Your CV is the make or break of any job application. The minute a hiring manager see’s one of these mistakes, your chance of getting called for an interview decline rapidly. If you have any of these common mistakes on your CV, you should remove them straight away. Gaps Hiring managers like to see exact timeframes on CVs. Dates on your CV should include month to month time frames, as opposed to year to year. Often people will avoid putting dates on a CV or will try to be vague about the dates. This can look suspicious to employers, especially if you have gaps. It’s better to be honest and give reasons for any gaps instead of trying to hide them. State clearly that you were made redundant or you went travelling. The person reviewing your CV will appreciate this and it will give them clarity about the gaps. Graphics If you have graphics on your CV, you should leave them out. Things like complicated formatting and decorative pictures shouldn’t be on a CV. They just tend to make it more difficult for employers to read. Keep things simple, clear and detailed. However, if you are applying for a role that requires graphic design skills, consider making a portfolio of your work. You can send this along with your CV to showcase your creative skills . Forgetting to Include Contact Details You may just assume that sending your CV via email is enough for an employer to contact you, but often CVs get forwarded around and saved on hard drives/desktops so the original email you sent could get lost along the way, along with your contact details. Always put your email address and phone number on your CV. Using Personal Details It’s good to show your personality through your CV and give the hiring manager a sense of who you are but some personal details are too personal for your CV. Avoid putting your relationship status on your CV e.g. married, divorced. It’s irrelevant information and it could affect you negatively. When you apply for a job you should be confident that your CV ticks all the hiring mangers boxes. This won’t happen if you include these mistakes so if you’re applying for jobs right now, take another look at your CV and make sure you’re happy with it.
If these steps are practised daily, they will improve your workplace wellbeing. Connect Find ways to get to know and connect with your colleagues, whether that’s an office pizza night or an opportunity to leave positive messages for your co-workers or just asking your colleagues would they like a tea or coffee. Engaging with the people around you, who you see every day will improve your wellbeing in the workplace. Be Active Get up from your desk and stretch your legs. You can even do this with your colleagues. Ask one person in your office to set an alarm every 40 mins to remind everyone to stand up and stretch. You could even ask some staff to do a lunch time walk with you. Keep Learning Always be proactive with your professional development. Learning new things and developing your skills in your role will keep you motivated and improve your wellbeing. Take Notice of How You Feel Pay attention to how they’re feeling throughout the day, and to take steps to look after your wellbeing. If you are becoming very stressed and overwhelmed activities such as using meditation or getting a plant for your desk could help relief stress. Give If your workplace doesn’t already do this, nominate a company charity of the year, allow staff to share their volunteering experiences and look for ways the company could donate their time to assist charities. To mark Workplace Wellbeing Day on the 12th April 2019, Sigmar Recruitment are doing the following: Staff step challenge - Most active staff member will win a Sports Direct voucher We will also be sharing workplace wellbeing emails to encourage staff to stretch their legs, go for walks and drink water during the day. All staff will be encouraged to take part in Cystic Fibrosis '65 Roses Day' and sell purple roses on behalf of the charity to raise money Mindfulness colouring docks in all the kitchens. Smoothies for all staff It's set to be a great day!
With the day that's in it, we decided to search the internet for examples of the funniest office April Fools pranks and we came up with these top ten pranks and practical jokes. 1. Airhorn Pranks 2. Desk Mess 3. “Free Doughnuts in the Canteen” 4. Team Meeting Prank 5. Occupied Toilet 6. Candied Onion 7. The Grudge in the Ceiling 8. New Office Technology 9. April Fools Birthday Prank 10. Levitating Desk Prank
In last week’s blog we looked at 5 Tips to Build Your Professional Network, this week we want to take a look at why networking is so important to your professional development. It can be a daunting task for those who wouldn’t consider themselves overly social, but the rewards to your professional and personal growth are endless. 1. Get Help and Be Helped One of the most significant parts of building a professional network is the opportunity it presents you to ask others for help when you need it and to help other people in your network. It happens to all of us at some point when we need an extra pair of hands to help us solve a problem. All jobs present bumps in the road and it’s great to have a professional network you can lean on in times of struggle and vice versa you can lend a helping hand when your network need help. 2. Be Inspired by Ideas Networking can be so beneficial to our creativity and inspire us to do more in our work. If you’re feeling a little lost or not as pumped about your job as you once were, go to a work event or conference and start talking to people! These people can have a similar role as you or a completely different role, or just work in the same industry. Don’t focus on what level they are either. Different levels of experience will bring you all kinds of different insights. It doesn’t matter what role they are in or what level they are, they will always share something new with you. It’s a great way to come back to the office with new and exciting ideas. 3. Build a Good Reputation Building your network will get you known among those in your industry. More visibility is a great way to build your reputation. Getting yourself out there and being noticed by your peers will help you make a name for yourself. Word of mouth can go very far and if you make enough good impressions a level of trust for you and what you do will follow. This will stand to you if you decide to apply for a new role. You may not know your interviewer directly, but they may have a connection to you through a mutual contact, who has nothing but positive things to say about you. 4. Grow your Confidence Career advancement isn’t the only benefit to networking. It can help with your personal growth as well. By continually putting yourself out there and meeting new people and stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis, will help you to build invaluable social skills and self-confidence that you can take with you anywhere. The more you network, the more you’ll grow and learn. 5. Gain New Friendships The last benefit doesn’t impact your professional career, but it doesn’t make it any less significant. Spending time socialising and building your network will naturally lead you to making friends. Some of the strongest and long-standing friendships have started as work connections. The people you network with will be like-minded with similar aspirations and struggles as you so it’s not unlikely that a work relationship could develop into a friendship. We have heard it time and time again, advancing in your career is just as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important to your career, but networking can benefit you personally just as much as it can professionally. Spending time networking will be very worthwhile and the best part is that it’s never too late to start investing in your network.
We have heard it being said time and time again, advancing in your career is just as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important, but networking requires more than just sending connection requests on LinkedIn and swapping business cards. Networking is a skill and when mastered, can be very beneficial to your career progression. Here are some key ways to improve your networking skills. Ask to be Introduced If you know of someone who you would like in your professional network, but are not sure how to approach them, start by seeking out a mutual relationship. LinkedIn is a great place to start, but not by sending them a connection request. View the persons profile and scan through your mutual connections. Ask one of your mutual connections to strategically introduce you. This can be done online via video chat or by them arranging a meeting. Find Common Ground This is the best way to make a lasting impression on someone. Find out a bit about the person before your introduction or if your introduction isn’t pre-arranged and you don’t know them, ask questions to get to know them. Questions like “Did you travel far to get here?”, “Did you see the match last night?”, “Have you been away on holidays yet?” etc. to casually find out their interests. Usually one of their answers will strike a chord and you can go from there. The best way to really connect with someone is to find that common ground. Never Start by Asking for Something If you’re starting off your relationship with this person by asking them what they can do for you, the relationship is destined to go nowhere. No one likes to be asked for a favour, especially by a stranger. Start by offering them something, a way you can help them. If you dive into a conversation asking for something the answer is more than likely going to be no but if you offer a way you would like to help them, they are more inclined to accept. Don’t Collect Business Cards and LinkedIn Connections A lot of people assume that they have a good network based on the amount of business cards they have stuffed in a drawer or how many LinkedIn connections they have. With this, I would say it is quality not quantity. You will go a lot further and have more opportunities in your career having a very focused network. Carefully focus on building meaningful relationships and not just a bank of contacts. Follow Up Probably the most important part of networking is to follow up afterwards. This is where a conversation with someone can become a meaningful relationship. After your initial meeting, call them up a day or two later and follow up on the chat you had or connect with them on LinkedIn and send them a message. It’s never too late to invest in your network. It can be daunting but it can be so worth while. As said by Deena Baikowitz - Chief Networking Officer at Fireball Network, "the worst networking mistake you can make is not trying at all."
Almost two weeks have passed since Talent Summit, yet the excitement from the event is still very much alive. I met with Talent Summit Founder, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig to ask him to share some of his key takeaways and highlights from Talent Summit 2019. Kate Costello – “Have the Heart of a Lion Even When You Feel Like a Mouse” After being asked for his top five takeaways, without even a moment to reflect, Robert started with “Kate Costello’s speech was a particularly significant take away”. Kate, who is only 16, spoke at Talent Summit to present the Dermot Costello Outstanding Leadership Award in honour of her father to the Irish women’s hockey team who reached the World Cup finals for the first time ever last summer. In her speech Kate told the story of a mouse who wanted to look bigger and stronger than those he feared so they would fear him. He asked a wizard to change him from a mouse to a cat, then a cat to a dog and then a dog to a lion. After some time, the wizard said, “with the heart of a mouse there is nothing I can do for you”. It’s a powerful statement to those in leadership. Being a leader means being brave in your actions to lead and guide others. You need to be courageousness to lead beyond the odds, have the heart of a lion even if sometimes we feel like a mouse. Robert reflected on the parallel message in Kate’s story of how we can leave a lasting impression on those close to us, shaping and activating change beyond what we expect and, in many cases, never even knowing we’ve impacted on a person. “The fact that Kate stood on the stage, eloquently recounting a story her father once told her, shows the personal impact we can have on those around us, can be truly transformative, beyond what we intend it to be. The irony here is that Kate not only showed the “heart of a lion” as she presented the award to her own heroes, but she herself was demonstrating outstanding leadership through her actions. My takeaway from this is that we inspire and activate those around us, every day in most cases without even realising it.” “Last year, I recalled how spending time with Dermot, was often like a life lesson, as you would come away with a different twist on whatever topic we discussed. It’s clear that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree… Thanks for that lesson Kate!” Robert Gibbs, Chief Human Capital Officer, NASA – The Power of Positive Intent The NASA transformation story shows very clearly how purpose is our defining competitive advantage. Robert reflected on Robert Gibbs keynote which explained how NASA’s raison d'être boils down to the flourishment of human kind which allows them to operate on the fringe of what is commercially viable, giving them the ultimate competitive advantage. “Robert Gibbs also reminded us that change is a ‘contact sport’, it’s personal, constant and unpredictable, requiring continuous communication and feedback”. When Robert later spoke on a panel with Niamh O’Beirne, Partner, EY and Barry Rudden, Director, Sigmar Recruitment, what surfaced in the conversation was the power of presuming positive intent. Belief goes a long way and sometimes to get the best out of people you need to believe in them. Margaret Heffernan – Leading Change Is Human During Margaret Heffernan’s keynote she emphasized how building social capital takes time, focus and energy and if the ingredients are right, can bind human capital to achieve beyond measure. The strength of the social capital creates the foundation for companies to succeed, the components of which are uniquely human; kindness, helpfulness, warmth and candour. Robert went on to say “The thing that struck me is how the ubiquity of loyalty, friendship and comradery in the workplace create a shared commitment to success, something we may struggle to replicate in the gig economy. In short being trusting and trustworthy is the basis of creating a just culture”. Ian McClean – Every Conversation Matters Given that Talent Summit is a humanic conference, Ian argued that conversation is where the rubber hits the road in expressing our humanity. It reminds us that how we make people feel in our presence is the true measure of our engagement. Robert added “every conversation can either create a gap or close a gap in our daily connectivity and we need to be mindful of the residue that every conversation leaves”. Monica Lewinsky - The Importance of Being an Upstander Robert quoted a Mexican proverb when introducing Monica, which in mays ways captured the spirit of her story; “they tried to bury us, but they didn’t realise we were seeds”. Monica Lewinsky’s story, in many ways reflects this juxtaposition of humanity and technology. As the internet catapulted her into the limelight bringing the uninvited attention of the world upon her, it was the compassion of those around her, coupled with personal resilience that brought her back from the brink. Reflecting the theme of this year’s Talent Summit, it’s the human element that has enabled Monica to lead change through her social activism and create a global anti-cyberbullying revolution. “Monica has turned personal trauma into grace and raised a profusion of lessons we can apply in our personal lives, working worlds and within our family units. My main takeaway from spending time with Monica is that each of us can make a difference by showing compassion through our actions, by being an "up-stander". Monica spoke about this in the context of societal change, but the glaringly obvious parallel in our working world, is that as some resist change and others passively act as bystanders, we truly need to firmly stand “for” the purpose behind the change we hope to achieve.” Mirroring Margaret’s Heffernan’s comment on workplace loneliness and Kate’s story of the need for the heart of a lion, when we sometimes feel like a mouse, Monica harpooned the message of individual impact home when she said, “there is power in small numbers when there is consistency over time.” We need to create a narrative steeped in empathy to be truly compassionate in all aspects of our lives. “Our purpose at Talent Summit is to create better working lives as the world of work augments and being more compassionate is really what it all boils down to! "Tanx" for sharing such a powerful message Monica.” …..and tanx to all who supported, spoke, attended and participated at Talent Summit 2019. See you next year!
A polarizing topic and a polarizing question, who wins in the battle of the sexes? The topic of equality in the workplace and lack of transparency has come to the forefront of many internal and external discussions. According to the Society of Women’s Engineers, in 2003 only 20% of new graduates from an engineering discipline were female in the United States. Compare that to a recent study in 2018 by Roberta Rincon, PH.D., Manager of Research at the SWE, where only 30% of women who earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering are still working in that profession 20 years later and only 13% of engineers are women in the USA. However, there was a 54% increase in women being awarded engineering and computer science degree between 2011 and 2016. If we bring this closer to home, just 11% of the UK’s engineering workforce were female in 2017, a 2% increase since 2015. The UK also has the lowest percentage of female engineers in the EU, under 10% where the likes of Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus have nearly 30%. One step closer again and we are in Ireland where less than 25% of the people working in STEM related professions are women. Accenture conducted a survey which conveyed that there are negative stereotypes towards STEM subjects and careers. Certainly, there is still a long way to go before we reach true equality, it is a highly important issue. Yet, how about we move away slightly from representation and focus on pure achievement and contribution when discussing women and men in engineering? We provide the engineering icons and their achievements, and you decide who wins in a casual five-a-side match up! Let’s start at a time when engineering was starting to make waves across the whole of society and specifically focus in on electrical engineering, our first match up is Nikola Tesla and Edith Clarke. Edith Clarke First Female Electrical Engineer and First Female Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University, teaching for 10 years. Invented the calculator while working as a Supervisor in GE. Also invented Clarke Transformation and was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame Two of her papers in mathematics won awards from the AIEE, best regional paper in 1932 and best national paper in 1941. Nikola Tesla The famous Croatian began working in Edison Machine Works, troubleshooting installations and improving generators patented over 300 inventions but is most well known for the Tesla Coil and oscillator. Advised on the electrical system for Niagara Falls. Invented a radio remote control boat, dubbing it “teleautomation” but the general public considered it magic or even made the outlandish claim a small monkey was driving it. This would later go into mass use in World War I for torpedoes with Tesla getting little acclaim. Effectively dying bankrupt, he was well known for his eccentric behaviour, working everyday from 9am to 6pm, walking at least 8 miles every day and possessing an eidetic memory. So, who was the bright spark who outshone the other between this duo of electrical engineers? Next up we have the Civil Engineers who paved the way in their fields, Gustave Eiffel and Emily Warren Roebling. Emily Warren Roebling Contributed massively to the completion of the Brooklyn bridge. After her husband, Washington Roebling, the chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge, contracted Caisson Disease and became bed-ridden, she developed an extensive knowledge of Materials, Stress Analysis and Cable Construction. She also became the only person to relay instruction to his assistants and aided in the plans for completion of the bridge itself. She took over a lot of the chief engineer duties and jointly planned the bridges completion and was the first to cross the bridge by carriage. Campaigned for women’s rights and against discriminatory practices targeted at women, winning wide acclaim and awards for her essay “A Wife’s Disabilities”. Gustave Eiffel Most famous for the Eiffel Tower but also contributed to the liberty statue and also designed the Garabit Viaduct. The Eiffel Bridge, and Gustave’s first major work, which is in Bordeaux has been protected as a French Historical Monument. Even though he was only a contractor for the Panama Bridge project he was implicated in the financial and political scandal. Contributed massively to aerodynamics and civil engineering, he died on 27 December 1923 while listening to Beethovens 5th Symphony The Brooklyn Bridge vs the Eiffel Tower, who built more of a legacy, Gustave or Emily? Both certainly had their issues to overcome but left a lasting legacy behind them but who made the bigger impression on the civil engineering world? Following on from Civil Engineering, we have a match up between a physicist and a chemist who both revolutionized their own respective fields and the world as we know it. Stephanie Kwolek Offered a position at the DuPont facility in New York, the vacancy arose as the majority of men were overseas in World War II but developed a career spanning 40 years, becoming the only female employee in 2015 to receive the Lavoisier Medal for outstanding achievement. She became the fourth woman to be added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame after creating Kevlar and had an illustrious career in working with polymers. Stephanie never profited from the discovery as she signed it over to DuPont, but Kevlar is used in hundreds of different products that we use daily such as mobile phones and cables. She won a publication award for her Nylon Rope Trick which created Nylon from a beaker at room temperature but also received the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists and an award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society. The Royal Society of Chemistry awards scientists the ‘Stephanie L Kwolek Award’ to exceptional contributions to the area of materials chemistry outside of the UK. John Bardeen Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics twice, first in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and secondly in 1972 for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory. His development of the transistor helped with almost all modern technology such as telephones and computers, effectively bringing in the information age. In 1990, John was included in Life Magazines 100 most Influential Americans of the Century. Worked on magnetic mines and torpedoes during World War II. Sony have created a John Bardeen Professional Chair post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bursar of $3 million. With both inventors and engineers leaving a massive legacy behind them both in academia and in real life application of science, it is a hard-won battle about who comes out on top between this pair. Now to look at more of a celebrity type of engineer and inventor with a flair for the limelight. Hedy Lamarr An Austrian born, inventor and actress who both helped develop a radio guidance system for allied torpedoes and starred in the likes of Algiers, Boom Town and Samson and Delilah. With no formal training, she created improved traffic stoplights, torpedoes that could resist frequency jamming and advised Howard Hughes on changing the design of his aeroplanes to sleeker, streamlined versions. In 1939, she was awarded the “most promising new actress” and has a Hollywood walk of Fame star. She became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, was awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundations Pioneer Award and also was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She has had her fair share of controversy with her film Ecstasy being banned in numerous countries for its content, being convicted of shoplifting twice and a few other scandals. Elon Musk The South African entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Co-Founder and CEO of Tesla with other massive companies such as The Boring Company which cover infrastructure and construction to Neuralink, a neurotechnology company. He founded X.com which later became PayPal and was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion and also Zip2 who were later acquired by Compaq for $340 million. Elon has stated that the goals if SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity are humanitarian in reducing the effect of global warming by increasing the use of sustainable energy and even found a colony on mars. He has been ranked as one of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Business Insider named him in the top ten of business visionaries creating value for the world. Who has the bigger wow factor, the movie star who escaped Nazi occupation to become a massive film star and inventor or the modern-day entrepreneurial engineer changing the landscape of the world? Up next are two engineers who have represented two of the biggest companies in the world with very different backgrounds but still inspirational stories. Ann Kelleher Born in Macroom, Co. Cork who was one of 5 women in a class of 55 studying engineering in UCC. She continued her studies achieving a master’s in electrical engineering and became the first ever female to receive a PHD from the NMRC. She began her career as a process engineer in Intel Ireland later progressing to factory manager, eventually site managing Intel’s New Mexico plant. She became the first woman in Intel’s history to be named Vice President, later becoming senior vice-president. In 2018 she became one of 25 women to be recognised in “Ireland’s Most Powerful Women Award” and was even tipped by Forbes as a good candidate to replace Elon Musk at Tesla. She is a huge advocate for women working in engineering and has called for more girls to study engineering and that more women should be applying for senior management roles. Steve Wozniak Electronics engineer who co-founded Apple who is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the personal computer revolution. After a traumatic plane crash, he suffered from amnesia using Apple II computer games to regain his memory but later leaving apple to invent and patent a universal controller. He has a long line of philanthropic programs he works on, ranging form founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sponsoring the Tech Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose and provided the entirety of the budget for the technical program for his local school district in Los Gatos. In 2014 he was induced into the Manufacturing Wall of Fame while also acting as the Innovator in Residence at High Point University and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Museum of Natural History. As well as holding an electrical engineering degree from the University of California, he has 10 honorary degrees from American, English, Canadian and Spanish degrees. Is it the Cork native with her extremely impressive CV who comes out smiling or is it Woz with his contribution to Apple and personal computers? Overall this is not to split opinion or be divisive, it is an insight into the major engineering feat’s that have been achieved by men and women. Despite low female representation in the engineering sphere, female leaders such as Hey Lamarr and Ann Kelliher still emerged changing the world for the better. These female leaders went against the grain in spectacular fashion portraying that we can do more to further the conversation on diversity in engineering.
Being organised is a very important skill and it’s one that anyone can learn. If you feel like you are overwhelmed in work, then you need to start being organised. Here are 3 useful ways you can start today. Start Your Day Right In work it can often happened that you are overrun with many different tasks and it can be difficult to know how to structure your day productively. Come in 15-30 minutes before you start work to organise yourself. Make sure your desk is tidy and you lay out all the tasks you need in a notebook or using an online tool such as Google Tasks or Google Calendar. Write a list of what you need to do today and a list of the deadlines you have for the week. Taking these 15 minutes to do this in the morning will make your day more productive and help you to get more done throughout the day. Prioritise Once you know what you want or need from your work day, the next step is to learn what tasks in your day are the most important. One of the key elements to being organised is being able to prioritise the important stuff and know what needs your time. A handy way to decide this is using the below table. For every task you need to complete, you should evaluate each one by placing it in the below table. You should never have more than two priorities that fall in the box of ‘urgent and important’. The rest fall under the other categories of ‘important and not urgent’, ‘urgent but not important’ and ‘not urgent and not important’. Always structure your time around the urgent and important things. Get inspired with this short film of a professor explaining to his class the importance of prioritising and using one's time wisely. Ask For Help Most days you will handle your workload just fine on your own but every now and again when you see your to-do list is particularly long sometimes the best (and only) way to get things done is to ask your boss or a colleague for help. If you have too many urgent and important items on your to-do list, you should go to your boss to look at delegating some of your workload or adjust deadlines. Missing a deadline is much worse than letting someone know in advance that you won’t be able to get something done.
While many like to believe we are great at our jobs, the truth is no one is perfect. In order to grow and improve we all need (and should welcome) constructive criticism. If you find yourself in a situation where your work is being critiqued, here is some advice on how you should approach the situation. 1. Don’t React Firstly, when receiving constructive criticism, do not react! This might be difficult because you may have spent a lot of time on a particular piece of work and felt quite proud of it, so the last thing you expected was to be told it’s not good enough. Sit back and collect the information you are being given and allow yourself the time to react appropriately. It’s crucial to let your boss give you their feedback. 2. Remember the Importance of Feedback Constructive criticism should never be taken personally. Feedback is so important for your learning and development. The person giving you the feedback is not out to get you, they are simply explaining how you can do better. 3 Ask Questions This is probably the most important thing for you personally. You need to ask as many questions as you need to fully understand where you have gone wrong and how you can do better going forward. This is the best way to avoid making the same mistake again. Learning how you can improve your work is the whole point of being given the constructive criticism. 4 Say Thank You You should always thank your boss for giving you feedback that you can learn from. It also lets your boss know that you’re open minded and willing to learn. Being grateful will encourage your boss to give you more feedback which will help you progress in your role. 5 Follow Up You may have agreed and accepted a solution during this conversation with your boss, but if it was a larger issue, you may wish to request a follow up meeting. This will give you time to process the feedback, get some advice from others and think about solutions for going forward. Constructive criticism can be the best way to learn our weaknesses in the workplace. Even though you may feel a little disheartened, try to remember the benefits this feedback will have for your role.