10 things I love about temping

Temping is great. Yes, I know I’m going to say that as it’s my job but there are so many reasons why choosing to temp is a great work solution for so many people. For some it’s a way to fit work around their lives. For others it’s a stop gap while they look for a permanent job.

Many employers choose to use temporary workers through an agency. Temporary workers help employers to respond to changing customer demand or to help them deliver a project on time.

There are different ways to temp. You can pick and choose different shifts or events to earn some extra money when you need it. You can pick up a short-term temping assignment that can last anything from a couple days to a few months without committing to a permanent contract. We also have ongoing assignments that can last several months. Whatever your reason, temping can provide you a great way of working around your personal circumstances.

Here’s my top 10 reasons why temping could be great for you.

 

  1. Gain great experience, fast

Temping can give you the chance to gain skills and expertise in a variety of roles, businesses, and cultures at a fast rate. You will become more adaptable and learn new skills rapidly – key attributes that employers look for when recruiting.

  1. Open new doors and network

Temping provides great networking opportunities, and many businesses who aren’t willing to commit to new permanent roles end up creating one for temps who add value to their business. Many organisations bring in temps to help them deliver a project or undergo a challenging period of change or demand on quite a fast time scale. Experienced temp workers are in high demand!

  1. Test out a potential new job or employer

Temping can provide a great opportunity for you to try your hand at something new before deciding whether it’s for you. If you are new to the market, seeking a change of career, recently been made redundant or returning to work after a period of absence, temping can provide you with opportunities to try several different organisations, roles, and projects to find the perfect fit.

  1. Improve your CV

You can quickly improve your CV with interesting temping roles – it shows you have ambition and drive, valuable transferrable skills and demonstrates that you are reliable, conscientious, and able to gel with a team quickly.

  1. Feel part of a team

Being a temp and then being offered full-time employment can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding ways of joining an organisation. Even if you must undergo a period of probation after being taken on full time, you will feel more established as part of the team. You will also get all the support and guidance you need from the Octopus team. We’re here to make sure you are happy in your assignment so its important to stay in touch and we will keep in regular contact with you and our clients.

  1. Fair, transparent pay

When you are contacted about a temping assignment, you will be given exact details about the pay rate and hours. At Octopus, you will be paid weekly based on your timesheet. You’ll also accrue holiday just like a permanent employee. There can also be overtime at enhanced rates or shift allowances too!

  1. Work/life balance, flexibility

Your temping assignment can provide you with flexibility to fit in with your current circumstances. You get to choose when you work so your home life, holidays and interests take more of a priority. If you want to pause or stop work for a period, or want to try something different, you have the flexibility to do just that.

  1. Learn new skills

Temping will give you the opportunity to see a different industry or environment at the same time as learning new skills. It is a great way to discover a new location, especially if you have recently moved. Temping can also enable you to meet new people socially – we have known many temps who have been invited back to a Christmas do long after the end of their assignment!

  1. Same rights and benefits as permanent workers

After 12 weeks as temp working through an agency, you are entitled to similar employment rights as a permanent member of staff, including the same pay, pension, and annual leave.

  1. Temping often leads to permanent employment

This happens more often than you would think. Its so important for employers to find the right fit for their existing team, so when they find a person who works well, they often offer a permanent contract rather than lose someone. Several of our Temp of the Month winners have gone on to work permanently from their assignments.

 

How we can help

At Octopus, I head up our temporary, contract and interim recruitment but you will find that we all work as a team to help find work for people. You’ll have access to exclusive bookings and assignments with the best clients in the local area. Our consultants concentrate on getting to know both you and your skill set, ensuring that you enjoy and gain from each assignment that you work in.

We provide temporary staffing and recruitment services across Dorset, Wiltshire, and Somerset, covering a variety of economic sectors including office & administration, manufacturing, agricultural, warehouse and other positions. Small or large volume, last-minute or planned, we work with a wide range of companies to use temporary staff to drive their businesses forward.

All our temps are entered into our Temp of the Month award, rewarding the hard work, reliability and dedication shown by our temp team. You can read about some of our previous winners here.

If you choose to take a temporary assignment but are still seeking permanent employment, don’t worry! We will always continue to actively seek roles for you, and we will work closely with each other to assist you in coordinating times for your permanent job interviews. Employers also often create a permanent role when they find an excellent employee through temp work!

You can read more on how to register with an agency, it really is easy and will make sure that we’re looking for the right job for you.

Why not join Octopus now? You can start the registration process here or email your CV to us at jobs@octopuspersonnel.co.uk. Or just call us in the office on 01747 825568.

Anna Wiklinska

About the author

I’m on hand for our temporary and industrial recruitment – think warehousing, production, construction and technical type jobs.

I really enjoy meeting our job hunters and helping them to find work. It’s been lovely to talk to local people and find out what matters to them.

How to register with a recruitment agency

How to register with a recruitment agency

 The job market is changing. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS)*, job vacancies are reaching record highs. Over the period June to August 2021, job vacancies grew by 35%, with all industry sectors increasing their number of vacancies. This is great for the job searcher and now is the best time to enter the job market or look for the next step in your career.

With employers looking to recruit again following the impact of COVID-19, many employers are leaving the recruitment process in the hands of the recruitment agencies. This means it is a great time to register with a recruitment agency so that you’re first in line to hear about a new job.

Octopus Personnel is Gillingham High Street’s local recruitment agency, finding the right people for the right jobs in Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire. We recruit for permanent and temporary positions from warehouse, production, and industrial, to office and technical jobs.

With lots of people realising that recruitment agencies are the best way of job searching, how can you make sure that you are the first person that springs to mind for a recruiter?

The key is in a successful registration. Alice gives her top tips to successfully register with Octopus Personnel and ensure you stand out at your appointment.

 

What is a registration?

 

What is a Registration and Why Does it Matter?

A registration with Octopus Personnel includes a 20-minute appointment with one of our friendly Octopus Recruitment Consultants. We also need some necessary details to be able to help you on your job search like your personal details, identity check and GDPR form so that we’re complying with our legal requirements. It doesn’t take long to fill in, we promise!

Your registration is an opportunity for us to meet you face to face and have an informal conversation with you. This enables us to get a better feel for the types of jobs and employers that would be the best fit for you and your interests and skills. We are looking for the right person for our clients and a job for you that you will be happy in.

All our registration appointments are face-to-face so that we can dedicate time to get to know you and consider how best to represent you to employers. Thanks to the joys of technology, you can either come to our office in Gillingham or have a meeting over FaceTime, Zoom or WhatsApp!

 

How to have a successful registration

 

How to register with a recruitment agency

Be Honest

Be honest with yourself and us with the types of jobs you are looking for and are likely to seriously consider. Let us know if there is a salary you need to reach to pay the bills and let us know about anything that will affect your job search or employment.

Our team is friendly and approachable and have a lot of experience in dealing with all sorts of situations. They will give you feedback on your CV and let you know any changes they think might be needed. They’ll listen to your experience in other jobs – good and bad – and give you advice on interviews and what jobs might be a good fit.

 

How to register with a recruitment agency

Be realistic

Think about what you want – are your expectations achievable? Do you have the skills and experience for the job you want? Are your salary expectations reasonable?

For some jobs you might need to do some assessments, for example, Word, Data Entry, Excel or even Welding. This gives us a great idea of your suitability for a job and means that you will stand out to the employer.

 

How to register with a recruitment agency

Be flexible

We might see potential in a job you’ve not considered before. Be open to new ideas and types of working. Keep the days and hours you can work as flexible as possible. Consider shift work, temporary jobs, and events. You never know, the client you work for at an event might be impressed with you and have a job opening. Or the temporary job might turn into a permanent position. It happens a lot!

 

How to register with a recruitment agency

Be confident

Be confident and show us who you are! We’re here to help you find the right job for you, so we need to see who you are. Let us get to know the real you and we can give you tips and advice to show your strengths for the jobs you want.

 

How to register with a recruitment agency

Keep in contact

Keep us up to date with any change of details. Let us know if you’d consider new types of jobs or working hours. It all helps us to find the right match for you.

Sign up for our job alerts and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We post our new jobs on our website and our social media, so if you see a job that you like, let us know!

 

How to register with a recruitment agency

Remember our top tips!

We’re here to help.

First impressions count so consider the way you dress and present yourself. Be kind, courteous and respectful.

Listen to our advice! We want you to succeed and we’ll use all our expertise and experience to find you the right job.

Take the tests! Some job roles require skills assessments or short video introductions or video interviews. Don’t be shy and don’t put these off. See this as a great opportunity to put yourself ahead of the competition.

 

Register with Octopus Personnel and kick start your job search today!

At Octopus Personnel, we take the time to really get to know our job searchers because we love what we do, and we love changing people’s lives for the better.

We are experts at presenting our job searchers to our clients, so that they can see all the skills and experience you can bring to a job. Years of industry expertise and great relationships with our clients means that we are the best solution to find you the right job.

Book an appointment to register with us on 01747 825568 or send us your details here.

 

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/jobsandvacanciesintheuk/latest

 

Alice Weeks

About the author

I specialise in temporary recruitment and I’m always planning ahead, but manage to fill those last minute gaps! I really enjoy the buzz of the Octopus Office and no two days are the same. For me, it’s really important to get to know my candidates so I can support them on assignments and get the best from them.

I love baking so working in the Octopus Office with a monthly bake-off is a dream come true. I am a great listener and I know the power of a well-timed cup of tea and a biscuit!

5 ways to deal with interview rejection and plan your next steps

 5 ways to deal with interview rejection and plan your next steps

Have you ever received that dreaded interview rejection phone call or email? It can be tough, but Alice Weeks, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, explains why you shouldn’t feel dejected or disheartened. Instead you can use this experience to positively plan the next steps in your job search.

 

Any recruiter will tell you that the interview rejection phone call is a tough one to make – especially if the candidate has prepared well for the interview.  The way you handle interview rejection is just as important as the skills on your CV when it comes to securing a new role. If you allow interview rejection to knock your confidence and make you doubt your abilities, it could negatively affect your performance in future interviews.

So when you get that call, here are a few things to remember to keep you positive, optimistic and motivated, and help you plan what to do next.

5 point plan to deal with rejection and move forward

1. Rejection is not feedback

Whilst you may not have secured this role, that doesn’t mean that you did anything wrong!  At Octopus Personnel, we always follow up on interviews and give feedback to candidates.

Next step: Listen to what you did right (so you can do it again next time) and think about the areas that could be improved. Act on that feedback!

5 point plan to deal with rejection and move forward (2)

2. It’s not personal

It is very easy to take rejection personally.  However, most of the reasons behind hiring decisions will not be made apparent to you. You may have performed excellently but there could be other factors at play. For example, there may have been a strong internal candidate who is already familiar with the business, or another candidate with slightly more relevant experience than you. These are things you cannot change.  Focus on the positives you are given in the feedback, be aware of any advice in terms of areas to improve and move forward positively.

Next step: Revisit your CV to remind yourself of your strengths. Annotate your CV with examples that worked well in this interview.

5 point plan to deal with rejection and move forward (3)

3. A fresh approach

Approach each new job opportunity with a fresh perspective and a positive attitude. Tailor your CV to best match a new opportunity and fully research and prepare for a new interview. If you made mistakes or felt unprepared in your last interview – learn from this but don’t keep it at the forefront of your mind, it will only make you nervous.

Every company and hiring manager is different and will have a different idea of the ‘ideal candidate’. Keep a fresh approach while remaining true to your personality and experience.  Your Octopus Personnel consultant will prepare you beforehand with details about the interview and role. You can then support this with your own research about the company.  Put in the work each time.

Next step:  Start preparing for the next interview with the same commitment and vigour.

5 point plan to deal with rejection and move forward (4)

4. Keep learning and developing

Whilst that interview rejection phone call might not be the one you are hoping for, there are still things you can do to keep making a difference to your morale, motivation and employability.  A part-time training course or webinar, a charity project, mentorship or a voluntary position in a company of interest can keep your skills sharpened and your experience relevant and up to date.  If you are not working, temping can be an excellent way to learn new skills and add to your professional contacts.

By keeping professionally active in this way, you can aid ongoing development, boost confidence, give yourself a focus outside your job hunt and provide a discussion point in your next interview.

Next step:  Seek out other opportunities to keep your skills and experience relevant and up to date.

5 point plan to deal with rejection and move forward (5)

5. Always leave room for Plan B

Don’t pin your hopes on one specific job in the belief that it’s a perfect fit. If you don’t get that job, the rejection can be harder to take.  Think about each interview as a point along the journey to your next role. It’s also smart to pursue multiple opportunities, even when you are particularly invested in one role.

Next step:  Whilst you should tailor your CV and research for each role, you can apply for multiple roles at the same time.  Take an organised approach to make sure you don’t get the details of each role confused.

5 point plan to deal with rejection and move forward (6)

Have I convinced you?  What have you got to lose?

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role.  Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients means that we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role and interview success.

You can sign up here or call the team on 01747 825568 to set up an appointment to register with us.

 

 

 

 

Alice Weeks

About the author

I specialise in temporary recruitment and I’m always planning ahead, but manage to fill those last minute gaps! I really enjoy the buzz of the Octopus Office and no two days are the same. For me, it’s really important to get to know my candidates so I can support them on assignments and get the best from them.

I love baking so working in the Octopus Office with a monthly bake-off is a dream come true. I am a great listener and I know the power of a well-timed cup of tea and a biscuit!

Craft the perfect interview response

Is there such a thing as the perfect interview response?  Whether face-to-face or online, nailing the answers to those tricky interview questions is key to selling yourself to a prospective employer.  You need to be fluent, practised and polished with examples to back up each of your points.  Here are 10 key questions and how to craft the perfect interview answers.  This will take time, thought and practise – but it will definitely be worth it when the job offer comes!

Three cubes which read Who Are You - perfect interview answers - Tell me about yourself

“Tell Me About Yourself…”

With such a broad range of possible answers, this question often trips interviewees up. The perfect interview answer will not be your life story; they want to know about where you are now professionally and what you have learnt from previous employment experiences.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

  • Be succinct and to the point (which means practising beforehand).
  • Pick out three key events from your work history which provide a coherent story about where you are now professionally and what you have learnt. Choose a specific skill and experience from each job.
  • Talk about what makes you excited about this opportunity – be specific!
  • Use your company research to illustrate how you already have the strengths and qualities they are searching for.

Section of dictionary defining strength - What is your greatest strength

“What Is Your Greatest Strength?”

The perfect interview answer here will be based on your company research, showing you already know the qualities the company is looking for and you can use this opportunity to illustrate one you haven’t yet shown in the interview.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

  • This question really lets you guide the interview where you want it to go. This is your chance to relate your most impressive success story, so take advantage!
  • Highlight a strength that is crucial to the position.
  • Don’t make claims that you can’t illustrate with a brief example or fact.

Word task written with a tick next to it - What is your greatest accomplishment - perfect interview answers

“What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?”

This is somewhat similar to the “what is your greatest strength?” question and can be handled along the same lines. You want to pick an accomplishment that shows you have the qualities that the company puts value in and that are desirable for the position you’re interviewing for.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

  • Talk about an accomplishment that exhibits how you will be a perfect fit for the company and for the position you’re interviewing for.
  • Try and show some genuine passion when you’re talking about your accomplishment.

What is your greatest weakness written on a sportstrack - perfect interview answers

“What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”

Don’t pick a weakness that is a key competency for the job! The perfect interview response will involve choosing your weaknesses wisely and showing that you have taken steps to “work on it”.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

  • Show that you are aware of your weakness and what you have done to overcome it.
  • Show that you are “self-aware” and that you have the ability to take steps to improve yourself – through education, experience or mentoring.

Man leaping between two high rocks - Describe a difficult work situation

“Describe A Difficult Work Situation And What You Did To Overcome It…”

The perfect interview response here is to pick a success story that shows you exhibiting the qualities/skills required at the job and company you are interviewing for.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

  • Pick an example that shows you tackling a problem that could arise at the new company you’re interviewing for. This shows your value.
  • Be specific and fairly concise.
  • Use the S.T.A.R. Method:

Situation

(Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalised description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.)

Task

(What did you need to achieve and why? What goal were you working toward?)

Action

(Summary of the problem and the action you took. Describe the actions you took to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on YOU. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution? Be careful that you don’t describe what the team or group did when talking about a project, but what you actually did. Use the word “I,” not “we” when describing actions.)

Result

(Describe the outcome of your actions and don’t be shy about taking credit for your behaviour. What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? Make sure your answer contains multiple positive results, preferably with a specific piece fact or figure which illustrates your success.)

  • Don’t bash anyone in your success story. (Coworker, boss or customer!)

Sign saying Join The Team - Why do you want to work for us - perfect interview answers

“Why Do You Want To Work For Us?”

The perfect interview response will demonstrate that you want to become an integral part of the company, to grow and develop with the needs of the business and demonstrate how your “wants” coincide with their “needs”.  Review LinkedIn, Bloomberg, FT,Wall Street Journal etc. for mention of the company over the past six months.  Review employee testimonials on Glassdoor.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

  • Choose 4 specific things you like about the company. Do your homework before and find out the needs of the company and talk about how you’re passionate about “fulfilling those needs”.
  • Be complimentary. Most people enjoy being flattered. (Just don’t go overboard)
  • Show how your strengths perfectly align with the job position and company culture.

Sign saying we need you - Why should we hire you - perfect interview question answers

“Why Should We Hire You?”

The secret to success here is to be specific and evidence-based. You have already used your company research and the job description to find out exactly why the company is hiring someone for this position. Demonstrating that you understand the problem the new hire needs to solve will make you seem like the perfect candidate!

Lucie’s Pro Tip

  • Show the hiring manager that you are uniquely suited to filling this position. Be the candidate that solves the problem!
  • Show you know some significant details about the company and their general practices because you have researched the firm and are prepared.
  • Tell a “success story” that highlights how you have the ‘qualities’ needed to fill their specific needs – make sure you use a different example.
  • Don’t be too modest or too arrogant; you can avoid this by being specific and factual about your role in the examples you use. Again, preparation is key!

Lady looking through binoculars - Why did you leave your last job

“Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?”

Preparation for this question is vital to seem plausible and truthful. The perfect interview response takes practise so it’s fluent and coherent.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

  • If you left voluntarily be sure to explain why. For example: you wanted a different challenge. How does this company offer you a specific characteristic or opportunity which your previous employer didn’t have? Explain what attracts you to this company.
  • If you were let go, be honest and explain the situation and own it. Explain what you learned from the experience, because the interviewer knows you’re human, you make mistakes, and just wants to see that you were able to do something about it.
  • Don’t bash your last company or boss or anything along those lines

Start written on the road - Where do you see yourself in 5 years - perfect interview answers

“Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years?”

You DO want to show that you are an ambitious person BUT you need to show that you don’t have your “head in the clouds” and are focused on the job at hand.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

  • Demonstrate when you answer the question your level of commitment to the position they are interviewing you for.
  • After you have demonstrated your commitment to the role you are interviewing for, outline a realistic growth strategy that is directly tied to the role you’re in and the needs and values of the company. How will this role help you grow?
  • Stress your interest in a long-term career at the company.

Questions written in chalk - Do you have any questions for me

“Do You Have Any Questions For Me?”

The perfect interview response for this question will make you stand out from the crowd and show your knowledge and passion for the company or organisation you are interviewing for. Always have a few questions prepared and have one based around something you found during your company research phase.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

  • Focus your questions on the company and what you can do for them.
  • Ask about something you’ve discovered in your company research. This will show your passion and knowledge of the company.
  • Ask if there is any reason the HR manager wouldn’t hire you. (This can be a little daunting to ask BUT can really pay off. It allows you to address something they may be thinking in their head but haven’t brought up.

Need further advice?

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role, and preparing you to succeed at interview with the perfect interview answers. Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role. You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

Nailing an Online Interview in 4 easy steps!

Online interviews can feel daunting— especially if your prospective employer wants to chat face-to-face online. Whilst the format of online interviews are often similar to traditional, in-person meetings, they have some major differences that candidates should be prepared for.  Below is my step-by-step guide to nailing your online interview.  From setting up your technology to answering those tricky questions, this is a one stop shop to get you ready to shine!

Shows a laptop, phone and pencils

Master the technology: do a test-run

In this day and age, technology is such a blessing – especially when it works!  The only way to really feel comfortable and secure with the technology side of an online interview is practise!  You need to use the method which your prospective employer prefers ( Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc.) so download the program as soon as you are notified of your interview.  Use their quick guide to getting set up or watch a youtube video to make sure you understand how to enable the video and audio on your computer.  Do a test run with your recruitment consultant, friend or a family member if possible.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

Before the interview, ask for details of the format of the interview.  Here are a few questions you can ask to make sure you are prepared:

  • Is it an audio or audio and video interview?
  • Will I be interviewed by someone live or are the questions pre-recorded?
  • If they are pre-recorded, how many chances do I get to record my answer?
  • What do I do or who should I call if I start having technical difficulties during the interview?

Shows a computer with the Octopus Personnel website on the screen

Dress to impress even in an online interview!

First impressions matter in an online interview, just the same as meeting face-to-face!  Your appearance is crucial to making a good impression.  When you are planning where you will sit during your interview, try on your chosen clothes.  Make sure you are comfortable, they fit well and you are giving the impression you want on the screen.  Take a screenshot of yourself and check!

Location matters so find the perfect spot!  A quiet place with good, natural light is perfect if possible.  The interviewer wants to be able to see your face clearly.  Make sure the background is clean, professional and uncluttered.  Choose a comfortable firm chair so you can sit up for the duration of the interview.  Dress your home for the job!  Make sure you have eliminated all possible distractions.  Mute all notifications on your computer and set your phone to silent.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

Make sure you have chosen your location the day before.  Then you have time to tidy, position items and you can focus on mentally rehearsing your answers on the day.  Make sure there is no-one else about to distract during the interview, shut the cat out and switch off your phone!  Don’t forget to smile!  You are trying to build a relationship with your interviewer online the same way you would face-to-face so smile and engage!

Shows a woman talking to a laptop screen - Online Interview - Eye contact is important

Look your interviewer in the eye

Even in an online environment, eye contact is important.  Instead of looking at the person on the screen, look directing into your webcam and stay focused and engaged.  Practice your main taling points if you feel nervous and remember to slow down and speak clearly.  Again, this might be a good idea to practise with your recruitment consultant, friend or a family member.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

If you are uncomfortable, put a picture of a friend or loved one next to the webcam and focus on them.  This will help you relax and let your answers flow more easily whilst still remaining focused on the interviewer.  Even though this is an online interview, don’t forget your traditional interview skills!  Use the questions further down in the blog to help you confidently prepare your answers and make sure you have specific examples to share.

Shows a man working on a laptop and writing notes - Online Interview - nail those tricky questions

Preparation is key – nail those tricky questions!

Now you have the technology, location and your outfit all sorted, it’s time to revisit those key interview skills.  Here are some of the key questions you are likely to be asked and how to nail the answer to make sure you show your best talents, experience and skills to the interviewer.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

Practise, practise, practise… the more you practise the more confident and flowing your answers will be.  Make sure you have examples to back up every point.  Use cue cards to support you during the online interview – but make sure they are out of sight.  Read my blog here about the best answers to tricky interview questions here.

Need further advice?

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role, and preparing you to succeed at interview. Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role. You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

Navigating the change to an Employer Driven Market

Sandra Smart, Octopus Personnel Director, explains how COVID19 has flipped the candidate driven market on its back, and what the implications are for candidates and employers as we approach recruitment post lockdown in an employer driven market.

For the last couple of years, with unemployment at record lows, we have been operating in a candidate driven market.  Put simply, this meant that high calibre candidates were often receiving multiple job offers, as well as their current employers trying to offer more for them to stay on as their employee.

The focus was on the whole package: more competitive salaries, flexible working patterns, stronger study support and a full career development plan. If a client couldn’t offer what a candidate was looking for, a competitor was.  Clients had to invest heavily in the packages they were offering, but also in selling their culture, brand and reputation to attract top talent.

Thanks to the unprecedented challenges which the business world has met during the Coronavirus pandemic, suddenly the market has become saturated with candidates again, and, make no mistake, many are extremely high-calibre talent. However, during March, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that as a result of the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus crisis, confidence in making hiring and investment decisions fell by 21 percentage points compared with the previous month.

So how does this affect recruitment?  How can you position yourself as an employer to benefit from this situation, attracting these high-quality candidates to your business, what effect will this have on those people seeking employment now, and how can recruitment agencies work to best serve both and ensure the right people are hired for the right jobs?

Image shows connected people icons - Strategic Recruitment in an Employer Driven Market

Strategic Recruitment for an Employer Driven Market

In a employer driven market, it is the companies who call the shots. They hire at their own pace, can focus wholly on their needs, and face little or no competition from peers in the industry.  Due to the COVID19 impact, there are many high-calibre people seeking employment right now and, for those companies who are able to, recruiting now may bring many dividends.

Now, more than ever, we are working closely with our clients to understand how they are managing the crisis, and their strategic operations and workforce planning for the future.  We are there to advise on successful recruitment strategies in practice and the flexibility of different types of recruitment.

We have continued to register high-quality candidates throughout this time to ensure we will be able to present the best qualified candidates, who we believe will dovetail with the company’s culture and vision, ready for virtual interviewing and, where required, digital onboarding to enable our clients to move swiftly and decisively.

Picture of Sandra Smart - Sandra's advice to navigate an Employer Driven Market

Sandra’s advice to clients

Now isn’t the time to abandon all your hard work on culture, brand and reputation, but it is a perfect opportunity to find the right person with a depth of experience and drive who can fully fulfil your role.   Be clear about the job role so candidates can visualise what a typical day at work might be like. Break responsibilities into short, clear job duties.  Be clear about KPIs and decide which qualifications and experience you need.  Think about the teams which this role works within and needs to gel with.  All this information will help your recruitment consultant work hard, better, faster for you in finding the right person.

Image of a star on the floor - How to secure the best talent in an Employer Driven Market

Working with the best talent

For candidates seeking employment, this is the toughest the employment market has been in a long time; it’s going to involve a lot of hard work, rejections and perseverance.  But an employer driven market is not without hope.

As a recruitment agency, this is where we go above and beyond for every one of our candidates.  We are there for the journey, not only talking them through roles, but advising them on changes in the market and how to most effectively self market through CVs and interviews.  As many of our candidates are currently at home, or working from home, we are taking this opportunity to work even more closely with them, coaching them through the job hunt, helping them improve their CVs and keeping them focused and motivated.  These quality relationships mean we are better able to advise our clients about the suitability of our candidates.

Picture of Sandra Smart - Sandra's advice to navigate an Employer Driven Market

Sandra’s advice for candidates

Whilst the market is tough, there are still plenty of things you can do to make yourself as attractive as possible to a new employer.

Be ready

Work with your recruitment consultant to improve your CV, and make sure you tailor it to each application.

Be active

Spend this time learning new skills, becoming part of professional discussions on LinkedIn and networking.

Be bold

Your recruitment consultant can advise you on the challenges of the current market.  This could mean you may need a new direction, be ready to work on a short term contract or explore temping to find that perfect fit.  Be open to new suggestions.

Be resilient

The challenges of this market will mean many candidates, even those exceptionally well-qualified and experienced, are going to experience some nos.  That’s ok.  Ask for feedback, learn what you can and move on.  It will be a yes soon!

How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you as you navigate these challenges.  Whether you are looking for work or looking for workers, we are here at the end of the phone to help you.  Call us on 01747 825568.  Visit the website to request a call back or click on the send CV button to register with us.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.

CV Success in 2020: put your skills on show!

How can grab an employer’s attention and effectively market yourself? What are the secrets to CV success in 2020?  To be competitive in a client-focused market, your CV needs to stand out and really show who you are, your key competencies and skills quickly engaging a possible employer.  Alice Weeks, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, shows how using some of the strengths of a skills-based CV can enhance your chronological CV to secure that perfect role.

Man in suit thinking: Which format of CV is best? Targeting your CV for success in 2020

Which CV format should people choose?

A chronological CV is still the best format, but a skills-based section of your CV can highlight the experience and skills you have accumulated across your career, laying them out for an employer to recognise what you are bringing to a role.  This can pay dividends for those who are changing careers, returning after a break or just starting out in their working life.

As we move to a client-focused market post COVID19, self-marketing through a CV becomes even more vital a skill.  Here are my suggestions for efficiently strengthening your CV to make it work effectively for you.

Want CV success?  Make headline news!

You have  8.8 seconds to impress – that’s the average time someone reading your CV takes to decide if they should read on, so first impressions are everything.  Use a clear headline at the top of your CV, stating your professional identity in light of your career target.

Woman thinking with glasses on her head - Write an engaging headline to hook your reader - Targeting your CV for success in 2020

Hone in on your Target

You should then write a powerful, targeted profile that sums up what you can do for your target employer.  Your profile should concisely and effectively display who you are, your skills and strengths relevant to the sector and the job role as outlined in the advert and your career goals.

An effective profile will position you as a strong fit for your desired role and persuade the reader to keep reading your CV.  Avoid buzzwords, clichés and irrelevant information.  Try to give the reader a sense of your passion and drive for this particular role, and how this fits with your experience.  Your profile should be around four sentences in length, and no more than six, that’s somewhere between 50 and 200 words.

You need to state:

  • Who you are and what you are looking for – e.g. ‘A recent graduate with a 2:1 degree in Creative Writing from the University of Bournemouth seeking an entry-level position in…’
  • What you can offer the company – your absolute top skills and strengths, backed up with evidence. Use the job spec to create your statement, e. g. ‘Knowledgeable engineer with a wide skill-set, including condition-based maintenance, through working on automated systems such as…’
  • What your career goals are – e.g. ‘I am looking for a challenging, fast-paced environment within media to utilise my written knowledge and develop my creative skill set further.’ 

Be clear, truthful, concise, and don’t be afraid to market yourself.  Recruiters ultimately want to know you as a person and what you can bring to the table.

Woman drinking coffee at a laptop - Write a clear and concise profile to hook employers in - Targeting your CV for success in 2020

An example profile

‘I am an effective and hardworking purchasing manager looking to progress into a senior purchasing position within the industrial sector. With over 10 years experience working in managerial positions for large companies within the sector, I have honed my communication skills and nurtured successful working relationships that have been at the heart of my success. As a result, I possess an advantageous professional network and a proven track record for bringing strategic vision and value to the business.  I am now looking to develop my career in a market-leading and progressive organisation after a short career break to take care of a new-born.’

If you are changing career, you can draw out positive matches in your existing work history, voluntary roles or hobbies, carefully aligning them to the job description.  If you are returning to work after a break, present your most pertinent experience in a positive and compelling manner, explaining your career gap concisely and simply. This approach also works for job seekers whose relevant experience is earlier in their career.  If you are a graduate or early in your career, you can showcase university projects, part-time work, or community roles to demonstrate your skills and suitability. This is equally applicable for more-experienced jobseekers whose relevant skill base has been developed outside the workplace.

Feature your skills

Underneath your profile, create a an easy to read skills table and pack it with target role keywords that reflect the transferable business skills you can bring to the table.  A well-put-together skills section can help an employer quickly ascertain you have what it takes for the job – CV success! Your research will already have outlined many of the key skills needed, but you can further ensure you hit those key areas by putting the job description through something like wordclouds – what are the words which keep coming up?  How does your skill set dovetail with those needs?

Man working on laptop outside - Feature your skills - Targeting your CV for success in 2020

CV success through skilled selection

Put simply, a skill is an ability to perform certain tasks well.  A skills section should focus on actual skills, rather than industries you’ve worked in or grouping experiences together.

You should only choose between 3-5 skills to illustrate in this section – so make sure they speak exactly to the job description of the role you are applying for.  Balance your chosen skills between hard, learnt skills and soft, interpersonal skills – recruiters and employers give weight to both.

Hard skills can be learned, taught, and measured, such as English, Spanish, HTML, Python, copywriting, data analysis, SEO, etc.  Soft skills are equally valuable, such as leadership, communication, or other interpersonal skills such as soft skills include: problem-solving, negotiating, multitasking, time management, presenting, and others.

Dictionary open on page defining expert - Feature 3-5 key skills which are your personal strengths

Laid out for ease of reference in a table, make sure there are 3-5 skills listed.  Each one should be constructed in meaningful and descriptive sentences, contain facts such as numbers, figures and statistics (where possible) and real-life examples to illustrate your point.

Proven Sales Track Record

I am an excellent sales professional, demonstrated in my previous role as a Sales Representative where I exceeded my sales targets by at least 25% for six consecutive months.

Programming/coding experience

I have a strong knowledge of object-oriented programing and application development tools using Microsoft VB.Net, C#, .Net, C++, ASP.Net; Python and VBA.

Advanced Communication Skills

Reflected in my ability to explain complex design systems to colleagues and clients and liaising effectively with a range of departments.

Attention to detail

Adept at dealing with multitudes of information and data, some nearly identical, without any mistakes or omissions.

Black screen showing coding - Shine a spotlight on your key skills and experience using bullet points

Shine a spotlight using bullet points

Now you will go on to present your work history in reverse-chronological order, but using bullet points to highlight projects and activities that showcase your relevant skills in action. This way you can show you have the experience that’s needed, even if it was gained in a different context.

Reframe everything you have done so far in terms of what you want to do next, like an arrow pointing to a new mark!  Use the job advert, person specification, and job description for your target job role as a starting point, then make sure every line of your new CV speaks to those requirements – guaranteeing CV success!

Man holding CV - Reframe your experience and skills in terms of the role you are applying for - Targeting your CV for success in 2020

Finally to ensure your CV success, complement your revamped CV with a strong cover letter explaining your motivation, readiness, and fit for your target role.  Demonstrate the research you have done about the company and the value you bring to the business.  As above, back up your statements with facts, numbers, statistics and real-life examples.

Need more CV advice?

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role.  Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role, be that through CV advice, interview tips or helping you make the most of your experience.  You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

Alice Weeks

About the author

I specialise in temporary recruitment and I’m always planning ahead, but manage to fill those last minute gaps! I really enjoy the buzz of the Octopus Office and no two days are the same. For me, it’s really important to get to know my candidates so I can support them on assignments and get the best from them.

I love baking so working in the Octopus Office with a monthly bake-off is a dream come true. I am a great listener and I know the power of a well-timed cup of tea and a biscuit!

The perfect, proactive LinkedIn profile: up your game in an hour

Rae Britton, Octopus Personnel Marketing Manager, explains how to invest an hour today to improve your LinkedIn profile to work harder for you – establishing yourself as a full-fledged industry professional, maximising engagement, maintaining your personal brand or seeking that dream role.

Is #lockdown2020 the time to update your LinkedIn profile?  Did you know that LinkedIn, the professional social networking platform, has actually been around longer than Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram? It hosts more than 600 million professional profiles, offering an almost unlimited supply of network connections and job opportunities.

Wherever you are in your LinkedIn profile journey, follow my 13 point plan to get you noticed, help you craft a stunning summary that illustrates your accomplishments, projects and skills and make your profile seriously shine.

Quick note, before you get started, turn off the update my network feature until you are completely happy with the final product.  That way you can edit discreetly to your hearts content!

A window saying 'Welcome to LinkedIn' Why not use #lockdown2020 to give yourself the perfect LinkedIn Profile in an hour?

1. Show a complete Linked-up LinkedIn picture

Simply put, there more of your profile you complete the better!  You need to fill out every single section of your LinkedIn profile to make sure you’re noticed and can be found by the right people for the right reasons.   LinkedIn actually measures how complete your profile is as you are working on it and makes suggestions on how to make it stronger – use them!

2. Get a Custom URL

A custom URL looks much more professional and it easier to find and include on your CV – and it’s simple to do!  On the Edit Profile screen, at the bottom of the grey window that shows your basic information, you’ll see a Public Profile URL. Click “Edit” next to the URL, and specify what you’d like your address to be. When you’re finished, click Set Custom URL to quickly and easily guide employers directly through to your LinkedIn profile.

Image showing a laptop - Edit your LinkedIn Profile on PC in only an hour

3. Pick the perfect photo

Your profile picture is your calling card on LinkedIn – it’s how people are introduced to you and (visual beings that we are) it governs possible employers’ impressions from the start so invest in your profile picture.  It’s your first chance to communicate that you are friendly, likable, and trustworthy — attributes that are crucial to getting prospects to engage with you.  This is the first step to building your personal brand on your LinkedIn profile and making yourself stand out from other candidates.

Here are some quick guidelines to follow:

  • Make sure the picture is recent and looks like you
  • The ideal size is 400 x 400 pixels (but you can use anything up to 8MB)
  • Your face should take up around 60% of your profile and you should be the only person in the picture (long-distance shots don’t stand out)
  • Avoid selfies – two minutes with someone else taking the picture makes all the difference
  • Use soft, natural light
  • Wear what you would like to wear to work, and smile with your eyes
  • Avoid distracting backgrounds
  • Use filters wisely – you want your image to look polished and sharp, so stick to spotlight or classic filters.

4. What makes you unique? Your headline!

Your headline doesn’t have to be your job title and company—in fact, especially if you’re looking for jobs, it shouldn’t be. Instead, use that space to succinctly showcase your speciality, value proposition, or your “so what?” The more specific you can be about what sets you apart from the competition, the better.

Sign saying for hire - Get noticed by the right people! Image showing a laptop - Get the perfect, proactive LinkedIn Profile in only an hour

5. Target your dream job

Download the job descriptions for your ideal role.  Use a tool such as Wordle to distill out the key phrases or words that recruiters and employers will be searching for and make sure they are sprinkled throughout your summary and experience.  Make sure your LinkedIn profile is dressed for the job you want!

6. Create a super summary

A summary is so important because it is your chance to tell your own story; it should never just be a list of skills or the job titles you’ve had. This is your most personal piece of content marketing, your chance to speak directly to the reader – and it’s worth the effort.  Try to bring to life why your skills matter – and the difference they can make to the people you work with. Invest some serious time in drafting and redrafting your summary – and seek comment from others.

Approximately 3-5 paragraphs long, your summary should be conversational but professional, walking the reader through what makes you passionate about you work, your key skills, unique qualifications and a summary of the various industries you’ve worked within over the years.  Avoid buzzwords like the plague, be warm and welcoming and write in the first person.

7. Power up your summary with multimedia

We all know that a picture is worth a 1,000 words, especially when it comes to showcasing your work. LinkedIn lets you add photos, videos, and slideshow presentations to your profile summary, and this is such a powerful tool. Instead of just talking about your work, you can show examples and let the work speak for itself! Or show yourself in action. Or share a presentation. Click ‘Edit profile,’ scroll down to your summary, then click on the box symbol, then ‘add file.’  You’ll be glad you did!

8. Expand on your experience

Your LinkedIn profile is the place to highlight your best accomplishments, not to simply create a list of jobs.  Flesh out your experience section with bullet points that describe what you did, how well you did it, and who it impacted.  Use the first person.  Use numbers to show impact, “I have helped more than 500 business people—from entry level to CEO—understand how to effectively use LinkedIn.”

Expand on your experience - Sign saying for hire - Get noticed by the right people! Image showing a laptop - Get the perfect, proactive LinkedIn Profile in only an hour

9. Add Projects, Volunteer Experiences, or Languages

Do you speak French, Spanish or Mandarin? Have a first aid or project management certification? Volunteer for a homeless shelter each weekend?   A great way to showcase what makes you unique in terms of skills and experiences is to add these “additional” profile features (listed on the left when you’re editing your profile).  They really make you stand out from the crowd and help your LinkedIn profile to speak about who you are!

10. Get recommended

Feedback is so powerful and lovely to receive, but you can make it work harder for you! When someone says, “You did a great job on that project!” ask them to take a snapshot of that success by writing a recommendation on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to specify what you’d like the recommender to focus on so you don’t end up with a generic, “Rae was great to work with.”  “Rae’s contributions on the project enabled us to increase customer engagement by 15% over our original plan” will really showcase your strengths and help future employers envision how your skills could benefit them.  Be strategic about your recommendations – ask a wide range of different people and ask them to focus on different skills or experiences.  You can review each recommendation once it’s made, deciding whether to add it or hide it.  Make sure each one address a different skill and really highlights your impact.

11. Manage your skills

You need to manage your endorsements and keep your skills updated.  Whether you change career, develop a new skill or take on new responsibilities, regular maintenance of your LinkedIn profile means that the skills and experiences you really want to be known will be clearly displayed so when connections land on your page, they’ll only see the most relevant skills.

12. Make Sure People Can Find You

The contact information section of your LinkedIn profile is vital!  Make sure it holds your correct, up-to-date information, including your email address (or blog, or Twitter handle, or anywhere else you’d like to be found).

Get the LinkedIn app and Expand on your experience - Sign saying for hire - Get noticed by the right people! Image showing a laptop - Get the perfect, proactive LinkedIn Profile in only an hour

13. Stay engaged!

Here are my top tips for maintaining a vibrant LinkedIn profile which works to attract the right people:

  • Show your enthusiasm! Use your status line to announce projects, events or anything which you’re doing related to your field
  • Update your status weekly – Share interesting articles or news, or an article you wrote. Well-expressed comments also enable you to share a broader range of content, whether you agree with the article or found it’s counterpoint interesting. Your comment expressing that viewpoint starts to establish your opinion and thought-leadership and encourages your connections to engage.
  • Publish on LinkedIn – Share your perspective about what’s going on in your field, weigh in on a recent industry development, or show off your skills as a writer. If you have a WordPress blog, consider using a plugin such as WP LinkedIn Auto Publish to automatically publish on LinkedIn
  • Join and participate in groups related to your field of expertise.  They are ongoing online networking events, providing instant connections to key people and enable you to be part of relevant discussions and connect with the leaders in your industry
  • Add to your connections, but only people you know! A good guide is to have 50 or more connections
  • Keep reviewing your profile monthly. Step back, take a look at your profile, and see how it looks to an outside person. Is it enticing—or overwhelming? Edit accordingly
  • Get the app on your phone! You can easily like, comment or share posts with a quick tap.  Your notifications and messenger will help you to be more responsive to developments in your LinkedIn communities.

If you are looking for that dream role…

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role.  Years of industry expertise, outstanding relationships with our clients and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role.  You can sign up here or call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

7 classic CV mistakes to avoid (and how to fix them!)

Emily Reynolds, Octopus Personnel Office Administrator, and owner of one of the most impressive CVs and cover letters we’ve seen in a while, explains how to fix some of the classic CV mistakes.

The whodunit of the recruitment world

A bit like the classic game, Cluedo, there are some CV crimes which can be predicted and fixed by a good detective, whether you have the lead pipe in the kitchen or not!  Octopus Personnel receive more than a 100 CVs a week– the good, the interesting, and the downright shocking!   Which CV type are you, and how can you ensure you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons?

Here are seven of the most common types we see, along with my advice on how you can improve your CV game!

Are you a Prolific Percy? Does you send out masses of CVs? Fix it with Octopus Personnel

Prolific Percy

You send the same CV to every job advert that seems remotely applicable, often multiple times a day.  By the law of averages, you could strike lucky. But how can you find the job you really want with such a haphazard and indiscriminate approach?  Do you even know what that is?  Unfortunately, you are highly likely to be disappointed even if you secure the role.

Emily’s  Advice: Employers want to feel as though the job they’re offering is the only one in the world you’d really love to do. Your Octopus Consultant will talk you through the key elements of the job, so you can use your CV to show you can do it better than anyone else who applies.  A standard CV simply cannot do that.  So stop the mass emailing, and start tailoring your CV.

Does your CV hide your talents? Fix it with Octopus Personnel

Secret Susan

You feel too embarrassed about promoting your achievements, so your CV swallows them up, hiding them so skilfully in an undercover exercise that would impress MI5. No one can accuse you of being arrogant.  But they won’t find your key qualities either! Employers want to be told up front.

Emily’s  Advice:  Value yourself. If you don’t know what makes you a great candidate, how can you expect an employer to believe in you? Discuss your achievements with your consultant.  Use their expertise to tease out the value of your achievements, so be bold and specific in your writing.  Then highlighting your most notable skills and achievements in your CV will be a breeze!

Is your CV showing you jump from job to job? Fix it with Octopus Personnel

Jumping Jack

You have had more jobs than we can count, resulting in an extremely long CV which says very little about your achievements!  Your experience is definitely diverse and you clearly perform well at interview!  However, you’ve haven’t ever stayed long enough in a role to reach your potential and prove your worth to an employer.  You can appear unfocused and unreliable and you also won’t have many substantial achievements to detail in your CV.

Emily’s  Advice: It’s time to work with your consultant to narrow down what really matters to you.  Perhaps it’s time for some self-examination, to try to figure out what you really want to do before you apply for another job. In the meantime, consider a skills-based CV format, rather than listing your jobs individually. And be ready to explain in your cover letter why you’ve changed job so many times. After all, there may be perfectly acceptable reasons why this is the case.

Are you too creative with the truth in your CV? Fix it with Octopus Personnel

Perfect Patrick

Unfortunately, your CV is literally too good to be true. You have absolutely everything we could possibly want – with the credentials and qualifications to ‘prove’ it. What’s more, you have managed to run the London Marathon, meet the Pope and negotiate world peace in your spare time.  There are no positives to this.  Fraudulent misrepresentation isn’t something you want to have on your record.

Emily’s  Advice: Take out the lies.  You don’t need them.  You’ll only be left feeling like a fool in the job interview when you have to justify yourself – or if you get the job, when you’re let go for not living up to expectations. Instead, try and value your real achievements and skills more highly. Most of the time, people falsify their credentials when they don’t think the real thing is adequate. Be open and honest with your Octopus consultant and talk through your experience with them.  They’ll help you pick out your strengths and write an engaging CV based on fact.

Does your CV lack experience? Fix it with Octopus Personnel

Newbie Nerys

You’ve just left school, with no work history beyond cleaning cars for the neighbours. Whilst you are big on dreams, you are unfortunately small on credentials.  You are vibrant, energetic and grateful for a chance to prove yourself! We will always take that risk in meeting you and finding out exactly what you are all about.

Emily’s Advice: You need to make the most of your qualifications and achievements, no matter how small. Anything from extracurricular activities and hobbies to part-time jobs and volunteering can demonstrate a wide range of transferable skills that could prove you’re a good fit. Make sure your CV shows your positive mindset – showing you know what you’re aiming at and how you plan to contribute to the company is vital.

Are you making a career change and need a skills focused CV? Fix it with Octopus Personnel

Shifting Steve

You want to move into a different industry or role type, rather than the standard upgrade from your current job. This can involve moving up a level, career shifting, or even down shifting.  A career change isn’t easy, nor is it a spontaneous decision. We understand the thought and effort it takes to pursue something new, so we like your dedication, passion, and enthusiasm. The challenge here is your experience is unlikely to directly link to the role on offer so your CV may make it challenging to decide if you are a viable choice.

Emily’s Advice:   To make this transition, your CV needs to be skill focused.  Firstly, explain what has led you to a new path in your personal statement. Then, use your transferable skills to prove why you’re the perfect candidate for the role – always referring back to the job description where possible.

Does your CV have too many holes? Fix it with Octopus Personnel

 Hole-y Helen

You’ve had lots of long break between roles, either by choice or necessity. This results in a CV with more holes than jobs.  You only apply for roles when you really want them – so that’s a positive!  But repeatedly leaving jobs without another to go to can appear at best unreliable, and at worst suspicious.

Emily’s Advice:   Face this head on.  Any employer will want to know ‘why the holes?’ You may have perfectly good reasons for them – whether it’s that you took on caring responsibilities, had an unexpected family crisis, or you had a one-off difficult experience in a company – which are all  acceptable examples. But the worst thing you can do is try to hide them, because any experienced employer will sniff them out. So put the dates for the gaps in your CV and provide (brief) reasons for them, expanding further in your cover letter if necessary.  It’s also likely that you’ve gained some valuable skills during those fallow periods – and drawing attention to these is a great way to make your gaps seem like a positive thing

Time for a refresh?

Unless you classify as ‘Newbie Nerys’, it’s likely you’ve had a CV which fits one of the characters above at some point in your working life. But whatever your current jobseeker status, it’s important to ensure you’re avoiding the most common jobseeking faux pas – whether it’s forgetting to tailor your CV, hiding your talents, being too creative with the truth, or applying for a job you don’t really want – which could firmly put you in the ‘no’ list for any role.

Remember: your aim is to stand out against the competition, not blend in; often all it takes is some extra care in your application to prove to employers you’re a good fit.

And no matter what, always check your spelling.

Need more CV advice?

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role.  Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role, be that through CV advice, interview tips or helping you make the most of your experience.  You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

To find out how to make your CV stand out from the crowd, buy James Reed’s book: The 7 Second CV: How to Land the Interview.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the job adverts you see to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of the office, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!

 

The Best Student Guide to preparing for Work

We are often asked by students how they can prepare for work and make sure they are ready for that leap into employment. Last night, Octopus Personnel has the pleasure of meeting lots of students and parents at the Next Steps Careers Evening at Gillingham School. Following on from their questions, Alice Weeks, Recruitment Consultant, talks students through preparing for work, getting support and career advice from recruitment agencies.

How can recruitment agencies help students to find work and gain experience header - Octopus Personnel Preparing for Work for Students

Many think that recruitment agencies are only for those in senior positions, but recruiters can actually help you find full-time, part-time or temping opportunities, no matter what stage of your career you’re at. This is great news for students just starting out in their working lives!

If you’re keen to know how it all works, or nervous about taking that first step, this guide has the lowdown on everything you need to know to get prepared for work!

What do Recruitment Agencies do - Octopus Personnel Preparing for Work for Students

Recruitment agencies essentially exist to help companies fill their vacancies – and to help you find a job.

We work with a wide range of the best employers in the South West. They are busy driving their businesses forward and use us to interview and select the best candidates they can short-list from. This offers a significant time saving – especially when they’re hiring for lots of roles.

At the same time, we interview every single candidate we register to get to know them – their aspirations, personality, talents and experience – so we can make the perfect match between candidate and employer. Then we help you with preparing for work, ensuring you are interview-ready by optimising your CV and coaching you on interview technique.

Do agencies take money from your earnings - Octopus Personnel Preparing for Work for Students

First things first, our service is completely free to students and job seekers! It’s the employers who pay us to find them staff.

What are the advantages of recruitment agencies - Octopus Personnel Preparing for Work for Students

  • We have jobs you won’t find elsewhere! Many companies choose recruitment agencies as their only method of sourcing new employees.
  • We are experts in the local job market. We have an extensive client list and work with some of the best employers in the South West. The cornerstone of our success is our knowledge and special relationships we have forged with the businesses that lie within the communities that we serve.
  • You’ll get expert guidance from a professional. You’ll have a dedicated consultant who’ll be able to give you loads of information, including where the best jobs are that fit your profile, what particular employers are looking for, and how to gain that all-important experience and qualifications to boost your CV and show you are prepared for working.
  • Your success is our success! We want you to succeed, so we will always go that extra mile in terms of advice, support and finding the right fit. We can help you to improve your CV and coach you for interviews – our support can be a great bonus in a competitive job market.

What do I need to do to register - Octopus Personnel Preparing for Work for Students

This process is nice and simple.

  • Make sure you have your CV ready. There are lots of guides on the internet and your school’s career service will also have advice. Make sure you’ve had a go at getting the basic information down, then we can help improve it! Submit your CV to enquires@octopuspersonnel.co.uk
  • Book an appointment with one of our consultants on 01747 825568 and come in to discuss your aims and goals. This is a first interview – so remember to treat this like you would any other job interview: dress smart, prepare your answers to key questions and be professional at all times.
  • When you come to see us, relax! It’s easier said than done, but you’ll perform a lot better if you try to take the whole process in your stride. Use your experience with us as a practice run, and we’ll have plenty of tips and advice for you before you head out to your interview with an employer.

It’s much easier preparing for work with our guidance!

Come and see us - Octopus Personnel Preparing for Work for Students

You have nothing to lose and we can’t wait to meet you!

Remember that all those extra-curricular activities you do – your paper round, your Saturday job, your charity work, the teams you play for – all add depth and interest to your CV, show you are prepared for work. So keep being you and come and see us to get that all important work experience!

Make your appointment today

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role, whether that’s employment or studying. Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role. You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

Alice Weeks

About the author

I specialise in temporary recruitment and I’m always planning ahead, but manage to fill those last minute gaps! I really enjoy the buzz of the Octopus Office and no two days are the same. For me, it’s really important to get to know my candidates so I can support them on assignments and get the best from them.

I love baking so working in the Octopus Office with a monthly bake-off is a dream come true. I am a great listener and I know the power of a well-timed cup of tea and a biscuit!