There aren’t many jokes about geologists. Every career may have its ‘faults’ but we think studying the planet is a rock-solid career choice. Or so you’d think.
But the truth is, some sectors don’t advertise hundreds of jobs every day. So what should you do if you can’t find that dream, ideal, more unusual job straight away?
Ask Cait Reilly. She did unpaid work at a local museum for a while instead. Nice idea, right? Well, maybe not. Cait was told to work, unpaid, in Poundland instead if she wanted to carry on receiving her Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Does that sound fair to you? We’re curious. It would be interesting to find out what you think, so we’d love to hear your comments below.
We could say, Poundland should have paid her. We could say, the government was right: it simply asked her to take part in a scheme that made sure good working habits weren’t being lost, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Or we could say, “you can’t have everything you want in life, and how long did she expect to get benefits by doing ‘only’ the job she fancied, anyway?”
But we think Cait was onto something.
If you’re trying to get off the dole then attitude counts for a lot. If you’re willing to give back in any way then society should recognise that effort. And if you’re keen to make a career move, but can’t make a step in the right direction, then any work you do should be commended.
That’s why we think State of Ambition is a great idea. It’s a social enterprise that offers people a 21 day ‘window to the world’, promoting their capabilities and aspirations, uncovering new skills as a result of campaigning and ultimately getting the support they need to take that next step in their career.
It’s simple. And it shines a spotlight on the fact that many people who want to find their dream job have the right attitude – they simply need a chance to prove their worth. State of Ambition is one project we think the government could really learn a lot from.
I’m lucky enough to work with some of the brightest and inspirational people in the UK through my company Operation Enterprise – youngtrepreneurs of all ages, academic abilities and backgrounds, who combine their college and school studies with developing their businesses.
When my team and I first walk in to a room packed with the next group of students ready to engage with our programmes, the excitement and enthusiasm is palpable. These are young people on the most exciting journey they will ever take and they are desperate to pick up as much information, and hints and tips possible, before they leave at the end of the day.
What might surprise you is that the majority of those youngtrepreneurs are male.
As a female entrepreneur myself, this perturbed me. Part of the reason I came into this market was to encourage girls to think about running their own business. I wanted them to see the real possibilities available to them; that learning about running a business doesn’t just give you the skills you need for self-employment but also makes you more work-ready and improves your personal skills to boot. Continue reading “Female Empowerment – By Ali Golds, Founder of Operation Enterprise and The Juno Project” »
Following on from our Pursuing a Career in Retail article last week, we spoke to Kathy Allison, the Head of HR at boohoo.com to talk about her role and graduate opportunities within the retail industry.
I got my first management role in the hospitality sector at Moat House Hotels where I then went on to join Radisson Blu as a People Development Manager. I worked across a number of HR roles so this really gave me a great understanding of the industry.
My friend actually saw this position at Boohoo advertised and thought I’d be perfect for it with my experience and love for fashion. When I first started at Boohoo there was no HR team so I have seen this business grow from strength to strength which is really exciting. I now head a group of 7 people within the HR team with nearly 700 employees across head office and the main distribution centre.
As Head of HR, my days are always varied as I oversee all the different HR roles at Boohoo. I could be focusing on the recruitment side of HR and interviewing candidates for our senior position, supporting with any employee issues or attending meetings with directors.
I stumbled in to HR, or Personnel as it was then! What really excited me and engaged me was the sheer variety of the work and the ability to really support and make a difference to the business.
Many of our roles are those which people have chosen as a career – buying, design, marketing, IT for example. It’s therefore certainly usual to find that strong candidates have a relevant degree and have often combined this with a period of internship during their studies. Competition for many of these roles can be fierce. Having said that there are also opportunities for people to move around within our organisation and we do value experience.
Often depends on the candidate and the level of the role. For entry level positions, having the right degree is certainly an advantage. When it comes to senior positions we of course also look for the track record of proven success.
Fashion inspires people. It’s fast paced and creative. There may be times when people are attracted by the glamour also, and at times it can be, but it’s also important to understand that it can be tough and hard work too.
For HR – know the function from the ground up. Be prepared to think and act commercially to support the business you are in, and understand that the results you generate and the culture you provide for your employees are more important than bureaucracy. For fashion – be clear about where you want to get to. Accept there will be competition and seize every opportunity for experience and exposure to build your portfolio and CV.
Following on from our assessment centre article last week we caught up with Tania Creavalle, a Talent Acquisition Associate at Aegis Media. Tania assesses candidates who will fill Aegis Media’s apprentice, intern, graduate and school leaver roles.
We spoke with her about the assessment process, and the right and wrong ways for candidates to ensure they stand out to an assessor.
Hi Tania, could you introduce your role in the assessment process please?
The first stage is to write the online advertisements to attract the top talent that we’re looking for; I then assess all of the applicants and short list for each role. As our assessment centre is held in-house, once we have a short list of candidates I invite them in to see us.
As the day approaches, I make sure everything is ready – the room, catering, recruiting team and the candidates themselves.
On the day I facilitate the smooth running of the assessment centre and keep a beady eye open for the brightest and best candidates for entry level roles across our Aegis brands. As we hold assessment days by brand, I can make sure the right people join us in the right brands.
Aegis headquarters in London’s Great Portland Street
What roles do you recruit for?
I have a Media focus, so most often it’s a Communication Planning Assistant in some form. Mostly Integrated Comms Planning Assistants for our client teams in Carat and Vizeum, but sometimes specialist roles like Junior Traders in Amnet, Direct Response Assistants or TV Buyers for Amplifi.
Are there different assessment procedures for different roles?
As we all know, competition for jobs is tough, in particular for young people with more than a million out of work. Assessment centres are used by companies in a bid to hire the best applicants, but a whole day of tests and group exercises can seem a daunting prospect to candidates.
In this post we’re looking at assessment centres and trying to answer some key questions: What do assessment centres involve? Do they give an applicant the chance to excel? And perhaps most importantly, how do you prepare for an assessment centre, and set yourself up as well as possible for an experience that can have such a great impact on your working life?
Choosing who is right for a position is a tough decision for a hiring manager, and assessment centres offer firms the chance to evaluate prospective candidates on scale and in a uniform fashion. Having a set structure in place which can put candidates against a list of values allows companies to further funnel down and sieve through a list of applicants – particularly at a time when the ratio of candidates to available jobs is increasing in many sectors. With every new academic year comes a fresh batch of bright-eyed graduates looking to enter the working world. This has resulted in the growing use of assessment centres to test multiple amounts of participants in one go, in order that skills, characteristics and personalities can be monitored and aligned with the company ethos.
Being invited to an assessment centre is an achievement in itself, as they cost money to set up and run, so first of all congratulate yourself: the company has seen enough potential in your application to invite you to impress in the second round. Continue reading “Testing the Nation: The Rise of the Assessment Centre” »