Thursday, 22 November 2012

Power up your networking skills - workshop

The First Arab Regional Conference on Family P...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If your resolution is to get out more....

If you need to develop your confidence as a networker...


Are you a networking virgin?
Do you loath the thought of it?
Are you keen to start but not sure how?
What is networking?
How do successful networkers do it?
Is it critical to career success?
Are you just wishing you did not have to?

If you are asking those questions but don't have the answers then this workshop is for you!
22 January, Central London, afternoon and at a bargain price.

By the end of the session you will have a strategy which will be comfortable to you, you will have
  • developed your own unique approach to extending your network- not everyone subscribes to the philosophy of 'Never Eat Alone'  - work out what will work for you
  • planned your strategy on how to extend your contact list - the more 'weak ties' you have the better your chances of finding the information or opportunities you want
  • developed and practised your elevator pitch - in other words know what it is you want others to know and how to say it
  • learned how to change your mindset, what's holding you back? how can you develop a positive mindset towards this strategy?
  • integrated social media into your strategy- does one have to tweet? blog? poke? put oneself onto the www?
Come and learn these techniques and find new confidence in your strategy.
A special half day workshop for networking innocents or the reluctant networker. Only  £125

contact me on
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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Top 10 irritating things on a cv

Let’s face it, Recruiters and HR Managers get a hard time.  The industry battles with bad press and a perception that it’s all about fees for recruiters or handing out tissues for the HR teams. Not exactly! It’s more like a plate-spinning marathon, especially when you’re juggling a deluge of candidate applications against a vacancy wish list.  Some of these candidate CVs and applications can range from entertaining to frustrating to downright baffling.
ISV Software asked the Recruitment and HR industry to share the most irritating things you see on CVs. Here are the Top 10 responses:

1.       Spelling and Grammar Errors – this shows lack of attention and time spent on the document. Favourites include a candidate who had worked at ‘Goldman Sucks’ and another who interacted well with ‘steakholders’. Although it’s worth mentioning that a few spelling errors crept into the responses. Whether intentionally or not we should perhaps check ourselves before pointing the finger.
 2.       Clich├ęd phrases that add nothing of value – how many candidates have “excellent interpersonal skills”, are “people-friendly” or “work well on their own and as part of a team”? Righty-ho, them and everyone else I’m afraid.
 3.       Too much personal information – Views on the inclusion of date of birth, marital status, religious beliefs etc. varied across cultures. Certainly in the UK, Canada and the US it is illegal to ask for this information. Candidates however, may be unaware of the legislation and it is the norm in some countries to include personal information, even detailing their height and weight. It’s worth bearing in mind that the candidate’s cultural background will influence what they do and don’t include  on their CV. From a recruitment consultant’s point of view though, it’s all information that needs deleting before the CV can be submitted to the client.
Keeping personal information in mind, another big bug-bear is the weird and wonderful email addresses that candidates think it’s appropriate to include!

 4.       Obscure formatting – different fonts, large blocks of text, varied line spacing… Not only does this make the CV look like a ‘cut and paste’ job, it makes it difficult to extract the relevant information.
 5.       Irrelevant information or experience – an engineer applying for a procurement role, a graduate applying to be Head of Department… why? If there are relevant skills, the CV should be tailored to highlight these. Instead you’re often left searching for the information.
 6.       Dear Sir - or Mr when you’re a woman and vice versa. This was even more contentious when the candidate has access to your name. Even worse when the application mentions the wrong role or incorrect company name.
 7.       Photos – again, this varied depending on global location but photos are a definite no-no for UK recruiters. Particularly candidate’s holiday snaps, provocative pictures or group photos including the family pet!
 8.       Churn out that job spec - candidates who solely list their duties without adding quantifiable achievements or their contribution make the job so much harder.
 9.       Generic cover notes – a template cover letter or email taken from the internet. You’ve seen them before and they get pretty tiresome. Plus they sometimes make you wonder if the candidate has read the job spec at all!
 10.   Keep it short – lengthy CVs are a real turn off especially since there is so much guidance outlining that  2 pages is ideal. The extreme mentioned was a 7 page CV followed by a series of voicemails and social media requests. There’s persistent and then there’s stalking!

Honourable mention should also go to hobbies that are irrelevant (reading, socialising, watching their child’s football team) and personal statements that incorporate much of the above especially from the candidate that is ‘perfect for the job’. If only it were that simple!

Thanks to Amanda Davies at ISV for compiling the list!

If you want help to make sure that your CV avoids these errors and hits the correct spot, makes the right impression and communicates your achievements and skills contact Mary Hope..

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Friday, 2 November 2012

Assessment Centres -10 tips for group exercises/discussions

Group exercises can vary enormously from:
1. A single sentence or question:'Discuss how you would increase sales in a new area'. This can be thrown into the group and then them left to debate the topic. Assessors are looking at the level of debate and the interaction between people.

2. Exercises where you are all given information that needs to be discussed eg 'Read the following and then discuss, as a group, which depot should be closed to maximise savings but maintain efficiency' . Same as above: who conributes?, what sorts of things do they say? who listens? who has ideas? who is positive?

3. You might get that sort of question where you have actually been given different sorts of information!

4. You might get information but be asked to play a particular role, so in the one above one person might be asked to be the FD and another the HR manager. Each will have some info about their role's priorities. In this scenario you are expected to argue your corner.

5. The observers might want someone to win this task or they may just want to see how you react with others. 

6. Think carefully about volunteering to be the Chair of the group, you would have great power but if you don't have authority it can highlight your lack of influence. Leadership is not necessarily shown in that way.  It's the same with being a 'scribe', that can give you power but it can also marginalise you if you are standing at a flip chart.  

7.Get talking early, research shows that if you don’t contribute in the first few minutes of a meeting you can become invisible. So be present from the start and get a contribution in early. It does not have to be earth shattering, just ask a question, ask someone to repeat something, seek clarification or repeat an idea. 

8. People will generally be quite polite to each other, on their best behaviour and interrupting is not good manners. Wait for a space and then deliver well thought out constructive comments.  

9.  Laugh at other people's jokes, disagree politely and only after saying something like 'that is really interesting but had you thought of....'

10. Be the person they would want to work with.. that's what selection exercises are about, finding out if they can work with you.

For more information, support and advice on being successful in your career