Category: General

How To Write A Winning CV

Make your CV stand out!

Your CV needs to stand out for the right reasons:  Ensure it is clear, no fancy font, and easy to read.   Read through the advertised Job Spec, identify what is required and how your experience and abilities match those required.  Whilst your CV will list out your work history with details of your role and what you did, any relevant projects or clients worked for, you should also reference the requirements listed in the Job spec where you have the relevant experience.

Keep note of any training and key events!

Ensure that training in specific tools such as Blue Prism or UiPath and the accreditation is recorded, and how this knowledge or skills was then applied in the role.   If you have attended conferences or seminars, or gained experience or knowledge of new technologies like RPA and AI provide details and how it has supported your development and provided benefit in the role. 

Highlight some key achievements

If you have been involved in projects requiring teams working across departments,  locations, or multiple organizations, provide details, employers are looking to see if you would fit into their culture, do they see any synergy, and can you demonstrate the necessary interpersonal skills required to succeed in delivering projects to a timescale, budget and business objectives. Also, don’t forget to highlight a few achievements from past roles so that you can demonstrate what you personally achieved and contributed towards the wider project.

Lastly...

Always check for spelling, don’t just rely on a spellchecker, and get someone to read it through and comment on whether it makes sense. Don’t overemphasize your abilities or experience, you are likely to be found out at the reference stage and it adversely affects your integrity which may cause employers to doubt your credibility. 

How To Succeed In Your Job Interview

You have been invited to an interview, so how do you prepare?

Look at what information you have about the role and organization.  Gather together the job advert, job specification and go through again, making notes of key elements of the role, cross-reference with your own experience.  What information do you have about the organization, do your research, it gives you a better idea of their business and activities. 

Always attend on time, suitably dressed, impressions are important.  Everyone gets nervous, the recruiters will expect that, however, if you have prepared as much as you can, this will help you settle.  The interviewers are looking to see if you are a good match for their requirements, do you have the right and relevant experience, can you do the job, would you bring benefit and add value to their business.  Do they see potential in you fitting into their culture and organization?

Be prepared to go into detail!

Be prepared to answer questions about the information you have provided, this may be in-depth questioning around a specific role or skill, this is to test out your knowledge and whether it is appropriate for their needs.   It will also test out whether you have over emphasised your involvement or abilities.  Be confident in talking about your current or past role, your experiences and what successes you have achieved and how you believe you can add value to their team and organisation. 

Demonstrate your interest, ask about the scope of the role, what is required and ultimately does the organisation offer progression opportunities to their people. The interviewer may explain what they enjoy about working there, if not ask what it is that people like, what is the culture like, do they offer in-house training. 

Lastly, one thing to never do!

Even when things have not gone well in the past never bad mouth a past employer, or your current company.  Be positive, usually, an interviewer will explain an organizations employee benefits and remuneration, our general advice is don’t ask about money, if they are interested and make an offer, that is something that can be discussed at a later stage.  

Go prepared, be positive and enjoy the experience.  

Why You Should Support Local Businesses

Monday the 11th August 2020 marked the start of the UK government’s Shop Local Week. As part of their Enjoy Summer Safely campaign they have launched this incentive to give the high street a much needed boost.

Often it is far easier for us to pop to our nearest supermarket or order online than it is to visit an independent retailer. Yet now more than ever local businesses are relying on our support.

Promisingly, a recent survey by YouGov found that 38% of Brits have started to shop locally during the COVID-19 pandemic and 70% expect to continue once lockdown eases. In case you need some convincing here are a few reasons you should support your local independent retailers.

  1. It supports your local economy
    Shopping locally is an excellent way to directly support your economy. Research from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies found that for every £1 spent at a local business 63p ends up back in the local economy compared to the only 5p spent at a larger retailer.
  2. It is more sustainable
    Your local butcher or greengrocer is far are more likely to have locally sourced, in-season produce. This will not only mean higher quality food but also reduces the carbon footprint of your shopping list as there are less travel and packaging involved.
  3. You can find unique items
    Independent retailers usually offer a diversity of products you wouldn’t be able to find at a large chain retailer. People are often surprised by the range of items available at local shops but if you’re unsure it’s always worth checking their website or giving them a call to ask a few questions beforehand.
  4. It bolsters the local job market
    The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that SMEs account for 60% of employment in the UK. Supporting local businesses also enables them to hire more local staff which then helps your surrounding community to grow.
  5. Personalized experience
    Smaller shops frequently have the time and freedom to provide higher levels of customer service. Staff are also knowledgeable, it is far more likely that the staff in your local butchers will be able to give expert advice you wouldn’t be able to find in a supermarket aisle. Some places even create loyalty schemes for returning customers, something to remember the next time you want a takeout coffee.

Remember, if you’re pressed for time check to see if any of your local businesses offer online delivery or click and collect options. And if you do shop locally consider tagging them on social media or leaving them a review. Helping to boost their online presence can often be as beneficial as the purchase itself.

Summer Is Over, It’s Time To Get Back To Work.

The past couple of months have given us lighter evenings, warmer days, and an all-important dose of vitamin D. 

However, September is here with a bang, and the nights are starting to draw in. Our next respite may not be until Christmas but it seems awfully early to be thinking about December already. September gives us a great opportunity to think about your team’s wellbeing and to ensure they are all managing their stress levels so that they are working effectively; able to cope with the demanding hours; meet tight deadlines, heavy workloads and ultimately achieve the results required.

A study conducted by the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA), found that 66% of those working within the technology community were ‘stressed by their work’; and ‘52% have suffered from anxiety or depression at some point’. Alarmingly, those working within the technology sector are ‘five times more depressed than the UK general population’.

Mental health problems cost the UK a staggering £70 billion with 91 million workdays lost each year, (Forbes). 

The technology industry has a culture of long hours. Gone is the traditional nine to five working pattern, clients expect their technology consultants to always be online regardless of location or time of day. This can make it increasingly hard for employees to switch off from work.

So, if you think your team is feeling the post-summer slump, the most important thing you can do is to get the conversation started. Barclays launched a ‘This Is Me’ campaign which is designed to ‘break the cultural silence that surrounds the subject of mental health’. Employees who have suffered from mental health issues share their stories and these are housed on an online platform. The portal has received over 60K visits since its launch. 

In addition, the Shaw Mind Foundation has set out some simple low-cost ways to reduce the impact of mental health in the workplace:

  • Limit working hours and out-of-hours email access.
  • If a person works from home, ensure regular check-ins with them to reduce prolonged isolated working.
  • Set attainable deadlines and spread the workload across team members.
  • Provide support services and staff members who are trained to deal with stress.
  • Promote healthy eating and regular exercise. Offer employees an opportunity to get some exercise during the working day.

Whilst it may not be possible to achieve all of the above immediately, they are a great starting point. Consultants need to set expectations with clients, set out the hours they will be available and the deadlines they are working to. Once more organizations start to adopt these steps, clients will begin to accept this as the new normal. 

At Barlow Search we are big advocates of promoting a healthy work-life balance often taking part in challenges (either individually or as a team), Claire completed the London Marathon this year and as a team we supported her training with lunchtime runs, we even swapped the office biscuits for healthier options! Our next team challenge is to take part in the St Rocco’s Colour run at the end of September, we are making this one a family affair and will be bringing the kids along too!