Will caution prevail during the January 2010 jobs rush

With the UK still in the grips of recession, will January’s traditional ‘New Year, New Start’ rallying cry turn to one of muted overtones or will job seekers be more determined than ever to get a new job?

Last January the number of people who claimed they were looking for a new job reached record levels, according to online CV expert iProfile.org – a fact supported by Jobsite who found that as many as 42% of people planned to find a new position with a further 13% planning to start their job search upon receiving their first post-Christmas pay-check.

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Tough interview questions (and how to answer them)

Interviews are designed to do just one thing: identify the best possible candidate for the advertised job. And sometimes it may feel that the question being asked have been designed to deliberately catch you out or make you question whether you are up to the job or not. But that’s not their intention. Some questions aim to establish how well you cope under pressure, others will be to reveal your personality or to see what your career aspirations are. Just remember that there is no need to draw a blank or clam up if you have done your research and preparation beforehand.

So if you want to avoid an interview disaster, here are some of the toughest interview questions and their suggested responses.

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The pros and cons of job hopping

Fans of football will have heard of Nicolas Anelka. Currently at Chelsea, Anelka made his football debut when he joined Arsenal in 1997 for a fee of £500,000. Three years later he moved to Real Madrid for fee of £22.3m before returning to his home club Paris St Germain for £20m and then a further 5 clubs in as many years in the English Premiership, netting him over £43m. The point to this analogy is to illustrate that regardless of what profession you are in, job hopping inevitably occurs.

Indeed, it is common knowledge that the job for life culture that once existed during the Babyboom generation has all-but disappeared. Today, it is widely acknowledged that workers in their 20s and 30s will change jobs as many as 8 or 9 times. So does this make you an erratic employee that any recruiter in their right mind should avoid at all costs? Or does it actually make you a highly experienced professional and an attractive proposition for any would-be employer?

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How to cope if you are made redundant

Jan 09 – 

It’s official. Britain is in a recession.  In the last quarter of 2008 the number of people out of work leapt by 131,000 to a total of 1.93 million – a rate of 6.1 per cent. And January marked the 12th consecutive monthly rise in unemployment to make this the biggest recession in the UK since the early 1990s. So it’s not surprising that a recent survey by the TUC found that around 13 per cent of workers (over 3 million) are concerned about the threat of redundancy, especially when you consider the demise of some of the UK’s biggest institutions.

Woolworth’s, for example, closed its doors for the last time in January after 99 years as the mainstay of the British high street with the loss of 27,000 jobs. Luxury goods manufacturer Burberry soon followed with 1,100 redundancies announced. Whilst Corus and Philips are shedding 2,500 and 6,000 jobs respectively in the first quarter of 2009 along with a further 850 job cuts at Ford. By the start of February it has been estimated that over 50,000 jobs had already been lost with independent analysts suggesting that the current unemployment level of 1.93m is likely to pass the 2.8m mark by the end of the year.¹

If your company has wielded the axe over your job and you find yourself facing redundancy, it is important to ensure that you are fully prepared to cope with the financial, professional and psychological challenges that you will inevitably face once your P45 lands on your desk.

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The good side of a bad job

British workers are an unhappy bunch. According to a survey by YouGov more than 1 in 4 of us are dissatisfied with our current jobs and as many as one-third don’t like the line of work we are in. The biggest niggle that many of us have is our increased workload. Indeed, Britons have the longest working hours in Europe and 46 per cent of people claim that they have too much to do in too little time, whilst 42 per cent argue that their salary is falling behind rising costs. And almost 1 in 3 of us claim that others are paid more money to do the same job. Taking all of this into consideration you may think that there is little to shout about with your own job but, even the dullest and most uninspiring job has its plus points.

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Following my own advice

I have recently edited a senior and executive manager’s career book for TheLadders where in one chapter I talked about the importance of social networking to promote oneself when looking for a new job. The irony, of course, is that I haven’t updated my own blog for a fortnight…or LinkedIn nor Facebook for that matter. However, I do have an excuse.

Editing a 70-page book while simultaneously writing the new careers advice and guidance content for TotalJobs.com is time consuming. So that’s my justification for being so lacsy daisy. Ahem…actually, in truth, that’s a poor excuse.

I’ve written a number of articles on how to look for a new job when you’re already in one and are trying to balance your existing work and family commitments. And the mantra I have always maintained is the importance of setting some time aside, even if it’s just 30 minutes a week, to maintaining your social network.

I was a little slow to adopt to the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter et al, much like the senior executive audience I was addressing in writing for TheLadders.com. Yet now that I have tip-toed my way into the world of [business-driven] social networking I am left kicking myself for not getting to grips with it sooner. OK, social networking my never replace the handshake when it comes to forging mutually beneficial relationships, however, I am finding that that all-important handshake may never have taken place at all if it hadn’t have been facilitated by LinkedIn in particular.

So I guess I am guilty for once of not practicing what I preach.And at a time in my own career when I am seeking new opportunities the importance of beimng pro-active online cannot be understated. My half hour stats now!