Time Management – Creating a To Do List

One of the main challenges to achieving success in your career is underestimating the importance of time management.   Organising a To Do List of the days tasks before you start the day – ideally the night before, means you are more likely to have a productive day at work and get through the jobs that really matter.  Below are 6 steps to help you improve your time management:-

1. Create a To Do List clearly defining a list of goals/objectives
Create a To Do List of all your goals/objectives that you have been assigned or need to achieve in that day, week or month and update it as soon as possible when you have completed the goal/objective and add in new tasks to be completed based on priority.

2. Prioritise each goal/objective in order of importance
Prioritise your day so that your most important tasks are completed first. That way, if something unexpected comes up and you’ve run out of time in the day, at least you will have completed the most important tasks of the day. You may also want to consider planning the most difficult or tedious tasks during your high energy hours as there is no sense in plodding through a task you detest during your sleepiest hours of the day as you are more likely to make mistakes.

3. Plan how you are going to achieve each goal/objective
Strategize by breaking down the key elements of each of the new goals/objectives to achieve the best possible results.

4. Create deadlines for each of these individual goals/objectives
Calculate and allocate a set amount of time for each of these goals/objectives as this will focus your mind and should stop you from getting bogged down in unnecessary effort and losing the time you will be requiring for other goals/objectives you need to achieve for that day.

5. Schedule breaks in your day to keep your energy levels up
Schedule breaks throughout your day to keep your energy levels up. If you plod on through the day without breaks, you’ll crash and burn and won’t be able to make the most of your time and your more likely to make mistakes.

6. Pay attention to distractions
Once you have set your goals/objectives, prioritised each goal, broken down each of the elements of the tasks, created the deadlines and scheduled your breaks for that day, you now need to pay particular attention to any distractions that keep you from achieving your goals/objectives for that day.

Tick off the completed actions on your To Do List as you complete it, the sense of achievement will keep you motivated to continue and will give you a mental boost as you see yourself completing your tasks.  At the end of the working day, take some time out to create your To Do List for the next day, moving any tasks from today that still need to be completed to tomorrow’s list in order of priority. That way when you start work the following day you will be organised and ready to complete all your tasks.

This simple process can help you transform your working life and ensure you meet all your key business objectives and be successful in your career.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Handling a 3 Month Notice Period

You have decided to look for another role, but you have a 3 month notice period, you naturally don’t want this to spoil your chances of securing a new role, so how do you handle this?  Below is advice in the best way to handle a 3 month notice period successfully.

The challenges a 3 month notice period presents
Due to companies being worried about key employees leaving their business, many are locking candidates into 3 month notice period in order to protect their business in the event that a key member of staff decide to leave. Candidates on a 3 month notice period can be concerned that this could put off potential employers and often hope they will be able to negotiate an early release from their contract.  Our view is that 3 month notice periods if handled correctly should not stop you from securing your dream role. Handling your resignation professionally will ensure a smooth transition and may offer an opportunity to re-negotiate your notice period down.

First Step – Understand your contractual obligations before start your job search
People often think that you need to understand your contractual obligations when you resign, in fact we feel you need to understand them before you even look for a new role. The likelihood is that if you have a 3 month notice period you will be in a management role, therefore you cannot go to an interview without knowing your notice period, and you certainly cannot promise an early start with a new employer if you are contracted to a 3 month notice period, you can however set things in motion within your team to ensure that the likelihood of you being able to negotiate an early release from your contract is possible.

Most companies will be willing to wait for the right person
It is very important to be honest at the interview stage about your notice period, however you can also say that you will endeavor to have the notice period reduced and that you have plan in place that will hopefully enable you to start your new role sooner.

Your current employers stance
Remember your current employer wants a 3 month notice to minimize disruption to their business, however given your decision to leave, in reality your employer probably wants to find your replacement quickly as your leaving will be disruptive to the team.

How to broker an early release

  • Before you leave your role, start a confidential search for your replacement or
  • Have a succession plan in place so that your company can promote a team member into your role or
  • Re-organise your team to be able to deliver the goals of the business without you being in place
  • Do it in writing and include your planned release date
  • Check how many holidays you’ve got left and also use them to reduce your notice period

The more detailed the plan and help you can give to ensure a smooth transition for your replacement the more likely you’ll be able to negotiate leaving sooner.

Best practice if you are asked to complete your 3 month notice period
Keep your manager up to date with how the plan is going to either find your replacement or to ensure your existing team is in a position to carry on with your role. It may be still be possible to re-negotiate an earlier exit when your bosses see that they can in fact manage without you.

If you do have to complete the 3 month notice period, remember to be committed and professional after all they are paying you to do a job and you did make the commitment to provide them with a 3 month notice period.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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5 Reasons to Work for a Small Business!

We speak to lots of candidates with differing views regarding the types of organisations that they want to work for, and undoubtedly there are benefits to working for large blue chip organisations with a global reach and thousands of staff. However many people prefer to work for smaller business’s, and although we have no preference in our recruitment agency, below are some of the reasons that people choose to join small businesses:-

Small businesses are more agile
In a small business you don’t have the politics, bureaucracy and red tape associated with larger companies, this means that you are better able to influence decisions, address issues and take action. You don’t have to get things passed through several meeting and signed in triplicate – you can simply just get things done! This frees you up to do your job and to be super productive!

Your role will usually have more variety
In a small business everyone usually gets involved in a myriad of tasks to ensure the business succeeds, typically in a large organisation your role is very clearly defined and you dare not go outside of your area of responsibility, however in a small business you will find that you can be undertaking tasks not normally associated with your core role, giving you more experience and often more exposure to senior management as well. This experience will help make you more resourceful in the future, reduce boredom, and give you a wider range of skills to put on your CV / Resume, making you a more attractive candidate in the future.

Increased responsibility
In a small business usually more responsibility is placed on individuals, you are more likely to have to make decisions quicker and will be trusted to decide quickly. You will also be responsible for those decisions; the buck will stop with you!  This does help many people learn quickly and cope with pressure; these are skills that will develop your inner confidence, make you accountable and will also give you valuable experience to add to your resume or CV.

Greater recognition and job satisfaction
In a small business your contribution will matter more, which raises your profile within the company and makes it easier for you to shine. Your performances if good, are more likely to be both recognized and rewarded, because of the positive impact they have on the business and this generally leads to an increased sense of being valued which leads to better job satisfaction. There are none of the politics of a massive corporate to hold you back, but you have to be aware that there is no place to hide in a small business and your performance good or bad is highly visible, in our recruitment agency we would advise that you really believe in the company and their mission before you take on the role.

Increased career opportunity
Joining a small business either in start-up mode or at ground level, assuming the product or service the company provides has an excellent value proposition, can in fact present you with a massive opportunity to rapidly develop your career. In a small business as the company expands more jobs are created, this in turn creates management positions and this can enable you to rise rapidly. For example a skilled sales professional joining a start-up could move into a Sales Director role if he or she is successful within 3 to 5 years, whereas to rise to this level in a major corporate could take at least twice as long. Being successful in a small business will give you skills that will make you a much more valuable person in the job market. Should you decide to look for a role elsewhere you are more likely to achieve your “dream job” in a shorter period of time, than had you joined a massive company where you are a small cog in a big wheel.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Skype/Video Conference Interview Protocol

Our Recruitment Agency along with an increasing number of tech savvy companies is now increasingly using the internet to conduct interviews online. The key benefits are that this saves travel time to the interview for both candidates and clients and usually enables the interview to take place quicker.
The downside is that as a candidate you don’t get to make that “personal connection” in the same way as you would in a face to face interview.
This makes it even more important that you “smarten up” for the interview.

Do’s and Don’ts
Make sure you are properly connected to the site where the interview will take place and that your webcam is working properly.
Review the background the client will see – you want to make sure there are no off-putting materials behind you or windows looking onto unsightly areas. (Close the curtains and put on the lights if necessary).   Ideally you want to skype or video conference with a plain wall behind you.
Make sure that everyone in your home knows you are on an important Skype call and that there will be no interruptions.
Dress for your call in exactly the same way that you would a face to face interview – you still want to create a great first impression! Too often people think that because they are “at home” it is OK to wear a T-Shirt! It’s not OK.
If there is a problem for any reason with making the connection ensure you have a contact phone number from your recruitment agency for the person interviewing you, at worst you can speak to them on the phone while seeing them at the same time.  If a connection is impossible for whatever reason, ask the interviewer if they want to conduct the interview on the phone or if they would like to arrange a face to face meeting assuming its geographically possible.

Note: Companies like Regus can host a video conference from their offices all over the world – this could also be an option if a face to face interview is impossible to organise.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

Posted in Interview Advice

How to Find Employment at 50+

We are receiving more calls from concerned people who are in their 50’s and 60’s struggling to gain employment.  As a result of these calls, we would like to offer some words of advice that may help in the quest for employment.

The key to success is ensuring that when marketing yourself; always communicate your skills and leadership qualities, backed up with facts and figures demonstrating the positive impact you’ve had with previous employers. 

 Below are additional practical steps that will help…

  • Invest in having your CV professionally typed up.
  • You don’t have to put your date of birth on your CV or any application forms.
  • You shouldn’t have the year you were born or your age on your personal email address.
  • You don’t have to put any employment and education dates on your CV.
  • You don’t have to give your age during a job interview or at any stage during the recruitment process and it is illegal for an employer or recruiter to ask.
  • You should only list previous experience going back the last ten years and summarise the rest briefly.
  • Embrace modern technology, you don’t need to be an expert but you should be able to use it on a daily bases.
  • Utilise your network of work colleagues and professional acquaintances to tell you about current or potential opportunities that may be coming up within their organisation.
  • If you have not kept in touch with your work colleagues and professional acquaintances over the years, this might be a good time to start reuniting with them via LinkedIn or Face Book, alternatively just phone them.
  • When you have applied to a company it will help if you can differentiate yourself from the other candidates. One of the best ways is to try and get someone you know who works for the company to recommend you e.g. searching LinkedIn is a good place to start.
  • Research every company before going for an interview by utilising their website and LinkedIn.
  • You should try the Government’s careers service as it provides information for hundreds of jobs with the skill set required to apply.
  • If you’ve been out of work for a while or there are gaps in your employment history, make sure you include this in your CV. Don’t lie or miss anything out, as it will come up in the interview. Rather than state you were unemployed, try to list what you were doing e.g. member of any committees or groups and any extra-curricular activities.
  • Go into an interview with an “executive mind-set” not a candidate mind-set as employers are attracted to energy, insight and experience.
  • Consider contracting, freelancing, interim and consultancy work while searching for full time employment as this can give you a good income and build up your knowledge and experience in the meantime.
  • Build a LinkedIn profile as this is a good way of telling your peers, industry experts, recruiters and potential employers all about yourself and allow them to contact you.
  • Your LinkedIn profile will also allow recruiters and companies to contact you directly as more than 75% of roles are not advertised and as a result are unknown to potential candidates.
  • You should join groups on LinkedIn and join in chats/forums as it will help you find out what’s going on and allow you to develop new contacts and access specific job roles you may be interested in.
  • You need to be careful how you come across online. If an employer finds your professional profile on LinkedIn and then “Googles” you and finds you on Facebook, but you’re pictured at a party looking a bit worse for wear, it could put the employer off recruiting you. Try “Googling” your name to see what comes up.

The above list should help, however remember; when marketing yourself always communicate your skills and leadership qualities, backed up with facts and figures demonstrating the positive impact you’ve had on previous employers.  If you can demonstrate that you can provide the “outcome” the hiring company requires, then truly your age should not matter.

ATR is an equal opportunity employer.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Posted in Considering Leaving Job, Leaving Current Job, Redundancy

Sample Resignation Letter

Below is a layout of our Recruitment Agency standard resignation letter for our Candidates that are about to resign from their current employer.

When you resign it is better to do this in person if possible however this can also be emailed if your manager is not available for a face to face meeting, if it has to be emailed you should also follow this up with a phone call to ensure it has been received.

Standard Resignation Letter
Name (of your Line Manager),
Line Manager Position,
Current Employer Name,
Current Employer Address (each on a separate line)

Today’s date

Dear (line manager name – e.g., Mr Smith, or first name if appropriate),

Please accept this as formal notice of my resignation from the position of (your job title and site/department/division as applicable), with effect from (normally date of the resignation letter).

In accordance with my contract of employment I am happy to continue to work until (date that your employment ceases according to notice period, calculated from your stated effective date of resignation).

(This part is optional:) While I believe that I am moving for good reasons, I am sorry to leave, and I thank you for your support during my time with the company, which I have found enjoyable and fulfilling.

(And if applicable:) Please let me know the arrangements for handing back equipment, company car, etc., and handing over outstanding work and responsibilities.

Yours sincerely,

Sign your own name and then write it in Block Capitals underneath.

Note: Some companies will not wish you to work your notice period, however if you give them notice, even if they ask you to leave the premises immediately, you are then entitled to payment for your full notice period.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Writing a Covering Letter

When writing a covering letter the key is to keep it short and to the point – absolutely no more than one sheet of A4.  As a leading recruitment agency we see literally hundreds of CVs and covering letters every day, and the long rambling ones are generally ignored – not just by agencies but by internal HR Managers as well,  simply because they will take too long to read.    When you are writing your covering letter always have a copy of the job advert or job description beside you. Highlight or underline the key attributes or skills the company is looking for in the person for this role before you write your cover letter.

So What Should Your Cover Letter Say?
It should have the following:-
State clearly what role you are applying for – if there is a job reference number put it into your covering letter.
Explain why you feel you are suitable for the role – in the form of short bullet points – this bit is really important, make sure your bullet points match the 5 key skills, experience or attributes stated on the job advert.
Then thank them for considering your application and let them know you would be delighted to discuss your application further.

Why Write The Cover Letter This Way?
If you consider the person reviewing your application and your CV, put yourself in their shoes, what they are looking for are people who “match their job description” so if you clearly put the top 5 ways in which you “match their job description” in your cover letter your CV is much more likely to be shortlisted for an interview.  If your letter is too long the recruiter or hiring manager in the company may leave it in a “read later” folder which could stop your application from being shortlisted and you losing out in the opportunity.

Note: Rambling CV’s are also unpopular – CV’s should generally be 2 pages long (3 at a maximum) – where possible you should create a short profile at the top of your CV and use this or a key achievements list on the front page of your CV to match your CV to the companies  key job requirements list.  This is very helpful if your cover letter gets detached from your CV.

The Key Objective
What you really want to do is very quickly ensure that the hiring manager or recipient of your CV can see clearly, and quickly, that you are indeed a match for their role, so that they shortlist you for an interview.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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