Wednesday, August 10, 2011

SkillSet 2.0

As promised, here is the link to our new smooth looking blog! -

Thanks very much to Jeffrey Kingman and the Chalkboarder team for their hard work and contributions to our new site!

Head over now and check out our latest article on Freelancing!

As always, thanks for reading!

We're Movin!

As the title suggests, we are in fact moving location later this very day!

To a cool new blog with a lot more functionality, so we can offer a lot more in terms of content and design in the future for you guys!

So we apologize for a bit of a lull content-wise, but don't worry - there'll be a brand new article released later today, both here and on the new blog!

Exciting times...

Stay connected for details later today and a look at the new super-blog!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Job-Seekers Guide to Twitter - Part 2

After a weeks wait, here it is, part 2 of the Twitter Guide!

Last week we talked briefly about signing up for Twitter, the importance of filling out of your profile in detail and some basic functionality.

This article will explore the @ and # keys in a little more detail, as well as provide some basic examples of Twitter Job Seeking in action.

Search Search..Search

O.k, last time we briefly discussed using the search bar. Now it's time for an in-depth example.
In this scenario, I will be playing the role of a Job Seeker looking for marketing work, either in my home location (Norwich) or some sort of remote position.

1) Sign up for Twitter, fill out my profile in detail and upload a presentable picture.
2) Add all of my friends and anyone that I know, even remotely, to create the largest possible network of contacts.
3) Time to use the search bar.
4) Lets try - marketing work, Norwich
5) This returns no 'Tweets' so we proceed to search through the 'people results' on the right side of the screen.
6) Click 'view all', the small blue text at the top of page, underneath the first line of text.
7) This brings up a large list of everybody who has been indexed with either the terms 'marketing work' or 'Norwich' on their profile. The list will be ordered by relevancy, so all the people with 'marketing work' and 'Norwich' included in their profile description will be at the top of the list.
8) Now, time to build your network.
9) Right click each name as you move through the list, and open them all in new tabs. Go through a few at a time so you don't get confused.
10) Best practice here is to now 'Follow' any person or agency you believe could be helpful to in your job hunt. 
11) So to demonstrate, in my search the second people result comes up as furthersearch, a SEO and marketing agency.
12) You'll want to 'Follow' furthersearch, then move onto the next relevant profile in the search results.
13) It's best to spend anything from 10-30 minutes doing this, 'Follow' any Twitter profile that is of interest to you and make note of those that you really liked the look of.
14) I'd advise to make sure you 'Follow' at least 10-20 Job Aggregation Sites as well as relevant marketing companies. By Job Aggregation Site I mean something like this - Marketing PR Jobs
15) This way you've got the best of both worlds and you should receive a steady stream of jobs pop up in your Twitter feed - worst comes to worst you can apply for a job you're not that keen on to keep your funds up while you continue your search.

Bear in mind that the 'Search bar' a lot of the time won't return a list of 'Tweets', so just browse the people results to the right - straight to the organ grinder so to speak.

Right, so now you know how to use the 'Search' bar to suit your purpose.

Search, Follow, Hello?

So now you're following a bunch of new agencies and people, what now?

Well here comes the easy part. Talking to people and spending a week or two building a presence.
Better yet - you may not even have to. If you spent a decent amount of time 'Following' relevant Twitter profiles, it's now as simple as playing the waiting game.

1) The Twitter profiles you chose to 'Follow' through the search function should now periodically post 'Tweets' that pop up in your Twitter feed (your Twitter home page)
2) All you have to do - is wait. Monitor your feed every hour and apply, apply and apply.
3) Many of the Job Aggregation Sites post new jobs every few hours, a lot of these jobs will not require a lot of relevant experience and if anything can serve as stepping stones to building your employability profile if you can't see yourself there long-term.
4) For the company profiles or individuals you chose to follow - you may have noticed you can't directly message them, as they aren't 'Following' you.
5) How can I fix this? In some instances this can be difficult - if you chose to follow very large Twitter profiles with thousands of followers, however, most Twitter profiles will generally respond to your messages if they are polite and well thought out.
6) For example - you've just started following a local marketing agency, how do you get them to notice you?
7) Pay attention to what they are saying, or what they are Tweeting! If they post a question and you feel you have an informed answer (try not to be too opinionated) let them know.
8) Retweet some of their content - if they post useful or informative content, hit the little re-tweet content beneath the link.
9) @ mention them. In your Twitter status post something nice and complimentary about the company.
10) Reply to their Tweets. Another option you have is 'Replying' to 'Tweets' posted by the profile. For example, they post an article relating to current events and you decide to reply with your two cents, perhaps agreeing with their point of view. Once you have 'Replied' to their Tweet - your now on their radar. They may not immediately 'Follow' you out of courtesy, but give it time and show a genuine interest - these things can take time.

Well, that should be enough for the time being! If you follow the easy steps in this guide then it should be only a matter of time before you're able to land a job - and from the comfort of your home, with little to no effort on your part. You can't ask for much more then that!

You may be pleased to know that as the Job Seekers Guide to Twitter has been such a success  and due to the large number of requests for more content we've received - we've decided to begin production of a Job Seekers Guide to Twitter Ebook! 

What will the EBook cover?

1) Everything mentioned in Part 1 and 2 in heaps more detail, broken down to the basics.
2) Tons more detailed examples as well as step by step guides to forging the relationships you need to land the top jobs
3) Insights from several marketing experts on how to sell yourself correctly
4) A list of the top Twitter profiles to follow for each major trade and industry
5) Everything you could possibly need to land a job via Twitter!

Stay connected for details coming soon - expected sometime early September!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

SkillSetG On AllTop?

Yes, tis indeed the truth. Our humble blog has managed to land a place in amongst the greats on the mighty AllTop.

Find our blog listed here - - at the bottom right of the page, as the newest blog to grace the AllTop careers page!

Remember to put the word out so we can keep on upping our game and producing original, high quality content!

Also, we'd like to say thank-you to some awesome people we've met along the way and recommend you check them out too! A big thanks to JobHopJulie and Prasoon Gupta for being so welcoming and a great source of advice and motivation!

But most of all, thanks to you, our readers, for...well... reading :)

The beginning of many more exciting things to come!

Stay connected  for the Job Seekers Guide to Twitter, Part 2! coming in the next day or so!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Top 10 Places To Find Summer Work

With the Job Seekers Guide to Twitter still in production, we thought we'd lighten things up a little with a practical list of places you may or may not have thought of for work!

It may start simple, but so should you. If simple isn't enough, well, I've broken it down pretty thoroughly towards the end!

10) Your parents & immediate family - wait what? Yes indeed. Your parents. They aren't just cash cows who live to wait on and serve you. There may have been times in the past when you went to work with your mom or dad for a day, for a bit of resume experience or just a fun day out. I'm not talking about this type of work. I'm talking about approaching your parents or family maturely with a reasoned proposal as to why they should consider paying you to work with them. You may well be surprised with the outcome. Approach them maturely, explain to them your situation and tell them you are willing to work as hard, if not harder, than any of their other work colleagues. If necessary, offer to work the first day or so free so they can see you are serious about it.

9) Your neighbors - again you're immediate reaction may be "Come on, get real". But I am being real, very real. You'd be very surprised the response you may receive if you approach the people from your neighborhood as a mature adult and present yourself correctly. I'm not talking about offering to mow their lawn or wash their car for cash in the summer, I'm suggesting you ask them if there's any way you can help them with out their job whilst explaining to them you are prepared to work your butt off at the same time.

8) Your friendsthe same principle applies here as with your neighbors and family. Though you know what they say - never mix business and friendship. This may well turn out a very good response, but bear in mind the ramifications if you turn out to be unreliable or slack off - if you pursue this course of action, make sure you're prepared to work hard, or deal with the consequences it may yield for your friendship!

7) Your school/college/university -  for college and university especially, you'd be surprised how many of the workforce comprises current or past students. Your college has a bar? Great ask behind the bar and hand in a resume, or if you're friends with a member of the bar staff? Even better - get them to recommend you. Fast food place on campus? Ask them. Library? Ask them. Shops, every academic-school on campus, sports facilities, campus accommodation, admin positions? Ask them. You get the gist - ask everywhere that is manned by people, you'll be surprised believe me.    

6) Your local areaa lot of people from experience will generally only ask at their local corner store, then decide there's no work. Again, you don't ask - you don't get. Ask at the corner store, the pharmacy, any paper routes, any fast food vans, any fast food restaurants, any local businessmen in the area. Everywhere.

5) Fast-food in general - A little cliche? Maybe. But it's a fact. Fast-food restaurants generally employ a high volume of staff and tend to have a high turnover - they are constantly losing and gaining staff. You've probably thought about a ton of places in the back of your mind you know you could probably find work, but didn't want to as you were holding out for something better. Everybody does it. You're not the only one. However, if you wan't a job and you want money - get over to every fast food joint and restaurant/cafe in town with a resume tailored to the fast-food industry and a can-do attitude.

4) Retail stores Very similar to fast-food chains, large retail stores employ a large number of staff, generally students in College city's/towns. They also have a high turn-over. This includes everything from Hollister & Urban Outfitters to Primark and Macys. Ask everywhere. I mean everywhere. Go up and down your local high-street and here's what you do. Approach the store counter and you say: "Hiya, I was just wondering if you guys were hiring at all at the moment?" It's as easy as that. You'll receive one of several responses, generally something like this. "Hey! Umm I'm not sure, let me just check with the manager" or "Hey, Umm I'm not sure, you could hand over a C.V/resume though just in case?". If possible, make sure you talk to the manager or a member of the management team. Just say "Oh o.k, would it be possible to have a quick word with the manager?" - a lot of the time if you hand in a resume to the shop-floor staff it won't reach anybody and nothing will come of it. Asking to speak to the manager shows initiative and forward thinking.

3) Bars & nightclubs - the staple employment of students everywhere. The places you love to go and spend your money, then wake up in their side alley with no memory of the night before. The best time to ask them for work? Mid-day.

A lot of these places will be open during the day, doubling up as cafe's or chilled out spots to hang out and grab a bite. However, if not, make an effort to go on a hunt and catch the other ones that aren't before they start getting busy - they generally open around 4-6pm and don't get busy until 7 or 8 at the earliest. Now bear in mind you're applying to bars and nightclubs here, don't walk in wearing a suit and tie - go smart casual, jeans and a cool t-shirt is your best bet.

2) Job aggregation sites - these have taken off massively in the last 5 years and dependent on where you live, they will differ - though they are easy to locate and use.

For the U.K - you're talking about sites such as,, Reed, Milkround and by far the most important for students - your University Employability portal if you have one.

In the USA there are heaps - USAJobs, Jobsboom, TopUSAJobs, and 
for starters.

Some of these sites require you to register, which you should do in full. Think of it as an investment. Put a whole day aside if necessary and create a detailed profile across all the top job sites for your location.

And to stay ahead of the curve - TweetMyJobs - is a must. More and more employers are finding quality employees through social media today. Take the time to register with TMJ and spend a few hours searching through and experimenting with it - there'll be more on this in the Job Seekers Guide to Twitter Part 2!

1) Google - by far your best resource is still good ol Google, combined with some initiative of course. But I'll break it down for you anyway.

Let's say for example you're looking for part time retail work, here's what you do.

*Step 1*

- Head over to Google
- Search for part-time work in (your location)
- Voila, the first 5-10 pages at least will be full of heaps of stuff.

*Step 2* 
-Nothing good popped up? O.k
- Take a pen and paper. Now, write down every single shop you've ever seen/heard of. Take 10 minutes, really think about it, ask your parents, friends, family as-well.
- Go through the list, typing each into Google like so
- 'Work at Mcdonalds (your location). If this doesn't work, simply: 'McDonalds *your location*'.
- This will provide you with the stores location, address, telephone number and in most cases email.
- Now, send your retail based c.v to their email with a cover letter, or ring them inquiring as to whether they have work at the moment.

*Step 3*
-Still not enough?
- Apply the methodology from above to Twitter using the tips from the Job Seekers Guide to Twitter Part One.

Anything I missed you'd like to add? Let me know!

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Friday, July 29, 2011

How Not To Be Late For Work

Landing a job is one thing. Keeping it, well, that's another...

*7 AM* Alarm goes off. Ahhh man. *SNOOZE*
*7.15 AM* Shut-up already!! *SNOOZE*
*8.30 AM* Oh sh.... not again....

Sound familiar? 

If you find getting up for work a daily struggle, then read on.

Do some exercise in the evening.

This is especially useful for office/white collar workers. Think about it for a minute. How many of you guys struggle to get up in the morning? And what's the first thing you do once you get to work in the morning? A big strong cup of Joe, right? 

Well, I'm not gonna tell you to lay off the coffee, as I know what a nightmare it is struggling through a days work without it. However, I will recommend that you do some exercise in the evening after work to burn off all the caffeine in your system. Why? Did you know that caffeine can reside in your system from anywhere between 6 to12 hours? No, I didn't either until a few months ago when I sorted out my sleep pattern! So if you're drinking coffee all day and have your last cup around 3pm - you do the math!

But back to the exercise; make sure you finish exercising an hour or so before you plan on going to bed if possible. Ideally, do it as soon as you get off work. Even going for a swim or jogging for 30-40 minutes will make a difference. Aim for aerobic (not too intense, but long lasting) exercise as oppose to lifting weights - it should help a lot.

Why will that help? Because your tired from the exercise - your body will be able to fall into a natural, restorative sleep a lot easier. Meaning as time progresses, you'll fall into a good routine and 8 hours will be more than enough sleep, allowing you to wake up easily. 

Depending on how well you sleep however, don't expect results overnight. For problem sleepers this can take up to a month sometimes - don't give up though, it's worth it in the long run!

Better yet - fancy kicking the coffee? Take a lot at how -

Eat something sugary before going to bed

I'll spare you too much of the science behind it, but eating, or drinking, a small sugary snack before going to sleep can help prevent you waking up prematurely - thus disrupting your sleep pattern and making it harder for you to wake up when you need to. 

Basically, the sugar will delay your blood sugar dropping too much throughout the night - this is what can often wake you up prematurely or leave you feeling horrible and groggy in the morning.

Again be smart with this, don't eat a ton of junk food or drink a litre of milk as you won't sleep, something easy like a tablespoon of peanut butter should do the trick.

When you wake up, get up. 

It may sound even worse than getting up for work - but if you wake up naturally an hour or so before you have to, get up. If you go back to sleep and are then woken an hour later - your waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle and your body is going to be in a world of WTF is going on. Aim for 3 hour sleep cycles. So if you can't get 8 hours, get 6 as the next best thing. Don't ask me why 8 hours is recommended as the optimum amount of sleep, given that a sleep cycle consists of 3 hours. 

This will benefit you in the long run as you'll be able to fall asleep easier in the evening due to your sleep debt and will help achieve deep restorative sleep, rather than erratic, interrupted sleep.

Don't be a snoozer

I'm guessing the majority of us have an iPod by now. So here's what you do. If you don't have an iPod, be creative - it's pretty easy to setup with a laptop or phone too. The premise - getting you out of bed to turn off the alarm.

You may or may not know this, but it's very easy to set an alarm on your iPod - an alarm that instead of playing that horrific *waaah waah waaah* sound, can play whatever you like. Thank god.

I found that setting an alarm on my phone which was right by my bed was no good, as I'd just constantly snooze it until I was late all over again.

What did help - was hooking my iPod up to my speaker system, then placing the iPod on top of my wardrobe at the back corner, so it was impossible for me to turn it off without getting out of bed and standing on a chair to reach it. The first couple of times you're going to hate it, believe me. But once you've got up to turn the alarm off, the combination of irritation and shock should be enough to have woken you up properly.

What you chose to play is up to you - a bit of trial and error is necessary here. Some people swear by calming, soothing music at a low to mid volume to wake up to gradually. Personally, I find it's better to blast out something hard hitting and high tempo so it sort of shakes me awake. Something that motivates and cheers you up is always good too! Whatever works for you really!

Still struggling to wake up in the morning? Sleep pattern still screwed? Leave a comment letting me know and I'll throw together an Insomniac's Guide on Waking Up for Work!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Job-Seekers Guide to Twitter - Part 1

So after a couple of heavy articles on CV and Cover Letter writing, I thought it was time to lighten things up a little bit.

As the title suggests, Twitter, besides from being very cool and fun to play around on,  is also a very useful employability tool.

But, how can you make use of Twitter in your job hunt?

Well, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Twitter first of all I'll run you through a quick step-by-step to setting yourself on Twitter.

Today's SSG Goof pic courtesy of Sarah Chong, co-founder of Penn Olson!


1) Head over to Twitter and click sign up, via this link -
2) Enter in your contact information correctly as it will help you be indexed (found) based on location. It's also a perfect opportunity to self-market, or get the word out about yourself.
3) Voila - signed up. You may have to confirm your account by clicking on a link Twitter auto-sends to your email before you can sign in.
4) Head to your profile page once you've done this and upload a profile pic that is a healthy mix of professional/casual - a high quality smiling pic of your face is always a good choice.
5) Make sure you update your profile information with as much info as possible - this means email address, location, Skype, your blog if you have one, and your Linked-In. You can include stuff like your Linked-In profile in your bio as a link - this way people see it immediately upon viewing your Twitter! To do this, simply copy the web address in the address bar when your on profile page and paste it into the bio box of your Twitter profile!

O.k, now to actually finding some work through Twitter!

Tweet Away

1) There are two very useful Twitter tools you may have seen a lot but never quite understood.
2) The ( @ ) symbol. This symbol allows you to direct a Tweet or mention at a particular Twitter profile or page. Let's say for example you find a recruitment agency advertising a local job in your area, you could Tweet @ RecruitmentAgency asking them if the job was still available and for more details. This tool is incredibly useful for networking with others - but more on this later.
3) The ( # ) often referred to as the 'hash-tag'. The HT (hash tag) indexes words, topics or trends across Twitter. Say for example somebody Tweets about the new Harry Potter movie, if they wanted to connect with others based on this topic their Tweet may look a little like this: "So sad that #harrypotter is finally over! the last #harrypotter #movie was incredible! Was crying by the end!". So yes, there is logic to what initially looks like bad syntax and grammar. What this Tweet is doing, is making itself readily available to anybody who chooses to use the search bar with the terms Harry Potter and Movie. 
4) Using the ( # ) tag. A practical way for you guys to use the HT would look a little something like this:
"Currently looking for #marketing #work in #Norwich - able to work full-time if necessary, have a lot of relevant experience and very hard-working! 

So there is a little intro to the #hash tag, but we will cover this in more detail in part 2.

I Can't Find Any Work

O.k, so perhaps the most important Twitter feature available to you guys at the moment - is the ( Search bar ).
Located right at the top of the screen, opposite the blue Twitter logo, the search bar is an invaluable - and very very easy - tool for locating jobs and work in your area.

Using the Search Bar

1) Step one, locate the search bar
2) Step two, type in what you are searching for - keep it limited to two or three terms. For example:
"marketing work norwich" - would bring back any Tweets referring to marketing work in Norwich. Simples.
3) Step three - locate any recruitment agencies or job aggregation sites that look helpful (in the search results) then 'Follow' them. You will learn to tell as you conduct more searches which Twitter profiles are job sites and which are individuals, you'll also learn to decide for yourself which are more useful to follow!
4) After you 'Follow' these profiles on Twitter - every time they Tweet about a new job it will come up in your home feed, much like your Facebook home feed.
5) Now all you have to do is show a little patience and read through the jobs every day - or - be super active and track down as many job sites as you can find, remember they don't have to be based where you live, as they post jobs from all over the country!

In Part Two next week I'll give a run-down of the best way to contact these people once you're following them as well as a little more on the @ tool!

Thanks for reading - if it helped, remember to help spread the word!

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