Updating Your CV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our GOFISH Team member, Tom Ralph:

Being stuck at home for a long period of time can be boring. I think I can safely say that we are all finding it difficult to fill our time without being able to leave the house properly. However, if you are to look at the situation we find ourselves in with an optimistic mindset then you will see this as the perfect opportunity to get yourself prepared for securing your dream job when this virus eventually blows over.

There is one particular tool that is crucial to getting you the job you desire; your CV. Why not take this extra time you have to get it updated? Here are some pointers to what you should include to create the perfect CV:

1. Contact information and your name – Many people forget to add their contact information to their CV. This is crucial! Remember to add a mobile number and an email address. Also remember when you are job searching to answer any calls from unknown numbers in a polite and professional manner. You could be talking to your next employer! If you can’t answer the phone, ensure you have a professional voicemail set up.

2. Personal Statement – A personal statement is your opportunity to explain to the person reading your CV all of your key skills, as well as a clear and concise career objective. It doesn’t have to be a mass of words, just a paragraph will be fine.

3. Employment history – This is a list of all of the positions you have been employed in. Don’t worry if you haven’t had one yet, you can simply explain that the role you are applying for would be your first job. With your employment history, you must ensure that all of your positions have a brief summary of what you did, as well as the dates you worked there. These dates must be as accurate as possible and you must explain any gaps.

4. Education and training – Here is your opportunity to explain what level of education you have received and/or any qualifications you may hold. This can include GSCEs, A Levels, BTECs, apprenticeships and many more.

5. Hobbies and interests – It is always important to add some information about you. This is your chance to tell the employer about you as a person. What do you do in your spare time?

6. Summary – It is always important to summarise your CV into a paragraph. Just briefly mention the key points but also ensure that you finish with something along the lines of; “Thank you for taking the time to read my CV, I look forward to hearing from you soon”.

7. References – It’s always important to have 2 or 3 references. These are people either from a previous job or a family member or friend. Make sure you ask the permission of your referees before adding their contact information.

8. Proof read! – Possibly the most important part of your CV is ensuring there are no mistakes! Make sure that once you have finished, read it through to check the spelling, punctuation and grammar. If these aren’t your strong point then feel free to ask someone else. The GOFISH team are more than happy to help.

9. Following on from your CV, it can also be very beneficial to add a covering letter. A covering letter is quite simply a letter addressed to the individual who is hiring for the position. For example, if the job was working in a shop, you may wish to address the letter to the store manager. The letter doesn’t need to be very long, but it must include the reasons why you are applying for the position and you should also pick out some key points from your CV such as your relevant skills and experience.

Once again, it is very important to check the spelling and grammar of your covering letter, just as you would with your CV. Read through it 2 or 3 times to make sure it makes sense and always ask someone else to check it as well. The GOFISH team will also happily help you with this.

Best of luck with you CV and make sure you stay safe,
Tom

Top Tips on Working From Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our Social Media and Marketing Manager and Young Ambassador, Nicola Davis.

Top Tips On Working From Home

I have been self-employed for over 5 years now, running my businesses Nicola Davis Crafts and Corsham Creative Market from home. I work from my home studio and office and over the years have learnt how to really make working from home a success.

Here are my top tips for GOFISH:

1. Start Your Day Right

Just as you would with an on-site job, you need a good night’s sleep and a healthy start to the day. I have an alarm set for Monday – Friday and before I start work, I ensure that I have had a good breakfast, a cup of tea (or two!) and am dressed for the day. If I have a creative day ahead of me, I tend to wear comfortable clothes, if I am working on admin for the day or if I have any meetings scheduled I prefer to dress a little smarter. It is very easy to fall into the habit of living in pyjamas and waking up when you feel like, but if you want to succeed, you need to set rules and follow them.

2. Have A Plan For The Day

It is a really good habit to start your work day by writing down your goals. What do you need to achieve? What deadlines are looming? For me, I have a notepad that is split into three sections: ‘Must Do’, ‘Aim To Do’ and ‘Would Like To Do’. Write a few tasks under each section and always work from the top, crossing off each task as you go. For some people it can help to have an hourly rota with regular tasks such as checking emails set to certain hours, try both techniques and see what works for you.

3. Create A Dedicated Work Space

When I am in my studio I am in ‘The Zone’. I can spend hours at a time working in there with no distractions. I have made it a productive and positive working space that has everything I need in there. It has good natural lighting and plenty of colour. My partner understands not to distract me when I am in my studio, and even my dog has learnt to understand through routine that my room is a calm area. In any other room she will be at my feet with a tennis ball! Despite my studio mainly being for ‘practical use’ where I create my artwork, I have found that if I am struggling to focus on my emails or accounts, I will bring my laptop into my studio and my focus improves greatly.

4. Have Regular Breaks

Its really important not only to have regular breaks, but ‘real’ breaks. This means put your phone on silent, close the office door behind you, and let your mind have a break too. Try to get some social interaction and talk to your family or housemates, or give a friend a call whilst walking around the garden. Being outdoors and talking to someone are both especially important if you are finding yourself stuck on a task or becoming frustrated. You will come back refreshed and ready to work.

5. Look After Your Health

Workplaces often have multiple measures put in place to look after your health such as ergonomic office chairs, monitors set at the correct working height and angle and adjustable desks. You may not be able to afford all these fancy gadgets when working from home but you have the freedom to adjust your workspace to your comfort level. Ensure you have good natural lighting, open windows for fresh air, a comfortable and safe work station, healthy snacks and regular breaks to stretch and move around. The NHS has a list of tips for sitting at your desk correctly here www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-sit-correctly.

6. Switch Off At The End Of The Day

This for me is the most important aspect of working from home. I often find myself sitting down to dinner and I think ‘Oh I’ll just check my emails’. Next thing I know I’m knee deep in a never ending back and forth e-mail that could have waited until the morning. When you are finished for the day ensure that you separate yourself from your work and don’t look back! Make sure to plan fun things for your evenings and days off. Not only will this allow you to forget work but it will give you something to look forward to during the week.

Enjoy working from home!

Nicola Davis
www.nicoladaviscrafts.co.uk

Business Plan Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our David Baker Foundation Board Member, Natalia Orzechowska.

In the current uncertainty and constant change, developments, news briefings and legislation updates one thing can be predicted: things are going to be different. The lifestyles we are living, social activities we do and the way we do business will change when we get to the end of the tunnel.

We have managed to rapidly adapt our daily routine, the way we are behaving, shopping and thinking about our businesses.

It’s without a doubt that self-employed entrepreneurs will find this a big challenge but as Elon Musk said: ‘’ Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.’’

The sudden stop in the world is an opportunity to reflect and innovate to take your business forwards. This goes back to your business plan.

Please consider the below as brief guidance of how you can make things thrive. You know your business best, give it your best shot.

Planning – be ahead of the competitors when you return to ‘usual’ business which will seem very different. Start looking at how things will have to be done differently to make you stand out.

Review progress – Look back to your business plan and compare you current performance. Your constructive criticism will make you think about how you could be doing things better.

Key areas – Review: finance, marketing, sales, customer relations etc. to allow you to devote your time to most important/ relevant areas.

Competitors – Always consider what others might be planning to gain a competitive edge in your industry.

Communication – Establish a clear communication channel with all suppliers, customers and colleagues, to ensure you’re present and available to assist with anything when your business returns to ‘normality’.

Whether you have made adequate changes to carry on operating or have been forced to come to a complete stop with your business, use this time intelligently and to your advantage.

Wishing you all the best!
Natalia

Top 10 Productive Things You Can Do Whilst Self Isolating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our GOFISH Ambassador and Winchester University Student, George has been working with us to give you some advice about the productive things you can we doing right now whilst self-isolating!

The last couple of weeks have brought about unprecedented measures. It is important that we all follow the government’s guidelines to help protect each other. There are many of us with more time to spare due to a decrease in working hours.

Whilst being stuck at home can be boring, it is also an excellent opportunity to stay productive, so we must use this valuable time wisely. Below are ten constructive ideas that can keep you busy.

1. Update your CV

When was the last time you even looked at your CV? For me, it’s been over a year! Spend an afternoon updating your CV with new information, rewriting your personal statement and send to family and friends who can help proofread it. You never know when it might come in handy!

2. Update your Business Plan

For those who are self-employed or wanting to start up your own business now is the perfect time to update and write a plan. If you already have a plan, spend the time reviewing what you’ve written: have you met your targets; what areas can you improve; what has changed since you started operating?

3. Organisation

Make a list of everything that needs to be done– prioritise tasks and set out a schedule of when to do them. Are there any projects you haven’t finished, or tasks you never usually have the time to do? Aim to get better organised in this time, so when things go back to normal, you are a step ahead!

4. Write a social media planner

If you run a page for your business, take this opportunity to plan ahead what posts you can make. Look at a calendar and key dates in a diary and write your planner around those. Remember consistency is key to keeping your business pages looking professional and easy to read!

5. Find a new hobby

Try something new and find what makes you happy. You might have an old guitar up in the attic you always wanted to learn – spend this time experimenting with different hobbies, and learning new things.

6. Reading in depth

Reading is vital to help learn new skills. Find a topic that interests you and read in depth about it. It can be a topic you learnt at school or something completely different. Once you’ve read about it, make notes, and use a range of sources from documentaries to news articles to get a clear picture of your topic.

7. Market research

Although you cannot carry out research face-to-face, you could use many online tools to help carry out market research to create a marketing strategy for your business. Many websites (like Google Forms or Survey Monkey) can help with this. Think about what market you want to aim your business towards and ask friends and family to fill out questionnaires to help you understand the consumer behaviour within your business and its competitors. This research can be extremely useful to add to your business plan!

8. Start a blog

By starting a blog, you are helping to develop your communication and writing skills. Choose a subject, whether it be something you enjoy, or based around your business and write about your experiences within that. It can be a great way to consolidate knowledge and help inform others too!

9. Volunteer

If you are 18 or over, you can apply to become an ‘NHS Volunteer Responder’. This scheme can help people struggling due to recent events with everything from transportation and telephone support. Find more information out here: https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS.

10. Stay Home

My final point is to follow all government guidelines that can be found here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus – the website also has help and support for those self-employed, school closures and other important information.

Don’t forget GOFISH can help with many of these, from preparing your CV and writing your business plans. For any advice or support email us at: info@gofishteam.co.uk or message us on our social media accounts. Remember to stay safe!

Top Tips on Virtual Job Interviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our David Baker Foundation Board Member, Colin Kay.

Top Tips on virtual job interviews

Lots of organisations now use virtual interviews as a way of recruiting staff. I do some recruitment for a school in China and have been doing 2 or 3 interviews a week on WeChat since the beginning of January. It can be easy to feel relaxed about a virtual interview. After all you’re at home in familiar surroundings. That can be a mistake. You need to prepare for a virtual interview just the same as you would for a face to face one. Here are a few things to think about.

Appearance

Dress smartly as you would for a face to face interview. Having said that of course only part of you may be visible to the interviewers. If you’re using a phone, then it may just be head and shoulders, as is the case with WeChat and Google Hangouts. If you’re using Skype on a laptop it may be the top half of your body. Make sure you know how much of you is going to be seen and dress that bit accordingly. But if you decide to wear a shirt and tie with shorts make sure you don’t stand up.

It’s also important to look at the picture of yourself on the screen and adjust to make sure it shows what you want it to.

Background

The interview is in your home. Choose the location carefully. You need a good clear and tidy background. You don’t want the interviewer to see untidy piles of paper or washing up. Also make sure the space you use is well lit.

Interruptions

Try and avoid interruptions they can be really irritating to the interviewer. If there are other people in your home, make sure they know when the interview starts so they can keep quiet and out of the way. One interview I did was drowned out by a flatmate practising the saxophone.

Avoid deliveries. I was interviewing someone in India when the doorbell rang, and it was the local water seller. It’s best to schedule them for another time or ask someone else to take them. If you have any pets keep them quiet or out of the way.

Notes

You can’t take notes into a face to face interview. You can have notes by you in a virtual one. Don’t make them obvious. The interviewer will quickly pick up on it if you keep looking down to read out answers you’ve already prepared. They want to see you thinking on your feet. If you need to use notes make sure they’re concise and easy to read.

Eye Contact

In face to face interviews it’s really important to make eye contact with the interviewer. This can be much harder in virtual interviews, especially if you are using your phone and have 2 or 3 interviewers as small pictures on the screen. Focus on the person that asked the question and try to make eye contact with them. Occasionally look at the other interviewers to check they are still listening.

Feedback

In face to face interviews you also watch the interviewer for feedback. Is your answer hitting the mark.? Are you saying to much? Are you boring them? This isn’t easy in virtual interviews but it’s really important to do it.

Repeating the Question

Sometimes sound quality can be poor in virtual interviews. This provides a good reason for asking the interviewer to repeat the question. Doing that gives you more time to think of an answer. This is a useful strategy but don’t overuse it.

Let your personality shine though

Sometimes in virtual interviews you can feel alienated by the technology. In interviews it’s really important to let your personality and your enthusiasm shine. This can be difficult in virtual interviews and you have to work harder at it. It is vital because in a competitive world your enthusiasm and personality may be what makes you stand out as much as your technical competence. Smile and use the expression in your voice to get this across. With smiles you can always have a practice in front of the camera when nobody else is looking.

I still prefer face to face interviews but the virtual one is the way things are going. At the moment of course it may be the only option. I and a Vice Principal in China can interview a candidate in Canada without leaving where we are, in an hour, at no cost. It makes sense.

Good luck.
Colin Kay