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Welcome to Candidate Corner!

Here you will find a few articles that have been written by Lee Narraway the Managing Director of ProCore Solutions Ltd.


Job Advice - Should you stay? Should you go?

I have been asked this question so many times, and guess what? I don't know either! What I always say in this situation is:

Ask yourself the question after a good day and after a bad day, your gut feel will give you an indication of where the heart lies on this answer.

Its never an easy decision (or it shouldn't be anyway) but whatever the outcome may be, you should not have regrets!

If you're having issues then the first thing to do is to try to resolve them.  It may be your boss or a colleague but you should always make an attempt at resolving any issues before you make the decision to go.

If it doesn't work out then you can still leave holding your head high, you tried and that's all that can be asked.

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Job Advice - Should you stay in sector or transfer your skills?

This is a big question!  As with all decisions there are consequences. Staying in sector is a safe place and will have no impact on salary and promotion opportunities.  Changing sector will likely have a negative impact on salary and promotion opportunities in the short term.  Think of it as a series of ladders up against a wall.  Staying on the ladder, its easier to climb when you change. Moving across to another ladder (sector) means a side ways step at best.

CV Advice - Top 5 Common CV mistakes

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Recently I offered a Free CV review for anyone who cared to email me. There was a common thread as to the structure and type of typical mistakes that people made. What is important to remember is the CV is your first opportunity to impress, so don't let it slip by in a blur of words and pictures.

The top 5 common mistakes were:

  1. Leave out the dodgy picture! Especially the ones that were taken a few years ago on a Polaroid which has been run over by a car a few times and the kids have used it to wipe the paint of the walls. They don't scan well or do you any favours.

  2. The hiring manager wants to know what you can bring to the table and how you can benefit their organisation, so its always best to get into the nitty gritty early on, please don't waste page after page with acronyms.  Its likely a HR partner will look at the CV first so they may not be a subject matter expert or familiar with the jargon used.

  3. You have an immediate opportunity to let the reader know how highly qualified you are, so tell them!  Put your qualification letters after your name, for example: Elizabeth Windsor CEng MSc BEng so there we are, the Queen is a chartered Engineer with a masters and a first degree (you heard it here first).

  4. OK so your home is important to you and you probably paid a lot of money for it but guess what?  The hiring manager really doesn't care where you live until they think they want to see you so put this information at the end of the CV.  Its also the first piece of information a recruiter will remove.

  5. And last but certainly not least........

Remember the main buying motives, the reasons why anyone buys anything ever!!! You must relate what you do and what you have achieved to....

  • MAKING MONEY
  • SAVING MONEY
  • SAVING TIME
  • MPROVING COMPLIANCE OR IN OTHER WORDS...LOOKING GOOD AND NOT BREAKING THE LAW WHICH IS NEVER GOOD.

There you have it, don't make these common mistakes and your world will get infinitely better, well, at least your CV will.

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Cover Letter Advice

There are many schools of thought about cover letters.  Should you bother or not and if so what would you put in them?  You could always put in the letter that you are a team player, committed, driven, amazing at football, a natural leader, better looking than David Beckham and so on....

BUT, the truth is everyone does this.  In a world where standing out is vitally important to the job seeker you have to make sure that if you are writing a cover letter it has to add value and do a job. Otherwise, do not bother.

Another point worth mentioning is, when you submit the cover letter, its likely that the CV will go on a journey around the company you applied to.  The chances are the cover letter will not get a ticket for the ride and will be consumed by the cover letter monster.

I'm confident that most recruiters will not forward the cover letter and will create their own profile report for your application, this will be designed in a way that the client wanted and will be much more useful for your application.

If you are going to write a letter, then check out the CV advice above, the four main buying motives are the secret and will be your friend on the journey.

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Interview Preparation

There isn't any exact science when it comes down to interviewing, but you can stack the percentages in your favour by following these simple tips:

Dress well! Now, I don't mean Mickey Mouse Ties (yes, I’ve had one of these) and bright red and green socks I mean a clean, tidy business suit, plain shirt / blouse and a matching tie - follow this simple rule a little bird once told me; 1 plain and 2 stripe or 1 stripe and 2 plain.

Make sure you prepare well, it’s no surprise that the candidates who prepare the best get the best jobs, it’s a fact and it’s something that there can be no excuse for. The internet has been around long enough to ensure that there is information about the company and sector you're working in, so instead of watching the TV get busy reading and researching.

Have plenty of questions written down for the inevitable "do you have any questions" bit. It will happen and you know it will so make sure you’re ready for it. This bit is so easy and you generate the questions from your preparation time. Don’t forget – Interviews are a two way thing. Asking questions you want to know the answer to is the perfect way to get to know the employer and the interviewer! Make sure that you have enough company information so that you feel comfortable, confident and excited going forward!

Do not let this moment happen and result in you having a really awkward moment where you say "I think you've answered everything really!".

Use the STAR method for delivering your answers to questions you’re asked: Now many of you will have heard of this and it’s a common thing. The beauty of this is it allows you to elaborate in context and it opens the door for further questions about the topic you have chosen to respond with. It’s a clear, structured and concise method and the best way of minimising the amount of questions that you just "don't know" so here is a recap:

  1. Situation: The position I was in

  2. Task: What I was asked to do while in that situation

  3. Action: What I did after I was asked to do what I was doing in the situation

  4. Result: What end product of the action.

DO NOT BE LATE FOR WHATEVER REASON IN THE WORLD APART FROM NUCLEAR DISASTER. If you're going to be late then it would probably best to rearrange the whole thing! A minute here and there I guess isn't going to kill you or the interviewer, but it may be the difference between two equally matched candidates and it’s just not worth the risk!

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Career Progression - Squeaky Wheel

Moving up the ladder within an organisation can be a very rewarding experience. It requires a lot of hard work and commitment and in many cases investing in your further education is usually an advantage.  Looking at my own career as an example, when I completed my degree I found opportunities were much easier to come by.

It very much depends on the environment that you are in of course.  If you are in an organisation which is full of graduates and professionals then this may not be appropriate of course as you may have had to have a degree to get in the company in the first place.  In this case its all about being efficient, well organised and dynamic. Getting involved in projects or work groups is a great way of demonstrating your ambitions and commitment.

Arriving bang on time and leaving at the first bell isn't a good idea when it comes to generating a good impression, this doesn't mean you have to burn the midnight oil but think about the impression you are creating.  If the evening is critical to you in terms of getting home on time then maybe you can get in a little early in the morning, take a little less at lunchtime or show willing in some other way.

Remember you get paid for the contracted time you work and for the job role you were employed to do. To get on further then you have to demonstrate you have the capability, capacity and willingness to do so.

Flexibility is the key.


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