Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Managing change

Managing change
Coming back to work post mat leave, no matter how long you took off is hard to navigate for many reasons. Whether you’re looking forward to it or not, leaving your baby and getting back into the working world is tough, couple that with a workplace that may well have changed significantly since you were there and you could be dreading that first day.
After up to a year off, in today’s fast pace world you could conceivably encounter some or all of these changes;

Restructure of entire business/management structure/team.
Office move
Computer upgrades/new systems
New staff
New elements to your job

It could be an interesting time for you so make sure you do what you can to help your company help you.

Be Prepared
Don’t ignore the fact that you’re going back, stay in touch with your managers and keep updated about what’s going on. You may have to do the chasing but some managers will let you know what’s happening as it happens, it’s all very well hearing gossip from colleagues you’re in touch with but if you want the facts then speak to the people who will know.

Know the score
It’s often the case that women returning from mat leave are left to it on the assumption that it’ll all come flooding back, this is simply not the case in most instances as often systems and processes have changed, make sure you know who to speak to, to answer any questions about new systems or things you’re no longer sure of, how to work the new timesheet system or who’s now responsible for payslips in finance for example, it may sound obvious but it’s easily forgotten and you don’t want to be faffing around still trying to figure out the new invoicing system in a few weeks time.

First month approach
Expect your first month to be a bit crazy, don’t put too many restrictions on yourself and don’t expect to be back in the swing of it on the first day, for one you won’t be expected to but for another how can you when you need to get used to your job again, even if nothing’s changed if you’re anything like me you’ll have forgotten how to type!!

Embrace it
If your role has changed or your team has changed and you’re feeling a bit out of sorts, try to put a positive spin on things, change can be a great thing, even if you’re not a fan, it could mean new opportunities for you, it could mean new brilliant people to work with, it could be many more good things as opposed to bad, the more negative your view, the worse you’ll feel and as I’ve mentioned, going back to work will be hard enough without any extra worries.

Knowing about change, getting support to work through it and understand it’s effect on you will help you to accept and embrace it. It might be hard at first but approaching change in a positive light will help you feel better about this new chapter in your life & hopefully very soon you’ll have forgotten what you were worried about.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Red and yellow and pink and green........

I've never understood it, unless you're a designer/architect type, why would you use colour on your CV? Controversial opinion warning but....... are you a school child? Are you apply for a job that has asked you to use colours? No? STOP IT THEN!

I think the main issue with colours in a CV for me is that it's juvenile.  As I said, unless you're a designer type or architect and you're demonstrating your skill in your CV , which by the way is perfectly acceptable and can look very skillful when done well, you don't need colours.

Here are some great examples of design CVs,  so clever.

People seem to use them to highlight information but it's really not needed, here's a list of alternatives;

Use skilled presentation and your words to highlight important information.
Keep headings consistent, using the same fonts and font sizes.
Keep your paragraphs short.
Use bullets but only when you need to.

These tips will help you present yourself to an employer in a clear concise manner and make your document easier to read and therefore more likely to be placed in the YES pile.

So I've got that off my chest now, I'm feeling lighter!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Check, check, checkedy, check, check!

Yes I made up the word 'checkedy' but so what, you should see some of the howlers I've encountered in my time. One of the best would be an applicant applying to a mechanical engineering role who misspelled mechanical!

You really can never check your document too many times, well you can actually, if you do it too many times you'll probably overlook some errors so it's best to get at least one other person, better two, to have a look over it as well. They don't have to understand it, just look for grammatical and spelling errors, you've no idea how off putting it is to a recruiter when a candidate clearly hasn't been bothered to take the time to make sure all is right, it's likely to mean your document ends up in the B file (bin) so don't take the chance and checkedy check check!

Have a look at these links for some facepalm worthy mistakes.

This is my favorite, an infographic from @socialtalent

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

It's all in the presentation

Have you got a CV, do you underline your titles, do you use different fonts, have you used italics, what about font sizes, have you varied them, do you use boarders, how about random bullet lists, are you using colours..........?


Presentation is very important when writing a CV and here's the one reason why;


Before they've even read one word on your CV, if you've got different fonts, boarders, italics and (heaven forbid) colours all over the place, you're not making a very good first impression.

Its always best to keep it simple so here are my top tips;

1- Choose a font and stick with it. You can change a font size or bold it out for titles, you don't ever need more than one font.

2- Choose a style and stick with it. By this I mean decide how you want to present the whole CV and use that throughout, for example, if you want to bold and underline all your titles you need to do that for every single one not just the main titles.

3- Ditch the boarders. I've always been baffled as to why people do this, you don't need to put your CV in boxed sections, it doesn't look neater, it looks juvenille.

4- Ditch the colours. See above but instead of juvenille, think infantile!!

5- If using bullets in your role descriptions then use bullets for all roles not just one or two, where you don't have enough info to include a bullet list that's fine but if that's the style you want to use, use it throughout.

6- Make sure spacing is consistent. Paragraphs spacing should always be the same throughout the document.

I could go on but that's all for now, if you're stuck, get in touch for a free consultation to see how we could help.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

8 seconds!

Had a very interesting meeting today about the future of CV Uk Writer Ltd, gave me lots to think about, one of the bigger talking points was the 8 second rule. 
When a hiring manager looks at your Cv, they will take about 8 seconds to make up their minds as to whether you are in or out based on what they read (or scan in reality). 
Think about it, you may be looking to prove yourself in your first job or you may have 30 years experience, regardless, 8 seconds isn't great if you're trying to get your foot in the door, I mean what can you legitimately do well in 8 seconds......
Down a small glass of water
Scratch your itchy nose
Put on a pair of socks
Turn your car on and put your seatbelt on
Sing the opening line of your favourite song

You can see that 8 seconds isn't a long time to change the world, I'm being glib but my point is that not much can be done in 8 seconds that is significant so when someone is reading your cv for the first time, if all you've got is 8 seconds, you'd better make sure it's the very best it can be! 
So how can you do that? Obviously you could leave it to the experts (us) but some tweaks you can make; 
*Make sure your formatting is clear and regular
*Keep to one font, no italics
*Keep your education short and bulleted (you don't need to list all of your cse's from 1972) 
*Keep your personal statement clear, concise and no more than 4 lines MAX
*Make your latest job title clear
*Get your current job highlights at the top of the list, make sure you put your greatest responsibilities and achievements right at the top of your current job history, that's the one hiring mangers will be interested in so make sure you're blowing your own trumpet.

Personal statements can be tricky to write (it's a whole other post) but drafting a few versions can help you pin point what you want to say, steer clear of repetition and of using too many adjectives. 

8 seconds is not long, don't be fooled into thinking the job you're applying to doesn't fall into this bracket, the likelihood is that it will, competition is still high as I'm always saying so make your 8 seconds count and ensure your CV headlines pop!

Further reading:

Citing original study:

Updated article;

Older article which talks about a 6 second rule!!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

International Women's Day 2016

So international women's day is over for another year, did you mark it in any way? Did your place of work? I have to say it's only in recent years have I actually known it existed, with no place of business I've ever worked marking it bar one, once! It was in fact started way back in the days of suffrage. It's made headlines in more recent years though and this year was no exception.
The theme this year was for planet 50:50 by 2030, a focus on gender parity. If you want to read more then do look at the official page

I wanted to touch on IWD in this blog as the theme is equality, in all areas of life and as I'm a CV writer I will focus on careers.

Having worked in STEM industries my entire career, I have often observed how wide the gender gap is in terms of skill set, engineers are in the majority, men, scientists are in the majority, men, HR, mostly women. So what can be done about that? There's a point to tackling the issue with our peers, to bring sexism and inequality to the fore but international women's day should be used to target our smallest people, not to highlight the difficulties they may face as men and women but to reiterate the point that you can be anything you want to be, science, engineering, even space doesn't have to be for a majority sex. 
And this message should be a theme throughout their school lives, not just a one off. Certainly when I was at school there wasn't much work done on that as a subject, I remember a brief chat with a career guidance counsellor but nothing to light my technical fire, nothing that would make me want to find out more about building a bridge or finding a cure for cancer.
Nothing is wrong with any career but we have to ask ourselves why is society perpetuating the cliche that boys build stuff and girls nurture when both can do....both. More needs to be done to encourage boys and girls into different fields of work and to show that both are equally capable. The male dinosaurs that I've worked with in my time are slowly retiring, those that refuse to hold meetings with women in HR (yes really), those that ask questions about babies, childcare and marriage in interviews (yes really) and more open minded people are coming to the fore, actually holding discussions about encouraging women to retrain and how they can attract women to work in their business. But again, it needs to start earlier, you're not going to magically increase the number of female civil engineers in the marketplace but given time and effort, the girls taking their GCSEs now could well be designing bridges in 10 years time.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Back to basics

It's been quite a while since my last blog update so I thought I'd get back to basics.
If you've ever worked in recruitment then you'll know that one of the prime times for job searches is the new year (that and the first two weeks of school summer holidays believe it or not), so with that being said, it is a good time to throw some job search tips out there in case you're reading this and you're looking or just thinking about it.

Research - Where will you look, what sites are most relevant, what companies do you want to work for, if you don't have specifics what type of companies will you look at (considering ethics for example). You may not be that fussed but it pays to know where you will be spending your time looking for a job because.....

Organise - If you know where you're looking you'll be able to organise your time and your approach to your particular job search, for example, how long will you spend posting your CV on job boards or applying to roles on a particular board. Do you have the relevant industry publications to hand if that's your approach or what companies are you going to contact direct on what day. Being organised will mean you stay........

Focus - Its very very easy to lose focus when doing anything really and job searching is no different, you might get bored, disheartened, depressed even but making a plan about your approach as above will help halt those feelings. Unless you're lucky or particularly in demand you'll probably need to revise your plan of action, do more research and re-organise your time but that's OK and will help you to stay focused on your ultimate goal which I would assume would be - a new fabulous job!

Finally it is so important that you get your CV together. Obvious I know but people don't give it enough time, it needs effort and attention, what are you trying to say, what do you want to say, what do you want people to think about you? It can all be conveyed through your CV so you need to invest in it. Think of it as a submission to an exam, you want to get it as right as possible and unless you really don't care (in which case why are you reading this), you want to get the highest score as you possibly can and beat your peers.

Job searching isn't anyone's favorite task but if you follow the simple steps above then it can be a little less painful, you can always come talk to us to see how we can help as well of course!

Happy hunting folks, I'll not leave it so long next time!