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Archive for November, 2011

Over the last few months we’ve given you some of our best advice on how to land that dream job of yours. We’ve given you great advice (well we think anyway) on how to write a CV, but what was missing from that advice is the obligatory Cover letter you need to send in with that brilliant CV of yours.

Cover letters are short articles, no more than one A4 piece of paper long, you write about yourself to send in with your CV. They don’t need to be long, they don’t have to be fancy, but they do have to explain why you are perfectly suited to the job. This means tailoring each and every cover letter to the job you are applying for. Whilst the jobs you apply for may not be that different to each other and you may not feel the need to change your cover letter, every hiring manager; no matter how similar the role, will have a different idea, a different set of attributes they will be looking for. It will therefore be up to you to demonstrate these indirectly through your actions written out in both your CV and your cover letter. Do your research on who they are looking for.

You may have heard the famous John Kennedy quote: “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”, the same can be said about going through the interview stages of an organisation. Incorporate the research you have done for the position into this covering letter and emphasis what you can do for the company.

Often if you are emailing or sending a CV to a recruiter the covering letter will be the first information they see about you, it’s so important to make a good first impression! Like previously stated in our blog on how to write a great CV, check for spelling and punctuation mistakes, make sure what you are sending out is literally perfect.

Overall cover letters should complement not duplicate your CV, if you find you’ve repeated the same points on both your CV and your cover letter, have a second look at what you’ve written.

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The UK jobs market has seen one of the biggest squeezes in recent times with the decline in the availability of jobs, which is being matched around Europe. Even Germany, seen as the steady ship of Europe, is seeing a contraction in the number of jobs available and a rise in the number of people who are unemployed.

Being a multilingual recruitment agency, we often place people of various nationalities from around Europe into another country in Europe for a role, most are happy to relocate.

But it seems that in the UK, this option is extremely limited by the lack of ability to learn or even try and learn another language. A report out last week [1] states that two in three Brits can’t speak a single foreign word! We think that the report may be over exaggerated, but we know that other points were re-iterating what we have always known; that the majority of the British public’s attitude to want to learn a language is abysmal.

Without the possibility of relocating abroad to work, apart from the obvious British tourist hot spots, there is a very slim chance of finding work in a non English speaking country, vastly narrowing the number of job opportunities.

We often find that many of the companies we are working with to place staff, here and elsewhere around Europe, desire English speakers. But native English speakers more often than not, are not able to speak another language.

It’s not only the lack of experience and language ability that can hold someone’s job search back, but the lack of will to relocate or commute to any job that is not located on their back door.

It’s a global world; it’s time we all started thinking global.

Have a nice day! Goodbye! Au revoir! Auf Wiedersehen! Arrivederci! ¡Adiós! Ok, you get the point.

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2062982/Two-Britons-speak-SINGLE-foreign-word.html

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This week has seen a culmination of the troubles that have been brewing for months within the economy of Europe. All current decisions made now, are being made to avert what would only be described as financial recession; it seems that the future of Europe is hanging on a knife edge.

There have been some quite considerable changes within EU member states; Italy and Greece have both appointed new leaders to try and stem the flow of ever growing worries within their economies, whilst Spain appears to be heading for a change of leadership.

Interest charged on government backed bonds is hitting unprecedented levels; these rates indicate the risk perceived on the ability of the country to pay it back, the higher the interest, the higher the risk. Earlier this week Greece was faced with having to pay back 22% on top of what it initially borrows over the course of 10 years, and there is a very high fear that Greece won’t be able to meet its commitments and that is worrying the financial markets. To put that 22% in perspective, Germany’s interest on a 10 year bond is just over 2%.

However, positive news can be found in the consolation that the economy of the 17-nation Euro Zone grew by 0.2%, between July and September, not much but at least it has grown, kept buoyant primarily by the German and French economies after several other countries including Greece’s economy shrunk.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the ongoing Euro Zone situation as the continents toughest hour since World War Two, a highly charged use of words that was sure to grab the headlines across Europe and highlight how serious the predicament we are faced with.

What are your views on the current situation around Europe? Have the EU leaders got it right?

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It’s been decades since most states within the European Union developed legislation that protect men and women from discrimination in the workplace on matters such as pay and promotion. However, this week new statistics out have showed a worrying trend. All three of the top stock exchanges of Europe; London’s FTSE, Frankfurt’s DAX and Paris’s CAC, have Less than 20% of the seats on the board of directors occupied by women[1]. This week, Theresa May, the United Kingdom’s home secretary, stated that she thinks the UK alone is missing out on £21 billion a year in growth in the markets through a lack of female leaders and a further £42 billion a year would be produced if there were as many female entrepreneurs ran businesses as men [2].

So why is there still the fabled “glass ceiling” for so many women, when not only is there legislation to prevent discrimination, but also groups set up to help, such as the 30% club on the FTSE which hopes to see 30% of the number of the seats on boards taken by females. (I’m not sure why it’s not 50% to be honest, if you’re going to aim to make a difference, why not aim for equality?). There is also a general consensus that female board members are greatly beneficial, bringing a type of process and calculation to situations where a man’s pride may have taken over in a male dominated environment.

So is it a lack of ambition? Perhaps; But the world has turned into the most equal it has ever been! Where before the norm would have been for a daughter to cook and clean, to be the doting wife to the husband who would go out to work, nowadays a daughter is just as encouraged and supported as a son to go out and aspire to be all they can be.

Perhaps then women don’t want to fall into the stereotypes of a leading woman “conniving…ice queens…single…a token…a cheerleader”, but are these stereotypes still relevant today? Were they ever truly relevant at all…apart from in the films? The female leaders of some of the worlds biggest companies, such as Indra Nooyi, the chief executive of PepsiCo, has never lived up to any of the previously stated stereotypes.

So why do you believe there is still a disproportionate amount of men in positions of leadership? Especially in industry, the lucrative banking and petroleum companies etc. When do you think we will be equal? Will we ever?

[1]http://www.corpgov.deloitte.com/binary/com.epicentric.contentmanagement.servlet.ContentDeliveryServlet/USEng/Documents/Nominating-Corporate%20Governance%20Committee/Board%20Composition%20and%20Recruitment/Women%20in%20the%20Boardroom_Deloitte_012011.pdf

[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2057723/Theresa-May-Female-talent-boost-economy-60bn.html

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So you’ve got past the CV stage, the company is interested in your credentials and experience! So with you over your first major hurdle don’t then stumble at the second one.

Number one on your to do list is to research the company. You will almost certainly be asked on your knowledge of the company; what they do, when they started, the latest industry developments. You don’t want to be stuttering and trying to remember facts from that notice board you saw in reception, researching the company is essential. As will be knowing how you are getting to the interview! You will want to get to the interview at least 10 minutes early, but what are the practicalities of this? Are you taking public transport? Have you got the timetable? Are you taking a car? Where is the nearest car park? Do you need to pay and display? This will mean you need change on hand. All of these individual variables are uncertainties that must be controlled!

Polish your shoes, iron your shirt or blouse and wear business attire, it’s important to make a good first impression and you will only get one of these. How you present yourself throughout the company’s premises is critical, so from the minute you enter the building act as though you are being interviewed. The interviewer may ask their colleague’s opinions after you have left; did you smile when you came in, were you approachable etc. So make sure the way you handle yourself whilst within the organisation’s building is as formal and as friendly as you would be whilst in your interview room. Make sure your body language is confident and positive, so please make sure you’re not slouching in your chair and don’t fold your arms.

Know what you’re talking about: this part is mainly down to you and the company you will be interviewed by. But there are a few generic factors that you can assume will happen such as the ability to ask questions at the end. If this opportunity arises, grab it with both hands! It will show your interest in the company and your astuteness as an individual. Think of some questions to ask before hand such as; what would be my day to day activities? What’s the management culture like at this organisation?

Questions like these will not only give you an opportunity to find out more about the company but in actual fact enables conversation from your side of the table, instead of you just answering questions you may have been asked.

It’s a competitive job market across Europe right now so make sure you’re fully prepared and give yourself the best chance of landing that dream job.

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