We all know that higher education can be costly, but how does the cost of your degree stack up against the rest of the world? Have a look at the infographic below and find out!
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.
Check out this great infographic. Lot’s of great tips!
Credit to the guys at Top Counseling Schools.
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.
Your LinkedIn profile is not a beautiful or unique snowflake.
If you try to stand out from the crowd by describing yourself as “creative”, “motivated” or “responsible”, you’re actually making yourself look like you lack creativity and aren’t motivated enough to take responsibility for your career by penning a cliché-free LinkedIn Profile.
We make that assertion on the basis that LinkedIn’s annual list of buzzwords in its members’ profiles includes those three terms among the top eight words that members use to describe themselves.
First conducted two years ago, this year’s effort saw the seriously-social network comb through profiles penned by over 187 million members to find the most-used words. Entries in languages other than English were translated and the whole lot poured into a big data melting pot that spat out the following eight terms as the most-used:
LinkedIn argues that using those words in your profile makes you stand out from the crowd in the worst possible way – as someone who can’t articulate your values in anything other than words devalued by overuse, or lacking qualities that can be accurately described without resorting to blandishments.
There’s at least one piece of evidence out there to suggest employers already see through these words, as those of you who recall our story from early this year about a job ad for ‘mediocre developers’ may recall.
Check out the original article, by Simon Sharwood, over at The Register.
The new trend in hiring in 2013? Challenge-based and video interviews. Read how you can master these new challenges.
“Businesses and recruiters are using video interviews and work samples as a way to effectively vet job candidates before bringing them in for an actual interview so employers can “try before they buy” and ensure they’re finding the right candidate for the job.”
For example, if a business is hiring an engineer, they may present a coding challenge to candidates; if they’re hiring a social media manager they may ask candidates to create compelling tweets.
Here are some tips from HireArt to ensure that candidates are prepared for both the challenge-based and video interviews that are becoming more common in today’s competitive job market.
1. Act like you want to be there.
Being energetic over a video interview can go a long way in making you stand out against other candidates that seem bored or uncomfortable. Even though it might be more difficult to seem enthusiastic about a job when you are just talking to the camera, you should try to come across as excited and passionate about why you want to be there.
2. Watch your presentation.
You don’t look as good on camera as you look in person (it’s true!). So, don’t let basic components of your interview, such as attire and lighting, negatively affect how you come across. Dress as you would dress were the interview taking place in the office. Record the view in a bright place that allows the interviewer to clearly see you. And make sure the quality of your audio allows the interviewer to really understand what you are saying. Although these things are not related to your skills, they could count against you when other candidates have them and you don’t.
3. Don’t be sloppy.
Typos and lack of attention to detail in your online applications often immediately disqualify you. Take the time to be careful!
4. Know your own pitch.
Most video interviews require you to record a two minute pitch about yourself. Really think about what you want to get across, what experiences you would like to highlight, what sets you apart from other candidates, and how you want to say this in a succinct way.
5. Make sure you know the company, its competitors and the industry inside and out.
If you are invited to an interview, even if it is an online interview, companies expect you to understand the position and know the company well. Use this information to craft your pitch and at every other chance you get. Articulate specifically why you want to work at the company – what specifically drew you to this position.
Find the full, original article written by Toni Bowers, over at TechRepublic.