Friday, 12 October 2012

Volunteer to get a job

o. You are looking for part-time work for women but you know you are going to have to bide your time before you find a) the job you want to apply for b) an interview and c) you get the contract of employment.

Meanwhile, what’s the harm in offering your skills as a volunteer? There are plenty of people who have found paid employment through volunteering. Moi, being one of them.

I went to offer my press and PR services for free to a charity and really had the wind taken out of my sails when during my informal interview with the head of a charity I was offered a job on the spot – a part-time job!

It wasn’t the first voluntary role I applied for. I also worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau, again in a press and PR capacity and used my experience there to get myself another part-time job. This time it wasn’t with the organisation I helped out.

A newspaper, which I’d applied to join, asked me to find an off-diary story to secure the job ahead of my competitors. So I went back to the CAB people I was working with and interviewed them about the staggering amount of personal debt in the area.

I got the page three lead and a contract.

What I’m saying is, MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK. You CAN do it! Volunteering is a great way to boost your confidence after a gap in your employment history. I’ve spoken to some mums who think they are unemployable yet they run their family homes so efficiently, manage the day-to-day accounts and they still don’t feel they have anything to offer.

Having witnessed at first hand the kind of help charities need, I know that those kinds of skills are very valuable to them. There are all sorts of opportunities to brush up on skills and find new ones within a charity. But most of all, I think it gives women who have been out of the workplace, a renewed sense of purpose and confidence.

So get cracking! Hey presto people.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Captain Tortue - sell clothes to raise income

'm a firm believer in creating your own luck. You don't have to become "employed" in part-time work, why not try out a little low-risk business venture of your own.

That's what Susan Spedding did. She wasn’t actively looking for work – it found her which enabled her to help out with the household finances selling a French range of women’s clothes by Captain Tortue.

The 39-year-old Essex mother-of-two, pictured, had seen a “show” of the clothes in someone’s home and fell in love with the beautiful garments – within a month she was selling them, too.

She then went on to sell Captain Tortue’s Miss Captain and Lady Captain clothing range, which sell from £13 to around £80 per item.

Her initial outlay was £200, a deposit for the clothes she was showing, and a folding portable clothes rail costing £140, but she received the £200 back once she hit a sales target of £3,500, excluding VAT, set by Captain Tortue.

When she started, the Autumn/Winter season had begun. “Within 12 weeks of my first show I’d hit my target and by the eighth or ninth show I’d taken £5,300 in sales,” she said.

She’d still be selling the clothes now if her husband’s work load had not increased so much that it prevented her from working in the evenings as she had two children to babysit.

However her advice to others is this - it was a really low-risk venture. And there is scope for doing even better. According to Susan there are some people who sell £40,000 worth of clothes in a season.

Commission is on a sliding scale and starts at 20 per cent but can go up to as much as 30 per cent. “Another bonus is if I wanted to buy clothes for myself I’d get them at half price,” she said.

She used to fit her hours around her small daughters so was still able to make the school run while clocking up earnings that have paid for some modest home improvements.

She also paid for a family holiday abroad in Portugal and contributed half the costs of replacing a family bathroom.

Her top tips for anyone wanting to sell Captain Tortue clothing are:
  1. Before you sign up to sell the clothes, have a really good think about your network. How wide it is and how you might be able to widen it to get the shows booked.
  2. In the first two months of signing up, book as many shows as you can manage, while still being able to run your family, because halfway through the season Captain Tortue brings out a mid-season collection. This means you have a good reason to approach people who have already hosted a show to see if they’d like to host a second.
  3. Be brave as well as organised.
  4. Experience makes you better at it. 

Visit Captain Tortue to find out more about selling its range of beautiful clothes.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Job application howlers

If you are going for a part-time job you’d want to present yourself in the best light possible, wouldn’t you? The answer is a resounding “yes” I’m sure.
I’m certain these guys felt the same but it just didn’t come across like that. These are some of the favourites I found out there:

  1.  “I’m intrested to here more about that. I’m working today in a furniture factory as a drawer.”
  2. “Skills: Strong work ethic, attention to detail, team player, self motivated, attention to detail.”
  3.  “Received a plague for salesperson of the year.”
  4.   “You will want me to be head honcho in no time.”
  5.  “Experienced in all faucets of accounting.”
Don’t think they used the spell check, did they, eh! If you want to dip into more visit Jobmob.
But getting serious for a moment, this is the advice that is out there about compiling your own covering letter in a nutshell.

DON’T undersell yourself but make sure you tailor your letter to the job you are applying for.
DO show, succinctly, in your letter that you have researched the role and know a little bit about the company you want to work for.

DO say why you want the job you are applying for and why you think you would be good at it. This is your opportunity to include your unique selling points.

DON’T make your letter any more than four or five paragraphs long and adapt your tone to the type of job you are applying for.

Visit Prospects, which offers lots of advice and even templates for you to download  
If you don’t get an interview and you thought your application was a strong one it is always worth asking for feedback.

Meanwhile, here are some job sites that you might like to dip into if you are looking for part-time work Monster, Total jobs, Reed, Jobrapido and Check4jobs.

Good luck you busy women looking for part-time work. Hey Presto people.