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Mixing business with pleasure…

3 Mar

Should you include hobbies and interests in your CV?

It’s a question that we get asked a lot. Do recruiters really want to know about what we get up to in the evenings or at the weekends? Well yes, they might well like to know a bit more about you and your personality. Any hobby or interest that you put on your CV should be relevant, well written and could make the difference between you and another candidate should it come down to the wire.

dogs

So maybe your love of extreme dog grooming may not seem like the sort of thing your employer might want to know about you, however if you are going for a job as a dog groomer or working with animals, dogs in particular, then it might just show them that you have got a genuine interest in their line of business.

Your hobby should reinforce your application and may also show that you have transferable skills that you can bring to the workplace. For example coaching your local football team shows that you have motivational skills. If you are the president or leader of a group or club this would be useful to add when going for a management position.

It can also make a difference how you write about your hobby e.g. a friendly kick about every Friday could be “Organising and participating in a 5-a-side football league”.

Try and avoid any generic hobbies such as socialising with friends or eating out as these won’t show your true personality or add anything to the CV. If you find that you don’t have any hobbies it is best to leave this section out altogether rather than adding it just for the sake of it.

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The Work within Wonderland

3 Dec

There are often jobs and businesses that we don’t even think of when looking for work or business ideas, so as we are entering the Christmas season let’s take a look at a well known Christmas song, just to see how many different jobs we can find within the lyrics.

 

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

You need a good carpenter or two to make the sleigh from Scandinavian Ash, lumberjacks to cut down the trees and groundsman and land owners to grow them. Paint and varnish manufacturers and wholesalers for these would also be involved, plus a few delivery drivers.

The sleigh bells would be made from metal by a manufacturer, but the metal would be mined, transported and amalgamated. There would also be delivery drivers involved here too, and they may need some mechanics.

In order to listen our ears need to be working. This could involve chemists, nurses, GP’s, receptionists, hearing aid manufacturers, scientists, whole university research departments, government departments for NHS funding, admin, and of course, delivery drivers again. It’s worth mentioning that drivers need roads, so town planners, road workers, highway maintenance, police, electricity workers for lights, power plant workers, cable layers, drainage, etc.

In the lane, snow is glistening

Well, we’ve already looked at the lane and the road workers etc, but now we have snow, so there’s snow plough drivers and their managers, the trainers who teach them to drive it, the awarding body staff who issue the qualification, all the admin staff, internal and external verifiers, the postman who delivers the licence, the sorting office workers, paper mill workers to make the paper the licences come on, ink manufacturers, computer engineers, programmers, website developers, etc. There may also be gritter drivers, wholesalers, producers of sand and grit, makers of sacks for the postman and the grit, people who produce the material for the sacks, cotton growers, the people who sweep the factory floor, forklift drivers.

A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight

Here our medical staff may come into play again, including opticians, lens manufacturers, glass manufacturers, receptionists, advertising agencies, designers, graphic designers.

Walking in a winter wonderland

On come all our medical staff and their support staff, plus shoe manufacturers, leather manufacturers, retailers, designers, farmers, distributers, plastic manufacturers, health and safety officials, clothes manufacturers. Clothes and shoes need to be paid for, so bank staff, card manufacturers, on line security specialists, security officers, wallet and purse manufacturers, people who work in the mint, government officials.

All of these workers need to eat, so farmers, butchers, fruit growers, importers, exporters, chefs, food production factories, packaging manufacturers, gas engineers, stove and fridge manufacturers, waiting staff, kitchen porters. Some of the workers mentioned above may have a few overnight stays, so this will involve chamber maids, hotel receptionists, bar tenders, night porters.

All of the businesses will need a building, so this will involve construction workers, architects, planners, plasterers, plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators, roofers, scaffolders, stone masons, quarry workers, steel workers, hard hat manufacturers, work boot manufacturers, people who make eye protection equipment and high visibility jackets, and all the people who make the materials to make these things. Logistic people.

Workers have to get to work, so there are the bus drivers, timetablers, manufacturers of bus stops, bus manufacturers, uniform manufacturers and retailers, upholsterers, ticket machine makers, ticket makers, accountants, Train drivers and all the workers involved in making train travel possible, including track layers and buffet workers.

Car manufacturers, car salesmen, driving instructors, driving test examiners, road sign manufacturers, highway code workers, car part manufacturers, in car air freshener designers.

How many others can you think of?

Lauras work placement experience

26 Nov

Over the past 8 weeks we have had our work placement Laura with us in the office. On her last day we caught up with her for a quick chat to see how she found it…

 

Tell us a little about yourself

I have recently finished studying Forensic Science at Exeter College. I am currently taking a year out from Education to gain experience and work before (hopefully) going to University next September. When I’m not studying or working I enjoy geocaching and attend a local archery club.

If you want to know what Geocaching is check out the link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching

Why did you decide to do a work placement?

I decided to do a work placement so that I could gain experience in a work environment to aid me in future job applications and with University. It’s a great chance to upgrade and improve on existing abilities which I wanted to do with my ICT and administrative skills.

What attracted you to Opportunity Plus?

I’m a very compassionate person so I liked the idea of working with other people and helping them into work or develop ideas into self-employment. I was also attracted to the fact it wasn’t a large overwhelming company and had a small close team.

Is there anything you have enjoyed about the placement?

Opportunity Day is a group session run for job seekers and I was invited to attend one to assist with the activities. It was definitely out of my comfort zone but actually when I was there I really enjoyed myself. It was great to be in a helpful environment and be helping others out. I also enjoyed organising the files in to an order as I like things to be organised!

What have you least enjoyed?

As the office is based centrally in town it can be a bit of a nightmare to drive there and park but as the Job Centre paid for my travel I can’t really complain. So over all it’s all been enjoyable!

What have your main tasks been?

I’ve had a variety of tasks during my time at Opportunity Plus. Often I was required to do job searches for customers and find appropriate positions for their needs. I would also research topics and collect data. I even found myself washing masks that had been used for a face painting activity, and buying items to practice furniture restoration. I wrote quiz questions and created a CV for an employability task. I was also given time to job search for myself and support with applications and interviews.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I really enjoyed my work experience here and everyone was really nice!

She will be joining us in the future as a volunteer and as I am writing this Laura is at an interview for her ideal job – Good Luck Laura! 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.. (kind of )

25 Sep

Most people don’t want to be thinking about Christmas in September (except for those of you that have had a Facebook countdown since May and know how many hours until the big day). However for job seekers it’s a great time of year to start looking at Christmas temp positions for the up-coming holiday season.

Why now when Christmas is so far away?

In many industries, especially retail, Christmas is by far the busiest time of year and they want to ensure that they’re well equipped to serve as many people as possible to achieve high sales and keep customers happy.  This business means staff training has to be done in advance so that they are prepared for the swarm of shoppers or frenzied customers so employers will hire their Christmas staff early so less support and guidance is needed during the holidays.

How many new positions become available for Christmas temps?

Although we can’t put a figure on how many will be available, we know it will be a lot. As an example in 2014 Royal Mail took on an additional 19,000 workers to help them over the Christmas period! It’s an incredible amount of vacancies for one company – think of all the Christmas cards. Retailers will see a huge increase in footfall (people in their shop) so will more often than not be looking for extra helping hands.

What are the benefits of being a Christmas temp?

Some people might be put off by applying for positions that are temporary but you don’t know that there isn’t another role at the end of it. Often the recruitment process is time consuming so it’s not something to be repeated unnecessarily and if they are impressed by your work and performance over the holiday period then they may keep you on as permanent member of staff.  If you’re not kept on then you still have the skills and experience of working over the busiest period of the year and this can be taken forward to other employers. You may even get yourself some discounts in certain places and they couldn’t’ come at a more useful time of year!

Will it only be retail opportunities available?

No it’s not just shops that hire extra people over Christmas. Hotels become very busy over Christmas period with many people staying away or having corporate events so you may find a whole host of jobs such as Front of House, Cook or Waiting available. Due to the Christmas parties and holiday alcohol consumption Pubs will also become busier so check with your local bars to see if they’re looking for help. As I’ve also mentioned Royal Mail employ a large amount of staff for the period and this doesn’t mean you have to be a delivery person, you can sort mail or do data entry. Also don’t forget the more festival roles like being part of your local Santa’s Grotto or pop-up Ice Rink.

If you are looking for Christmas temp jobs then don’t forget that lots of high street stores won’t advertise on job sites so it’s worth checking their websites and good luck!

If you want help finding employment please contact us on info@opsw.co.uk or 0800 043 2440

Do you have goals, or are they dreams?

13 Aug

Author Mary Anne Graham wrote a blog on the difference between goals and dreams, in which she says:

 “Winning the lottery is a dream.  Making a living as a full-time romance novelist is a goal”

Lottery Balls

A dream is a lovely ‘maybe’ place that we visit to escape reality, for example, seeing all 6 of your numbers come out for the national lottery. It’s a great thing to imagine. You plan how you would spend all of that money, who you would help, what you would buy.

A goal is a target you plan, plot and work to reach, and the work can be hard and relentless at times. This can be a problem.

It’s so easy when creating another hopefully interesting post in order to gain more ‘likes’ on your business Facebook account, to start looking at what your friends are posting, and dream of lazing on that Caribbean beach that your cousin is posing on, drinking rum cocktails and sailing on your yacht.

That will never happen unless you improve your networking, get out there and sell, sell, sell your product or service, and then work, work, work to get the income and repeat business.

It’s easy when adapting your CV for the 50th time and writing yet another ‘stand out’ cover letter to a company you long to work for, to give up, ask yourself if it’s really worth it, go get a cup of hot chocolate and dream about being spotted in the street by the managing director who begs you to come and work for her.

It’s easier to listen to your won’t than your will.

Mary Anne says that “Sometime, when I wasn’t looking, my goals sneaked back into my closet and put on a fuzzy robe and slippers.”

Does this happen to you? Do your goals slip into dreams and stop you getting that job, or starting that business?

As Mary Anne Graham says:

“Whatever your dreams are – do you want to keep them in fuzzy robes and slippers or do you want to suit ‘em up and put ‘em to work?  And if you think your dreams are already goals – be sure to take frequent time to check up on yourself.  Keep your goals in work clothes because no one ever crossed the finish line in fuzzy slippers.”

Mary Anne Graham is a lawyer in California and a Romance writer. She has published books in her own name and her alter ego Olivia Outlaw. Her blog is called Quacking Alone.  http://www.quackingalone.com

Want help achieving your business or employment goals? Call 0800 043 2440 or email info@opsw.co.uk

How can I stay motivated during a job search?

18 Jun

Finding a job can be hard, and you never know how long you’re going to be looking for! As time passes you may get rejections and your budget may get tighter making it easier to get disheartened. You are likely to have highs and lows and these lows can have a bad effect on your mood and motivation.

However, this is exactly the time when you need to dust yourself off and put in more hard work than ever. Remember we fell down lots and lots of times before we learnt to walk. Key attributes of a successful job seeker are persistence and self-belief. Here are few tips to help you stay positive:

  • Start as you mean to go on – The first 30 minutes of your day are more important thank you think! This is the critical time that will affect your thoughts and actions for the rest of the day. Set your alarm as if you were going to work and don’t get up late, have a shower and take a walk to get some fresh air in your lungs. Have the mindset that looking for a job as a full time job. Get dressed to feel confident and positive about yourself, set times for breaks and when you will finish and what days you will have off from your job search.
  • Set up the right environment – It is important to have an organised, neat and tidy area in your home where you can run your job search from. It will help you stay focused on the target. This should ideally be equipped with a phone, computer and everything else you might find in an office
  • Set daily goals – Goals are important and will keep your mind focused on the things that are important and keep you feeling positive about your future. If you don’t have anything set to work towards you are then likely to achieve less. Make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and remember to celebrate when you achieve a goal – woo!
  • Create a support network – Having a group of friends or family that are aware of what you are trying to achieve is good as they can help to keep you motivated. Avoid anyone that will bring you down. Surround yourself with people that are positive and upbeat that will encourage and you to carry on.
  • Eat right – A healthy body generally leads to a healthy mind. Try to make sure you include lots of fruit and vegetables in your diet and try to stay away from fatty foods and try to limit your alcohol intake.
  • Law of averages. The more applications, calls, networking or visits you make the more chances you have of finding the job you want. You need to tailor your CV for each job. Set a goal of how many applications per week, how many people will see, how many recruitment agencies to contact etc…
  • Be positive and focus on what you can do, not what you can’t – Everyone will feel frustrated at some point during their job search. You would be a very lucky person if you have been interviewed for every job you have applied for – all you can do is learn from each knock-back and move on. Always remember what things you are good at and use these to keep you motivated. Focus on the skills you can do that are on your job specification rather than ones what you can’t.
  • Learn to manage stress – This may be an obvious one, but the less stress you have in your life, the easier life should be. To keep motivated & positive when job hunting try to manage your stress levels as best you can.  Try to also include exercise, managing your time and workload effectively and importantly time to de-stress by having hobbies or other non-work activities.
  • Get feedback and use it wisely – Take feedback seriously and use the positive feedback to keep you motivated.  If you said something or did something in an interview that you shouldn’t of, and this is fed back to you, remember not to do it next time.  Or if you have negative feedback about your product access if changes may need to be made. If you’re not getting asked for interviews it is worth getting someone to have a look through your CV. If you’re getting to the interview, but being rejected you should ask why not? It may be the case you were you only one person away from getting the job.
  • Enjoy and don’t give up – Job hunting is a time of transition and change and it can also be a very important time for self-development be patient and don’t expect too much too soon. Use this period to reassess your goals, find out what you really want to do and be the best you can be.

At Opportunity Plus we specialize in helping people get back into work or start their own businesses. If you would like any help with your job search or business ideas then please email info@opsw.co.uk.