James Reed is chief executive of Reed – one of the biggest recruitment agencies in the UK – and he has just written a book about building your career.
The company was founded by his father, so one might ask what he can actually say about developing a career, if, from the outside, he seems to have had it so easy.
However, simply having good family connections is not enough to be successful, especially in the cut-throat world of recruitment.
Mr Reed has committed himself to the business and learnt many things about the world of work and careers along the way.
As a consequence, he has written his third book – Life’s Work: 12 Proven Ways to Fast-Track Your Career – about how to build a career you want and that works for you.
It is pitched at all ages; while clearly it is easier to change your career earlier in life than later, Mr Reed by no means writes off older people, saying that companies are looking for energy as much as anything else.
The book starts by telling the reader to look in the mirror, literally, and decide what you want and who you are.
This might sound a bit strange when reading it, and would probably work better in a workshop setting, but he then goes on to tell the reader to be sociable, and go to as many parties as possible.
This does sound somewhat a manual for extroverts, but he helps out subsequently by offering a few conversation openers and reminding readers that networking just takes practice, which builds confidence.
However, after this he gets into his stride, and uses examples from his life and work to help the reader along.
An important point he makes is about which sector you should choose, strongly suggesting those that are ‘fast moving’ so you can be swept along by the ‘current’.
Perhaps somewhat obviously, financial advice does not feature too highly on this list, but instead refers to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, Fintech, green energy and technology.
So even if you are not a trained person, you can still see your career move quickly by becoming a support or marketing professional, for example, in one of these sectors.
Initially in the book, there is less relevance for financial adviser, but then he broadens out into general careers advice: how to be selfish ‘sustainably’, with some basic reminders such as looking after your own health with good diet and good sleep, being prepared, and how to think long term and short term at the same time about your work and career.
The book also talks about getting into some good habits, such as developing a growth mindset, being cheerful and even going to bed early and getting up early.
Preparation is also another key aspect to keep in mind, as is finding someone to learn from, be they older or younger.