hullcareersjack

Your Weekly Careers Update Courtesy of Jack

Archive for the category “Getting a Job”

Illness – Employers are Sick of It

Illness isn’t great at the best of times. It’s worse when it strikes you down for 2 of the 5 days you had managed to bag yourself within a lucrative business in a different country. Guernsey to be precise.

But it did get me thinking – where is the line between acceptable illness and unacceptable illness? When will an employer agree that you are genuinely too unwell to work? Do you have to turn up first and see how you go? Fortunately I was staying with one of the employees at this business and it was more than apparent to her just how ill I had become. If not, I would have found myself nervously treading the employability minefield – balancing impressing my employer with dedication and self-sacrifice against the overwhelming urge to display the effects of the stomach upon a £3.29 meal deal across my desk.

The short, sweet and simple answer is ‘it depends’. That doesn’t help very much. Here’s why.

Each employer is different. Each employer will have had their own unique experiences with individuals in these circumstances, and a lot is very much down to luck. One employer may see illness as an excuse to skive; another might be genuinely concerned for your health and advise you to stay at home until you are well. Some employers won’t care. Such is life.

But what can you do to mitigate the effects of ill health at work or on a placement? Here are my 3 top tips:

1. Ensure you are well rested and fed–

Being run down is going to mean you are particularly susceptible to bugs and viruses. By looking after yourself, you can do your very best to avoid coming down with these illnesses in the first place and avoid the problem all together!

 

2. Stock up on Immodium –

Maybe not just Immodium. Diarrhea, sickness, headaches, fevers… The effects can be awful to deal with (especially when you are alone in a new city) and may take a while to disappear on their own. Viruses in particular cannot be treated, but the symptoms can be tackled with many over the counter medicines. Build a travel medicine kit and ensure to have it with you, just in case.

 

3. Battle through –

‘Sniffles’ warn us of the impending doom at the hands of man flu/colds. They are not, however, a good excuse to skip work. If you know you can work, battle through. Negative impressions come through being unproductive and this is why illness becomes such a problem. If you can make it there and get through the first few hours, you will maximise your chances of avoiding a negative impression. If you don’t feel better by around midday, you can always head on back home with your employer’s permission. You will have shown just how dedicated you are, how you understand the importance of turning up and your employer will recognise you are genuinely ill and aren’t using this as an excuse to skip work and explore your new city/play Xbox.

 

It is very difficult to stay away from work and still leave a positive impression. Try your very best to avoid illness in the first place, make sure you’re prepared for the worst and battle through if you can. It’s tough, but it’s doable.

Jack

Internships – Free work for the sniff of a job.. Until now.

It hardly seems fair does it? You know you’re good at what you do. One day you’re going to be the CEO of (insert the name of the biggest company you know). Why should you have to provide free work when you can’t afford to feed yourself and your degree is a full time job in itself?

Well the thing is, (the biggest company you know) doesn’t know howgood you are at what you do. An application form can only tell you what qualifications a candidate has. An interview can only tell you how good at lying about said qualifications the candidate is. Working tells you outright how good a candidate is at working.

The argument is pretty evenly balanced. However you don’t have a job. The employer does. He has a 3D TV at home. He doesn’t need Dominos vouchers to afford ‘posh pizza’. He has a team of Italians working in his kitchen. He doesn’t even like pizza.

The point is, you’re in no position of power. The status quo is that you’re going to have to put out, and if you don’t, Pierre is going to do it instead.

“But why is this the status quo?” I hear you cry! “Why aren’t we starting a revolution?”

Well we are.

The Hull University Careers Service is working on a scheme with employers to get you access to paid internships! That’s right! You’ll be able to afford ‘posh pizza’ without those crazy coupons AND you’ll be showing a potential employer just how good you are at working!

These are fantastic opportunities to get your foot in the door. We have a few up there at the moment, but keep checking back as this will be updated regularly:

http://www2.hull.ac.uk/student/careers/students/vacancies/paidinternships/graduateinternships.aspx

That’s quite enough excitement for one day.

Good luck,

Jack

Interviewers are people too…

Interviewers are people too… Did you hear the one about the accountant who, in a bid to escape from a fair lady of questionable gender on a drunken week in Thailand, found himself diving headfirst onto the sandy beaches of Haad Rin? Naked?

The purpose behind an interview is to get to know you as a person. A real person. Employers want to hire someone who will work well in their team. They want you to be the person who will get involved with the weekly 5-a-side or come along to office drinks. Successful professionals balance work and play. Successful professionals are liked.*

You can’t take a course in being a likeable person. These things come with practice. ‘What should I practice?’ I hear you call… Why drinking of course!

Get involved with societies! Get down to socials! Learning how to speak to people is so incredibly important, and yet we take it for granted. It can be very, very hard. We can only learn from our mistakes, and social mistakes can be unbelievably embarrassing. I’m betting you would much rather make them in front of your friends than that potential employer who is trying so very hard to like you. He really is trying. You’re just making it incredibly difficult for him.

I should mention at this stage that you don’t have to drink to be successful. That would be a very wrong message. Alcohol has, however, become a very large part of social culture and this is very difficult to deny. The advantage of not drinking is that you can develop your social skills sober. Societies are generally very welcoming of non-drinkers and this should not be seen as a bar (pun very much intended). Drink virgin cocktails and learn to dance/sway as well as your drunken peers. Offer to be the sober first aider for socials. There’s nothing better than CPR to strike up social bonds.

To sum up in one phrase – Learn to talk to people. Do not underestimate the power of rapport. It will make or break that interview.

Jack.

*Liked at interview by their potential employers. ‘Liked’ does not necessarily represent the opinion of the public at large.

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