Archive for the ‘Careers advice’ Category

How to get the salary you want

In the current period of recession, getting a satisfactory dream job seems closer to impossible. Since there is a crunch in job openings, quite often, one has to make compromise on one aspect or another; be it salary package, working environment or HR. One can not expect everything to go at desired pace.

Furthermore, even if you get a job that caters to your necessities, then there is no guarantee that you will be getting a favourable salary. At times, circumstances arise when candidates usually settle down for a low salary in view of the fact that they may not get a better opportunity next time.

But, folks! Give it a thought once! Don’t you think that when you have successfully cleared an interview and have been selected for a particular profile, then at that very moment, your credibility for that job is justified, whether you are looking for a job in IT as career or healthcare jobs

So, always leave some room for salary negotiations and rest assured that conversations really work. Another question may arise here, on the right way to approach seniors for a good starting package or income hike, if you are an existing employee.  To put an end to all these queries, below compiled is a list of few meaningful tips to get the salary you want. Have a glance!

  1. Realise your Value: Thoroughly evaluate your real worth, by analysing your capabilities, job responsibilities and the designation, you are asked to work from. At no point of time, should you feel that you are being exploited by the employer.For this, you can surf the Web or take opinion from peers about the expected money, usually paid for that job profile.
  1. Leave a Room for Bargaining: Quote a comparatively higher amount, because negotiations are always involved, during interviews. If you ask for a low salary in the very beginning itself, then your chances of getting the desired amount are greatly reduced. For instance, ask around 20% more than the amount you will be ready to settle at.
  1. Lay Emphasis on your Achievements: You must understand that recession period is going on.  If, on one hand, businesses are facing manpower crunch, then, on the other end, they are witnessing an acute shortage of resources to feed their workforce, as well. In such hard times, if you expect to be paid well, you need to validate your worth before the interviewer.Present your skills, qualifications and achievements before them, so that they are bound to hire you and pay well.
  1. Mind your Language: Your tone matters a lot! Choose right words, be gentle and address the employer, as if you are already part of their organization. It gives an impression of involvement, on your part. Keep a check that your language is not insulting, at any point during the course of conversation.
  1. Be Assertive to a limit: Just like in normal routine, nobody is willing to agree, until you give them enough reasons to do so. Therefore, be assertive and convincing at the same time, to substantiate your credibility for the post.

Remember, whether we talk about IT jobs or some other sector, a good job and well paying salary are two sides of a coin and may or may not go hand-in-hand. So, make your choices wisely.

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The Benefits Of Relocating For Your New Job

Times are tough at the moment, right? With high levels of unemployment, the reality of having to move further afield to secure that much wanted job is getting closer by the day. However, this isn’t such a bad thing; in fact, there are a number of benefits to relocating for work.

Regardless of whether you’re seeking employment further away or you’ve been offered a new role at your existing company in a different location, there is plenty to be gained.

Even though the prospect of moving may seem a little daunting, here’s a look at some of the advantages associated with relocating for a new job. Hopefully, this information will provide you with the insights you need to make a logical decision on whether relocating is right for you.

Land your dream role

One of the biggest benefits to relocating is the opportunity to finally get that position you’ve always wanted.

For example, whilst you may enjoy where you live, it might not be the best place for you in terms of getting the job you’ve always dreamt of. This is why a lot of people don’t rule out the possibility of relocating, especially if it means getting to do the job you love the most.

Depending on how strongly you feel about the role, opportunities that are really good might not present themselves in the future. So, if you’ve been holding out for your dream job and the chance arises, say yes and get full enjoyment out of your new vacancy.

Remember, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to miss out on.

Greater career prospects

If your new job offer allows for growth within the company and the opportunity to enhance your career, then relocating will also benefit you.

Replacing like for like in terms of the role, responsibilities, and wage could be a reason to reject the offer. However, if it’s clear that you will be able to develop, then you will be looking out for your future too.

Greater scope to enhance your career can be extremely valuable, especially during a time when the job market is still unpredictable.

Furthermore, taking on responsibilities in a different role will also help you to build your experience, which is never a bad thing.

A new and fresh start 

Accepting a new challenge can do you the world of good. If you’re a little tired of where you are currently based or the role you are in, then relocating can offer you a new and fresh start.

Whilst you are getting used to your new job, you will also have the opportunity to meet new people, connections, and friends, as well as explore your new surroundings.

If you’re relocating to a city, such as London or Manchester for example, then this will bring plenty of other advantages besides just settling into a new job, such as those listed above.

You don’t have to relocate to a city either. Perhaps the quiet life would suit you best in a location such as Devon and Cornwall.

Nothing is set in stone

A lot of people are put off by the thought of relocating and starting a new job as they worry about making the wrong choice. Relocating for a new position can be an excellent opportunity if the pros outweigh the cons, and if you don’t try, you’ll never know.

If your decision unexpectedly doesn’t work out, don’t worry, you’re not stuck there forever. Hopefully this is a scenario that you won’t need to encounter, but as the old saying goes, nothing is set in stone.

With the chance to develop your career, learn new skills, land your dream job, and make a fresh start, relocating is something you should embrace, not avoid.

This post was written by Ageas 50 Careers who offer specialist career opportunities in sales and service, claims handling and other disciplines.

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Guest blog: How to write a personal UCAS statement

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

Keys to writing a successful personal statement:

1) Focus (on the subject/s you want to study)
2) Structure (your statement)
3) Sell (yourself)

Some top tips…

Opening and closing paragraphs are key. Work hard to present a positive and punchy introduction to grab the reader’s attention. Your opening sentence will establish the tone of your statement, so it is important to give your statement an identity and demonstrate your enthusiasm. Avoid obvious statements like “I have always been passionate about Maths”.

UCAS suggest your first steps should be to write out the reasons why you are applying for your chosen course. Their website also provides some opening sentences for you. These might be helpful to get you started but consider how many people will be using similar sentences – you will need something individual if you want your statement to have the right impact.

It is extremely difficult is to keep to the word count, but essential that you do. Good statements are sifted to get rid of the irrelevant information, even some of the good stuff, in order to really highlight what is relevant.
Guard against starting too many paragraphs or sentences with ‘I’. Consider alternatives: My ability to… During… When… Although…, Whilst… An example of…etc

Refrain from writing long winded sentences. If your sentences consist of more than 32 words or more, then for the reader’s sake, reduce them!

Take the reader on a journey, link your paragraphs and try to ensure that your statement flows. Refrain from making grand statements about yourself. If you have excellent communication skills, imply this with evidence or examples, rather than a declaration.

Not all students are called for an interview but if your course is competitive it is highly likely that you will be. Assume you will be and therefore assume that someone will question all of the claims in your statement. This will help you to be genuine and consider examples and evidence to substantiate everything that you write.

Check your statement for typos and spelling errors, then check it again and then ask your parents and tutor to check again!! A spelling error or silly mistake will spoil all of your hard work!

5 paragraphs are sufficient if you structure them in a good way:

1. Introduction – why have you chosen this course or subject? How did you become interested in it?

2. What have you done to find out more about the subject (or career)? Include any talks, seminars, visits, work experience, books you have read etc

3. How do your AS and A2 or Diploma subjects relate to your chosen course? What have you learnt that you can apply to your future studies?

4. What have you gained from your personal activities or interests that will support your application? Think about skills that you have developed, achievements etc

5. Conclusion – what are your aspirations and ambitions? what personal qualities do you have that will make you an excellent student? Why should the Uni give you an offer?

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: dgingell@legupcareers.co.uk or visit www.legupcareers.co.uk

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How To Get Yourself Out There

Guest post: Amber Waddy from Job Zoo, describes how to stand out from the crowd and get noticed in an overcrowded job market:

It’s hard for many job seekers today to stand out from the crowd, and to find a place that’s right for them. I struggled for several months trying to find anyone that would have me, and yet I was still failing to get anywhere. The trick isn’t only having experience, you need to have a certain sparkle about you to keep employers interested in you here after. So, what can you do? Well, I’ve compiled a short list of the basics which should give you a good kick start.

Get Your Files In Order

Everyone always tells you that you need a creditable CV to get anywhere, but that’s only half the battle. Having a great cover letter is also rather important as this is your opportunity to shine. You have to put across not only your skills and desires, but also your personality and sense of self. In my opinion, a CV will never show people who you really are, so a cover letter would be ideal. It’s not a one to one conversation, but it’s certainly a start. All CV’s look the same after a while, even to job seekers, so one thing that can give you a fighting chance is to change the look of your CV once in a while. If not for your potential future employer, then for your sanity. There are plenty of nice looking layouts around the web, so be sure to have a sufficient peruse.

Do Your Research

Some people know what their preferred sector is when it comes to employment, but not many people try to reach certain companies unless a vacancy is listed. I spent months just looking as a whole instead of approaching companies individually which eventually hindered me. I’ve got news for you people… you don’t have to wait. They have to hold onto your CV for a short while whether they currently have positions or not, so your details will always be close by. I’ve had a few incidents where I applied for a vacancy assuming they’d say no, and they’ve proved me wrong more than once. You also need to show them that you have a genuine interest in the company itself. This can be done by following them through social media, using their services regularly or even a little bit of promotion on your part. The more enthusiasm for the brand you exude, the more likely they are to notice.

Go The Extra Mile

If you’re anything like me, you prefer to do what’s needed and nothing more. That isn’t a forward thinking strategy, as I’ve found. They don’t expect the world of you, but if there is something you can do that will benefit both you and the company then all the more for it! This can be from something as simple as unpaid work experience to volunteering at one of their events. If you can show them that you’re keen, and like the work they do, then the chances are they’ll start to buddy up to you. Once you gain their trust and friendship they are much more likely to tell you if new positions are coming up. I know plenty of people that have gained a job because they had previously volunteered their services, including the likes of my own mother.

Finding a new job will always be a bit of a chore, especially when you’ve been on the market for a while. However it is not impossible to get what you what, as long as you remember what you need to do. For more information about CV’s, cover letters, volunteering and other handy job tools have a look around the web for tips, guides and other such resources.

Resource and Bio:

Job Zoo was created with the primary purpose of giving young people, school leavers, grads/post grads and first time jobbers the best chance of finding that dream job. They provide users with job listings, CV templates and much more.

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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 monster.co.uk 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 (www.companieshouse.gov.uk) 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.

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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: dgingell@legupcareers.co.uk or visit www.legupcareers.co.uk

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Guest blog: How to shine at an interview

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

The keys to a successful interview are: a positive attitude and preparation

First impressions:

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so stand tall and believe in the person you are:

 Every applicant will experience some form of nervous tension – this is normal. Breathe deeply and tell yourself (audibly) that you will be an asset to the organisation – they will be lucky to get you!

 Look the interviewer/s in the eye as you greet them and smile! Shake hands firmly – not limply and not bone crushingly.

 Always keep in your mind that, you’ve been invited to an interview because, on paper, the employer believes that you might be the person they are looking for.

 The Employer wants to like you – wants to fill their vacancy

 Interviews are a two way process and you are approaching it as an equal.

Preparation:

Employers will formulate a list of open ended questions in order to find out what they want to know. This type of questioning does not allow you to answer yes or no so you have to be prepared to talk about yourself. The best way you can answer their questions is to be thoroughly prepared. Solid preparation will increase your confidence on the day, so do your homework:

 Research the company – look at their website, competitors, trade magazines, annual report etc.

o What appeals to you about the organisation?

o Be prepared to provide a brief overview of the company and what they do

o Why would you like to work for the company?

 Study the job description/personal specification

o What skills or experience are they asking for?

o How do you meet the criteria?

o Prepare evidence and examples to back up your skills and experience

 Anticipate the questions you might be asked and prepare answers

o Rehearse your responses OUT LOUD – it really helps!!!

 Consider any weak areas in your application

o Prepare positive responses – how you plan to develop specific skills etc.

 Prepare some interesting questions that you could ask at the end of the interview

o How many people work in the department/organisation?

o What training or induction is given?

o Why did the vacancy occur?

o Who do you see as your main competitors?

 

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: dgingell@legupcareers.co.uk or visit www.legupcareers.co.uk

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Guest blog: The 5 most typical interview questions

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

The 5 most “typical” interview questions:

1) Tell me about yourself….

This is usually a warm up question to give you the opportunity to shine! Resist giving your life or work history, the interviewer is looking for a brief overview. Keep it relevant to the post – give a very brief career history and state why you are applying for the position

2) Why should we employ you?

What the interviewer is really asking you is what can you do for my business? – your response needs to answer that question…

An example… As I understand your needs, you are looking for someone who can increase your advertising sales and manage a small team. I have a proven track record in successfully managing a sales team of 3 and have increased Jasper Co.’s sales from £150,000 to 210,000 during the last 2 years.

3) What are your strengths?

Pick out your key strengths and where possible match these to the job description/person specification

4) What are your weaknesses?

Always and only state something knowledge based and include how you intend to improve the weakness. For example, I did feel that my knowledge of Excel was not what it should be, so I recently signed up for an advanced level evening course at the regional college.

5) Why do you want to work for our company?

In order to provide a good answer to this question, you will have researched the organisation and the job well.

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: dgingell@legupcareers.co.uk or visit www.legupcareers.co.uk

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6 Reasons Why NEETs Should Pass Their Test Even If They Don’t Have A Car

Guest Blog from Erika Bergeson: 

Many teenagers dream of the day that will be old enough to learn to drive. They start their driving lessons, and then start to think about which car they would like. They often look at the cars that their family and friends are driving, or what they think is cool! Some put off learning to drive, because they cannot afford a car, but they could still go ahead and learn quite easily.

Job Opportunity – One good reason for learning to drive young, is the fact that it can be added to your CV. This could prove to be a valuable asset to have when the time comes to looking for a career opportunity. If you can already drive, you can look further afield for employment and worry about getting a car to use, once you have got the position. Make sure you choose the right profession though, as car insurance can be higher if you do an at risk job!

Car Insurance – Did you know that by learning to drive young, and passing your test, will actually help you to get cheaper insurance than if you wait until you are older. By waiting until you can afford a car, you are not gaining anything. The longer that you hold a full driving licence can reduce the cost of your insurance.  Parents can add you to their car insurance, and may get it a lot cheaper than you getting it independently. This will also help you to gain more driving experience until you can afford a car.

Driving Lessons – The longer that you wait to learn to drive, will push up the cost of your driving lessons. They increase annually, and offers that are available for driving lessons now, will not be as cheap this time next year.  You now have to take your Theory Test and Hazard Perception Test, which are presently available to practice online for free with several websites. This may not be the case in another year.  National driving schools, such as Drive Dynamics, give you free access to practice on your Theory and Hazard Perception tests as often as you like, when learning to drive with them, so why wait?  You may find that the cost of your driving test also increases again, and yet again you will have missed out!

Time To Learn – As you leave school and start a career, or go to University, time is not always available for driving lessons. This is another good reason for you take your lessons as a teenager.  You have 13 weeks holiday per year from school, and always arrive home before tea time, so there are plenty of opportunities to learn to drive. If you do not set aside time, you will regret it later on in life, and miss out. If you cannot fit in lessons over long periods of time, then you could look at an intensive driving course to lessen the time.

Independence And Maturity – Imagine how you would feel walking into school or college and announcing to everyone that you had passed your driving test. You would finally have the independence you desired, to get out and about, without having to ask for lifts everywhere. You can sweet talk Mum and Dad to lend their car, and the world is your oyster! It also makes you feel like an adult instead of just being another teenager. You are different, you can drive!

Ability To Learn – Children always have a natural ability to learn and soak up knowledge presented to them. This ability carries on right through your teenage years, and the Theory and Hazard Perception Test is easier for teenagers to memorise. Whilst in education, they learn new concepts quicker, and have the ability to remember things.  As you get older, and you start work, get married, start a family, you find it harder to memorise things. This is a good reason for teenagers to learn to drive, as they are willing to practice and learn driving skills, and are sharper minded to remember the skills taught to them.

Learning to drive at any age gives you independence, and is a great asset to have, but you will benefit more if you learn when younger. The scope it will give you in life is invaluable.

 

About the Author: Ericka Bergeson is a passionate business coach for small to medium sized businesses. When she isn’t working, she loves to write about a variety of topics, including business.

 

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How to set up your own business

 

 

Have you ever thought about becoming your own boss and running your own business? Maybe you have recently been laid off and have some redundancy money that could set you up in a new career? Or maybe unemployment  has awoken your inner entrepreneur?

There are many advantages to working for yourself:

  • You can work the hours you choose
  • You can fit in around family commitments (if your business allows it)
  • You are your own boss
  • You can set up a business in an industry/service you have a passion for

Where to start?

Firstly, you need to think about the type of business you are planning to set up. Experience will always be a bonus but start locally with your research. Is there a gap in the market for a particular product/business or service? Do as much research as you can into competitors, cost of premises, overheads etc.

Perhaps you can set up an online business? Again, check out the competition and don’t order more stock in than you think you can realistically sell!

Write a business plan. This will help you think through your idea and can be presented to a bank if you need to ask for a loan.

Things to be aware of:

  • Setting up your own business can require a lot of initial financial investment and it may take a year or two of long hours and hard work to build your business up profitably.
  • With any business that you set up there are invariably risks you have to take.
  • You will need to take matters such as tax and national insurance into your own hands and ensure that all your paperwork is accurate and up to date.  Of course there are always tax advisers/book keepers and accountants that you can employ to help you out with that.

Useful websites:

Business Link is an excellent Government run website that gives advice on all aspects of setting up and marketing your own business. They also run free local training courses that will teach you all you need to know about setting up by yourself.

www.businesslink.gov.uk

For tax matters then see HM Revenue and Customs website which explains what you need to do to get started. It’s not as complicated as you may think!

www.hmrc.gov.uk

 

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