How to start afresh in the new year and put yourself forward for opportunities

Happy New Year, wooden blocks, 2021, 2022

With 2022 on the horizon many people have already started thinking about what they want to accomplish in the forthcoming year, whether that’s personal or professional.

So when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve it marks a fresh start for all of us.

Recruitment companies claim that between 25% to 50% of us look for jobs in the New Year. What we can be certain of though is that because many businesses have adopted hybrid or remote working, location is less of a factor than it used to be. Today, there has never been such an array of accessible opportunities out there.

With that in mind, we sat down with Jo Shannon, Director of Technology and Design at Ordnance Survey, to discuss the New Year, starting afresh and putting yourself forward for opportunities.

New Year is definitely a reflective time of year for people, which no doubt leads them towards a ‘new year, new you’ job hunt, but Jo believes there is never a perfect time to pursue a career change: “I think that women can be guilty of analysis paralysis and think that everything needs to be perfect. But in reality there is never a perfect time to change industry or start a new job.

“I’m aware this is a bit of a cliché, but I think it’s particularly pertinent in this case: It’s very rare that you regret the things you do do, rather than the things you don’t do. So if you’re looking for a change just do it, no matter what time of year it is!” comments Jo.

With women making up only 17% of the tech workforce, Jo would love to see more of her compatriots move into the tech industry. “I strongly believe tech is an accessible industry that doesn’t have as many barriers as other professions, and there are so many opportunities for women.”

Jo continued, “If you have a curious mind and are willing to problem solve then you already possess the fundamentals.

“It’s also not age limited or qualification dependant, you don’t need a degree for example, you just have to know yourself.

“We’re always looking for talented individuals at OS and people have come to us from various backgrounds with no tech experience, like the Police or the military.

“One of our most talented engineers at OS had never written a line of code in her life before joining our training programme.”

When it comes to new opportunities, Jo believes you should take time to consider what ladder you want to climb, whether that’s a leadership route or a technical route.

Jo adds, “As a leader you don’t always need to be smartest person in the room, and you certainly don’t have to have all the answers. Be vulnerable and be human, because if you are, this will help build better connections with your team which will lead to better results. I think this is a strength that many women hold already.

“If you’re pursuing a technical route immerse yourself in it and let everyone know that that is the area you are focussed on.

“These are two completely different tracks, and you don’t have to be good at both to succeed in this industry.”

There is never a perfect time to look for a new role, tech is an accessible industry for women and you can’t climb any old ladder, but what sort of organisation should you aspire to join? “I would of course urge them to join OS! But in all seriousness, look to join a company that shares the same values as you.

“If you join one that values aptitude, gives you room to grow and develop as well as supporting you, then it will be hard to think of a more fruitful New Year’s resolution,” concluded Jo.