hullcareersjack

Your Weekly Careers Update Courtesy of Jack

Archive for the tag “Career”

What you know? Who you know? What you know about who you know?

Aah November… It brings all the excitement of fireworks, application forms and careers fairs. Well over 1000 of you came down to our last one (not strictly November, but close enough) so there must be something a little bit exciting about it. We’re aware the Law School ran another one for all you budding lawyers. We’ve collected a couple of wigs that must have fallen off as you all went rushing over.

But looking to the future, you’ll end up heading to plenty more of these events. Jobs aren’t that easy to come by. So how are you supposed to make the most of these events?

It’s about what you know.

It’s also about who you know.

More accurately, it’s all about what you know about who you want to know, and what that person thinks about you.

Bit of a mouthful.

If you are walking into a careers fair with every intention of entering your chosen field, you should be swotting up on who is going to be present and what sort of service they seek to offer. You are going in there to meet your potential employers – to make good impressions.

The same applies to emails too though. Make sure you know what you’re doing and you know who you’re talking to. Remember, this is more than likely the first impression this particular person from this particular company has of you. With this in mind, don’t do this:

 

Dear Mr. Almighty,

My name is Reilly Desperate and i am about too finish my degree in Business at Uni. I really like your company because i’m really good at English and i no this is what publishers do. I have good attention to detail and i am a very committed person.

Please find attached a copy of my CV.

Warm regards,

Reilly

* * *

Dear Reilly,

    Thank you for your interest in our company.

    A crucial aspect of our work includes e-mail communication with our clients, and this requires attention to detail and a professional approach.

   For this reason I have difficulty progressing your application beyond your first message because of its frequent and careless lack of capitalisation and its poor grammar.

    I would imagine that you are a very bright individual. Your time at University proves this. However, you should remember that your message is the only evidence I have of you. I am passing you this advice in the hope that it may help you when you apply for jobs elsewhere.

Good luck for the future,

Mr. Almighty

* * *

Dear Mr. Almighty,

I worked very hard to get to my level and my spelling and grammer has nothing to do with how clever i am. My grammer can be improved, you’re bad manners cannot.

Please take me off you’re system. I would not like to work for you any more.

Regards,

Reilly

 

This is based on a true story from a University in the South. Approach companies professionally, whether in person or in writing.

Don’t just tell them you’re interested in their sector.

Tell them why you’re interested in THEM.

And be warm. Representatives are people too, and people remember other people that they like. They also like to help out the people that they like.

Good luck,

Jack

Advertisements

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

Never Underestimate the Value of ‘Entry-Level Jobs’

Well I must apologise for neglecting this blog. Unfortunately exams and engaging the full capacity of my short term memory took over my life for a short while. But now I’m back. Don’t worry.

I recently read a piece by a sixth-form leaver who embarked on a project to do some work experience with 60 unique professionals over 60 days. The aims were sound – to experience a wide range on professions before deciding where to specialise. The reasoning was not:

‘With my school days coming to a close I began to think about the summer between high school and university. This can be an awkward time as many students are not qualified for the jobs that are available and most are only able to get work at camps, shops or as entry-level office staff.’

My answer to this: ‘So what?’

Never underestimate the value of retail, or camp or even bar work. Entry-level office work is the coveted gold standard of part-time work for many future professionals. These jobs teach you the basics. Many people enter professions with no idea as to how to deal with people, or how to deal with money, or how to treat and respect the staff upon who – although a tier below you – you shall be relying so much. So here’s how you can get these ‘lowly’ jobs on your CV and get the edge over the competition who consider these roles below them:

Customer Service – Believe it or not, professionals shop too. It turns out they eat, wash and play just like the rest of us. If you’re planning on getting a job in the same area you currently work, and if you’re offering fantastic customer service, you’re going to be remembered. Your future employer could be that person you just informed of that cheaper meal deal available with their sandwich. Saying that, they could also be the person you spat filthy words at when they rudely interrupted your conversation about that ever so attractive individual your colleague had the privilege to serve. Nevertheless, if you have been recognised at work, be it by a customer or your employer, this is to be valued. Professionalism is about delivering a service and keeping customers coming back. Graduate recruiters like this.

Managerial Skills – The exciting thing about retail is that it offers so many more opportunities for leadership and management than many other jobs available to students at this stage. Pierre from Oxbridge has never had responsibility in his life. You, on the other hand, have delegated tasks to effectively achieve those seemingly unrealistic targets set by the higher managerial tiers in your company. You get yourself stuck in when the going gets tough and you are respected for your achievements by those within your workplace. Get it down on your CV (modestly). Tell them in interview (modestly).

People – You get them. You’ve had the opportunity to speak to people and tactfully deal with their problems. You can empathise, engage in conversation about the things real people want to talk about (Britain’s Got Talent, sport, alcohol etc.) and you know which jokes go down better with your close friends, and which ones are safer for your reputation. Pierre doesn’t. Pierre just smokes pipes.

Difficult People – This one is especially applicable to those who have taken part in bar work. Difficult people can be awkward. Drunken people can be intimidating. Having to deal with such people, and dealing with them successfully, is a massively positive reflection of an individual’s character. Having such nerve is impressive and is reflected in everything you do. Be proud of it.

Dealing with Kids – So you get people. You can deal with difficult people and you can stand your ground with drunken people. But this still doesn’t mean you can deal with kids. These are in a league of their own and having the capabilities can open up niche areas of work unavailable to those lacking in such experience. It connotes professionalism, backbone and patience. What sort of recruiter doesn’t want to see that?

Entry-level Office Work – HUGELY important. The office is an environment. It carries its own rules and practices, its own hierarchy and its own skill requirements for survival. Whether you drink it or not, you need to learn how to make a cup of tea. God forbid if you can’t make a half decent cup of coffee! Those photocopying machines require practice and experience. There is a seriously concerning possibility you will fall short of your employer’s expectations if you can’t use one. If you still get really excited when you get to use the shredder, you haven’t used one enough. Try and get some experience through work schemes or part-time office work.

There are plenty more to pick out, but its lunch time. Be proud of the work you have done in the past. The transferrable skills are phenomenally important both for the workplace and for character. Never underestimate the value of entry-level jobs. Your employer won’t.

Jack.

For more information on 60 Jobs in 60 Days:

http://careers.guardian.co.uk/careers-blog/work-experience-job-shadowing

http://sixtyinsixty.com/

Confessions of a Recruitment Consultant

Dear all,

This piece is incredible. A lot of you finalists will be looking for jobs very, very soon (hopefully). You’re probably making a few of these mistakes. I know I was.

Read it and be realistic in your applications. Get yourself noticed. Don’t tell them about your ‘bird of prey’. Read on. You’ll see what I mean.

Confessions of a Recruitment Consultant.

Jack.

Max Lands! And tells us how easy we have it.

The Careers Service has hosted a German Marketing Intern this week. We’re going to call him Max. He’s quite kindly agreed to do my job for me. And I’m getting paid for it! Enjoy!

Guten Tag everyone,

I am Max from Germany visiting my friend Jack in England.

I really have to admit, British people are weird. Especially British people at universities. Just the thought of someone with a philosophy-degree doing a job as manager… that would never happen where I come from.

In Germany much fewer pupils start a course in university after their A-levels (or Abitur, as we call it). But if you do, you have to decide beforehand, in which field of jobs you want to work as most employers would not even consider employing you if you have not a fitting degree. So I got to say, you English people really have better opportunities after university. You have so many chances!

That also explains to me why you have to have such huge CV’s with a lot more additional activities than we Germans use to have. You guys still have to prove that you are fitting for a job- we already did by studying a matching subject.

Nevertheless the German job-market is lacking of well-qualified employees. This is a result of a massive decrease in the birth-rate in the last 20 years. German parents became lazy one could say. Most companies and employers can’t even fill their apprenticeships, not to talk about post-graduate jobs.

Especially the healthcare-sector is in desperate need of labour-force. Why’s that, you could ask me? Are Germans that sick? In fact we are not- at least not usually. But good old Germany has become exactly that: old! Nearly half of the inhabitants (around 46%) are at age 50 or above. And as you know, with age often come the minor ailments.

Furthermore engineers are really wanted. You sure know BMW, Volkswagen and all the other major automobile-companies. They are the reason why. German industry is a great deal about producing machines, especially cars. At least this is what we are famous for in the world! But we can’t do that without engineers and others specialists.

Speaking of which… why don’t you guys help us out a bit? Some of you need jobs and we need qualified students. And with a more or less fitting degree, your chances are not bad at all, especially since all of you speak English very fluently (at least I hope so), which is one skill most companies are looking for. And in many cases you don’t even have to have German language skills. They would be really helpful though but a lot of Germans speak English anyway.

So maybe, if this could be an idea for you, why not just talk to the friendly advisors of your career service or have a look at the website of the international placement service of Germany (Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung)?

http://www.arbeitsagentur.de/nn_572444/Navigation/Dienststellen/besondere-Dst/ZAV/arbeiten-in-deutschland/EN/Startseite-EN-Nav.html

So much for today from me. I’d really like to meet you in beautiful Germany.

Auf bald, euer Max

Generic CVs WILL NOT Get You An Interview – This Will.

There is nothing more frustrating to an employer than a CV which is quite obviously generic. Granted I’m not an employer. However, a perk of my job is interrogating employers. This isn’t a perk due to some twisted power trip. It’s a perk because it is a perfect excuse to have a pint. Drunken employers are truthful employers.

So it follows that I can’t actually reveal the name of this employer. Nevertheless, I can reveal the main focus of his slurred wisdom:

DO NOT WRITE GENERIC CVs!!

I don’t think said employer (let’s call him Tom) could have been more explicit. Employers know when a CV is generic. No two companies in the same field of work are the same. Each will have a different ethos. Each will have taken on different work. Each will want something different from their candidates.

This information is generally available from the website, but of course this is the first place other people will look and you’ll end up with the same information as the rest of the candidates. You want to look different. You want to look better. Try these:

a. Read a Decent Newspaper – Stay on Top of Current Affairs

‘Naomi, 24 from Brighton’ does not have insightful political views. She doesn’t even really like football. Don’t read a tabloid. Read a broadsheet. They will get you thinking, introduce you to new ways of approaching relevant issues and, above all, introduce you in a concise and sufficient manner to issues that are going to be highly relevant to your field of interest.

b. Use Research Tools Available to You at University

You will have ways of finding out what projects your targeted employer has been involved in.

Lawyers: Use Westlaw or Lexis to find out what high profile cases your targeted employer has been involved with. Find out which cases they have been successful in.

Business Students: Use EU documentation to find out about relatively large scale contracts. Registration of such contracts is compulsory if they meet certain financial thresholds.

Arts Students: Explore! Use journals. Use galleries. Use agency websites.

The list is not exhaustive. Students of all disciplines have unique research tools. Use them!

c. Look at the Job Description and Tell Them Why You Fit It

If they have told you what they want, why would you tell them you’re something different? It’s like asking for lager and receiving ale. It might look the same (if slightly off), but it tastes like Humber water. That’s not to say an employer is going to want to taste you. I would imagine that would be strictly against the rules. It means you must fit the description in substance. You must show that your substance is of a far greater quality than that of Pierre from Oxbridge. Pierre is relying on his university status. You’re relying on your substantive skills. It’s very, very doable.

So what’s the moral of the story? Tailor your CVs. Do not be generic. Go that one step further. Win that interview.

Jack.

Post Navigation