Career Change Galway

Selling yourself on paper…!

Annie Lankford talks about selling yourself on paper so as to secure job interviews in the future, below are some brief extracts from her thoughts.

There are 3 common types of cover letters:

  • 1-2 body paragraphs
  • Match desired skills/experiences listed in the job/position description
  • Use key words
  • Expand on your resume
  • What skills did you gain?
  • What knowledge did you learn?
  • How does this relate to what the position is calling for?
  • Chance to explain employment gaps
  • Be confident!

Key Questions:

  • The specific organization/business
  • The job that you are applying for

Where you explain to the employer why you should be selected for an interview, create a critical first impression of who you are to the employer

  • References are on a separate sheet of paper from CV
  • Should have the same exact heading and layout of your CV
  • First and Last Name
  • Job Title
  • Organization/Business/Institution
  • E-mail and phone number
  • If reference no longer works there, try to get their personal contact information
  • Consider writing a brief statement on how you know the person

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a picture of who YOU are!

  • Avoid family and friends
  • Professional references: those that are familiar with your “work”
  • Supervisors, executive directors, co-workers, etc.
  • Personal references: those that are familiar with your overall character
  • Religious leader, teacher, professor, person you volunteered for
  • Ask permission if it’s OK to list them as a reference
  • Give a copy of resume + job description to references

How To Sell Yourself On Paper:

  • Name and Contact Information
  • Use same header as resume
  • Date
  • Recipient’s information
  • Name, title, company and address
  • Salutation
  • Avoid “To Whom It May Concern”
  • If unable to locate specific contact person:
  • “Dear Hiring Manager”
  • “Dear Hiring Committee”

What can you do for the employer?

  • Why are you writing?
  • Specify position
  • HOW did you learn of the position?
  • Why are you interested in applying?
  • Playing up your skills
  • Gaps in your employment
  • Explaining “other experience”
  • One Page
  • 10-12 point font (Times, Arial, Calibri)
  • Use standard business letter (block) format
  • Print on resume or high quality paper
  • Proofread, Proofread, PROOFREAD!

Body Paragraph:

  • Application Cover Letter
  • Referral/Networking Cover Letter
  • Letter of Interest

Why are cover letters so important?

A letter sent with your resume that:

  • Provides additional information about your skills and experience
  • States how you are the best match for the job that you are applying for

Closing Paragraph:

  • Did you emphasize your related experience and skills?
  • Have you sold yourself on paper?
  • If roles were reversed, would you consider your CV to be a strong applicant?
  • Summarize your qualifications
  • Express interest in an interview/meeting
  • Thank the employer for their time and attention

Source: prezi.com

Career, training transition Consultant

What is a psychometric test and how do they work?

A psychometric test, also known as an Aptitude Test, is a common part of many modern-day interviews and assessments. Psychometric tests take many forms and are an umbrella term for any assessment that tests one’s cognitive ability or personality. They are now more commonly administered online and will consist of a series of questions whereby you must submit your answers within the time limits.

If you haven’t yet encountered a psychometric test then you will very likely do so in the future as they are becoming increasingly utilized as an early stage of an assessment application. Recruiting companies like to use them as a means of filtering out large applicant pools to a much slimmer, manageable pool. As a result, many applicants may struggle to ever get past this stage.

Psychometric tests are an objective way to measure the potential ability of candidates to perform well in a job role. This is due to psychometric tests measuring a range of skills from cognitive abilities, knowledge to assessing your personality. They are an extremely popular tool in business recruitment if you are applying for a job (especially graduate schemes) you may have to take some form of psychometric test(s) as a preliminary round of the application process.

Why are psychometric tests used in recruitment?

Traditionally recruiters studied your CV and qualifications and made a decision based on an interview.
Extensive research has shown that actually this is a fairly poor way to pick which candidates are going to be best for the job. What’s a better way? You guessed it: a psychometric test. In fact, many employers use a combination of interviews, assessments and psychometric tests.
The power of psychometric testing is that there is a strong correlation between test scores and job performance, i.e. if you score highly in a psychometric test, the chances are that you are going to perform well in the job. As an employer, their predictive qualities make psychometric tests very attractive. Add the fact that they can be administered quickly and efficiently on a large scale and you can see why psychometric tests have become the norm, especially for graduate recruitment.

As mentioned, the term ‘psychometric test’ is an umbrella term that covers both ability testing and personality profiling. There are many forms of psychometric tests including:

• Numerical Reasoning
• Verbal Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Diagrammatic Reasoning
• Logical Reasoning
• Critical Thinking
• Situational Judgement
• Mechanical Reasoning
• Deductive Reasoning

As a candidate, the best way to prepare for your psychometric test is to practice and find out what the test is like.

Numerical Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning are two of the most popular tests used to assess a candidate’s ability. If you are applying to graduate schemes or know that the application process for your desired job will include psychometric tests, it’s very likely that it will include one of these tests.

So let’s take a deeper look into these two popular test types…

Numerical Reasoning

Numerical Reasoning tests are the most popular psychometric test, outside of personality profiling, and so it is important that you are adept at handling this sort of test.
Numerical Reasoning tests are used to measure a candidate’s ability to interpret numerical data. You must be able to analyze and draw conclusions from the data, which could be presented in tables or graphs. Many candidates may fear a numerical reasoning test, believing that the maths involved will be too complex. The tests aren’t designed to test the limits of a candidate’s mathematical ability, but more to test your ability to use simple mathematical data to solve problems.

Verbal Reasoning

A Verbal Reasoning Test is used to assess a candidate’s ability to comprehend a passage of text. You will, most likely, be presented with a written passage and asked to answer a series of questions with either ‘True’, ‘False’ or ‘Cannot Say’ on the basis of the information given.
You must only use the information that is written in the passage and not use any pre-existing knowledge you may have on the topic as they are not testing this, they’re testing your ability to understand the text.

Source: assessmentday.co.uk

Career Change Galway

Benefits of Business Networking & Tips for Networking Success…

How important is networking to small businesses? Ask a small service business where they get most of their customers, and they are likely to indicate some form of word of mouth marketing. Networking is equally important for career success for people who are employees.  According to a 2016 Report by LinkedIn, 85 percent of all jobs are filled via networking.

Clearly, if you aren’t taking the time to meet and interact with others in your field, you’re likely missing out on valuable opportunities to find new partnerships, generate referrals and even land clients and positions.

Of course, networking isn’t just about building relationships. Meeting and interacting with other industry professionals also enables you to continue your education. While you might not have time to attend a seminar or certification course, grabbing coffee with a business connection helps you stay abreast of new developments and practices in your field. You can bring these trends back to your current company or use what you learned to better your chances of landing a new position.

 Don’t wait until your marketing funnel is empty to start networking. If you want to build a robust business, you should get out there and make connections today. Check out these 11 networking tips sure to expand the number of opportunities that come your way:

  1. Attend Business Networking Events

The first step in successful networking is knowing where you should go to make connections. While almost any activity or event can serve as a networking opportunity, small business owners and professionals with local businesses should attend local business events. For example, your town/city’s chamber of commerce might host gatherings for people in your industry. Additionally, it’s worth hitting up meetings for professional associations and societies related to your field.

  1. Choose a Goal

It’s hard to get what you want out of your networking endeavors if you don’t start with a clear agenda. Before attending meetings or events, take the time to determine what your goals are for the experience. For example, you might want to make new connections, donate your time to the community or simply learn about the latest developments in your business or industry.

  1. Get Social in Your Off Hours

Just because you’re off the clock doesn’t mean it’s time to stop networking. If you want to expand your reach, make an effort to chat with attendees at your health club or sporting activities. You can even make business connections at your child’s school activities and events. After all, parents are typically looking for something to chat about besides what’s happening on the soccer field!

  1. Know Your Worth

It’s not enough to provide your clients with a great product or service. If you can’t articulate what it is you do, then you can’t hope to convey that information at networking events. Whether your goal is to generate referrals or simply build your virtual Rolodex for the future, you should take time to generate an elevator pitch that conveys what you do, for whom you do it, and why customers should choose you over your competition.

  1. Identify Conversational Icebreakers

If you want to overcome initial awkwardness and make a good first impression, consider opening with a compliment. For example, you might tell the person sitting next to you at a seminar that you like their shoes or tie. Similarly, asking a question gives contacts the chance to talk about themselves. Ask how they got into the field or what they think of a recent development affecting your industry.

  1. Bring a Buddy

Sometimes starting conversations with strangers is easier if you have a familiar face by your side. If you have a friend or coworker who’s also looking to expand their network, consider attending professional events as a twosome. Just be sure you make an effort to connect with other attendees rather than sitting in the corner chatting with them the whole time.

  1. Overcome Introversion

If you’re naturally shy, having success in networking can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are some strategies for overcoming introversion and making connections. First, consider brainstorming icebreakers before a networking event, so you don’t have to come up with ideas on the spot. Second, feel free to take a breather if you get overwhelmed. Go to the restroom, take a walk, or grab a coffee. You can return to the room refreshed and ready to meet new people.

  1. Find a Reason to Follow Up

Making connections is only half the battle; you also have to take steps to keep the relationship going. Even if you aren’t currently job hunting, strive to reach out to your contacts a few times a year to follow up. You could forward a relevant article, invite them to a seminar or conference, or even just send a friendly note during the holidays.

Of course, being successful in networking is about more than what you do. It’s more about what not to do. Here are some tactics to avoid if you want to boost your business connections.

  1. Don’t Be Negative

When searching for conversation starters, avoid speaking negatively about former companies or coworkers. After all, you don’t want potential contacts thinking you’d say bad things about them given the opportunity.

  1. Don’t Be Selfish

Whether you’re chatting at a chamber of commerce event or attending an informational meeting, it’s important to remember that networking about gives and take. If you’re always the person asking for favors, the relationship is unlikely to last. For best results, look for opportunities to help your networking contacts prosper in their own careers.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for What You Want

We all need help now and again. If you want your networking efforts to be a success, you have to be bold enough to ask for assistance. Before attending that next meetup or seminar, make sure you can articulate what it is that you’re seeking. Then, when someone asks how they can help you, tell them the truth.

Source: businessknowhow.com

Career Change Galway

Time Management Techniques…

(November 2019)

Dan McCarthy tells us that time management is really all about managing yourself. You can’t really “manage” time because there are 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute—and that never changes. However, you can control where and how you spend your time and take action to reduce or eliminate time wasters.

He shares 10 timeless ways to take control of your schedule each day to make the most of the time you have available to you.

  • Establish Prioritized Goals:

Without goals, you might find that you tend to chase after whatever seems most urgent or is staring you in the face. It’s tough not to get distracted by shiny objects. To prevent this, figure out your true priorities in life, and move toward them by setting yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals or desired outcomes. Rank each of these using the following system:

  • Importance: (A=high, B=medium, C=low)
  • Urgency: (1=high, 2=medium, 3=low)

Always work on the most urgent and important goals and tasks (A1) first, and then move on down your list.

  • Follow the 80/20 Rule:

The 80 / 20 rule, also known as Pareto’s Principle, says that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your actions. It’s a way to view your time usage, prioritize your chosen tasks against your most important goals. Are you focusing in on the 20 percent of activities that produce 80 percent of your desired results?

  • Learn to Say No:

While it’s great to be a team player, it’s also important to know when and how to be assertive and let people know you can’t handle their request at the moment if it conflicts with you achieving your goals. If you do agree to take on the task, negotiate a deadline that helps them achieve their goals without sacrificing your own.

  • Overcome Procrastination Using the 4D System:
  • Delete it: What are the consequences of not doing the task at all? Consider the 80/20 rule; maybe it doesn’t need to be done in the first place.
  • Delegate it: If the task is important, ask yourself if it’s really something that you are responsible for doing in the first place. Can the task be given to someone else?
  • Do it now: Postponing an important task that needs to be done only creates feelings of anxiety and stress. Do it as early in the day as you can.
  • Defer:If the task is one that can’t be completed quickly and is not a high priority item, simply defer it.
  • Eat the Frog:

To quote Brian Tracey from his book, “Eat That Frog,”

“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

Your frogs each day are the tasks that will have the greatest impact on achieving your goals, which are usually the tasks that you’re most likely to procrastinate starting.

  • Reduce the Number of Meetings:

Poorly run meetings are time wasters, multiplied by the number of people in the meeting. Make sure you have an agenda and you aren’t just having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting.

  • The Glass Jar: Rocks, Pebbles, Sand:

Categorize your work in this way:

  • Rocks: Your most important strategic projects
  • Pebbles: Projects and tasks that are important but not the most critical
  • Sand: Smaller, more insignificant tasks

Tackle the rocks first. If you keep tackling the small things (the sand and pebbles), and not the important strategic items, the rocks, then your jar will quickly fill up with no room for more rocks.

  • Eliminate Electronic Time Wasters:

Everyone has certain distractions that interrupt them and take their time away from their work. Is yours Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Continuous messaging with friends and family? Stop checking them so often and start batching these types of activities. Set a time, then check and deal with all of them at once. Give yourself 30 minutes and then get back on task.

  • Get Organized:

In order to effectively manage your time and be productive each day, you have to create the right environment. Eliminate useless clutter, set up an effective filing system, have a nearby place for all of the work items you need frequently and utilize workflow management tools to help you create a productive environment.

  • Take Care of Your Health:

A good night’s sleep, healthy eating, and exercise will give you the energy, focus, and stamina required to make the most out of your day. It may seem that work is more important and you can always catch up on sleep, food, and exercise later. If you lose your health, though, you can’t work, or do much of anything else for that matter, so don’t skimp on taking care of yourself.

Source: thebalancecareers.com

Career Change Galway

Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD)

AHEAD is the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability and is an independent non-profit organisation working to promote full access to and participation in further and higher education for students/people with disabilities and to enhance their employment prospects.

AHEAD provides information to students and graduates with disabilities, teachers, guidance counsellors and parents on disability issues in education.

AHEAD works with graduates and employers through the Get AHEAD Graduate Forum (see below) and the WAM Mentored Work Placement Programme (see below).

AHEAD coordinates LINK, a worldwide network of professionals promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in Higher Education managed by six European partner organisations.

Get AHEAD

 

Get AHEAD is an initiative of AHEAD which has been running since 2005. It is a network of people, students and graduates with disabilities currently making the transition from third-level education to full-time employment. It works to up-skill graduates with disabilities by providing training events and valuable information covering a wide range of topics and resources including;

Willing Able Mentoring (WAM)

 

Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) is a work placement programme which aims to promote access to the labour market for people with disabilities and build the capacity of employers to integrate disability into the mainstream workplace.

Participating employers (WAM Leaders) collaborate with WAM to offer mentored, paid, work placements for people with disabilities. This partnership brings people with disabilities and employers together so that both can benefit from each other, ensuring genuine learning opportunities for all.

WAM is unique in that it seeks to engage and support employers in order to simultaneously develop the potential of employers and people with disabilities.

Since 2005, The WAM Programme has provided over 400 placements for people with disabilities and worked with the dynamic networks of employers:

Source: ahead.ie

Further Education – Sources of Information and Courses

When it comes to searching for and researching further education course options in Ireland, there is no shortage of information, especially On-Line. Every part-time, full-time, classroom, On-Line, blended-learning course is there for you to read about and understand. There are three main On-Line websites that contain any course that you may be looking for; you just need to take some time and patience to read about them and then choose the right one for you, based on your current or future ideal job / career.

 

They are:

  • www.qualifax.ie
    • Qualifax is Ireland’s National Learners’ Database and is the “one stop shop” for learners and the public.   Comprehensive, annually updated information is provided about further and higher education and training options in Ireland and further afield. Articles and links are also provided to assist students, job seekers, parents, guidance professionals and graduates to make informed choices for education, training and career pathways. Qualifax is a service provided by Quality and Qualifications Ireland.
  • www.careersportal.ie
    • CareersPortal provides all the tools you need to help you find and develop your career. We believe you deserve the best and encourage you to spend time discovering what makes you different and unique, so you can build your own future. Above you will find links to our Junior Certificate, Transition Year and Leaving Certificate pages. Select the programme which is relevant to you and make use of the resources we have developed to guide you in exploring your future. You can access a range of resources designed to assist you with making sound, informed decisions about your career direction. As you progress through college, you change and grow and become more aware of what life has to offer.
  • www.fetchcourses.ie
    • Further Education and Training or FET, offers a wide variety of life-long education options to anyone over 16. FET includes apprenticeships, traineeships, Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses, community and adult education as well as core literacy and numeracy services. FET courses and programmes are provided through the Education and Training Board network throughout the country as well as through other local providers including online through SOLAS’ eCollege. FET courses are provided at levels one to six on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

Do remember that before actually choosing the course and paying for I;  you need to know why you are doing it and that it is part of your future job/career plans, where it will deliver a new job, new career, promotion and/or a brand new opportunity…

Further Education – Sources of Information and Courses

When it comes to searching for and researching further education course options in Ireland, there is no shortage of information, especially On-Line. Every part-time, full-time, classroom, On-Line, blended-learning course is there for you to read about and understand. There are three main On-Line websites that contain any course that you may be looking for; you just need to take some time and patience to read about them and then choose the right one for you, based on your current or future ideal job / career.

 

They are:

  • www.qualifax.ie
    • Qualifax is Ireland’s National Learners’ Database and is the “one stop shop” for learners and the public.   Comprehensive, annually updated information is provided about further and higher education and training options in Ireland and further afield. Articles and links are also provided to assist students, jobseekers, parents, guidance professionals and graduates to make informed choices for education, training and career pathways. Qualifax is a service provided by Quality and Qualifications Ireland.
  • www.careersportal.ie
    • CareersPortal provides all the tools you need to help you find and develop your career. We believe you deserve the best, and encourage you to spend time discovering what makes you different and unique, so you can build your own future. Above you will find links to our Junior Certificate, Transition Year and Leaving Certificate pages. Select the programme which is relevant to you and make use of the resources we have developed to guide you in exploring your future. You can access a range of resources designed to assist you with making sound, informed decisions about your career direction. As you progress through college, you change and grow and become more aware of what life has to offer.
  • www.fetchcourses.ie
    • Further Education and Training or FET, offers a wide variety of life-long education options to anyone over 16. FET includes apprenticeships, traineeships, Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses, community and adult education as well as core literacy and numeracy services. FET courses and programmes are provided through the Education and Training Board network throughout the country as well as through other local providers including online through SOLAS’ eCollege. FET courses are provided at levels one to six on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

Do remember that before actually choosing the course and paying for I;  you need to know why you are doing it and that it is part of your future job / career plans, where it will deliver a new job, new career, a promotion and / or a brand new opportunity…

Presenting a Presentation as Part of an Interview

Many organizations are now requesting candidates to prepare a short presentation as part of the interview process. These presentations can occur any time during the interview process i.e. first, second or indeed third interview and are usually 10-15 minutes in duration. The topic to present upon at the interview is usually chosen by the interview board/hiring organization beforehand and is linked to the job one is being interviewed for. For example, it could be a business challenge that the organization is facing/going through and they want to hear and see how you would go about addressing/resolving it. The presentation at the interview is usually delivered at the start of the interview with PowerPoint the most common speaking medium with questions and answers after its delivery.

Why would the hiring organisation request interviewees to prepare and present a presentation?

  • The role involves speaking in public to small/large groups
  • The role is a sales role
  • The role is a managerial role
  • The role is a leadership role
  • The role is a project management role
  • They want to see how interviewees perform under pressure
  • They want to see can you prepare and deliver a presentation that is engaging, inspiring and motivational to them
  • They want to see how much you know about the organization

If you are called for an interview and the interview process involves having to prepare and present a presentation at an interview consider the following:

  • Make sure to address the topic question/challenge/criteria
  • Do all you can to get to really know the organization i.e. information, documentation, speak to people
  • Plan to finish one minute before the allotted time
  • Stand during the presentation delivery
  • Use the organisation’s marketing/branding/colours/fonts
  • Speak from the heart, giving an authentic delivery knowing that as of now you are second in the race

 

How to Handle Being Made Redundant…

Losing one’s job is not a pleasant experience when it is compulsory, even if you do receive a generous redundancy package and benefits. After working in the organization for all of that time, given what you believe to be your best and then to be told through no fault of your own that you must leave, can be traumatic, lonely and disheartening. Leaving teams, work colleagues and/or internal and external customers/vendors can be difficult, especially if you had been working in the organization for a number of years. So how do you make the most of this milestone in your career/life and see it as a positive, rather than as a negative?

Think about the following:

  • Take time out to way up your options. Are you going to return to a similar job to your previous or a different type of job in the same industry or are you going to consider a new career or look at your own business initiative?
  • Take a job break. If finances allow you, consider taking an extended break between this redundancy and your next employment to do something you always wanted to do. You might not get the chance again.
  • Look at your qualifications. Do you need to retrain, upskill or return to education? Based on your future ideal employment, what do these employers need you to have to make them interested in you and want to meet with you.
  • Update your Résumé and your LinkedIn Profile. Consider a professional input, making them the best they can be, tailored to your new ideal employment so as to secure interviews.
  • Finally, look at your own life with respect to health, well-being, hobbies, interests; had you a balance in your life when you were employed? If not, balance it now and for the future…