The world we live in has changed …

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           Jane Harvey

Job seekers need to be more savvy and careful than ever when it comes to social media. Gone are the days of turning up for an interview in your Sunday best, providing details of a couple of referees who would be sure to sing your praises and then turning up to your new job the following Monday!

Social media can both advance and hinder your career depending on how you use it. As the Internet and social media grow increasingly important, particularly in business, most future employers and recruiters explore candidate’s social media profiles including Facebook before making hiring decisions.

 And this is the very reason you need to be extra careful with how you use social media, how you portray yourself in this medium and how you set up your privacy. After all, it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to provide an unflattering social media image to future employers.

So, before you apply for your next job, take a good look at your online presence in some of the following ways:

Google yourself

Yes, this is the first thing anyone will do to see if you are who you say you are! Search your name and see what comes up? If there is something there that you would not be comfortable with a future employer seeing … take it down or get in touch with whoever published it and request that they remove it. This is not always possible and some things will remain for a very long time … so think before you post!

Check your privacy settings

Most people think that their privacy settings are sufficient and only their chosen ‘friends’ can see what they post… but in actual fact most people allow friends of friends to view certain content and it just goes on from there. If you go into Facebook and in your profile click “view as public” you will get a better understanding of what anyone in the world can see – including a future employer. If you can see too much … change your settings and get rid of anything that may cause damage to your professional image.

Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date

LinkedIn is one of the most important tools you can utilise as a job seeker or even as an employer. Often referred to as a professional Facebook, LinkedIn is your opportunity to get noticed and to stand out from the crowd, so make it work! Make sure your content is accurate and informative and that you include a snippet from your past few roles on the cover page. Make sure you keep it up to date and most importantly, include a professional and current photo, not one of you and your children or partner or best friend on a park bench or in a pub. Keep it up to date! If you don’t have it, then get it! If you are going for an interview, look at the profiles of the people interviewing you, it will show you are interested and doing research into them and their business.

 In all honesty, prevention is better than trying to fix social media disasters. Everybody has a life outside of work but photos of partying hard, can and will tarnish your professional image. If you must post, make sure your pictures are private. Future employers and recruiters do not need to see them.

Lastly, limit your work related comments on social media such as Facebook, particularly anything that may be seen as derogatory, and limit your social related comments on mediums such as LinkedIn – they are very different and you need to draw a very distinctive line between them. Open your LinkedIn profile so that almost anyone can access it, and your Facebook, Twitter etc. so that almost no-one can, and you should be on your way to that great new role without the worry of skeletons in the closet!

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Is the Cover Letter dead??

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By Angela Ng

Some think that in the new transactional world, where shortlists are formed by keyword searches, that the cover letter is dead, but I have news for them. The cover letter remains a key tool for the candidate to differentiate themselves from the crowd, to personalise their application for the role, and to get the recruiter’s/hiring manager’s attention sufficiently to make them want to turn over and review the CV.

A good cover letter has the following:

1. PROOF THAT YOU’VE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK

Recruiters and hiring managers want to see that you know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s important in the early sections of your cover letter that you refer to the job, its title and the company in some form.

Bonus points if you can impress your potential future boss with an acknowledgement of a major company success. Triple points if that success relates to the team you’d be joining.

2. AN EXPLANATION OF HOW YOUR SKILLS RELATE

Your cover letter is also the written explanation of your resume as it relates to the job at hand. So it’s important you explain in the letter what exactly it is you can do for this company and this role based on your previous experience.

You could use, what’s called a “T-Letter” to effectively present this section. This is a letter with a two-sentence intro followed by two columns—one on the left headed, “Your Requirements” and one on the right headed, “My Experience.” Bye-bye big, boring blocks of text.

Using the job description, pull out sentences that express what they are looking for and place those in the “Your Requirements” column. Then add a sentence for each to the “My Experience” column that explains how your skills match those.

It’s an aggressive, bold approach—but one that could set you apart from the rest.

3. YOUR EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE POSITION

Here’s an exercise: Think about yourself in the job you’re applying for. What do you feel? You’re probably pretty pumped, huh? Now harness some of that excitement and put it down on paper.

For example, if you were applying to a web design or UX job, you could write, “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in how the digital world works and how users interact with websites. Website design is not only my career, it’s my passion, which is why I hope you’ll consider me for this great role on your team.”

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

8 Tips To Making A Good Impression At Interview

 By Ben Wright

So you’ve put in all the hard work of getting your CV up to scratch, you’ve applied for roles and have managed to secure an interview.

How well do you think you’ll perform at interview?

It’s a difficult process for anyone at any level, and I’ll try my best to guide you through some of the likely questions and situations you might find yourself having to deal with.

  1. First impressions

The obvious one – first impressions do count! You have no idea how true this is. You need to smile and make the right amount of eye contact, so keep your gaze just a few seconds longer than usual, without looking like a bit of a weirdo.

  1. Questions and answers

Let the interview panel lead the interview but remember that you don’t have to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions. While they’re telling you all about the job and the company, questions from you at this point will emphasise your interest in the position. They may start with the question “Tell us about yourself and your experience, and why you think you would be the best candidate for the job”. This is where it helps to have your pitch handy as a brief introduction to who you are and what you can do.

  1. Preparation

Before the interview you should consider how you handle situations like interviews. How will you answer a question like “What are your salary expectations”? A difficult one if you don’t know whether you are over or under selling yourself. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are – you need to be able to say what you’re good at with confidence.

  1. Your reasons for wanting the job

Ask yourself why you want this job because you’ll likely be asked this on the day. Only you know the answer and you need to make it a good one. Just because you need a job isn’t a good enough reason for someone to hire you. Ask yourself what you actually know about the company. Are you interested in a long-term career or is this simply a stopgap for you? They might ask you where you see yourself in 6 months or 5 years’ time – how will you answer this. Easy if you see yourself long-term with the company, but not so easy to answer if you don’t.

  1. Dress Code

I can’t stress this enough – make sure that you dress professionally. Casual is not good and gives the wrong impression. Of course, this will entirely depend on what type of job you are applying for, but for a professional career position, get it right and rock that killer suit.

  1. Be enthusiastic!

You’ve been invited for interview because they believe you can do the job. It’s just down to you on the day to show that you can do it better than anyone else. Even if you don’t tick all the boxes for the job criteria, I’ll bet you have something just as good or even better to offer. The interview panel don’t know this yet, so you have to tell them. Don’t be negative about a past (or present) employer, working conditions etc., as this will give a really bad impression. Try to show that you are flexible and willing to take on responsibility.

  1. Timing is critical

Whatever happens don’t be late!  Arrive 10 minutes prior – and if you’re too early then take a walk around the block.  Just don’t leave it until 5 minutes before the interview is due to start, because the interview room might be some distance away from the reception area you have reported to.

  1. The evening before the interview

I’m not going to say try to relax the evening before because you won’t, but get some sleep! If you really want the job you’ll be pretty nervous… that’s natural – and that’s the best advice anyone can give, to just be natural and be yourself. That’s the person they’re looking for. Good Luck!

The Perfect Resume

By Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

I usually spend less than 5 minutes reviewing a resume, and research suggests that recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before they make the initial decision on candidates. That means you have to win them over fast. So what makes a perfect resume? There is no perfect resume format, but some are closer to perfect than others. At the end of the day, your skillset and qualifications will get you the job. However a great resume will be the key to getting that job interview. So here are a few key points to consider.

A new idea of mine, given the growth of social media, is to make sure your resume includes a URL to your professional online profile. Employers and recruiters look up a candidate’s online profile, so why not just include your URL along with your contact information in your resume.

Don’t include an objective statement, it is so yesterday. There’s no point in including a generic objective about “a professional looking for opportunities that will allow me to leverage my skills”. It’s not helpful, it’s distracting, so just ditch it. Replace it with an executive summary, which should be similar to a “30-second elevator pitch” explaining who you are and what you’re looking for. In approximately three to five sentences, explain what you’re great at, most interested in, and how you can provide value to a prospective employer.

Use reverse chronological order. This means anyone reading your resume is able to see what you’ve been doing in recent years immediately. More space should be allocated to the more recent positions, since this is where your most important achievements are usually found.

Identify keywords consistent with the job advertisement or role description and incorporate them into your resume (assuming you have those skills).

Ensure you describe your past experience, skills and achievements. This should be changed for every job you apply for to ensure prospective employers understand why you are perfect for the job. Include your achievements, as it is not sufficient to simply state the roles and responsibilities that you have held. It is vital to illustrate and even quantify the outcomes you delivered. This is a testament to how you have added value to an organisation, and can include the money you saved or brought in for your employer, deals closed, and projects delivered on time or under budget.

As I said in one of my previous blogs, “you get out what you put in”, so be prepared to spend some time on your resume and refine it a number of times until it is right. It is part of your toolkit, to nailing that next job.

Need help with your resume or want to know more? Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Resumes, I Have Seen It All!

By Kate Broadley

I’ve sent lots of resumes over my career and I’ve personally reviewed thousands.

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Some are fantastic, most are just ok, and many are just dreadful, sorry I know that hurts. The worst part is, I continue to see the same mistakes made over and over by candidates, who are then shortlisted out and eliminated from consideration for a job. What’s most depressing is that I can tell from the resumes that many of these individuals are really good and would offer much to the prospective employer. But in this fiercely competitive labor market (yes fiercely competitive is what I said) employers don’t need to compromise or even wonder if you might have the right skill set. All it takes is one small mistake and your resume will be rejected, there are many other well written resumes to consider.

I know this is well-worn ground, but I promise you, more than half of you have at least one of these mistakes on your resume. And I’d much rather see you win jobs than get passed over.

Typos. This one seems obvious, but it happens again and again. So please read your resume from bottom to top: reversing the normal order helps you focus on each line in isolation. Or have someone else proofread it for you.

Length. Some people believe that resumes should be one page. Some say two pages. Some say three. Many candidates for positions are frightened that if they don’t comply with some arbitrary length limit, their resume won’t get read. This is all nonsense as there are no so-called “rules”. You should provide sufficient detail so that employers and recruitment consultants realise that you understand the impact of your role, that you go about your work using a well-reasoned thought process, and you have the judgment, knowledge and other skills needed for the types of roles for which you are applying. The issue is not how long the resume is. It’s about whether it conveys enough information to differentiate you from the competition and gets you to that first interview. Once you’re in the room, the resume doesn’t matter much. So cut back your resume. It’s too long.

Formatting. Unless you’re applying for a job such as a designer, your focus should be on making your resume clean and legible. At least ten point font, white paper, black ink and a reasonable margin on both sides of the page. Consistent spacing between lines, columns aligned with your name and contact information on every page. Your head shot, no matter how good you look in it, is unnecessary… your LinkedIn profile will usually suffice for employers who are interested in you (and if you don’t have your photo on LinkedIn, refer to my previous blog “How to build your professional brand”).

Of course, I shouldn’t have to mention it, but please, please don’t lie… you will get busted, its just a matter of time.

The good news is that if you can avoid these mistakes, you will be halfway there. In a future blog, I’ll talk about what you can do to make your resume stand out, other than the things to avoid!! Go on, review your resume and see if you can eliminate some of these mistakes.

Need help with your resume or want to know more? Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

How to Build Your Professional Brand

How to Build Your Professional Brand

By Kate Broadley

This is all very new to me, but is probably old hat to many of you in the commercial world!!

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

So I am going to start with the basics!!! LinkedIn is your friend, so create a LinkedIn profile and start connecting. I know there is not always time, but make time to ask and answer LinkedIn questions to increase your visibility. Please, please put a photo on your LinkedIn Profile, how can you brand yourself, if others can’t see you?…and yes it should be a professional corporate image, not one of your favourite holiday happy snaps!

Those of you who are sensitive about what others can see about you on LinkedIn need to take a breath and relax. You should check your settings and make sure your personal information is only visible to those you chose to make it visible to. Even I have learnt that you do really want people to read your profile, so the more visible it is the better!!

Why you ask?!! Well I did ask…and now I do understand. Your LinkedIn profile is your opportunity to showcase your talents for potential employers, clients or the like. So many companies have used LinkedIn to recruit candidates for employment. Recruitment specialists like Eden Ritchie often use LinkedIn to identify passive candidates. You might just be the passive candidate these companies are looking for, if only you had a personal brand.

To have a personal brand people need to know about you and what you do. Comment on other people’s blogs, write some articles, go to events, and network with your contacts. Be sure that all your endeavours are focused and relevant to both your skills and your career goals. Writing a well-written blog focused on your area of expertise is another good addition to your professional branding package.

Personal branding is about knowing people in your industry, so while I would love to toil away hidden in the office, I have learnt that you do need to make the time to meet with people, either online or in-person. Send them an email or a message, I can’t believe how many great people I have met, many of them because I sent them a quick email introducing myself or vice versa.

Building your brand isn’t a one shot wonder. It takes time to build a solid presence and should be an ongoing activity, built into your daily program. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, stay in touch with your contacts, build and maintain your network, and work on your branding on a regular basis. What’s that saying…nothing in life worth having is easy…. Or is it you get out what you put in!?!

Need help with your LinkedIn profile, contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter

How to shine at interview

By Kate Broadley

KateFINALA job interview gives you a chance to shine. Remember, what you say and do will either move you forward in your career or knock you out of contention. Seriously …it doesn’t take much to make an impression – good or bad. If you haven’t taken the time to dress appropriately or if you say the “wrong” thing, you have probably blown your chances before you even say a word…

My advice is take the time to prepare for your interview and don’t think you can wing it, I have certainly seen many people make this mistake. Make sure you know what’s on your resume, you would be surprised at the number of people who don’t outline why they are qualified for the job. Be able to talk about why you are interested in the company, and practice staying calm and focused. No matter how good you think you are, I am yet to find anyone who actually enjoys the experience. It’s important to remember that the image the interviewer has of you when they first meet you is the one that is going to last.

Know the Facts

I’ve been surprised when applicants weren’t able to tell me their dates of employment or what they actually did on a day-to-day basis in their job. Make sure you review your work history prior to interview – and ensure what you say matches what’s on your resume. Take the time to research the organisation and the job you’re applying for.

What You Don’t Say

What you don’t say can – and will – be used against you in a job interview. If you come to an interview chewing gum or drinking coffee, you will already have one strike against you. Not being dressed appropriately or having scuffed shoes will give you a second strike. Talking or texting on your cell phone or listening to an iPod while waiting to be called for the interview may be your final strike and you could have ruined your opportunity, before you have even said a word.

Verbal Communication

Your verbal communication is so important. Please don’t use slang and make sure you speak clearly. Remember, if you need to think about a response to an interview question, that’s fine. It’s better to think before you talk than to stumble over your words. Most importantly practice does make perfect, so practice answering some interview questions so you’re comfortable responding to the basics.

Listen

It can be easy to get distracted during a job interview. It’s stressful and you’re in the hot seat when it comes to having to respond to questions. Do your best to listen to what the interviewer is asking, it will be easier to frame appropriate responses.

 Non-Verbal Communication

What you don’t say during an interview is as important as what you do say. What’s important is to appear professional and attentive throughout the interview.

So with that said, I hope your next interview is a positive experience, remember, even if you are not successful, you can learn from the experience.