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UK plc is rocking the casual look HAVE PLAN, WILL TRAVEL

Take the headache out of booking business travel WIN! Tickets to Udderbelly, Thriller Live and a dance spectacular

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APR MAY 2012

NOTICE BOARD Office news Dress to impress – or don’t; why the workplace is underdressed

Say what?! Your latest gripes, grumbles and photo captions

ON THE JOB Olé job board The latest tips on career advancement and job woes

Who cares? Taking the ‘pay’ out of childcare payments

Have plan, will travel How to make business travel easier

Day in the diary A day in the crazy life of poker star Liv Boeree

LUNCH BREAK Lunch hour Win tickets to Havana Rumba at London’s Udderbelly

Olé loves Thriller tickets, a dance Revolution and more





EDITOR julia dennison

Office catwalk Ditch those suits – we’re getting stylish

And one more thing... Carrie Service tells little white lies

PUBLISHER vicki baloch



DESIGNER sarah chivers

DESIGNER/PRODUCTION peter hope-parry

CIRCULATIONS natalia johnston



o, it seems traditional UK workplace attire is changing. According to a study by TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK, work shirts and smart dresses are being worn, and even owned, less frequently by British workers. But is this a bad thing? In a country where you wear a uniform from upwards of five years old, it’s no surprise the incoming generation is keen to lose the suits at work in favour of a more bespoke approach to fashion. Wearing what you want to work is the ultimate expression of your individuality, though it does mean having a plethora of work outfits (one or two suits no longer cuts it). For the latest in work wear, without a suit in sight, cast your eyes on this issue’s edition of Office Catwalk, where we show you the latest trends in looking good for work. Because you really don’t want to be the last suit standing. Here’s to a lovely spring season, full of sunshine and the occasional drizzle to satisfy the hosepipes. Enjoy!


B E C I NOT BUSINESS ATTIRE IS CHANGING IN THE UK Traditional workplace attire is changing with work shirts and smart dresses being worn, and even owned, less frequently by British workers. The findings come from new research commissioned by TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK in support of the ‘Give Up Clothes for Good’ campaign - the UK’s largest charity clothes collection. The traditional shirt, a wardrobe staple which dates back to the sixteenth century, is being shunned in favour of a more casual, informal look. The research suggests that this new relaxed wardrobe means around one in four men (26%) don’t wear a quarter of the suits they own, while over a third (35%) don’t wear a quarter of the trousers they own. And it’s not only men that are changing the way they dress for work. Over a quarter of women (27%) are also ditching dresses in favour of other items. Amber Jane Butchart, a fashion commentator and trend forecaster, said: “The research finds that 4% of UK office workers don’t own any shirts. This would have been unheard of 15 years ago. It is also interesting to see that a quarter of women no longer wear dresses at all. My work in this area shows that despite women making significant headway in the workplace, masculine-styled clothing such as a tailored blazer is often worn to work as a visual way of exerting authority. “From the turn of the millennium, creative and media industries were using new dress codes that could be worn in or out of work, for example the suit jacket with a t-shirt and jeans. We have seen this spread as we’ve moved into the ‘Tweenties’ and more and more industries are rejecting the formality of suits in favour of a combination of office and casual wear.” The survey suggests that work and personal styles might be merging, allowing the age-old notion of a workplace wardrobe to become defunct.

D R A apr/may12 INTERNATIONAL WATERCOOLER GUNMAN DESCRIBES MASSACRE While testifying in an Oslo court, Anders Behring Breivik described the preparations he took before carrying out a rampage last summer killing 69 people. He confessed to playing a first-person shooter video game to practice his aim, consumed steroids to increase his strength, and took steps to “de-emotionalise” himself through medication.


inbrief... Found in Alaska, returned to Japan

A Japanese schoolboy is getting his football back after it drifted away in last year’s tsunami. Misaki Murakami, 16, lost all of his belongs, including his family’s house, when the massive waves crushed his hometown of Rikuzentakata in Japan’s northeast. However, thanks to a good samaritan walking along the Gulf of Alaska, Murakami is to be reunited with his lost ball. David Baxter, 51, spotted the ball on the beach and was able to identify the boy thanks to “good luck” messages scrawled on it by former schoolmates noting Murakami’s school. As luck would have it, Baxter’s wife is Japanese and was able to translate the messages.

Police arrest Easter Bunny

THE LONDON MARATHON The charity donation page set up by Claire Squires, 30, has witnessed unprecedented levels of giving (£600,000 at last count) following her untimely death while running the London Marathon. Squires, a hairdresser from Leicestershire, set up the site before the marathon and meagrely asked her friends and family to donate £5 to her designated charity, the Samaritans, in order to help others.

When police answered a call from a scared homeowner reporting a “striking looking” prowler outside they were shocked at what they found. Upon arrival the officers saw a life-size rubber bunny, believed to be left by pranksters, standing in front of a window dressed in a yellow shirt and blue trousers.

GONE VIRAL office-related videos. Click on the The Olé team picks out its fave five r top videos of the year @olezine text below and enjoy! Tweet us you

One hundred greatest viral videos in three minutes

If video were games real

Lesson on problem solving

i Tsunam in sia Indone

Push the red butto n



Want some sound advice? E-mail with the subject line ‘Gripes’. We won’t judge

Off-colour jokes

Notice to employer

Dear Olé, I’m new to the office and have become the target for all my boss’s jokes. He constantly makes comments about the clothes that I wear and how I fix my hair. At first I played along but now I’m becoming insecure. Is this harassment or just boys being boys? Jessica, Manchester

Dear Olé, I have been interviewing for a new job while working in my current position. They have not made an offer yet, but I expect to hear from them next week. What is the appropriate amount of notice I should give to my current employer if I get the new job? Stephanie, Liverpool

The first thing you should do is have a word with your boss and ask him to stop making jokes at your expense or you will complain officially. If possible, tell someone higher up in the organisation what is happening. If things do not improve talk to a union representative or a member of the personnel department in your office, they might be able to help curb the jokes. If none of this helps you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for more information.

The notice you should give to your employer before resigning should be in your employment contract. Your contract may set out how much time you must give and how it should be submitted. If your contract does not say how much notice you must give then by law the minimum notice for having worked for one month or more should be one week. But beware, If you leave your job without giving proper notice, your employer may try to withhold part or all of the money they owe you.


CAPTION COMPETITION >>> Welcome to the caption competition. Every month we bring you a new picture to challenge your wit and inventiveness. To enter, just come up with a caption (fewer than 25 words) for the picture to the right and send it in to: with the subject line ‘caption comp’.

Our winning caption came from S. Armitage of Senator furniture with: “…and then he sneezed just as I was passing him the Post-its”. Well done! We’ll be contacting you for your prize. THE PRIZE: The prize – M&S vouchers – will be delivered to the best entry as judged by the very right honourable Olé editorial judging committee.




Avecto reveal ed the results bits go out the wi of its recent Office workers’ green ha su rvey, conducte for off t se d an d by OnePoll, home that showed th the moment they leave e massive cost to both organiz s revealed. ha y rve su l na tio na a people of mis ations and work, managing use of Avery Green Office r ad m in rights. Commissioned as part A m ong the findin ile workers are gs, 19% misse wh at th nd fou dy d stu e e d a critical th ad line as a result Week, cycling as re o f ily b pp e ha in – g me d ho e at n ac ie d full cess to an app generally green lication; 14% lo erving energy – it’s ns co d st an m e a is ibl ss se job; 6% po d as a promotion; n much early a quarte Common e. lac rkp wo e ca th ll in r IT ry of users support three a different sto or more times used printer un d ing u ss e p to e to e: r year lud ad inc m s in rights issue violation s; and nearly th rs and pe ap wr in d foo te n cle cy p re e ree ople don’t hav paper, failing to e access to al en op s ow nd wi ap e th p g lic l vin th ations they ne e drinks cartons, and lea ed to do their jo P b au s. . l K on ll e n sti yo ng n, COO, Avect with the heati o, said: “We always knew th d that nearly a ale ve re o als at there would dy stu e Th be a significan impact on busi rs print things out t nesses if they quarter of office worke m ismanage u se ten r of t ad ou r m fou in d ri an y, gh ts– security bre when it’s not necessar aches, people accessing dat bin. This ng cli cy re y a an af mp ter they leave co e th forget to use or expensive help desk calls . This survey al t of ten who manage so is compared to eight ou reveals the sh o ck ing impact on goods from nonindividuals.” to separate recyclable “Being denied access to work me. In fact, workers are h applications as recyclables when at ho a greater impac ey th an th me ho t on men than ener at with half of m women – twice as likely to be gre en saying it has ca u p se rk. ro wo d them b lems, compar are at ed to just a th by Avery ed ion iss mm co s wa ir h It d also worried m of women. The researc ore men, with ek, taking place 14We e a fic fe q Of u n ar arter ee in Gr g of th rt at they won’t as pa be able to acce r workers we po em to s th aim e ek te chnology they ss 18 May. The we need to do the their office practices Perhaps this ‘lo ge ir an ch jo to bs. UK e th ss acro aphobia’ (Lackd greener O fin fto P A h em p o th p b lic ia ng lpi ) ationw he r, ill be for the bette th e n e xt big thing ways of working. worrying the U rkers wo ce offi all of lf ha ly K’s With near workforce?” do not take ies an mp co eir th at th g feelin ilities seriously environmental responsib ek focuses on the enough, Green Office We to ings that can be done simple and practical th . make a real difference


The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have published their latest Work Audit report: Age, gender and the jobs recession. Based on official statistics from the Labour Force Survey, CIPD investigated how the jobs recession that began in 2008 has affected men and women across the age spectrum. Perhaps most surprisingly, the report found that there are 271,000 (8%) more women aged 50-64 in the labour market than at the start of the recession, and 200,000 (6.2%) more in work. Women aged 50-64, and men and women aged 65 and over, are the only age groups to have registered an increase in both the number in work and employment rates since the start of the jobs recession. Further more they’ve registered the smallest increases in unemployment. Dr. John Philpott, chief economic adviser, CIPD, explained: “When it comes to work, older people have clearly fared better than young people during the jobs recession. But what’s also clear is that older women have done best of all.” People aged 25-34 are the only other age group to see a rise in employment over the course of the jobs recession, with the number in work increasing by 249,000 (4%). However, across all age groups there are 387,000 fewer men in work (a net fall of 2.4%) than in the first quarter of 2008. By contrast the number of women in work is only 8,000 (0.05%) lower.

TOP 10 TIPS Ten ways to succeed in a new role From the Institute of Consulting 1. CONTACTS: Find out which contacts in your office can help you do your job better. 2. OPEN: Be open to all social invitations and make an effort to join in with every social activity or event. 3. NEEDS: Help people get to know your needs and preferences in the work environment. 4. SCHEDULE: Create a plan to build on your initial networking. 5. UNDERSTANDING: Ask for feedback on how you’re doing so you understand what, if anything, needs to be improved or changed. 6. LEADERS: Who are the leaders in your company/office? 7. TEACHERS: Find a good coach to help you in achieving your goals. 8. INDICATORS: Set out personal and business key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can achieve within a realistic time frame. 9. NEW APPROACH: An outsider perspective can give new insight into things your colleagues take for granted. 10. GENUINE: Be realistic. No-one expects you to be a super hero.


Heard something funny in your office? We want to hear from you at Here is a familiar anecdote from DEPARTMENT HEAD: I have a presentation that I’ll need to listen to on Thursday, but I don’t think the sound works on my computer. I have speakers, and the green light is on, but I never hear anything. IT GUY: You probably just need to adjust the volume level on your computer. DEPARTMENT HEAD, SHAKING HIS HEAD: That sounds too technical for me.


SHOW THEM YOU CARE With more parents working, OlĂŠ looks at how working parents can tackle rising childcare costs



ith the cost of childcare rising steadily, working parents need to investigate ways in which to meet the increased expenditure. A recent survey by the Daycare Trust charity shows that the average cost of nursery care in Britain for children under two increased by nearly six per cent last year. With the average cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under two now more than £100 a week or £5,000 a year, it’s a price hike that will quite simply be too much for many working families. What’s more, the issue is set to escalate significantly over the next four years with a report from the Social Market Foundation suggesting that childcare costs will rise by an average of 13.5% by 2015/16. These above-inflation increases are bad news for families, heaping further pressure on their already stretched budgets. Not surprisingly given these facts, over 90% of parents surveyed on behalf of employee benefits experts Edenred are concerned about the cost of childcare. Overall, nearly five per cent of respondents said they would be forced to leave work due to the cost of childcare if it wasn’t for the support offered by tax-free childcare vouchers. Childcare vouchers can be a vital source of

support to working parents. Indeed, for some families, these vouchers offer a solution that saves nearly £1000 a year. Childcare vouchers are usually offered via a salary sacrifice scheme which means they are taken from a parent’s pre tax salary and, depending on the rate of tax payer, are free from tax and National Insurance up to £243 a month. They can be used for children up to 15 years, or 16 years if disabled, and can be spent on a wide range of activities such as afterschool clubs, holiday clubs, breakfast clubs, as well as nurseries, childminders and nannies. The age range covered by the vouchers mean that parents of older children can also benefit. Laura Czapiewski, product manager at Edenred, comments: “Any type and size of business can implement a childcare voucher scheme and it’s worthwhile for companies of all sizes, even if they have just one qualifying parent within the organisation. Parents should investigate if their place of work offers childcare vouchers as part of their employee benefits package. “Likewise, businesses must communicate their benefit offer effectively to ensure staff are aware of what is available to them and how to make the most of them.”

More on childcare vouchers Edenred created the UK’s first childcare voucher scheme in 1989. As a leading provider of childcare voucher benefits, they serve employers, parents and childcare providers. To find out how childcare vouchers work, the benefits and where to use them, visit http://www. Parents/Pages/default. aspx.

FAST FACTS • £100 – the average weekly cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under two • Six per cent – the amount the average cost of nursery care rose in Britain last year • 13.5% – the estimated rise in nursery costs by 2015/16



Got to book your boss in for a meeting abroad and don’t know where to start? Carrie Service takes a look at travel booking sites and gets a few tips from the experts



ooking business travel can be a real headache, and if you’re a PA you’ll know it better than anyone. I’m sure as you read this you can think of countless occasions where you’ve planned ahead, booked the hotel and transport for your boss’ meeting well in advance, and sat back with a sigh of satisfaction as you click ‘send’ on your neatly-typed itinerary email. Only for your boss to casually reply: “Oh, didn’t I tell you? The meeting has been postponed until the following month.” Damn. AT YOUR SERVICE Business travel plans can easily change at the last minute, leaving you with the aggravation (not to mention cost) of rebooking flights and hotel rooms at the drop of a hat. The good news is, there are travel companies out there that can help lighten the load a little. If you find the disjointed process of searching for a hotel and flights/rail tickets a little daunting, check out ETS travel. They will assign you with a dedicated account manager, who will have knowledge of the industry you work in and the kind of requirements you might have. They will keep a record of any trips you book, so if, for example, you are booking your boss in for a quarterly sales meeting which will be at the same hotel on the same dates each year, your account manager will have all the details saved on file so that you can simply ask for it to be rebooked. They will also have an idea of what your budget is in order to search

around for the best deal, doing the hard work for you. You can request that they keep a record of any preferences your boss may have (helpful if he/she can be likened to Miranda Priestly of the Devil Wears Prada) and general booking information such as names, addresses and payment details to save you filling in endless online forms. DIY If the control-freak in you prefers to research flights and hotel prices yourself, be sure to check all the usual comparison sites such as Money Supermarket, Money Saving Expert and Skyscanner and if you’re specifically looking for business class flights try Skyclub. Doing it yourself does have the advantage of allowing you to book as late as possible, can help to secure the best deal, and limits the chances of having to rebook if plans change. A great source of general tips and news updates if you’re a regular travel-booker is The site links you to all the main travel operators, has a search engine for flights and a separate one for hotels, and allows you to book Eurostar and other rail tickets as well as provide information on visas (which can prove to be a bit of a minefield). It supplies completely free, impartial advice as it does not take bookings allowing you to get the best deal direct. The site features regular reviews of search engines and comparison sites too so that you know you’re always looking in the right place.

TOP TIPS FOR BOOKING TRAVEL Simon McLean, MD of business travel management experts Click Travel, gives us his top three tips for booking business travel: Do your research - a little work early on can save a lot of time later. Think about the trip, what it entails and how you can deliver the best response to each aspect. Secure your booking - before you start, make sure you are clear on what is required. The cheapest train tickets and hotel rooms are usually those which have the least flexibility – consider whether plans are likely to change? Tie up the loose ends - you’ll need to ensure the traveller is up to speed with what they need to provide and do. Important considerations include travel documentation and insurance.


Day in the DIARY

In six sensational years, Liv Boeree has progressed from an ordinary model student with a degree in astrophysics to inter national poker superstar. She is best known as one of the

ving world's elite poker players, ha earned more than $2m in some e of the biggest and most exclusiv th tournaments and is touring wi ker the PokerStars UK & Ireland Po Tour. Here’s a day in her life

4pm Hopefully still doing well in the tournament and crushing my opponents! 6pm Discuss with my poker playing friends where we'd like to go for dinner and make the necessary reservations.

9.45am Wake up and have a light breakfast, usually bran flakes with rice milk or toast and jam. 10.30am Go for a run, preferably outside but if not then in the hotel's gym. 11.00am Check emails, Facebook and Twitter, then shower and get ready for the tournament – I play all of the PokerStars UKIPT events, so this year you are likely to find me in a card room or casino in the UK and Ireland. 12pm Start play in the tournament. The first two hours of a tournament can be very important as you get to learn about your opponents and the way they play which can hugely affect your success in the tournament. 2pm Twenty-minute break. Try to get some sunlight, maybe do a quick TV interview. Grab a quick snack to keep me going at the tables for the afternoon.

8pm Ninety-minute dinner break. Have a fun dinner, hopefully at a high quality restaurant while we regale each other with stories of hands that we've played throughout the day. Discuss strategy for the remainder of the tournament. Do more TV interviews. 11pm Play finishes for the day and each player bags up their chips. Hopefully my friends and I are still in the tournament with a big stack! Head to the bar for a quick drink (non-alcoholic) to wind down and discuss the day. 1am Back in hotel room, check emails etc. Maybe watch an episode of a light hearted TV show to wind down. 2am Hopefully asleep by this point, ready to do it all again the next day!

diar y Want a own? of your

t us


Lunchtime giveaway


Dukan Diet chocolate cake

You don’t have to ditch the cake to diet Win tickets to E4 Udderbelly! The E4 Udderbelly Festival is back at Southbank Centre for its fourth ox-hilerating year. Just announced are a whole host of new shows – including The Vocal Orchestra – an amazing group beatboxing and vocal gymnastics show created by Shlomo. Don't miss the biggest party show this summer, Havana Rumba, full of vibrant, frenetic and sexy music and dance. E4 Udderbelly have also announced a brilliant comedy line up including Tim Minchin, Rufus Hound, Greg Proops, Sean Hughes, Tim Key and Tom Basden, Wil Anderson, Susan Calman, Andi Osho and everyone's favourite comedy musicians Frisky and Mannish. Olé is giving away 10 pairs of tickets to the E4 Udderbelly Festival – valid until 8 July. The first 10 people to email with their details and the subject line “Udderbelly” will win. Subject to Availability

Prep time: 12 minutes Cooking time: 18-20 minutes Serves 4 Ingredients 6 eggs, separated 3 tbsp sweetener 30 g cocoa powder 50 g raspberries 100 g low fat cream cheese 1-2 tbsp skimmed milk Method 1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F), gas mark 6. 2. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. 3. Whisk together the egg yolks, 2 tbsp sweetener and 20 g cocoa powder. 4. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and pour two-thirds into an 18 cm oval or circular tin. 5. Drop the raspberries into the middle of the mixture then spoon over the remaining mixture. 6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cooked through. Leave to cool in the tin. 7. Beat together the remaining sweetener, cocoa powder, cream cheese and enough milk to make it a spreading consistency. 8. Spread the icing over the cake and serve.

TREAT YOURSELF GADGET The Enigma E2 As security ramps up for the London Olympics, keep your business secure, and your personal life private, with a mobile that’s spyproof and stylish. By simply pressing the "crypto" button callers are able to place secure calls to others with a slim and stylish device that can satisfy even the most debonair spy.

MUSIC Band of Skulls The Southampton trio return with their much anticipated second album, Sweet Sour. The band’s first album was a huge hit with fans and critics alike and this latest offering once again showcases the band's instrumental and vocal trademarks.

Power hour Gym bunnies of the world unite. Every month we try out a routine and report back

HOT STUFF H H H H H A new trend of hot yogas, including Bikram, has been hitting the scene, based on the belief that stretching and posing in a hot room will do a wonder of good for your body. The great thing about it is because of the hot environs, cardiovascular exercise and muscle-building are combined into one. The tricky thing is, you’re not really allowed to drink, and it can get very hot, which is not for the faint-hearted, though on cold, rainy days (like what we’ve been having) a hot room is very welcome. So if you’re ready to sweat it out get your yoga kit on and head to your nearest yoga centre and ask them to turn up the heat.

Breakfast MONTH of the

Most of us are choosing extra minutes in bed over breakfast. According to the HGCA, one in four people skip breakfast during the week. Which is

why, Mornflake has created Oats2Go Pots to enable everyone to start the day with delicious creamy oats in an instant, whether at home or on the go.

OATS2GO POTS Average judges’ scores


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Dancers Inc. presents, Revolution, a fusion of the UK’s finest commercial dance and choreographic talent starring Kimberly Wyatt and Adam Garcia. The prestigious Theatre Royal Haymarket in London’s bustling Piccadilly will lay host to the spectacular, much anticipated, futuristic multimedia show for six consecutive Sundays from 6 May to 10 June. For your chance to win a pair of tickets, email with the subject: “Revolution”.

Thriller Live is celebrating its fourth year on the West End and to celebrate, readers of Olé are eligible for a special 50% discount off the best seats. In a career spanning 40 years, Michael Jackson sold an unparalleled 750 million records worldwide, with the Thriller album still the world’s best-selling recording of all time. Thriller Live includes over twohours of non-stop hit songs delivered in a show that boasts the world-class spectacle that marks his timeless live performances out from all other popular music artists. Offer valid until the end of May. To book, call 0844 482 9674 or visit and quote:“THIRDBDAY”.

Subject to Availability

WIN TICKETS TO LONDON PET SHOW SAMSUNG “COMPATIBLE BUT NOT IN LOVE” COMPETION Win a Samsung Galaxy Tab! Simply email with your name, company name, postcode and telephone to be entered into a prize draw. Compatible toner supplies can be unpredictable but prints made with Samsung original supplies produce brilliant and evenly laid colour from first to last page. Using original supplies will significantly prolong the life of your printer, which means you can continue the relationship long term. Runner up prize is a Samsung MV 800 flip-out display camera. Competition closes 30 July 2012.

The country’s top dog dancers from Britain’s Got Talent will perform in the London Pet Show’s ‘Doggy Come Dancing Showcase’. The event will be held on 12 and 13 May at Earls Court Two, hosted by BBC London’s ‘Barking Blondes’, Jo Good and Anna Webb, with their own entertaining dogs Matilda and Molly. To win a pair of tickets be one of the first five people to email Tickets are also on sale at www.londonpetshow. or by phone on 0844 873 7332. Quote PETED for a special 15% reader discount!

k l a w t a C E C I OFF Hot outfits of the month


nds to find the best ways to bra t ee Str h Hig rite ou fav r you to k This month we loo re can redefining what business casual atti ile wh r ou col gh ou thr lf rse you s expres look like in your office. 1




1. AlWear Nautical jacket, £40; red trousers, £40; print blouse, £35. 2. Austin Reed Linen check shirt, £80; airforce twill chino, £85. 3. F&F Top, £14; shoes £14; belted skirt, £25. 4. 5. House of Fraser (two pictures). White blouse; green trousers, £70



Little white lies Carrie Service


Carrie Service 26 Editor

Did you agree with the columnist? Think YOU can do BETTER? Email us with your “and one more thing” of approx 300 words to

k, so we’ve all done it, lied on our CV. Most of us

exaggerate a little to enhance what experience we have, especially if we’ve just graduated or have been in the same job for a while. Sometimes “substitute on the school rounders team” and “two weeks work experience at the local library” can look a little depressing, no matter how big a font size you use. But the other day, when helping my younger brother update his CV, I had to ask myself: when it comes to writing a CV what constitutes a ‘lie’ and what would be better described as being ‘economic with the truth’? Small exaggerations such as “excellent IT skills” and “proficient with all Microsoft Office programmes” in my view is fine, even if your knowledge only stretches to typing a letter in word. You can learn on the job right? I remember sitting down on the first day of my first ever admin job and being given a huge spreadsheet of data to ‘de-dupe’ and ‘collate’. My new boss smiled at me knowingly and said “it’s so refreshing to have someone who can use Excel at an advanced level. The agency is always sending through these young girls who don’t even know what a pivot table is.” My declaration of “advanced Excel skills” came straight off the CV after that. A bit of swotting and some help from my spreadsheet-geek boyfriend solved my problem. But as my brother enthusiastically writes “conversational Greek” on his CV, I can’t help but wonder how far the truth can be stretched before the cracks start to show. “Conversational Greek?” I say. “I didn’t know you could speak Greek.” “Yeah, yeah, you remember, I went on that lads holiday to Kavos in 2008,” he assures me. Hmm. It’s all very well bending the truth a little to make your CV stand out from the hundreds of other candidates applying for the job, but if you do get an interview, then what? And if you somehow manage to blag your way through that and are selected for the job, will you be up to it? This is the rule I now apply when updating my CV: You can exaggerate with the adjective you use to describe how well you can do something, but you can’t actually list anything you don’t currently know how to do (even if you think you could figure it out). Here’s an example: I can just about edit the content on our web pages and upload photographs. So “excellent knowledge of website management systems” would be allowed. “Experienced in website design”, not allowed. I think that most employers probably expect you to tell a few innocent porkies on your CV, but the key is not to get too carried away; you’ll only end up looking foolish. Honesty, as always, is the best policy. Right, must dash, I have to go help my brother find a copy of Greek for Dummies.

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