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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How to Deal with Redundancy

In our recruitment agency we regularly speak to candidates whose roles have been made redundant. Redundancies are unfortunately a fact of life particularly in the current environment, however redundancies aren’t always a bad thing, and we find that a person’s “attitude” towards their redundancy can have a profound effect on how they will fare after this event.

We believe that instead of seeing redundancy as a negative in your life and having that feeling that things are going ‘downhill’ why not see it as a new challenge. Being optimistic about redundancy is the key to getting back into employment.

Redundancies give you the opportunity to tackle something new.
If the job you were doing wasn’t what you wanted for your life plan, now is the perfect opportunity to change that!
Why not change your career path?
Start your own business as you now have the freedom to do that.

Step One: The first step you need to take is assessing your financial situation. Although you should receive a redundancy payment, you need to assess how long you can realistically afford to be out of work. Put together a 3 month plan which will allow you to evaluate what cut backs you need to make, if any!

Step Two: Networking. Begin networking. You’ve probably gained lots of contacts from doing your previous role, now is the time to take advantage of that and use them! Attend events and begin building your professional network. You’re now in an advantageous position because you’re now available, immediately!

Step Three: Keep busy. This unexpected leave of absence means you have the time to get some things done! You could upgrade your skill set and take a college course. Or finally decorate that second bedroom or even learn a new language! Take advantage of this free time and use it wisely.

Step Four: Job hunt. Start the job hunt. You don’t want to have a huge gap on your CV so you need to start the job hunting process as soon as possible. Embrace social media for alternative ways to find and connect with people and jobs. Utilise all the job boards available to you and register with a recruitment agency. We can help you find the right role for you, even if you are changing your career path!

Note: Redundancy doesn’t have to be a negative. Be optimistic about your situation and you’ll be back in work in no time!

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

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Thinking About Leaving Your Job?

STOP! Before you leave your job you really need to think about exactly why you want to move.  Should you stick with it or go for something new? In our recruitment agency we speak to a lot of people who have not given enough thought to their reasons for moving, clearly we want to help you move if you are really committed to a change, however the move has to be right, and sometimes there are good reason to stay put where you are.

1. Your career is stagnant and you want a step up
2. You’re not getting paid enough
3. You’re bored
4. Your company culture does not fit with your ideals
5. You are stressed out

1. Your career is stagnant and you want a step up
If you did want to leave for a better position do you have the qualifications and skills now to obtain that role? Make sure you look into this in detail before you start your job search as that way you will not be disappointed.

2. You’re not getting paid enough
If this is the case, then you will need to understand what skills are required to take you to the next level financially, and ensure that you received that training.
Often your existing company will be happy to pay for your training.
Once your new skills are obtained ou will be in a better position to move to a better paying role.

3. You’re bored
Start looking for roles that match what you want from your next position or look at different jobs altogether, attend training if you need to brush up on new skills and then start your job search.

4. Your company culture does not fit with your ideals
Companies can change – new management or mergers and acquisitions can totally change the culture within a business and if you feel that those changes don’t match your personal ideals then it may be time to look for a new role.
However before you start searching for a new role, make a note of exactly what you don’t like about the culture – were there signposts about this when you originally interviewed with the company?  Being aware of this information will ensure you don’t make the same mistake again!

5. You are stressed out
Is your workload unreasonable; are you under extreme pressure to meet deadlines? These can be great reasons to look for a new role, but sometimes changing role is not the immediate answer.
What you have to look at is “why“ is this happening?
Are other people in your company doing the same job, but they are not stressed?
The first thing you need to do is look at what is making you feel stressed; do you have realistic timescales and deadlines for your projects?
Do you have a clear set of objectives for each activity?
What about “Time Management” are you being as effective as possible or are you wasting time in un-productive meetings that you don’t really need to attend, or taking lengthy calls that you don’t really need to take?
Are you focussed on the “most important things” every day?
We find that sometimes changing your time management philosophy and habits can transform your time at work – also if you are overloaded speak to your manager, for example tell them you have two jobs:- they both take 8 hours and you have 1 day to complete them so can the deadline be extended or can one of the tasks be allocated to a team member? Remember your manager is getting paid to sort out exactly this kind of problem.
If the problem with your role is your lack of time management then if you don’t fix this you will just have the same problems in the next role you take.  If genuinely your company can’t or won’t reschedule your workload, and it is unreasonable, then absolutely you should look for a new position!

You have probably gathered by now that we don’t want people to stay in a role that’s unfulfilling – we just want to make sure that our candidates for our clients roles are truly clear about what they need to do in order to obtain a new role, and to make sure our newly placed candidates don’t end up in another position that makes them miserable.

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

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When to Accept a Job Offer

12 Questions to ask before Accepting an Offer.
Receiving a job offer is a great boost for most candidates, and generally after going through a sometimes exhaustive interview process it’s very tempting to accept the offer there and then.  However in our recruitment agency we often see candidates who are looking to move because a new role did not live up to expectations.  We want to help you ensure that when you move, it really is for all the right reasons and therefore to avoid future disappointment we believe that you should always ask yourself the following 12 questions before you accept a job offer :-

How is this company financially performing?
Ensure you review the companies’ accounts if possible for the last 3 years, as this will let you see how they are performing and what the business trend is e.g. is turnover increasing or have profits diminished? This is even more important if the company is small or not known to you.

How has this vacancy come about?
Find out the answer to this question by asking it of your recruitment consultant, and at the first interview and if the final interview is with a different person ask it at this stage as well.

When was this role last recruited?
You need to know the answer to this question, and if it was recently recruited e.g. in the last 6 months to a year, when was it recruited for before that, and why did the previous people leave.  LinkedIn research can help you to get in touch with past employees who may be willing to informally give you the answer to these questions.

How many people have been promoted at my level in the last 2 years?
Who was the last person to be promoted and what did they do to achieve this?

Why do people leave this company?
This again is a difficult question to ask at an interview and again it may be worth connecting with past employee’s on LinkedIn to find out the answer.

Why does the company wish to recruit me?
You will naturally wish to believe that you are indeed the very best candidate for this job, however you should take a step back to see if there are other reasons e.g. do you bring inside knowledge from one of their competitors, or are there other reasons.   This is not in itself a bad thing, but you just have to be aware of the possibilities should you decide to join their company.

Does the companies’ culture fit with my ideals?
Think about the type of company culture you prefer, then look at the people you have met, what you felt when you were in their offices – does it feel like the culture matches what you are looking for.  If you can, talk to people who currently work there or have worked there in the past, check that what they say on their website matches the reality.

What is my potentially new Manager like to work for?
It is crucial you work hard to informally reference your new boss. Speak to people you trust to seek their opinion. Check out their Social Media (LinkedIn / Twitter) profiles.

When was the company last restructured?
Ask if there are plans to restructure the company in the future and also find out when the last re-structure took place.  The last thing you want to do is join a company in a constant state of flux.

Does the contract match the verbal offer?
Make sure your contract matches exactly what was discussed during your interviews and in particular that it matches your verbal offer.  I personally recommend you go over all the terms and conditions to ensure you don’t miss anything important.   We are not suggesting that you go back to the client on lots of little points, but that you make sure there are no serious anomalies that could adversely affect you in the future.

Will taking this role positively impact my future career?
When thinking about this role, imagine it on your CV in 2 years’ time, is it more likely to help you advance in the future?

Am I accepting this role for the right reasons?
What are your reasons for taking this role?
Is it of interest to you because you really want the position or do you feel that you need to take?
If it does not feel right, think about the long term implications of taking this role before you accept the offer.

Asking yourself these questions will help ensure that you have thought through all the implications of accepting the job offer and will help you avoid making a bad decision. We don’t wish to put you off accepting an exciting new offer that will help you advance your career, we just want to make sure that the decision you take will definitely help you make a decision that ensures your career grows and flourishes. We would like to wish you well in your future career.

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

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Performing Business Presentations and Speeches

Statistically more of us are being asked by our employers to make presentations and speeches for various reasons and yet still today most of us still find it one of the most challenging  and pressurised situations to overcome.   Below we have listed 10 steps that will help you perform in a clear and engaging way that is essential for you to succeed.

Know your audience
It is advisable to know who your audience is before you begin creating the contents of your presentation or speech as you should tailor the content and your examples appropriately.

Co-ordinate with the other speakers
It is worth remembering you may not be the only one who is making a speech or presentation to this same audience.   Find out what topics they are covering if appropriate so then you are not repeating what has already been covered.

Structure your presentation
Structure is exceptionally important when creating a presentation, often people don’t know where to start when creating a presentation and if a presentation has no proper structure a person can lose their audience very quickly.   Although this may be obvious it is always good to have a beginning a middle and an end created for your presentation, then topped and tailed by a slide at the beginning saying “The purpose of this presentation today is to …..  At the end “In Conclusion….”.   You can also choose to add a question and answer slide at the end if you feel it appropriate.  This format will help you stay on point when creating the presentation and also ensure that your audience fully understands the key points you are trying to communicate.

Less is sometimes more
When you are selecting the facts you wish to relay to your audience it is worth knowing and remembering people can only take in so much, so choose the facts that are most relevant create a short bullet point for each of these facts you wish to discuss if it is a presentation, and work on the principle less is sometimes more.

Stick to your time allocation
Consider your audience, overrunning on your time allocation especially in front of a client can have serious implications and may result in your company not getting the order.

Prepare and practice
The best public speakers all have one thing in common and it doesn’t matter if it’s a subject they know inside out or not, they all prepare their material well and practice their performance thoroughly as this stops the issue of rambling and confusing their audience.  Be aware and make allowances for the fact that you may have to be adaptable during your presentation as you may be asked by members of your audience a question relating to that particular subject.

See your audience as an ally not as the enemy
Remember you audience is there to hear from you on issues that can help them, so reassure them by projecting yourself in a confident manner. When addressing an audience it can be helpful to pick 3 people to address in the room, one person at the back of the centre of the room, one person in the middle of the left of the room and one person at the middle of the right of the room, and then address them slowly in a sweeping movement e.g. one sentence or key point to person Left, then next point to Person centre, and then the next to person right, then back to the centre and so on, this gives a sense to the audience that you are addressing them all.  Pick 3 friendly faces and talk to them as if you are personally trying to help them understand your message this really can help with nerves if you have to address a larger gathering of people.

Become visible to your audience
So many of us make the mistake of reading out densely packed slides to their audience, believe me when I say it won’t take long before you have lost their interest (Commonly known as Death by PowerPoint!).   So create simple visual aids and/or bullet points that outline and support your points clearly to allow the audience to concentrate on you and what you are saying.

Don’t forget you have an audience
Looking and pointing at you presentation /slides is fine but face your audience as much as possible as this makes them feel more involved and therefore more likely to participate if appropriate.   It is also worth remembering when making a speech or presentation to always be aware of not making any distracting movements.

Speak up, clearly and with energy
Adapt the volume of your voice to the size of the room but refrain from shouting, speak clearly, never trail of at the end of your sentences and bring energy to your voice as the sure way to send your audience to sleep is to speak to them in a monotonous voice.

Remember, the point of your presentation or speech is usually to impart helpful and meaningful information to your audience, the key to success often is the belief that you are there to provide information that will help the people in the audience, if you think if this when you are presenting as opposed to being “nervous” about your own performance this will make you calmer. My advice is to practice your presentation out loud at least 10 times before you give the presentation, learn the first sentence off by heart and have it written in big writing in front of you, and take three deep breaths before the start of your presentation.

We wish you well in your next presentation and hope this information has been helpful.

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

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HELP! I Have an Interview Tomorrow…

If you have an interview at short notice, you still need to be prepared.  Our recruitment agency has helped people find jobs for over 14 years and these are the first things that you need to do to make sure you are suitably prepared without taking up lots of your time.

List Of Things You Need:-
Copy of the job advert or job description to hand.
2 Copies of your CV to take with you to the interview.
Organise exactly what you are wearing for the interview tomorrow – something smart.
Make sure you have the address of the lnterview location and the name of the person you are seeing and the time of the interview written down or printed out.
Make sure you know how you are going to get to the interview,  do you have directions, bus routes etc? Calculate how long it will take to get there and plan to be early.

Once you have organised all of the above, now you can do your research, the first thing to do is read the job advert or the job description and look at the key attributes or skills the company are looking for in the candidate for the role. Write a short sentence for each of the key things they are looking for  about why you match up to each of the attributes or skills they are looking for. (If you can’t match up to them all don’t worry – most companies don’t get candidates who are an “exact fit” and 7 out of 10 may be enough to get you the job.  Go onto their website and see exactly what they do as a business, who their Managing Director is (you can google this if it’s not on their site) – how long they have been in business so that you have some knowledge of the company before you go into the interview.   Write down some bullet point answers to the following 7 interview questions – this will help you be more confident in the interview tomorrow:-

Typical Interview Questions:-
Why are you looking for a new role? (How do you plan to position this to the client – never slate your current employer).
Why do you want to work for this company? (as opposed to any other company – read the company goals e.g. on their website, you need to make them feel that you specifically want to work for them – and not that you would take any role. Best to have a reason prepared).
Why should you get the job? (What skills and attributes make you a match for this position).
What is your strengths? ( have one prepared – ideally one that matches the clients requirements – your recruiter or job advert should tell you what is important to the interviewer/company in the candidate for this role).
What is your weaknesses? ( again have one prepared that’s not really a weakness – so you are not caught our and admit to something that could be detrimental to your application – for example “I get upset when someone promises my client something and does not deliver, because if I make a promise to a client I always keep it”.
What would be your first tasks if you get the role? ( what will you do in your first 30 days if they give you this role).
Do you have any questions? (Create a list of at least 2 questions – avoid holidays or pension questions – that way you have questions to ask at the end or you can confidently say :- “actually you answered all the questions that I had” which makes the client think that you actually had questions and that they did a good job.

NoteGive yourself plenty of time to get to your interview and remember preparation is the key.   Good luck!

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

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4 Steps to a New Job!

So you want a new job?
Where to start…
Our Recruitment Agency with experience dealing with large numbers of candidates looking for new positions, we find that the candidates who are well organised tend to get the most interviews. Given job searching can be time consuming we have outlined what we believe to be the 4 key steps you need to take to ensure you are doing all the correct activities that will rapidly lead to a job offer.

Strategy and Goals
First of all you need to plan your strategy and set some goals. So for example ask yourself the following questions:-

What kind of role are you looking for?
What is your long-term career objective?
What kind of salary are you looking for?
When do you want to start your new job?
Why do you want to change your role?
How will you benefit from a new role?

You need to be specific about your objectives – we find that people who are vague about why they want to move and the benefits they are looking for, tend to have a long drawn out job search.

Make a Plan
So how are you going to manage your job search, have you got all the information you need to hand, for example:-

Do you have an up to date CV?
Do you have a template for a covering letter?
Is your linked in profile up to date?
Which agency should you use?
What job boards are you going to look at?
Do the job-boards have your wish list so they can automate sending you relevant vacancies?

Write down all the things you need to do that you have not done on this list.

Create Deadlines
Look at your list and then decide which tasks are most important, and then put them in order of priority, then set a deadline for each task.  In our experience if you don’t treat your job search like a project with tasks and deadlines it won’t happen as quickly as you would like. Really you need to treat this like an important mission and let nothing stand in your way!

Take Action – Now!
You can make a plan, list the priorities and set the deadlines, but if you don’t actually take actions and write the CV or register with a job board nothing will happen!
Give yourself a reward for completing each task, do whatever it takes to motivate yourself to complete all the tasks in your plan.  Hold the thought in your head about the benefits a new job will bring, and use this to motivate you to find your new job. Pick at least one activity to carry out each day, and before you know it, you will be attending interviews and deciding on which is the best job offer for you.
Remember “If nothing happens, nothing happens!”

Good luck with your job search!

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

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