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.



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?



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.



Are you being upskilled at work?

Employers may be failing to ensure their team is regularly upskilled. And their employees may pay the price with their future career…

What is upskilling (and is upskilled even a word)?!

It might sound like just another marketing buzzword. However, ‘upskilling‘ has entered the Cambridge Dictionary and is defined as “the process of learning new skills or teaching workers new skills”.

The latest findings from the City & Guilds Group (as reported by HR Review) reveal that:

  • 76% of professionals feel it is important to continually refresh their skill-set. Vitally, this is stated as ‘regardless of age or career position’.
  • 81% predict some degree of change in their job skills requirements within the next five years.
  • Yet only 46% of people are receiving adequate training support from their employer to ensure they’re prepared for these changing needs.
  • What’s more, 1/4 of respondents say they are not receiving enough feedback regarding their skills development priorities.
  • Certain employee groups are less likely to be upskilled. 48% of employees aged 55 and above did not receive any skills training in 2018.
  • 42% of all part-time workers additionally report the same.

Why aren’t workers being upskilled?

  • It appears employers are most concerned by their staff taking time out of their usual working day (42%).
  • The cost of training is also proving to be a barrier for employers (29%).
  • While few individuals feel they can fund training themselves outside of work (28%).

How can you ensure you’re being upskilled?

These are concerning stats and there are some great comments regarding the importance of prioritising learning and development at work. Yet what do you do if you’re the employee and your skills haven’t been refreshed for some time?

  1. Where possible, use appraisals as an opportunity to ask your employer how you can keep your skills relevant to the changing needs of the organisation. This will help plant a seed and could point you in the right direction, even if the company is unable to finance training at present.
  2. Do your own research. Explore articles and podcasts regarding the future of your industry. See if there are any common themes or predictions.
  3. Use your findings to research ways to upskill at home. These don’t always have to be costly. Again, podcasts, websites and books can teach you a lot.
  4.  Explore how a new job role could help you upskill. It may be that you’re ready for your next career step. Keep an extra close eye on any job descriptions that closely match your experience yet also offer the chance to learn something new.

You can always email your CV to one of our Recruitment Consultants (here’s what to include in your cover email). Alternatively, you’re welcome to upload your details via the site today. 



Is your salary the most important factor?

Investigating whether your salary is the most important of all the job benefits. What else appeals to today’s job-seekers and what’s so important about this research?

Let’s start with the importance of this topic. As we mentioned in our last post, job vacancy numbers have reached an all-time high. This means that each employer has to work all the harder to impress suitable applicants.

This also means that there are regular surveys to ascertain which factors are most likely to attract a candidate into a new role. Surveys such as the one behind the ‘Attracting the Right Talent – Meeting Demands through the Job Offering Report.’

Salary isn’t (necessarily!) the most important factor…

  • At present, just over 1/3 of the nation’s professionals say their ‘career expectations are not being met’. They most prioritise…
  • Working for an employer that ‘values you’ (25%)
  • The opportunity to gain experience (17%)
  • Creating a strong work-life balance (18%)
  • And developing personal technical skills and abilities (11%)

Those that had worked for their employer for more than five years were even more likely to rate feeling valued and work-life balance as most important.

Alongside this, 60% of people prioritise the chance to develop their career within their job role.

You’ll see salary is yet to be mentioned. However, there is some regional variation here. In the South, workers are more likely to prioritise the career and lifestyle factors mentioned. Whereas the majority of professionals in the North East and Midlands valued their salary above all else.

There’s also some sector difference. The banking and financial services industry was the only sector that specifically regarded a pay rise as their primary career priority.

The report says there’s been a marked shift in attitudes due to the ‘millennial impact’. This group of workers is placing greater importance on lifestyle elements beyond pay rates.

What does this all mean?

We can see that attitudes are changing. However, it’s not long ago we heard that the UK is more salary-minded than any other European country and that 62% of people primarily work for this reason.

It’s worth considering the research as a whole. Salaries are incredibly important to many workers, yet there are also plenty of other factors that are relevant to job searching…and the acceptance of job offers.

  • As a candidate: it’s useful to consider your own priorities. What matters most in your career right now? Be sure to let your Recruitment Consultant know what you’re looking for. You can include some of this information right from your first email to your agency.
  • As an employer: take a look at your employee attraction offering. Are you making your team feel valued, do you help to create a positive work-life balance, and are you ensuring your staff receives regular skills development? What’s more, are you communicating these messages in your job advertisements? This post will help you to sharpen your employee attraction strategy.

For specialist recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130. Further details are available on our Contact page



A positive recruitment agency relationship

How your recruitment agency relationship affects your job search. Plus the latest news regarding the UK jobs boom…

Your recruitment agency relationship:

HR News has just released some great data surrounding the benefits of working with recruitment agencies. They report that:

  • The majority (64%) of candidates surveyed worked with a recruitment agency to ‘find at least one job’ last year.
  • 88% of people most value the communication received from their agency. This includes support, reassurance and guidance throughout the recruitment process.
  • Around 1/4 of respondents additionally appreciate the prospect of a long-term recruitment agency relationship. They understand how the insights garnered by their consultants can help to support their later career progress.
  • A similar number of people look for specialist recruitment agencies who will understand the intricacies of their industry – and, consequently, provide valuable insights for candidates.
  • Poor agency communications understandably cause job-seekers to utilise alternative routes.
  • However, more than 2/5 of candidates stated that they found their job search ‘easy’.

The UK jobs boom continues…

Over on Recruiting Times, we hear that the UK jobs boom remains in ‘full force’ and that the women’s unemployment rate has reached a record low.

The article, which cites stats from The Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveals:

  • National employment has now reached 32.6 million people.
  • Unemployment fell to 1.36 million – 100,000 fewer people than last year.
  • The women’s unemployment level has dropped below 4% for the first time.
  • Yet, job vacancy numbers have risen by 16,000 to a total of 870,000 jobs. Which is also a record figure – and a sign of the ongoing skills shortage.

It’s interesting to note that zero-hour contracts can also contribute to high employment rates and growth figures. In other words, there may still be many people who are recorded as employed yet not receiving regular work assignments (or, for that matter, a regular income!).

We’d always recommend finding a recruitment agency who specialises in the types of vacancies that you’re searching for. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation offers a handy guide to help you to choose an agency. This includes a member directory, which we’re proud to be a part of.

Working with Appoint:

Did you know we specialise in commercial office jobs in Bath and the surrounding Somerset and Wiltshire areas? We recruit for an array of openings, including (yet not limited to!):

  • Administration
  • Customer services
  • Finance & financial services
  • Sales & marketing
  • Project management
  • IT & technical

This includes everything from temporary assignments to contract bookings and permanent roles.

We opened in 1999, so have garnered a wealth of industry expertise. We’re privileged to be able to share our insights with our candidates and clients throughout the region.

You can learn more about us on our Candidates page. You can also take a look at our jobs page to see and apply for our latest vacancies. We look forward to hearing from you.



The ageing workforce news roundup

The government is calling on businesses to do more to support the ageing workforce. There has been a wealth of news regarding this topic, in addition to age discrimination, over recent months. Time to explore the leading themes…

Do you feel your age is ‘holding you back?’

Source: Personnel Today

  • Around 1/2 of employees aged 50 and over believe their age could ‘hold them back’ in their job applications.
  • Almost 1 in 7 additionally believe they’ve already been declined a role due to their age.
  • In addition, 1/3 say they’ve not received as many training and promotion opportunities as younger colleagues.

These findings come from a survey conducted by the Centre for Ageing Better. They believe the UK could create up to £20 billion more GDP annually simply by “halving the ’employment gap’ between workers aged 50 to state pension age and those in their late 40s.”

The article also cites a number of positive suggestions to aid the inclusivity of older employees.

A diverse workforce presents benefits

Source: HR News

The older workforce is also a growing workforce. In only a decade, the number of over-50s workers will expand by approximately 27 million people.

However, unfair and incorrect biases could indeed be halting the recruitment of this employee group. Yet when recruited, a number of benefits are actually presented. Some of the discussed include:

  • Access to established skills and valuable experience
  • High commitment to roles
  • Learning from previous lessons
  • An ability to lead less experienced team members
  • And the opportunity for ‘intergenerational mentoring’ – with a mutually beneficial relationship.

Overcoming the myths

Source: People Management

We mentioned bias above and it appears a number of stereotypes have formed around the older employee. These include concerns around the ability to learn, productivity levels, sickness absence and impending retirement.

Businesses clearly need to re-evaluate their assumptions. You can find evidence-based responses to each of the primary stereotypes in the original post.

Looking at the laws

Source: HR Magazine

It seems an appropriate time to mention that age discrimination is illegal. Age is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act. However, this isn’t doing enough to change business behaviour.

To this end, the Women and Equalities Committee has made a number of recommendations. These cover everything from age reporting to appropriate discussions around career decisions, employment terms, ‘performance management’ and ‘insured benefits’.

Looking to the future

Source:  HR Magazine

We opened today’s post with a mention of the government. They have called upon employers to be more flexible in a bid to support the ageing workforce.

Research from Saga Populus includes a number of suggestions. These primarily explore part-time roles and flexible working opportunities, which may encourage people to stay in the workforce longer.

Furthermore, they advise employers to explore their upskilling and retraining schemes.

And, finally, entering the world of AI

Source: HR Magazine

While some might fear artificial intelligence will displace the older worker, experts suggest otherwise.

As long as employees express empathy, and are willing to continually refresh their skills, they should remain highly employable.

Naturally, this topic concerns employees of all ages. Some say that 70% of today’s workers lack the career skills they’ll need in future.

For further recruitment advice, whether you’re looking for work or for a new team member, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Remember, we regularly update our news blog with advice that will help you to keep your skills current.