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So you've created the perfect CV and cover letter, and you've secured a job interview. You've rehearsed answers for all the questions you're likely to be asked, and you feel confident and well-prepared. You arrive at the interview early and you're answering all of the questions they throw at you, but then you're hit with a curveball: "Are you married or single?"

It may not be the sort of topic you'd expect to come up in a job interview, but it's surprising how often interviewers quiz candidates about their relationship status. Is this even legal? Can an interviewer ask whether or not you're married? And what difference does it make if you are?

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Unemployed

When it comes to knowing what to do when you lose your job, UK workers can commonly find themselves at a bit of a loss.

The shock of losing your primary stream of income can upset the proverbial apple cart significantly, leaving you with quite the pulpy mess to clean up in the aftermath.

If you've been unfortunate enough to find yourself in that situation, don't throw the towel in just yet. There is light at the end of the tunnel...

 

"I've lost my job - what do I do?"

While you may feel like curling up under the covers and shutting yourself away from the world in the wake of losing your job, try to resist the temptation to withdraw into your shell.

It's unlikely you're going to find new employment while you're sat in your SpongeBob undies, eating cereal from the box and watching re-runs of Friends, so try to stay positive and be proactive.

Turn those hard times into a fresh start with these five easy steps to make your journey back to the top that much easier.

 

Get What You Pay For

Claiming unemployment benefits in the UK is a sensitive subject for many, bringing with it the unwarranted negative stigma that commonly surrounds them.

That being said, unemployment benefits are a right every UK citizen is entitled to and you shouldn't feel bad for getting something that your taxes pay for.

What's more, claiming benefits also allows the government to continue paying your National Insurance contributions during your time between jobs.

Depending on your circumstances, you will likely be eligible to apply for either Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit to help contribute towards your living costs.

You may also be able to apply for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), which comes in the form of a loan and helps pay towards the interest on your mortgage.

 

Budget Wisely

Most recruitment specialists agree that a typical job hunt will take around three months to complete, from the end of the previous employment to the start of the next.

Three months can be a long time to go without an income, particularly if you weren't given any kind severance or redundancy pay-out on your way out the door of your last job.

As such, the importance of budgeting during this time cannot be overstated. Cut back on unnecessary outgoings and try to streamline your spending to the bare minimum.

Paying for an unused gym membership? Cancel it ASAP. Eating out regularly? Brush up on those cooking skills. Smoking your way into debt? Ditch the cigarettes. Etc, etc, etc.

While it may be a shock to the system initially, switching up your living habits will go a long way in ensuring your finances stretch further.

 

Update Your CV

Now that your finances are relatively structured for the weeks ahead, it's time to focus on the task at hand - getting a new job.

Whether you had been in your last job for several years or a matter of months, updating your CV should be your first port of call.

Gaps in employment naturally raise questions with employers so be sure to add your latest working exploits to your working history.

A CV is essentially your own personal shop window for you to display your skills and experience for passing employers, so treat it as such.

Make sure it's presentable, well-constructed and don't waste space superfluously. Ensure it's loaded with key selling points unique to you.

When it comes to applying for specific roles, you may want to tailor your CV for individual jobs by highlighting key skills relevant to particular vacancies. The same applies to your cover letter.

Read the person specification carefully and include key terms and phrases mentioned in the job description. This will help you stand out as a suitable candidate that ticks the necessary boxes.

 

Secure References

During your job hunt, your quest for employment and, more specifically, the application process that comes along with it will likely include requests for professional references.

Depending on how you left your last job, you may want to include a trusted figure from your latest job as a referee. This provides any would-be employers with an up-to-date account of your skills from those that have worked with you most recently.

When choosing a referee, think about what kind of reference they may provide. A co-worker will be able to provide an accurate depiction of your character and work ethic, while a manager may be able to give a better reflection of your achievements and results.

 

Prepare for Interview

Inevitably, your job hunt will eventually call for you to attend an interview at some point down the line. As such, it pays to be prepared.

While the 21st century is more liberal than ever, presentation is still an important factor at interview, so dress to impress. An un-ironed band t-shirt and yesterday's jeans won't cut the mustard.

It's also worth getting your story straight with regards to your last job. The "why did you leave your last job?" question is a common, if not slightly awkward one, so prepare your narrative beforehand.

When you do secure an interview, be sure to do your homework on the company your interviewing for, as well as the role. Lack of preparation is a tell-tale sign of a nonchalant attitude, which is rarely an attribute desired by employers.

 

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Life in the 21st century is very much a world of instant gratification, from online shopping to on-demand TV. If you want something, it's never been easier or quicker to get it post-haste.

However, one thing that is very much immune from such immediacy is careers and achieving your professional goals is a habitually lengthy process.

Worse still, simply being good at your job won't always translate to upward momentum and your professional fate is often frustratingly out of your own hands.

In order to go from the outhouse to the penthouse, you'll need to be patient and bide your time, navigating through the murky waters of office politics along the way.

Here are a few helpful tips to help you secure that promotion without selling your soul.

 

how to get promoted

 

Asking for a Promotion

When it comes to asking for a promotion, simply knowing how to ask for a promotion can make a huge difference. It's a lot more complex than simply putting in a request and getting the thumbs up.

Self-evaluation is a key part of the process. Gaining an honest assessment of your own skills will help you to gauge what you're realistically capable of, as well as what you feel you deserve.

Timing is often a pivotal factor too and simply catching your boss at the right time can play into your favour massively. Similarly, asking for a promotion during a downswing in business is also an unwise move.

 

"How Do I Get Promoted?"

While the phrase "you don't ask, you don't get" is often applicable in life, in the workplace, simply asking for a promotion isn't always the best course of action.

Preparation is the best provision for opportunity and will stand you in good stead when it comes to demonstrating just why you deserve a bump up the pecking order.

Put the groundwork in beforehand by following these five steps to success and make your dreams of promotion a realistic, achievable goal.

 

Go Above and Beyond

As cliché as it may sound, going the extra mile can go a long way (considerably further than the aforementioned mile), particularly if that additional effort involves working at a level above your pay grade.

The best way to prove you're the right person for a role is to audition for it first. If you're already doing the duties of the role you want, it'll make it a whole lot easier to plead your case when the opportunity arises.

While this could backfire and lead to management letting you continue to perform at a higher level for less pay, any company worth their salt will recognise your worth and channel that potential accordingly.

 

Take Action

Assertiveness shows confidence and, as the old saying goes, it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. If you see an opportunity to better the company, don't be afraid to grab that opportunity with both hands, even if it falls outside your remit.

While it can sometimes be a bit of a gamble, it's always worth weighing up the risk/reward ratio. Actions speak louder than words and a keen eye for opportunity, along with the hunger to act on it, is a valuable asset to any manager.

For example, if you work in a gym tasked with manning the front desk, it's highly unlikely that the manager would reprimand you for securing an annual membership from a new arrival.

 

Make a Difference

When you talk about ammunition for a promotion, validation doesn't come any stronger than cold hard facts.

If your contributions have a direct effect on the organisation as a whole, there's no denying the impact your presence has had on the company. Take note of any stats that reflect your performance, such as revenue or conversions.

Similarly, making yourself an invaluable member of your team can also make you a indispensable commodity in your immediate working environment and, more importantly, to your manager.

Don't be shy when it comes to helping your colleagues and those around you to help establish yourself as a critical cog in the working machine.

 

Dress to Impress

You've probably heard the old adage "dress for the job you want, not the one you have". While it might not be as applicable if you dream of becoming a pro wrestler or a rock star, it can work wonders when it comes to getting a promotion.

Take a look at what your boss is wearing… and what their boss is wearing… and what their boss's boss is wearing. If they are suited and booted and decked out in shirts and ties, an un-ironed polo and jean shorts probably won't get you a seat at the head table.

Think smart, dress smarter and look the part to get the part. Looking sharp will also get you noticed and help you stand out from the crowd, which brings us nicely to our next point…

 

Break Away from the Pack

If you want your superiors to see you as someone special and, more importantly, someone with a higher purpose, you'll need to stand out from the crowd.

Make yourself known to those that make the decisions, whether that's via a personal introduction or a more cerebral approach.

Get involved with projects and make an effort when it comes to social occasions and team exercises. An outgoing approach will help raise your profile and prove to management that you're more than just a nameless face at the coffee machine.

 

Earn It the Right Way

In your pursuit of that elusive promotion, never lose sight of the golden rule: nobody likes a brown-noser.

While playing the game is often a necessary part of the process, doing so at the expense of your teammates to get ahead is highly unethical, not to mention unpopular and inflammatory.

What's more, it won't win you any friends and can make your working life somewhat miserable. After all, a promotion can lose its appeal if your team universally dislikes you.

Follow the steps above to gain your promotion the right way – on the basis of your worth, not your ability to suck up and laugh at unfunny jokes.

 

For more workplace advice and job tips, why not speak to one of our expert advisors? Call now on 0203 225 5120 or click the button below to get in touch online today.

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While conventional methods of job application are the widely accepted norm for job hunters nationwide, neglecting the alternatives could be hindering your job search dramatically.

Outside of the standard application route, there are myriad of unconventional ways to find a job, ranging from the weird and wonderful to the risky and daring.

Straddling that dark horse somewhere in the middle, we’ve created this unique list of creative ways to find a job to help you stand out from the crowd.

 

creative ways to get a job, creative ways to find a job , unconventional ways to find a job

 

Creative Ways to Get a Job

When it comes to the bland world of job applications, variety is very much the spice of life. So, brush those of bland CVs, dull cover letters and generic applications aside and take heed of these quirky and unconventional ways to find a job.

 

Start Over

One of the best ways to ensure your new CV and cover letter are as relevant and up-to-date as possible is to rip up your old version and start over.

While your professional history may not have changed since you last applied for a job, employment trends likely have, including layout and look as well as content.

As the old saying goes, you can’t move forward while your looking back, so let go of the pre-existing resume and march on with the new and improved version of you.

 

Be Creative

Speaking of cover letters, put yourself in the shoes of the employer when it comes to penning your application.

Reams of candidates listing their professional experiences in dry, matter of fact, business-speak is enough to put a glass eye to sleep. While it’s important to include key achievements, there’s no law preventing you from injecting a bit of life into your writing.

If you’re claiming to be an “outside-the-box thinker”, throw an anecdote or a witty quip in there to prove it. Originality is engaging and memorable, two attributes that could well secure you a place at interview.

 

Go Old-School

The world has never been as digitally-focused as it is today, with more focus on online activity than ever before.

For many businesses, the hiring process takes place exclusively online, whether it’s through recruitment sites, email or online application forms. What better way to stand out than to take the road less travelled?

A printed CV accompanied by a hand-written cover letter is the perfect way to break away from the pack, stand up and be counted. Simply post your hard copy application to the relevant person/department.

 

Show Personality

Much like creative engagement in a cover letter is a great way of allowing your personality to shine through a piece of A4, showing that same personality at interview can be the difference between a fleeting farewell and a hiring handshake.

By the time you reach the interview stage, the talent pool will have been whittled down from the many to the few with little separating the field of competition in terms of skills.

A sure-fire way to distinguish yourself from Candidate A, B and C is to drop the interview façade and be yourself. After all, if you are successful, it’s only a matter of time before they find out the real you anyway.

Likeable, funny and genuine candidates that pass the personality test are far more likely to be deemed a good fit for the team than an uptight and reserved applicant who plays the cards close to the chest.

 

For more unconventional ways to find a job, why not call HRS today and speak with one of our trained advisors? Call now on 0203 225 5120 or alternatively get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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The recruitment process can be a long road from A to B, presenting a cast of applicants that often spreads into the hundreds, particularly for large, reputable companies.

As such, many businesses – big and small – will turn to recruitment agencies for help.

Recruitment companies essentially act as the middle man between the employer and the candidate, tasked with finding the right candidate for the role.

If you’re thinking of using a recruitment agency in your job search, it could be the smart choice. Here are five great reasons to use a recruitment agency to find a job.

 

why use a recruitment agency, why use a recruitment agency to find a job, using recruitment agency

 

Exclusive Jobs

Recruitment agencies commonly get the nod from businesses over traditional in-house recruitment methods as they will pre-sift the CVs, leaving the cream of the crop for interview.

As a result, recruitment agencies often have advance access to jobs that are yet to become publicly available via traditional job boards. Recruitment agencies can also have access to exclusive jobs that are completely unavailable elsewhere.

What's more, it’s not unusual for businesses to close a job ad early if they find the right candidate, so getting in early can be a big difference-maker.

 

Guidance & Support

Job hunting can be a frustrating experience, particularly when applications aren’t producing responses and you seemingly aren’t making any headway in your employment search.

Having a designated recruitment agent assigned to fight your corner can be a great form of support in your quest for employment, acting as a coach as well as a means to an end.

A personal contact capable of pointing you in the right direction and providing employer insight can be invaluable, particularly when it comes to tailoring applications.

 

Incentivised Performance

As a general industry rule, recruitment agencies won’t get paid by the recruiter until the vacancy has been filled.

As such, it’s in their best interest to help you get the job you apply for and prepare you for interview as best they can, should you make the final cut.

That being said, this can backfire in that the recruitment process can, at times, turn into a sale with the onus on simply getting you employed rather than getting you the job that suits.

Nevertheless, if you are more concerned with getting any job as opposed to getting the job, this won’t be an issue.

 

Industry Expertise

Recruitment agencies can often be industry-specific, with jobs targeted at a specific job sector or specialism (such as science).

Approaching such an agency can be a smart move as those that work there will naturally come equipped with existing knowledge of the industry and therefore detailed knowledge of the roles.

This can translate into clarity of what is expected and informed insight into the company which, in turn, gives you the upper hand in the application process.

This expertise can be a great trump card when it comes to role-specific tips, such as specifics to include on your CV and things to mention at interview.

 

Constructive Feedback

Feedback is imperative when it comes to improving performance and something that is often lacking during the recruitment process.

Employers are busy people and interview feedback is not guaranteed. Meanwhile, feedback on an application is virtually non-existent.

Conversely, recruitments agencies can provide a helpful report of your output, letting you know what worked and what didn’t in order to help you improve for next time.

Whether that’s advice on switching up your CV to tailor it to a role or providing you with interview insights and notes from the interviewers.

 

For more job-seeking advice and application tips, why not drop us a line? Call now on 0203 225 5120 or get in touch online using the link below.

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