Tag Archives: employability

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

Crowdfunding

3 Jul

Crowdfunding may seem like an unknown and scary way to help fund your business but the concept is really very straightforward and is a successful industry with hundreds of platforms. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture via the internet with contributions from a number of people. The projects seen on the sites can range from a newcrowdfunding business idea to a creative project or a charity raising money for a good cause.  Websites act as a platform for people to advertise their project or business and people can invest funding if they think it’s worthy, often receiving a reward or thank-you in return. Crowd Funding as a concept has been around for years, including when work stalled on the Statue of Liberty, individuals came together and pledged small amounts of money to see the project finished.

Not only is it a great way to get the money and investment you need but it is also an amazing marketing and advertising opportunity, getting your business or project out to lots of people.

So how does it work? Well this can depend upon what you want funded. There are different platforms that will be best suited to ‘host’ your idea or business request, most will take a percentage of around 5% of the funds raised.

Some are based on ‘All or Nothing Funding’ where projects must get 100% of their funding request or they get nothing. They usually involve substantially larger goals and are much more likely to be successful at achieving their goals as they provide more detailed information on the campaign. Others are ‘Flexi Funding’ where you keep whatever you raise whether you hit target or not. Both are open to ‘Over Funding’ where you have hit your target and the money keeps on coming in- Great!

Rewards Crowdfunding: Businesses/entrepreneurs pre-sell a product or service to launch a business concept without incurring debt or sacrificing equity/shares. This has worked well for musicians or producers who can offer previews or products to investors who have funded their project.

Equity Funding: The backer receives shares of a company, usually in its early stages, in exchange for the money pledged. The company’s success is determined by how successfully it can demonstrate its viability. A business plan will need to be provided with at least a 3 years’ worth of financial projections.

Charitable/Social enterprise: Charities looking for donations for projects to be funded with little or no reward other than supporting a worthwhile cause.

So, if you are interested in Crowdfunding for your business or project here are some ‘Top Tips’.

  • Choose the right platform
  • Start by sharing with friends/family/current contacts
  • Get your supporters behind you, motivate them and they can spread the word
  • It is important to get off the zero mark early
  • Tell your story- sell your passion- clearly
  • Use videos and pictures
  • Rewards can lead to higher funding
  • Line up a few backers before you start

Good luck!

If you are looking for help with starting a business and want to see how we can help you 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

What are employers really asking?

15 May

We’ve all had those moments in interviews where we are asked a question but we just can’t figure out what it means. Often interviewers will ask questions in a cryptic way, when what they’re really asking is something much simpler.

We’ve put together a quiz to see if you can work out what is meant by some of the most common interview questions!

Take our quiz below- 

Did you make it on to the leader board?  Keep an eye out for our tips and advice on answering these questions coming soon!

Work Experience – FAQs

13 Apr

What are the benefits of doing a work placement?

Work placements are a great way to develop your skills, build confidence and gain valuable experience. They’re also a brilliant opportunity to try out different kinds of work and figure out the sort of career you might like to pursue.

Even though you aren’t getting paid, always remember that volunteering could potentially lead to a job. If you work hard, show enthusiasm and get to know people, you’ll be in a strong position if a paid opportunity comes up.


Will it cost me money?

Not necessarily. Many businesses will pay for your expenses such as food, travel and equipment.


What skills do I need?

Some placements may require particular skills but most of the time you just need to be enthusiastic about the organisation and willing to work hard. Most businesses will provide training at the beginning of your placement to help familiarise you with the organisation.


How do I find a work placement?

Many organisations will list work placements on their websites and there are also several websites which specifically advertise volunteer opportunities.

Remember that some businesses receive a lot of emails asking to do work placements so you’re more likely to be successful if you contact them over the phone or go in and see somebody in person.

http://www.do-it.org.uk/search/vc/3695
https://exetercvs.org.uk/volunteer
http://www.studentladder.co.uk/Work-Experience/work-experience.html
http://www.work-experience.org/
http://www.gothinkbig.co.uk/opportunities

If there’s a business you’d love to work for then it might be worth getting in touch with them and offering to work for free.


What if I don’t like the placement or something else comes up?

Remember that you aren’t getting paid so you can leave a placement whenever you like. However, it’s always a good idea to talk things through your supervisor first and give them a fair amount of notice so they can prepare for your departure.

Hair and Beauty

9 Apr

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Our beauty courses offer a convenient blend of studying from home and class based learning, to give you the best of both worlds. Study the theory at home using digital course books and e-tutorials and then complete on-line work books to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the topics. Then attend a practical assessment day at one of our friendly centres to hone your skills.

No experience is required, and you can study for pleasure or take your first step in a career in beauty. You could also team one of these up with our Start Your Own Business course and you’ll be up and running in no time!


Upcoming courses:

Nail Art Application

Nail art provides a range of business and employment opportunities, from setting up a mobile service, to working in one of the popular nail bars springing up across our high streets.

Our next Nail Art course starts on the 21st of April with a one day practical skills session on the 8th of May.


Basic Make-up

Whether you are considering a career in the beauty industry or just want to pick up some tips for your own beauty regime, this Level 1 course will help you develop a range of techniques and help you to perfect your make-up application skills for special occasions.

Our next Basic Make-up course starts on the 28th of April with a one day practical skills session on the 15th of May.


Spray Tanning

Are you looking for a quick and easy business to set up which requires limited training and low start up costs? Well this course could be just what you need to be up and running in weeks.

Our next Spray Tanning course starts on the 2nd of June with a one day practical skills session on the 26th of June.


Themed Face Painting 

Creating bright and colourful face painted creations is always a highlight at events and parties for children, but increasingly popular with adults too.  With hundreds of themes to choose from, Face Painting makes an ideal activity at any fun event to keep guests or visitors entertained.

Our next Themed Face Painting course starts on the 5th of May with a one day practical skills session on the 20th of May.


For more information about any of our courses please email info@opsw.co.uk or call 0800 243 2440.

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Jessica Scullion

Jessica is our Senior Beauty Tutor and Assessor with nearly 10 years’ experience in the industry. She has worked in a variety of settings, including hotels, college, freelance and cruise ships, which has led her to pursue a career in teaching to share her knowledge with others. She enjoys updating her skills within beauty therapy, with its fast growing treatments and products and would recommend anyone to dive into an industry that offers a million opportunities!