29. October 2009 10:44
An article by msnbc earlier this month highlighted
that there may be a growing number of people impaired in their job hunt
due to their limited knowledge of computers. The article suggested
that: "However deeply computers may have embedded themselves into modern life,
there are still millions of people for whom they remain a challenge."
Do you feel inhibited by your computer knowledge, or lack thereof? And if so... what can you do about it?
Not having a computer/ the Internet at home
jobseekers, computers and the Internet have opened up a world of
possibilities for the job hunt. Gone are the days when you need to rely
purely on the job ads in your local paper; instead you can go to one of
the many online jobs websites, and search through hundreds of vacancies
in your area. Not only that but you can refine your search with
keywords and filters to get really relevant results. CV distribution
sites like ours allow you to upload and send your CV to other jobs
websites and further increase your exposure within the job market.
because you do not have a computer or the Internet at home does not
mean that you have to resort to Stone Age job seeking. Your local
library will have public computers that you can use for free- usually
for one hour a day, you will just need a free library membership card.
This will allow you to search for jobs online, brush up on your
computer knowledge and apply for vacancies. If you're having any
trouble, then the library staff will probably be able to impart some
pearls of wisdom of their very own, about any problems you are having.
Most libraries will also have facilities for you to scan and print
Typing tests and improving your keyboard skills
For admin jobs, an agency may ask you to perform a
typing test- which is usually to determine the speed at which you can
type. This is calculated in words per minute, so the more you can type
in a minute, the better your score.
order to be a proficient typist, you should be using both hands on the
keyboard and also be able to type without looking at the keys.
Practicing your keyboard skills is easy; all you need is some text to
write and then you can just focus on becoming quicker and more accurate
at typing the text. Once you get a feel for where the keys are you will
be able to improve your skill in no time. There is also a variety of
free online typing tests you can do to practice speed and accuracy,
just search Google for 'typing tests' and see what comes up.
Uploading your CV to a jobs website or CV distribution service
things first, for you to be able to upload your CV to a website or send
in an email- you need to 1) have your CV saved on the computer you are
using. and 2) Know where you have saved it (For example, my CV is saved
in 'My Documents' and is entitled 'CV.doc'
When you click the
'browse' button on sites like FreeMyCV to upload your CV, a little
window will appear, which allows you to browse through files on your
computer. This does not mean that anyone apart from you has access to
your files- as this window only shows files on the computer you are
using. You simply need to find the folder/location where your CV is
saved, select it, and click 'open'
It really is that simple.
Some websites will have requirements for what format your CV will need
to be in. A lot of sites may not take pdfs, for example. On any
document, you will be able to select 'Save As' and choose a different
file type to save your document as. So it doesn't mean that you have to
be running Microsoft Word in order to upload your CV. If you don't know
the format of your CV, this is determined by the programme you used to
write your CV up on your computer. Looking at the file name will tell
you- the dot and letters after the file name is the format, such as
.pdf .rtf .doc etc.
Think you've got the basics down?
Here's a checklist to help you on your way. Can you do the following:
-Confidently type with speed and accuracy, and locate keys on the keyboard.
-Navigate easily around Microsoft Windows, and use software such as Word, Excel etc (or an equivalent operating system).
-Understand and use computer terminology appropriately.
-Connect to the Internet, browse, type in URLs, save bookmarks and open and use multiple tabs.
-Use electronic mail (email) to compose, retrieve, read, and respond to emails.
-Open, save and create documents using word processing software, spreadsheet software etc.
-Attach documents to emails and upload files from your computer to elsewhere.
Still feel like using a computer is as alien to you as launching a rocket into space?
reading around the basics, or just messing about with a computer
doesn't turn you into an overnight computer whizz, then why not attend
a computer course? The Direct Gov website has a handy search tool that
allows you to type in what you wish to learn, and find all courses in
your local area. You can check it out here.
27. October 2009 09:08
Job seeking takes time. Updating your CV, filling out applications,
tailoring your covering letter, finding email contacts, or applying for
vacancies online... all of these aspects of your job hunt are very time
consuming, and this can quite frankly, be a bit of a pain. But are you
making the most out of your job search? And are you following the rules
of a good applicant?
Is this you?
your time sourcing out jobs from loads of different places, you have
newspapers with jobs circled, email addresses of companies, of
recruitment agencies, of jobs websites, vacancies to apply for- and
after finding the jobs and the contacts, it can be quite easy to take a
shortcut at the final hurdle. So you just send your CV packing, with
its generic covering letter, and a few choice words on an email about
how you hope you'll be considered for their vacancy. Because, to be
honest- you're kind of sick of the sight of CV, and of all of the bits
of paper cluttering up your desk. It's best to just get your CV out
there to as many employers as possible, to fully increase your chances
of getting an interview.
You're feeling pretty pleased with
yourself, you've done all the hard work and your CV is now out of your
hands, on the tremendous journey to sail into the inbox of potential
new employers. How exciting. It would probably surprise you to hear
then, that all of your hard work is about the equivalent of printing
out your CV, crumpling it into a ball and throwing it into the nearest
waste paper basket.
But it's true. A thoughtless, non specific, rushed application that you send en masse
to employers, recruitment agencies, jobs websites, and anyone else you
can think of is NOT going to secure you a job anytime soon.
How to break the 'bad applicant' cycle
the art of applying for jobs is, just that, an art form. Every part of
the process from the email that accompanies your attached CV to your
covering letter will be scrutinised. There are so many opportunities
for a company to quash your application before it is even seen by the
person who makes the employment decisions, that it really should be
flawless to stand any reasonable chance of securing you an interview.
for a job isn't a numbers game. Some candidates believe that the more
jobs they apply for, the more chance of securing a job. However the
reality is that a few well-crafted, thoughtful applications, suitably
tailored to each job and company are worth ten thousand randomCV's emailed to any old employer.
good application will involve research into the company hiring. You
will need to find out by looking at the job description what key skills
and attributes they are looking for, and ensure you highlight your
skills in these areas on your covering letter. Your covering letter
absolutely must be tailored for each job you go for- generic letters
with cliched phrases will just not be acceptable- the employer will not
see your enthusiasm or passion for their business- instead you will
just be another drone, sending in your CV with little thought to the
A good application can take from a few hours to a whole
days worth of work, so it really isn't something you can replicate
hundreds of times. Be selective, choose roles that you really can
succeed in, and take the time to think about the whole process- this is
your first impression to a company; you owe it to yourself to get it
The key things to remember when applying for jobs are:
Know who you are sending your CV to.
I'm not a recruiter, but yet my inbox gets inundated with applications
for vacancies within my 'esteemed organisation' that we don't even
have. Learn the differences between a jobs website, a CV distribution
service and a recruitment agency and use all of them to your advantage.
Find out what each can do for you and how best to get the most out of
their services. By all means inquire with a company as to whether they
have vacancies, but fully understand the role of the organisation, and
whether you'd fit into it before you do so.
Do your homework.
Find out who you need to send your application to and write a well
crafted covering letter personal to each vacancy you wish to apply for.
Take the time to find out the exact person or department that you need
to be in touch with when applying for vacancies, because another member
of the company might not pass it on.
Take your time. Yes
it's time consuming, yes it's a little boring and a lot frustrating-
but the payoff could be fantastic. Spend time on each application you
send, put yourself on the other end of your email or application- and
ask yourself; would you hire you?
Happy Job Hunting!
21. October 2009 08:47
Last week I told you about the new, fab job seeking application for the iPhone that has been created by AllTheTopBananas.com. It enables you to search from over 260,000 vacancies from AllTheTopBananas, save your search results, shortlist your favourite jobs, email jobs you like and even apply online with your iPhone at your convenience.
It is a much improved version of the early app from AllTheTopBananas, with a wealth of new features. Not only that, but the usability and general feel of the new version is a lot slicker. AllTheTopBananas was the first jobs website to release a UK only job seeking tool for the iPhone, so you can forgive that it is the third version of the application that truly gets everything spot on.
Their innovation in the marketplace now means that you can't escape the banana boom- whether on the iPhone, Twitter,Facebook...
you're now able to job seek using a wide variety of social platforms;
all for your convenience. Job searching now no longer involves lengthy
staring at your computer in your own home. Instead, if you have a spare
five minutes here and there, whether on the train, or waiting for
someone in the pub- you can job seek on your phone. Fantastic I say,
why can't everything slightly tedious be reduced to the simplicity of
an iPhone app? Now if only I can programme my washing machine to work
with the touch of a keystroke, I can truly relax...
If you still haven't downloaded the application (tut
tut, people) and want to know how it looks and works, the clever people
at AllTheTopBananas have even produced a video to show you how it works. Check it out...
13. October 2009 10:04
A couple of weeks ago I made a tremendous technological leap into the
world of the smart phone. I have a distinctly acute fear of technology
and change, so for me, this was a pretty huge deal! For years and
years I've had a rubbishly cheap pay as you go Samsung mobile; the
only thing changing throughout the years being an upgrade to a slightly
newer version of the same winning formula. But, I guess sitting with a
bunch of techies finally started to wear me down, and I was launched
kicking and screaming into the generation of Internet phones.
having some, frankly confusing discussions, with the tech team about
the type of phone I should get, with each brandishing a new and
complicated phone and selling the benefits to me with relish, I finally
decided on the HTC hero, a glorious example of a smart phone, and so
I'm told, is a strong competitor to the iPhone. I am all smug with my
new found ability to not only text, but 'tweet' and 'Facebook' on the
move, upload pictures at the tap of the whizzy touch screen- I'm
totally in my element.
And it seems that I am not the only one
to have embraced the smart phone era. Since 2008 when the iPhone
launched itself upon us, it has been purchased in its millions! Which
is why when my friends at AllTheTopBananas.com told me about their
latest product, I was very interested indeed...
were the first, yes the first, jobs website to produce a free, UK only
job searching application for the iPhone. Making them market leaders in
mobile job searching, those clever devils!
This week has seen
the launch of their third version of the application which enables you
to search, and apply for jobs wherever you are- through your iPhone!
The amazing features list includes the following:
-Search over 200,000 vacancies from AllTheTopBananas.com on your mobile.
-Set search criteria such as location, salary and job title.
-Save your searches to perform as many times as you want.
-Use the inbuilt GPS to conduct a search for jobs in your exact location.
-Save jobs to a shortlist, email ones you like, or apply directly online through the advertiser's own site.
-Browse regularly updated job seeking advice; from CV help to interview tips.
had a play with it on the iPhone, and I can't help but marvel at just
how slick it really is. Easy to use even for a technophobe like me, and
with great features that make it even easier to job seek, it truly is a
great app- and best of all, it's completely free!
assured me that there is going to me an equally whizzy version for my
little android phone soon, so I'll be sure to let you know when that's
finished. But for all you iPhone jobseekers, download the app now!
you're in for a banana-y treat!
For more information on the app, visit the AllTheTopBananas.com iPhone page.
13. October 2009 05:59
Liberal Democrat Party Conference, Sat 19th Sept- Wed 23rd Sept 2009.
The Lib Dems
backed personal allowance changes in income tax which would mean that
no tax would be payable on on the first £10,000 of your income.
party called for state pension to be linked to average earnings, and
that a citizen's pension should be created based on residency, rather
than National Insurance contributions.
New jobs could be created with spending projects centred around affordable homes and the green infrastructure.
The Lib Dems
proposed an introduction of a universal entitlement to free childcare
for all children from 18 months, to when they start school. Also the
suggestion of introducing a universal care payment, to help those over
65 who need personal care.
The party maintained that they would do everything possible to secure and keep jobs and viable businesses going.
Nick Clegg- Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Youth unemployment is 'the most serious social crisis' facing Britain today.
The party will put more money into providing short term internships for the unemployed.
David Laws- Education Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats
Unemployed young people should have access to paid internships.
"We ought to consider introducing a new training benefit or support
package for young people, which would allow them to receive at least the
level of Jobseeker's Allowance if they take up an internship
A call for more flexible education and training options for young people.
Vocational training needs to be better tailored to young people's needs.