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.
When trying to find your first job there are a lot of different resources out there that can help you but what happens when you now have a considerable amount of experience and are looking for a more senior position? Interviews change, become less theoretical and more centred around the experiences you have had. Interviewers are now looking for a more polished candidate who has both the relevant skill set and an in-depth knowledge of their industry. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for a job once you have gained some experience. Company Knowledge Research needs to be more in depth going into the interview, not only covering the company’s products and services but also what projects are they involved in, what is going on with their competitors and what is the latest news on the company. Highlight what has been done in the past that you liked but never criticise the past employee’s decisions. If it is a new role you need to understand why they are creating the role and how you could make a difference if you got it. The more you understand about the company, the easier it will be for you to present yourself as the answer to the company’s prayers. Competency Based Questions This is your time to shine as your skills have developed over the past couple of years and your experiences are more business orientated now. Talk about your work experiences as opposed to outside experiences. If the question they ask is not something you can answer in a work context then of course talking about your hobby or voluntary experience is fine to talk about. Again, now that you have worked in a professional environment it is important to understand the significance of working towards a company’s objectives. Showing examples of how you have worked towards a company’s aims and objectives can show your value to a future employer. The interviewer will also want to know about your softer skills such as leadership and interpersonal skills. Expect questions on how you’ve dealt with pressure, deadlines, difficult employees/colleagues/management etc. as the interviewer will be trying to ascertain whether you are a good fit for the job or not. Showcase Your Experience If you’re going for a more creative role, bringing your portfolio of experience along to an interview is a great way to showcase your ability. Building a website using free template sites like Weebly or Wix with links on your LinkedIn profile or hardcopy CV can show interviewers that you have the relevant skills and abilities before you meet them. Questions You Ask Now that you have the experience of working in a functioning professional environment the interviewer will want to know what makes you tick. Ask about perks, the environment and culture, ability to move up the ranks but keep in mind the position that you are interviewing for and the company that it is. How You Portray Yourself in the Interview At this stage in your career you should be comfortable in meetings with peers that you can think well on your feet and look and feel at ease. Interviewers are searching for people who have made the most out of their previous experience and want to learn more. Interviews are meant to be stressful to an extent but also a space that client and candidate can get to know each other more. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer about their experience of the company and for more information. Relax and take the interview in your stride, you have the experience to answer the questions asked.
Even with amazing advances in communication technology including video conferencing, Skype and Facetime to name but a few, the simple telephone still plays a huge role in company recruitment processes. Within the world of International Financial Services where direct reporting lines can be global, phone interviews are still very practical and cost effective. Recruitment consultants will always advise those about to partake in phone interviews to prepare for them as effectively as they would for face to face interviews. Having relevant research done for the job, company, market and competitors is always a good starting point. Having good examples ready that can demonstrate your competencies is essential too, considering that most Financial Services organisations will use competency model based interview questions. BUT no matter how much research you do and no matter how good your competency examples are, if you are unable to COMMUNICATE this effectively in an interview the odds will be against you securing the position. The reason for this blog is that recently I was in contact with an International Financial Services Organisation that were in the process of setting up a new operation in Europe and were relying heavily on phone based interviewing as part of their recruitment selection programme. The organisation was recruiting Financial Services Professionals ranging from two years’ experience up to senior management level and there was a considerable amount of interest and therefore applicants for their vacancies. Talking directly with one of their Recruitment & Selection Managers who conducted many of their telephone interviews, I asked how they made decisions on which candidates to invite back to second round interviews, in particular- how they were choosing between candidates who had very similar skillsets on paper and who came across as prepared on the phone interview too. The answer I got was one word – PASSION. In other words if the Recruitment & Selection Manager was not hearing or feeling the PASSION the interviewee had for the role and organisation on the phone then it was effectively game over. So that brings us to communicating with PASSION; how is it possible to convey this effectively in an interview and in particular a phone interview? The difficulty is that in terms of general communication we convey things like PASSION more so through our Body Language rather than Paralinguistics (pitch, speed, tone, volume etc. – of how we speak) or even the Words that we use. During a telephone interview an interviewee does not have the benefit of using their body language to convey their interest so it is hugely important for an interviewee to pay more attention to the words that they use and the tone, pitch and speed of how they express their words in order to come across with enthusiasm and passion. To get it right, it is highly advisable to practice your answers out loud prior to any phone interview, even reach out to a recruitment consultant to help fine-tune your telephone interview delivery. Listen to what you are saying and how you are saying it – Try and use positive adjectives and manipulate the tone and speed of your voice to come across as friendly, knowledgeable, energetic, confident and obviously passionate about the job / company. Try smiling when you speak on the phone too – this always helps. Just think about how many times we change something as short as the message on our own phones simply because we are not happy with what is says OR how it sounds? If we want to be happy with what we say on a phone to an employer and how it sounds then it too is worth changing a few times too, don’t you think? PASSION is a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something and if that’s wanting a new job with a new employer then make it happen. Let your PASSION be heard!!!
For many people starting their job search, writing a cover letter can be a daunting task. It’s hard to know where to start and how to sum up why you are the ideal candidate for the job in just a few short paragraphs. Follow these five tips to make sure your cover letter makes you stand out from the crowd. Be Specific Most people’s cover letters are very general. In order to make your application stand out, you need to be specific about why you want that job in that particular company. Make sure you state clearly the job you are applying for as a hiring manager could be hiring for countless jobs at one time. A cover letter is your chance to show that you have done your homework on the company and show a true desire to work for the company. Most importantly, make sure that if you are stating a company by name, you have the correct name in the Cover Letter. Hiring managers know you are probably applying for roles in various companies but it shows sloppiness and no attention to detail. State Your Strengths I’m not talking about the cliché strengths everyone gives – strong communication skills, brilliant team player and hardworking etc. Focus on strengths specific to you that can be supported with evidence. Whether it is your extensive work experience in a relevant area, or your academic achievements, make sure you state them clearly. Cover letters are a time to be boastful even if Irish Culture has trained many people to be overly modest and to not sell themselves to the fullest. Keep it short and to the point Cut down on any information that is irrelevant to the job you are applying for. Hiring managers have to review dozens of Cover Letters and CVs. The vast majority of the time they will not read your application; just simply skim it for the relevant information. Don’t waste your time (or theirs) by writing paragraphs of irrelevant information to the job. Clean Formatting and No Grammatical Errors First impressions really count when you only have 15 seconds to make an impact with your cover letter. Read and reread your cover letter to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. It’s always a good idea to get a family member or friend to check it over with fresh eyes. Typographical errors also leave a lasting impression, and not of the positive kind. Make sure your font and text size is consistent throughout your cover letter. Make sure to use punctuation where needed, and have clearly structured paragraphs. To Sum up Restate your interest in the job, and thank the hiring manager for taking the time to consider you.
Online Marketing has been an area of significant growth over the last few years. Seeing as your CV is your first point of contact with potential employers, many jobseekers have been utilising their CVs to convey their creativity and suitability for online marketing roles. Used well, a creative CV can really give you the edge over the competition. Not only does it reflect your personality, it speaks volumes about your creativity and problem solving skills. A well designed CV is the first impression a future employer will get of you, your style, and your methods of working. However before you run off and start working on your CV masterpiece bear the following in mind; Don’t skimp on Relevant Information Whilst it’s easy to get carried away on a creative buzz, don’t skimp on relevant information for the sake of design. An effective creative CV finds the balance between design and information. It’s important for employers to know what you’ve achieved and where you’ve been so make sure you stress your experience and include all relevant information. At the end of the day, it is the most important factor. Don’t overdo it It is very easy for the design to overwhelm your CV, so show a little bit of restraint and taste when it comes to designing your CV. Content is king at the end of the day so make sure it’s easy to read, well organised and clear. As previously mentioned the competition for jobs in the online marketing sector is strong and each candidate is fighting a new fight with each application. You can be one step ahead of the competition by highlighting your CV through creativity; from there it is down to your experience and your ability to perform in the interview process. But being 1-0 up before you get to that process is of great benefit!
It’s a great time to be in Information Technology in Ireland. Recent Reports quote a lack of qualified local talent, and that there are plenty of opportunities for people with the right mix of IT skills. So how do you choose the contract opportunity that’s right for you? As a contractor the temptation is to take the first offer you get, but it’s useful to take a step back and consider it carefully before accepting. Before you move forward with an opportunity, ask yourself the following questions: a) Is this a suitable role for my skill-set? Be sure you’re comfortable wih the fundamental requirements of the job and your future role on the project team and the position is a good fit with your primary skills. b) If some responsibilities fall outside my skill-set, am I comfortable with that? If you were careful to be honest and set the interviewer’s expectations appropriately during the interview process this shouldn’t be an issue; however, it is important for you to be comfortable with the scope of your future responsibilities and your ability to learn the skills you might lack at the start of the project. c) Are the working conditions and compensation acceptable and appropriate to my skill level? Don’t be afraid to aim high and negotiate, but do consider your relative expertise and existing market conditions to set realistic goals for yourself at this stage. Stay in touch with job boards to keep up with current market rates. Your recruitment agent is also in a good position to determine what the appropriate compensation should be for your skill level. d) Is this a good career move for me? Your first offer may not necessarily the best. Deciding whether to accept any given opportunity is a very personal decision, but do keep in mind that no contract lasts forever. e) Is the job in a feasible geographic location? Though this point is often overlooked when considering an offer, spending several hours a day or more commuting to work every day will impact your finances and quality of life. Now is the time to calculate your transit time as well as the cost of fuel, parking, public transportation, etc. and figure these factors into your salary requirements. f) Do I understand the local taxation and legal requirements of working in the project location? Are you legally entitled to work in the project location? Do you need a work permit or visa to enter the country? If this will be working as an independent consultant, some type of legal structure is required, usually a limited company. Have you decided what type of structure to use? Is it suitable for working in the geographic location where the role is based? What are the tax implications in the working location? Are there any implications in your home country? Typically working in another country will require significant up front investigation on these issues, as there is always some impact on your taxation obligations. If you consider all of these questions carefully and overall, on balance, the role seems like a good fit; it’s time to accept the offer. The choice of consulting opportunity is dependent on many personal factors, but I use this list of things to consider when comparing a new consulting opportunity with my current role. About the author Aidan Duffy is an independent consultant with 20 years international IT experience in Europe and USA, working with blue-chip multinational companies.He writes on Oracle topics at www.ILoveOracle.com and invites Linkedin Contact requests at this link ie.linkedin.com/in/aidanduffy/
The amount of Irish twitter users increased between 2016 and 2017. Twitter has become a key area for professional communication and also a great platform to post job opportunities and source possible candidates. Over the past few years social media has impacted and changed our manner of consumer behavior along with the job seeking and recruitment process. It is our opinion that these changes are very positive. The social job search allows for a greater chance to research the company, a great platform to sell and distinguish yourself from other candidates and an increased dialogue for your future employer. The following are our top 5 tips to make the most of Twitter in your social job search. 1. Let the world know you One of the most obvious first things you should do when using social media for your job search is to let the world know that you have a Twitter account. You should include a hyperlink to your account on your CV and use it perhaps in your personal email signature. Link your Twitter with other platforms, or as a promoter for your blog, allow people the chance to get to know you. Additionally, let your network know that you are looking for a new role, or better yet, the type of role you are looking for. Some people would rather a more conservative approach, but the social platform ethos is all about transparency. Leverage your network for introductions, share jobs and be referred on to a role, ‘ask and you shall receive!’ 2. Connect and communicate Twitter is uniquely positioned, arguably more so than any other social platform, to connect with people. You have the ability to follow anyone on Twitter immediately and vice versa without an approval process. The opportunity to engage with the highest leader of your target industry is only a click of a ‘follow’ button away. Research the company, follow the decision makers in your target company, retweet their industry news, if appropriate start a conversation or otherwise send a discrete DM. 3. Actually Network Twitter is not all about self promotion! Do just add people to have them in a list and push your own message on them. This is all about dialogue and actually networking. Engage in your industry of choice, joining in on conversations and interacting. This will also make a good impression for prospect employer visiting your profile. Show an interest in other people and retweet their ideas. The concept of paying it forward is strong within social media. Helping others can hold some leverage with your networks in the future and build stronger relationships. 4. Searching in Twitter Hundreds of Irish companies are communicating on Twitter, so being able to effectively search through all these conversations to find the job opportunities is crucial. The website search.twitter.com is an advanced search option and allows for a more precise search than the in-site search option. Click on advanced search and you can enter keywords like ‘hiring’. ‘job’ or ‘opportunity’ to find you a role as well as you word to describe the job you are looking for. You can also precisely refine by location as well. An interesting idea is to make this search real time by integrating it to your RSS reader. If you don’t have an RSS reader try www.feedmyinbox.com, create an account, and add the RSS reader link to receive e-mail updates instead.
After reading countless CVs day in, day out here at Sigmar, there are many a CV cliché that makes our eyes glaze over. Phrases such as ‘motivated, hard-working, team player’ and ‘enthusiastic individual with experience working in a fast-paced environment’ are white noise to us as recruiters yet we still see them appear on numerous CVs every day. The problem for many job seekers, is that whilst the have accomplished many career goals and achievements, when it comes to writing their CV they can’t remember any of it. So when in a rush to throw a CV together they end up using the same words and phrases as everyone else. Your CV is your marketing tool for getting you an interview and you need to utilise it to distinguish you from the other candidates. As recruiters, we want to see career progression, concrete examples of achievements and your growth within the company. Anything else is considered filler. Rather than listing your skills and job duties, demonstrate your accomplishments with specific examples. Providing examples will allows us as recruiters the ability to relate you to a specific role. Whilst some clichés are unavoidable here’s our guide to working around the most common offenders; Team Player Probably the most overused phrase of the lot is ‘team player’, ‘thrives in a team environment’, ‘loves working as part of a team’. Don’t state one of these phrases, rather talk about an accomplishment that shows you’re a good team player. For example; ‘Headed up a team of sales people to create a new sales model that increased sales by 41%’. Proven Track-Record In what? What did you do to get this track record? Have you saved your company money? Have you reached ambitious targets? Quantify your results; ‘Over a period of 6 months, I brought in €150,000 of business and 15 new clients’. A company would be far more impressed with this statement than a vague comment. Hard-Worker/Highly Motivated Well, you’re not going to write that you’re a bit lazy are you? You’re not the only one using these clichés, so clean up your CV by stating how you go that extra mile. Did you take a class to improve your skills? Did you meet some really tough deadline? Show the HR manager what makes you this person with a strong work ethic, instead of using another cliché. As you can see strong CVs make claims but then back them up with evidence. Smarter job hunters realise that trying to sell your personality on paper sets you up to fail. So to sum up make fewer claims and offer more evidence matched to the employer’s shopping list.