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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

National Careers Week: top tips from our North West board


Our North West Board give their top career tips as part of CIH Careers Week.

Sheena McDonnell, Sheena McDonnell Consultancy

Having CIH membership is a clear signal to employers that you are passionate and knowledgeable about housing and you are interested in your own development. Passion, knowledge and a desire for learning are what forward thinking organisations are seeking out.

Kate Henderson, Riverside Housing

Find yourself a mentor! A mentor can be invaluable in providing guidance and support in your career and also help with networking opportunities. CIH has a mentoring scheme for its members, with some really respected sector professionals available as mentors.

Become a leader! You don’t need to be a director or chief executive to be a leader. Anyone at any level can demonstrate leadership abilities by being a positive influence in their organisation; supporting colleagues; and striving for the best services.

Maggie Shannon, Skyline Management Consultancy

Hands up! Volunteer for special projects, secondments, working groups, new initiatives. This can extend to opportunities outside work, such as community and charity events. It will give you new experiences and skills, get you noticed and add to your CV.

Keep learning. Be curious, ask questions, seek out new ideas and different people. Being a member of the CIH gives you access to webinars, free training and events, and will widen your network. Set yourself a goal of learning something new every day!

Amanda O’Donnell, Liverpool Mutual Homes

Few candidates meet all the advertised job requirements – if you can tick half the boxes just go for it.

If you are holding back from progressing because the next role looks too big or too difficult; remember that your current role looked like that before you did it.

Andrew Coady, One Manchester

Network! It can help you with current projects, you can assist others, it will expand your horizons and might lead to your next opportunity.

Helen Reddington, Torus

Work out how you can add value to your role by developing skills and experience that make you stand out from the crowd; this makes you an asset to your current employer and attractive to others when you are looking for career progression.

Angela Forshaw, Liverpool Mutual Homes

Be the best that you can be – pay attention to the detail and always do the job at hand to the best of your ability and you will be noticed, valued and appreciated even though you may not know it at the time - you will sow the seeds of a great reputation that will stand you in good stead as your career progresses.

Julie Marsh, South Liverpool Homes

Always take every opportunity that comes your way, embrace training and be keen to show an interest and ask lots of questions. Do your role with a smile and don’t get involved in office politics

Sue Powell, Sue Powell Consultancy Ltd

Believe in yourself and in what you can achieve.

Don't be frightened to make mistakes, we are all human. When mistakes happen own up, try to put things right and learn from the experience.

Pamela Hewitt, Lancashire County Council

Never stop learning, learn about things outside your role, learn about yourself, take on new challenges and expand your comfort zone wherever possible. Most skills are transferable and being aware of your own learning style, skills and limitations will help you chose the next steps to gather experience. Take control of your own path and learn from others.

Issie Howard, Housing & Care 21

Find a way to say yes to things, come out of your comfort zone and voice your ideas.

When I set out on my housing career, I had a lot of setbacks with interviewers saying “you haven't got enough experience” or ”someone had more skills than you”. I was persistent and tenacious and followed my goal to work in housing. I look back now and think of the knockbacks I received and realise they just weren’t the right roles or organisations for me. Stay driven and follow your goals, it will pay off!

  • For more information on CIH Careers Week click here

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