Tag Archives: social media

Google’s Digital Garage

6 Apr

When starting a business, the internet can be your biggest tool especially Google. Google can help you in more ways than you think, and have created a branch of their empire that teaches valuable digital skills – Digital Garage.

Digital Garage is aimed at small businesses and people who want to grow their business, career or digital confidence. The site is free to join and will create a unique learning plan for you based on what your aims are and you are able to explore a range of topics including ‘Get noticed with social media’ and ‘Get started with analytics’.

You can track your progress through modules and when you’ve completed one you will gain a badge; when you’ve completed all of the topics you’ll get a certificate!

If you’re starting a business, want to expand online or learn new digital skills then register now and have a world of wisdom at your fingertips.

https://digitalgarage.withgoogle.com/

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Spring clean your social media

30 Mar

 

We all know that this time of year is the time to get the dusters out and begin our spring cleaning. However, if you’re looking for employment then it might be time to clean out your social media before you start on the house.

A massive 93%* of hiring managers are reviewing applicant’s social media before making a hiring decision. It’s important you can give the best impression of yourself, whether that’s through Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. You may think that it’s best to have complete privacy on your social media pages just be aware that having a positive page can really work in your favour and make sure it really is set to private.

Facebook profiles canblog be easily accessible to employers and can give a lot away about the person they’ve interviewed. Be aware of pictures that you are tagged in and make sure you don’t have anything that can be seen as offensive. The recruiter can use this as a way of seeing what you spend your spare time doing and probably won’t be impressed by your lad’s holiday in Marbella last month. They’ll also be focusing on the way you communicate so it’s important to check posts and avoid misspelling or ‘text speak’. Don’t forget that on Facebook you can also see pages that a person has ‘liked’, so if you vaguely remember liking something rude or inappropriate a few years back then I would go and double check.

The same rules apply for Twitter, be careful of what you are saying in your bio and tweets. Don’t forget that you can follow the company you are applying for to get up to date information and to show your interest. Twitter has a great feature where you can ‘pin’ your best tweet to the top of your page and really give a good impression to on-lookers.

With LinkedIn employers can quickly see if there is a difference to the qualifications you’ve listed and the ones you’ve put on your CV – honesty is key. If you’re not using LinkedIn at the moment then it’s a great platform for job seeking where you can showcase your skills, experience and connections so have a look at creating a profile.

Remember every tweet, post or comment can affect the employer’s opinion of you and possibly ruin your chances at securing that job! If you’re unsure, then ask a friend or family member to have a look over what can be seen and the impression your social media gives off.

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*https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/jobvite_socialrecruiting_survey2014.pdf

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.

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! 

Supporting the wider community

26 Mar

In our work with Opportunity Plus, we have come across some truly fantastic community centres and groups, and we want to share some of the great work that is happening out there.

Does your community group need some support? 

Here are some of the things that we can do for you:

  • Create a Facebook page for your community and teach you how to use it
  • Offer free face painting at fundraising and other events
  • Feature you on our blog.
  • Get in touch to see how we could help your centre.

Balloons

Balloons work with bereaved children in the Exeter area to help them through the grieving and healing process.  They have volunteering opportunities available and offer full training.  Find out more at www.balloonscharity.co.uk

The Hub Yeovil

The Hub Yeovil is a community centre working with disabled people.  They run a range of microenterprises to teach members valuable life and enterprise skills.  www.thehubyeovil.co.uk

Healthy Babies UK

Healthy Babies UK provide training to healthcare professionals, children’s centre staff, nursery workers and mothers to support the health, development, and wellbeing of babies and young children.  www.healthy-babies-uk.org

The Money Advice Service

If you have any questions about money – investments, debt, budgeting – then the Money Advice Service can help.  Call them on 0300 500 5000 for free advice and support.

Training

The Education and Training Level 3 course has replaced the old Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Sector qualification, and enables you to teach anything that you are qualified or experienced in to adults (16+).  Information, Advice and Guidance is another useful qualification for the community sector.  Call us or email info@opsw.co.uk for more information.

What community centres do you use?  Why not visit your local centre to find out more about what they do and get involved!  Check out www.do-it.org or your local CVS office to find out if there are any volunteering opportunities near you.

Social Media and Personal Branding

23 Mar

Social Media Stock

Many employers will search for you on the internet before they even interview you. Here are some top tips for making a good first impression through your online profiles.

–       Facebook Privacy settings

You probably don’t want employers looking at your embarrassing photos from last weekend or those status updates about what you ate for dinner last night. Make sure your privacy settings are set correctly by following this quick guide.

–       Websites, blogs and Twitter

Websites, blogs and Twitter are a great way to build your online presence. Your online profiles are an opportunity to make a good first impression and employers will often make assumptions about you based on your profile picture, choice of background and the things you post.

Don’t write anything that you wouldn’t want an employer to see and make sure to check through your old posts for anything which might harm your chances of getting a job.

–       Email addresses.

Make sure your email address sounds professional. Employers will often make assumptions about a person based on their choice of email so the safest bet is to stick to your real name or a combination of initials and surname. Professional sounding addresses will go largely unnoticed but a silly or complicated email will stick out like a sore thumb!

–       LinkedIn.

If you don’t already have one you might want to consider starting a LinkedIn page.  LinkedIn is a professional networking site which allows you to build an online CV which employers can look at.

How you can support small businesses without spending money!

9 Sep

It’s becoming increasingly fashionable to shun the big corporations and support local businesses where we can.  It can be easier said than done though, we are all pushed for time, and it’s so easy to nip to the supermarket or go straight to Amazon to buy everything we need in one hit.  When I went on maternity leave, one of the things I was most looking forward to was simply having time to buy fresh bread from the local bakery instead of getting supermarket bread!  And for the first few weeks it was great, I bought my bread from the bakery, had a vegetable box delivered by a local farm, bought lovely handmade cards and gifts from the small shops in my local town… but then my little baby who slept all the time became a big boisterous boy and I discovered the wonders of online shopping!

I still try to buy local where I can, and through my role of Enterprise Coach with Opportunity Plus, I am forever meeting entrepreneurs who make lovely things that I want to buy!  But spending money isn’t the only way you can support a small, local business (though it certainly helps!!).  Here are some ways that you can support small businesses, without having to spend money!

1 – Interact with them on social media.  Getting a new like on Facebook can brighten a small business owner’s day, and only takes you a second to do.   But likes aren’t everything.  Commenting on and sharing posts helps to increase a page’s “reach”, meaning that more people see what they have got to say.  If you have bought something from them, post a picture of you using it, or let them know how much your friend loved their gift.

2 – Write a review.  This could simply be a recommendation on their Facebook page, or a post on their wall; but if you write a blog, why not write about a positive experience you’ve had with the business, or about the great product you bought from them.  If they like what you have to say, it’s likely they will link to it themselves, bringing you more readers too.  Win-win!

3 – Tell y0ur friends.  Your real life friends and family that is.  Often we share our bad experiences of customer service, but how often do we tell the story of a good experience?  Not the times when something out of the ordinary happened, just the simple friendly greeting when you entered the shop, or the time they spent with you helping you find the right gift for a friend?

4 – Have a chat.  If you can see the owner is looking a little bored behind their friendly customer service smile, have a chat with them.  Even if you’re not intending to buy anything, you can give them an indication of the products you like and don’t like – it’s all market research for the owner.  (I buy in slings for my business and have to choose between about 50 fabrics each time, it’s impossible!  So I appreciate people telling me their favourites, even if I know they aren’t planning to buy one.)

5 – Follow links!  If you see a mention to a business on a blog or elsewhere, click on the link and follow it to their website.  As well as increasing their website traffic, it shows the search engines that this is a website that people want to visit, which can help their website move up the rankings.

Easy!  Just don’t forget to use the small business yourself when you need something they sell!!

What small businesses would you like to show support to?  Comment below and tell us about a good experience that you’ve had with a small business, and don’t forget to put a link to their website.