Voluntary work: benefits for employers & job-seekers

More people are now searching for voluntary opportunities. We take a look at the benefits for employers, employees and job-seekers alike. There’s also advice regarding how to feature your volunteering experiences on your CV…

  • 40% of Brits are currently volunteering in some capacity, while 70% have done so at some stage, reports HR News.
  • What’s more, Google searches for the phrase ‘volunteering near me’ have increased by 124% throughout the UK over the course of a year.
  • Of the UK nations, England has seen the lowest search trend increase, with an 83% rise.

Voluntary work benefits: for employees and job-seekers

The above-linked article explores what’s behind this increased interest in volunteering. It appears that a number of psychological and physical benefits are driving this trend, including:

  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced loneliness
  • Better physical health
  • A feeling of ‘making a difference’
  • And the opportunity to meet new people

Of course, there are a number of additional benefits that can also enhance your CV, namely:

  • The chance to learn something new, both through the volunteering itself and via any associated training opportunities.
  • To gain practical experience that can bolster your CV; especially if you’re looking to enter a new role or industry.
  • An opportunity to gain new skills and/or to further your existing abilities.

Voluntary work benefits: for employers

It’s not only employees who gain something from volunteering. Employers who encourage their team to volunteer also experience a number of advantages.

Sage People suggests these include:

  • Increased employee retention rates through a ‘deeper commitment and connection.’
  • Greater external brand awareness and a sense of employee pride.
  • Employee empowerment; especially if team members can choose where/when they volunteer.
  • Better teamwork and more ‘connected’ teams.
  • The development of new skills (as above), which can be used in-house.
  • Another opportunity to see who holds internal promotion potential.
  • Alongside enhanced morale and reduced sick leave.

How to feature your volunteering experiences on your CV

There are several ways to effectively include your volunteering experiences on your CV. The best option for you will depend on the length of your CV/amount of relevant experience you have for the positions that you’re applying for…

a) If you already have ample industry/role experience (in addition to your voluntary roles):

  • Simply include a Voluntary Work section after your Career History.
  • Keep this brief. Provide a simple list of where you’ve volunteered (or the most relevant places if this list is too extensive to include in full!), alongside when you volunteered, your voluntary job title, and perhaps a sentence to summarise the most relevant skills or experiences obtained.
  • If you feel that your voluntary insights are especially relevant to your application and this method won’t suffice, then either follow the below guidance or consider creating an additional page to detail your Voluntary work alongside your Career History. Only do the latter if it’s particularly relevant to the jobs that you’re applying for.

b) If you have minimal industry/role experience other than your voluntary roles:

  • Include these within your reverse chronological Career History. This means listing your most recent role at the top and working backwards down your CV, whether the roles are paid or unpaid.
  • However, be sure to include the Voluntary nature of the role as part of your Job Title for any unpaid positions.
  • Treat these roles in the same fashion as the rest of your Career History: detailing your employer, your employer’s industry, job title (as above) and dates of employment.
  • You’ll also provide a more detailed overview of your experiences, skills and achievements from these positions.

Ready to look for a new paid role? Visit our jobs page. For further recruitment advice, please call the office on 01225 313130.



Leaving a job without another job?!

Have you ever left a job without another job at the ready? Would you consider doing so? We explore which professionals are most likely to say ‘yes’ to these questions and share some advice…

While still among the minority, more than 1 in 10 British employees (13%) are willing to leave their current job without having their next job lined up.

It appears that certain groups of professionals are more likely to take a risk. These include:

  1. PR and Marketing (22%)
  2. Sales personnel (21.7%)
  3. Manual labourers (18.9%)
  4. Retail employees (18.8%)
  5. Civil servants (17.7%)
  6. Accounts professionals (17.7%)
  7. Lawyers (17.6%)
  8. Teachers (17.2%)
  9. Operations employees (17%)
  10. And Finance professionals (16.1%)

The researchers also found that:

  • Employees aged 25 to 34 are among the most prepared to leave a role without another job at the ready.
  • Those in the 55 to 64-year-old age group are the least likely to do this.
  • Men are more likely to take a risk without knowing what they’re doing next.
  • However, women are marginally more prepared to leave their current job if they do know what they are going to do.

Should you take the risk and leave your job without another job at the ready?

  • In the vast majority of cases, the answer to this question is no! The jobs market is naturally unpredictable. Even with a wealth of experience and a wonderful personality, you may struggle to secure work as quickly as you hope. Especially if you work within a competitive industry.
  • By commencing your job search alongside your current role, you can enjoy your increased financial security while maintaining a ‘consistent’ CV.
  • There are, of course, some special circumstances. For instance, if you’re in the highly fortunate position of being able to financially support yourself for a potentially extended period of time. Even in this case, it’s advisable to follow Forbes’ approach – only take the leap if you have some sort of plan lined up. Even if this plan involves taking a break to travel, volunteer, study or take some ‘dedicated time for your job search.’
  • There are also occasions in which you won’t have much choice, for instance through redundancy, relocation and similar. In these times, specialist advice becomes all the more valuable. Seek out REC-accredited recruitment agencies that cater to your industry. We have long been proud members!
  • Remember, recruiters and employers pay close attention to your CV. It’s worth detailing your career breaks and any associated skills and achievements. For instance, courses undertaken to further your industry credentials, voluntary experiences, etc.
  • Temping can also enhance your CV through these periods, as well as introducing you to a variety of local employers/industries. While you can’t guarantee that you will find temp work immediately, employers are often looking for people who are readily available. Due to how quickly temp opportunities are filled, you may not see many temporary opportunities listed at any one time. Your best bet is to submit your CV to a suitable recruitment agency and keep in touch regarding any opportunities.

You can apply for the latest temporary, contract and/or permanent vacancies via our jobs pageCV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email for the latter!



How secure are today’s jobs?

How secure are today’s jobs compared to those of twenty years ago? Plus to what extent do these findings even affect employees and job-seekers?

Before we delve into the latest stats, there’s one important question we should be asking…

What does job security really mean?

There was a time when job security was closely correlated with a ‘job for life’. Something now considered to be a feature of the distant past – and not expected to return, either!

In more recent decades (and as per the Oxford Dictionary), job security has become “the state of having a job…from which one is unlikely to be dismissed”.

How secure are jobs in 2019 versus 1998?

Due to the discussions surrounding the gig economy, you won’t be surprised to hear that most people think national job security is diminishing.

However, CIPD research suggests this is untrue:

  • The total share of non-permanent jobs has ‘not increased since 1998’.
  • Nor has the ‘under-employment rate’ of people requiring additional work.
  • The vast majority of national employees are in fact in ‘regular’ 9-5 jobs.
  • Any fluctuations that have occurred throughout this twenty-year period are additionally temporary in nature and relate to specific events, such as recessions.
  • While largely positive, the CIPD has called on the government to do more to tackle poor pay and discrimination issues.

Does it matter how secure your job is in 2019?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the growing gig economy and increase in ‘side jobs’ are signs that professionals are less concerned about job security…

Advice for those worried about job insecurity:

MindTools has issued advice to help people cope with the uncertainty of their work.

Two of the best tips from this piece also apply to your job-seeking process…

  • ‘Show your value’: not only does this approach help you stand out as an employee, yet it also helps set you apart from your job-seeking competitors.
  • ‘Stay current’: upskilling is sure to be a continued theme in recruitment news, as technology advances alter the jobs landscape. The way you market your skills should also be current…including regularly refreshing your CV!

Looking for a new job? You’ll find the latest temporary, permanent and contract openings listed here



Top most wanted trainee skills

Which trainee skills are employers on the lookout for?

Today’s stat source quotes the ACCA, which means the original research was exploring the accounting sector. But don’t disappear just yet! Even if you’re not looking to work in the finance field (which happens to be a prominent local employment sector), you’ll see just how many of these skills apply to other industries. All of them, really!

Even if you’re not a trainee, you should be developing these abilities. Especially if you’re looking to take your experience into a new line of work.

The 10 most wanted trainee skills include:

  1. ‘Strategic decision making’ abilities
  2. ‘Industry-specific knowledge’
  3. Technical confidence
  4. Communication abilities
  5. Demonstrating initiative
  6. Being open to change
  7. Able to meet deadlines
  8. Commitment and loyalty
  9. An eagerness to improve
  10. Excellent customer service

The original feature tells you a little more about how each skill relates to the accounting profession. So, it’s well worth a read if this is your target industry.

How to show employers you have these abilities…

As ever, you need to find ways to convey the link between these job skills and your work experience and achievements. Your CV and/or cover letters are just the place to highlight your core abilities.

It’s not good enough to simply say you can make strategic decisions. Give an example of when you’ve done this and its benefits – even if your example comes from a non-employment role, such as a voluntary position or university project.

As for the industry-specific knowledge, this is where you have to show you’ve done your research. Let interviewers know what you’ve learned about their sector and its challenges and how you can help overcome them. Remember, even trainees play a vital role in helping organisations reach their goals.

Work through the rest of the list and consider which skills you truly possess and how you can prove them. If there are any gaps in your skill-set see what you can do to build them.

Top tip: don’t forget to tailor your CV to any specific vacancies you’re applying for. Watch out for key phrases in job ads and apply the above technique to your application.

Ready to send your CV? Here’s what to include in your cover email to a recruitment agency. You can also register your CV and/or apply for jobs directly via our website. 



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.



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:



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.