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Welcome to GradHub!

admin 22/05/2016

Introducing GradHub

ScotlandIS is delighted to introduce GradHub, our latest service for the digital technologies industry. GradHub’s core aim is to connect graduates with employers via one central “hub”, with ambitious goals of increasing employability in Scotland and filling the 11,000 new jobs created in digital technologies every year.

Why GradHub exists

According to the Scottish Technology Survey 2016, 74% of all businesses reported a demand for graduates. We’re here to help make that possible by offering employers an easy-to-use framework for posting new roles and searching for candidates, and providing graduates with the information they need to help land their perfect role.

Features

GradHub is simple – it takes only a few minutes to add a job / CV, so there’s nothing holding you back from starting your candidate / job search. The core features are described in detail below:

Jobs Board

With enhanced search functionality, searching for jobs has never been easier – you can search by keywords, location and category, and even filter by specific skills. You can also bookmark your favourite jobs for later, and set up job alerts to keep up to date with the latest opportunities, specific to your skillset.

Employers – get started by adding your first role here. We’ve got affordable packages to suit businesses of all sizes.

Graduates – search the latest opportunities here.

Online CVs

Stand out from the crowd by creating an online CV – add your key skills, experience and education. Your profiles will be fully searchable by prospective employers, so the more detail you provide, the better.

Personalised Dashboard

Upon signing up, every candidate and employer will have access to their own personalised dashboard. This allows candidates to edit their online CVs and track past applications, and gives employers a fully-featured jobs and applications management system.

Candidate Search

Once you sign up to one of our Job Packages, you’ll have access to search for your perfect candidate via their online CVs. Bookmark your favourite candidates and invite them to apply for your roles.

25% Member Discount

The icing on the cake – to reward our members, ScotlandIS is offering a 25% discount on all job packages. Get in touch with Karen Meechan, Head of Operations, ScotlandIS, to learn more:

Tel – 01506 472 200
Email – karen.meechan@scotlandis.com

 

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First Day Fears

admin 23/05/2016

Starting a new job – overcoming the first day fear

The first day of a new job can be a overwhelming experience. A number of fears and questions run through your mind;

Will they like me?

Will I like them?

Am I up to the job?

Have I done the right thing?

Apprehension is of course normal, but we are here to offer some tips on overcoming those first day fears.

No one will talk to me!

You have just entered the building to your new job, you are unsure on where to go or what to do next, it is important that you stay calm. Your new colleagues will be expecting you and will be happy to help show you around. It is important to remember that you are not alone, every single other employee was once a new start like you and felt those exact same nerves. No one will ignore you and you will find that most people will of course they happy to help and many will have a chat with you to introduce themselves and find out a little more about you.

I won’t be able to remember everyone’s name and what they do, they will think I am not up to the task.

You are bound to be given an office tour and be introduced to lots of new people, you will not be expected to remember everyone’s name and do not be embarrassed if you have to ask for reminders. In your first weeks you will forget names and what people do, people will understand this. Try to remember the people immediately important to your job first. Another helpful tip is to map the office out. Keep a note of people’s names, their role and where they sit in the office and you will remember everyone in no time.

I will just be left to get on with it

Your entire first week will likely be about learning the ropes and you are highly unlikely to be just left to do anything. To help alleviate this fear when you meet your line manager get them to detail what is expected of you and when.

What should I wear?

If possible try to find out the dress code of the workplace before your first day and stick to it. You should always try to be neat and tidy even if the workplace adopts a casual clothing policy. You should always be clean and presentable on the first day, many employers take photographs on this day for ID badges etc and you don’t want the picture to haunt you for the rest of your career there.

If you are not given a dress code prior to your first day, err on the side of caution, you should always wear a suit/professional wear as its better to arrive over-dressed than under dressed.

Above all it is important to remember that your first day will be over before you know it and you it won’t be long before you will be helping someone else settle into their first day.

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Interview Tips

admin 19/05/2016

Interview Hints and Tips

Attending interviews is a nerve wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be, we hope to offer some useful Interview hints and tips to ensure that you can be confident and prepared to be successful at interview:

Let’s look at why people are unsuccessful at interview

  • Lacked in confidence whilst being interviewed
  • Struggled to demonstrate their own ability and did not use examples.
  • Did not display evidence of their contribution in many instances.
  • Poor communication skills.
  • Little or no evidence of research into the company prior to interview.
  • Poor timekeeping. You cannot be late for an interview.
  • Poor personal presentation.

So how do we combat this?

You should always be as prepared as possible before attending interview below are some helpful hints and tips for the interview stage.

The first thing to remember about getting prepared for an interview is to ask questions at the time the interview is being set up.

When you get a call to set up an interview you’re probably pretty excited. Most people write down the when and the where but don’t ask any questions about the interview.

If you ask a few questions of the company representative on the phone you’ll be better prepared to do well in the interview.

Pre-interview questions

  • Who will be conducting the interview (name and title)?
  • Is this the direct supervisor for this position?
  • Will anyone else be involved in the interview (and if so, their names and titles)?
  • Do I need to bring anything with me to the interview (like reference letters, work samples, drawings, etc.)?
  • Approximately how long will the interview take (if you’re interviewing before work or on your lunch hour)?
  • Will I be expected to take any tests (for measurable skills, personality inventories, etc.)?

The questions you ask will help to prepare you for your interview. It would be unnerving to go into an interview expecting to speak with one person and find yourself across from five interviewers. Asking a few questions will help you be on top of your game when you go in for the interview.

Interview preparation

Presentation

The old cliché first impressions count really is true if you turn up to an interview scruffy and offer a limp handshake that says to an employer you are not serious about the role. Always dress smart for an interview and if an employer offers to shake your hand show commitment and enthusiasm.

Time keeping

You cannot be late for an interview. Employers will see this as a red flag instantly and first impressions steer the rest of the interview. Research in advance where the interview is taking place, plan how you are going to get there and always allow time to be early and take a breather to calm your nerves.

Be confident

Displaying confidence in an interview is arguably the most important area to work on.  Many employers will view how you react in this situation as a test of how you will perform in their company.  Can you communicate effectively? Can you work under pressure? Can you sell yourself?

Research the company

Employers want to see students who have a thirst for their industry, students who are the stars of tomorrow and ultimately students who want to work for them. Research the company websites, check out the press, look at their competitors, and keep up to date with industry news. This is what could set you apart from the competition. At the very least you should google the company to find out what their primary function is. Remember a common interview question is “why do you want to work with us?” How can you answer this question well if you know nothing about the company?

Communicate effectively

Think about your answers before you speak. Whilst you will never know for sure what an employer will ask in an interview situation you can prepare in advance. Have in your mind relevant examples of where you have used your skills, examples of challenging situations, examples of success. Almost all employers will want to find out what you are capable of so it is easy to pre-empt what they are likely to ask by being prepared!

Don’t Overshare

All your answers should sell you in your best light, be mindful of what information you share during your interview. Even if some questions seem to be asking you to show more of your personality and interests (e.g “what are your hobbies/interest?”) you should try to talk about things that are relevant to the job or demonstrate an attribute or skill.

Give examples 

Employers want to know who you are and what you contributed. If you were involved in a group project, what did you contribute to that work? This allows them to decide whether you will fit into their team and contribute effectively to their business. Employers have your CV; now they want to meet the real you and get a feel for what you have done and where you are going. Where you say you have x technical skill, through questioning you, they want you to give examples in either work or your studies where you have used or applied these skills.

Ask about future prospects 

Many students didn’t enquire about future prospects within the company. Employers want to see students who are proactive, students who care about their career prospects and have some direction about what they want to do.

Leave a lasting impression

Finally – try to enjoy your interview. If you look as it you are going to enjoy the experience you will send out the right signals. At the end finish confidently with a smile and avoid any apologetic comments even if it hasn’t all gone according to plan. If you don’t draw attention to these things they are less likely to be noticed.

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Cover Letters

admin 18/05/2016

How to write a cover letter

Your cover letter is the first impression of yourself that you will offer to any prospective employer. More and more employers are looking to your Cover Letter when making the decision on who to short list for interview. You should use every opportunity you can for self-promotion and in many instances if you have a poor cover letter employers will not even look at your CV.

“A good cover letter can be the difference between getting a job and not…”

A cover letter is the perfect accompaniment to your CV, it is the first thing and employer will see and the perfect opportunity to sell yourself. Taken as a whole, a CV and covering letter will portray you in the best possible light. If done properly, your covering letter can make the difference between success and failure.

Try not to use pre-populated cover letters these are helpful as a starting point, but set yourself apart from your competitors and make your cover letter personal.

Step 1: Start with your letter with an address

More specifically, your address (and contact details) in the top right hand corner. After that, start the letter with the name and address of your employer. Try to find out exactly who will be dealing with your application and what their title is. You can do this by checking on the internet, or even ringing the company and asking. It gives the letter a much more personal touch if it is addressed to a real person rather than a generic sir/madam.

It is often difficult to know how to open such a letter. Keep it simple, start by telling them exactly what you want.  Make sure it is clear what position you are applying for.

For example:

“I am writing to you regarding the ‘web designer’ position that was recently advertised on GradHub, and would be most grateful if you would consider my application for this position”

Step 2: Explain why you would like the job

Once you have broken the ice, it is time to make clear to your prospective employer what exactly it is about the job that attracts you. Why do you want the job?

Again, the key is to deal in specifics. Although your main motivation may be “for the money” or some such, it is better to try and pick one aspect of the job that particularly appeals to you and explain why.

“I am looking to pursue a career in web design, I have reviewed your company online and feel that they have the ethos that I am looking for and would offer the right environment for me to further my career”

Step 3: Highlight what skills you have to offer

Now that your reader knows the job is right for you, it’s time to move on and show that you are right for the job. Here is the place to address your strengths and qualifications that are directly relevant to the position. If there are specific requirements that are mentioned in the job description, use these terms when describing yourself.

You may have touched upon some of this in your CV, but here you have room to elaborate upon them more fully.

Try not to repeat too much of your CV though. After all, this is supposed to be read in conjunction with your CV, and a lot of crossover will come across as sloppy.

“I feel that I am good for this position as I have .net experience as outlined in the job advert.”  

You can use your examples to bring in additional skills that may not be directly relevant.  Working in things such as IT skills, or your organisational skills is a good idea.

Try to offer  the reader something unique and beneficial. Use interesting examples that cast you in a separate light to others applying for the position.

Step 4: Finish your letter in a positive way

Make the employer remember you!

Finish off by stating clearly when you are available for interview. If there is no set starting date, it is a good idea to make a note of the earliest you can begin working.

You should also welcome the prospective employer to contact you if they need any further information.  They should have your contact details from the top of the letter, and on your CV. Sign off and, if you are printing the letter out rather than emailing it, sign it for an added level of professionalism.

By approaching the cover letter in a structured manner, you can achieve a clear and concise argument as to why you are best suited to the job.

Remember that presentation can reflect strongly or poorly on you. The covering letter, like the CV informs your prospective employer’s first impressions of you.

Make sure you think about what you want to say!

Cover Letter Example

Your name
Your address
Your contact details

 

Employer name
Company address

Dear John Smith,

This is where you will introduce yourself, state the position you are applying for, explain how you came to know about the job/company and why you are applying.

(If you have been recommended the position by someone in the company or have any connections to the company this is a good section to include that information).

This section should show that you have researched the company and the role. In order to get potential employers interested in you, you first have to show an interest in what they do. Go further that simply checking the website, spend some time browsing the company on social media. For example, check out some of the executives’ Twitter feeds or employee profiles on LinkedIn.

(You could also check for press releases, news, articles or anything else that might give you a clearer picture of the organisation and its culture, as this will help you to adopt the right tone in your cover letter.)

The next paragraph is the place where you will list the specific reasons why you should be considered for the job. This can include:

  • Relevant experience
  • Education or personal accomplishments that make you an ideal candidate.
  • What’s special about you?
  • How will your qualifications benefit an employer?

Keep in mind, though, that this isn’t meant to be a recap of your resume; you don’t have to cover everything and you shouldn’t just rattle off a list of skills and accomplishments. Try to show some personality, creativity and enthusiasm.

The last section is your closing paragraph. Here you will list any information that was specifically requested in the job posting, such as availability dates, and thank the employer for his/her time.

You can say something like “I look forward to hearing from you” or you can be more assertive by saying something like “I will contact you within the next two weeks to see if you require any additional information.”

Sincerely,

Joe Bloggs

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Creating a good CV

admin 16/05/2016

CV Advice

Does your CV sell you and your skills?

How can you increase your chances of an employer selecting you for interview?

Make your CV stand out from the crowd by following these simple steps:

Presentation
  • CV should be no more than 2 pages in length.
  • Consider adding a Profile statement to sell yourself to employers.
  • Include Technical Skills and Other Skills sections.
  • Experiment to achieve the best layout using bold and italics.
  • Use separate paragraphs for various sections which may include some of the following:-
    • Education and Qualifications
    • IT Skills
    • Employment
    • Transferable Skills
    • Achievements
    • Responsibilities
    • Interests
 Spelling, Grammar and Formatting
  • You must use a spellchecker
  • Proof-read your CV thoroughly for grammar & punctuation
  • Use a common format – PDF is a good idea
Content
  • Your CV is a selling document designed to help you reach the interview stage so you must sell yourself
  • You must be positive and avoid any negative statements; try to use action words
  • Education & Qualifications – use reverse chronological order throughout
  • IT Skills: be specific with computing knowledge – this should cover any relevant skills that you want the employer to know about.  Skills can be technical or otherwise but do emphasise those that are relevant.
  • Work experience: highlight skills learned & experience gained
  • Transferable Skills: e.g. good presentation skills; driving licence. Try to tailor skills to specific positions
  • Achievements: outstanding achievements from school; university; or hobbies
  • Responsibilities: gained from work experience or leadership roles
  • Interests: include any interests outside of university, especially computing areas
  • Do not add date of birth or attach a photograph to your CV as not required
What employers look for in a recent graduate CV
  • Demonstrable personal interest in computing that goes beyond taught materials (e.g. active involvement in open source projects, building and maintaining small networks for voluntary organisations)
  • Demonstrable personal commitment to gaining knowledge and skills beyond the scope of your education (e.g. learning and using new programming languages, experimenting with home networking and services)
  • Experience of supporting services (not necessarily IT services)
  • Discipline and maturity
  • Initiative and curiosity
  • There should be credible evidence for at least 1 of the first 3 attributes; and at least 1 of the last 2.
  • You also need to give evidence of why the company should hire you.
Common mistakes
  •   Refers to wrong company (often a cut and paste error)
  •   Omission of contact details
  •   Missing exam results (always include expected degree result)
  •   Badly chosen email address (make it polite and professional)
  •   Poor grammar, poor spelling
  •   Lies or negativity
  •   Document format (send to friend to make sure others can read it)

CV Example

Your name
Your address
Your contact details

Personal Profile

There are several ways in which you can title this section, personal statement, career summary or Profile are just some of them. This section should simply be used as an elevator pitch. It should describe your best attributes and accomplishments in a few lines, and make the hiring manager want to continue to read the CV. This section should be tailored to every role you apply to.

Education

Start with your most recent qualification and work backwards

Always include the name of the establishment you studied at, the years you studied for, the course name and your results.

Skills

Here you should list all your skills, you should start with your IT Skills (those most relevant to the role first)

You should then move onto list those organisational skills you have that would be useful for the role.

It is a good idea to use bullet points in this section to make it easy to read and identify.

Work Experience

This can be split into two sections if you have both relevant and non-relevant work experience.

You should always list relevant work experience first and as with the Education section work experience should be listed with your most recent position first.

You should always include, the company name, your position title and the duration of your employment.

Try to add in any accomplishments here and not simply list your duties.

Additional Information

This is where you can add in any non-essential skills that may be helpful in selling you, do you have a driver licence for example.

Do you do any voluntary work?

Do you have any non IT related qualifications?

References

As a minimum it should be stated that they are available on request.

 

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