the transferable skills to quickly learn. Good luck!

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It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you!

Read more at Thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.

Q) I’m in my mid-30s and normally confident and good at my job.

However, I told my boss I was pregnant a couple of weeks ago and his reaction was to roll his eyes, sigh and tell me what a nightmare it is recruiting maternity-leave cover.

Since then I’ve felt like he’s been singling me out and is always on my back, despite never having had an issue with my performance before.

I’m starting to question my own abilities, plus I have some antenatal appointments coming up and I’m scared of his reaction when I tell him I need the time off. Have you got any advice?

Eve, via email

A) First of all, congratulations!

Of all my job titles, “working mother” is the one I’m most proud of.

We’ve come a long way from the days where pregnancy was considered an illness and mothers never returned to work, and it sounds like your boss needs to wake up! 

If you are delivering work on time to the expected standard, you need to address his change in behaviour towards you.

I’d start by asking him to make clear what your objectives are and agree these in writing.

If he continues to question your work and is singling you out for your performance, speak to HR.

They can support you and educate your manager on what’s expected of him.

The most important thing is you and your baby’s health.

You have legal rights while pregnant, which protect you from unfair treatment and give you time off for antenatal appointments.

Compiled by: Claire Frost

Karren can not answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.

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