1. Use your commute to become an expert in your field. Instead of listening to music on your morning commute start listening to podcasts related to your job and industry. Download an app such as Stitcher or Podcast Addict for Android or iTunes for podcasts on any topic. Give lots of different shows a listen until you find a few that are both informative and entertaining. On my phone I have 10 different shows covering different marketing topics so I always have something to listen to each day. Also many shows will have a large archive of material so you won’t run out of things to listen to. 2. Read every day Read 10-15 pages of a book related to your field each night before you head to bed or over your lunch break- whatever works better for you. For just minutes a day you can get through a book a month – that’s 12 books a year on your job or industry that you weren’t reading before. If this doesn’t work for you read an industry blog or two while sipping your morning coffee at your desk. 3. Get better at presenting There are many statistics on the internet citing that more people are afraid of public speaking than death. So if you can get comfortable presenting and talking in front of a group you’re giving yourself a massive advantage over many other people. Most jobs require some presentation skills whether it is to your team internally, to clients, or at an interview. If you have a fear of public speaking you should join a local Toastmasters group where you can practice public speaking in a supportive environment with others in the same situation. The organisation has over 15,000 clubs in 135 countries.
Even with Christmas on the horizon, the short days and cold, damp weather can take a toll on everyone. Below are six tips for staying happy and healthy this winter. 1. Connect with friends Catch up with good friends as much as you can. Being around happy people will lift your mood. Avoid pessimistic friends for some bonding with a happy-go-lucky pal. Why not meet up with friends after work for some mulled wine at the Dublin Christmas markets. 2. Exercise While it’s easier to turn on a television and watch “I’m a Celebrity..” or endless “X Factor” repeats, your body and mind will thank you for regular exercise. Join a gym, go for a walk, sign up for a 5k/10k or exercise indoors. 3. Plan a Break While a few days in the sun can do you the world of good, with money a bit tighter even a change of scene will make you feel better. Think of visiting a friend or family member away from where you live. If you are in a position to travel abroad, try and grab a last minute deal or book something for early next year so you have something to look forward to. 4. Volunteer Look into some volunteering this Christmas. Get in touch with Focus Ireland or the St. Vincent De Paul. You can make a big difference to an elderly neighbour if you take the time to call in and check on them as winter is especially tough for them. 5. Eat Well Keep healthy and warm Eat plenty of healthy soups and vegetables. Soups can be easily be made at home and are really cheap to make. 6. Sleep Well Again, very obvious but many people don’t get as much sleep as they need. Head to bed a little earlier and make sure you are getting the eight hours your body needs so you wake up rested and ready for another day.
In order for you to put your best foot forward at interview you should always be prepared to answer questions in relation to gaps on your CV in a truthful and accurate manner. In my opinion, having a gap makes very little difference in obtaining an interview. What matters more is how you explain a gap, be it in your CV, cover letter or at interview. The best advice I can give is to simply tell the truth. Recruiters and hiring managers want to understand what you did during that time away and how you stayed connected to the business or sector that you are interviewing for a job in. Make sure to incorporate into your CV any volunteer work you did, any classes or courses you attended, and any qualifications you earned. Include skills you learned and experience you obtained during this time, to help demonstrate why you’re qualified for the job you’re seeking. There may be some gaps in employment that you feel you don’t need to bother explaining – those that lasted only a month or two, or gaps in employment that happened a long time ago. If you are confident that these gaps don’t need to be addressed then the easiest way to avoid these sorts of gaps being highlighted is to only give the years for your employment on your CV rather than the months. If you have taken some time off in the past to go away and travel, then it’s more than likely that there will be a gap on your CV that needs addressing. This does not have to be considered as a disadvantage by any means. In fact many employers believe time spent travelling abroad bring a sense of cultural awareness and independence that will prove invaluable to you in your future career. Perhaps you were able to acquire another language during this time or learn a new skill and, if so, these should also be included in your CV. Never be tempted to extend the length of time you were in employment to cover any of these gaps because an employer is more than likely going to take references from your previous employers and you don’t want to come across as dishonest. Whatever the situation is, just be positive and try to incorporate it all into your experience as opposed to avoiding it. Very often these gaps on CVs can become the elephant in the room and this is not what you want in order to make sure you are coming across enthusiastic and ready for work. Make sure never to underestimate the importance of interview preparation. Know your strengths and weaknesses and apply them to the job on offer. Do more research than your competition, know more about the company and the job than anyone else and always, always, always use an interview as an opportunity to show your passion and enthusiasm!
1. Self Awareness Do a SWOT Analysis. This will focus on your own personal strengths and weaknesses and then will also identify external opportunities you could use or threats to avoid. Firstly look internally, the most important point to note is that career planning is a process and we can break it up into 4 individual questions; a) What are your interests? b) Is there a career in it? c) What is the potential for progression? d) How do you get there with what’s at your disposal? Of course we must take our own situation and environment into consideration; this can be done through self-assessment. Initially looking at where you have come from, the present challenge and where you want to go will give a good starting point. Now it is a matter of using what you’ve got to get there – qualifications, training, experience, and references are all potential methods of getting you to the next level. Then look externally. Opportunity starts with current labour demand – research opportunities on job boards and social media platforms. If you find you aren’t qualified you need to consider ups-killing or taking a conversion course such as Springboard. If you don’t have the required industry experience you need to consider acquiring relevant experience and skills through internships such as Job Bridge. Look in the mirror and identify your unique strengths. These will become your value proposition. 2. Plan Take a structured approach to your job search. Treat is like a job and give it the time it needs. Apply for jobs you feel you are qualified for and understanding were you can add value. Record all application details for future reference. Take it one step at a time. 3. Become Socially Networked Research, connect and engage. Build a LinkedIn profile and actively connect with your professional network. Connect with ex colleagues and with contacts in your industry. This will give you some clues as to where similar skills sets are being sought. Seek recommendations and join relevant groups. Identify your target audience and contribute to relevant conversations. Connect with employers you have applied to. 4. Sell Yourself Understand that a job search is a competition and you need to compete on your unique value proposition. Consider yourself a commodity that needs to be sold on unique features and benefits based on demand and a price point. 5. Apply & Control Consider a broad range of relevant opportunities and be flexible in terms of position and compensation. Control the elements of the process that are within your control. Finally apply and follow up on applications with a LinkedIn request or phone call.