Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A smart phone – your route to work?

re you still carrying around that old Nokia? You know, the one that only allows you to make and receive calls and text messages?

Until just a year ago I, too, was happy with my old Nokia. It had an operating system I understood and I didn’t have the time for the new fangled “smart” phones. Why buy a smart phone? Who wants to be on the web all the time anyway?

I was a mother. I had better things to do than fiddle around looking at my phone. Just one look at my husband, who couldn’t be parted from his Samsung Galaxy II, was enough to make me think I didn’t need this technology.

But that all changed. Why? I missed out on a part-time communication/media relations job. I was one of the few who got an interview for the job that I was well qualified for just four years ago. One of the reasons I didn’t get it was because I didn’t have enough social media experience.

Panic set in. I was obsolete. My 20 years in journalism counted for nothing I told myself. Of course, that was rubbish. I just had to adapt.

I had a Facebook page, which I dipped into maybe once a month, and I had also created a Twitter presence that was so dormant it was in permanent hibernation, but how was I going to get this social media experience?

I was flapping until a chance conversation with a friend, who posted on her Facebook page frequently. This is the gist of the conversation:

Me: “When do you find the time to dip into it?”

Her: “Well, it’s on my phone. I always have my phone with me so if I’m waiting for the spuds to boil I’ll dip in.”

That was my light-bulb moment. A week later, after a bit of research, I bought a low-budget smart phone to “get me started”. Now I look at iPhone owners with envy and I’m looking to upgrade my smart phone to a faster model, although for a modest budget, still.

I confess, I’m using probably just 10 per cent of the gadgets my basic phone is capable of but I regularly dip into the weather so I know how to dress the kids for the day, the news, and Twitter feeds to check what’s going on in the world and to remain current. Why, I even blog!

If I chose to I could receive all my emails through my smart phone. I can even update my blog wherever I am in the world.

The internet has changed the world around us rapidly. According to statistics from Google the rise of smart phones has created smarter consumers. It calls it a “smart phone movement” because smart phones are “always on, always with us and always connected”.

Google says that has given businesses the opportunity for “smarter marketing”. If you want to work for any business, whether your role is in marketing or not, your wages will start to rely on this kind of technology sooner than you think.

Not only that, your children are growing up with it. Do you really want to be a technological dinosaur and get left behind?

Still not convinced? You may not believe it yet but getting on board with the smart phone movement is in your interest. Smart phones can help you save a packet by accessing great deals in the high street shops and elsewhere, in fact they have turned us into savvy shoppers.

They say 79% of people in the US with smart phones use them to help with the shopping, either to price check or find out some other piece of information that helps with buying decisions.

Finally, maybe this will shift your perception: your smart phone could be the instrument that helps you get your next job. You can access those job alerts on the move and even apply for them or react to emails offering you an interview.

So get current, you know you really want to. And if your smart phone helped you access your job I want to hear from you.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Term-time jobs - a headmaster's view


erm-time jobs are massively attractive to women running a home and raising children. That is why whenever they are advertised they attract a lot of applicants.

Chris Stafford, headteacher
of Monkton Combe Prep 
But did you know there are many more jobs available in schools other than midday assistants or teachers’ assistants, neither of which have attractive salaries. 

If you are looking for a bigger salary, unless you are a teacher looking to resume your career, you may not have thought the skills you spent years acquiring might have a use in a school. Let me put you straight!

I spoke to the headmaster of a fee-paying school in Bath, Chris Stafford, who is head of Monkton Combe Prep School. He says the school, which is run in connection with Monkton’s senior school situated on another site nearby, is always on the lookout for good staff.

Aside from the obvious jobs such as teachers, midday assistants and teachers’ assistants there are also roles that include marketing professionals, financial professionals, purchasing managers, technicians and ledger book-keepers to name just a few.

He said there are part-time and full-time jobs available but the vast majority of jobs are, indeed, for term-times only. So how do you obtain one of these jobs?

Mr Stafford said: “I get a lot of unsolicited applications, which I file away, and if a classroom assistant’s job becomes available that is the first place I look. In fact I look into these files a lot.

“I always have to advertise the job on our website and sometimes I’ll advertise in the local press but I find more and more people are trawling through websites such as ours looking for jobs of this nature.”

He said volunteering at a school is always a good way to get known. “Volunteering is often something that schools look upon favourably. This does two things: a) it enables the person to add constructively to the CV and b) gives a foot in the door should a post crop up, especially if they are volunteering at the time.

“Also, most heads or HR managers will happily glance over a CV and give helpful advice re content, shape etc, which is well worth doing.

“CVs are essential but make sure you explain any gaps and I like to see a short covering letter stating the reasons for wanting a particular role. One other thing. I have a huge respect for older people who want to retrain or have managed to get qualified later in life. So that could be a mother with grown-up children. Good luck.”