Spotlight on you: how to write a CV, perfect your online profile and land your next job

In May, the ONS reported the largest quarterly decrease in unemployment since 2015, which is a great sign for UK job hunters. If you’re eyeing your next role, there’s no better time to spruce up that CV and any online professional profiles to make sure you’re getting noticed and presenting the best version of yourself to prospective employers.

How to write a CV

Even if some companies favour a different approach to applications, many still insist on the traditional CV format, so knowing how to write a CV is key. You may have a tried and trusted document, honed over the years and full of fantastic experience. It probably does the job, but could it do a better one?

Each time you’re setting off on your search for a new role, it’s vital to review all of the information you’re presenting to potential recruiters and hiring managers to make sure it’s bang up to date and a good reflection of who you are and what you can do.

Here are the main points you’ll need to include on a CV:

  • Name and contact details
  • Professional title (you may have more than one)
  • Brief personal statement
  • Experience/career history
  • Education
  • Skills

Personal statement
Use this space (a few lines of punchy text) to give a sense of who you are, how long you’ve been doing what you do and what areas you specialise in, but avoid giving too many specific details.

Example: if you’re a marketing professional who has won awards for your work, you can refer to yourself as an ‘award-winning marketer’ then list the details later on as part of the relevant job description (or in a separate awards section if you’ve got lots to list).

Your personal statement will almost certainly need to be adapted for the different roles you apply for. Take the time to tweak it so the reader knows from the outset that you’re a great match for their exact posting.

Experience/career history
Start with the most recent first and list in reverse order. Include the job title, the duration of the role and a brief summary of your responsibilities. If you’ve had a lot of positions and many years of experience, it might be time to trim the oldest and least relevant entries.

Example: a year spent doing an unrelated role as a holiday job 20 years ago doesn’t need to take up space on an already packed CV.

In contrast, for younger candidates with shorter CVs it’s worth keeping these entries in, as they show how you’ve been spending your time and create a more detailed picture of you as a person navigating their early career.

Volunteer for a charity or other organisation in your spare time? Tell prospective employers in this section (or under a separate volunteering heading if you have extensive experience to relate).

Education
Start with your most recent qualification or period of study, then work backwards. Include the course name and type, institution name and dates. You can include degree classifications, but unless you’re straight out of school you don’t need to provide grades for things like A levels and GCSEs.

Skills
Consider adding a skills section. You can use it to highlight things like proficiency in IT packages, project management methods, or familiarity with foreign languages. These days, applicants often drop the more old-fashioned ‘interests’ section, except if it contributes to a more rounded picture of why the applicant is right for a specific role.

Example: an interests section showing your passion and commitment to children’s causes may be a bonus for an application to a children’s charity.

CV presentation
There are some beautiful design templates available online for the modern CV and they are perfect for certain jobs and industries. But be aware that they might not get you past the first selection round at a more formal setting. Try and understand the style of the organisation you’re applying to and choose a tone and visual approach to match.

Updating your LinkedIn profile

Companies and recruiters spend an increasing amount of time searching online to source candidates. If you’re not there, they won’t find you.

LinkedIn is a fantastic place to start. The profile page is slightly different to your traditional CV. The summary is the first thing readers will see, so make it interesting and to the point. You can make it friendlier and more casual than on a traditional CV. Start with a broad statement of what you do and how long you’ve been doing it, refer to your level of seniority if that’s an important factor in the kinds of roles you’re interested in, and refer to your career history, but leave the specific details for the relevant job section.

More LinkedIn tips

  • Make sure your photograph is professional and clear. If you like, you can make your profile page pop by adding a background image too.
  • Avoid jargon and technical language in your summary, but don’t be afraid to use technical language in your job experience section if you know that will chime well with hiring managers and demonstrate the kind of expertise they are looking for.
  • Complete your skills list (and go back to update it each time you master a new one) – this helps you appear in more searches. Ask former colleagues to endorse your skills or, if they’re willing, to write you a recommendation so others can see why they should have you on their team. (Be sure to return the favour, too!)
  • Grow your network by following industry leaders, former colleagues, old friends who may have relevant contacts and LinkedIn groups focused on your professional interests. Talk to others online, comment on posts that interest you, and be friendly and professional.

Remember: You’re appearing as ‘work you’, so don’t be tempted to slip into discourse that might compromise your credibility.

Creating an online portfolio

Some professionals, especially those in creative jobs, use a personal website as a showcase for their work. Anyone can create a really simple website using a template (there’s a choice of paid and free versions – see Squarespace, Wix, etc), and it could even be a single page with a couple of visuals to demonstrate examples of your work and some text to sell your abilities.

Talk to Appoint

We happen to know a thing or two about CVs. We also know what our clients are looking for. So, if one of our roles excites you, get in touch and we’ll help you present the best version of you to that potential employer.

If you’ve landed a new role that’s remote, check out our tips for starting a new job remotely.


Sources:

https://www.hrreview.co.uk/hr-news/uk-unemployment-rate-sees-biggest-quarterly-decrease-since-2015/135430
https://www.cv-library.co.uk/career-advice/cv/how-to-write-a-cv-tips/ 
https://business.linkedin.com/en-uk/marketing-solutions/blog/posts/content-marketing/2017/17-steps-to-a-better-LinkedIn-profile-in-2017


How to reduce stress and job search burnout

Whether you’re between jobs or employed, the job-finding process can be a long haul, leaving applicants feeling stressed and burnt out. When you add the worry of the pandemic and the effects of being stuck at home for a year, it’s no surprise that some jobseekers are feeling the strain.

One positive thing is that there are still plenty of roles being advertised across many sectors, despite the effects of Covid-19. But finding a new position can take time, effort and a series of knock backs before you get that call you’ve been waiting for.

In this post, we’re highlighting warning signs to look out for in your mental, emotional and physical health, and offering our tips on what you can do to avoid burnout when job hunting.

What are the signs of stress?

Stress manifests differently in different people, and the effects can be physical and mental. Keep an eye out for:

  • Regular stomach or headaches
  • Tense or painful muscles
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep at night
  • Constant tiredness, even after sleeping
  • Speaking very quickly
  • Unusual forgetfulness
  • Feeling worried, wired or overwhelmed
  • Difficulty staying motivated or making decisions
  • Problems concentrating
  • Feeling irritable
  • Finding it harder to connect with other people or find time for the things you usually enjoy
  • Overeating
  • Relying more on caffeine or alcohol

What are the signs of burnout?

The WHO describes burnout as a condition “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”, with three key elements. In short, if you’re feeling exhausted, detached from your work and feel like you’re performing badly, there’s a good chance you’re approaching the burnout stage. If you’re also juggling video interviews, long-winded applications and extra training on top of your day job, then job search burnout could be right around the corner, unless you take steps to relieve the pressure.

What can you do to reduce stress and avoid job search fatigue?

Spending every available minute scrolling through job ads and stressing over application forms will make you overtired and less productive. So stop everything, set yourself some clear boundaries and get some balance back into your day:

  • Allocate a timed window in your day or week for applications, interviews or online training – don’t exceed the time limit.
  • Shut down and pack away your computer when you’ve finished for the day. If you can, close a door on your work area.
  • Yes, it’s comfy, but avoid doing any searching or applying in your PJs! Getting dressed puts you in a better frame of mind for selling yourself to a potential employer.
  • Take breaks. Even if you’re between jobs and focusing solely on applications and interviews, you still deserve time off. Leave your desk to call a friend, eat a meal or get some fresh air.
  • Allocate a set time period each day that’s just for you and your wellbeing – hobbies, exercise, preparing meals that make you feel good, not just full. Just make sure you choose activities that help you unwind.
  • Breathe! It sounds obvious, but have you ever got to the end of the day and realised that you haven’t taken a single deep breath the whole time? Pause three times a day to fill your lungs properly – it’s an instant refresher.
  • Get yourself into a proper sleep routine. Avoid screens an hour before bed and aim to turn off the light at the same time each night.

When to get further help

Job rejections, money worries, demanding interviews…it all adds up. If you’re feeling consistently down and losing interest in things you normally love, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor and get some support.

Your next steps

As usual, the Appoint team is here to help with your job search in Bath and beyond. Browse our vacancies and get in touch if you see something that’s just right for you.

Suffer from interview anxiety? Our post about calming interview nerves may help. And when you do land that new role, there’s a good chance you might be asked to start it from home. Check out our advice on starting a new job remotely


Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190610-how-to-tell-if-youve-got-pre-burnout


Ideas for upskilling from home

Thanks to Covid-19, workers across the globe have had to get used to doing their jobs differently. It hasn’t been easy for everyone, but it has led many to reassess their priorities and consider possible new career paths. In fact, research from jobs board Totaljobs in December 2020 showed that more than 8 out of 10 workers were actively looking for new roles. If you’re one of them, now is a good time to identify new skills to help you get where you’d like to go. Read on for some ideas for upskilling from home.

Expanding your skillset

‘Upskilling’ means adding relevant competencies to your existing skillset to help you reach the next step in your career. You might want to sidestep into a related role or change direction entirely.

Firstly, find out which skills you will need for the future you want. Talk to people in the know to find out more. Do you know someone who could act as your mentor or coach? Find out through friends or colleagues if they have any contacts who can spare a bit of time with you over Zoom, phone or email to share some advice about the area you’re interested in. If that’s tricky, try broadening your online network and asking questions on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other forums. Also think about signing up for online lectures and other events (many of which are free) led by people with relevant expertise.

Digital upskilling

With a large portion of the workforce operating remotely, it’s become clear that there’s a particular need to bridge the digital skills gap between employees. If you’re feeling left behind by tech, digital upskilling will help you navigate the world of remote work with more confidence, giving you the same recruitment prospects as others when the time comes to apply for new positions.

Think about the areas where you need some support, for example: virtual meeting and event platforms (Zoom, GotoWebinar, etc), analytics, basic coding, touch typing, social media training, project management software, or something else. Your employer may offer training on digital tools. If not, look up the relevant help content online and give yourself a crash course.

Using company training

If you’re employed, talk to your manager or HR department about the kind of skills you’d like to get and whether there is an existing company e-learning programme you can tap into. Alternatively, there might be a suitable mentor in the form of a coworker, or a training budget to pay for relevant external courses. Any training you get on the job is brilliant, as it can help you in your current role, future roles within the same organisation, and external roles when it’s time to move on.

Accessing independent learning

If there are no relevant upskilling opportunities in your current role, or if you’re between jobs, you’ll need to research further training independently. There are lots of options for distance learning online, through paid for and free courses. LinkedIn Learning has a good suite of materials (free to access for a month), and there are plenty of other providers, such as Coursera and Open University, offering a range of paid and free courses.

Adding skill-building to your schedule

When you’ve chosen your subject area and materials, it’s time to make space in your working week. If you’re new to home working, you could designate a portion of your former commuting time for upskilling. Whether it’s something you do once a week early in the morning, fortnightly in the evening, or daily in your lunch breaks, add dedicated learning slots to your schedule to make sure you fit it in. Decide how long you’re going to spend on each session and set a timer to take breaks, if necessary.

Sharing your new skills

Make sure you add any new certificates or completed course names to your CV and LinkedIn profile. This shows that you’re interested in learning and developing new skills, and may also help you appear in more recruiter searches.

Following your interests

Upskilling doesn’t always have to be career related. You might want to give your brain a lockdown workout by trying a new language, taking up a creative hobby or learning something new as part of a volunteer placement. You’ll find all sorts of ideas for upskilling online to help you broaden your general skills and find out more about something that truly interests you.

Take your next step with Appoint

If you’re ready for a new challenge in 2021, check out our job list and get in touch.


Sources:

https://www.hrreview.co.uk/hr-news/over-eight-in-10-uk-workers-searching-for-their-next-job-in-2021/130595
https://www-digitalhrtech-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.digitalhrtech.com/upskilling/?amp_js_v=a6&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQHKAFQArABIA%3D%3D#What=&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.digitalhrtech.com%2Fupskilling%2F


Job opportunities in the UK increased in September

In an economy that’s been beset by coronavirus restrictions, sickness in the workforce and monumental changes in consumer behaviour, it’s encouraging to see that job opportunities in the UK appear to be bouncing back this autumn.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) Jobs Recovery Tracker showed that the number of jobs listed in the week of the 14th of September was the highest it has been since the beginning of March 2020. (Remember March? Is it just us, or does that seem like years ago?)

It’s an undoubtedly tricky time, with redundancy looming large in many sectors and some struggling professionals being advised by the government to adapt and retrain for new careers. So, it’s reassuring to see so many new jobs available now, especially in a brave new world of remote working, social distancing and fanatical hand washing.

As many employers continue to actively seek new talent, this is actually a good time for applicants to freshen up their CVs and get the ball rolling on some exciting new applications.

If you’re gearing up for a job search and it’s been a while since you last applied for work, don’t forget that recruitment agencies like us can help you figure out where you’d like to go. We can also help give your application and interview technique a little extra professional polish.

5 featured jobs with Appoint

We’ve got a range of great jobs available now in the commercial office sector, from short-term contracts to permanent roles.

Here are five of our featured listings – click through to see the full details for each role. If you find one that fits, get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.


HR Manager

We’re helping to source a top HR Manager for our client. They’re looking for an experienced HR all-rounder to take care of onboarding, training, and payroll and benefits administration, as well as managing recruitment.

See more details


Accounts Assistant

Calling all Accounts Assistants – this role is for an AAT-qualified person who can take care of bookkeeping, compliance, payroll and more, for company clients. They are seeking someone competent in Excel and with previous experience working with Xero.

Find out more


Assistant Board Secretary

This one’s a super six-month role planning and managing the smooth running of meetings for high-profile committees and groups. Excellent organisational and planning skills are key and confidence using MS Teams and Zoom is a plus.

Read the full listing


Client Business Partner – Fintech

Here’s an exciting role in Fintech for a candidate with excellent account management skills. This brand-new opening calls for a people person who loves going the extra mile to make sure their clients are happy and looked after. Can you deliver an exceptional customer experience?

Learn more and apply now


Management Accountant

Our client is on the hunt for a qualified accountant with sound technical knowledge, commercial awareness and, ideally, eight or more years’ experience. The role comes with some initial line management, too.

Find out more now


More opportunities with Appoint

It doesn’t stop there – check out our full list of jobs available now.

New to Appoint? We’re a longstanding agency covering the commercial office sector in Bath and Somerset. Do give us a call on 01225 313130 to see if we can help you find your way to your next opportunity.

If you’re looking for a new job, you can also contact us by email on applicants@appoint.co.uk

And if you’re a hiring manager with a role to fill, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line here: clients@appoint.co.uk


Sources:

https://www.hrreview.co.uk/hr-news/mid-september-saw-the-largest-number-of-job-postings-since-lockdown/127537
https://www.theglobalrecruiter.com/hiring-confidence-on-the-turn/


How to calm nerves before an interview

Due to recent events, many people across the UK are facing the prospect of looking for work. So, we thought we’d gather our thoughts on how to calm nerves before interview.

Perhaps you’re well used to the interviewing process. Or maybe it’s been years since you’ve had to think about it. Either way, it’s natural to feel a little nervous. Remember, if you stumble on a few words or speak a tad too quickly at times, it’s entirely normal. But the calmer you are, the easier it will be to process questions and formulate the clear responses that show you’re a top candidate for the job.

With redundancy levels increasing, be aware that there may well be heightened competition for the roles you apply for. All the more reason to learn how to calm interview nerves and present the best version of yourself to potential employers.

Want to find out how to relax before interview time? Here’s what we know about managing nerves and supercharging your confidence.

10 top tips for calm and confident interviews

Thanks to Covid-19, your job interview might occur in person and at a distance, over video conference or on the phone. Here are our recommendations, whatever form it takes.

  • Keep a copy of your CV, the job description and any interview notes to hand in case you draw a blank.
  • If you’ve been asked to deliver a presentation, practice it on your own or with a friend before the real thing.
  • If you’re interviewing by video call, make sure your internet connection is sound and that you know how to work your microphone and camera. Shut out background noise and distractions where possible.
  • Limit your caffeine! It might usually be your best friend of a morning, but nerves plus too much coffee isn’t a good combination. Try swapping in a herbal tea or cold glass of water.
  • Suck on a mint beforehand – some folk swear by it for calming nerves and nausea.
  • Arrive – whether that’s at the workplace, in front of your Skype window or by your phone – in plenty of time. ‘Late’ is never a good first impression to make.
  • Do a quick final check of your appearance before the interviewer sees you. You don’t want that last-minute tea spill or rainstorm to affect your chances.
  • Breathe! It sounds obvious, but shallow breathing does nothing to relieve tension. Try a few rounds of breathing in for five seconds, holding for five, then breathing out for five or more.
  • Listen to some relaxing sounds before starting. There are plenty of clips to choose from on meditation apps like Insight Timer or sites like YouTube.
  • When it’s time to begin, focus on speaking at a measured pace. It’ll give you more time to think and make your answers easier to understand.

Don’t forget – you’re an interviewer too. Use your time at the end of the conversation to ask the questions that matter to you.

Face-to-face interviews might feel strange due to current restrictions, especially if you’ve been working from home since lockdown. Take all the usual precautions, follow the safety rules at the interviewing location and don’t be afraid to remind your interviewer about distancing if they appear to have forgotten.

Lastly, note that nearly everyone has had an interview that didn’t go to plan. If that happens, don’t be disheartened. Learn from it and move on, knowing that the next one is bound to be better!

Start your search right

Now you’ve got the tools to calm interview nerves, you’re ready to talk jobs. Call us to chat on 01225 313130 or browse our current listings.



Most employees would prefer working in an office after a Covid-19 vaccine

According to a survey by Office Space in Town (OSiT), a successful Covid vaccine would encourage 95% of employees to pick working in an office over remote work. But the majority would also like to see more flexible working conditions than before lockdown. The survey showed that only 5% of employees were keen on a permanent shift to full-time home working.

The benefits of working from home, such as the lack of commute and more time available to spend with family, sit alongside all sorts of negative repercussions. These include back and neck pain caused by unsuitable home working spaces, feelings of isolation, and difficulties separating work and home life. Some employees have even felt pressure to work much longer and harder at home to show productivity from outside the ‘visibility’ of the office space.

In the light of these drawbacks, it seems that permanent home working isn’t sustainable for most people.

On site or off site?

We asked four full-time employees about their home working experiences and how they feel about returning to working in an office.

Charity worker Mel says “Working from home has been great in terms of the flexibility and the time saved on commuting, but for me it’s gone on too long and I would love to go back to the office. The social interaction, as well as the info you pick up just by being in the same room as your colleagues, can really add to how well you work.”

Fliss, a PR professional, says “I do miss the social aspects of the office, but I’ve gained control over my time. At home I’ve developed a much more efficient work schedule that makes me feel more energised than I did when I had a long commute and a rather inefficient work day.”

Dan, who works in financial services, has found the lack of distinction between home and work life stressful to manage. “Home feels like a safe workplace for me in the current environment. I get to spend more time with my kids, but I do find it difficult to manage work and home life in the same space. A vaccine would encourage me to return to the office, but my preference would be two days in and three at home.”

Designer Chris says “I really miss the social contact with other people in the office. I also sometimes find it hard to motivate myself at home if I’m working on an especially lengthy or boring task. In the office I generally find it easier to get my head down and get stuck into the job.”

What’s the future of office life?

As Deloitte reported back in May, “Organizations face a choice between returning to a post-COVID world that is simply an enhanced version of yesterday or building one that is a sustainable version of tomorrow”. With future case spikes and lockdowns still possible, it’s clear that employers need to continue to flex and adapt, rather than rush to enforce their more rigid pre-Covid working conditions.

So, what could going back to the office look like?

A mix of remote and onsite work

With social distancing considerations now a key factor in creating a safe workplace, it’s doubtful that office spaces will be welcoming back entire workforces on a full-time basis. Therefore, a working week split across remote and office work is likely to be a reality for many workers.

‘Bubbled’ staff

Many crowded workplaces are used to functioning on a hot-desking basis, so time-sharing office space in ‘bubbles’ of employees (with thorough cleaning between use) could be a natural next step for minimising the risk of contamination.

Hygiene protocols

On top of deep cleaning, expect extra hygiene measures, such as dividing screens, provision of masks and gloves, and hand sanitising stations throughout the site. This will not only reduce the spread of germs, but also have a reassuring psychological effect on anyone who is anxious about returning to work.

More reliable tech

Lockdown conditions forced companies to upgrade their IT infrastructure simply to keep functioning. So improved technological support and better kit for teams split across home and office spaces is likely to be high priority, both for the smooth running of businesses and to make sure employees feel valued and included wherever they are working.

Focus on wellbeing

Following all the upheaval of 2020 so far, employees’ emotional wellbeing should also be a key focus for managers keen to help the workforce come through this unstable period and into the new normal of professional life.

What’s your next move?

How do you feel about working in an office again? What kind of safe workplace setup would convince you to switch roles? If you’re ready to look at new opportunities, see our current vacancies or call us on 01225 313130 to talk over your options.

Sources:

Office Space in Town, OSiT survey reveals impact of lockdown remote working on wellbeing and health & safety, June 2020
Erica Volini, Returning to work in the future of work, Deloitte Insights, May 2020


12 tips for effective virtual meetings

With home working here to stay for the foreseeable, virtual meetings have become a standard part of many employees’ lives.

Managing workloads against a backdrop of family members, housemates or curious pets can be tricky anyway, let alone if you’re required to spend much of your day on camera.

Need some pointers? Take a look at our top virtual meeting tips.

1. Write a clear agenda

Creating an agenda is a quick job – write a few bullet points and distribute them ahead of time. (If you’re not the meeting host and the call is over 30 minutes long, ask the organiser whether they can provide an agenda.) Efficiently run virtual meetings help everyone to make the most of the time and take that productive energy into the rest of the day.

2. Stick to your time slot

Determine your meeting length and stick to it, with one person keeping an eye on the agenda items and the clock. Fresh ideas don’t flourish in meetings that drag on way past the scheduled time.

3. Create a calm environment

Not so easy to achieve if you’ve got children or pets vying for camera time, or neighbours building an extension next door. But do try to organise a bit of quiet in your working environment before you join a meeting.

Start by letting other members of your household know you’re about to start a call and when it’s scheduled to end. Asking school age children to make a ‘do not disturb’ sign for the door will introduce the concept of interruption-free periods (worth a try, at least!) and letting any other workers in the house know you need a bit of calm will also help minimise distractions.

4. Be cautious with sensitive info

We tend to speak louder in virtual meetings than we would in person. If you’re working with confidential information, just remember to close windows and doors instead of bellowing the details out into the neighbourhood.

5. Learn the ropes

Familiarise yourself with the features of the conferencing tools you’re using, particularly how to activate and deactivate your microphone and camera. Learn the keyboard shortcuts for these actions so you can instantly mute or cut the camera if you need to.

If key people can’t attend it can be useful to record your meeting, so find out how to do that. To avoid interrupting the flow of a presentation, take advantage of any existing chat features to capture questions throughout the session. Then finish by tackling them in one go at the end.

6. Smile: you’re on camera

Kick off your virtual meetings with a smile and a polite greeting. Remain conscious of your facial expressions throughout – yes, you’re in your home environment, but any grimace you make is visible to everyone!

Remember to stay in shot so other users can see you’re engaged, not moving around or rearranging your desk. And don’t check your phone for personal messages – it’ll be pretty obvious what you’re doing!

7. Be considerate with sound

Remember that your microphone is probably closer to your keyboard than to your mouth. If you’re typing away during your meeting, hit mute to stop the sound of tapping keys interfering with the conversation. If people are having trouble hearing you, try turning off video.

8. Get the right kit

If you’re going to be participating in very frequent video calls, look into getting a decent webcam and headset with a microphone. Make sure your internet is fast enough, taking into account other usage in your household.

9. Share your screen with care

If you’re planning to present documents, close down the windows that are irrelevant to your call before you hit share. It’s a good way to avoid accidentally broadcasting anything confidential. Consider closing down your email too, so you don’t get distracting pop-ups while you’re presenting.

10. Avoid dead air

If you’re asked a tricky question, don’t use precious meeting time to look up the answers while everyone sits and waits. Say you’ll report back later and let the meeting continue with energy and purpose.

11. Dress appropriately

Your home and work identities may have blurred recently, but that doesn’t mean you should lose professional pride. While your immediate team might not care if you’re working in your oldest T-shirt, a senior manager might, and an outside person, new client or interviewee probably will. Strike the right visual tone for the person you’re meeting with, keeping the culture of your workplace in mind.

12. Look after your attendees

If you’re at a face-to-face meeting with socially distanced colleagues as well as virtual attendees, be aware that the people in the room may dominate the conversation. This is because they will be able to read body language, maintain eye contact and feel more connected to the task in hand. Make sure you invite comments and questions from remote attendees who may feel less inclined to contribute.

Interested in what’s out there?

We hope you found our virtual meeting tips useful! If all that home working has got you thinking about your career options, why not browse our current vacancies or call 01225 313130 to speak to an Appoint consultant?



Starting a new job working remotely

If you’ve managed to secure a new role mid pandemic, take a look at our top tips on starting a new job working remotely.

We’ve been pleased to see many employers continuing to actively recruit during this strange period. But many workers starting a new job during lockdown may find their first weeks or months are home based. Here’s how to approach that tricky first day and week when you’re joining a new team without meeting anyone in person.

1. Sort out your tech and workspace

Starting a new job while working remotely, with the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak hanging over you, may be one of the stranger experiences you go through. But it’s fast becoming a new normal in the world of work. If it’s your first time working remotely it might seem a little daunting. Ahead of your first day take some time to set up your work space and follow our tips and you’ll be up and running in no time.

  • Test your home internet speed. If you live with other people, find out what their internet usage is to make sure your connection isn’t affected.
  • Check your computer camera and microphone are working well to avoid awkward first calls with your new team.
  • Choose where you’re going to work then check you’re happy with whatever is going to feature in the background of any video calls.

2. Keep it professional

Trial periods will still apply, so stick to the same standards you’d use in a physical workplace. What you wear is still important, so start off smart – although you can then be guided by how casually your colleagues are dressing at home. Set yourself a strict daily routine, giving you plenty of time to prepare for each working day.

3. Make time to settle in

The induction process is going to feel quite different for virtual workers, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be welcomed and trained up on company systems. Keep your HR and IT contacts handy for questions and support, and make sure your manager or another team member is putting in enough time with you to get you off to a smooth start. Be proactive and ask questions as they arise, instead of trying to work everything out on your own.

4. Start building relationships

In your first couple of weeks, it’s a good idea to book informal meetings with some of your new colleagues. You might be waiting a while for that water cooler moment or office lunch, so start paving the way for positive relationships from the beginning. You’ll get to know people and learn about the culture of your new organisation. Do people appear to be on good terms with management? Is this the sort of team that likes a work social? Are your coworkers family people with flexible or part-time hours? Find out who your key contacts are and when they’re available to collaborate.

5. Find the best ways to communicate

Video conferencing is common now, but you may find you get better interactions out of certain people using other methods. Find out how your colleagues like to stay in touch – maybe your direct manager prefers the phone, perhaps your wider team shares most of their updates via Slack. Whatever method of communication you use when starting a new remote job, maintain a friendly, professional tone at all times.

If you’re unfamiliar with video tools, have a go in advance if you can. Check you know how to end a call, turn your mic and camera on and off, and share your screen to show your work.

What if you’re starting at a shared office?

Things are likely to look a little different in every reopened workspace. Speak to your manager or to HR in detail about what the setup is. If you have concerns, share them. After all, your safety is more important than your physical presence on day one. Good employers should have sensible protocols in place to protect workers, maybe supported by video or text guides on how to access and use the site. Make sure you have all the info before heading off on that first commute.

Remember, handshakes are probably off the table for the foreseeable future and hand hygiene will be top priority. If a new colleague forgets, it’s ok to gently remind them that you’re not being rude by keeping your distance.

Still looking for new opportunities in Bath?

Take a look at our current vacancies in Bath and the surrounding areas. Even if you don’t see what you’re looking for, call us on 01225 313130 to speak to an Appoint consultant who can assist.



How will the coronavirus affect your job search?

How will the coronavirus affect your job search?

We all know that this is an anxious and unsettling time. The UK is still in the early stages of the coronavirus and there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding its impact on the nation. This includes uncertainty regarding how businesses will operate over the coming months.

Of course, any business disruption may naturally have an impact on recruitment plans – which may also directly affect your job search. So what should you be doing and considering at this time?

First things first…

We hope this would go without saying, yet your health should remain of the utmost priority. As should the health of your wider community!

If you are exhibiting any symptoms of respiratory illness (even if you think it’s just a cold), you should avoid attending in-person meetings and interviews. It’s wise to contact your recruitment consultant (or the employer if you’re not working with a recruitment agency) at the earliest possible time. Even if this is on the day of the scheduled interview!

Please note: you must call 111 if you believe you have any symptoms of coronavirus.

Always politely apologise for the inconvenience caused by your rescheduling and enquire about the possibility of other interview arrangements.

Alternative interview arrangements:

Depending on the employer’s availability and resources, don’t be surprised if you’re offered a telephone or Skype-based interview.

You should treat such interviews just as you would an in-person meeting. In other words, you should be researching and preparing for your interview!

If you’ll be conducting the interview by Skype or another video resource, you still want to dress as if you’re attending an in-person interview. You’ll also want to consider your body language throughout.

When speaking by phone, ensure to make an effort to communicate in a positive tone. Smiling can help to convey a more friendly tone, even though this may feel odd!

When meeting in person…

Be prepared for certain customs to be a little different. For instance, many health experts say handshakes aren’t recommended at this time; however much this goes against our cultural instincts and traditional interview etiquette! A smile with a polite nod and/or wave has become an appropriate alternative.

Many offices will also have hand sanitisers in their reception areas. Politely ask to use these when entering and exiting the building (or use your own) to demonstrate your awareness and initiative at this time.

Respect any efforts your interviewer makes towards social distancing…without trailing miles behind them!

Keep applying:

Please never assume that all new recruitment plans are on hold! Many businesses are operating as normal through these times. Furthermore, some employers will actually have more time to review their recruitment needs as they adopt different working arrangements.

It’s still a great time for you to make job applications, conduct job market research, carry out interview prep, and contact recruitment agencies.

Prepare for the unexpected:

We’ve said it before, job searches can feature a number of setbacks. During such times of change, there’s an increased likelihood of employers altering their recruitment plans at short notice.

This also increases the likelihood of recruitment delays and/or rejections. We recommend taking some time to mentally prepare for such setbacks – discussing any concerns with your recruitment consultant.

And keep in touch!

Don’t forget to keep in touch with your consultant, whether that’s to let them know about your changing plans, advise them of self-isolation, rearrange interviews, or seek some advice about your job search. You can reach your Appoint consultant via 01225 313130.

* Important Reminder * – the government is updating its coronavirus advice on a daily basis. Please stay abreast of the latest recommendations regarding your health and social interactions. 



Is your potential being squandered at work?

Do you believe you’re fulfilling your career potential? What the latest findings say about the nation’s confidence levels…

A recent City & Guilds survey of 5000 working-age people has revealed a number of concerning trends.

  • Firstly, only just over 1 in 3 employees (33%) feel ‘positive about their future career prospects’.
  • 60% say they have skills that are not being used ‘at least half of the time’.
  • Furthermore, only 53% have had any form of training at work within the past three years.
  • 34% of the group has never received any training at all or their last training took place more than five years ago.

Altogether, the findings suggest that large groups of employees are not being given the chance to fulfill their potential at work.

Advice for managers and employers:

These findings are positive for business leaders – providing as they act on the issues raised! You likely already employ individuals who can bring additional value and expertise to your business. They just need to be given the opportunity to do so. Why not ask your team about the skills they think you’re missing out on?

City & Guilds is calling on employers to help address this problem by:

  1. Exploring each job candidate’s ‘underlying skills profiles’ to find new talent for your business. In some cases, prioritising this potential and a solid skills match over sector-specific experience.
  2. Introducing flexible working practices to attract and retain these talented individuals.
  3. Additionally providing training opportunities to employees at ‘all ages and stages of their career’.

Advice for employees and job-seekers:

The survey’s authors also share some useful advice for you:

  1. Where possible, ‘put yourself forward’ for any training opportunities that arise.
  2. Explore out-of-work training to ensure you’re upskilling yourself for your future career prospects.

To add to this, you could also discuss your current unused skills with your management team. Offer practical examples of how your abilities could benefit your department/company and ask to take on new tasks and challenges.

Of course, there may also be other job opportunities that better employ your full skill-set.