Archive for July, 2013

Keeping your CV safe online

With the recent news that the Guardian jobs website was hacked, the theft of 4.5 million users’ personal details from the website, and with identity fraud on the increase,  what can you do to safeguard your online CV?

According to the Metropolitan Police, 93% of CVs posted online contain enough information for criminals to steal your identity. This information could then be used to take out credit cards and loans in your name, acess your accounts, seriously affect your credit rating and even gain a passport in your name!

Here are some top tips:

  • Make sure the site you are posting to is genuine as some bogus ones have been set up purely to collect CV data.  Research online the site’s reputation.
  • Be wary of those emails you get out of the blue suggesting you for an interview (particularly in a field that is not your skill set), and that request further personal detail.
  • Check that anyone you respond to with further information has a company domain name in their email address and not a host server address.

On your CV:

DO NOT put the following information online. A prospective employer will be able to assess if you have the correct experience for the job without it.

  • Full address. Leave off your house number and road
  • Your middle name
  • Your marital status
  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your date of birth/ place of birth (the Age Discrimination Act means that you don’t have to include this information)
  • Driving licence number
  • Bank details (obviously!)
  • Make sure you have a separate email address for job hunting. Get one free from sites such as Yahoo or Hotmail
  • Do not put names and addresses of any references. They will not thank you if their ID gets stolen! Simply write “References available on request”

In addition:

  • Do not put similiarly sensitive info on Facebook or other networking sites.
  • Deactivate any online CVs when you are not job hunting or if you do not use that job site any more.
  • Make a notes of all those places that you have applied to with your personal information online, just in case.
  • If you are applying directly to a company or via an email received, then have a look on the Companies House website ( to check they are legitimate.
  • Ensure that you regularly change your jobs’ website passwords and have up to date anti-virus/security software on your laptop or PC.

How comfortable are you posting your CV online with the recent security breaches? Please leave a comment and let me know.


How to use twitter for job hunting

Whilst many people believe that Twitter is simply for sharing the latest celeb news or their daily goings on, more and more savvy career minded men and women are using it as an effective and proactive job-hunting tool.

Not convinced?  Well according to Twitter itself, in 2012 there were nearly 300 million mentions of job, job openings and hiring opportunities through its network.  Proof that if you’re looking for work or a change in career, getting your profile right on Twitter could just open up that door to your dream job.

So just how do you go about using Twitter for job hunting, and what can you do to get yourself in the shop window?  Check out our ‘must do’ actions for gearing your Twitter profile up to the job market.

Choose Your Handle and Headshot Carefully

Your profile photo and Twitter handle (username) should be personal yet professional.  Play it safe and use your name or if you are freelancing and looking for work use your company name or blog title.  Offensive usernames will get you no friends and interest from the wrong people.  A headshot doesn’t have to be professional either.  Your photo should be clear and in focus.  You in the pub on a Friday night isn’t going to set off the best impression with perspective employers or clients.

Create Your 160 Character Profile

You’d be surprised at the amount of Twitter users who don’t complete their character bio.  By not doing this it’s a bit like going to a job fair and standing in the corner of the room and not introducing yourself.  Whilst you only have 160 characters make sure you cover the essentials: what do you currently do and what fields of industry you work in.  If you’re freelancing be quirky and try to include links to any online portfolio work.  If you want to be crafty use URL shorteners like to shorten those long URL’s and save vital characters.

Get Tweeting

Just don’t sit there waiting for the world to come to you; start composing some tweets about you, what you do.  If you’ve got online portfolios or professional resumes then post out some links to them.  If someone engages with you don’t jump straight into ‘job hunting’ mode; get to know them and their industry and you might just find out about an opening.  Keep your tweets down to 2 – 3 a day and try not to flood people over and over again with interactions.

Get Searching

Be clever and use twitter hash-tag search feature to find key conversations about job openings.  By keying in tags like #recruitment #ukjobs #ukjobsearch #socialmediajobs #neet #cambridgejobs you will find conversations you can join in with and people to reach out and interact with that could be your first foot in the door to a new career path or the ultimate freelance project.

Also check out Twitter Job Search t ofind out local jobs by discipline in your area.

Ultimately, Twitter can be a killer job-hunting tool that if used correctly will boost and enhance your job search skills in the crowded marketplace.


Guest blog: Mistakes to avoid at interview


Guest blog from Debbie Gingell, Career Coach at Leg Up Careers

Mistakes to avoid at interview:

 Never, speak negatively about yourself, a previous job or a previous boss! Never say ‘unfortunately’. Keep everything positive!

 Talk too fast or too soon! It is absolutely fine for you to pause and gather your thoughts before you answer

 Overloading the perfume or aftershave

 Being late!

 Don’t forget to smile!!

 Don’t forget to acknowledge the receptionist and any other potential colleagues on arrival and when you leave!

Finish the interview in a positive manner. If you really want the job don’t be afraid to say so before you leave the room. Thank the interviewers and ask what the next stage might be and when you are likely to hear if you have been successful.

Other questions often asked at interview:

  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What has been your biggest challenge to date?
  • What do you know about what we do here?
  • How would your former colleagues describe you?
  • What has been your biggest failure?
  • What do you look for in a job?
  • Describe what you believe is an ideal working environment
  • How could you improve yourself?
  • What are some of things you want to avoid in your next job and why?
  • How did you feel about your last job?
  • What motivates you?
  • What contribution do you make to a team?

It is baffling but very occasionally, interviewers will insist on asking a silly question. For example: “If you were an animal, what would you be? There is no right or wrong answer… it is just the interviewer’s way of seeing you think on your feet or deal with the unexpected.

About Debbie Gingell:

Throughout my career, I have worked with people from a variety of backgrounds including: students, senior business executives, refugees, mums returning to work, ex-offenders and long term unemployed. I have worked hard to support people who need to secure their first/next job or University place and genuinely love what I do!

We are all unique individuals and I believe that it is important for us to secure the right job because it can lead to a sense of worth and personal satisfaction. My freelance work involves professional CV writing and career coaching for the Times Education Careers Department in London. Providing local and on line career advice and support via Leg up careers, and working with students at an Independent School in Cambridge, supporting students with their University applications and career decisions.

I am extremely committed to helping people to overcome barriers to employment so that they can move forwards and become more successful!

Feel free to email me on: or visit


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