Tag Archives: dream job

Working for an agency

4 Aug

Recruitment agencies act as an intermediary between an employer looking to fill a vacancy and someone seeking work. Having this middle man may seem like a disadvantage but can actually be a great way to return to employment or find your ideal job.

The role of the agency itself is to find suitable candidates for vacancies and there is often a lot of pressure to do so. When seeking an agency; find out if they offer relevant roles as some will specialise in specific industries that may not be relevant to you. It’s good to physically take in your CV and discuss the kind of role you are seeking so you become more memorable, just remember that this will be their first impression of you so be friendly and presentable.

Agencies often work closely with employers and can give you hints or tips on what to expect if you are offered an interview. If you are successful, you will be paid by the agency but managed by the employer, with the right to use any onsite facilities such as canteens or nurseries. If you are in the same role for 12 weeks, then you are entitled to the same pay and benefits as any permanent members of the company doing the same job.

Several of the positions offered by agencies are temporary but can still be used to your advantage as you can prove yourself to the employer and may even be offered a direct position. A temporary role can be taken whilst you look for permanent work or used as valuable experience.

Although you are entitled to paid holiday hours you cannot claim maternity leave whilst working for an agency, you also cannot claim redundancy or file for unfair dismissal so just bear these factors in mind before contacting.

However, overall a recruitment agency can be a great way to find a suitable vacancy. So search your local area and send your CV today!

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Focus Groups for your Business Idea

27 Jul

What are focus groups?

A Focus Group is a market research tool which involves a group of people, usually between 6 and 12, who have been selected to participate in a pre-planned group discussion, and/or Q&A session, to gauge opinion on a product or service. Using a focus group to research your products or service before you start your business, can help you to identify ways to sell or advertise to your target group. It’s also a valuable tool when introducing a new product or service, or to find out how your product or service is being perceived.

 
What are the benefits of organising a Focus Group?

Focus groups can help you to gather a broader range of information than surveys because they allow people to voice their opinions in their own words and add meaning to their answers. They can also generate ideas for improving or adapting your product/service which you may not have considered.

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How do I set up a focus group?

1. Decide on what type of people you want in your group: age, income, gender, employment?

2. Advertise your focus group in a way that’s going to attract the people you want. You could use Facebook, for example, go to community centres or mother and child groups, have a stall in a market and invite people who come to look at your product, put up a poster or invite people you know personally.

3. Arrange a venue for your focus group. It should be somewhere easily accessible, private and quiet enough to talk.

4. Ensure the meeting space is well prepared beforehand i.e. layout, equipment, parking spaces etc.

5. Prepare an introduction which explains the purpose of thee focus group and how it will work

What questions do I ask the group?

goodWork out what information you need. Create a set of questions which will give you this information. Ensure that these are easy to understand and will give you the answers you need. Get someone who does not know what you are doing to look at your introduction and questions to see if you get the right sort of answers.
For example:

  •  Would you use this product?
  • Would you buy this product for yourself?
  • Would you buy this product as a gift?
  • How much would you pay for this product?
  • Would you pay x amount for this product?
  • How would you improve this product?
  • What is your opinion on the packaging of this product?
  • Does the packaging make you want to buy the product?
  • What do you think of the colours used in the packaging?
  • Where would you go to buy this product?
  • Do you have any other ideas about this product?

Online Focus Groups

Running an online focus group eliminates the need for travel, refreshments, and finding a venue. Other advantages could include people feeling more able to speak out as they are anonymous to the rest of the group and can sit in the comfort of their own home.

Disadvantages include not being able to see the body language of the participants, which provides another method of seeing how a product is received.

TIPS

  • Don’t make it last too long – participants could lose focus or get bored

  • If possible, arrange refreshments

  • Don’t make the group too big – you don’t want anyone to feel left out, or unable to voice their opinions

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

Our Smart start-up courses

30 Jul

Having just finished our latest free SMART Start up Business programme we are excited to start another this week, meeting new people wanting to start up their business and become self-employed. We have had a range of businesses from land management, jewellery makers to property services.

The course aims to give people the skills and confidence to start up their business, how to overcome some of the challenges of starting up and how to ensure that you have a successful business.

“It is a relaxed atmosphere where you are not bombarded with info but come out feeling very motivated”

The attendees really benefited from the support of others and felt happy to ask questions and share concerns as the learning is done in a relaxed friendly atmosphere.

Breaking the information down into 4, 3 hour sessions that build on each other makes the information clear and easy to understand and retain. The sessions cover Idea Development, Market Research, Finance and Funding and Marketing and Sales.

“I am due to meet my NEA Mentor next week. Really can’t wait to get things up and running now. Once again, thank you so much to you both for all your help, I found the course so helpful.”

The attendees came on to the course with a business idea and in some cases feeling a bit overwhelmed by how much they didn’t know and how much they needed to do.

One of the areas of concern for all was finance, with tax and registering with HMRC being the top worries. By the end of the session all felt much more confident and were surprised how simple everything can be.   By the end they all had a clear plan of their next steps.

“The finance side was my biggest concern but after today I feel more positive about things”

We really enjoy watching our lovely attendees start moving their dream to a reality, filed with motivation and enthusiasm.

There are courses running in Newton Abbot and Exeter and our ‘Get inspired’ Intensive start up programme is running in Torquay and Paignton and is just for women.  For more information, call Opportunity Plus on 0800 043 2440 or email info@opsw.co.uk

Government Start-up Loans

26 Jun

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When starting a business you may find the start-up costs slightly daunting and may prevent you from going ahead with your idea, however there is help out there so don’t give up!

The government offer a business start-up loan service where you can borrow money to cover your start-up costs and also receive useful advice from experts. To help get your business up and running there are a few requirements:

  • You’re aged 18 or over
  • You’ve developed a business idea
  • Your business will be based in the UK
  • You are a UK resident
  • Your business has been trading between 0-24 months

The application will also require you to have produced a business plan and cash flow, which is essentially creating a more detailed plan of your business. You can find templates on their website, along with support. Alternatively you may be able to get help from one our enterprise coaches at Opportunity Plus can run through what you need.

Once you’ve been successful with your application you still get on-going support, and can pay the loan off over up to 5 years at a fixed interest rate.

Don’t think you’ll get accepted? Take a look below to see just how many businesses they’ve helped get going so far, or check out their website – https://www.startuploans.co.uk/

Don’t forget to think about how you’re going to pay the loan back, and only borrow as much as you need.

Start up loans

If you want support and guidance for starting your business then please get in touch on 0800 043 2440 or 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. 

How is an Education and Training course beneficial?

5 Jun

My name is Ann and I teach and assess the level 3 Award in Education and Training for Opportunity Plus. There are a few people out there who have never heard of this qualification and quite a few more who reckon it’s of no use to them as they do not want to work in education.

Well, here’s my view on it:

Firstly, it’s a very enjoyable course, particularly when taken as part of a group. It’s my favourite thing to teach. It’s a great confidence booster and you do learn lots about yourself, as well as the topic. Taking part in the micro teach sessions as a learner is fun and also gives you a chance to learn about things you would not normally consider.

TeachingIf you have ever thought about teaching, or have skills that you would like to share with others it’s a fantastic starting point to a new career, or a stand alone qualification on its own. I got my first teaching job at a college due to possessing this qualification.

However the knowledge and confidence you gain can be put to good use in so many other ways. Are you a manager who regularly holds staff meetings which involves giving instructions? Are you a senior manager whose middle managers might benefit from having this short and useful qualification when dealing with their staff, looking at equality, diversity, individual need and different ways to make information giving fun and meaningful?  This course can give you a basic knowledge of how different individuals learn and respond, and ways to support those who struggle

Why not find out more by contacting our course support team on 0800 045 2440