Please click all the links we offer and don't forget 'no link is an island'; each page you visit may have many more links to try, and always read the comments to see what other people think.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Preparing for the New Year 3

OK so you have three lists, time for the one more:

My great skills

This one is straight forward. A list of all the skills you use for the two first lists and to amend or avoid the things from the third list.

For example if you wrote something about managing people you might include team work, leadership, communication, writing skills, evaluation, decision making, problem solving, people skills etc.

Easy peasy

Friday, December 28, 2012

Preparing for the New Year 2

So you did your two big lists? (Have a look here if you missed that post)
Now make a third one.

All the things you didn't like. 

Well maybe not ALL of them, you don't need to put the splinter you got or the stubbed toe, or a row with a housemate over the remote control. But do think about the things that made you feel uncomfortable or like a backwards step. Maybe a reprimand over a mis filed invoice, something that didn't work like a late delivery, bad news, or even jealousy over a friends promotion.

That may have made you a bit stressed so file or display your list with the others and then go and enjoy a beverage.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My big lists

So, it would be unfair to ask you to make lists with out sharing a snapshot of mine.

I've done this one as a mind map with space to add a few more things to it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Preparing for the New Year Part 1

Sincere apologies for the time out, it's been a while since the past post.

However the new year is just three weeks away and with it come resolutions including the renewed impetus to find the right career (and to write more posts on the blog).

First up, give yourself a seasonal celebratory gift. You've survived another year and it's time to take a step back. Time to evaluate the last year, or more if you wish, and decide what worked and what didn't.

So get out your diary and find an hour between shopping and preparing the egg nog to block off as Me-Time.

Get yourself a couple of sheets of paper, some colourful pens, maybe some sticky notes or a glue pen and a beverage of your choice.

Now draw up two big lists:
Things that worked out really well and Things I really enjoyed doing
Or make a mind map if that is more your style

Write down as many as you can remember. Then have a look for any patterns in it. It might help to photograph it and carry it around with you on your mobile. You don't need to act on it now, just keep it in mind and add to it over the next few weeks, but you might like to start a notebook with ideas for next year's big lists.

Stick your lists on a pin board or file them in a ring binder, just make sure you know where they are.

That's your task. An hour off from the chaos of this time of year to reflect. Easy peasy!

If you feel really ambitious you could try to write your own Performance Review instead.

All the planning posts can found through these links:

And have a look through the links on my Twitter page which are offered simply for interest but might work for you. Let me know what you think of them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Management

Recently I have had conversations with two very different people in very different careers facing a very similar issue.

The first is an artist, mostly working in metals, producing sculptures for both the monumental and interior design markets. He trained in art and is passionate about creating new art and new designs. He has reached a point in his career where he is taking on so many commissions as well as producing limited edition runs of pieces that he needs help. He has taken on an apprentice. This however means that he now has to spend as much of his time teaching, monitoring and managing his 'staff' as he does actually creating art. He also now has to deal with salary, insurance and other administrative issues he was able to avoid as a one man operation.

The other is a computer systems developer who studied business and computing and who loves designing systems and has moved up in her career to become a manager at a major international company, and has now become responsible for a team of staff. She spends most of her time allocating projects, monitoring and guiding her own staff and reporting up the chain of command, to the extent she barely has any systems work of her own to do.

It seems it is fairly common for people with a passion for their career to reach a stage at which they are no longer working to their passion but are managing others. Is this the point at which The Peter Principle kicks in?

Has your job changed beyond recognition or are you able to retain the work you love without sacrificing progress?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

50th post

A minor milestone.
The first few posts were built from sections of the old website that was lost when the providers changed everything.
Since then there has been a lot of research, reporting news stories and some searching questions about the nature of work.
We joined Twitter and have picked up some interesting tips as well as finding quite a few followers.
So what next? Well as the title of the blog suggests, as well as trying to provide ideas and inspiration for job hunters, we want to find out about how to get into work that is not based around the traditional 9 to 5, job for life, stuck in an office career plan. That works for some people - a lot of people - and the web is FULL of advice for them. But those of us seeking something different need slightly different advice. All the advice we've found and offered so far is pretty generic and will help anyone looking to get into work, we hope, but we need more specifically tailored help.
Some of our posts have been about finding a different path - Setting Up On Your Own, Starting Your Own Business and how to learn Traditional Skills - and some about how other people got into a Dream Job. We have also looked at making some extra income on the side or ways to make your income go a little further.
career, unusual job, funny job, strange job,
Now we want to focus on those jobs and how to find them and others that are more esoteric. 
We'll still post career and job hunting advice when we find something useful but general advice will be less of a focus for us.
So please tell us what sort of jobs you consider to be dream jobs, what unusual jobs you want to hear about and what kind of work you do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Inspirational art

These enormous letter blocks are hung next to the Royal Festival Hall in London. As you walk around they just look like big block suspended in the air. Then you reach the top of the steps and suddenly, if you are in just the right spot, they resolve into words. SMILE and DREAM BIG.
dreams, career, ambitions, work, vocation, future,

So go ahead, be inspired, dream big and make all your career dreams happen. Take the first step today.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Very unusual jobs

There are a remarkable number of unusual jobs out there, from flying choppers to guiding rafters. Just try a web search for 'strange jobs' and see what bizarre things some people make their living at. Have a look at Dream Jobs in our tag cloud (on left of our blog).

The BBC got lots of comments from people with weird and wonderful jobs a few years ago, some of which would probably qualify for Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs.

What's the weirdest job you've ever heard of? What would you like to do that is out of the ordinary? Think outside the box, what unusual service could you offer to a paying customer?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The bottom line.

income, standard of living, salary, wages, work life balance, The BBC has just reported on a new study that has defined the minimum income that a family can live on.

They found that a couple with two children were said to need to earn a minimum of £18,400 a year each before tax; single people £16,400 a year, while the figure for lone parent with one child is £23,900 and a pensioner couple £12,000 each.

At the bottom of the article you can find links to average salaries around the world.

How does your income stack up? Are you struggling or would you sacrifice some of that money for greater happiness at work? What would you consider a suitable way to make the most of your income? Would you try self sufficiency or upcycling to save a bit of cash or make a little extra? Do you feel you have to sacrifice your dreams to fund your current existence?

The Money Saving Expert site recently published ways to make a little extra and, of course, have lots of saving tips to help stretch every pound to its fullest.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Work. What is it good for?

Well it pays the the bills right? But you are likely to spend about quarter of every week in the workplace. It is important therefore that at the very least you feel comfortable there.
One factor that will influence how you feel about your workplace is the culture.

Some companies deliberately create and promote a specific working culture amongst its staff, whether it be innovative, appreciative or formal. Often the culture is organic, having developed with the growth of the company.
There is advice for employers about picking staff who will fit into the existing company culture and advice for applicants eager to find the right job culture on what to ask at job interviews.
And if you find yourself in an uncomfortable workplace there are tips for surviving or even beginning a process of change.

Have a look at our other posts on what makes work valuable, or not.
work, company culture, job hunt, career
happy at work
Happy At Work
Mental Health in the Workplace
Work. Life.Balance.
What is a Good Job

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Too much information?

People all over the world have started to take leaps into the unknown and work differently, work for themselves, work for their own goals.

Here a few of the blogs we've seen about taking the plunge.
  • Sarah and Anna are embarking on what they term a series of 'work experiments'.
  • One woman had to leave work to have a child but found a way to make money
  • Laura believes there is work only you can do
  • Being a nonconformist
It's a lot to take in.
There are more blogs on the web than you could ever read. Some are beautifully designed and written with care and passion. Others are chucked up and thrown together, full of spelling and grammatical errors. (We hope we are in the first category, we try to be). Everyone has some advice to dispense. It's up to you to read it, assess it in context, synthesise the information and take what you need and can use from it.

It may help you to distill the essence that really engages you by recording or writing down the advice you like, maybe on record cards, perhaps in a mind map, or a spreadsheet.

How do you evaluate the information you find on the web? Is it easier than taking ideas from books and newspapers?

Monday, July 02, 2012

Networking for job hunt success

networking, professional network, social network, job hunt, career
Who do you know
Networking is often called the most successful technique used in job hunting, above the use of websites to find openings. Networking can mean many things though, from mentioning to a relative stranger that you are looking for a particular type of work through to becoming a well known expert in your field. If you've never use this skill in your job hunt now is the time to learn how, if you have tried it before you can brush up your knowledge a bit. If you are an excellent networker maybe you would like to leave some tips for us in the comments section below.

There is a lot of advice on the web about using social networking sites, and professional networks. If you are seeking work employers may well look for you on receipt of your application so it does well to be in control of what they will find.

One of the biggest and most popular professional networking sites is LinkedIn and, despite some recent bad press, a lot of advice sites still recommend using it to build your personal profile, assess your own expertise and to show off your knowledge and achievements. You might start your LinkedIn journey by uploading a CV. Then build your network by finding people you already know. Don't forget, other people are there to increase their networks too so don't be afraid to approach anyone. Don't discount anyone, for all you know they may have a brother in law looking for someone just like you! Here are more tips about using the site. 

links, networking, professional network, social network, job hunt, career
Link up
The biggest social network site is Facebook, it has over 500million users. It is however, most commonly use for social things, and therefore can include photos and information about nights out that might not tally with your professional image. When you start a job search it makes good sense to go over your Facebook profile and make sure there is nothing incriminating, embarrassing or negative about you, including tags on other people's pictures and comments. Log out and search for yourself to see what comes up. There have been some high profile cases of staff being caught out making inappropriate comments about work and losing their jobs over it. In the USA some companies have demanded access to employees' Facebook accounts in order to check for unsuitable posts. I would venture that if you are asked for this you really need to consider whether the company is a good fit to your aspirations, and whether you can work under such scrutiny. On the positive side though, you can use it to show your extracurricular activities such as volunteering, creative projects and enthusiasm for your field. You could even express your excitement and positive response to job interviews (just be discreet about it - e.g. don't mention the company name, you never know who might be after the same job).

Google+, a fairly recent addition to the social network sphere, is also becoming a useful site to use in your job search. With this you create circles of friends and acquaintances, so you can keep work more separated from friends.

Twitter is also a good place to network. It is used by a lot of specialist recruiters, employment agencies and career advisers (including us - @not9to5). Companies from all areas also have presences on there so you should be able to learn a bit about their culture and news, they may even advertise jobs. Again you can use Twitter to express your creativity, ask questions, demonstrate your knowledge and skills and reach out to people you might not otherwise be able to connect with. Just be sure to know the line between demonstration and flat out self promotion. Remember the need for discretion and to build  a positive personal identity. Use hashtags to find information and to make your news findable.

Employers might not directly advertise on a social network site, but you may find connections to people who can point you towards suitable openings.It is also worth doing some web searches to find out if your field has a dedicated networking site. Another good idea is to produce a business card with your email and your Twitter, LinkedIn or other profile information so you can network in the real world as well.

Here is a free ebook that includes advice for shy people as well as some interesting statistics - for example they claim that 80% of successful job hunts result from networking. It reframes the concept of networking in a way that will help introverts to get out there and find their own networks, as well as to understand what they can offer to an existing network.

But if you're not ready to take the plunge into organised networks online, try using your email instead.
networking, social network, professional network, job hunt, career, future
The Future

Technology moves on apace and the future could take any number of different shapes, make sure you keep your presence up to date, even if you are in full time work, it's worth it, you never know when you or your employer might decide it's time for a change.

As with so much on the web, the majority of advice is aimed at people looking for regular, commonplace jobs. For those looking for something out of the ordinary, you may have to be a bit more creative. A lot of it is also American so make sure you don't just blindly follow advice: consider its appropriateness to your own culture, whether that be the world of banking or a more bohemian, artistic realm.

N.B. As always, we offer this as advice and recommend you do your homework before you take any single piece of information as gospel and certainly before paying for any services. Don't forget, no link is an island, when you get to another site have a click about to see what else is there.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

How does society view your dream job?

There is a trailer currently doing the rounds for a new Sky One programme called 'Parents'. In it a woman has to move, with her kids, back to her parents and start over. She gets a job as a barista. Her daughter says 'that's the sort of job you get when you get out of jail.'

Being a barista may not be everyone's cup of tea (yup, pun intended) but for some people it is something they love to do, you get to meet people, watch people ( a useful occupation for wannabe writers), there are certain unique skills involved and for those with a passion they can go on to develop the tasting skills they get to become professional tasters. There are professional training schools, a trade magazine (in the USA) and an international competition.

Prepare for a flood of letters to the news papers about how offended baristas are that their chosen profession should be so denigrated in a TV soap.

So why are some professions and trades seen in such negative light? Possibly the sheer numbers of baristas you can find on any high street. People may think they are two a penny and therefore low skilled. The fact that it is seen as a temporary money making job for students and antipodeans travelling through Europe might give the impression it is a job anyone can do. The same is true of bartenders, are they seen in the same way? Why are the skills required not valued in the way a head for numbers or IT skills are?

Is your job, or your dream job, seen as below average? How does that make you feel? Does it affect your ambition? Let us know in the comments section below.

You may also be interested in our post What Is A Good Job?

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Dream and The Toil

We recently featured this speech by Bill Gates which was quite a contrast to these words we featured from Steve Jobs.

But contrasting doesn't make them incompatible. You just need to know that in order to do the work you love, you need to put in the time and effort.

work, work life balance, life, career, vocation, job, toil, dreams, dream job
We have previously discussed the need for people to go into the jobs that make the world go round, and in the USA the International Baccalaureate qualification is now offering an alternative that focuses on real life everyday jobs. This article offers a round up of training available in the UK.

We have previously mentioned that a successful job hunt can be thought of as a full time job but it is important not to let the whole process overwhelm you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are you considering quitting?

When thinking about leaving a job there are a few things to consider. Many of which probably run through your mind night and day. But there are a few things you may not have thought through, and some you don't know how to resolve.

odd job, weird job, unusual job, strange job, unusual career, esoteric career, unconventional job, unconventional career, different job, fun job, better job, profession, vocation, occupation, trade, metier, role, job hunt, job search, career change, skills, networking, nine to five, 9 to 5, rat race, work life balance, employee, employer, job seeker, great work, love your work, entrepreneur, Career plan, business plan, livelihood, lifework,  craft, graft, CV, resume, cover letter, job application
Get your wings
First up, are you sure leaving is the right option? Think clearly about your job. Are there any ways to make your current job more enjoyable or to change your role in ways that benefit both you and your company? That's not always possible in a small company or a huge company with clearly defined departments so maybe it is time to weigh up the risks?

Perhaps you can use your current job to fund a future change in your life. Maybe you can find some time outside work to prepare yourself for a change. You can prepare a home office space ready for when you make the change. At the very least you can dream.

If you are feeling that leaving is the best option, make sure you have considered what quitting would really mean for you. Then when you've made the decision think about how to approach your boss.

If it's just the office and commute you want to quit, here are some tops home based jobs (from the USA).

Take a leaf out of the books of people who have already made the switch, even under difficult circumstances.

Finally, on a personal note, my biggest regret is that many years ago I thought my job was going nowhere and applied for some other jobs. I was offered a job in a company that wasn't really in my industry, but paying a bit more so I accepted. I told me boss and he was a bit upset that I was leaving, and told me had hoped I would stay and move through the company. I hated the new job and a few months later a former colleague moved from my old company and I subsequently learned my old boss had been hoping I would take on that role. My new boss was a bully and was later done for embezzlement. I ended up with smashed confidence and phobia of new jobs! I just wish I had talked to my boss before quitting, he might have been able to help me prepare for taking on that other role. So don't be shy, approach your boss or a sympathetic senior colleague before you start sending applications out.

And don't forget, no link is an island. If you  clicked one of our links, look around that site for more info and advice.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Reality Check, by Bill Gates.

Have you seen this recent meme about a speech by Bill Gates?
odd job, weird job, unusual job, strange job, unusual career, esoteric career, unconventional job, unconventional career, different job, fun job, better job, profession, vocation, occupation, trade, metier, role, job hunt, job search, career change, skills, networking, nine to five, 9 to 5, rat race, work life balance, employee, employer, job seeker, great work, love your work, entrepreneur, Career plan, business plan, livelihood, lifework,  craft, graft, CV, resume, cover letter, job application

I think this chimes with our post What Is A Good Job?

Do you think your expectations have been too high? How has life in the real world turned out for you?

CVs and cover letters

There are literally hundreds of sites across the web offering advice on how to present your CV or cover letter.Here are some that we have found that offer some key insights.

Your cover letter should be the place you lay out your personal brand.

The basics that your CV (called a resume in the USA) should include are fairly straightforward. But there are essential items that are important to include, particularly anything the job advert or specification mentions, and there are key mistakes to avoid.

Modern CVs though, need to be creative and stand out from hundreds of others so how can you ensure the HR staff or manager chooses your CV for the INTERVIEW pile?

If you want to start afresh, think about how you can rewrite
Whether you include your online links in your resume or not, employers may look for you on various social websites so be sure your profiles won't embarrass you. If your brand has a great online presence perhaps recruiters will come to you.

job hunt, career advice, cv, resume, cover letter, job application.
Your CV has to stand out.
Does your CV and cover letter stand out? If they were separated in someone's file would they be able to find the different pages and easily identify them? It's not usually advisable to make your CV look outlandish, but consider something that will tie all the pages together. If you have a well defined online presence, is there a theme you can apply to your stationary that will help tie it all together? It could be as simply a a plain blue line along the bottom of every page, or having your Twitter handle at the top. Think of something personal to you, but you might a want to avoid rainbows and kittens unless you are planning to work in a field they relate to.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy at work

I just had to share this article from The Guardian about Zappo Shoes in the USA.

And don't forget these words from Steve Jobs.....

How important is it to you to be happy at work?

The world of work

If you saw our post What Is a Good Job you might already be aware that University is not the only route to a career. If you have made the decision not to go to Uni this site has lots of tips and advice.

What are your reasons for applying to the jobs you find? Is pay a primary attraction? See what other people say in this article.

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Are you interested in the reasearch that is done into work and employment? There's lots of information at the Work Foundation.

Finally have you planned your pension?

After redundancy

Just a quick post with a few links specifically for people facing or recently made redundant.

  • New Life Network offers links and advice.
  • Redundancy Help had information and advice about how redundancy actually happens.
  • Check how the UK compares to other nations for .

Have you found any other sites that help at this difficult stage?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Interview skills

There are lots of tips on how to conduct yourself in a job interview. Here are just some of the ones we found online.
job interview, interview skills, job hunt, job search

The key thing is to do what makes you feel confident about yourself and your ability and suitability for the position you are being interviewed for. If that means wearing your lucky socks or favourite lipstick then go ahead and make yourself more confident with whatever tricks you have. 

What tips would you share for job seekers going to an interview?

Finally - a joke about interviews.


Please note we supply these links for information and hope that as you look at websites you will come to be able to assess which are good sites and which are more dubious. Don't forget there is a lot of free information out there so you should make sure you do plenty of research before you think about paying for anything.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Behind the curtain

Take a peek at what the other side, the employers and recruiters, know and read.
recruitment, employment, job hunt, job search, HR, HRM, job boards

The Human Resources Guide  publishes articles for and about human resource management (HRM).

What Jobsite tells recruiters about the relative merits of the job boards you might be using to find jobs and promote your CV. While this article discusses how recruiters view LinkedIn.

Recruiters have their own awards ceremony, details of the 2012 nominees are here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

What job do you want?

I came across this American post recently that includes a table of the numbers of people in the USA employed in different jobs. Have a look through and you'll notice that the highest figure at over 3 million is General Office Clerks, there are 2 and half million nurses, 2.06 accounts clerks and 2.02 million admin assistants. (In August 2010, the American labor force comprised 154.1 million people - see footnote 1) Are any of those positions the sort of dream job you had in mind for yourself?
There are some holes in the figures, I can't see any musicians or actors listed (they may count as self employed so not in a list of employees, unless they are included in Artists).

We've already discussed what counts as a good job, and how the perceived value of some of the jobs with the most employees is lower than it should be. Indeed no company can run smoothly without Admin and Clerks doing the foundation work that supports the sales, accounts and creative teams. In certain organisations the culture is such that everyone gets to enjoy work, whatever their rank or role. 

But this blog is for people who want something out of the ordinary, something that perhaps all those admin clerks aren't doing.

odd job, weird job, unusual job, strange job, unusual career, esoteric career, unconventional job, unconventional career, different job, fun job, better job, profession, vocation, occupation, trade, metier, role, job hunt, job search, career change, skills, networking, nine to five, 9 to 5, rat race, work life balance, employee, employer, job seeker, great work, love your work, entrepreneur, Career plan, business plan, livelihood, lifework,  craft, graft,

The web is full of sites that are, perhaps naturally, aimed more towards those millions of people in the jobs that are common, frequently up for grabs and easy to research. We have covered some of the basics of job hunting, the kinds of things that apply to all job hunters, and have offered links to some of the websites that offer job ads, advice and tips to the general population. 

For those people looking for something more individual, more esoteric, more unconventional, finding the advice that fits is much harder. Start by looking at the tag cloud on the left of this blog and click Dream Jobs, there are number of posts there that describe less conventional jobs and employment, from musicians to monks. 

Have a look at the posts on Up To Date Jobhunting and the Changing World Of Work  for more about alternatives ways of working and of finding the for you. 

 Make sure your Google search skills are polished, get to know all the other search engines, make sure you use the versions and learn to use the web to its fullest. Try searching using related terms to your main search, the bar tending job you want might be listed as amixologist. But don't forget your offline skills. Networking is increasingly vital as a skill in job searching, tell everyone you know about your job hunt and what your aims and ambitions are. Tell your friends, tell your dentist and tell the milkman; you never know who might have just the link you need to make your career jump. 

Is there a professional body for the job you have in mind? You might be surprised. There are organisations for Travel Writers, for Musicians, for Actors and for Clowns. Do they have a regular publication or website that might include job ads? 

Keep updating your skills and make sure your CV and online presence reflect your abilities.

Are you changing career to improve you work life balance? Downshifting gained popularity in the 90s, you might want to try supplementing you paid work with self sufficiency, even if you don't have and land. Or perhaps you are more comfortable keeping several careers on the go. Again, see the tag cloud at left for more on work life balance from this blog.

Where have you found great job advice?

NB - links are provided for information. NotThe9to5 is not responsible for content of other websites.
There is a lot of free information on the web and from other sources like libraries. Make sure you do your homework before you choose to pay anyone for help.
1 -

Friday, June 01, 2012

More Dream Jobs

Not everyone can be a Premiership Football Player, and work is not like in the movies, but not everyone's idea of dream job is that same.

steve jobs, dream job, work, love work, career, vocation
Quote from the aptly names Steve Jobs

Inside Jobs has descriptions of lots of different jobs, although mostly American they will give you a feel for what each job involves.

If you want to go for a comparison, here's a list of some of the worst jobs researchers recently identified. Are any of these your dream job?

Also see our post Dream Jobs and the individual Dream Job descriptions (Use the Tag Cloud at the left to find them).

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The up to date job hunt

Penguin Admin by Moini - Penguin working on his computer, seems to be the admin of a network, used yves_guillou_fish_sheleton.svg and network-blue.svg.
Things change rapidly with ever growing use and simplicity of technology. It's easy to think that your job hunt can be conducted in the same way as it was when you first hit the job market. But the pace of change means employers have new ways of finding staff.

There is a lot of advice on the web to help prevent you blundering through the process or making faux pas. From the basics of job hunting through to special advice for mature job hunters, to how being a mum is a valuable set of skills and experience. Just type what you are looking for into Google or one of the other search engines out there.

One technique you might find useful is to make the job hunt your job in which you schedule tasks just as you would at work. Look into finding a mentor, someone you know and respect could be just as good as a remote but mega successful star.

Try putting your CV on Pinterest, and Tweeting about your job search.

Most companies have jobs on their website but you may have to hunt them down; look at the top or bottom of the page for "About Us", you may find a link on the "About" page. Have a look at all the big sites and get a feel of how they work and learn to identify less effective sites. Read articles and learn how to use any tools they have. Make notes!     
Keep track
of all the applications you've made, whether by automatic processes on these sites or by sending a CV, and note all the phone calls you make or receive and time and date of any interviews.

Despite the great technology, perhaps one of the best thing you can do is pick up the phone (don't forget to keep it charged up). There are also offline places to go to advice, from your local library and job centre to specialist advice for people returning from a long illness.

A lot of the advice online is from the USA, but many of the basic principles will apply in the UK as well.
Don't forget that there is a lot of free advice out there, so before you commit to paying for anything make sure you have done your homework and are going to get value for money.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Setting up on your own

Leaving the rat race by setting up on your own is a move that is increasingly appealing to people across Britain, as well as many countries around the world. Increasingly, happiness at work is being valued as much as the other benefits of a job.

When your work, or lack of it, doesn't align with your passions and values it can seem that the obvious way out is to find a way to make your own livelihood. Even if you have never worked before you probably have valuable transferable skills.

The first step to this career path is to find inspiration. Do you have a great idea for a business or an invention that you believe can change people's lives? 

Next you need a plan. This might include making samples, testing them out and costing production, or it may consider what admin, accounting and other paperwork you are going to need on a regular basis, and whether you need to outsource that work. Will you need insurance of any sort? Are there licences or certificates for the sort of work you plan to do? 

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Then a business plan is vital. There are lots of sites on the web that give advice and templates for business plans, and most banks offer advice as well in the hope you will go to them for a start up loan.

There is also a lot of advice about the whole process of setting up a business, including advice from BusinessLink and HMRC set up by the government.

This American site can help put you in touch with a mentor in your field and The Guardian offers some advice about finding a mentor.

If you have items for sale one place to market them is a market. Find stalls available in markets around the country at Stallfinder. Also try a blog to market your business, the basics are laid out here but there are lots of advice sites for new bloggers. If you are selling online make sure your social media presence does you justice.

Have a look at the post Starting Your Own Business on this blog for more ideas, and this link for tips on success.

And finally, if you are working from home try this design for making a room divider to keep your office separate from the rest of your home.

Don't forget, there is a lot of free information out there, make sure you do your research before you consider paying someone to help you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mental health in the work place

People with mental health issues of all sorts still have to earn a crust. Their treatment at work can have a huge impact on their health and on their motivation and effectiveness in their jobs.

Here are a couple of articles on the different approaches work. The good and the bad.

  • Company culture can have a great influence on how staff at all levels treat someone with a mental health issue, this company clearly got it very wrong.
  • While this organisation seems to be what everyone would hope for; understanding, supportive and encouraging.
If you want advice for yourself, you employers, your colleagues or your employees this advice on everything from legal positions to practical tips, is a good starting place.

Find out how happy you and your staff are with this survey, then implement some of the ideas that deliver happiness at work.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dream Job

Job boards

There are a great variety of job boards across the web. These range from a basic listings site which simply enables you to make a search of jobs fitting your criteria to huge sites that offer advice, networking and CV hosting.

Here are some of the main job boards and an idea of what they offer.

  • Monster is one of the biggest worldwide job boards. As well as a search function they offer Career Tool and Advice. You can upload your CV for employers to search or join their networking group BeKnown. There is also a facility to sign up for Job Alerts; if you fill out your criteria for a job they will email you with matching jobs as and when they come up. They also have iPhone and Android apps and Advice Forums. You can connect to them via Twitter and Facebook as well. Monster is also an international company so try their Site Selection page to choose a new location abroad for your job hunt.
  • Jobsite is a British site that started simply as a Jobs By Email (Job Alerts) site. It has grown to include Searchable Jobs, Career Advice, and CV hosting. They are also on Twitter and Facebook. Jobsite advertise on UK TV, currently featuring Max Beesley.
  • JobServe, also British, make sure every job and CV is checked by a person to ensure nothing on the site is out of date.
  • Total Jobs is another British board offering all the usual services but in their Careers Advice they also offer advice on Life At Work.
  • CV Library offer the main services but also promote CVs through a network of other sites, the list of which proves just how many job sites there are out there.

A number of news publications offer a job board with many of the same features as the above boards.

  • The Guardian aims at "an audience comprising high quality jobseekers just like you, we only list the highest calibre vacancies"
  • The New Statesman  "focuses on attracting the unique and diverse jobseekers reading the New Statesman." 
  • Jobsearch is provided by Trinity Mirror Group who publish The Mirror a host of local newspapers around the country and also provide Fish 4 Jobs.
  • Jobs 24 comes from Archant who publish a lot of local newspapers.

Then there are the recruitment agencies, many of which have High Street branches, that offer similar services again.

Most of these boards and recruiters are generalists, aiming to reach the broadest possible audience. This of course means that the esoteric and unusual jobs you might be hunting for are not listed there, or might be hard to find if they are. It is worth searching these boards though, or setting up email alerts, as that special job might be listed and you don't want to miss it.

You could also try other listings sites that have a jobs section, like Gumtree, FreeAds or Friday Ad.

When filling in your job criteria it is important to get the right balance between specific and general. If your search is too vague then you may find yourself inundated with results that are not close enough to your requirements. If you are too specific you may not get very many jobs. You can widen or narrow your search using criteria such as salary and location very easily, choosing the words to describe the sort of job you want is a trickier proposition and you may need to trial and error some phrases; for example the search term theatre may result in jobs in a surgical theatre, while the word stage may bring up Key Stage teaching jobs,

Please note, all the advice and services here should be free. If you are asked to make a payment for anything please do check the authenticity of the service, even if they claim to guarantee you a job.