Monthly Archives: March 2014

Minding the Employment Gap- What Not to Do

Mind the gap

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1. Do not anticipate the worst

In the past, employment gaps were viewed by employers as discouraging, an indicator of unreliability. However, after the recession, employers have been forced to change their perspective, resulting in career gaps ceasing to be seen as an insurmountable blot on a candidate’s CV. While it is true that stigma around employment gap remains, employers are increasingly flexible and understanding when it comes to periods of unemployment or underemployment. Currently, the UK is in the midst of a shortage of skilled candidates, so it is likely that employers will be able to overlook gaps in your CV as long as your relevant skills and experience are evident. We find that many employers adopt the same philosophy as the entrepreneur James Caan

‘Personally, I am always more interested in the abilities and characteristics of an individual- if they haven’t been in work for a while but they have the quality my company needs, I will hire them’

2. Don’t be unprepared

That being said, it is unrealistic to expect that employers will not be curious to know why you were not in work for a period of time. Do not try to lie or bluff your way through the interview. It is far better to prepare for a grilling that you answer will appear natural and honest. Remember, your ultimate goal is to convince your interviewer that you are a genuine and dependable candidate. Make sure that you are well prepared to deal with the tricky questions so that you are able to convey a positive image consistently throughout the interview.

3. Don’t assume that what you were doing wasn’t valuable

A common fear amongst candidates who have experienced gaps in their employment is that potential employers will view career gaps as a sign of irresponsibility and a lack of commitment. However, in many cases, employment gaps have been spent doing valuable unpaid work, which has enabled the candidate to expand upon their existing skillset. Perhaps you took a career break in order to bring your children up. Maybe you were travelling or took a sabbatical year in order to develop and grow as an individual. All of these activities add value to you as an individual, so you should not assume that employers will take a dim view of your career gap. Put a positive spin on your employment gap by explaining the skills and experience that you required during this period.

4. Do not automatically opt for a standard CV

Nowadays, there is no reason to choose the default chronological CV when there are other resume options which may play to your strengths better. Go for a skills-based CV in order to showcase your diverse skills and experience in a way which will downplay your career gaps. If you do this effectively enough it is possible that your interviewer may not even notice that you have experienced periods of unemployment. Here is some help and advice for building a stellar skills-based CV

Long-term Contracts- the Dodo of the Employment World?

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In a recent Forbes article, Chess Media co-founder Jacob Morgan states his unequivocal belief in long term employment being a thing of the past ‘120% dead’ according to Morgan. He notes:

‘A few decades ago there was an implicit contract between employees and the organizations they worked for.  As an employee, you would be loyal and committed to the organization you worked for – giving it your labour and your attention.  In exchange that organization would take care of you for life’

Indeed, this arrangement meant that workers would take for granted the fact that they would receive a pension from their employer with which to fund their retirement.

Fast-forward to the ‘Credit Crunch’ and the recession which followed, and we see a key turning point in the history of employment worldwide. However, there are other factors which have been influential in hammering the nail in long-term employment’s coffin. Just a few are increased globalisation, increased instability in the workplace, new loyalties and changing expectations (especially in younger employees of the millennial generation).

Morgan admits that although there are still companies who seek out long-term employees, they are essentially a ‘rare and dying breed’, relics from a former period of history.

It is helpful to view changing patterns in employment as the result of a process of evolutionary adaptation, just like that which occurs in the animal kingdom, resulting in the survival of more efficient species over the others. Take the dodo as an example. A flightless bird, dodos could not survive in their isolated habit on the island of Mauritius after the arrival of Dutch settlers, who were forced to rely on the dodo for meat. Within around 30 years, the dodo was a goner. Arguably, the plight of the dodo is comparable to that of long-term employment, which Morgan states ‘ain’t coming back…ever’.

These are the changes which have occurred, and continue to alter the way we find employment. Furthermore, the way we view employment is in a state of flux.

More than anything, the world moves at a faster pace than it did twenty years ago. Of course there are advantages and disadvantages to this shift, but ultimately, there are many positive benefits for employers and workers, and so it is important to be able to adapt effectively, or else be hunted to extinction by more efficient competitors!

See also Dinosaurs of the 9-5 World, the End is Nigh!

Happy International Day of Happiness!

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 Today is March 20th, the official day of happiness around the world!

21st century living can be stressful at times, so it is important to take time to be grateful, by reflecting on what truly makes us feel happy and fulfilled. To celebrate, five flexible workers share with us the things that make them happy about their job.

"Time moves in one direction,Memory in another.”

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“The best thing about my job is that every day is different. I can’t stand monotony and the daily grind, so the lack of a solid routine is perfect for me. I set my own hours and that’s great.”

“Since quitting the 9-5 I’ve been so much more appreciative of the time I spend with my family. I have two young children, and I feel like now I can really be there for them as they grow up. Life is short, they say, so I want to spend as much time with my kids as possible while they’re still young enough to want to spend time with me!”

“More than anything, I appreciate the opportunity that my job gives me to travel the world! My boss is fully supportive of me working remotely, and that is a great help. Working remotely opens up so many options. With modern technology there are almost no limits to what you can do.”

“My job makes me happy because it has allowed me to maintain my independence, and generally stay young. People that I speak to claim they never would guess I was 75! I really do believe that working into retirement keeps you young and agile”

“What makes me happy is the fact that I can work when it suits me. I’m a total night owl, and so I can just start working whenever the creative juices start flowing! I don’t have to drag myself out of bed for the morning commute.”

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Have a great day, every day with flexible working!

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How to Network Effectively

Without coming across as fake!

Marie Forleo is an American personal development trainer and presenter. Within this short video she lists her key points to bear in mind in order to make meaningful connections whilst networking, avoiding coming across as fake or insincere:

Marie Forleo via Youtube

1. Focus on giving versus getting

2. Be present

3. Listen more than you talk

4. Think long-term vs. short-term

5. Do not over-commit or feel guilty

6. Be honest

7. Take action immediately

8. Only go to things that excite you

Why Flexible Working Works For Men Too

While flexible working is generally accepted as being necessary for certain groups within society, for others, making the switch to flexibility can prove more challenging. Men, for example, may be less likely than others to work flexibly because of how they will be perceived by employers and colleagues. Some report that there remains a stigma attached to flexible working with  even those who would benefit from a more flexible routine often do nothing about it, for fear of being viewed as lazy and unmotivated

At Flexiworkforce we believe that these outdated ideas belong well and truly in the past. It’s the 21st century already!

Here are some reasons why flexible working applies to men too.

1. Because flexible working is pivotal to building a portfolio career

Increasingly, a number of men are carving out their career by working on a series of projects, sometimes simultaneously, rather than by subscribing to a traditional 9 to 5 routine. The benefits of portfolio working are numerous, and it has been said that this is a solid way to ‘recession-proof’ your career. The uptake of portfolio careers is only set to increase in the future, with the millennial generation being identified as a ‘generation of contractors’.

portfolio2

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2. Because… Why should anyone work 9 to 5?

Think about it, we live in the age of computers and connectivity has never been so much much of a priority worldwide. All you really need is a smartphone and a laptop and you can work virtually anywhere. Well, anywhere you can get a Wi-Fi connection that is!

RemoteWorking (1)

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3.Because men have family commitments too

It’s not the 1950s anymore, and men are just as likely to have child commitments as women. This means that a large proportion of men would benefit from more comprehensive working hours. Also, flexible contacts allow stay-at-home dads and house husbands the opportunity to boost their income and find personal fulfillment in a role which works around their existing commitments.

workingdad

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4. Because flexibility boosts productivity

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, various studies have shown a link between productivity and flexible working. For many, the 9 to 5 is stifling and commuting takes up valuable time and energy. Think time efficiency and the ability to work whenever inspiration strikes you! Don’t work hard, work smart, in order to get results.

feeling-productive-get-more-done

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5. Because flexibility is the future of business

Companies large and small are rapidly realizing this, and many already offer forms of flexible working. Flexible schedules benefit businesses in that telecommuting cuts overhead costs, and flexible workers are more likely to be motivated, with many reporting high satisfaction rates.

future

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Therefore, there are many reasons why men can and should consider flexible working.

Do something about it today! Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates about our exciting launch. Get ready to reclaim your life/work balance for good!