Snapchat and work – two words you don’t hear uttered together in the same sentence too often. Yet, like tweeting before it, ‘snapping’ is slowly creeping its way into working life.

For those who aren’t already familiar, Snapchat is a smartphone app that allows users to quickly share ‘snaps’ containing photos and videos with friends and followers in their network. The USP is that, once opened, the snaps, only stay on the recipient’s feed for around 10 seconds before vanishing without a trace. However, creating Snapchat stories allows you to create and keep adding to something that will be available for 24 hours.

While many associate the app with a younger, social crowd, Snapchat’s user base is actually quite diverse: of the 100 million estimated daily users, 39% are aged 25 to 44.

Here are just some of its potential workplace uses:

1. Applying for a job
Believe it or not, we have entered the age of the Snap-CV, where job-seekers are starting to send out video resumes to potential employers over the Platform. As well as standing out from the crowd, this is a clever way to alert recruiters to your technical/ social media skills. Although, most of the people who have done this have been applying to Snapchat.

2. Researching a company
For the less direct amongst us, following your favourite brands on Snapchat is a great way to get the inside track on the companies you’d like to work for. Employers often let their guard down a little when snapping, and may offer up interesting tidbits about what they’re up to – potentially great material for your interview or covering letter.

3. Building your personal brand
Whether you’re looking for a role or about to start work, having a visible social media presence helps to build your brand and Snapchat is a useful platform for getting your work out there. Bite-sized videos are perfect for bringing your work to the attention of your network, new colleagues and clients.

4. Team building
If carefully managed, Snapchat can be a great workplace messaging tool, allowing colleagues to share ideas and information in a fun way. Snaps are also a handy communication tool for managers – because they disappear after a few seconds they are a good way of grabbing people’s attention and cutting through the rest of the noise.

5. Sharing info with clients
Some businesses are even using Snapchat to share mini tutorials, product demos, inspiring or funny quotes, offers and vouchers.

While Snapchat has a long way to go before it becomes a staple part of working life, as we’ve seen, it certainly has its uses. Whether looking to boost your job prospects or add something a little bit different to your new team’s work dynamic, it might just be worth giving it a try.

 

Reference: The Muse; Boston College
09 Mar 2017

When you want to invite someone to connect with you on LinkedIn you may be stumped as to what you should say or you may just send a standard generic invite. Here are some tips to prevent your invitation from falling on deaf ears or being deleted in irritation:

1. Explain why you want to connect with them.

2. Tell them how you found them.

3. Mention articles or blogs they’ve written that you enjoyed.

4. Talk about careers, interests, connections or groups you have in common.

5. Be passionate and enthusiastic about what they do.

6. Refer to something on their profile.

7. Highlight a personal connection such as similar backgrounds or experience.

8. Add a personal note about what you hope you’ll both gain from the connection.

9. Offer to help them in any way you can.

10. Thank them in advance for connecting with you.

You don’t have to use all these points in your invitation, but remember that this is more about them than about you. So be polite and enthusiastic and show them why a connection with them would be valuable to you.

Reference: Abintegro; LinkedIn
01 Mar 2017

Hiring managers and recruiters are rapidly waking up to the value of intrapreneurship and the value that entrepreneurially-minded employees can bring to their organisation.

This is clearly great news for job seekers of the entrepreneurial persuasion; however, it’s incumbent on you to make sure these talents shine through during the application process.

Here are the kinds of qualities you should be looking to demonstrate and how to go about it:

1. Be passionate
What sets intrapreneurs apart from other employees is their deep regard for the organisation they work for. They want to help drive the company forward and view their own success and that of their organisation as one and the same.

Identify what you are passionate about (be it a hobby or specific aspects of your work or studies) and show how you’ve channelled this for the greater good of others – this could be an example of where you’ve taken charge of a project and made it a success by galvanising those around you.

2…. But commercially aware
Your passion needs to be shown to be being channelled in the right way, however. At their core, intrapreneurs possess a high level of commercial awareness – they understand what makes businesses tick and therefore know where they can add value.

As a job seeker, you need to demonstrate a deep interest in the organisation you are applying to. Research them thoroughly; show that you recognise their strengths and weaknesses and that you understand the market place in which they are operating. Don’t be afraid to articulate your ideas about where you think the market is going and where new opportunities may lie.

3. Making good use of resources
Resourcefulness is another key ingredient in intrapreneurs – it’s about having the ability to solve problems and find new solutions through good sense and intuition.

During your interview outline ways in which you’ve drawn on your available resources in order to achieve positive outcomes. This could include effective time management, the organisation of a successful event, solving a problem that flummoxed others, identifying and utilising the skills of the people at your disposal more effectively, or a process you tweaked that made a whole system run more efficiently.

4. Show a capacity for developing ideas
Ideas are an intrapreneur’s bread and butter. They instinctively look for a better way of doing things, knowing that this has the potential to make a positive difference to those around them. Highlight original ideas you’ve come up with that have brought about positive changes or led to something new and successful being introduced.

Your creativity needs to be supported by an ability to think critically about your decisions. Do your best to explain the ‘journey’ of how your idea came together and the reasons for the choices you’ve made.

Before starting any new job application it’s crucial that you consider the key qualities of an intrapreneur as well as clear examples of how you yourself embody these traits. Offering hard evidence to support your talents in this area will help show how you plan to add value to your potential employers.

Reference: Forbes; Enterprise Garage; Centre for Enterprise; Abintegro
23 Feb 2017

Compact, pocket, bite-sized, mini: today’s time-conscious society likes its information to be well packaged and easily digestible. Hiring managers are no different, with the average recruiter reportedly taking all of six seconds to decide whether a candidate’s application is worth pursuing.

The way you present your CV or resume is therefore as important as the information it contains, with a clean, clearly laid-out structure usually afforded greater consideration than something that falls badly on the page. This is particularly true in the case of a resume, which, strictly speaking, shouldn’t extend beyond a single page.

Here is our fittingly compact guide to structuring your CV or resume:

Title/header
Besides your name, the top of your CV/resume is also a neat place to include contact details, namely a single phone number and email address. This information shouldn’t take up more than a couple of lines on the page with a centred alignment generally advised.

It’s now also common practice to include URLs to your professional profile on LinkedIn and other sites. Your employer will almost certainly consult these, so you may as well put the information where they can see it.

Personal statement
An executive summary is still an essential component of a CV or resume, so long as it truly adds value. This should contain three to five lines that summarise your strengths and what you’re looking for. Treat it as a sales pitch and keep it professional.

Work experience
Unless you’re a recent graduate, professional experience should be listed before education and qualifications on the page.

Use reverse chronological order to detail your most recent positions first, starting with the company name and a one-line description of what it does. Your job title should be followed by clearly bullet-point key responsibilities and achievements (between two and five for each role). While a resume can afford to be vaguer around dates, a CV should account for any significant gaps in employment.

Education and qualifications
List vocational qualifications before academic ones and start with the highest qualification first. You should include relevant courses and training you have undertaken even if they didn’t result in a formal qualification. As a rule only include the two highest level qualifications you have.

Further information
Including any additional information is rarely a pre-requisite, so only include things like IT skills or professional memberships if they really add value. Interests, however, can give you a surprising edge if your interests are interesting! Avoid the superfluous ‘references on request’ at all costs.

Having restructured your CV, it’s always worth having a friend or ideally a professional recruiter check it over to see what they think. Try out the rule on them: would a six-second glance leave them wanting more?

 

Reference: Businessinsider.com; BCS; Abintegro
15 Feb 2017

From CEOs with decades of public speaking experience to first-time job seekers straight out of school, college or university, nerves are undoubtedly one of life’s great levellers.

Whether before an interview, presentation or any other stressful event, it’s worth remembering that feeling anxious is a perfectly normal physical reaction. As inconvenient as they may be, typical symptoms, such as sweaty palms and a dry throat are just nature’s way of preparing you for whatever’s lurking within that interview room or conference hall.

Unfortunately, nature does not seem to care that a sudden hit of adrenalin is not always the most appropriate form of preparation under the circumstances – unless it comes with laser focus and total recall. In the absence of these, however, here are some simple ways to keep your belly butterfly-free when it matters.

1. Rehearse
There are few better safeguards against an attack of the jitters than knowing your material like the back of your hand. Rather than focusing on your delivery, invest time in knowing exactly what you are going to say, which will boost your confidence and help to relax you on a subconscious level.

2. Breathe
An adrenalin-induced shortage of oxygen is certainly no aid to clear, measured delivery. Counteract the natural tendency towards shallow breathing in stressful situations by deliberately lengthening your breath. Inhaling and exhaling slowly as you count backwards from 10 will also help to regulate your breathing and leave you feeling calmer.

3. Visualise
While the old ‘picture them naked’ technique may not always be appropriate, imagining your interviewer or audience as friendly and encouraging before you walk through the door can trick your brain into thinking everything is going swimmingly before it actually is.

4. Laugh
Not necessarily during the presentation or the interview itself (unless you’re addressing a clown convention), but somewhere private just before you step in front of your audience or interview panel. Research shows that a good, hearty guffaw releases endorphins while stimulating circulation and helping muscle relaxation- all natural antidotes to stress. Make sure no one is looking/can hear though, you looney!

At the end of the day, nerves are part and parcel of professional life. Try recognising that that burst of adrenaline could mean all your cylinders are, in fact, firing perfectly and you are now Super-Candidate/Presenter. Or try treating the symptoms as the minor, mildly annoying frustration that they are and employ the above handy countermeasures. Doing so will mean nerves can be easily managed.

Reference: The Muse; abintegro
08 Feb 2017

While we probably don’t realise it, unconscious bias is something that affects all of us in our day-to-day lives. Because it would be far too time-consuming for us to consciously evaluate every minute decision we face during the day, our brains are designed to orchestrate the majority of our thoughts and actions at a subconscious level.

Our capacity for rapid decision-making is useful from a survival standpoint; however, it can present complications in terms of how we interact within society, not least at work. It essentially means that we are hard-wired to like and trust people who look and act like us, who come from similar backgrounds or who’ve lived through similar experiences.

As much as we’d like to think of ourselves as open-minded, how we operate in the work place – whether at a hiring or managerial level, or as an entry-level employee – may be tainted. In unwittingly categorising people according to their race, nationality, gender, educational background, or any number of potential indicators, we risk jeopardising our professional relationships and missing out on opportunities.

The concept of unconscious bias has become increasingly relevant in the modern workplace. For, as we now know, diversity is extremely good for business: according to a recent McKinsey study, gender-diverse organisations are 15% more likely to outperform financial expectations, while ethnically diverse companies are expected to outperform them by 35%.

Fortunately, it’s possible to reduce the impact that unconscious bias has on how we act in the workplace and react to certain situations. The first step in the process is recognising our biases and admitting them to ourselves.

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) has been developed by researches at Harvard University for this very purpose. The test requires the participant to make a number of quick-fire selections based on a series of indicators around ideas as race, gender, nationality or sexuality. Any low-riding social preconceptions are then highlighted – whether you subconsciously favour people with certain skin over others, for example.

The idea is that having brought these biases to the attention of the conscious brain they will start to dissipate. A useful follow-up exercise involves visualising groups or individuals towards whom we hold a negative bias and then picturing them in a positive context.

While we’re not at fault for what collects at the bottom of our subconscious, that’s not to say that this can’t prove damaging to our career prospects or to people around us. As is often the case, it comes down to self-awareness and having the emotional intelligence to recognise and work to correct a potential weakness.

Reference: Harvard University; Mind tools; The Guardian; Entrepreneur.com; Abintegro
09 Feb 2017
attitude, hot topics

The simple answer to the above is of course “no!” After all, we should all be able to weigh up the short-term gains of securing a job against the downsides of struggling in a role we aren’t really suited to.

That said, there are certain staple character traits that all employees really need to demonstrate. Most personality tests are designed to single out the core qualities – both good and bad – so it’s worth being conscious of what the major dealmakers (and breakers) are.

At the top of the most-wanted list are qualities like honesty and motivation. We can also include persistence and self-discipline, as well as the ability to work well as part of a team. Tests are also calibrated to screen for undesirable qualities, such as poor anger management and an inability to handle stress.

But, beyond identifying these basic traits, what recruiters are really testing for is personal fit – they want people whose personality and values are aligned with those of the organisation. This means that attempting to tailor your responses to what you think the right answer should be is unlikely to land you in the kind of environment that you’re suited to.

These are some of the more common personality tests you can expect to come across as a job candidate and what they’re looking for:

The Caliper Profile
The core focus of this test is to understand what really drives and motivates you. From here, the recruiter can determine whether you’re a good match for the role – would your values see you thrive as part of a social enterprise, for example?

Gallup Strengths Finder
As the name suggests, this test is directly focused on identifying your strengths and compiles responses to 177 statements to identify your top five strengths from 34 potential positive traits. If they align with those of the employer you’re in business.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
This widely-used assessment looks at where your preferences fall within four ranges: introversion – extraversion, intuition – sensing, thinking – feeling and perceiving – judging. (Be aware that these are psychological terms and don’t have the same meaning as they do in common parlance). Your result will identify you as one of 16 possible personality types, allowing hiring managers to see how you’ll fit within a given team, for example.

Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire
16PF identifies how you rank in terms of 16 key personality traits that we all possess. Unlike other tests, the questions are closely linked to typical work-place situations – ie “what would you do if…?’” The idea is to determine whether your personality will see you perform well in the role.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
This assessment is usually performed by a medical expert such as a psychologist and tends only to be applied within high-stress professions such as the police force. Again, it’s a question of making sure the individual is suited to the requirements of the job.

When it comes to personality tests it’s generally a case of honesty is the best policy, especially given that most assessments are designed to make sure the right person ends up in the right role. However, as we’ve seen, it’s important to take this stock advice with a pinch of salt and always bear in mind the basic benchmarks of what employers are looking for.

Reference: Hiring strategies; Psychometric-Success; MSN; Abintegro
02 Feb 2017