Are you committing CV fraud?

No doubt you’ve heard at least a little something about the College admissions scandal. Well, recruitment is facing its own scandal…

The growing case of degree and CV fraud:

It turns out that almost half a million fake degree certificates have been purchased over the past 8 years alone.

Many of these come from entirely counterfeit institutes, with 243 such businesses now on the Prospects list (Prospects being the organisation that has teamed up with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate this problem).

Alongside this, some organisations pose as genuine universities in order to obtain personal details and, of course, payments.

The cost of these fake qualifications…

This global ‘industry’ makes in the region of  £37.5 million a year, according to the BBC. One British man actually spent £500,000 on fake qualifications.

Yet these aren’t the only costs to consider. As per the BBC report, “degree fraud cheats both genuine learners and employers.”

It also places the buyer at risk.

What are the legal implications of CV fraud?

It’s not the act of purchasing or possessing the fake documents that is unlawful, but rather the act of using these documents within your CV and/or job applications.

This is considered a criminal offence and falls under the Fraud Act 2006.

If convicted of this offence, you could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Even if your actions aren’t considered gross enough to warrant imprisonment, you may be at risk of dismissal from your job and even the chance of being sued for compensation.

What about ‘white lies’ on your CV?

Unsurprisingly, it’s far more common that people fudge their grades or work experiences than they pretend they’ve studied somewhere or something they haven’t. However, what you perceive as minor lies could still cost you your job and your reputation.

With this in mind, it’s worth having another look at your CV to ensure that everything you’re presenting is a true picture of your skills, education and experience.

You can find straight-forward CV advice on our downloads page. We also share hints and tips regarding what to include in your cover email to recruitment agencies in this popular post.



The average weekday morning routine

What does your weekday morning routine look like? If it features alarm snoozing, multiple cups of tea, and a few cross words (unsurprisingly that’s angry words rather than puzzles!), you’re very much in line with the average Brit…

As a nation, each workday morning we:

  • Snooze our alarms five times
  • Consume two teas
  • Swear four times before 9 o’clock
  • Have at least two rounds of ‘cross words’ with our partners
  • And break up two or more fights between our children
  • We also hunt for both our mobile phones and keys twice over before leaving the house

This is all according to research conducted by Dunelm. You can compare your morning against the rest of the nation’s data in this recent HR News post.

How media features in our morning routine:

The article also cites some fascinating details when it comes to how else we’re using our time. Collectively we…

  • Spend 3 million hours ‘browsing social media’ from the bed, bathroom and breakfast table.
  • Respond to 97 million emails before we’ve even got up.
  • And watch 16 million hours of morning TV.
  • Breaking this down into minutes, the average working person spends 6 minutes on checking their work emails and another 6 minutes on posting to social media from their beds. Yet we only allow 7 minutes to eat breakfast (with more than 1/4 doing this while rushing around the house). That’s also less time than spent on styling one’s hair and reading the online news.

The morning mood…

A number of potential ‘morning downers’ are identified, including missing public transport, traffic jams, arguments, and not knowing what to wear, among others.

With all the stats combined, it’s no wonder that more than 1/4 of professionals feel stressed as soon as they wake up, with 76% of people finding weekday mornings worst of all.

Are there any solutions?

Weekday mornings are always going to present their challenges, especially for anyone with additional caring responsibilities or health needs. Anything you can do to manage your stress levels is going to help improve your morning routine. Or, at least, how that routine makes you feel!

Prepping whatever you can the night before, prioritising sleep, and avoiding the lure of social media first thing in the day could be a great place to start.

Alongside this, ask yourself whether there’s anything else contributing to your morning stress load. It’s said that 97% of people are frustrated in their work. Frustration can lead to nitpicking (and an all-around shorter fuse with those around you!) as well as more of a desire to procrastinate.

If job frustration is ruining your morning routine, and the rest of your working week, why not take a look at the latest job vacancies?



Are you suffering from vocation frustration?

UK office workers are suffering from a serious case of vocation frustration, says a recent Staples report…

The report, available in full on the Staples website, opens with a description of how most people want to feel. When office life runs smoothly and “it all just works”. However, it soon explains that the national workplace presents a far more frustrated picture.

An ideal situation:

  • 89% of people look to feel fulfiled in their jobs. Professor Sir Cary Cooper of the Alliance Manchester Business School states that both “the physical and psychological environments are critical to achieving this.”
  • 2/5 of professionals additionally want to ‘feel like a boss’ regardless of their job role.
  • What’s more, 83% wish they could head home after work feeling they’ve ‘made a difference.’

The realities of vocation frustration:

  • Sadly, the above aims don’t ring true for many office workers. 97% of people report to feeling frustrated in their jobs!
  • It doesn’t take long to feel this way; 37% grow frustrated in a new work setting within just six months.

This frustration causes…

  • 89% of people to consider changing jobs. 10% report to ‘constantly’ thinking about this.
  • 35% of people moan to someone else.
  • 24% dream up a beach escape!
  • And 22% head straight to job advertisements. You may well have already visited our jobs page before reading this post?!

The Staples report goes on to highlight more on the link between the physical environment and a sense of fulfilment, alongside productivity, positive mental health and staff retention.

This topic may feel familiar to anyone who read our previous article on creating a happy workspace, which features a separate Staples report.

If you’re constantly feeling frustrated at work, it might be time to have a chat with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your industry. The REC website has a Member Directory to help you find reputable recruitment agencies in your area. 



Job hunting this lunch break?

Are you using your lunch break to job search? Why so many professionals are, plus some considerations to be aware of…

The lunch break job hunters:

  • It turns out that 1/4 of UK professionals are now job searching at lunchtime.
  • 1/3 of people aged 22-35 even apply for job vacancies during working hours.
  • In comparison, the over-55s are more likely to conduct their job search after work (58%).

What’s behind these figures?

  • The majority of respondents hope to increase their salaries (41%). This actually contradicts other recent research findings.
  • There’s also the aim of making a ‘fresh start’ (31%);
  • Plus simply wanting to know what else is out there (over 25%)
  • Alongside an eagerness to work for a different company (23%).

Some hints and tips…

  1. It’s definitely wise to save your job hunting for your lunch break rather than during office hours. You’re entitled to a break. For most, this will include an hour-long lunchtime. For others, it’ll simply be the 20 minutes that you earn for working more than a 6 hour day. Either way, this break should ideally be ‘uninterrupted’ and is yours to spend as you wish…within reason, of course (your contract may stipulate certain limitations, such as the amount of alcohol that can be consumed during the day. But that’s a different topic)!
  2. Avoid using any work devices to conduct your job search; even if it is during your lunch break. Your employer may monitor computers, laptops/tablets and phones. This is a private endeavour that should be limited to your own technology.
  3. On a similar note, always use your own email address, rather than your company’s. Again, company emails may be monitored.
  4. Private devices operated on company Wi-Fi might not be so private after all. Where possible, take yourself out of the office where you can conduct your search in peace.
  5. Don’t rush your applications. You want to make sure you can give your CV and any cover letters proper attention. Use this time to research and bookmark openings and make any initial enquiries. Only send your CV if you’re sure it’s ready to be sent (keep a copy in your email drafts for this purpose). Also be sure to proofread your cover note and check that you’re not emailing it to your boss/colleague by mistake!
  6. Lunch breaks are fantastic for contacting and/or meeting with recruitment agencies. Let them know if you’re only available for a certain period of time so you feel more relaxed. For further advice about your search, please call an Appoint consultant on 01225 313130. Here’s what to include if you’re emailing your CV to a recruitment agency. And, finally, here’s where you can upload your CV via our website.

Best of luck with your job search – we look forward to hearing from you regarding jobs in Bath and the surrounding area. 



Fantastic reasons to work in finance

How the finance and financial services industries are leading the way, according to three recent news reports.

This is promising reading for anyone considering a new job or career within these sectors – which have long served as prominent local employers.

1) Training and development potential

The finance sector currently tops the list for professions providing training and skills development opportunities.

  • Finance scored 88%
  • The rest of the top five included: HR/recruitment (82%)
  • Civil servant roles (81%)
  • Law (78%)
  • And Accounts (77%)

In addition, you’ll see that other great commercial office employers receive top ten scores.

This is all the more impressive when you consider that almost 1/3 of businesses do not offer any employee training or development. We discuss some of the reasons why this is the case here.

2) Fastest growing sectors for women

Finance and financial services also appear in the ‘top ten fastest growing industries for women‘.

This data explores the rate of growth over the 20-year period from 1998 to 2018.

  • ‘Support for finance and insurance’ has increased by 124.18%, which places these industries in 9th position.
  • Other high-scoring roles, such as head office management (showing a 191.27% increase) and Information services (up 146.15%) could be conducted both within and outside of these sectors.

3) Workplace happiness

The industry once again scores in the top ten of the ‘Workplace Happiness League Table‘.

  • Finance achieves a 68% score for employees who rank themselves as ‘happy or very happy’ in their jobs.
  • Legal, IT and telecoms, property, media/communications and the medical industries all also score impressively.

80% of people rank happiness as ‘important’ at work, versus 58% for salary, according to the survey. Another fantastic reason to work within this sector!

You can find our latest finance jobs here and financial services roles here. Do keep an eye on the jobs listings page in general, as it’s regularly refreshed with new opportunities. 

Read next: is salary the most important factor in your job search?



What the Spring Statement means for your payslip

How will last month’s Spring Statement affect your personal income?

For anyone less familiar, the Spring Statement is one of two annual ‘mini-budgets’ which the HM Treasury presents to Parliament. The second of which is the Autumn Budget. The latter is due to have a greater focus on tax this year. However, there are a number of points for you to be aware of now.

Please note: while we usually try to avoid sources that ask you to sign in, today’s article contains several of these – specifically selected for their handy insights. If you’d rather not access the links, you may prefer to look at these ‘proposed changes at a glance‘.

Introducing the Spring Statement 2019:

The statement covers an array of topics, from the public purse to technological changes, economic growth plans, education and investment. It also comprises aspects of (potentially more) personal interest, including those pertaining to house prices, loan charges, tax and more.

Your payslip:

Of course, there’s little more personally relevant than your payslip. The below podcast reference features greater detail regarding this. Yet, if you want to cut straight to the chase, The Telegraph has an online calculator which will help you ascertain how much your payslip will differ as of this month (April 2019).

As noted on the site, it’s a prediction tool which “does not take your pension contributions, child tax credits or student loan payments into account”. You’ll need to sign in to use it. They offer a free registration which entitles you to a limited number of articles.

Please note: if you struggle to interpret your payslip and tax code, we have an article that should really help!

A handy podcast…

We were interested to catch the recent Money Box podcast, which invited experts to comment on the impact the statement will have on your household finances. The whole episode is only 28:44 minutes long. We’ve also tracked down some key timeslots that may be of particular interest to you…

  • 12:32: introducing the main income tax changes, the fact that we will all pay less tax in England, and how personal allowance and higher rate thresholds are increasing.
  • 13:38: an extra note for Basic Rate taxpayers, also regarding personal allowance.
  • 14:30: discussing how higher rate taxpayers will additionally pay less tax, yet more National Insurance.
  • 15:22: mentioning the loss of child benefits for higher rate taxpayers.
  • 16:00: the fact benefits are frozen for those that don’t pay tax, with no change in universal credit. Also discussing nil rate bands.
  • 16:29: a reminder for everyone to register for child benefits even if they earn over £50,000, as the credits contribute towards the state pension.
  • 18:36: stating ‘big changes’ for the 10 million people in auto enrolment pensions, with a ‘big rise in contributions’.
  • 20:05: questioning whether more people will opt out in light of the above. Also, whether people will actually notice the change, as there are so many changes happening at once (20:24).
  • 20:42: a point of interest for everyone on minimum wage.
  • 22:00: are people making sufficient pension contributions? How some may not be able to retire due to inadequate pensions arrangements. With a special message at 22:33.

You can scroll straight to the above timeslots, or listen to the episode in its entirety, via the BBC Sounds website. You’ll need to sign in (or register for free) to do so.

Don’t forget to read our article on understanding your payslip and tax code if you need any assistance with this.



Building your transferable skills

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about transferable skills. Yet how easily can you identify yours and do you know how to build them?

What makes a skill transferable?

The term applies to any key skill or attribute that you can carry from one job to the next.

While vital for us all, they become especially imperative for those that are…

  • Only just embarking on their career
  • Entering a new industry
  • Looking to make a major job change
  • Returning to work after a career break

Each of these groups may have to work that bit harder to demonstrate their suitability for a job role. So, rather than describing the skills gained from a recent job, they will illustrate their transferable skills gathered from elsewhere.

Example skills include:

All those personal attributes that spring to mind when highlighting the best of your abilities, including:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Perseverance
  • Project management
  • Reliability
  • Organisation
  • Budgeting
  • Record keeping
  • Research
  • IT and technical

As you can imagine, this list could become extensive and will certainly vary by individual.

Where do you develop transferable skills?

You develop these attributes over time and through a variety of professional and personal duties. For instance:

  • Your career roles to date
  • ‘Non-career’ jobs, such as part-time positions undertaken during your studies
  • Professional associations
  • Work experience placements
  • Voluntary roles
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Training courses
  • Travel
  • And caring responsibilities

Communicating your skills:

If there’s one tip that you take away from this piece, it’s this: make it relevant!

Employers want to see how closely you match the needs of their business and how well you’d ‘fit’ within their job role.

Spotted a job you want to apply for?

  1. Highlight the skills that the employer is looking for, then brainstorm all the ways that you’ve used these to date. Refer to the list above to prompt your recall.
  2. Compile specific examples to illustrate how you’ve used these skills in practice – and how you’ve used them to someone’s benefit. How has it helped your employer or voluntary organisation, colleagues, teammates, peers or personal/career development? Have these skills led to any specific achievements? Revisit our last post for more advice on how to showcase these.
  3. Weave your findings throughout your CV; include these in your personal profile, key skills summary and employment history. You can even highlight some of the most relevant skills in your cover letter or email.
  4. Finally, get in the habit of regularly reading job listings so you can quickly identify the most common key skills needed within your industry. See how you can build more of these both in and out of work.


How to showcase your achievements

Whether you’re looking for a job promotion or a brand new role, you need to know how to showcase your achievements to employers…

We’ll focus on targeting recruitment agencies and prospective employers today. However, if you’re reading this from the promotion perspective, simply use the tips to tailor your notes for an upcoming management meeting or appraisal.

Showcasing your achievements throughout your job search: 

The best CVs are those that spotlight your skills and successes – and manage to link these back to the position you’re applying for. Of course, when faced with a blank document, this can be much easier said than done.

Some of the best advice we’ve read on this topic comes from The Balance Careers. They explain how to:

  1. Define your past successes: looking back over previous roles and making sure you know ‘what success looked like in each position.’
  2. List your achievements: considering those moments in which you’ve excelled in your role and noting specific examples.
  3. Quantify your performance: using numbers to illustrate your achievements.
  4. Highlight any awards: as it sounds; we’ll come back to this shortly!
  5. Weave your findings into your CV and cover letter: suggesting powerful keywords, and how and where to reference your successes.

They even share some examples of their tips in action on a CV, cover letter and during an interview.

Please note: the above article comes from an American website, so watch that you don’t let any American-English slip into your CV. This can frustrate prospective employers!

Some extra tips for the list…

  • Even if you’re not actively looking for a job, get in the habit of following items 1-4.  It’s so much easier to recall your achievements when they’re fresh. Keep a dedicated list, so you’ll be able to select the most relevant examples for each job application.
  • Don’t worry if you’ve not been nominated for any awards! There are other ways to show recognition. Perhaps you’ve received praise from a boss or colleague, a promotion, or some form of prize/incentive for your work. Note these examples too.
  • Remember, the UK CV is ideally only around 2 pages long. It may be a single page for those with less work experience, or a 3-page document for more experienced professionals. However, there’s no reason you can’t get a bit creative and incorporate further details into a separate document to submit to your interviewer. Keep this snappy, using bullet points and graphics.
  • Remember, employers want to know how you can help them. Always draw your examples back to your company research. There’s more about this here.

Further reading:



The competition for graduate talent

Employers looking for graduate talent are facing extraordinary competition. Yet, at the same time, grads fear reduced job prospects…

As competition increases:

Candidates are now making an average of 29 graduate scheme applications at once. This has created an application boom. The ‘finance and professional services’ industries have gone from receiving 50,000 applications to more than 250,000.

Not only is this keeping the employers rather busy (and forcing them to compete against each other), it’s also spiking competition levels among the applicants.

While 3/4 of candidates have expressed an interest in graduate programmes, only 1% of applicants were recruited last year.

There are some positive findings though, including those relating to the reduced gender gap and increased ‘race equality’.

Why candidates are worried:

78% of graduates surveyed by Milkround fear that Brexit will ‘negatively affect their career’.

More than 1/2 foresee a struggle to find a graduate job – believing the economy could reflect the patterns observed during the 2008 financial crisis. During this period graduates spent an average of 8 months trying to secure their first role. Many applicants also changed their career plans or entered different sectors due to job scarcity.

Despite these concerns, there are some promising stats. The Office for National Statistics reports continued record employment, while Milkround has observed a 104% increase in graduate openings ‘year on year’.

Soon to graduate or already done so?

Don’t forget that there are multiple routes into your first career role. Alongside the traditional big-firm schemes, there are many SME employers looking to recruit and develop graduates.

The Bath area has a wealth of high calibre employers looking to do just this, especially among the finance, financial services and professional services sectors. You’ll often find great examples on our jobs feed. As well as looking at the general listings, you can search by ‘graduate’ to see some of the latest opportunities.

Remember to also keep in touch with your Recruitment Consultant so that you are aware of the latest vacancies that match your career skills and goals.



The creative & innovative employee

How creative or innovative do you get to be on a daily basis? It’s important to remember that these words should apply to all industries and jobs, not just the artistic!

Creativity and innovation allow us all to work in new ways, formulate new ideas, and progress. However, employers and managers are overestimating just how much room they give their teams to use these skills.

Employees don’t feel able to be innovative at work…

  • 76% of business leaders believe they ’empower their employees to be innovative.’
  • However, only 34% of professionals feel encouraged in this way.
  • Yet 95% of businesses see innovation as imperative to their business growth and 91% of employees want the opportunity to be more innovative in their roles.
  • Employers are also misreading those tools that inspire creativity. They over-prioritise financial incentives and under-prioritise the role that ‘purpose’ plays in our work.
  • These findings (from Accenture, reported by HR Magazine) also reveal that staff specifically want appropriate skills development, flexible working opportunities, and a healthier work-life balance. Each aspect is believed to nurture greater innovation.

Tips for employers: each aspect features in our ‘7 Days of Employee Attraction Tips.’ See Days 3-5 for more advice. Make sure you’re also gathering genuine feedback from your employees. You don’t want to be among the managers who think they’re creating a culture that they’re not!

Good managers can spark creativity

It’s interesting to hear that managers can also increase creativity by using one essential skill – attentive listening.

  • In a separate international study, also shared by HR Magazine, employees expressed greater creativity when they felt listened to. Their workload was also of increased quality.
  • Conversely, distracted managers failed to promote such a response.
  • The article additionally highlights several flaws surrounding common brainstorming activities. Many people fear ridicule in response to sharing their ideas. Employees also worry about being the person that constantly offers up ideas in fear of annoying others.

There’s some sage advice for all managers; much of the focus needs to be paid to creating a more relaxed and informal culture that allows for ideas to be developed over time.

A brief note for stifled employees…

Where possible, share your ideas with your manager or a trusted colleague. You may be letting your fears get the better of you. Hopefully, your confidence will soon increase alongside your enjoyment of your role.

However, in instances where you’ve repeatedly tried and still feel stifled, or you simply fancy a change of scene, your skills may be better used elsewhere. You can read and apply for the latest jobs here.