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Mar 022010
 

working two jobs... recession beater with a heavy price According to research by employment law consultancy firm Peninsula Ireland almost four in every ten Irish workers are having to take on extra work to balance their personal finances.

As the ranks of Ireland’s unemployed continue to swell, those people still in work are forced to work longer hours, or even take on a second job to meet the challenging economic realities of life in post-celtic-tiger Ireland. The survey of 837 workers on the island of Ireland took place in January and February of this year, with 39% of respondents admitting to holding down a second job, up 16% on a similar survey the firm conducted last year.

"In theory [a second job] is a good idea," said Mr Alan Price, managing director with Peninsula Ireland. "A second job means higher income, but it can pose problems for both the boss and the employee. HR laws need to be looked at to ensure that no one is breaking the law by working too many hours in one week," he said.

"Another problem you face is employee fatigue and this may well become a health and safety concern, so it’s something that both the employee and the employer need to address."

Spending more time at work means less time at home, and that brings other pressures to bear on families already struggling to cope.

“Working longer hours may not necessarily be good for your health, and people can get easily overwhelmed when they take on a second job,” commented Mr Price. "Before considering a second job look at all the risks and weigh up the benefits. It may well be that you will be in a worse-off situation, especially after taking into account travel, taxes, any other expenses,

“Think about the lack of quality time at home and any implications on your health; there really is a lot to take into account.”

If money is the primary motivator for the second Job, workers may be better served looking at opportunities to increase their earning potential in their primary role, advised Mr Price.

“There may be better ways to improve marketability, training and education,” he said. "Look to see if there are extra skills required for jobs that pay more money, such as supervisory roles. Have you expressed an interest to your employer that you would like to be considered for these better-paid roles?”

Anyone considering taking on an additional job would do well to heed the advice and consider the long term consequences rather than just the short term gain of a boosted income. Long hours, frayed nerves and exhaustion can have serious legal and safety implications, could adversely impact your performance in your primary job and potentially exact a heavy personal toll on you and your family. If you’re considering another job to plug a shortfall in your finances make sure you explore all of the options available to you, and are aware of the potential pitfalls before you make the decision.

Feb 112010
 
Virtual Resume & Letter

Image by Olivier Charavel via Flickr

While economies around the globe lumber painfully out of recession, and there are signs of improvement on the jobs front, finding and getting the right job for you in today’s market is still incredibly challenging. With spring around the corner now is the perfect time to break out the metaphorical duster and give your job-seekers tool kit a much needed spring clean. It may be just the edge you need to land your perfect job.

Polish that CV

When was the last time you took a good long look at your CV to make sure it’s both up-to-date and up-to-scratch? Fish it out now, and go through every little detail to make sure it’s accurate and current. Don’t forget that both the information and the way its presented needs to be tailored to the sort of jobs you’re looking for. If you’re looking for more than one type of job, you probably need more than one type of CV — so create templates for each based on your generic master copy to suit the jobs you want to apply for.

Contact your referees

If you’ve listed references on your applications or have mentioned that they’re “available on request” on your CV, take a few moments to actually make contact with your nominated referees and let them know that you’re looking for a job. That way any request for a reference won’t come “out-of-the-blue”, and they’ll be more prepared to deliver that glowing reference that will set you apart from other candidates. Are the references you have listed the best ones… are are their contact details up-to-date, or would you be better off replacing some of them entirely? Continue reading »

Oct 152008
 
An interview

Image via Wikipedia

Going for an interview can be a stressful proposition – especially if you go in unprepared. By taking a few steps to get yourself ready before attending the interview you can reduce nervousness, improve confidence and project a more professional image.

Here are just some of the things you can try before an interview to help settle your nerves and improve your chances of success:

  • Know your CV and Application Form inside out: you did keep a photocopy of that application before sending it in, didn’t you? Your interviewer is likely to use your application and CV as a roadmap for the interview. You need to be ready to answer questions and elaborate on everything contained in those documents.

  • Put yourself in the interviewers shoes: imagine yourself in the interviewer’s position. You’re looking for the best candidate for the job – what questions would you be asking? Make a list of all the questions you can think of and try to come up with viable answers for each of them. Write your answers down and read them back to yourself several times to commit them to memory.

  • Focus on awkward or uncomfortable questions: Think about the questions you would you least like to answer. These will often relate to your weakest areas, so it’s worth spending some time honing and polishing your answers to them.

  • Practice delivering your answers out loud: even better, do it in front of a mirror or a video camera so you can read your own body language and adapt it accordingly. You may feel a bit silly at first, but this can do wonders to improve your delivery. Aim for confident, but not cocky – you want to project an air of enthusiastic but measured competence.

  • Arrange a mock interview: if possible arrange a practice interview. Ideally this should be with an experienced interviewer. If you’re a recent graduate ask your college careers advisor about this service. If you applied for the job through an agency they may be able to help, or ask somebody that you know. Remember that you need objective feedback on your performance – so it may be better to steer clear of family and close friends.

  • It’s a two way street: although the interviewer(s) will be directing the interview, remember it’s a two way process. It always pays to have a few well thought out questions about the job or the company to ask at relevant points in the interview. These questions should reflect the research you’ve already done and as a rule of thumb you shouldn’t ask about salary or benefits. Make sure you steer clear of questions whose answers are readily available on the company website or literature (remember you’ve already done your research…).

The more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be and the more confident your interview performance will appear. Just remember that some nerves on the day are normal – even beneficial. A bit of tension will help to keep you alert and will work with your preparation to strike that elusive balance between poise and enthusiasm that is the interview ideal.

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Oct 152008
 

Whether you’re looking for your first job, a new job, a promotion or a career change, an effective CV is one of the most crucial weapons in your career-development arsenal.

The purpose of your CV is to convince a prospective employer to invite you for an interview. That’s not as easy as it sounds. The average employer’s is swamped with CVs, and will typically spends less than 30 seconds looking at each one. If it’s going to stay out of the rejection pile your CV has to make an immediate impression.

So how do you go about transforming that list of work experience, academic qualification and extracurricular activities into an attention-grabbing, interview generating tool?

  • Put yourself in the employer’s shoes: it is important to remember that you’re not creating a CV for your own benefit or to impress your peers. You’re creating it to convince a prospective employer that you should be on their interview short-list. Before writing your CV put yourself in the employer’s position and consider what you’d be looking for in a candidate. Then make sure you address those requirements in your CV.

  • Provide the most important information first: it’s surprisingly easy to bury important deep in the body of your CV. As you assemble the information in each section, prioritise it and list the most significant and relevant information first (remember to do this from the employers perspective).

  • Don’t try to cram everything in: your CV needs to be a concise summary of your skills, experience and achievements as they apply to the specific position you’re applying for. Keep your CV short and to the point (ideally no more than 2 A4 pages), while making sure you include all of the necessary information.

  • Presentation: your CV is the first glimpse that a prospective employer will get of you. Everything about it should reflect the qualities they are looking for in a candidate. Use high quality white paper, and ensure that your final document is formatted in a way that makes it easy to read. Use no more than two different fonts throughout (one for headings and one for body text).

  • Make it scannable: use clear headings and bullet points where relevant to make information more accessible. With only seconds to impress guiding your reader to the most relevant information quickly will pay dividends.

  • Be confident and don’t sell yourself short: not many people like singing their own praises, but your CV is no place for modesty. Use positive language to highlight your skills, strengths and accomplishments to maximum effect.

  • Tell the truth: while it’s vital to make the most of your achievements on your CV, it’s equally important that you can back up the statements you make. When you get called for interview you’ll be asked to elaborate on the information in your CV – and any falsehoods will come back to haunt you.

Finally, always remember that time spent honing and revising your CV is never time wasted. Think of it as an investment in your future. After all, an effective CV can open the door to a whole new world of opportunity.

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