Archive for the ‘Guest Blog’ Category

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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Guest blog: CV top tips!

 

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

A winning CV is one that shows you off to your best potential!

Many people make the mistake of viewing their CV as a record of their education, skills and experience. Your CV is a personal selling tool and its job is to sell your skills, experience, abilities and potential! You have to motivate the reader to want to meet you in person – at Interview!

Consider the marketing material Estate Agents use to sell houses. They won’t lie about anything but will often turn the old outhouse in the back garden into a potential fourth bedroom if they believe this will sell the house. If you think of your own CV as a personal marketing or sales tool, it will help you to sell yourself.

There are essential elements required on your CV but the order you put them in depends on what sells you the most. If your work experience is key to your application, keep this on the first page, if your education is key, keep this on the first page.

Some top tips…

 Keep to 2 pages. There are some exceptions, an example would be an established scientist who has written numerous papers, or a doctor

 Never use tables or columns – only bullet points for lists

 Cover any gaps in your dates, even if you have to include periods of unemployment. HR recruiters are trained to look for gaps and always tend to think the worst

 Be honest – your CV will be used at interview and if you have lied, you could get yourself into a state when questioned

 Leave some white paper on the page – keep it easy to read

 Highlight the most relevant details, for example, don’t highlight your University in bold; highlight your degree
Never include important personal details like your National Insurance number etc;

 You do not need to have the title ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top of your CV, it should be obvious what it is. This is like putting ‘Letter’ at the top of a letter

 Check your CV for typos and spelling mistakes, then check it again and then ask someone else to check it! One spelling error or silly mistake will spoil all of your hard work!

 There are trends with CVs that come and go. One trend used to be to include your photo at the top of the first page. This phased out, mainly to avoid discrimination and promote equality. Occasionally, some people still opt to include a photo. I have spoken to HR professionals at some of the larger organisations like Cambridge University Press who say they prefer to receive CV’s without photographs

Structure your CV:

  • Name and contact details
  • Personal Profile
  • Key skills and achievements
  • Education
  • Employment History
  • Additional information
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • References

Again, change the headings according to what sells you. A young person who cannot yet list their key achievements should sell their ‘Key Skills’.

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: 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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Top 6 Fastest-Growing Industries to Look for Jobs

IBISWorld, the market researcher who each year produces an extensive report on the fastest-growing industries, suggests that this year there will be a great number of job possibilities in a selection of diverse sectors. It is not surprising that the Internet commerce is constantly on the rise, and nowadays so popular, business sectors surrounding personal fitness and green living have also made it into the researcher’s top list of the fastest-growing industries in 2013. With this in mind, perhaps you will want to hop on the bandwagon and consider looking into job opportunities in some the following business sectors.

1. Online Optical Industry

Today it is possible to purchase more or less anything online and it is predicted by market experts that sales of eyewear and contact lenses online will continue to boom in the upcoming years. New technologies are enabling customers to upload their photos and virtually try on glasses in order to better understand how they will look with their new purchase on. All these technological advances are opening many new job opportunities for tech-savvy employees, as can be seen by the jobs currently open at companies like Luxottica .

2. Game development for Social Networks

Social networking is one of the biggest crazes of our time and online games offered by social networks like Facebook are currently giving the gaming industry a valuable stake in the hype. They offer free games in a period in which game consoles are a luxury for many. These free games then conveniently profit from on-screen advertising placed on their websites. Experts suggest that industry will continue to expand at a rate of 22% annually. So if you are a IT specialist or a software developer consider looking into job openings in this fast-growing industry, for example in companies like King.com or Zynga .

3. Sustainable Building

Experts suggest that the demand for “green” buildings will continue to rise greatly in the years to come. Energy-efficient buildings are both fashionable and crucial to our environment, and many government incentive programs enable corporations to design, construct and maintain their buildings responsibly. Green building industry is expected to grow at a rate of 22.8% on an annual basis, so although the construction industry has suffered after the global economic crisis, there will be a significant increase in job opportunities in this specific sector. .

4. Pilates and Yoga

These days Pilates and Yoga are both very trendy exercise regimes. The popularity has also increased due to pregnant women seeking an affordable way to keep fit alongside the many companies that offer incentives to their employees should they join fitness clubs. It’s suggested that this industry’s revenue will increase by 4.8% annually. So if you are a yoga or Pilates instructor you have a pretty good chance in finding a job in a local gym.

5. Solar Power Industry

Solar panels are a great way to help preserve the environment whilst saving money in a more long-term scale. This “green” industry has so far grown at an average annual rate of 32.3% in the last decade and experts predict that it will continue to grow. So there is a job increase expected in all the sectors of the solar power industry.

6. 3D Printer Manufacturing

3D printers have a great number of advantages and possibilities in the modern age. Led by the famous Replicator, these machines allow for the conversion of digital files into three dimensional objects that can then be used by architects, healthcare therapists, and fashion and jewellery designers. Experts suggest that this industry will grow at around 14% pace annually in the upcoming years.

If you’re currently looking to enter into the world of work then is it well worth considering exciting job opportunities offered by these fastest-growing industries.

Bio:
Emily Jones is a recent graduate of London Metropolitan University with a great interest in career development and education. She enjoys writing for the Web, and hopes one day she will make the big jump to top-level printed press.

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Five Resources To Help You Secure Your First Job

Securing a job in today’s employment market is a numbers game. The more applications you send out, the more likely you are to hear back, secure an interview and hopefully land your first job. Although at times the whole process of searching and applying for work might seem a little demoralising, it’s important to remember that persistence will definitely pay off.

If you’ve just finished college or graduated from university, then chances are you might be feeling a little apprehensive towards the world of work. So, to make your life easier and to help you during the application process, here are five top resources to use the next time you continue your job hunt. With the correct tools at your disposal, you will find it easier to secure yourself the position you’re after.

1. Social media

About ten years ago, social media was only really in its initial development stages. Even when most people were getting used to this medium, they wouldn’t have used it to seek job opportunities. However, times have changed and using social media today could just be the resource you need to land your very first job.

One of the most common social networks, Twitter, allows you to follow recruitment agencies and companies that you’re interested in working for. It also allows you to search for specific industries, influential people, and keep an out for relevant vacancies as soon as they become available.

LinkedIn also incorporates similar functions and in addition allows you to display your skills, experience and previous employment on your profile page (which essentially acts an online CV). Start using these two social networks alongside Facebook and see if you can find vacancies to apply for.

2.   Mobile apps 

As you won’t always be sat at your desk, constantly waiting for new job offers to appear, why not stay updated on the latest opportunities through mobile apps? There are plenty of recruitment companies and agencies that offer mobile apps to download straight to your smartphone. In doing so you can look for work on the move and even apply for jobs with your latest CV, all at the touch of a few buttons on your mobile phone.

Mobile apps are a great resource to keep checking on a regular basis when you have a spare few minutes during your day.

3.   Recommendations

The reason why this resource is mentioned time and time again is because it’s still incredibly valuable during your initial job search phase. Asking friends how they managed to secure their own job, what resources they used and generally asking for advice will allow you to refine your own search techniques.

Seeking advice will also allow you to network and find out about potential positions. If you connect with people then they can also pass on recommendations directly to you, so the process can work both ways.

Remember that there’s no harm in asking and doing so could result in a few extra ideas that you’ve never tried before. As mentioned the whole process is a numbers game, so the more resources you are aware of and using, the better.

4.   Create job alerts  

Where possible, create job alerts to notify you when a specific position is available. This can be done through job board sites and in addition a great tool to use is Google Alerts. The latter will allow you to enter a search query and then receive emails relevant to that specific term on a frequent basis. So for example, entering ‘electrician job Surrey’ will potentially allow you to receive the latest opportunities for this particular position in Surrey.

As you will already be checking your emails for any replies to your applications, it will be easy to see if Google has sent you any new notifications. Again this is another great resource you can use to find the very latest vacancies and get your application in early.

 5.   Professional and industry associations

Finally, work out if there are any specific associations relating to the industries that you are looking to work in. It’s likely that there will be and if you do come across any, be sure to keep a close eye on their websites and follow them on social media in order to spot the most up-to-date opportunities first.

Although there are individual jobs sites and even graduate specific websites, professional associations are sometimes the best places to look because they are industry focussed. They are also trusted resources, meaning that other companies connected with that industry are likely to use them to promote their vacancies.

Final thoughts

Whether you are just about to start the jobs application process or you have already sent out a handful of CVs, don’t forget to use the above resources. If you are set up to receive and view offers from more than one primary source then more opportunities will be presented to you.

From here it’s over to you to ensure that you create an engaging cover letter and CV prompting an employer to invite you along to an interview. Best of luck in your own applications, remember that hard work pays off and you will be able to secure your first job if you stick at it.

This post was created on behalf of Ageas 50 Careers who offer specialist career opportunities in sales and service, claims handling and other disciplines.

 

 

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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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Why Your Online Reputation Matters

Your online reputation is one of the most valuable things you own and is as important as your resume.  It is out there representing you—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—and it speaks for you when you aren’t even present.  It acts as your resume, telling potential employers all they need to know.  It serves as your personal matchmaker—offering would-be paramours an insider’s view of your life.  And it often tells resourceful customers whether they want to do business with you.

Even if you your online rep is seemingly perfect, do not be lulled into complacency.  No one is exempt from the need to monitor and maintain a squeaky-clean Internet image.  Even if the web currently depicts you as a modern day Ghandi, it will take dedication and effort to ensure that your reputation remains solid gold.

Here are some tips that will help you foster a desirable online reputation.

1.       Monitor your image closely. 

A nasty post can appear faster than a snowflake falls, so it is important that you Google, Bing, and Yahoo your name often.  You can’t fix something if you are blissfully unaware that it has been broken in the first place.  You should also pay a visit to any review sites that are connected with your industry. You may not know what others are saying about you, but the person that wants to hire you will definitely be interested.

2.       Share selectively. 

You’ve likely encountered the person on Facebook or Twitter who feels compelled to share every detail of her life with her followers.  Perhaps, you have even blocked this person completely.  Don’t be the annoying “friend” that everyone wishes would simply shut up.

Make sure that you only share content that is interesting, informative, and purposeful.  It needs to be worth reading and, ideally, worth passing on.  And avoid complaining.  No one wants to listen to you rant and whine, specially your future boss.

3.       Own your negatives. 

Don’t panic if you find a negative Google review.  No one is perfect—not even the modern day Ghandi.  You will make mistakes.  The important thing is how you handle them.

The best way to respond to negative feedback is to be a consummate professional.  Treat people with respect and apologize immediately.  Make sure you strive to correct the situation in a timely fashion.

Remember that other people will be watching to see how you respond to criticism, so make sure you handle yourself well.  And never delete a negative comment.  This will tell others that you cannot be trusted. The last thing you want is to raise any red flags in the mind of a prospective recruiter.

4. Maintain your privacy. 

Your personal interactions with close friends and relatives need to stay exactly that—personal.  Ensure that the privacy settings on each of your social media tools are set for the maximum protection of your private information.  Block others from being able to tag you in photos, so that you can be sure that party shots won’t wind up public property.  That’s certainly not something you want a potential employer to see.

5.       Join professional organizations. 

Set up sites that highlight your professional expertise and accomplishments like LinkedIn and Google+.  Be sure to use the profile sections of these tools to maximize your online image and impress potential clients and employers.

If you belong to other professional organizations, service clubs, or industry-specific networks, be sure to include these on your profile. The more positive items there are for potential employers to find, the less likely they will find the negative stuff.

While your paper resume is a valuable tool, it pales in comparison to your online reputation.  Everyone who wants to know more about you will seek you out online. Employers do this all the time, before even considering a face-to-face meeting.  You must ensure that what they find is accurate, positive, and most importantly—representative of the real you.

What do you think are some definite “no-no’s,” when it comes to creating a positive online reputation?

 

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