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

'Key to future proofing your career, you need to develop a career strategy'


Nick Griffiths, district manager (East) of Leicester City Council and CIH East Midlands regional board member reflects on what he learnt from the 'Owning your future' event back in April.

'Owning your future' was an event designed to make people think about their careers, and how the Chartered Institute of Housing can help achieve the goals you set.

Carer pathways in housing are many and varied, as set out by the guest speakers. The thing that bound all of the speakers together was the fact that they had all benefited in some way or another by being a member of the CIH.

Mel, Tom, Eden, Cath, Nick and Emma have all had experiences in housing that they shared. Key to their career development was getting the right qualifications through the CIH, continued membership, and then using the networks and knowledge they gained to achieve the next step.

Mentoring is a way of getting someone else to know more about your skills and abilities and for you to really think about your capabilities. Why not give mentoring a go? All CIH members can really benefit from the scheme (one of the top ten benefits of membership) – it has helped a lot of people.

So, what about the wider context of career development? What do people need to do to get where they want to be?

In an excellent Q&A session, Barry Forsyth gave an insight into what employers are looking for, both now and in the future.

Key to future proofing your career, you need to develop a career strategy – think about where or what you want to be doing in three, five, ten years’ time. Be mindful of where the industry is going. There have been changes following the Grenfell tragedy, and the way we work will inevitable change again as the reports and enquires are made public.

Be open to opportunities – one interesting statistic quoted in the day was that male applicants would apply for a job if they met 60% of a job description, whereas female applicants needed to feel sure of 95% of the same job. We work in an open and egalitarian sector – many of my role models in housing have been female, so what is stopping half the population from achieving?

Choose an organisation that fits you at the right time in your career, and don’t be afraid of moving to get on. The days of the “liner” career pathways are long gone. What may seem to some as a “sideways” move, may be the best thing you have ever done as it gives you experiences and outlooks from a different perspective.

Finally, make sure that you network effectively – something the CIH can definitely help you with.

On that note, we were treated to an insight into how using social media can increase your profile and network, presented by Joel Sampson from Resource.

There are a multitude of social media channels and platforms out there – don’t try and do them all, you will fail. Choose the ones that you like and do them really well.

Be personal on the account – your personality decides who you are, there is no real difference between the” professional you” and the “private you” – but there is a caveat, you need to set yourself some rules!. Don’t swear, don’t be racist / sexist or in fact, anything “ist”, keep away from politics (unless you are a politician), don’t insult anyone’s religion, and finally, if you would not say it out loud, don’t put it in public domain on social media.

Use social media to build your professional networks, engage with people, use hashtags to follow engage and participate with events. Learn from others whilst sharing your information, either by re-tweeting or re-sharing things that are of interest to you or by starting the conversation yourself.

A few final thoughts:

  • Be visible – build networks and use them
  • Be aware of the direction of the industry – plan your next steps
  • Be bold – apply for roles which push you
  • Get a mentor
  • Get involved in your own organisation, join project groups, and process reviews etc
  • Share your experiences and knowledge.
Nick Griffiths is the district manager (East) at Leicester City Council and CIH East Midlands regional board member.

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