Friday, 28 September 2012

CVs - ten top tips

You want part-time work and CV is your shop window. Today I am going to concentrate on this and I’ll share my research on covering letters another day. I’ve dipped into many advice sites and, after more than 20 years in the working world, I’ve added some of my own hints and tips, too. Here's what I've found to help out women and/or mums who want part-time work:
  1. Most CVs are sent electronically so save your CV in a format that everyone can use – not everyone will have the latest version of Word.
  2. Keep it to no more than two pages, one is even better because WE’RE ALL LAZY! No one wants to wade through three pages or more. Make sure the front page gives them everything they need – GOLD, GOLD, GOLD.
  3. Keep it brief and to the point – see number 2.
  4. Make it look easy on the eye with space between headings. No one wants to read ANY text that has no paragraphs or white space – it’ll give as much impact as a flasher in a nudist colony.
  5. Ensure you have correctly spelled the name of the person you are addressing your covering letter to. I was once freelancing at a well-known national women’s magazine when THE BOSS started browsing through the CVs of people applying for a vacancy.

    She had an unusual first name. The CVs/letters of all those applicants who assumed her name had been spelt wrong in the job ad and “corrected” it were ripped up and filed in the bin.
  6. Don’t leave any gaps in your employment time line. Who wants awkward questions? Find a way of explaining them in a positive manner.
  7. Expand on the experience that is relevant to the role you are applying for.
  8. Write a short personal statement that summarises your skill set and why you are the best candidate for the job. This should also be detailed in the covering letter.
  9. Don’t put in the contact details of referees unless asked to. You want to be in control of who’s talking to whom. Simply say references are available on request but many employers know this is implied on CVs anyway.
  10. Make sure there are no spelling errors throughout your CV. That’s NONE! NO. SPELLING. MISTAKES! You don’t want to give any potential employer an excuse to file your CV in the bin as they reach for the next one.

There are so many tips out there. Hope my cherry-picking blog gives you some help. Next blog is all about CV bloopers! There are some real beauties.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Tax and the working woman

To all you women/mums who want to get back to work, tax can be a bit of a dirty word, but let’s face it, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “The only thing that is certain in life is death and taxes.”

We’ve been paying tax in England for hundreds of years. First to the Roman Empire during its occupation of Britain, then to various Saxon kings, but you will also find many other references over the World Wide Web that talk of taxes peppered across history.

In fact, legend has it that Lady Godiva, who lived in the 11th century, rode naked through the streets of Coventry in return for her husband, Leofric, Earl of Mercia, reducing the high taxes on his tenants.

Yet it was the in late 17th century that a land tax was imposed by the government of the day, and it was this that provided its main source of income.

History tells us that “Income” tax was introduced by William Pit the Younger in 1799. It didn’t last, due to changes in political leadership, not to mention opinions, but eventually it became everyday life from 1842.

The good news is today we are all allowed a “Personal Allowance” – the amount of money you can earn free of tax. Here’s a reminder.

For the year 2012-13, those aged under 65, the personal allowance limit is £8,105, in the UK, which means you fall into the “Basic Rate” tax payer band, so long as you don’t earn over £34,370 that tax year. Anything you earn between £8,105 and £34,370 for part-time work or full-time work you will pay tax at 20%. See Income Tax – the Basics.

However, tax isn’t the only way you’ll see money deducted from your wages as National Insurance contributions kick in if you are employed. In this scenario you pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions if you earn between £146 and £817 per week. Then you’ll be paying 12% of anything you earn between those sums but there are different rates (See the National Insurance Contributions – the basics).

Further explanations can be found at HMRC as there are many different categories depending on your circumstances.

And if you want a potted history of National Insurance click this link. However, in a nutshell its first aim was to insure people against unemployment and illness. But it went on to provide state pensions and other benefits.

If someone employs you on a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) basis, they should work out your tax and National Insurance contributions for you, but it pays to know your facts in case they get it wrong. Just remember, for every penny you earn over your thresholds you should be paying tax or National Insurance.

If you are self-employed, there are tax reliefs you can claim so check this, too, on the tax reliefs page on the HMRC website. In fact, self employment is another ball game and quite rightly deserves a blog of its own. Hmm. Might get cracking on that one for another day.

Hey Presto people.

TRIVIA...but very useful
Who’s got the 0800 Wizard app on their mobile phone? Well if you haven’t, look into it. It will save you spending 41p per minute on your mobile when you use an 0800 number that is normally free from your land line. 0800 Wizard enables you to include these numbers in your phone tariff’s free minutes. It’s been developed by Skycom so check it out.

Friday, 14 September 2012

In the beginning...

Welcome to my Prestopeople blog spot. If you have dipped into this page you too are wanting to start earning again after a career break.

I decided to start blogging after meeting many mothers at the school gates who were, to them, doing the most important job in the world, raising their children yet wanting to help contribute to the household finances, too. All they wanted was a job for mums.

For some it was an absolute necessity to start earning, for others it helped them financially keep their heads above water or enable them to buy the little luxuries that their household would otherwise do without. There were also some who didn’t need to work at all but were simply bored and wanted part-time work. Don’t think I came across many of those, though!

I’ve met many women who are making their own luck – a lot of them mothers who fit in their work around school drop off and pick up times. This blog is an attempt to share their experiences through case studies in the hope that it inspires others.

I’ll also be researching the online jobs market finding my way around the job sites to see how easy they are to use and what’s out there in the way of part-time work for women, in the main. I’ll provide details of links to the information that may help you in your quest.

Another of my research targets will be education and how you can give yourself a leg up through various adult education courses in the UK. Meanwhile, keep dipping in and reading the blog – you might find a snippet of information that is useful. If you do, it would be great if you’d tell me.

My blog site is in the construction phase, so you should see some changes over the coming weeks – bear with me while I bring myself into the 21st Century.

The next blog will give you some details about tax such as how much you can earn before you have to start paying tax.

Hey Presto People!

TRIVIA...but it was SOOOOOO entertaining
Have you seen the new Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises? Go see it, or if you are too late to catch it at the cinema get it on DVD. I had to sit demurely in my chair at the cinema but had I been watching it at home I’d have been jumping on the sofa as I punched the air with my fist shouting “Go Batman. Go!” Yes, very unladylike. See it and tell me you didn’t feel the same! Check out the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.