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Catherine's story

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Catherine* is a friend from way back. She left full time work in 1998 to have the first of her two children, retrained as a chef with Prue Leith, then set up and ran her own high end catering business for a number of years.

By late 2014 her work had become a 24/7 commitment with limited financial rewards and she had little time or energy left for family life. She started to look around for other opportunities.

A job as PA to the Head Teacher at a local secondary school came up, which really appealed to her. It seemed a good match for her interest in education and children, coupled with her great organisational skills. But her long absence from the job market affected her confidence and she was concerned about how to demonstrate the skills they were looking for.

She contacted me, saying "I've found a job I want to get. Can you help me?" 

The first step was the application, which Catherine drafted and I reviewed and suggested some ways to strengthen it.

Then, despite her misgivings, I encouraged her to take up the option of a tour of the school. First impressions count for a lot! It was an opportunity to find out what they were looking for and ask some of the important questions to test out if it was a good fit, as well as really making a positive impact. And as she came from a different background, it was a chance to demonstrate that she could do the job.

Our next session was a practice interview. An opportunity to rehearse her answers, make mistakes where it doesn't matter and really get clear on the message she wanted to get across.

To her delight, Catherine was shortlisted, with 5 others.

In a further session, we went through the objectives of the assessment processes she would encounter and the way to shine in them. Catherine put in a lot of work to ensure that she was well prepared for her interview. She texted me part way through the initial interview to say she'd blown it!

Despite her concerns about how it had gone, again Catherine was invited back for the final interview - this time one of two candidates. She felt that she was the underdog because the other candidate had directly relevant experience. Yet it was Catherine who secured the job offer!

Six months on, she's thoroughly enjoying her new role and has no regrets about leaving her catering business behind. I bet her clients do though!

This is what Catherine says about working with me:

"I would absolutely recommend Hilary and her services. I approached Hilary to help me get back up to date in job applications and interview skills, after a number of years focusing on my family. Hilary not only did this but somehow quietly encouraged me to have more belief in myself personally as well as professionally.

Hilary was very informative and thought-provoking in our sessions. Hilary's coaching was targeted and focused on the task at hand.

I thought we would have quite a bit of work to do in order to reach my target, but this was extremely quickly achieved.

Without any hesitation, this was money very well spent. Without Hilary's coaching I don't feel I would have achieved what I have and I feel very excited about what lies ahead."

If you've been wanting to make a change in your career and want support to do so, get in touch. I design every programme of support to suit your individual challenges.

*Her name has been changed at her request.



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