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Roses are red, violets are blue, change your career, and here’s how to... Yes, it’s February, nearly Valentine’s Day, and we’re on hand as always to give you everything you need to make sure you love your job just as much as we love ours. Our website has just been relaunched to showcase our blog (it’s brimming with more career tips), as well as easy access to our back issues, a discussion forum and much more. Our fifth and latest issue contains a guide to moving ‘down under’ to Melbourne, an overview of the media industry’s movements, the best ways to deal with recruitment agencies, an insight into the recruitment process of a little company called Apple, how to maintain a great work/life balance and special features on two jobs you may well envy; a food and travel writer and a marine biologist. Sigh. After a very busy start to 2014, the recruitment industry is still buzzing, so we hope our advice can help you to really make the most of it. Enjoy the magazine – oh, and if there’s anything we haven’t yet covered, feel free to ask one of our experts for a personal reply to your questions. We look forward to seeing you throughout the year – let’s make it a great one! DAVE MORGAN EDITOR


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Regular features 4 your stories

Cringeworthy tales from stockroom to boardroom.

5 Ask the expert

Here to answer any of your burning career questions.

6-7 world’s most interesting jobs Dive into the world of marine biology.

24-25 inside the hiring process at...

Apple: you’ll be surprised to hear the stuff candidates have to go through.

28-29 coolest workplace

What it’s like to work at historical sites with the National Trust.

29 know your rights

Workplace pensions - find out what plans the government have in store.

36 how to...

37 enhance your career

22-23 how to get into...

38 money maker

A job in sales. Get that cash flowing in!

news 8 Industry update

The best entry routes into the popular media industry.

9 2014: year of opportunity A look into the year ahead.

Training courses: bulk out your pay packet and boost your prospects. Obscure yet easy ways to make and save cash.

lifestyle 11 boosting your confidence

It’s much easier than you think!

12-13 moving to the city

Austrailia’s cultural captital, Melbourne.

10 want unlimited holiday?

A workplace trend which might just suit you.

features 16 cover letters covered

What you can write to ensure you stand out from the crowd.

22 alternatives to uni

Explore and weigh up your options.

26-27 earn some extra cash

Sideline jobs that can help boost your income.

17 decoding job ad jargon

30 new boss, new opportunities

18 calling future graduates

31 turn around a bad day

Know your OTEs from your DOEs.

Get a head start on whatever path is right for you.

How to deal with the arrival of a new manager. We all have them! Avoid getting stuck in a rut.

19 the reality behind recruiters

32-33 maintain a work/life balance

20 Great minimum wage jobs

34-35 organise your life

How to deal with recruitment agencies and increase your chances of employment. Career ideas where the pay is basic, but working life is fun.

21 well-paid jobs

That don’t even require a degree. Winner!

Click to read

Manage your workload. More time to catch up on Breaking Bad!

14-15 A day in the life of...

Laith Al-Kaisy - food and travel writer.

Download issue 5 and read on the go

How to have your cake and eat it too. Things you could really do with using this year.

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DAVE MORGAN Recruitment Expert

In a mission to solve all your career related questions and dilemmas, Career Savvy put together a team of experts that know hiring, jobs and the recruitment process inside and out. Every issue someone will read and answer your queries. We’ve brought in our very own Dave Morgan, Recruiter extraordinaire, to kick things off.

Q? If you need a question answered, pose it to one of our experts online and you’re guaranteed a reply.

What is the best way to approach a company that isn’t officially hiring at the moment? I want to get my foot in the door ASAP! Or should I leave them alone until I see some roles advertised on their site? - Johnny

Hi Johnny. Have you tried calling them to ask? Many companies don’t always keep the careers section of their website updated. The best thing to do is call up and be confident yet polite. The receptionists will often get a few speculative calls, especially from recruitment agencies, so make it clear that you are looking for work and simply ask to speak to someone about any positions open in your field. Even if you receive a negative response, still ask for an email address to send a speculative application to, just in case. I’ve often had speculative CVs come through and either realised they’ve fitted the bill, or sometimes even been able to create a role for them. This proactive approach could help get your foot in the door before another less motivated candidate!

Hi Dave, I currently work in travel, but prior to that I worked at a commercial insurance company for 13 years. I now want to get back into insurance. Why is it that most recruiters will not even put me forward to the prospective employer when I apply for an insurance position that is on offer? I appreciate I have had a five year absence from the insurance industry but conversely I have a lot of experience and expertise to offer - which seems to get overlooked. - Greg

Hi Greg, Have you spoken to the recruiters, or simply emailed an application through to them? Have you included any form of cover note, or explanation of your situation/intentions on your CV? All of these things are important to make your aspirations shine through. Many recruiters get bombarded with applications so will skim through CVs very quickly. They may simply be missing the point of yours! I’d suggest re-jigging your CV to emphasise your insurance experience and passion to get back into the industry. Add a nicely written (and spell checked) cover note with it, and then call the recruiter to follow it up. Always be nice and polite to them too. It is easy for you to get frustrated, but they will not deal with you if you are too pushy/rude/aggressive at all.

World's Most

Interesting Jobs

marine biologist T

he sound of the ocean – does it have you dreaming of days spent sailing the seven seas and discovering new aquatic creatures? Well Career Savvy has found a career that can help you to make that dream a reality. Whether you’re working for a private company, an aquarium or even a university, your passion for ocean wildlife can be fulfilled as a marine biologist. You could be donning that scuba diving gear before you can say anemone… The best aspect of this job is that the possibilities are endless! The variety of disciplines in marine biology means that responsibilities differ according to field of interest and exposure to opportunities. For example some marine biologists will focus on the protection of endangered species. Therefore they will be involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of these animals, as well as researching the reasons behind the depletion in their population and creating reports on their findings. As well as studying how marine creatures interact with the


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environment, marine biologists also collect and review samples of tiny organisms which are used to discover more about neuroscience and medicine. Marine biologists are also concerned with the effect of environmental change on ocean life – their aim is to find solutions for any problems such as the effects of climate change. Matt Kay, a marine biologist from California, told Hammerhead Press: ‘I’ve been involved with lots of different projects in my career...I’ve studied fish populations on oil platforms off the Californian coastline, I’ve worked in kelp forests…looking at how quickly kelp plants grow and where they go when they die…I’ve been to Tahiti where I’ve studied coral reef growth rates…and most recently my research focuses on Californian spiny lobster’. It’s not just about diving off boats in the middle of the ocean however, marine biologists also work indoors in aquariums or even universities. In aquariums they not

The best aspect of this job is that the possibilities are endless!

only observe and care for the animals already placed there, but have the opportunity to go out to sea and collect new animals too. This set-up provides managerial positions where marine biologists will also be responsible for directing activities at the aquarium. If there is a particular species that they specialise in the research of, the extensive knowledge of the marine biologist is often sought-after in universities to educate others on their fascinating discoveries.

The lifestyle attracts many people to this career therefore competition is fierce. To be in with a chance, a scientific background (preferably biology) and high grades are essential. You’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree but many in this profession also have a master’s and even

a PhD. Even more important than academic background however is your hands-on experience. During your course you will have hopefully already had experience in labs and on ‘in field’ projects and once you have graduated, you will then be expected to become an intern for a company related to this sector. For instance, volunteer at an animal shelter or gain some work experience at a veterinary practice. Travel will also look good on your CV if it’s presented in a way that highlights your interest in ocean life. Salaries range from £15,611-£41,022 and they very much depend on the institution you work for, your experience and where you are based.

If you’re passionate about the environment, enjoy scientific research and want to care for marine animals, then a marine biologist could be the ideal job for you. So enter the big blue and find yourself on the edge of discovery!

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Industry update: media The media industry is highly influential to the UK economy as the creative industries provide 1.5 million jobs and are worth more than £36 billion a year according to gov. uk. Revolutionary advancements are frequent in this sector therefore working in the creative industries will keep you on your toes with its dynamic and high-pressured atmosphere.

Graduate destinations for media studies Employed 67.9% Further study 6.1% Unemployed 12.3% Working and studying 3.9% Other 9.8%

Roles/areas: • Advertising: Account Executive, Art Director, Copywriter • Animation: Art Director, Character Designer, Storyboard Artist • Film: Runner, Producer, Composer • Interactive Media: Programmer, Web Editor, Designer • Radio: Presenter, Reporter, Station Manager • Television: Anchor/Host, Broadcast Engineer, Casting Coordinator


A degree is crucial to succeed in this sector, particularly a relevant degree. Creative Skillset found that those who had secured graduate media jobs within just six months of graduation were more likely to have studied a course related to the industry. Qualities that will benefit those who want to enter the industry include great communication skills, a true passion for your chosen sector and

the ability to negotiate. Furthermore, as with most industries nowadays, work experience will seriously boost your CV and provide you with the vital relevant experience that is often expected from those wishing to work in the media industry. If you manage to fight off the competition and secure an internship or work experience placement, then the opportunity to achieve a full-time position is likely.

Digital Media Demands Advanced Skill Set. Digital media has become increasingly popular, with the demand for high quality graphics/visual effects expanding across the industry, particularly in the film sector. Therefore the industry is crying out for those who possess highly specialised skills in this area. However, if you’re looking to break into the industry you will need to demonstrate a variety of skills; being a one trick pony will not serve you well. Advancements in technology require employees to cope with frequent change thus they will need to be able to develop their skills accordingly. If you can demonstrate an understanding and the relevant skills needed for this particular field, then you will increase your chances of success.

Positive Outlook from 2012-2016. PwC have predicted that the media and entertainment industry in the UK will grow to the value of £63 billion (a growth of 3.1%) from 20122016. They believe this will be driven by internet advertising which has the potential to rise 12% each year. PwC describe the industry as being at ‘the end of the digital beginning’ and insist that it’s important that companies quickly decide how they are going to embrace digital maturity. This is needed to place themselves in a good position amongst the competition within the industry. With the increase of digital content predicted over the next few years, it’s important that those wishing to work in the media have a sound knowledge of what’s required to produce online content, as well as traditional skills related to the industry.

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Monthly Economy Report:

2014: Year of opportunity






The Christmas decorations have been stored away and the festive period has drawn to a close - now it’s time to take a look at the impact of Christmas on the economy. Our monthly report is aimed at keeping you up to date with the state of the economy and what this means in terms of job prospects. Therefore we’re going to take a look at the fate of seasonal workers, as well as the state of the job market as we settle into 2014. Farewell to Seasonal Workers?

Aftermath Opportunities

Last month we touched on the great numbers of extra staff taken on by companies in order to cope with the increased demand over Christmas. Well what happens to these workers after the manic festive season? It’s good news! The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that 27% (one in four) of the companies taking on seasonal staff in 2013 said they would be keeping them on for a permanent position, with a further 32% being unsure about whether they could retain them or not. Therefore many people will have secured full-time positions over the past few months thanks to their efforts during their temporary work over the Christmas period. Congratulations to them!

The new year has brought a new-found confidence in the economy as British companies are found to be more willing to expand and recruit this year, according to several important business surveys by Lloyds Bank, Deloitte and EEF. This is partly due to falls in unemployment with the latest figure at 7.1%. Workers are also feeling more confident in 2014 as surveys reveal that a fifth of them will seek new jobs this year, with 31% uncertain about whether they will remain in their current position.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, says this proves: ‘temporary work can act as a stepping stone into full-time permanent jobs for people who want to make that transition’. Therefore if you’re struggling to find a full-time job, consider applying for part-time positions. If you use your enthusiasm and skills to impress your manager, you can increase your chances of securing a permanent role within the company.

So with this boost in confidence from both employers and employees, are there more opportunities for jobseekers in 2014? Of course! But it is important to remember that with the increase in job opportunities comes a rise in the number of people searching for jobs. The competition is still fierce with many new jobseekers having woken up from their festive slumber, realising the new year is the time for a fresh start and new opportunities. It’s best to work hard at making your applications stand out. This is easily achieveable by marketing yourself effectively, networking especially through social media and, most importantly, gaining as much experience along the way as possible.

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Unlimited Holidays The new trend sweeping through forward-thinkng businesses In the modern job market, companies are being forced to find increasingly adventurous ways to attract and retain the best candidates. One such method which you may have spotted in the perks of a job advert is the introduction of unlimited annual leave. Yes – you heard right – that’s UNLIMITED time off throughout the year! Companies in the UK such as Netflix and Glassdoor have recently championed the concept with great success. So how does it work? At Netflix, the 600-strong workforce can take as much annual leave as they feel is necessary - the only conditions are that they must let their manager know in advance and make sure their work is covered. As Netflix employees were regularly working during out of office hours, they put the idea of unlimited annual leave to senior management, who agreed with the notion. In a huge PowerPoint presentation detailing their ‘Freedom and Responsibility Culture’, the company explains: ‘We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked. Just as we don’t have a nine to five day policy, we don’t need a vacation policy’. It’s a similar story at RichRelevance, who introduced the idea two years ago. Employees can take as much time off as they need, providing they hit their quarterly targets. This seems fair - rewarding employees who get their work done, rather than who takes the least time off. But surely employees would have a tendency to exploit this? Well, so far that’s unclear. Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey estimates (as the length of annual leave isn’t recorded) that employees take an average of between three and five weeks off a year, which is more than the previous allowance of annual leave. On the other hand, software company WANdisco, with offices in San Francisco and Sheffield, also introduced the policy and noted that the average annual leave taken by staff is 16 days, compared to the 28 days that were previously allocated.


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Bon Voyage!

‘There must be some drawbacks’ you are probably thinking. One negative aspect of unlimited holidays is that possible feeling of guilt for taking so much time off. As a result, both your productivity and your relationship with managers could be affected. Removing the restrictions on annual leave could also make employees more fearful of the consequences of the holidays that they take. After all, recent research by Hilton Hotels and Resorts discovered that over half of Brits feel unable to take all of the annual leave that they’re entitled to for a variety of reasons, including: a heavy workload, guilt and paranoia due to economic uncertainty. This forward-thinking notion of unlimited annual leave is something which may suit companies that already have fairly flexible hours, but for others it may not be the ideal solution for attracting candidates. The key to a successful unlimited holiday policy seemingly depends on the type of company and industry. And if it means getting the best out of employees, then it looks like something that’s going to be staying put for the foreseeable future.

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Whether you’re on the job hunt or employed, self-confidence is hugely important for your career. Whilst it might come to some people naturally, unfortunately not everyone is so lucky. But don’t despair, because there are loads of ways to boost your confidence.

Dress Sharp By making an extra effort to dress well you will be amazed at the wonders it does for your self-esteem: especially if someone is kind enough to give you a compliment. Whether it’s a swanky pair of shoes or a fancy shirt, looking good makes you feel good, therefore start believing in yourself and others will soon follow.

Educate Yourself To help you to feel more confident about your abilities, prove yourself in interviews by developing your industry knowledge. Keep up to date with industry news by reading relevant publications, follow the appropriate people on Twitter and LinkedIn and research subjects related to your sector.

Note Down Your Strengths If you’re ever wondering where your strengths lie, or why someone would want to employ you, try taking some time to write down the things that you’re good at. Whether you’re a good footballer, a dab hand at painting or a great writer, having a visible list of your strengths will do wonders for your self-confidence.

Great work

Get Feedback Receiving positive feedback is one of the best ways to recover if your confidence has recently taken a knock. It might come in the form of praise from your boss, your lecturers or even friends and family. Whatever the source, it’s near-enough guaranteed to give you a warm, fuzzy glow inside.


ne Well Do

Why a confident you will lead to a successful you: • You’re likely to set higher targets for yourself, because you believe that you can achieve them. As a result, you’re going to work harder and more productively in order to hit these targets. • You will have the ability to say no. By not always taking on extra work and obligations you can be sure that your workload is right for you - not for whoever is lumbering you with all this extra work. • You will not be afraid to speak out with any ideas or suggestions, making you more valued around the workplace for your willingness to get involved and contribute.

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Moving to the City: Melbourne I

n these dull winter months many of us will be dreaming of sandy beaches and endless sunshine. Recent statistics reveal that Australia is the most popular choice for Britons who live abroad, with 1.19 million expats living there. If you’re seeking a life down under, why not choose the city that has been consistently ranked the best city to live in in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit? Melbourne provides an extremely enviable lifestyle with its fantastic sports and shopping facilities, beautiful parks and beaches. So if you fancy a drastic change in 2014, why not cure your wintry blues by venturing to Australia’s cultural capital? There are many prosperous industries in Melbourne, most notably the financial services and events sectors due to their significant contribution to both the city’s and country’s economy. The average annual salary in Melbourne is AU$81,420 (£44,978) which is nearly double the average in the UK (£27K). With AU$400 billion of the AU$1 trillion currently invested in Australia being managed in Melbourne, the significance of this sector is evident. Organisations are concentrated in the East of the city and the Docklands area. As well as two of the four major banks in


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Australia (ANZ and NAB) having their headquarters in Melbourne, global financial service leaders such as Goldman Sachs and Franklin Templeton are also based here. As the home of more than 8,000 events including festivals, exhibitions, sporting and business events, Melbourne is clearly a city that celebrates culture. The multitude of events are able to contribute an impressive AU$2.4 billion to the local economy each year. Due to the growth this sector witnesses each year, many jobs are created thanks to both the direct and in-direct spend. Check out more industry information. Where to live will depend on both your financial and personal circumstances. Here are the buying and renting median prices to give you an idea of the average housing costs in Melbourne: median house price AU$495,000 (£274,869) and median rent per week AU$300 (£166.59). If you’re a young professional with money to spare, the new development in the Docklands could be ideal. Apartments may be expensive, but you just have to see their architectural splendour and incredible views to understand why. The median buying price is AU$567,000

As the home of more than 8,000 events, Melbourne is clearly a city that celebrates culture.

(£314,850) and the median rent per week is AU$740 (£410.92), therefore it sits above the average prices for the city. But this is the price you must pay for fancy mod cons, water views and proximity to the city centre. More familyorientated expats should consider South Yarra. It inhabits 1 The city used to be named Batmania after the Domain Road shopping centre, offering a range John Batman: one of the founding fathers of of restaurants and convenience stores, as well as some Melbourne – not Bruce Wayne’s alter ego! of the major sports facilities including Melbourne Park, where the Australian Tennis Open is held. 2 Beneath the famous Queen Victoria Markets lie The residential areas are formed of beautiful period thousands of souls – the site used to be the official housing and this along with the abundance of parks cemetery for Melbourne and only 900 named and for children to run around in, makes it a great area ‘celebrity’ graves were moved. for families to settle down in. Houses can set you 3 It’s known as the ‘Fox Capital’ of the western world back a considerable amount with the median sitting thanks to having up to 23 foxes per square kilometre. at AU$1,170,000 (£649,690) but rents are more reasonable per week with the median at AU$650 4 The 4th largest tramway system in the world is found (£360.94). Check out more housing information. here – 152 miles long with 450 trams.


Attractions: Aside from the nearby beaches, you can explore anything from the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex, Melbourne Zoo, to the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground. Click to get more information on the top attractions in the city.


Random Facts about melbourne:

On the 88th floor of the impressive Eureka Tower is the Skydeck – the highest public viewing platform in the Southern hemisphere at 285 metres high.

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A Day in the Life of... Imagine your words bringing new destinations and budding restaurants to life as you travel the world. These enviable duties of a food and travel writer may have you envisaging yourself on an idyllic beach with laptop and margarita in tow. But there’s certainly more behind this glamorous job, so Chloe Franchina spoke to writer Laith Al-Kaisy to discover the truth behind this highly sought-after career.

How did you become a food and travel writer? Did you need and others editing the magazine. Trust me, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds; few things are as joyless as a press any specific training or education?

What personal qualities do you think are essential to be good at your job? People say that writing is competitive, but that’s not strictly true. It’s a profession based on luck and good timing – assuming you’re a good writer, of course. It’s a lazy truism, but journalism is about who you know, not what you know. Once you’re through the door though, talent, affability and self-discipline are all you need to survive.

what does a typical day consist of? I’m a lazy creature. Unless I’m on a press trip or working on a big project, I try to work banking hours. On the other hand, I was in China recently and the schedule was gruelling – up at 7am and not finishing until after midnight. Copywriting contracts can be equally demanding. It depends what I’m working on or if I have meetings. I generally check my e-mails at 9am with a coffee. I then write for a couple of hours in the morning and then a few more in the afternoon. I’m also editor and food columnist for The Review, so some evenings are spent reviewing restaurants, some at launch events,


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What is the best thing about your job? There are two things. Firstly, variety: I get to write for cool clients and visit some fantastic places. Secondly, autonomy: there is nothing more liberating than answering only to yourself.

What is the best advice you have ever received? Create your own reality. If you think something is unachievable or difficult, you’re more likely to fail, but if you truly visualise it happening, it will fall on your lap.

It’s a profession based on luck and good timing - assuming you’re a good writer, of course What would be your biggest tip for someone looking to follow your career path?

It’s a cliché to say I fell into journalism, but that’s how it happened. I knew I wanted to write, because it’s the one thing I enjoyed doing. In my head, writing meant novels, but like most rookie writers, I was willing to take any job that provided a pay cheque or a by-line. So I started copywriting for a company and ended up running a magazine for them. I was in the right place at the right time. No one has ever asked what qualification I have to write. You can either do it or you can’t. As an editor myself, I only ever ask to see samples of work. So work experience, paid or unpaid, is all that matters.

As much as you can, be lucky. Also be prepared to struggle. This has nothing to do with your ability or talent, but rather a lack of understanding of how the industry works. Stay optimistic and gain as much experience as possible.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

There have been many highlights, from visiting foreign countries to eating in Michelin starred restaurants, but the most memorable was the first time I walked into a

Laith Al-Kaisy


food & travel writer

shop, opened a magazine and saw my name in print. I rarely give myself a reason to feel genuine pride, so that moment is etched in my memory.

What’s been the most challenging part of your career so far? Realising that publishing is very mercenary and nepotistic. You can be an outstanding writer, but it counts for very little unless someone in the industry knows you, needs you, or sees you as a commercial viability.

If you could spend one day in a different career, what would it be and why? Until I was 16, I wanted to be a stuntman. Jackie Chan was somewhat of an inspiration. His earlier films were built around performing jaw-dropping stunts. There are very few jobs that seem as exciting, fearless, and physically and mentally challenging.

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E O Decoding JobT Ad Jargon PRRA



Back in the first issue of Career Savvy, we helped you to decode some of the strange, misleading and downright confusing job titles that are out there. Now, after you’ve hopefully managed to understand what the job title actually means, we’re visiting the murky world of jargon in job advert descriptions.

Ambiguous Phrases Fast-Paced Working Environment: You’re likely to be

working in a high-pressured atmosphere with the potential for long hours, deadlines to meet and targets to hit. You’re always going to be kept busy.

Competitive Salary: In reality, a competitive salary is

likely to be modest and in line with industry standards. Therefore before applying it would be worth researching the pay rates of similar jobs, in order to get an idea of what the industry standards actually are.

Self-Motivated: The role may involve little feedback from

others and is likely to contain a lot of independent work. Great for those of you who enjoy working alone, perhaps not so great for those who prefer working in a team.

Fast-Learner: You might justifiably see yourself as a quick learner - but this phrase might suggest that there is a lack of training for the job and a steep learning curve involved, with plenty of learning on the job.

Working Closely: Normally this suggests that the team

or department you would be working in is quite small. Again, this is something that could suit some and put off others, depending on the individual.

Abbreviations OTE: On Target Earnings. The pay stated is subject to you

hitting the targets set by the company. So, a £20,000 basic salary with OTE of £50,000 would mean that if you hit your targets you could earn £50,000. However, that’s only a potential figure and you shouldn’t expect to earn that immediately.

Pro Rata: Proportionately. This is a term which is

normally reserved for part-time jobs. In essence, it is what


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you would be earning as a yearly salary if the job was fulltime. So if you see the pay for a part-time, twenty hours a week job advertised as £30,000 pro rata, you would be expecting to earn in the region of £15,000 a year.

DOE: Dependent on experience. You might see DOE on a

lot of roles where the experience of candidates could vary - so the salary for this sort of role might be £15,000 to £20,000 DOE. Essentially, the more experience you have, the closer to £20,000 you would be earning.

Dare to be


Once you have researched the company you’re targeting, spend some time thinking about what will make you different and better than the competition. Are they looking for people who can work flexibly and adapt to a changing market? Maybe they want to use social media for marketing, so can you talk about how you have done this successfully before? If you go in armed with achievements such as these, backed up with solid examples of how they’ve been accomplished, you will not only feel fully prepared but also present yourself in a very good light.



Cover Letters: Covered

We’re all aware of the importance of a great first impression. A cover letter provides the employer with their very first glimpse of you, so it’s crucial to get it right. Taking the ‘one size fits all’ approach may be tempting, but this could seriously jeopardise your chances of securing an interview. So how do you grab the employer’s attention and convince them that you’re the right candidate for the job?

Know the company We often emphasise the importance of research when job searching and your cover letter is no different: it proves you have a genuine interest in the company. Research will also help you to ensure your cover letter is relevant to the job role throughout, so as not to waste the time of the employer. Placing the job advert/description in front of you will also help you to make sure it’s relevant as you can refer to it whilst composing your letter. Furthermore, if you’re aware of what they do, you will be able to convince the employer that you would be a good fit for the company.

Short and sweet Ideally, like your CV, your cover letter shouldn’t exceed more than one A4 page. Recruiters and employers will not have time to read your life story – yours will certainly not be the only cover letter arriving at their desk. Therefore make it as easy as possible to find your accomplishments and discover why you’re the best person for the job. If you can, try to keep it to three paragraphs: the first should be an introduction of yourself and how you discovered the role, the second about your achievements and why you’d like to work there and in the third, emphasise what you could provide for the company and express your request for an interview.

Personalise it Just as your CV should be tailored per job role, your cover letter should be personalised for each company. Hiring the wrong person costs companies money, time and productivity therefore they want to make sure they hire the best candidate for the job. If you can be specific about why you want this job and why you would be a good cultural fit, you will undoubtedly impress the employer and convince them that you will not leave them in the lurch in a few months’ time. A clear giveaway that you bothered to personalise your letter is not starting it with ‘Dear Sir/ Madam’. By taking the time to find out who to address your letter to, it shows your initiative and genuine interest in the company. Search their website to find the relevant person or the head of the relevant department you could even ring the company first to find out.


Sell yourself

You need to get your sales head on while you’re writing as you’re trying to convince the employer to invest in you. Rather than giving them a long list about why you’re so fantastic, focus on how the company will benefit from hiring you. Give examples of work you’ve completed to prove your ability – just remember to pick the best examples rather than listing everything you’ve ever done.

Totaljobs has some templates available to download for free, whether you’re unemployed, a graduate who lacks experience or someone who is changing their career.

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Calling Future Graduates of


With 2014 well and truly underway, there’s one question that is inevitably going to play on your mind: ‘What are you going to do after you've graduated?’ This concern is just about bearable if you actually know what you want to do, but if you don’t, then it can become a form of torture. Unfortunately, it’s one you have to find an answer to; especially since graduation is not so far away. So to avoid stress about what to do with your life during your finals, here are five steps to ensuring you use your time between now and graduation wisely.


CV & Cover Letter


Research Graduate Schemes


This may feel like a tedious task but it is something that can reap a lot of rewards once it’s done. Create a template for both your CV and cover letter, so all you need to do is update your information for each job you apply for. Be sure you add new skills and experiences as you obtain them. Check out for some useful tips.

Although the majority of graduate schemes are offered around April time, it’s worth researching the different companies that offer them now. If there are any specific companies you would like to work for, then check out their websites and see what schemes they provide. Therefore when the applications for these graduate schemes are released, you are fully prepared to complete them. TARGETjobs displays a list of the latest graduate schemes.

Research Master’s Degrees


Gain Experience

Ideally, you will have completed some work experience or volunteering already - but there is still time if you haven’t. Try to find something related to what you want to do, but if this isn’t possible then simply choose something you think you would enjoy. Also consider a part-time job, preferably in a relevant field. The National Careers Service provides a variety of websites to explore different types of work experience and volunteering opportunities.

Whether you decide to volunteer abroad or simply want to see the world, then travelling can help to broaden your horizons and gain some life skills. Many feel that this is their last opportunity to see the sights before the obstacles of a full-time job come into play. To gain some ideas visit:

Consider a Break



Is there a subject within your degree that you have particularly enjoyed? Even if you’re not sure about staying on another year, do some research, you might find a course that sparks your interest. Obtaining a master’s degree can help you to focus your skills and improve your chances of employability. Here is a helpful website to help you explore master’s degrees available both in the UK and abroad:

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The Reality Behind Recruiters The majority of adverts a jobseeker currently sees are put up by recruiters rather than the company themselves. Unfortunately, some inadequate agencies have given the recruitment industry a bad name, when the reality is that many can seriously improve your job search when used effectively. Career Savvy has a few steps you can take to ensure that the partnership you form with a recruiter is a positive one.

The perfect fit

Build a rapport

To reduce the risk of ending up with an average recruitment agency, stick to those that specialise in your field of interest. If they have been working in a particular sector for a number of years - and better still if they have worked in this sector themselves - your recruitment consultant will have extensive knowledge of the job descriptions and requirements for this industry. They will be much more focused on finding a job that’s right for you, as well as being able to provide you with tips on how to tailor your CV to highlight your relevant skills. Thus choose a specialised agency to ensure you receive career guidance in addition to help with the job search itself.

Treat your first meeting with your recruitment consultant like an interview by dressing smartly and coming prepared with your CV in tow. By impressing the recruiter, you are putting yourself in a good position to be first on the list for the best jobs that come in. Get to know their work style: do they only want to be contacted when there has been a development in your search? You can be honest about your requirements: unlike with an employer, you can be frank about aspects such as your salary and preferences.

Take the lead Although recruiters will strive to help you with your job search, this doesn’t mean you can sit back and wait for them to call you with the perfect job. You will still need to be carrying out your own research and working on your CV and interview techniques. If you leave it purely in the hands of the recruitment agency, you can be assured that your job search is going to continue for quite some time… Take charge of your job hunt! For instance, don’t let your recruitment consultant persuade you into applying for a role that you believe to be unsuitable – although if they’re a reliable agency then they shouldn’t do this.

By giving them as many details as possible about your qualifications, experiences and goals, you will ensure the recruiter makes the best matches for you. If your consultant organises an interview for you, call them with all the details afterwards. They’ll then be able to give you the feedback you deserve from the employer. If you perform to the best of your ability in your interviews, you can be assured that your consultant will reward your efforts. Therefore even if you miss out on jobs, your recruiter will still be confident that you’ll put your best self forward and will be more likely to contact you as soon as a suitable role becomes available.

To find the right agency for you, check out

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Great Minimum Wage


There are actually loads of minimum wage jobs out there that can be fun, rewarding and fulfilling. And with the recent increase of the minimum wage from £6.19 to £6.31 per hour, there’s even less reason to shy away from the prospect of one of these jobs. Here’s our pick of the bunch.


TV Studio Runner

By working at a posh restaurant, you can compensate for the low wages by potentially doubling or even tripling your hourly wage in tips. In a profession that is easily accessible to young jobseekers, going the extra mile can transform a decent part-time role into so much more. Working extra hard to provide a great service to your customers should ensure that you pocket loads of extra cash in tips - so don’t be put off by the hourly rate!

For those of you who are keen to get into the media industry, becoming a runner could be your route in. Although it will generally involve long hours and menial tasks, it’s a great opportunity to gain an understanding of how TV shows run behind the scenes. Louise McNamara, a former studio runner, comments that: ‘It was an exciting fast-paced environment to be around. Every day you would meet or see someone famous, whether it be highfiving Will Smith, or bringing Carol McGiffin her lunch.’

Outdoor Activities Instructor If you’re not a fan of the great indoors, try this job on for size. You would be responsible for leading groups on specific outdoor activities such as mountain biking, kayaking and climbing on short/long expeditions. As well as being outdoors for long periods of time, the job doesn’t necessarily require formal qualifications. Completing a work placement will give you a great chance of securing a career in this profession.

ZooKeeper What about something for the animal lovers of this world? Generally assigned a specific section of a zoo, as a zookeeper you would be expected to care for the animals, ensuring they are fed, cleaned and kept healthy. But being in a public-facing role your responsibilities would also involve fielding any queries from customers at the zoo and sometimes giving talks or lectures.

Rewarding Careers: Assistance Dog Trainer The loyalty and companionship humans receive from dogs is incredible and nothing proves this more than the lengths they will go to care for us when we’re in need. As an assistance dog trainer, you can become a part of a lifechanging process as you train dogs to help people with their sight or hearing difficulties, as well as those with medical conditions.


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Day-to-Day The type of work really depends on the organisation the trainer works for: Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Dog AID, etc. Assistance dog trainers help volunteers to train their puppies for this care, as well as training dogs at both a basic and advanced level. They will also be involved in matching dogs to owners and providing aftercare to support these partnerships.



that Don’t Require

a Degree

With the recent increase of tuition fees to up to £9,000 a year, together with the government’s increased emphasis on apprenticeships, it seems that young people are starting to explore the options beyond university a little more. Bearing that in mind, here’s our lowdown on some of the best-paid jobs that don’t require a degree.



For those of you who might be unsure as to the responsibilities, the informative fire service website reveals all: educating the community, advising people about planning escape routes within their homes and preventing fires are the primary areas of focus. You don’t necessarily need any formal qualifications to kick off a career as a firefighter, and with a starting salary of £21,000, rising to £28,000, you might not worry about that decision not to go to university after all.

Now here’s one that might surprise a few of you. Although it’s generally considered necessary to hold an accounting degree to pursue this career, these days a Higher Apprenticeship can offer an alternative route in. It just goes to show that there’s a variety of careers you can potentially break into without holding a degree. Whilst accountant’s salaries can start off relatively low, at around £17,000, there’s potential to earn as much as £100,000 as an experienced chartered accountant.

Police Officer

Public Relations Officer

Another public service role that doesn’t require any formal qualifications, the profession of a police officer is open to graduates and non-graduates alike. Thanks to the opportunities that this role offers, it really can be a job for life. Salaries start at £22,680, with the highest-ranking officers earning in excess of £60,000 a year.

Another career that has become much more accessible thanks to Higher Apprenticeships, PR Officers can expect to earn a starting a salary of £19,000 - with huge opportunities for progression. Open to anyone over 16 who is not in full-time education, the PR Higher Apprenticeship offers paid work and training in the industry.

What Makes It So Rewarding?

skills are needed to interact effectively with both dogs and owners – working with the deaf will also require sign language skills. Being physically fit is important due to the active nature of the role.

You can really make a difference to somebody’s life, helping your clients to discover independence and freedom. Andrea, a puppy training supervisor at Guide Dogs, explains on their website: ‘To see a puppy and watch it grow from six weeks of age to guiding a visually impaired person, really is amazing. It is the kind of satisfaction that few jobs offer and is something I am very proud to be a part of.’

Skills Required Patience is key when dealing with the dogs and their owners as training takes time. Excellent communication

Salary & Entry Requirements As a trainee you can expect to earn around £12,000 with the potential of reaching £20,000 once you’re qualified trainer. Subscribe for free at 21

How to get into... According to, almost one tenth of all their vacancies in November 2013 were for sales positions – comparatively high against other job sectors - making it worth considering for a career shift.

Sales roles aren’t for the faint-hearted, as working environments are often high-pressured and challenging due to the demand on employees to meet targets. They can also involve travelling around to visit clients, which may suit some more than others. Tasks will mostly involve securing lasting client relationships which will continue to purchase from the company, as this is a much more worthwhile business strategy than a one-off sale. This can be done by securing new contracts or contacting previous clients and convincing them to use the company again. For graduates and school leavers, in-house training is usually provided within the company you’re employed by. At this point your sales experience will most likely be limited, but customer service experience can also be attractive to employers. Commercial awareness is also a desirable trait in candidates. One of the main benefits of you as a candidate will be a good knowledge and understanding of the sector in which you are selling. This


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A big pull factor leading people into sales employment is the scope to do well financially.


ot only is there continuous and steady demand for sales people, the roles need to be filled across a wide variety of sectors. Plenty of companies require a team to sell their products and services, be this to other businesses (B2B, or business-to-business) or the public (B2C, or business-to-consumer). There’s a lot more to sales jobs than knocking on doors selling double glazing, too. Sales is a popular area for graduates as it often still allows them to embark on a route related to the subject of their degree. Someone with a scientific degree, for example, might find themselves selling for a pharmaceutical company. Businesses require sales teams that know and understand their products or services, therefore many people are able to apply their expertise to a sales role.

includes researching not only into the company you are applying to, but finding out what kind of companies or demographic they sell to. In B2B sales, it’s imperative to understand how the clients actually do business also.

Why Sales? Money A big pull factor leading people into sales employment is the scope to do well financially. The opportunity to earn large commissions on top of your basic salary (look for the ‘on target earnings’, or OTE, in job ads) is attractive for obvious reasons. The ability to sell and make more money would also put you in line for a promotion.

Development The drive to meet your targets and earn commission will push you to try harder, use new techniques and generally iron out your sales method. Most companies will raise the sales targets of employees once they begin to meet them, so you will be continuously challenged. You will also get to know your line of business inside and out.

Sales Varied There can be a good variety that comes with working in a sales role. You will need to adapt and react differently depending on which client you’re dealing with. You

never know where a pitch will lead you, making your days unpredictable. If you enjoy hustle and bustle, this industry could be for you.

Transferable Skills

Good listener:



A natural ability to fully read and understand the needs of others is immensely useful. It means you will be able to spot the needs of potential customers and adapt your services appropriately. It will also help to build positive client relationships, which brings in future business. Good listening skills also means you possess the ability to realise how the client is responding to your pitch and react accordingly. This all starts with being a good listener.

If you have a naturally positive and can-do demeanour, you are much more likely to succeed in a sales environment. You need to be able to motivate yourself: if you don’t sound happy and confident about the service/product you’re selling, why should your potential client? Sales can be a demanding area that requires you to keep working hard in order to meet targets: being easily motivated is very useful for this.

Working in sales can see you face rejection several times before you make a sale. You therefore need to be resilient in order to carry on in the face of a challenge. Losing clients and not securing deals are some of the setbacks you might face. It’s important to not let this knock your confidence or to cause self-doubt. Business can be unpredictable, so you need to roll with the punches.

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INSIDE the hiring


an you think of a more innovative, revolutionary and remarkable company than Apple? The company hires over 80,000 employees around the world and those working in the headquarters earn an average of $125,000 a year. But what’s it like to apply for a job at an organisation that made nearly $300,000 per minute in 2012? Despite the high levels of secrecy surrounding the hiring process at Apple, we have managed to produce a guide with some help from those at Glassdoor so you can have some idea of what to expect should you apply or be headhunted. On the corporate side of the company there are many roles you could go into: • Product Management • Marketing • Design • Hardware/Software Engineering • HR • Finance • Merchandising • Legal • Sales • Operations Click here for more information about what these roles include. Apple may not have made it into the top ten companies to work for, but this is likely due to the fact that it takes

a lot of hard work under extreme amounts of pressure to create something revolutionary every year. They may not be as impressive as some of those experienced by employees at Google or Microsoft, but Apple does have its perks. All commuting expenses are covered, the food at Caffe Mac is top notch, pay is above average for the industry and everyone is entitled to benefits providing they work at least twenty hours per week. Most importantly, you will not only be working with some of the smartest people in the world, but you will be working with them to create products that will change the world. Not bad, right? Before a face-to-face interview you’re likely to have a phone screening, particularly if you’re living a considerable distance away from headquarters or the branch you’re applying for. This first interview will be focused on sussing you out: your interests, what Apple products you own, why you’re so interested in Apple, etc. Depending on the position you may also be given a technical test to complete and send off after your phone screening. If you succeed you will have to attend multiple interviews in person and the number of candidates you will be competing against will decrease as you pass each stage of the application process. It’s unlikely that you will ever attend a one-on-one interview as usually, you will face at least two managers at a time, and

Apple potentially future colleagues too. Interviews often last for considerable amounts of time, with one candidate, Ash Furrow, claiming: ‘The in-person interviews lasted five hours, including lunch with my would-be manager’. The time between each interview can also be considerable, with weeks in between your interview and the response detailing your progress through the application. Therefore you will have to ensure you can afford to be patient and are able to attend any of the interviews you qualify for. Even after you receive an offer, you will be on probation for a considerable amount of time – even up to a year in some cases! Adam Lashinky revealed in Inside Apple that new employees work on the development of fake products for several months before they are permitted to work on real ones. You may not always be aware if you are working on a real or fake product, and your performance will be judged either way, so do your best to impress no matter what you’re working on!

Examples of Apple Interview Questions: • Explain to an eight year old what a modem/router is and its functions. • Describe an interesting problem and how you solved it. • Why do you want to join Apple and what will you miss at your current work if Apple hired you? • Are you creative? What’s something creative that you can think of?

Five Fun Apple Facts 1. The first Apple logo featured Isaac Newton. 2. The Pippin was a game console created by Apple which launched in 1995 but failed miserably. 3. 340,000 iPhones were sold by Apple per day in 2012. 4. Ronald Wayne, Apple’s third cofounder, sold his shares for just $800 in 1977. 5. Apple has the patent for the ‘slide-to-unlock’ feature.

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Earn some extra cash

with a Second Job As the bills rack up and living costs skyrocket, finding a way to earn some extra cash is becoming more important than ever. Working a second job is an extremely popular option when it comes to getting that extra money into the coffers, with over one million people in the UK estimated to be working two jobs. There are loads of possible options out there for almost anyone, but before jumping into anything it’s worth taking a few important aspects into consideration first.

Working Hours


You’re only legally allowed to work up to 48 hours a week. Anyone working longer than this because of a second job needs to sign an Opt Out Agreement with their employer. However, if the extra hours negatively affect your performance in your main job, then you may be subject to a review by your employer.

Sound good? In that case, there are all sorts of enjoyable second jobs that you could do to earn a little bit of extra cash. Whether you’re saving up for a holiday, paying off some debts or just fancy being in a more comfortable financial situation, there’s bound to be something for you.

Some employers may insert a clause in your contract that prevents you from working a second job if, for example, it’s for a competing firm or it will affect your ability to perform in your main job.

Tax If you start a second job you’ll need to fill out a P46 form to get a tax code. Your personal tax allowance, the amount that you don’t pay tax on, will generally only be calculated from your main job, thus you will have to pay income tax on any earnings from second or even third jobs. If your second job involves self-employment you will need to tell the taxman yourself to ensure you’re paying the correct amount of tax from any extra earnings.


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Freelance work is ideal for the writers, graphic designers and web developers of this world, amongst many other professions. Whether you’ve already got a full-time role in one of these fields or it’s just a side interest, there’s money to be made by advertising your services on a website such as People Per Hour, which has thousands of registered freelancers. If you’re into your sport then there’s also some great options out there for you. Ringing up your local football club could net you some weekend work as a steward, or you could even earn something extra as a data scout, supplying betting-related data services in various sports. Check out Running Ball or Sports Data for more information on how you could be paid to watch your favourite sport!

For more glitz and glamour you could always head to Film Extras for work as – you guessed it – a film extra. Otherwise, flexible work as a waiter can be sourced over at Berkeley Scott, or find out how you could become a mystery shopper right here.

As you can see, there are a wealth of options out there if you want to pursue a second job. The flexibility of the roles means that it’s easy to fit one around your current profession. You never know, what started out as a second job to earn some more money, could eventually become your new full-time career.

Know Your Rights: workplace pensions

Soon the UK will see the implementation of workplace pensions. With the catchy slogan ‘we’re all in’ the new policy works on an opt out basis, meaning all who are eligible will be automatically enrolled. You pay into the scheme each month and contributions are also added from your employer and the government.

The Law:


To be enrolled into a workplace pension you need to be: • Not currently paying into one. • Earning more than £9440 per year. • Working in the UK. There are two types of workplace pension: contribution schemes and benefit schemes. The former works on a basis of monthly contributions from yourself, the employer and the government. The latter means you are provided with a yearly sum of money after retirement.

The minimum contribution you are required to make into your pension each month is decided by your employer, which means it’s a good idea to ensure you know what is required of you in that respect. You can opt out of a workplace pension, but you will not receive any government contribution in that instance. Find out your eligibility and compare it with what private schemes offer to see what will work best for you.

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coo les t wor kpl ace s ST MICHAEL’S MOUNT cORNWALL

Meet the folk who work in the most stunning and extraordinary locations in the UK. Behind every National Trust site is a team of tour guides, conservationists, surveyors, retail staff and more. These enviable bods have swapped the humdrum of office life for something a little more green and pleasant. Medieval churches and castles are just some of the gems that National Trust employees get to experience on a regular basis. St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall is one 12th century site with incredible views and enough folklore and myths behind it to provide tour guides with ample material, including the tale of Jack the Giant Killer.

Castle on a Cloud: St Michael’s Mount on a clear day

Then there’s the beauty of Waddesdon, a French Chateau-styled architectural feat in Aylesbury. The lucky ones working here can range from catering staff to wedding organisers, as the beautiful grounds make for a highly sought-after venue for a host of occasions. National Trust jobs can also see you working in conservation or countryside management. Either way you will be able to experience some of the best scenery the UK has to offer.

Quite Contrary; The stunning gardens of Waddeston

waddesdon Aylesbury

Regal Interior: A peak into the ornate decor St Michael’s Mount.

Big House in the Country: Waddesdon surrounding by its colourful flora.

New Boss, New Opportunities Most of us are aware that nothing stays the same - especially when it comes to careers. Inevitably, people will come and go no matter what company you work for, but when your boss leaves it can be very unsettling. It’s easy to panic and let your emotions affect how you deal with this change, but the sooner you accept and embrace it, the sooner you can use this change of events to boost your career.

A clean slate Whether you got along with your previous boss or not, this is the perfect opportunity for you to forget the past, improve any weak areas and start fresh. You now have the chance to recreate your image in order to build this new relationship. What at first appears as an unsettling change, can actually be the start of some positive progress for your career.

Great expectations You’re bound to have assumptions about what this new boss will be like – erase them from your mind. The truth is you have no idea whether they are going to be awful or fantastic in comparison to your previous boss, so give them a chance. Find out what the expectations of your new boss are: do they prefer messages to be delivered face-to-face or via email? What goals are they aiming to complete? By finding out what they expect from you early on, you can avoid any misunderstandings.

Respect If you had a good relationship with your old boss, reluctance to introduce yourself and get to know your new one will not alleviate the situation. Similarly, arguing with your new boss


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and claiming ‘But that’s how we do it here’ will not get you very far either. Yes, they will most likely be making changes, but who’s to say that these will not be great ones?

Communication The best way to ensure you’re on the right track with your new boss is to communicate with them as much as possible in the first few weeks. The changes they make will most likely require you to adapt to a new routine, therefore ensure you ask the relevant questions to help you to do so. Also, remember that your new boss will be nervous. so help them out with things like finding their way around or people’s names.

Adaptation Whether your new boss decides to make little or big changes, how you cope with them will affect your career prospects. If you can embrace them and prove to be an adaptable employee, then you will benefit in terms of career progression. It’s important to have a positive attitude towards these changes.

How to Turn Around a Bad Day at Work Everyone has had ‘one of those days’, where absolutely nothing seems to be going your way and the world is almost definitely against you. But a bad day at work is only going to get worse if you don’t at least try and do something about it. Next time it happens to you, think back to these little tips about how to turn a bad day around, and thank your lucky stars that Career Savvy are on hand to help. There’s no point in keeping negative feelings bottled up, ready to unleash on an unsuspecting colleague. You’re better off politely warning them that you’re having a bad day, as being quiet and guarded will only make them think that they’ve done something wrong. It’s also a good idea to start daydreaming – not in general – but in this case, thinking back to why you’re in a foul mood and trying to remedy it could put you back on track for the day. Whilst we wouldn’t want you to think that we often advocate daydreaming at work, we’re just going to recommend it one more time: promise! Try thinking about stuff to look forward to in the future – by then you will have most likely completely forgotten about this bad day. Although starting a working day with incessant daydreaming followed by a leisurely walk isn’t likely to appeal to your boss too much, having a stroll during a break or at lunchtime can help to clear your head and take your mind off everything. Whilst you’re walking you could also treat yourself to a lunch that goes beyond a timid-looking ham sandwich - you would be surprised how a lunchtime treat can make you feel so much better.

You could also try chatting to upbeat co-workers to try and see if they can cheer you up. Their positivity might end up rubbing off on you and start improving your outlook for the day.

‘Having a stroll during a break or at lunchtime can help to clear your head and take your mind off everything’ Social media can be a really useful tool for many things – staying in touch with friends and family, keeping up to date with the latest news and even job hunting – but recent studies have indicated that it has negative side effects too. Doctors believe that on Facebook it is never healthy to constantly compare yourself to peers in terms of achievements and even number of online friends. Sign out and don’t sign back in, we know it’s tempting, but it will do nothing to relieve your bad day. If you ever arrive at work, university or college on a miserable Monday morning and suddenly get that feeling of déjà vu - yes, one of those days again - it might be worth thinking back to the last bad day you had and how you got over it. Soon, you could become an expert in dealing with bad days and be the envy of all your colleagues.

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Maintaining a Wo Thanks to the advancement of modern technologies, we have created a culture obsessed with around-theclock communication. Although this is ideal during an emergency or when we fancy a pizza at 2am, when it comes to your career this constant availability can become a hindrance. The problem is, switching off from work has become increasingly difficult. By allowing yourself to be contactable at any time, stress from the workplace is able to follow you home, so you don’t have any time to relax and recover from the pressure of your job. In order to improve our work-life balance, it is often necessary to cut down our workload. However, we are reluctant to do so out of fear of appearing weak. But the truth is, it takes a strong and accomplished employee to handle their workload effectively – which includes scheduling in downtime. Here are some steps to help you prevent your workload from disturbing your work-life balance.


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1. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ We all like to help a friend in need – especially if it’s going to earn us brownie points with the boss. However, if you are already swamped with your own deadlines, then taking on extra work outside your job role is not going to help you. Your colleagues will appreciate your honesty if you tell them you simply don’t have the time at the moment, but would be happy to help once you have seen through some deadlines. Just make sure you are completing the tasks involved in your position otherwise you could have more time on your hands than you anticipated!

2. Delegation Working in a team can be challenging, with some people putting in more effort than others. As a result, it can be tempting to double your workload in order to ensure projects are completed to a sufficient standard. It’s important that all members of the team are aware of


ork-Life Balance “

their tasks and that everyone works together not only to ensure projects are completed effectively, but so the environment in which you work is more pleasant thanks to its supportive nature.

Allowing some time to relax your brain from the pressures of work is essential

3. Ask for help Bottling up the problems you face at work because you’re too afraid to ask for help is not healthy. You may feel intimidated but often your colleagues or boss will be happy to help – they would rather help you to solve a problem than let it spiral into a bigger issue that will impact your ability to do your job. This will prevent you from worrying about how you will deal with the problem once you have returned home in the evening.

4. Schedule some ‘YOU’ time Allowing some time to relax your brain from the pressures of work is essential to ensuring you are a productive employee; it gives you a chance to recharge your batteries. You need to be able to draw a line after work and do something you enjoy without being preoccupied by everything that is going on at the office. Having something on the calendar to look forward to will help you to work more efficiently as you have something to work towards.

By permitting yourself to switch off your phone and not respond to work emails in the evenings or weekends (unless it’s an emergency!), you are helping to restore that work-life balance that is key to a healthy lifestyle. If you can truly switch off from work whenever you’re not there, you will be more focused and thus more productive when you return. Subscribe for free at


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1: Be realistic Set yourself realistic goals. You’re not superman. If it’s going to be a tall order for you to get everything done, the best thing to do is speak up beforehand, rather than failing to reach a deadline and URGEN having to explain yourself afterwards. This T! applies to just about any type of work. Pace yourself so that you 2: Sleep on it can meet your own goals Depending on the nature of and deadlines. your tasks, a good way to address anything you’re stuck on is to leave it. If you’ve been staring at the same spreadsheet for over an hour, close it and 3: Ask for help do something else. Start on it again If you struggle to organise your tomorrow. A fresh pair of eyes is one time, or are concerned about the of the best tools for increasing amount you are being asked to do, it’s productivity. your responsibility to do something about it. Speak to your manager and explain the situation in a matter-of-fact way. Make it clear you are not complaining about 4: Team effort the amount of work, but just simply If you’re struggling with your concerned that it will not get workload, it may be that the nature of completed in time. the work is not suited to you. Perhaps you 5: Time things well have been delegated tasks that you are not Be sensible and don’t reserve strongest at, meanwhile another team member tasks that require lots of focus and may be struggling with something you excel brain power for first thing Monday at. Speak up about your strengths to help morning. Figure out when your most the team leader delegate more effectively, productive hours are. Do you burn out in or swap work with a colleague for an the afternoons, or do you take a while to hour to give each other a boost. get going in the morning? Schedule your easier tasks or ones that are more fun for times when you find it harder to stay focused.

How to: Manage your workload


You don’t always have to take huge steps in an effort to further your career. But trying to better yourself on a day-to-day basis by learning new skills and improving existing ones will ensure that you’re constantly moving closer to your future aims and ambitions. Subscribe for free at 36

Enhance Your Career:

Complete a Training Course Additional responsibilities and/or qualifications can boost your career by not only improving your CV ready for the future, but helping you to feel more secure and confident in your current role. The skills you learn can also be extremely beneficial outside the workplace. Career Savvy has some great examples of courses that will help you to enhance your career.

First Aid The accredited first aider is the port of call when somebody is injured at work. Most of the time your responsibilities will not extend much further than retrieving the first aid kit and tending to minor injuries by applying plasters and bandages. However on occasion, your actions could actually save somebody’s life. Therefore if your boss has selected you for this role then it shows the great respect they have for you, which will in turn instil self-confidence and loyalty for the company. Often employees that elect to take this extra training can increase their salary. Furthermore, your career will be enhanced by the pride you feel after helping a colleague: it will restore your confidence and contribute to your personal development. A First Aid qualification can also boost your chances of a management role or a desired post in another department, due to the skill and respect associated with it.

Fire Safety The appointed fire warden ensures employees evacuate the building safely, that they meet and remain at the fire evacuation point, as well as performing a head count. If emergency personnel are summoned, you must inform them of areas you were unable to check and the possibility of anyone still being trapped inside. The course you’ll need to complete requires organisational skills and commitment. Your employer is signalling faith in you to deal with a crisis effectively by choosing you for this role. This responsibility will help you to feel more appreciated, encourage loyalty and develop your leadership skills. Improving your skill set combined with the gratitude you feel for receiving such responsibility will increase your motivation and productivity.

Computer Skills IT skills have become essential in the workplace over the last decade. Therefore if you cannot manage much beyond the basics, it will be worth your while to complete a course to improve these skills. You can focus on a specific program such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Excel or even complete a Computer Literacy qualification (CLAiT). The CLAiT is available in three levels, the third of which is the equivalent of a NVQ or A-level qualification and it will ensure you can use the main applications on a computer effectively. By improving your IT skills you will demonstrate to your boss that you’re committed to developing your skill set, thus they’re more likely to give you that promotion or raise. You will also boost your confidence: now you’ve conquered this task, you will feel ready to challenge yourself with even more in order to enhance your career.

Useful links: • St John’s Ambulance - First aid training courses • National Careers Service - CLAit • Learn Skills - Online Learning Solutions • Learndirect - Computing • TutorCare - Fire safety training courses

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I move fast, have faith in the decisions I make, & I don’t look back. That’s how I live my life. It’s also how I change lanes on the freeway William Paisley @YourPocketGuru

If you had a “bad” day, don’t worry... we all have a re-set button, it’s called tomorrow. #ypg Fran Drescher @frandrescher

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Money maker be quids-in while looking for work.

focus groups There aren’t many easier ways to make money than this. Manufacturers of a host of products constantly require the opinions of the consumer market, and that includes you. Attending a focus group usually consists of spending an hour or so in a local hall, testing, sampling and reviewing certain products. Pay will vary, but you can potentially earn up to £50 for just an hour of your time. The type of products you are reviewing will depend on whether you fall into the demographic the companies wish to target. But think along the lines of toiletry products, scented candles, food products and gadgets. You will most likely be asked to fill out a feedback form to share your thoughts. Honesty is required of you, so if you dislike something feel free to say so! The best way to get involved is to sign up to a focus group agency. Be aware, however, that most of them limit how many groups you are assigned to per six months, so it’s best to treat this purely as a way of earning some extra sideline cash.

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• World’s Most Interesting Jobs: Safari Guide • Know Your Rights: Restrictive Covenants • Enhance Your Career: Team Building


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Career Savvy Issue Five  

Career Savvy is a free online magazine providing bite-sized information to help you stay on top of the job market.

Career Savvy Issue Five  

Career Savvy is a free online magazine providing bite-sized information to help you stay on top of the job market.