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Start a blog and land your next job!

Instead of spending ages designing and tailoring your CV to stand out in the pile, why not consider actually doing something that will make you different from all of the other job candidates? One of the best ways to show your passion for a particular industry and your knowledge of a specific area is to write a blog and believe it or not writing a blog may be just what you need to do to score your next job.

Start a blog and make your job application stand out for all the right reasons.

Start a blog and make your job application stand out for all the right reasons.

Not your average CV

Whilst pretty much every job seeker has a CV (or at least they should have) not everyone owns a blog. The great thing about writing and publishing blog posts is that it demonstrates the skills, knowledge and passion you claim to have on your CV. It shows that you are far more interested in the line of work than the other candidates and is sure to impress employers.

Improve your digital footprint

Today it is common for employers to vet potential employees by performing Google searches. If a prospective employer ‘Googles’ your name and finds your blog, they are going to be so much more impressed than if a drunken Facebook photo of you on your mate’s stag-do appears. Remember that everything you put online leaves a digital footprint and unless you make your social media pages private, they can be explored by employers and could do you a disservice.

Present yourself as an industry expert

One of the great things about writing a blog is that it shows you have in-depth knowledge of a particular subject. It will inform employers that you are up to date with the latest industry trends and news and know exactly what is going on. Writing an industry-relevant blog will help present you as an expert and show employers that you are much more valuable to them than the candidate next to you.

You’ll instantly become more interesting

If you think about how many CVs and job applications employers have to go through, you will understand why they get bored so quickly. By writing a blog and including the URL on your CV, you will instantly become more interesting to employers. Not only will it give them something else to look at, aside from yet another CV, but it will also give you something additional to talk about when you inevitably land an interview!

You’ll be surprised at how useful your blog is when it comes to answering interview questions and it will often be able to make up for a lack of experience elsewhere.

Employers have become increasingly interested in industry bloggers.

Employers have become increasingly interested in industry bloggers.

Setting up a blog

Setting up a blog could not be easier. There are plenty of free blogging platforms online, with two of the most popular being Blogger and WordPress. If you are just starting out and want to use your blog for job seeking purposes, you don’t necessarily need a fancy design or domain, just make sure your content is top notch!

Conclusion

With so many benefits, it’s a wonder that everyone hasn’t already jumped on the blogging bandwagon. If you are looking for a way to make yourself stand out from other candidates or simply want to show employers how passionate you are about the industry you work in; blogging is the way to do it.

If you have already got a blog and are ready to use it to land your next job role, be sure to check out YourJobList. Applying for jobs can be extremely time consuming, but having a dedicated tool to manage your job applications and assist your job hunt can make the process a whole lot easier.

 

Image credits: xioubin low & the tartanpodcast

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Goldman Sachs Career Quiz

Would you make the cut ?

How it works:

Answer a few questions – all multiple choice with no wrong answers. The questions will ask you about your educational background, as well as how you approach challenges and solve problems.

You will not need to provide your name, as this isn’t an application for employment.

Based on your answers, the firm will suggest a short list of Goldman Sachs divisions that may suit your skills and interests.

Goldman Sachs Career Quiz


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25 Of The Most Outrageous Interview Questions

Have you heard the one about the penguin in the sombrero? Here are 25 of the most outrageous interview questions!

“If you could get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why ?”

Florida ? C’mon, you’ve always had a thing against Florida since that whole hanging chad business. California ? Alaska ? One of the Dakotas ? Do we really need two Dakotas ?

This is just one of the 25 weird questions that job site Glassdoor.com found in its annual survey of oddball interview questions. The question was asked by a Forrester Research interviewer for a position as a research associate.

Most people walk into a job interview expecting, “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses,” but the truth is, these crazy questions get asked at all types of companies, from Bank of America to Amazon.com.

“What do you think about when you are alone in your car ? “

That question was asked during an interview for an associate analyst position at Gallup.

How would you answer it ? I suppose “a string of profanity and karaoke” would be an unacceptable answer.

“I would say, ‘On the way to work I’m thinking about the 20 things on my to-do list when I get into the office,'” said Amanda Lachapelle, director of HR and talent acquisition for Glassdoor. “That demonstrates that you’re on and ready to go when you get there.”

“What song best describes your work ethic ?”

That question was asked at Dell for a consumer sales job.

“‘Under Pressure’ by Queen!” Lachapelle said.

“‘I’m a Rolling Stone,’ because I take it as it comes!” one man said.

“‘She Works Hard for the Money!'” a woman responded.

Watch a video of employees randomly asked some of these oddball questions by Glassdoor.

Have you ever stolen a pen from work ?”

That question was asked during an interview for a software architect position at Jiffy Software.

“Yes, but not on purpose!” the candidate answered.

We’re not connecting any dots here, but just sayin’ … that candidate did not get the job.

Lachapelle’s answer ?

“Glassdoor gives us free pens!”

Most difficult questions, such as, “How many balls would it take to fill this room ?” are designed to test your creativity, critical thinking, and how you handle pressure.

But some are designed just to see if you’re a good cultural fit for the organization.

Here’s by far the best one on the list this year:

“A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here ?”

That question was asked by a recruiter for a position as office engineer at Clark Construction Group.

If you’re really thrown off by an oddball question, stop for a moment. Take a breath … and think of something! A clever response is to use something like that to sell yourself.

“My penguin is going to come in the door and say, ‘You should hire Amanda – she’s organized and she has her stuff together. You want her to lead your team,'” Lachapelle said.

Uh, yeah, but what about the sombrero ?

“He had a margarita before he came in!” she said.

“It’s how you think. Your social fit,” Lachapelle explained. “Are you fun ?”

Incidentally, the candidate for that job answered, “Where’s the sun screen ?” … and got the job.

If you’re stumped, whatever you do, don’t say, “I don’t know.”

Employers are trying to test your creativity, critical thinking, and your ability to handle pressure and all you’ve got is, “I don’t know ?”

“Part of it is kind of creating good conversation,” Lachapelle said. “Saying ‘I don’t know’ stalls the conversation a bit,” she said.

I’d say. That’s a conversational dead end!

Seriously, do you really want an interviewer to conclude that, after knowing each other just five minutes, you have nothing else to say to one another ? God forbid you run into one another in the kitchen while heating up a Lean Cuisine – those will be the longest five minutes of your life!

On the “don’t” list, Lachapelle suggests, never speak negatively about a past employer or former co-worker.

And never, under any circumstances, miss an opportunity to sell yourself. Even if a penguin walks into the room!

 

Here’s the full list of Glassdoor’s 25 outrageous interview questions for 2013:

1. “If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why ?” – Asked at Forrester Research, research associate candidate.

2. “How many cows are in Canada ?” – Asked at Google, for a local data quality evaluator position.

3. “How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building ?” – Asked at JetBlue, for a job as a pricing/revenue management analyst.

4. “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here ?” – Asked at Clark Construction Group, office engineer candidate.

5. “What songs best describes your work ethic ?” – Asked  at Dell, consumer sales candidate.

6. “Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it ?” – Asked at Amazon, product development candidate.

7. “What do you think about when you are alone in your car ?” – Asked at Gallup, for an associate analyst position.

8. “How would you rate your memory ?” – Asked at Marriott, front desk associate candidate.

9. “Name three previous Nobel Prize winners.” – Asked at Benefits CONNECT, office manager candidate.

10. “Can you say: ‘Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time ?” – Asked at MasterCard, call center candidate.

11. “If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us ?” – Asked at Trader Joe’s, crew candidate.

12. “How would people communicate in a perfect world ?” – Asked at Novell, software engineer candidate.

13. “How do you make a tuna sandwich ?” – Asked at Astron Consulting, office manager candidate.

14. “My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend ?” – Asked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, advisory associate candidate.

15. “You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on ‘Iron Chef.’ How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restauran t?” – Asked at Accenture, business analyst candidate.

16. “Estimate how many windows are in New York.” – Asked at Bain & Co., associate consultant candidate.

17. “What’s your favorite song ? Perform it for us now.” – Asked at LivingSocial, Adventures City manager candidate.

18. “Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when time is 11:50.” – Asked at Bank of America, software developer candidate.

19. “Have you ever stolen a pen from work?” – Asked at Jiffy Software, software architect candidate.

20. “Pick two celebrities to be your parents.” – Asked at Urban Outfitters, sales associate candidate.

21. “What kitchen utensil would you be ?” – Asked at Bandwidth.com, marketer candidate.

22. “If you had turned your cellphone to silent mode, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me ?” – Asked at Kimberly-Clark, biomedical engineer candidate.

23. “On a scale from one to 10, rate me as an interviewer.” – Asked at Kraft Foods, general laborer candidate.

24. “If you could be anyone else, who would it be ?” – Asked at Salesforce.com, sales representative candidate.

25. “How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet ?” – Asked at Petco, analyst candidate.

 

Credit to the ponyblog over at CNBC for the original content.


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Five Career Lessons From TV’s ‘Friends’

There was a time in my life when I used to schedule my dates on a Friday night at 6.30pm in order to be home for the latest episode of Friends at 8pm.  The staff at my neighborhood haunt, Notting Grill, would smile knowingly at my routine, presenting the check the moment my dining partner placed down his fork.  The befuddled lad would inevitably wonder out aloud, as I skillfully ushered him out onto the street, why he wasn’t so much as offered the pudding menu.

Yes, such was my addiction to the show and the restaurant staff were only too happy to oblige as my enablers.

Friends has been off the air for some time – which makes me about ten years late in writing this – but sometimes a seriously random occurrence can get you full-swing reminiscing again. In my case, it was a monosyllabic, peroxide blonde Swiss DJ over New Year’s Eve in Davos, who bore an uncanny resemblance to the show’s Gunther, that did it.

Much like Mash and Seinfeld before it, Friends became firmly embedded in both the American and British psyche influencing popular culture and interpersonal dynamics. Interestingly, the show also presented plotlines with career lessons we could all take away.

Here’s my top five, leading up to number one:

5. The One Where Chandler Follows His Career Bliss (making a career switch when you’re more ‘mature’)

Chandler: I’ll just get my old job back.

Monica: No, I want you to have a job that you love. Not statistical analysis and data reconfiguration.

Chandler: I quit, and you learn what I do?

After years of plodding through a fairly mundane job, Chandler decides to make a risky mid-career industry move into something he may be more passionate about, but that means he’d need to start at the bottom again. He battles it out with a group of young interns all vying for the one prized paid position at an advertising agency. Initially struggling with the task of coming up with a slogan for a new pair of sneakers aimed at a youth market, he uses his age and experience to come up with an ingenious slogan that leaves the competition in dust.

Intern: … and then, at the end of the commercial, the girls get out of the hot tub and start making out with each other!

Boss: (ironic) That’s interesting! Just one thought: You didn’t mention the shoes. Who’s next? (Chandler raises his hand) Chandler…

Chandler: Okay… (He stands up) You start on the image of a guy putting on the shoes. He’s about my age…

Intern: (snorting) Your age?

Chandler: A-huh. So he’s rolling down the street and he starts to lose control, you know… maybe he falls… maybe hurts himself. Just then, a kid comes flying by wearing the shoes. He jumps over the old guy and laughs, and the line reads: “Not suitable for adults!”

Boss: Chandler, that’s great!

Chandler: Oh, thank you, sir… or man-who’s-two-years-younger-than-me (He sits down again)

Granted he came up with the slogan after injuring himself  while wearing the sneakers during the assignment, the result? He lands the job of junior copywriter when he only expected to receive an assistant position.

Sometimes maturity (life experience) can still trump youth.

4. The One Where Ross Dates His Student  (inappropriate workplace relationships)

Monica: Well, Ross, you be careful now. You don’t want to get a reputation as, you know, ‘Professor McNails-his-students.’

According to research, more than seven out of 10 professionals say they’re open to dating at work under the right circumstances.

Dating someone you work with certainly has its advantages and I know several happy couples who’ve met while working together, but chances are it may pose a greater risk to your professional reputation – especially if there is a hierarchical relationship in place (whether it’s professor-student in Ross’s case or between a supervisor-supervisee).

You may need to report the romance to the human resources department, according to Helaine Olen, co-author Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding and Managing Romance on the Job, quoted in this Forbes article.In so doing, the supervisor should volunteer to take the hit if the company decides the pair should no longer work together.”

Uh oh – that budding, illicit office romance doesn’t sound quite as thrilling anymore, does it? Also consider the fact that it would be almost impossible to plan vacations at the same time, especially if you’re working in the same department or for a small company.

There’s a rather crude British expression advising against amorous workplace relations – but I’m much too coy to type it.

3. The One Where Rachel Returns After Maternity Leave (returning to work after an extended absence)

Rachel: What do you mean, you’re taking over my job.

Gavin: Well, while you were on your baby vacation, I was *doing* your job.

Mr. Zelner: When you left us, we weren’t sure what we were going to do. But then, Gavin to the rescue! Super Gavin!

Rachel: Well, that’s great, that’s great. So, now, uh, Super Gavin, when I come back, where do you plan on flying off to?

Gavin: Well, that’s up to Mr. Zelner. I’m sure he’ll make the right decision.

Rachel [under her breath]: Oh, wow, Super Ass Kissing Power.

Legally, under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), a woman who returns from maternity leave must be placed in the same job or an “equivalent” position. An equivalent position is a job having the same or similar pay, hours, work performed, work conditions, job responsibilities and job security.

But what if you’re competing against an aspiring co-worker who has used your absence (whether it’s maternity leave, a sabbatical etc.) to muscle his way into your role and the boss’s good books? This can be avoided – and I know that I stand the risk of drawing the wrath of new moms with this one – by simply staying in the game. Here’s two ways in which you can do this: Meet a colleague for coffee or lunch at the tail end of your leave to catch up on latest developments. This gives you the kind of workplace intel that wouldn’t show up in group e-mails and may give you the edge when you’re back at your desk.

Contact your line manager several weeks before your scheduled return date to discuss your transition back into the role. You may even consider dialing in for important project meeting-calls around a week or two prior to your return date, even if you don’t actively participate in the discussion itself.

2. The One Where Monica Fires Joey (how to gain the respect of colleagues)

Monica: Okay, could the waiters gather around to hear tonight’s specials? Okay, first, there’s, uh, Chilean Sea Bass, prepared with a mango relish, on a bed … why is nobody writing these down?

Waiter: Because we can remember them.

Monica: And because you’re all going to make up fake specials, and make me cook them like you did the other night?

Waiter: Well, sure, that too.

Monica is being treated shoddily by her new co-workers so she hires Joey just so she can fire him and show them that she could be a tough boss.

While co-opting a colleague to be part of your ruse to gain one-upmanship does offer comedic value (and a story to share with mates), it may be a bit drastic. Besides, the effect of one dramatic action to instantly gain respect would be ephemeral. It is far better to work over a period of time on gaining credibility through your actions and attitude, being an active listener, being someone who is true to their word (“Nothing worse than a hypocrite,” a friend recently reminded me) to truly earn the respect of colleagues.

And how to deal with undermining comments from colleagues in a day and age when the majority of our workplace communication (read: drama) takes place via e-mail or IMs?

According to Frances Cole Jones, author of The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World, “If you feel the offending colleague is using e-mail or other technology to wage his war, send a note saying, ‘I’d prefer to discuss this in person. What time works for you?’” she suggests. “You will be surprised how few people respond.”

And in number one place, the ‘top’ Friends lesson as it relates to career (sort of):

1. The One Where Rachel Chooses Ross (it’s just a job, not your life)

Ross: Oh my God! Did she get off the plane? Did she get off the plane?

Rachel: I got off the plane.

In this final Friends moment, between choosing a prestigious job of a lifetime in Paris which will take her away from the love of her life, Rachel ultimately chooses Ross.

I’m going to get a bit schmaltzy on you now, but as much as your career gives you satisfaction and validation, at the end of the day, it is only one component of your life. In the New York Times article, The Island Where People Forget To Die, the writer concludes that social connectivity is one of the pivotal links to contentment and life longevity. “For people to adopt a healthful lifestyle, I have become convinced, they need to live in an ecosystem, so to speak, that makes it possible. As soon as you take culture, belonging, purpose or religion out of the picture, the foundation for long healthy lives collapses. The power of such an environment lies in the mutually reinforcing relationships among lots of small nudges and default choices.”

Cultivate meaningful relationships with family and friends because – and you know what’s coming next… they’ll be there for you, even when the rain starts to pour.

 

Check out the original article, by Maseena Ziegler, over at Forbes.


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The dangers of accepting a counter-offer

You may think that getting and accepting a counter-offer from your company is flattering. You may have to think again.

It’s pretty tempting to think you’re quite the valuable commodity when your company offers you a higher salary to keep you from leaving to go work for another company. Not so fast, hot stuff. Here are a couple of things to think about before you accept that offer.

You will be looked on here on out as a bit of a traitor.

Sure, you ultimately decided to stay, but in your company’s eyes, you made an effort to find another job. And you might have interviewed on a day you called in sick, or asked to leave early using some excuse.

It may be a little naïve, but to your managers, your loyalty can’t be counted on. And if you were just using the other job offer as leverage to get what you wanted from your employer in the first place, it can be construed as a kind of blackmail. People don’t tend to forget that kind of thing, especially when promotions opportunities come around.

Money won’t solve your problems.

If you began looking for another job because you were unhappy for various reasons, you can be assured that a little bump in salary is not going to make those issues disappear.

You’ve burned a bridge with the company that wanted to hire you.

If you tell the manager of the second company who was making you an offer that you’ve decided to stay with your current company, he or she is going to take note. If you pulled the rug out from under them once, they’ll be very sure not to give you the opportunity in the future.

Last thoughts

By accepting a counteroffer from your company, you could be changing the dynamics of your relationship forever. And the counteroffer could just be buying time for your company until they can find your replacement–someone they feel will be glad to be where you are.

Credit to the guys over at TechRepublic for the original article.


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Agile Careers

If you’re a software developer looking for work then this news might be of interest to you. The Scrum Alliance have announced their partnership with Agile Careers; a careers website aimed at agile practitioners.

 

AgileCareers.com is the only careers website dedicated exclusively to the needs of the Agile community, offering job posting and resume services as well as an interactive community which broadcasts news articles and information relevant to Agile and Scrum practitioners.

This partnership provides Scrum Alliance members (i.e. certified Scrum practitioners) with valuable benefits:

  • Scrum Alliance members seeking new employees can post open positions on AgileCareers.com with the confidence they will be viewed by Agile and Scrum enthusiasts worldwide.
  • Scrum Alliance members seeking new Agile career opportunities have greater visibility into potential positions with companies who desire Agile and Scrum expertise. Visit AgileCareers.com to post your résumé.

To celebrate our new partnership, AgileCareers.com is offering free postings for a limited time. After that, Scrum Alliance members will enjoy ongoing discounts for all AgileCareers.com job posting services.

Check it out and let me know what you think?


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The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers

Now in its fifteenth year, The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers is the definitive guide to Britain’s most respected and sought–after graduate employers.

The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers

The new Top 100 rankings have been compiled from face-to-face interviews
with 17,737 graduates, who left UK universities in the summer of 2012,
who were asked the open-ended question “Which employer do you
think offers the best opportunities for graduates?”.

The List

Last year’s position is in (brackets).

1 (1) PwC
2 (2) Deloitte
3 (3) KPMG
4 (7) Teach First
5 (4) Aldi
6 (5) NHS
7 (8) Civil Service
8 (10) Ernst & Young
9 (6) BBC
10 (11) John Lewis Partnership
11 (9) Accenture
12 (20) Tesco
13 (12) HSBC
14 (21) Google
15 (13) Goldman Sachs
16 (14) Barclays
17 (16) BP
18 (15) GlaxoSmithKline
19 (24) Unilever
20 (23) J.P. Morgan
21 (18) P & G
22 (17) RBS
23 (22) Army
24 (19) IBM
25 (26) Rolls-Royce
26 (60) Jaguar Land Rover
27 (53) Apple
28 (27) M & S
29 (28) Barclays Inv Bank
30 (25) L’Oréal
31 (29) Allen & Overy
32 (38) Lidl
33 (48) Microsoft
34 (34) Morgan Stanley
35 (31) Shell
36 (30) BAE Systems
37 (37) Arup
38 (32) Lloyds Banking Group
39 (33) Sainsbury’s
40 (35) McKinsey & Company
41 (41) >Sky
42 (50) WPP
43 (42) Linklaters
44 (59) Citi
45 (36) Clifford Chance
46 (45) BT
47 (91) Nestlé
48 (55) Deutsche Bank
49 (44) Slaughter and May
50 (54) MI5
51 (52) Network Rail
52 (57) Freshfields
53 (61) Atkins
54 (56) Credit Suisse
55 (71) McDonald’s
56 (New) European Commission
57 (67) Bain & Company
58 (75) Co-operative Group
59 (64) DLA Piper
60 (40) Mars
61 (46) UBS
62 (89) Santander
63 (62) Boots
64 (79) Asda
65 (77) Boston Consulting
66 (98) nucleargraduates
67 (74) Bank of America
68 (80) Bloomberg
69 (43) Centrica
70 (49) Local Government
71 (51) Arcadia Group
72 (65) Royal Navy
73 (70) Herbert Smith
74 (72) Foreign Office
75 (90) Penguin
76 (39) Cancer Research UK
77 (47) ExxonMobil
78 (New) British Airways
79 (68) Police
80 (New) Towers Watson
81 (58) Saatchi & Saatchi
82 (78) Transport for London
83 (84) Diageo
84 (95) National Grid
85 (New) Norton Rose
86 (63) Oxfam
87 (73) Airbus
88 (81) Grant Thornton
89 (88) Savills
90 (New) GE
91 (87) E.ON
92 (New) British Sugar
93 (69) RAF
94 (85) Oliver Wyman
95 (New) Lloyd’s
96 (82) EDF Energy
97 (86) Kraft Foods
98 (New) BDO
99 (New) DFID
100 (99) Hogan Lovells

Check out the website here; http://www.top100graduateemployers.com/