Category Archives: Job Search Tips and Advice

Top 10 Tips to Ace that Interview

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Job Interview Tips

So you’ve applied for a job and now they have called you for an interview, what next? Well, firstly congratulate yourself on making it through to the interview stage. This isn’t a given and it means the employer has decided you meet all the criteria needed for the role. They were obviously impressed with your application or CV and now they want to meet you in person. However, for many of us an interview is a daunting prospect and it can be difficult to know what to do next. To help you get prepared and aced that interview, here’s our Top 10 Tips to Ace that Interview.

#1: Ask about the Interview

When you are contacted about the interview you will be asked to confirm your attendance. Use this opportunity to ask your contact anything you need to know about the interview. Great things to ask about are; what format the interview will take, who will be on the panel, and do you need to bring anything on the day. This will help you in two ways; firstly the more you know about the process the less nervous you will feel, and secondly the more information you have the better you can prepare.

#2: Do Your Research

One of the biggest mistakes people make at any type of interview is being under prepared. Use everything you know about the role and the interview process to prepare yourself for the day. Good areas to research are; the employer, the area of work, who will be on the interview panel, and the interview format – if you are unfamiliar with it.

#3: Leave Time to Prepare

Every interview is different and depending on the type of role you will need plenty of time to prepare. Don’t leave all your prep to the last minute as you will be selling yourself short. Instead take between 3-5 days to fully prepare, this includes; doing your research, preparing answers, organising something to wear, and arranging transport.

#4: Dress to Impress

Depending on the type of role you are interviewing there may be an expected dress code. It is always worth checking with the HR department of the employer just in case. If there is no dress code then a good rule of thumb is to dress how you would normally dress if you were actually in the job but slightly smarter. So if you are going for a catering job, make sure your hair and clothes are neat and your hands are clean.

#5: Be Presentable

Something that can easily put interviews off is an unwanted odour. It might sound a little harsh, but if someone walks into an interview and they have a strong smell of cigarettes, alcohol or body odour, it can instantly put a panel off. That’s not to say it would ruin your chances completely, but don’t run the risk of a bad smell being the only thing an interviewer can think about.

#6: Rehearse Your Answers

Based on the job description try to think of 5-10 questions you are likely to be asked at the interview, as well as common questions about team work and time management. Think about what you are going to say, and even write your answers down. If you are feeling particularly nervous a great tip is to rehearse you answers out loud with a friend or in front of a mirror.

#7: Think Positively

If you felt a bit surprised that you have even been offered an interview, you might also be thinking that you don’t stand much of a chance of getting the job. Having a negative attitude from the start isn’t going to help with your interview performance. Just remember at an interview everybody has exactly the same opportunity, you have just as much chance of getting the job as any other applicant.

#8: Accept Your Nerves

Most people feel very nervous about interviews, for a lot of people they don’t even know if they will feel nervous or not until they are actually in the interview. Don’t feel embarrassed about your nerves, understand that everyone gets nervous and that employers and interviewers are used to seeing nervous applicants. Instead try to think of ways to minimize your nerves if and when they appear, like making a joke about being nervous, taking deep breaths or drinking some herbal tea.

#9: Always Ask a Question

At the end of almost every interview you will be asked if you have any questions. Always ask at least one question and make it a good one. This question is your chance to add extra value to your interview – plans a few questions to ask before the interview, don’t try to think of one on the spot as you might be too nervous. Ask a question that shows your intelligence and that you have really thought about the role. Avoid asking anything about salary, time off, parking spaces, etc. as it is almost always not the right time to do so.

#10: Arrive Early

Always avoid being late for interviews, its one of the worst things an interviewee can do. Aim to arrive around 20 minutes before the interview time you have been given. Make sure that you have allowed yourself plenty of time to get there and to park or find the building if you don’t already know exactly where you are going.

How to utilise social media in your job search

If you have been relying on Google during your job search and have subsequently struggled to achieve any success, now is the time to try an alternative.

Social media has fast become a part of our everyday lives, which employers, job seekers and recruiters are also making full use of during the recruitment process.

Take a look at the guide below to find out how you should be using social media in order to help you land the job of your dreams.

Social Media Guide

#1 Show yourself off

Almost all employers look at Facebook and Twitter profiles before deciding on whether to interview or hire a candidate. It is important to show your personality and interests on the platforms, while also demonstrating your experience and knowledge. However, finding the right balance is crucial.

While you may love heading out on the town every week, this is something that employers don’t need to see. Think about what posts you would be happy to share with them and edit your privacy settings to prevent potential employers from viewing anything that could deter them from offering you a job or interview.

#2 Take social on the go

Make sure you download apps for the likes of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and set up push notifications. This simple step will allow you to remain aware of any updates or messages from employers that you like or follow, and to keep you in the know of any new positions that become available.

Alternatively, use Tweetdeck so that you are alerted whenever a certain hashtag is used, for example #jobsearch.

#3 Make your personal brand unique

Turning your job search into your own personal brand can help to make your application stand out from the competition.

Begin by inventing a slogan. Think about those used by the likes of Nike and Gillette which get straight to the point and clearly explain what the brand is all about. Yours should be around 5 or 6 words, and work to sum up why you are an ideal candidate. Begin by conjuring up descriptive words that best describe you. Avoid cliché words or phrases such as those highlighted in the guide above. Once you are happy with the slogan, add it to your bio sections on each social platform.

#4 Become a professional for your passions

Blogging has become popular over the past few years, so much so that many employers find candidates with their own blogs far more appealing.

A blog can help you to demonstrate your great passion for your chosen industry, while providing you with something to discuss during interviews as well as a platform to showcases your expertise. The more time you invest in your blog, the more effective it will be. It is recommended that you update your blog at least once a week, with all new posts promoted via links on social platforms.

#5 Last but not least – be patient and don’t lose hope

Incorporating social media into your job search is an extremely effective tool to use during the process, but utilising these platforms to the best of their abilities takes time and effort. While it won’t happen overnight, using social media can help you to build relationships with employers and potential work peers that could last a lifetime.

Author Bio

Rachel Campbell is a content writer for BCL Legal, recruiters specialising in pairing legal candidates with ideal employers, be it in-house or as part of a law firm.

How to write a cover letter

Cover Letter Made Easy – Simple 3 parts cover letter solution

Here is a simple solution to how to write a cover letter without over-complicating it.

A cover letter should be viewed as consisting of 3 parts:

1st Part – Introduction

  • Let the reader know why you are writing the letter
  • Doesn’t need to be long
  • 2 to 3 lines is enough

2nd Part – Explanation

  • Why you are suitable for the job.
  • How do you meet the the job spec and criteria
  • Can be more than one paragraph, two or three paragraphs is fine
  • Can use bullet points, easier to read
  • An explanation of how previous work and life experience, transferable skills and relevant qualifications make you the perfect candidate to fill the vacancy.

3rd Part – Closing statement

  • Thank the employer for the opportunity to apply
  • Availability of interview
  • 2 to 3 lines are enough

Read more about cover letters in our previous article cover letter advice article
Use our editable cover letter template to get you started

How to find a job

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Different ways of applying for a job

Over the past decade the number of ways to search for and find a job has increased tenfold. Finding the right job is something that most of us will have to do several times throughout our lives and, as a result, it is worth keeping up the latest job-searching methods. So whether you are a recent graduate or established in your career, we have gathered some of the most effective tried and tested ways to search for and find a job in this article to help you with your search:

Online Jobsearch

These days most employers advertise their vacancies online either directly or through a recruitment agency. A quick Google search of jobs in your local area will quickly highlight several job-board aggregator websites such as ours that have collected and organised a large portion of all relevant jobs currently being advertised online. The main issue with online search, however, is that sometimes there can be too many results to go through. So it is worth practising this technique, and being selective with your keywords rather than performing a general online search.

Upload Your CV to online CV databases and register for job email alerts

One way to help manage an online job search is to let employers and recruiters come to you. By uploading an electronic copy of your CV to online CV databases and recruitment websites, you will maximize your chances of being approached by companies based on your skills and experience, you can also be headhunted by competitive employers. This is a helpful technique for all job searchers, it is all about matching the right person to the right job. Uploading a CV can be particularly helpful to people already in employment who don’t have as much free time to job search, but are looking to advance their career.

Self-Promote

Whether you’re looking for a permanent position with a company or for freelance and part-time work, promoting yourself in a crowded employer’s market is an absolute must for job searchers. If you have a trade or work-related portfolio, then using the web and social media can be an extremely effective way to encourage employers to approach you, and to create businesses for yourself. Sites like LinkedIn, facebook, pintrest, twitter are an increasingly popular self-promotion and networking tools, which employers actively promote on and also use to ‘check-out’ potential candidates. Spending a little time ensuring that you have an up-to-date and attractive online presence can undoubtedly pay off in the long-run when it comes to getting an interview or securing a job.

Newspapers & Classifieds

With so much technology available to aid job searching, many people overlook some of the most basic and effective tools out there. In nearly every area of the country, local newspapers regularly advertise local and national jobs at all levels. If you are actively job searching, try to get into the routine of checking newspapers and magazines at least once a week, or when the job sections are published.

In Person – Drop your CV off to employers

One thing that many people don’t do as much anymore is to walk around an area on foot with a hard-copy of their CV to hand. This can be a highly successful method of job searching as you might come across employers who are looking for staff but haven’t advertised yet, and by making yourself immediately available you save them the hassle of searching further. Handing out your CV personally can also help present your case as a prospective employee, as you get the chance to make an impression in person which you can’t do over the phone or online. This technique is particularly helpful for job searchers seeking public-facing roles, such as retail outlets or hospitality establishments.

Word of Mouth – Friends and Family

Letting people know that you are actively job searching can be a highly effective way to find and secure a job. If you are just starting out in your career, friends and family might be able to recommend you to perspective employers, or keep their eyes and ears open for potential opportunities on your behalf. Needless to say, if you are already employed and looking to move, you might want to restrict who you tell about your job search, unless you have already fully disclosed your intention to leave to your current employer.

Should Graduates Register with Recruitment Agencies

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Why Graduates Should Register with Recruitment Agencies

For many graduates leaving university and entering the job market is a daunting time. Due to the rising university fees and academic prowess of modern graduates, many students have to rely on part-time casual work while studying, and as such don’t have the time or opportunity to build up significant work related experience while at university.

This is just one reason why registering with a recruitment agency can be key to the successful job search of many graduates across the UK today. Recruitment agencies have in-depth knowledge about a range of different employment areas, often with dedicated personnel and teams to each area. They also have an understanding of each of their employer client’s needs and, therefore, are able to identify which employers have opportunities best suited to new and recent graduates.

While at university, most students are required to focus on academic achievement and assessment. This means that, unfortunately, graduates haven’t invested a great deal of time networking with companies and employers, or developing job search techniques. This is where a recruitment agency can act as a very efficient tool for more inexperienced graduates by utilising employer databases and specialist recruiters.

Whether a graduate is currently working or not can also be a significant reason to use a recruitment agency. Searching and securing your first professional level job can be very time consuming, if a graduate is unemployed then they might be able to commit to several hours of job search a day, however if they are working they might not have enough time. A recruitment agency will carry out the time intensive job search on behalf of the graduate, meaning that they are freed up to work or develop their career in another way.

When searching for their first post-university job, many graduates can get discouraged. If a graduate applies for jobs on their own, they will most likely experience having to apply for a large number of positions directly. This means that they are also quite likely to experience a number of rejections, or even being ignored by employers altogether. This experience can be quite demoralising and make people feel like giving up, and although a recruitment agency can’t guarantee an employer’s interest, they can act as an important filter between the employer and graduate and are often able to give more time and feedback to the applicant.

Finally, there is nothing to lose and much to gain. Registering with a recruitment agency only takes a few minutes and can usually be done over the phone. It is also free to register with almost all recruitment agencies, and they will keep clients on their databases until they are no longer job searching. This means that even if a graduate does not intend to use recruitment agencies as a primary access route to employment, being registered with one or more can significantly enhance their chances of finding and securing a job.

You can search Jobsball recruitment agencies directory to find an agency to register with.

How to dress for an interview

dress-2-impress

How to dress for a job interview

Dressing appropriately for a job interview is essential. Smart attire will present a professional look. Casual or poor scruffy clothing can portray an “I don’t care” and “I’m not bothered” attitude.

Remember: First impressions count.

Interview clothing tips

  • Iron your clothing.
  • Consider wearing something which doesn’t crease easily.
  • Wear smart clothing which looks professional. This will boost your confidence.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. You don’t want to be fidgeting constantly.
  • Prepare your outfit in advance; don’t leave it to the last minute. Wash and iron it a few days before the interview.
  • Clean and polish your shoes.
  • Clean and brush up your hair, you don’t want to look scruffy.
  • Don’t wear inappropriate logos and images.
  • Don’t take inappropriate accessories into the interview.

Dress to impress

A presentable and smart appearance will help you impress the recruiter and show you as a positive and confident person. This can be the difference of how you are treated by the interviewer. Dress to impress and land the job.

Good luck

Social Media Advice for Job Seekers

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Social Media is part of Social life

There is no denying that the ever increasing ease of access to the internet has led to social media becoming a greater part of our social life. Jobseekers need to be careful using social media when applying for jobs to secure employment. Jobseekers need to be wary about their digital footprint; the trail they leave behind on the internet.

Does my online activity help or hinder my employment prospects?

This is an extremely important question which you and every jobseeker in the current job market needs to consider. Recruitment trends indicate that employers are increasingly researching job applicants on social media before making the decision to employ them.

What does your online digital activity say about you? You need to consider whether it is portraying you as a desirable candidate, are you displaying a positive or negative image of yourself on the internet?

As a jobseeker, it is your responsibility to make sure what you leave public for others to view on your online social media accounts such as Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram and Facebook to name a few.

Use Social Media to create a positive impression to land the job

Social media can help you land a job because it gives a recruiter an insight into your

• Personality
• Interests
• Communication skills
• Creativity
• Qualifications

You should engage with people and companies online using social media. This will create a positive impression on any potential employer. There is no harm as long as you remain professional.

Here are some social media tips:

• Don’t use inappropriate language , status updates and pictures
• Don’t create unprofessional user account names (screen names)
• Don’t lie
• Set public and private settings on your accounts
• Remain professional
• Treat online users he same as you would like to be treated

Social media is an extension of your social life. Respect online users as you would if you were to meet them offline. Keep in mind, when you post something online who else might see it. You never know, a professional, polite and engaging online presence may make all the difference!

Good Luck with your job applications.

Job Search Etiquette:

How To Change Jobs & Remain Professional

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Looking for a new job when you’re already employed can be a delicate balance. If you know that you’re ready to make a move there’s often a temptation to get out as soon as possible, particularly if you’ve run into any issues that are causing you to leave. However, burning bridges is never a good idea and when you’re changing jobs, the most important thing is to remain professional. Here are five tips for getting that changeover just right:

  1. Avoid talking negatively.

    When you’re going to interviews with other businesses, avoid talking negatively about the company that you’re leaving. Even if you’ve been badly treated, or you think the listening party might agree with you it doesn’t come across well to talk about hatred or dislike for the job that you’re leaving behind. Most employers will assume that they could also one day be on the receiving end of your vitriol and this will put them off.

 

  1. Don’t discuss your job search on social media.

    It can be very tempting to take to social media, to recount a funny interview or look for sympathy, in a particularly stressful situation but avoid it at all costs. Not only will this alert your current employer to the fact that you’re leaving, but it won’t impress a potential employer who could well be looking at your social media, as part of the interview process.

 

  1. Don’t carry out the job search at work.

    It’s bad etiquette to use work time that you’re being paid for, to look for another job. So, avoid browsing job search websites to look for other positions and definitely don’t start printing off CVs or filling out applications on your current boss’ time. This is not only unprofessional, but is the easiest way to alert your current employer to the fact that you’re looking around.

 

  1. Avoid confiding in colleagues about your job search.

    Work relationships are slightly unusual in that they often remain competitive, no matter how close you might become to those that you work with. It’s never a good idea to tell colleagues that you’re planning to leave as you might just end up confiding in someone who would benefit from passing this information on.

 

  1. Be professional once you’ve handed in your notice.

    You might be tempted to go a bit AWOL, once you’ve handed in your notice, but remember that you will need a reference from your current employer so you need to remain professional at all times. If you find yourself lacking in motivation, or feeling resentful about what might have happened in the past, then focus instead on the exciting new position and the bright future that you have ahead of you.

 

Author bio: Unity Recruitment are specialist recruiters, based in London, focusing on the highway and parking industry, commercial and general admin roles within large businesses. They have years of experience in guiding and advising candidates for a wide range of interviews.

New Year – New Job

New Year New Job

New Years resolution – I’m getting a Job

So Christmas is over, you’ve been to the sales, bagged a bargain and are now looking ahead to the New Year. Wishing a fresh start or a change of career. You’re mulling over your new year resolutions and they include

I’m going to get a job in the New Year

Or

Simple, I need a job, I don’t care what job it is, I’ll take it, I’m working in 2015.

To help you keep the resolution and help in your preparation to bag a job in the new year, we’ve put together some ideas.

Smart Targets

Get clever by setting S.M.A.R.T targets. Think S.M.A.R.T

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound

Specific

You are more likely to find a job by achieving specific goals which you set for yourself. Focus on what you are trying to achieve and how you will accomplish it. What jobs you are actually willing to do and how you apply for them?

Ask yourself

What will the outcome be? What’s suitable?

  • Full time (P/T)
  • Part time (F/T)
  • Flexible hours
  • Type of occupation e.g Retail assistant or warehouse operative

Write down a list of possible job goals

Why am I doing this? Your reasons to work

  • To earn a wage
  • A better life
  • Support my family
  • Go on a holiday abroad

Who should be involved? Its all about networking

  • Recruitment agencies and employers
  • Career advisers and coaches
  • Family and friends

Where will it be? Location, can you and are you willing to relocate?

  • Local
  • National
  • International

Which? Solutions you can employ

Identify the restrictions and limitations, thus enabling you to find solutions to overcome any barriers preventing you from finding work.

Measurable

Each step taken towards finding employment should be measured by establishing some criteria. This is essential to keep you on track.

Ask yourself

  • What is it you intend to achieve? Employment
  • By when? 1st April 2015
  • How will it happen? Creating a CV

So the criteria is:

Create a current CV and buy appropriate clothing for job interviews by 2nd Feb 2015.

By writing a CV to apply for vacancies and having clothing for an interview will you be on course to be hired.

Achievable

How does the dream come true? Is it possible?

Identify the attitudes, skills, abilities, training and finances required to get the job or run a business.

e.g

  • Where can I find the funding for my self employment idea ?
  • Do I need to up-skill and retrain to secure employment?

Realistic

How often in our day to day conversations do we say to someone or think “be realistic”.

Are you applying for the right jobs?

Take advice and feedback from family, friends, businesses and professionals within the recruitment industry.

By thoroughly delving into your skills and experience you can discover the jobs you are capable of doing. Transferable skills are the key to what you can do.

Also remember:

You only get what you put into it, the greater the effort you exert the more likely you are to succeed. Everybody has potential and the sky is the limit. You can retrain and up-skill yourself which will open new avenues into the world of work.

Time-bound

The idea is to stay on track until you succeed. Think of bite size, small steps which lead to the main objective. Create a plan with timely goals

Time-bound goals can be:

  • Short term goal – Create industry specific Cover letters and CV
  • Medium term goals – Complete Digital IT course
  • Long term goals – Get a job

Create an action plan, this can be in the form of a calendar diary system. You can set reminders on your mobile phone using apps, internet diary system such as outlook calendar, a hard back diary purchased from a pound shop or notes stuck on your fridge.

By breaking up big chunks into bite size tasks which then can be completed over set periods will make it easier to find work.

More Ideas

So you’re S.M.A.R.T. Here are some additional ideas which can be part of your SMART goals

Transferable skills

What else can I do?

You may think you’re only capable of doing one or two job roles because all of your past jobs were the same or you have only worked in one industry. The reality is that everybody has a range of skills which can be transferred into a various sectors and many job roles.

When you start searching for a job, read the job specification and you will quickly realise that you already match the criteria. A job title can be misleading.

Subway advertise vacancies for Sandwich Artists, the role involves front of house sandwich preparation and face to face customer services, another employer may word it differently. A call centre operative’s transferable communication skills can be used in face to face advocacy work, sales and retail positions.

Tip: Use spider-grams to unearth your hidden skills. They help you visualise your abilities on paper.

Update and Freshen up your CV and Cover Letter

How old is your CV and Cover letter?

  • Is it months or years?
  • Are they targeted?

You should have multiple versions of your CV and Cover letter which can be quickly edited to target any job role specification. A generic document won’t match the criteria set by the employer. It’s essential you get the recruiter’s attention.

Professional Presence and  Digital footprint

Professional presence is becoming an increasingly important factor in recruitment. HR  professionals are increasingly researching candidates online as part of the sifting process.

Have appropriate email addresses and voicemails. Think about your digital footprint, you’re only on facebook and twitter, what about linkedin? make public what you want them to find and where.

Buy an new outfit, something nice and presentable

Remember: First impressions count.

Mock interview practice

Employers can ask you anything but you should prepare yourself to answer the most commonly asked questions

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What will you bring to our business?
  • Why do you want this job?

Research the companies you apply to.

  • What are their core values?
  • Any company announcements?
  • What’s the latest industry news?
  • What questions are they most likely to ask?

Practice mock interviews will increase your confidence by preparing you for the interview stage

Happy New Year to all our readers