Transferable skills for new graduates

Graduate students wearing graduation hat and gown, outdoors

Many young professionals graduate from college somewhat unsure of what skills to list on their resumes and/or cover letters.  Of course, if you have completed an internship or worked a part-time job, you know to include that information.  You are probably prepared to list academic honors and a summary of your most important classes as well.

 However, there are also skills most graduates possess just by virtue of being students.  This article focuses on the transferrable skills that students learn over the course of completing their education that, unbeknownst to them, many employers desire.

 Written & Oral Communications

Hiring managers place a high value on employees that can communicate effectively, both in writing and orally.  Since communication is a key skill in almost every industry, and for almost every position, it is an important skill to focus on. However, let me caution you that just about every resume I have reviewed makes reference to the person being an effective communicator. That’s not enough. You need to support that statement.

First, the best way to prove that you possess good writing skills is to submit a good resume and cover letter. If you claim to be a good speaker, you need to show that during the job interview. Lack confidence? Consult a career counselor at your school, or retain a professional resume writer or career coach for advice.

 Teamwork

Upon graduation, many people want to highlight their “leadership” skills.  While it can be valuable to demonstrate that you have the ability to take initiative and lead your group to complete an assignment, employers also place a premium on employees who can work well in collaborative environments. You can showcase your teamwork skills by focusing on instances where you worked in a collaborative setting to complete a project, lab, paper, or other assignment.

An entry-level employee might not be asked to take charge of a project or committee for quite some time, but you will likely work in a team from day one.  Therefore, do not underestimate the value of this skill.

 Business or Industry Knowledge

Over the course of completing your education, you will likely have gained some industry knowledge.  Make sure you highlight your knowledge or understanding of the industry you are targeting.  You can also use this as an opportunity to show your interest in the position.

As you write your resume and/or cover letter, remember that you can draw on anything from academic experience to hobbies to back up your claims of skills or expertise.  This is especially true of business or industry knowledge and understanding.

 Social Media

Many of the “Millennial” generation were raised during a period of time when social media wasn’t just a part of daily life, but something they can engage in before class, between classes, on the way to work, after work, and before they go to bed at night.  Your generation can follow any person of interest, has hundreds of online connections, and gets regular updates on your favorite brands.

When you list your technical skills make sure to include your social media skills.  If you have used social media in a classroom project or volunteer assignment, highlight it.

 *   *   *

In conclusion, there may be other transferable skills that you can mention in your resume or cover letter, depending on the position. Therefore, make sure to comb through the job posting carefully and tailor your resume and cover letter to each position you apply to.

by Kimberly Sarmiento

 

Kimberly Sarmiento is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and author of “The Complete Guide to Writing Effective Resume Cover Letters: Step by Step Instructions” and “How to Write Successful Letters of Recommendation: 10 Easy Steps for Reference Letters that Your Employees, Colleagues, Students & Friends will Appreciate.” She is a regular contributor to WorkAlpha.

 

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Finding the perfect work spouse: it’s time to say ‘I Do’

Office Workplace with Red Heart Keyboard Phone Headphones Stationary and Office Supplies. Valentines Day concept with space for Your text and picture

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon and love in the air, now’s the time assess your working relationships and ask yourself the big question: do you have a work spouse? It’s a term that’s becoming increasing popular in workplaces across the country, but what does it actually mean, and more importantly, how do you get one?

The answer is actually fairly simple. Your work husband / wife, is your partner in crime in the office. They’re the one you go to when you need reassurance, and you know that they’ve always got your back; just as you do for them. Instead of going home after a long day and boring your real spouse with the latest workplace dramas, or brainstorming for solutions to your latest project, your work spouse is there to help. Essentially, if you do it right, having a work spouse can be a real win-win situation.

Most of the time, workplace spouses fall into their relationship so naturally that they don’t even realise it’s happened. However, if you’re actively looking for someone to share your working life with, we’re here to tell you what to look out for…

Find someone you trust

Much like picking a partner in life, if you’re going to say a workplace ‘I Do’, you should make sure you’re pairing up with a colleague who has your best interests at heart. Your work spouse should be someone you can count on when things are challenging, but you should also be able to trust that they’ll give you a nudge when you’re slacking; you want someone who will make sure that you’re working to your full potential. Obviously, it goes both ways; you have to feel comfortable dishing out the same advice to your workplace other half, or things could just get awkward.

Make sure you’re on the same level

Partnering up with a co-worker can be a great career decision, however, you should probably do so with someone on the same level as you. While you might well get on with your senior colleagues, you don’t want to have to contend with the inevitable favouritism rumours as a result of a close working relationship. Making sure both you and your work wife / husband are on the same level professionally is a simple way to make sure you don’t start any whispers!

Be firm with where the lines are

Working marriages usually work best between people who are actually married or spoken for in real life, as it ensures that lines don’t become blurred. If you are both single, you should be able to leave your office husband / wife at the office, and you should both ensure that you’re honest about your working relationship. By keeping it strictly professional, you can’t go wrong. If you’ve got a good thing going on at the office, you don’t want to complicate it, so it’s best to make sure there’s no attraction there.

Share common ground

If you’re searching for your workplace partner in crime, make sure that they’re someone you have common ground with. The last thing you want is to find yourself with a work spouse who is your polar opposite. While it’s good to be different, if you can’t find anything to agree on then it’s unlikely to be a successful work marriage; you should be looking for someone who holds similar professional values to yours, and someone whose work ethic matches yours. Just as in a real marriage, your working marriage should be with someone that you align with naturally.

While a work wife / husband is ideal for some people, it’s important to remember that not everyone will feel the same way, and ultimately, you should be making the career choices that you feel work best for you. Having a work spouse to fall back on can be of great comfort to some, while others may choose to go it alone; there’s no right or wrong. However, with Valentine’s Day on the approach, you’d best watch for Cupid’s arrow flying around the office – someone might have their eye on you as the perfect work spouse!

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Plan Your Day for Productivity

Productivity 

We all wish that we could be more productive. Whether you’re a student, a professional or a job seeker, there are things that you need to get done and they don’t always happen. To make sure they do, you need a plan of action. Taking the time to plan your day will keep you feeling motivated and give your productivity levels a boost. If you can be more productive you will be able to achieve your goals. This is the power of planning.

Follow our five steps below to discover how to plan your day effectively:

 1. Avoid long to-do lists

As your mental list of the many tasks you need to do grows, you may naturally start jotting them down on a to-do list. This is a good idea in the sense that it helps you to remember everything, but you may find yourself staring at your list and feeling overwhelmed by its length. General, lengthy to-do lists won’t actually help you to be more productive so stop making them!

 2. Give yourself daily goals

Setting small, manageable goals will help you on your way to achieving the bigger picture. What are your goals for today? If you don’t have any, then you’ll find it much harder to stay focused and to be productive. Set yourself daily goals and then plan and organise your day so that you can meet them. Imagine how good it will feel at the end of the day to look back on what you have achieved.

 3. List the smaller tasks

Do you have a number of small tasks that are easy to forget and don’t take long to complete? It’s ok to put these kind of tasks in a short to-do list. When you’ve planned your day and created a schedule for yourself you’ll be able to find time for these tasks throughout the day. Remember, don’t let a short list spiral into a lengthy general mishmash of tasks.

 4. Take breaks

You need to take breaks into account when you are planning your day. Time-out will help to boost our productivity and refocus our mind, so never think you’re too busy to take one. Something as short as grabbing a drink or snack will be hugely beneficial.

 5. Don’t leave loose ends

When you’re working/study/job searching day ends you should be able to sit back and relax. Sometimes, this is easier said than done and a lot of us can’t help but dwell on our day and start thinking ahead for the next. Ensuring that tasks are complete and problems are resolved at the end of each day will help you to switch off. If you plan your day properly, you are much more likely to be able to wrap everything up at the end of it. You may even want to plan your following day so that you don’t have it weighing heavy on your mind over night.

Planning and productivity really do go hand in hand. A clear and well-thought out plan with realistic scheduling will help you achieve your goals. Try these tips to find out what works for you and see the results for yourself.

CareerExperts is a free careers site that exists to propel and support professionals on their path for career success. They use their wealth of expertise and experience to help other success-seekers achieve their career goals.

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Most annoying workplace habits

Businessman Arguing With His Two Co-workers

Co-workers: some we couldn’t live without, and others we definitely could. Here at CV-Library, we thought we would take a look at some of the workplace habits that are driving UK professionals across the nation crazy. Are you guilty of any of these workplace blunders…?

Excessive smell

Whether it’s the guy from accounts who eats boiled eggs at his desk, or the girl across the office who loves to microwave her tuna, it’s likely that the entire workplace will have to deal with the stinky consequences. Maybe you’ve got colleagues who tend to overindulge in their perfume, or maybe you’ve got a co-worker who could do with some perfume. It’s not an easy situation to tackle by any means, as someone is likely to be offended one way or another. Perhaps it’s easier for us to put it this way; if you’re the one bringing pungent foods into the office…please stop!

Too much chit-chat

It’s important that you bond with your colleagues, but there always seems to be one who likes to overshare. Whether it’s an in-depth version of what they got up to at the weekend, or a play-by-play of last night’s game, it’s something that most workers could do without. If you’re confident enough, you could shut the conversation down and say that you’ve got a deadline. Failing that, you might need to fake a phone call that gets you away from your desk!

Being too loud

It’s unreasonable to expect that an office operates in complete silence, however, there are times when the noise levels may be verging on rowdy. If you find yourself struggling to work in these conditions, it might be time to invest in some noise-cancelling headphones, or asking if you can work from home (if your home is more peaceful).

Screen spying

Who doesn’t love a screen spy? Whether it’s the person next to you sneaking a look at your screen when you’re typing an email, or co-workers not-so-subtly having a look over your shoulder on their way to the printer, it can be frustrating to know that your colleagues are nosing when they’re not invited. There’s not much to be done here, other than choosing to see it this way: your colleagues must find you super interesting if they always want to know what you’re up to!

Unprepared

Is there anything more frustrating than someone who is always late, and frequently unprepared? Whether they’re turning up to meetings without the correct information, or they’re seemingly unable to get on with their work, this can be a real workplace annoyance. If you feel like you’re on the receiving end of an unprepared colleague, you could use it as an opportunity to mentor them; it could be that they need some guidance, plus it could be great experience for you.

If you can’t think of anyone at work who does these things, could it be you that’s annoying everyone else…? That’s for you to decide!

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Jobs you can do from home

Businessman working with laptop at office table

With more and more opting to work from the comfort of their own home and be their own boss, we have put together a handy list of job suggestions! If the idea of peace and quiet when you need it, nobody looking over your shoulder, no commute, and complete control over your setup appeals to you, then it could be time to mix things up and start a career from home!

  1. Freelance

If a home-based job that makes use of your computer appeals to you, then you should consider a career in freelance. With more and more employers looking to outsource their work, if your skillset is marketable and you have the personality for it, freelancing could be for you! Freelancers are their own bosses, they set their own hours and they can take holidays whenever they like. While a career in freelancing has its perks, it won’t offer as much security as a 9 – 5 office job, but if this is something that you can get on board with then freelancing could make the perfect work-from-home job for you.

  1. Paid surveys

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to make money from home is through paid surveys; a work-from-home method becoming increasingly popular. Some of the major benefits of paid survey-taking is that there are no special skills required, there is no competition, and you don’t have huge targets to meet; you can do as much or as little as you like! Be aware that there are many scam sites out there on the internet – if they ask for your bank details or an upfront payment, be sure to steer clear!

 

  1. Website testing

In such a technology-focused world, there are many website and app developers who need their sites testing, meaning that this is a great job to do from home. Lots of companies will pay decent money to ensure that their sites are suitable and usable for the average internet user, meaning that you could be in a great position to work from home and help them out! Website testing can be a quick and easy way to make money, although you should keep an eye out for scam sites here too!

 

  1. Content writing

Many companies don’t have the staff available to write content for them, and with increasing numbers of websites popping up every day, the task of content writing is frequently outsourced. If you have a knack for writing and want to be able to do it from home, freelance content writing could be an ideal fit for you.

 

  1. Tutoring

Tutoring can be a great home-based business opportunity that costs little to nothing to start up, especially if you have extensive knowledge of a subject. There are a variety of options when it comes to home-tutoring; you can work with children or adults, face-to-face or online. Furthermore, if you are fluent in a second language or want to help others to learn English, there will be plenty of opportunities for you!

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Finding a job in London

LONDON, UK - JANUARY 27, 2015: City of London, business and bank

With more and more people heading to London in search of their next job, recruiters and HR managers often find themselves overloaded with CVs and applications. We’ve got advice on how to go about finding a job in London, and make the most of your job search.

1. Write your CV

Once you’ve decided what role and industry you’re interested in working in, tailor your CV so that it highlights your skills and achievements. Mention your relevant qualifications and experiences and show how they are relevant to the industry you want to work in. If you can speak more than one language, make sure to mention this on your CV; it may not be relevant to the job, but being multilingual in London can go a long way!

2. Get applying

When applying for jobs, make sure to angle your cover letter to fit each company; there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to job applications. Make sure you understand what the hiring company is looking for, and tailor your application to complement this. Recruiters in London will work their way through masses of applications; make it easy for them and show them what qualifications and experiences you have that make you right for the job.

3. Go to recruitment fairs

In a city the size of London there will always be recruitment fairs taking place, and these can be a great way to meet with employers and ask questions. It’s always a good idea to pre-register at events like these, and if you can get a list of which companies will be attending then you have the chance to do some research beforehand. When you’re there, approach the companies you’re interested in and chat to their representatives. Asking questions such as “what skills and experiences do you look for in employees” and “what characteristics do your most successful employees have” gives you the chance to put a positive spin on yourself, and show the employer why you are the right person to hire. Do not, however, drop your CV off at a company’s stand and walk away, as this is a sure-fire way to ensure it ends up in the bin!

4. Network

 Using social media can be a useful way to find yourself a job in London, especially if you use sites like LinkedIn or Google+. Keeping your profile up-to-date and connecting with people already working in London in your chosen industry can be helpful in the application process, as sometimes your chances of getting a job in London can be boosted by knowing the right people. Keep your social media profiles clean and suitable for a potential employer; with the amount of applicants in the London job market you want to be in with a fighting chance, and not be passed over due to something silly like an embarrassing picture on Facebook!

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Top CV writing tips

Close-up Of Businessman Writing On Paper With Pen ** Note: Shallow depth of field

When looking for a job it is important that you don’t underestimate the impact your CV will have on potential employers. Your CV is the first step towards making a good impression, and is your chance to secure yourself a face-to-face interview. Here at CV-Library we have worked together with Jobinterviewology.com to bring you 10 simple steps to creating a successful CV.

 

Maximising your selling points:

  1. Name Drop

If you have worked for (or with) a well-known company don’t be afraid to name drop; employers are likely to take a closer interest in companies that they recognise.

  1. Quantify

If it’s possible, try to provide figures that can back up your success in previous roles. For example, if you have managed a big team, or been in charge of a project with a large budget, giving exact figures can help to add context to your CV.

  1. Abbreviations and Acronyms

Using ‘buzz words’ not only shows you know what you’re talking about, but your CV is more likely to be picked up by job boards, and therefore more likely to be seen by potential employers.

  1. Skills and Techniques

If you have a very technical skill set, be specific. When listing your attributes be sure to mention different techniques or theories you may have used on previous project – this helps highlight to the employer that you have the required skills for their role.

Keep these four points in mind when you begin to build your CV.

 

Building your perfect CV:

  1. The Profile

Your professional profile is the first section potential employers will see. Summarise your areas of expertise, focus on your biggest ‘wow’ factor, and show your enthusiasm for your industry. Keep it brief (about 4-6 lines), and aim to make yourself stand out from other candidates.

  1. Skills

This section allows you to highlight your key skills and to put them in an order that is most beneficial to you and the job you are applying for.

  1. Education

Make sure to list schools, colleges, universities etc. that you attended and give your qualifications – remember to keep these in chronological order. You may also want to use this section to list any other qualifications you have obtained, not necessarily during your time in education.

  1. Employment History

Start with your most recent employer and work backwards, be sure to include the name of the company, your job role, and the dates in which you worked there. This section can also be used to list any work experience you may have done. If you have a long employment history, or have a good background of work experience then pick the roles most relevant to the job you are applying for.

  1. Hobbies and Interests

This section is optional (and if you lack space then maybe leave it out), but offers you a good chance to show employers what an interesting person you are outside of work. If you choose to include your interests, keep it simple and take this opportunity to note any achievements you have.

  1. References

In your reference section simply write ‘references available upon request’. The company is unlikely to ask for these unless they have already made you an offer on the job, and this key phrase can save you valuable space on your CV!

 

For further tips on building the perfect CV, click here to access the full eBook from Jobinterviewology.com

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10 ways mums can balance work and family

Mother And Baby In Home Office With Laptop

With more and more mums going back to work, it is estimated that around 4 out of 10 households have working mums. This doesn’t come without its difficulties, as many mums are struggling to achieve the coveted work-life balance. Here at CV-Library, we’ve got ten of the best ways to get back on track.

 

Let go of the guilt

While it can be hard to know that you’re at work and missing out on being with your child, it’s better to try and reframe this in a positive light. By thinking of the benefits that you working will bring to your child, you might find that the guilt starts to ease up. There’s no denying that it can be difficult, but you should remember why you’re doing it.

  Find quality childcare

When you’re a working parent, finding quality childcare is vital. Whether this is through leaning on family and friends, hiring a nanny or taking your child to preschool, knowing that your child is in safe hands while you’re at work should help you to feel more relaxed.

 Organise the night before

Before bed time, ensure that everything is organised for the next day; lay out any clothes or school uniforms, pack any bags and prepare any lunches. This gives you more time in the morning with your family, instead of rushing around frazzled because you’ve left things till the last minute!

 Create a family calendar

A family calendar, along with a to-do list, is the perfect way of keeping on top of your family life and working life. By knowing who needs to be where, and when, things should flow a lot more smoothly, meaning you don’t need to be at work worrying about who’s going to pick the kids up.

 Talk to your employer

Talk to your boss or HR department if you’re having concerns about your work/life balance. They may be able to offer your flexible working hours so that you can spend more time with your family, or they may allow you to use your phone during working hours to stay in touch.

 Stay connected during the day

The benefit of technology means that we can stay connected 24/7. Calling your partner / children during a break is a great way for them to know that you are thinking of them. If you have to miss an event like a play or a concert, ensure that someone records it for you, or even FaceTime /Skypes you, so you can stay in the loop.

 Create special family activities

Plan special family bonding activities for you all to do together when you’re off work. Doing things as a family such as going for a walk together or sitting down to eat as one can help everyone to stay close and connected. As special treats, why not plan a special day out? 

 Spend time with your partner

Make sure to spend quality time with your partner; once you’ve put your children to bed, put your phone away too and connect with your other half. No checking emails or taking work calls unless it’s totally necessary! 

 Fit in ‘me’ time

The quest for a healthy work/life balance can leave even the most resilient of people feeling exhausted. Allowing yourself some ‘me’ time to just tune out and relax with a book, bath, or anything that chills you out is a great way to make sure you’re getting the balance right.

 Lower your expectations

Learn to accept that much of what you see other working mums post on the internet is a lie! There is absolutely no need to be perfect, and the more you strive for this, the more likely you are to feel unbalanced and out of sync. By lowering your expectations and just going with the flow, you’ll likely find yourself a lot more relaxed about being a working mum.

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Burnout: What to look for, and how to avoid it

frustrated young business man working on laptop computer at offi

With more and more UK professionals suffering from burnout, we thought we’d take a look at what you should be looking out for, and how you can avoid it. In the spirit of getting 2016 off to a healthy start, we’ve put together a short Q&A to make sure you’re on the right tracks.

  1. What can be done to avoid burnout?

It is easier to avoid burnout if you look after yourself properly and make sure that you are in tune with your body. Some of the best ways to keep yourself healthy, both physically and mentally, are:

  • Fuelling your body in the best way possible with a healthy diet, exercise and a proper sleep pattern; you can’t expect to keep using your body’s resources without replenishing them.
  • Set boundaries; allow yourself to say no – you need to learn how to delegate.
  • Have a daily technology break; even if just for 30 minutes, allow yourself time every day to disconnect from technology –  there is less chance for work stressors to creep in, whilst giving you more time to focus on your thoughts.
  • Ensure you have a non-work-related hobby that will give you time off. Keep time available to socialise, and make sure you have a reliable support system in place.
  1. Are stress and burnout different?

Yes, the two are different. While most people do have to deal with stress in their jobs, not everybody will experience burnout. Essentially, burnout is more like chronic stress; stress and burnout have very different effects on body. Stress tends to overwork the mind and overstimulate, whereas burnout causes a complete shut down and disconnection.

 

  1. What signs should you look out for?

Although burnout is different for everyone, the main warning signs to keep an eye out for are:

  • Feeling cynical about your work; failing to see a point in going to work or getting anything done
  • Lacking confidence in your abilities
  • Feeling disconnected from your work and the people around you
  • Struggling to find satisfaction from anything, particularly your job
  • Constant self-doubt
  • Loss of appetite
  • More illnesses; burnout can lower your immunity, making you more susceptible to colds and infection

With more people putting in long hours at work, it is likely that we will see an increase in the number of people suffering from burnout. The best ways to combat burnout are through a healthy, active lifestyle and a sufficient amount of sleep, having an interest outside of work as well as a supportive network of loved ones, family and friends.

 

 

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Leaving the military: what to do next

Soldier salute. Silhouette on sunset sky. War, army, military, g

Each year the UK sees around 20,000 service personnel leaving the military, whether that’s through redundancy, a natural end to commission, or medical discharge. There’s no getting away from the fact that leaving the military, a highly-structured lifestyle, and transitioning to the civilian world can be daunting and overwhelming.

If you’re leaving the Armed Forces and don’t know what to do next, we’ve come up with the top 5 jobs that should help to make the transition smoother, as well as using the skills that you’ll have acquired during your time in the military.

Intelligence analyst

If you spent time in the military analysing information and intelligence to determine its reliability, then we have good news. As an intelligence analyst for the government or a private business, you’ll be able to use the same skills, gathering information on competitors and analysing data. Your security clearance from the military will stand you in good stead for a government job; your reliability will be in high demand.

Management consultant

Ex-military personnel tend to work well in consultancy roles; your leadership and organisational skills will be an essential part of the job. In today’s economic climate, companies need to streamline and grow their businesses as effectively as possible, meaning that your experience could be invaluable.

Law enforcement

This is a career that is particularly well-suited to ex-services personnel, as working in law enforcement means adhering to strict rules and structured days. There are many parallels between a career in law enforcement and time in the military, so if the thought of civilian life is truly overwhelming, this could be the ideal job.

Security

While perhaps not as regimented as a career in law enforcement, taking on a job in the security field can also work as a good way to ease the transition from the military. You would be in charge of ensuring the safety of everyone around, as well as planning for every possible situation; skills that are likely already honed from your time in the military.

Project manager

Many ex-servicemen / women find that project management is a good fit for them; PMs need to be organised, effective communicators, able to manage a team, and able to meet deadlines. The logistics involved with a career in project management can be easily managed by those who have similar military skills.

Whatever you choose to do, there are plenty of resources available to help your transition from the military to a civilian lifestyle. If you’re looking to take the next step, why not have a look at CV-Library and see what’s on offer.

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