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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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Job Search – Have you got the I.T. factor?

Latest figures show that the numbers of people employed in the UK are the highest since records began.  Forecasts, both short and long-term, show that the total is expected to remain on an upward curve, with the rate of unemployment quite stable at around 6%.  Freelancing and other forms of self-employment are also rising fast. So there is plenty of work out there, especially for people with the requisite skills, experience and qualifications.

Although some view this as unhealthy, London remains the powerhouse of the UK economy as evidenced by a recent report which found that the capital had ten times the number of job vacancies than other major UK cities. Job creation in London in recent years has been extremely positive, both in the public and private sectors and the expectation is that this will continue.  The situation nationally is patchier, with some regions seeing net job losses in both sectors. So London remains the place to be.

Hiring is currently buoyant within IT, in the Financial Services sector for example. One reason is the renewed confidence as the economic outlook is becoming more positive. An increase in data and software development projects has led to consistent demand for suitably qualified professionals. And of course, change is a constant feature of the IT industry; nothing stays the same for very long.

Job hunting can be hard work - use an online tool!

Job hunting can be hard work – use an online tool!

A CV is of course a vitally important tool for anyone applying for jobs, especially in IT. Effectively, it is your marketing brochure. It needs to be a comprehensive, sharp but concise and professional document.  Preparing a CV will also often help a candidate to identify gaps in their qualifications, gaps which they can set about filling.  Prospective employers will be impressed if they see you are adding to your qualifications.

Not surprisingly, given the nature of IT work, the most common method of job hunting in this sector is to use the internet, and in particular to apply for positions via online websites, such as YourJobList.com. This can be extremely useful in providing a one-stop solution to job searching and it also often contains helpful blogs dealing with numerous practical issues, for example how to handle gaps in your CV.

One important benefit to be found on YourJobList.com is that all the major recruitment agencies are listed in one convenient place and you can add more that are relevant to your circumstances. This is especially useful in the modern market as fewer and fewer companies advertise jobs directly.


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How to Explain Gaps in Your CV at Job Interviews?

Redundancies and job losses have been rife over the past five years. One effect of this is that, when it comes to putting together a CV, many people are finding they have career gaps they fear might put off potential employers. The question is, how do you present these gaps to those potential employers? That all depends on the reason for your gap and how long you’ve been out of work. Here are a few tips:

Reasons for Career Gaps

There are hundreds of reasons you might have a gap in your CV and have spent an extended period of time without a job. The most common of these are redundancy, taking time out to travel, and taking time out to become a parent. In modern society it is quite common to take a gap year or time out for ‘personal travel’. It is also common for new parents to take time away from the work place to spend time with their small children. Rather than view gaps for these reasons as a negative thing, emphasize the positives you have learnt, and how that time out will enhance your ability to perform your new role. Staying at home with a baby will have improved your time management and your ability to multi-task. Taking time out to travel will have broadened your cultural understanding and you’ll have probably learnt a thing or two about money management as well! Focus on these positives rather than the negatives associated with being away from the workplace. If you have gap in your CV for a reason you don’t think would be viewed favourably, because you were spending time in a rehab facility, for example, or because you took some time off to deal with a family bereavement, then it’s probably best not to discuss these at your first interview. Having career gaps due to illness, unemployment and rehabilitation will suggest you are a ‘high risk job seeker’ and might dissuade the recruiters from meeting with you again to learn what else you have to offer.

Focus on Years and Not Months

One tip for presenting very small career gaps in a way that won’t be noticed by recruiters and potential employers is to focus on the years you were in certain roles on your CV, rather than the months you were there. Rather than write:

March 2010-January 2012. Marketing Executive.

April 2012 – Present. Marketing Manager.

you could simply write;

2010-2012 Marketing Executive.

2012 to Present. Marketing Manager.

By doing this there is no gap on your CV to explain. If your career gap is longer than a couple of months, though, this technique will not work: when it comes to applying for new roles, honesty really is the best policy. If you lie on your CV you’re likely to be caught out and may lose the role you were given anyway.

Talking About the Gap

If you do have a long career gap, during the interview process, particularly if the recruiter is reading your CV, they may ask you to explain it. The most important thing to remember is to think positively, and draw attention to all the positive aspects of your CV, rather than focus on the bits that are harder to talk about. As already mentioned, draw on the new skills you learnt during your career break and compare them positively to the skills you would need to complete the role you’ve applied for. Perhaps the trickiest kind of extended career break to explain is one for illness or rehabilitation. Rightly or wrongly, potential employers may view this with concern, fearing you’ll take an extended period off work again. The best thing to do in this instance is to keep your explanation short and to the point: you took time off because you were ill, but you’re firing on all cylinders again now and ready to get back to work.  If you did anything else during the time you were out of work (such as volunteer work or training for a marathon) then now is the perfect time to mention this too.

A career gap can be difficult to explain but if you’re open and honest then it shouldn’t prevent you from gaining the job you deserve!

Thanks to guest contributor Emma Crosby for this great article.


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Skype interviews: Is it more tricky to be grilled by video?

The job interview is an ordeal that most people face at some stage in our career. But as video starts to take the place of the face-to-face interview, is it easier or harder now to land your dream job?

The job interview as we know it may never have existed if it wasn’t for Thomas Edison.

Frustrated with hiring college graduates who lacked the right knowledge, Edison devised the first employment questionnaire to narrow down his applicant pool.

The survey was thought to be so difficult that in 1921 the New York Times nicknamed it a “Tom Foolery test” and claimed only a “walking encyclopaedia” could succeed.

Questions included: “What is the weight of air in a room 20ft x 30ft x 10ft?” and “Where are condors to be found?”*

But today the trick to making a good impression at interview may be less about what you know and more about how you come across on camera.

Jean Luc, a 30-year-old marketing professional from Greenwich, recently had his first video interview for a role at a web start-up company based in Berlin.

“I had the usual nerves before my interview. But I Skype all the time as my parents live in South Africa so it felt like a much more familiar process. What I found quite disconcerting was when I first turned on the video, my interviewer had his camera turned off.

“It would have been awkward if I turned my camera off and on again so I just went through the interview with a black screen. It was a bit like talking to myself.”

Looking in the wrong place is just one of the common pitfalls of video interviews, says New York-based career coach and blogger Megan Broussard.

“It’s tempting to watch yourself in that little box to make sure your hair isn’t in your face or that you’re not making weird facial expressions. But the truth is that it is very distracting to the other party and can come across as shy and even insincere – two qualities both employers and new hires want to avoid.

“It’s OK to watch the speaker on the screen, but respond by looking into the camera to create the illusion of direct eye-contact, always.”

In the US more than six out of 10 HR managers now use video to interview job applicants, according to a survey.

 

How to cruise a video interview

  • Set the stage: Make the room you’re in a reflection of your work -polished
  • plain backdrop can be less distracting
  • Test the lighting: Even if your camera isn’t the highest quality, make sure it flatters your features and the interviewer can see you clearly
  • Dress the part: Be as conservative as the organisation – wear smart bottoms in case you have to get up during the interview
  • Work the camera: Minimise the video image of you so you’re not tempted to watch yourself
  • The employer expects eye contact and anything else will distract him or her
  • Do a test run: Call a friend or family member to make sure speakers and microphone are working and they can hear you clearly

Tips from Megan Broussard – aka Professional – a career coach and blogger from New York

 

Click here to read the original BBC article.

Credit to the original author, Hannah Briggs, over at BBC News.


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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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Co-Workers From Hell

Yep, we all have our horror stories about co-workers from hell.

Well, PayScale.com pinged their users on the worst co-workers they’ve ever had and man, did they get an earful!

I once had a co-worker who clipped his nails at his desk. I am still not over the horror of it all. To this day, the sound of a clipper is still like that screeching sound during the shower scene in “Psycho.”

I had another co-worker who was so universally disliked, other co-workers would Tweet “__^__ ” when she was approaching, meaning — “shark in the water.”

Here are some of the “hygiene horrors” PayScale heard about:

  • “This one lady always burped and clipped her fingernails. Gag!”
  • “One word: farting. Uncontrollable, incessant farting.”
  • “Coughing up phlegm all morning long. Gross!”
  • “There was once a discussion from the staff about buying the business owner a gift basket of mouth care products. This person’s breath was somewhere between annoyance and horror.”

They also found a whole lot of unprofessional, lazy and obnoxious behavior:

  • “I actually worked with a girl who wore house shoes and sweats that said ‘juicy’ on the butt — then she wondered why clients didn’t take her seriously or respect her. Also, lazy people drive me nuts, and Debbie-Downers. Womp-womp.”
  • “A male coworker called all the women he worked with ‘girl’. ‘Hey girl’ only works for Ryan Gosling, and only if I don’t work with him.”
  • “I had a coworker once who was nearly crazy (passive aggressive, played the victim, just an emotional basket case). I also had the joy of having the office next to her. One day, about 3PM, I hear someone playing a mandolin in her office. It was her. She had to practice she said. I couldn’t believe it.”
  • “I can’t stand passive-aggressive group e-mails, especially ones with words in ALL CAPS.”

The Internet is loaded with complaints about co-workers – the oglers, the combative types and the perpetual victims.

On JobSchmob.com , one poster spoke of a co-worker who spoke down every day and doublechecked everything the employee did and then went one better – er, worse – and went to the boss and said this person didn’t know what they were doing.

On Askville.Amazon.com , one fed-up employee said a co-worker from Hell “stole my work, called me names in the hall, let the air out of my tires, and scuttled any program I tried to start. She got her job by being the mistress of an important man in the hierarchy.”

Another post on JobSchmob talked about a foreman who leers at her when he’s in the office. When she chirped, “What’s shakin’?” he gave a glance to her backside and said, “Looks like you are.”

Ew.

StealthGenie.com offers a list of five types of bad employees, including “The Panicker,” who is “always running around the office with steam coming out of their ears and their hair looking like they’ve just been wrestling with a wild bear…” and makes “every trivial task into a battle between good and evil where they are Luke Skywalker to the filing cabinet’s Darth Vader.”

And then there’s “The Silent Assassin.” “This was the weird guy who always ate lunch alone and quietly kept scribbling onto his notepad during meetings. This was the woman who looked like she had seen a ghost when you asked her if she had seen Sex and the City the night before. They have no social skills and they are silent. They are deadly. Those notes that he was taking? They were all about how you keep stealing stapler pins from the admin desk and how you are always browsing humor blogs when you should be working. These people annoy you because they ruin your image with the boss and can eventually lead you to quit when you realize the amount of hatred your boss has developed for you.”

On Twitter, there were tales of grime in people’s teeth, lying and blaming and one co-worker from hell who *gasp!* played that song “Call Me Maybe” twice a day.

Oh the horror. The humanity.

It’s one thing to show up with food in your teeth or Juicy printed on your butt. But we have to draw the line at Carly Rae Jepsen!

Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter offers this advice in “Psychology Today” for dealing with CFH’s (Coworkers From Hell):

  • Anticipate and be prepared
  • Don’t reinforce bad behavior
  • Don’t take it personally
  • Avoid direct attacks on the CFH, emotion, sarcasm and defensiveness
  • DO NOT engage
  • Practice reasoned responses to CFH behavior

 

Credit to CNBC for the original article.