job search tips

[caption id="attachment_18577" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The portfolio career life"] [/caption] Career portfolios, also referred to as professional portfolios, are a valuable career development tool. Here's a guide to help you understand what a career portfolio is, how to create one and how to use it to help you get ahead in your career. What is a career portfolio? A career portfolio is a collection of materials evidencing your qualifications, skills, experience and personal qualities. Used as a marketing tool, your career portfolio is a powerful visual aid which allows you to showcase your career accomplishments and provide insight into your capabilities. It can be used to apply to jobs, apply to college or training program and to justify seeking a pay rise. In addition to demonstrating your skills and abilities, it allows you to keep track of your own personal and professional development. What does a career portfolio look like? There are two types of career portfolio:...

[caption id="attachment_18593" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] You have less than 8 seconds to create a good first impression[/caption] You might already be aware that you have less than 8 seconds to create a good first impression during a job interview. What you might not know is how to create a good first impression and be remembered a smartly dressed, well-presented professional. The Basics Avoid eating strongly flavoured foods before your interview. This is particularly important if your interview is scheduled after lunchtime. Stick with a simple sandwich or salad minus garlicky spreads or dressings. Be sure to check your teeth before the interview, that you have no food or lipstick stuck to them. Hair should be freshly washed and neatly styled. If you're a woman you might find wearing your hair in an up-style more manageable with the added benefit of removing the temptation of fussing with it before or during the interview. Women should stick to...

[caption id="attachment_18631" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Tips for the best cover letter"] [/caption] Many job seekers struggle when writing a cover letter. Here's my top ten cover letter writing tips to help guide the process. Your cover letter should be in a standard business format. Don’t use borders or fancy fonts, stick with a standard business font such as Arial or Times New Roman; Include your name, address, telephone numbers and email at the top of the letter; Address the letter to a specific person if possible paying special attention to make sure you use the correct spelling of their name; Include any position reference numbers and the position title; If responding to a job advertisement, use it as a guide to help you write your cover letter being sure to give examples of how you fit the requirements mentioned in the advertisement; Try and keep your cover letter to one page in length. Use plain English and...

[caption id="attachment_18641" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Volunteer to help your career"] [/caption] It's Volunteer's Week and I thought now would be the perfect time to discuss the benefits of volunteering and how it can boost your career. There are so many advantages to volunteering but here are the main ones: Gain work experience It’s a fact that employers look more favourably upon candidates with a combination of qualifications and experience than they do on those with qualifications alone. One of the most common questions I'm asked by graduates and career changers is how to gain practical work experience when no one is prepared to give you a go? Short of finding an entry-level role or internship, volunteering is one of the best ways to gain practical work skills and experience. Professional development As a volunteer, it's likely you'll gain access to professional development opportunities since many hosts provide free training for volunteers. This could take the form...

[caption id="attachment_18655" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The right questions to ask are important"] [/caption] If you struggle when asked if you have any questions for the interviewer/s at the end of a job interview you're not alone. Many of us struggle to come up with intelligent and relevant questions at this most critical time. At the end of most job interviews, it’s likely you’ll be asked something like “Do you have any questions for us?” The wrong answer is: “No, I think you’ve covered everything.” The right answer is to ask relevant questions that demonstrate your genuine interest in the position. You can ask questions that relate to the company, the team or the role itself. Here are some examples of questions to ask at a job interview: Questions about the company [to help you learn more about the company including staff turnover, work environment/culture, challenges and future plans] How long have you worked for the company? What...

[caption id="attachment_18678" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The new year provides the perfect opportunity to reassess your career and resolve to make changes"] [/caption] The start of a new year prompts us to think about what we want to achieve in our lives. As we assess our current situation, we may decide it's time to make some changes. This might be as simple as gaining new skills, improving performance or asking for a pay rise, or as major as changing careers. Here's my list of ten of the most popular new year’s career resolutions along with some tips on how to achieve them: Find a better job If you’re unhappy in your current job it could be time to make a move. Just be sure you are making the move for the right reasons and that your decision is a rational and practical one. Ask yourself what you want you want in a new job that you...

[caption id="attachment_18683" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Since we are fast approaching Christmas, it seems the perfect time to turn our attention to the job opportunities the festive season brings. Target industries with high seasonal demand"] [/caption] Although most companies put off taking on new staff just before and just after Christmas, there are industries where the Christmas period may be the busiest. Industries like retail and hospitality for example, typically become very busy around the Christmas period and are likely to take on extra staff to cope with the increased demand. It’s true that much of this work will be temporary in nature since once the Christmas frenzy is over, the work will be too. Foot in the door However, seasonal work can be a great foot-in-the-door opportunity for someone wanting to join a company with a view to securing a more permanent role. This Christmas, Sainsbury's are taking on an extra 15,000 workers, the largest number...