APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady answers your careers questions and meets an inspirational CEO.

Here she gives a reader advice on how to feel confident and champion yourself without looking like you're blowing your own trumpet.

Q) I love watching The Apprentice, both for entertainment and to try to learn more about business.

While I find myself rolling my eyes at some of the more ridiculous things the candidates say, I’m always impressed by how confident and sure of their abilities most of them seem to be. This is something I struggle with.

I hate blowing my own trumpet, and end up making projects I’ve been responsible for sound like they were nothing to do with me. Do you have any tips on how to own my successes?

Clare, via email


Karren Brady’s career advice on taking a big risk to start working for yourself

Karren Brady’s career advice on asking for a raise in a salaried job

A) No candidate on The Apprentice has ever been shy about sharing their successes! Championing yourself isn’t about being arrogant, it’s about being assertive.

If you want other people to see your worth, you need to learn how to advocate for yourself, as nobody else will do it for you. It’s helpful to remind yourself that great businesses have great staff – and they want to keep their rising stars.

So it’s really important that you understand your worth and your contribution, stay enthusiastic and make sure people know about it. Championing yourself is also about how you communicate.

Don’t expect to be congratulated or praised if you say to your boss: “I’ve been so busy this week, I’ve worked until 8pm every night.”

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Working long days doesn’t necessarily show that you’re contributing remarkable things to the organisation; it could actually mean that you’re inefficient and have bad time management.

If, however, you tell your boss that you’ve had a fantastic week, you’ve done X, Y and Z, and you’ve exceeded your target, they will likely take note, because you’ve given them tangible evidence of your commitment and value. 


Jodie Robertson, 40, runs Designer Travel in south-west London, where she lives with her design business owner husband Roddy, 41, and son Riley, eight.

I wake up at…

6.30am. I spend 10 minutes in bed with a coffee, then I’m into go, go, go mode. I respond to emails first thing, then get myself and Riley ready at 7am.

After taking him to school, I either have a quick walk through the park or do a spin class.

Since accepting voluntary redundancy from my financial services role and setting up Designer Travel – a high-end travel agency specialising in bespoke holidays – in October 2020, I’ve found that I miss commuting and getting my heart rate going!

A normal day involves…

I’m at my desk for 9.30am to go through more emails, usually handling queries from customers and responding to tour operators. Finalising the minutiae of a holiday requires a lot of back and forth.

I often meet tour operators and industry contacts and have regular coffee catch-ups with hotel operators. Likewise, many customers prefer face-to-face interaction to plan the holiday of a lifetime. I also have weekly calls with my team to run through industry news and updates.

Every night, I write lists of what I need to do the next day, which helps me mentally. Three days a week, I pick Riley up from after-school clubs at 4.30pm, and 3pm on the other days.

If I’ve got customers who are currently staying at a resort, I check emails and WhatsApp in the evening to ensure I haven’t missed any requests.

The best part of my job is…

I’m away for a few nights every three months on familiarisation trips, where I visit places with a tour guide and other travel agents.

Last October in Cappadocia, Turkey, I flew in a hot-air balloon with 149 other balloons and got very emotional thinking about how lucky I am to have found a career I love!

And the worst…

Sadly, work trips aren’t with the family. Roddy is very supportive, but I’d love to have him and Riley with me when I travel.

I wind down by…

Putting my phone away and enjoying reality TV, then a book before bed. I used to have sleep issues until I learned that being away from a screen before bed makes a huge difference.

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