Tips for Temps
Specify Jobs You Want
Be clear on what you want to do and why. "Have a detailed conversation with your recruiter so they know your ‘best assignment' criteria," however to maintain regular work you should remain flexible and willing as those ‘ideal’ roles are sometimes thin on the ground.
Learn How to Say No
You may feel like refusing an assignment, but you don't want to be on your agency's blacklist, either. "It's OK to say no to an assignment, as long as the temp worker reaffirms their commitment to work with that recruiter on anything else and to keep the relationship strong," . The recruiter should be talking to the client for you, but at a minimum, let the recruiter be the first to know you've said no -- before you say anything directly to the client.
Be Mature About Mistakes
If you mess up on the job, take immediate action, starting with calling your Agency "Taking ownership is so important in any job, too often we hear “but I am only a temp”. The client is paying you to do a job to the best of your ability, if you need more training ask, but don’t suffer in silence as you will be not doing the job you are being paid for.
Let Your Rep Help You -- Out, If Necessary
As much as you might like to run screaming from the building, the best way to responsibly handle a difficult situation is to talk to your Recruiter, "Let your recruiter know first before going straight to the client and complaining," "Recruiters act as a great buffer and will, in most cases, be able to rephrase the request in a way that will make the temp's desires happen for them with the client."
10 top tips to create an interview winning CV to help maximise your potential in the job seeking market.
Tip 1: Keep it Simple
The CV is your first and possibly only chance of securing an interview. It is therefore vitally important that it works for you and not against you. Use it to draw attention to your strengths, achievements and technical know-how. Usually a CV should be no more than two or three pages (preferably 2) – and that's pages of A4 paper! You have on average, just 8 seconds for your CV to grab the employer’s interest and attention, so a sure fire way of landing yourself on the no pile is to send them your entire life story. Keep it punchy, to the point, and save those niggly little details for the interview.
Tip 2: Structure your CV so it is easy to navigate
It is very important that the information is laid out clearly and your most relevant skills and experience are in sharp focus. Use headings and sub-headings to divide information and keep the format crisp. The most effective CVs are designed with an end target in mind.
In general you should list your career experience with the most recent first as employers want to know what you’re doing now, not 10 years ago. Poor presentation can undermine the best content, so make sure your spelling, grammar and layout are perfect don’t use too many font types and sizes consistency is the key.
Tip 3: Include a personal statement
Don’t just assume an employer will see how your experience relates to their job. Instead, use a short personal statement to explain why you are the best person for the job.
Tip 4: Use strong marketing 'power' words
Exploit language to create the tone of your CV. Use 'power' words in your statements such as 'achieved', 'delivered', 'led', 'exceeded', 'implemented', 'pioneered', 'introduced', 'initiated', 'saved', 'reduced', 'increased', 'improved'. It places you as a candidate who gets the job done and will be a valuable member of the company.
Tip 5: Keep your CV highly relevant and concise
Don't try to include everything you've ever done in your CV. A successful CV is relevant and targeted to a specific job or position, so you should only include information which supports your suitability for the role. Remember to highlight the experience most relevant to your current target. Reduce early career detail to give more focus to recent employment.
Tip 6: Two Pairs of Eyes
Ask someone else to proof read your CV for you as a fresh eye is useful to spot mistakes or offer suggestions. Once you've read your CV three or four times, it's difficult to stand back and look at it objectively. No employer will want to hire someone who can't be bothered to check their own work; typos and grammatical errors mean your CV goes straight in the bin. Don't rely on the spell check to pick up any mistakes, read it over thoroughly.
Tip 7: Tell the truth
Everyone lies on their CV, right? NO! Stop! Blatant lies on your CV can land you in a whole heap of trouble when it comes to employers checking your background and references. The last thing you want is to start work and then lose your new job for lying. You also may get caught out at the interview stage when you suddenly can't answer questions on what you claim to know. Honesty is always the best policy!
Tip 8: Keep it current
You should keep your CV up-to-date whether you’re looking for a job or not. Every time something significant occurs in your career, record it so you don't later forget something that could be important. Start with your current employment and work back, remembering to include the name of your employer, start and end dates, your job title and a brief description, plus your accomplishments. If you are looking for your first job, list any relevant work experience first, paid or unpaid.
Tip 9: Focus on achievements / contributions
Stand out from the crowd by highlighting your relevant skills and achievements. Think about your key performance indicators - every job has them whether they're written down or not! - use these as a basis for developing a list of successes. Create powerful success statements by quantifying your achievements, focusing on the key business drivers of saving money, making money, saving time, improving service etc. Give an indication of the scale and scope of your contributions by including details of the numbers of people / sites involved in particular projects.
Tip 10: References
Check with referees before you use their names. There's nothing worse than using someone who has either moved on or holds a grudge against you. The best people to use for references are your current employer or a professor or teacher at your college/university.
Identify 80% of questions you may be asked
Employers want to know whether or not you are suitable for the job for which you are applying and so will ask you questions to find out. They have identified a range of skills and qualities that your job requires - for example teamwork, negotiation skills, leadership and flexibility, and will ask you questions about each of these to find out whether you possess these skills. This means that if you can identify the skills and experience that your employer is looking for you will be able to predict 80% of the questions you may be asked. Then, you simply need to identify a range of examples that illustrate these skills. Your examples may come from your academic studies, interests, home life, community activities, voluntary work or part time jobs.
You can identify the skills that your employer is looking for by:
Before the interview
There are many different interview styles and each interviewer will have their own personal style. Some interviewers will fire questions at you while others will start off with an open question such as "tell me about yourself" leaving you to do most of the talking. The majority of interviews will be somewhere between the two. Be prepared for any style of interview.
Prepare yourself, interviews are two way meetings. They are both an opportunity for the interviewer to find out about you and whether you are a suitable candidate - and for you to find out about the organisation and if the position will provide you with the challenge and job satisfaction you are looking for.
Employers will ask a range of questions, not all will apply to you but think about some of the questions below and prepare as much as you can broadly categorised as follows:
Warm ups ...
Questions designed to relax you, although some employers like to put you on the spot straight away
Why do you want to work for us?
Questions to find out how well prepared you are, how keen you are to fill this job and / or to work for this particular employer.
Some employers will present you with a hypothetical situation and ask how you would respond. This type of question has a number of purposes, including finding out whether you can think on your feet and giving an indication of how you can transfer your experience from one situation to another. This is especially useful if you have limited experience of the job for which you are applying and where employers are recruiting you on your potential to fulfil the role.
Competence or behavioural questions
Employers will ask you to give examples of situations when you have used particular skills so that they can gather real evidence of the extent to which you have developed and used them. The key here is to provide lots of evidence of how you used your skills rather than simply describing the situation. Pay particular attention to the follow up questions the employers ask.
Check out questions
These are questions that either end your interview or clarify aspects of your application. It's also your last chance to make a lasting impression.
A selection of questions collected from employers, that you may be asked.
Most interviews allow time for you to ask questions. If your questions have all been answered, say so. However, it's a good idea to have a number of questions prepared. You might even want to write questions down and take them with you:
Dress Code - What Clothes Should You Wear For Your Job Interview?
It’s always a tough call when trying to decide what to wear for a job interview. Traditionally men always wore their smartest suit and tie and the same could be said for women – either a nice skirt and blouse or a suit. However things have changed a lot since the old days, for example if you are going to work for an IT firm or Graphic Designers then the dress code may be smart but casual - by the same token if you are going to work for a firm of Solicitors, Accountants or Insurance Brokers then the chances are the dress code is going to be formal so it can be a hard call to decide what to wear for your interview.
As a pointer it’s always a good idea to “Dress Above The Rest” at an interview – remember you are out to make a special impression so although you will want to fit in if you get the job you need to be appointed first! So a pretty simple rule - if the companies dress code is casual then you need to be dressed casually but a little smarter, for example if the other employees are wearing trousers and open neck shirts then it would be a good idea for you to wear trousers, a tie and a smart jacket. If the dress code is a suit and tie then you need to wear your best suit and tie – get the picture it’s pretty easy for you to judge for yourself. Another good point is when you are invited into the interview don’t ever remove your jacket without be asked. If the room is hot – well quite frankly that’s just a bit of tough luck. I have to admit I have always kept my jacket on even when my interviewer has offered for me to remove it – my reason being that we all perspire during stress and there is nothing worse than seeing perspiration marks around the arms of your shirt!! So what type of clothes should you wear at your interview? Well it’s an individual’s choice really. However I would steer well clear of bright outrageous ties if you are a man as not every interviewer will share your love of cartoon characters such as the Simpson’s - try and settle on neutral colours. Finally as previously mentioned it’s a bad idea to wear overpowering aftershave or perfume – it can be very off putting to others.
After your interview
Most people improve at interview with practice. Make sure you learn from each interview in order to improve and prepare for the next one:
To re-cap, the hit list to remember:
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