It’s safe to say Karren Brady, star of BBC’s The Apprentice, knows a thing or two about crafting a successful career. With ambition and determination, Karren’s roles in football, publishing and leadership have seen her rise to the top to become one of Britain’s most recognisable and respected business figures.
As part of our exclusive Chancellor's Lecture Series, Karren visited Nottingham to deliver an inspirational lecture to our students and alumni, and we asked her to share her top tips on how to get ahead and make your mark in the professional world. Here’s what she told us:
It starts with your CV
If you want to stand out in the job market, start with your CV. Anything that sets you apart is really important. You have to be able to articulate what you want and why you want to do it. Remember too that being confident is vital.
Do your research
Doing your research is key. It’s important to make it relevant to the job you’re applying for – that’s what I look for. I tell job candidates they can ask me anything they want and I will ask them two questions, and at the end of those questions the interview will either be over or we’ll carry on. Those questions are: “tell me something about my business I don’t know” and “tell me how you’ll fit in”.
Let your core values guide you
When I left school all I had was what I call my core values – the principles that I believed in and things that made me who I was. These are the values that underpin my life and they are my guide. I have determination and a great deal of enthusiasm – it’s what I look for when I employ people. It doesn’t matter what qualifications they’ve got - I look at their enthusiasm because people do business with people so having a personality and being able to communicate is so valuable.
Be prepared to work hard
I worked hard, I took risks and I stepped outside my comfort zone. I was the first person to arrive at work and I was the last to leave. If someone asked how to do something I would put my hand up even though I had no idea what it was. That’s how you get on – you have to be tenacious.
An entrepreneur is not afraid to learn their skills on the job and build, develop, diversify and maximise. Business is all about finding that really fine line that you walk between risk and reward – finding it, walking it and driving it are the things that keep you motivated.
Take hold of opportunities
Experience has taught me that opportunities will always come along, you just have to open your eyes to see them, you have to have the energy to grab them and do it. There’s nothing worse than not giving it a go in the first place.
Be the best you can be and don’t give up
If you don’t champion your career no-one is going to do it for you. If you don’t find the path to success, no-one will find it for you and no-one will work hard for you – only you can achieve the kind of things you want to achieve.
Before you become successful you will suffer defeat and failure but it’s what you do at that point which is the measure of who you really are.
Challenges are just testing how good you are.
Posted on Wednesday 18th October 2017