Search Results for: job search

Job seekers: amp up your game with blogging

job seekers,blogging,blog,resume,CV,interview,writingIf you’re a job seeker you’ll probably know that increasingly, employers are looking for “blogging” as a key work skill. And what better way to demonstrate to potential employers that you blog well, than by doing one! In this article by brilliant young job seeker Lorenzo Matibag from NYC, he shares his tips on how to do it well and attract that dream job. [Read more…]

ABC Challenge: judge now! Learn how Lynn loves helping people leap into better jobs

https://howtowritebetter.net/category/blogging-2/

Lynn loves helping people live and love through earning and achieving better jobs.

Look at Lynn’s entry and learn how you can get a better job that will make your life more livable and lovable… [Read more…]

How To Write Fiction Without The Fuss: have fun with research

 

Welcome to Part Nineteen of this popular series – this week, Lucy looks at research, and how much fun you can have carrying it out to make your fiction more “believable.” For all the articles in the series check out the category “Fiction Without The Fuss.” Click on <<<— this link or go to the sidebar on the right —>>>

How to write fiction without the fuss

Research

If fiction is a work of the imagination, why would you need research to write your story?

Because you want the reader to believe absolutely in your imaginative world and most fictional worlds have some relationship to the real world, as it was, is, or might be. Whatever your subject matter or setting, some of your readers will know or be well informed about it. Factual errors will spoil their reading experience and invite negative reviews.

So what are the key areas of research for fiction writers?

Names

Remember to make sure something as basic as your characters’ names fit with the period, setting and tenor of your story. Thinking about their names forces you to clarify the characters’ backgrounds: what age, class and type of people were the parents who gave their child that name? The internet is an ideal place to find the origins, popularity, nationality and meanings of names.

Location

The setting of your story is crucial to the feel, and possibly plotline, of your story. If you don’t want to be tied to the specifics of a real place, you could consider inventing a fictional town, country or village (as I did in Kindred Spirits) based on some reality. But if you are going to set it in an existing location, make sure that all the details are accurate. I recently edited a new novel set in late 80s Chelsea, a time and place I knew well. We worked on getting every tube journey, bus route, walk that the characters took, and descriptions of cafés, shops and buildings entirely accurate. To someone like me who lived in London then, mistakes took me out of the story and diminished the reality.

Make sure you have the correct geography, seasons and weather of a setting you don’t know well from personal experience. If you can’t travel to see a place, the internet can give you maps, photos and sometimes videos of locations, in the past and present. You can also visit online, or talk to, tourism departments; safest, though, is to check with someone who has firsthand knowledge of the place.

Careers

How does a small town cop relate to an FBI agent? Keri Beevis doesn’t live in America, but had to research that relationship for her novel, Dead Letter Day. Her style and plot don’t require procedural details of how US cops and Feds interact on a murder enquiry, so Keri gives an accurate minimum of technical information based on reading and online research, and concentrates on the central emotional relationship, leaving the reader enough space to imagine the rest.

There is information on the web, in the library, from businesses and organisations on almost any career or job one of your characters might have, but tracking down a real life member of the profession you are writing about can give unexpected and intriguing details that add interest and realism to your characters and plot.

Historical period

small__1330792406This kind of research can be the most time-consuming – and many historical novelists have described the length and intensity of their work in this area. Immerse yourself in the period before you start writing: read research papers, history books, contemporary literature and diaries. For atmosphere, watch television dramas and documentaries as well as films – though check their accuracy against the facts. Listen to music and examine details of costume and decor in works of art and photographs (if you are working on more recent history) of the time. Newspapers and journals are an invaluable resource, not just for records and fact-finding, but also to enable you to get a feel for the language and attitudes of day.

In her WW1 novel, Rumour, Angela Lawrence brings research further into her story than most fiction writers by including complete newspaper articles (one of her characters is a reporter) and basing courtroom scenes on transcripts. In the editing process, though, sections were pruned where too many facts slowed down the story.

Language

If your story contains characters who come from a country, county, city or area you don’t know well, you will need to research the way they talk. Not only must you have the appropriate words, terms and turns of phrase to make them sound credible, you will need a feel for the flow and rhythm of their speech. If possible, spend time with someone who comes from your character’s location or background; if not, listen to dialogue in appropriate films or tv dramas (hoping the actors got it right – don’t take a lesson in Cockney English from Dick Van Dyke), or the speech of someone in the media who sounds like your character.

Creating dialogue for historical characters may have to be a mixture of research and imagination, with imagination taking precedence the further back in time you go. Received English in, for example, Tudor times, sounded like a regional accent of today, and used words and phrases unknown to us. Read literature of your chosen period to get a flavour, pick some contemporary vocabulary, then develop your own, consistent style of dialogue. Make sure it is not so arcane as to distract readers from following the sense, and look out for obvious anachronisms. Differentiate each character’s speech and, as I said in the section on writing dialogue, don’t start writing until you can clearly hear each voice in your head.

small__8701694888Primary research

Some genres of fiction are heavily reliant on research. Crime fiction requires knowledge of criminal psychology, execution of the crime and investigative procedures. What makes any story succeed, though, is the emotional experience of the characters, so although you may need to read up on serial killers’ modus operandi and forensic science, a day spent in a court gallery to watch real judges, lawyers, criminals and witnesses interacting will be invaluable. Makes notes of the sensations, sounds, smells, textures and emotional flavour of the day; see how the press, public and court staff behave. No amount of scientific information will keep a reader involved like being drawn into a fully-drawn, believable episode.

Putting research into writing

Take notes while you are researching, to help you embed interesting, unusual and key facts, but put all your books, pamphlets and notebooks to one side when you start your first draft and let your imagination go to work on all the material you have absorbed. Check individual details you need to know for your plot, but wait until your second draft to adjust for complete accuracy. In your first draft give fiction free reign and concentrate on the emotions and experience of your characters.

Your plot and characters should always take precedence over your research; don’t change your plot to include an amazing fact you discovered, and don’t use your characters to give the reader (rather than each other) information so their dialogue sounds unnatural and stilted. Use second and third drafts, and an editor’s eye, to keep the balance right and prioritise fiction over fact – even if it sometimes means bending the truth a little. You can even have fun by using your research to add value  for a minority of readers without compromising the story for the majority.

Next week, another punctuation lesson!

For all the articles in this series check out the category “Fiction Without The Fuss.” Click on <<<— this link or go to the sidebar up a way on the right —>>>

Lucy McCarraher

Lucy McCarraher

Lucy

Managing Editor, Rethink Press.
www.rethinkpress.com
www.facebook.com/RethinkPress
www.twitter.com/RethinkPress

 

Meanwhile, let’s perfect your non-fiction, too…

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”...over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English … INSTANT DOWNLOAD now available!
“How To Write Winning Non-fiction”…all you need to know to write a good non-fiction book and get it published
…plus take a look at Lucy’s novels here

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The Write Way to Get a Job: don’t lie!

 

The Write Way to Get a JobWhatever you need to write about yourself in your job search, at all costs you must avoid lying to your recruiters and potential employers. Here are some handy hints to help you make sure your CV/résumé and other documentation show you in your best light without telling any untruths.

It’s increasingly hard to get a job – and a good one – these days, and although there is a lot to consider when you’re looking to get a job, effective business writing plays a major part in helping you succeed. In this series, HTWB columnist Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential explains the best ways to express your career information in your CV/résumé.

And if you want to catch up on all the earlier articles in the series, just check out the sidebar to the the right > > > > they’re all there for you to help yourself.

Here’s Lynn…

It is surprising how many lies are found on CVs / résumés.

Yes, it is important to make the most of your CV and to capitalise on the knowledge, skills and experience you have.  However, blatantly exaggerating and lying about the extent of your skills is a foolish thing to do.

Some indiscretions might improve your suitability and get you an interview; in fact you might even land the job. However, truth will always out in the end, and you are highly likely to be compromised at some point and have to admit that you are not as good as you claim to be or can not do what you are expected to do.

How will that look?

Honesty is always the best policy

Fabricated work histories, made-up responsibilities and even falsehoods about your employer (did you REALLY work for Lord Sugar or Donald Trump?) appear regularly on CVs. The fictional mention of being a prefect, captain or monitor at school may also not be the best representation of your abilities and will also contrive to put you on the back foot should you be questioned more closely at any stage of the recruitment process.

Making things up that you have not done and pretending you have achieved goals that are relevant to the job you are applying for might seem like a good idea since clearly the right experience and suitable skills are what the recruiters are looking for.  However, being called to account for misinformation results in heartache and more disappointment.

You might even get blacklisted.

Recruiters aren’t stupid

small__7793770020It is a bad idea and mind boggling that people continue to lie on their CVs when it is easy for recruiters to carry out some simple investigations and verify candidate’s claims.  OK, not all companies check every detail about their potential employees past history but it is possible to quickly discover sufficient information to oust the liar.

A candidate that has straight As at GCSE and A levels that works in a fast food outlet since leaving school will certainly be questioned in depth. Or most probably, because there is a lack of consistency, the application will be discarded.

In my book, “Get That Job”, I advocate that your CV is your very own marketing tool and that it is essential that you use it to present yourself in the best way possible.

So what’s the difference between boasting/bragging and self-promotion?

It is a big mistake to appear boastful throughout your CV.  A great many people make outrageous and pumped up claims in their CV that despite a realistic training and work history it is unbelievable that they have achieved the level they suggest they are at.

Prerequisite for many roles is the ability to use information technology. Would it surprise you to know that there are many augmented claims of IT prowess and program use?  When these are put to the test, the candidates fall foul and fall dramatically into the failure pit.

Watch you don’t contradict yourself

Whilst we are on the subject of untruths, how many of you read through your own CV and realise that you contradict yourself? You claim in one section to be, for example, an astute negotiator and in another you counter claim something else.  You might also detail your competency level in a language but your explanation and evidence is contrary.    

Recruiters also see CVs that list dates that overlap and raise questions about which date is correct and what the applicant was doing at that time.

Emphasising disinformation is clearly unacceptable and most inadvisable.

Don’t do it.

Let us know of your experiences in compiling a good CV for your job hunting … which approaches you’ve used and how they changed your chances!

The write way to get a job

Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential

Now: let’s make sure  you get that job…

“Get That Job” by Lynn Tulip … The art of successful job hunting (print, Kindle)
“Can’t Get That Job?” by Lynn Tulip … Seven killer CV mistakes that destroy your chance of job success (print, Kindle)
“How To Write About Yourself” by Suzan St Maur … how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write INSTANT DOWNLOAD now available!

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The Write Way to Get a Job: don’t be boring

 

The Write Way to Get a JobWhatever you need to write about yourself in your job search, at all costs you must avoid boring your recruiters and potential employers. Here are some handy hints to help you make sure your CV/résumé and other documentation are interesting and lively.

It’s increasingly hard to get a job – and a good one – these days, and although there is a lot to consider when you’re looking to get a job, effective business writing plays a major part in helping you succeed. In this series, HTWB columnist Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential explains the best ways to express your career information in your CV/résumé.

And if you want to catch up on all the earlier articles in the series, just check out the sidebar to the the right > > > > and they’re all there for you to help yourself.

Here’s Lynn…

This article is all about miscellaneous and irrelevant information that many CVs unnecessarily include.

Some of these misnomers are obvious, others obtuse but all of them affect your chances with the recruiter and weaken your case for finding your perfect job.

Emails

No doubt you are using email to send your CV or to register on specific online job sites. Your email address says a lot about you and can reflect your personality.  Many candidates have unprofessional email addresses for instance hotchick@playgirl.com or killer@thehouseofhorrors.co.uk which detract from your content and are unlikely to impress an employer. At the same time using a risqué, silly, comical or crude email address also means that spam filters kick in and you will end up in the trash folder.

One embarrassing error that occurs frequently is when candidates fire off emails with their CV attached, except instead of attaching their CV they send a different document.  An example seen recently was when a claimant’s letter to insurers was received instead of the CV.

Poor attention to detail sadly rears its ugly head again.

Common faux pas

If you send your CV as an attachment to a recruiter (especially if you are writing speculatively to them) there is a chance that PC virus and spam settings may flag the email up erroneously and send your email with the CV attached to a trash folder. This means that all your hard work and hopes will be dashed without you knowing anything further.

Mundane errors

  1. Lists are useful and serve a purpose in focusing your reader on your specific skills. However, duplicating skills lists in every section make dull reading and won’t make you stand out from other people with similar abilities.
  2. If you include too many facts in your work experience you risk overloading your reader and losing the relevance of your application.
  3. Writing in an informal way makes your application familiar and unprofessional.
  4. Not including keywords, alternative terms or abbreviations that would help your CV be found online.
  5. Using in-house or sector specific terminology within your CV narrows your chances of being short-listed.

Not enough information

Albeit that the advice is to have a maximum of a two-paged CV, some of you go too far and provide a very brief concise document that has no substance at all.

With little or no factual information it is nigh on impossible for the initial short-listing decision to be made and therefore no informed decision can be taken on your ability to do the job.

Additions and omissions

medium_4020584983Then there are the honest candidates that mention (and occasionally justify) low grades, degree awards or test scores; this is information that the recruiter does not necessarily need to know and again, may alter their perception of you.

Already mentioned earlier in this series of articles is the inclusion of hobbies and interests. Another serious oversight is including ineffective information, for example your interest in kite flying on your CV, and then forgetting that you have mentioned it.

Following the introduction of age discrimination legislation in October 2006 in the UK, it is no longer necessary to include your date of birth.

Unless you have been asked, and it is relevant to the role you are applying for, the state of your heath is of no particular interest to the reader of your CV.

Likewise your marital status and children’s details are irrelevant, adding no value to your CV and ability to undertake tasks at work.

Your UK National Insurance number is not required at this stage of a recruitment process and nor are full names and addresses of possible referees.

Remind yourself at all times why you have written your CV and what its purpose is.

Irrelevant information

Recently spotted howlers which have been seen on CVs.

**I am talk, dark and very good looking so when you meet me you will definitely employ me

**God fearing

**Please do not think that I have jumped from job to job from the 15 jobs listed.  I just get itchy feet and need change.

**Personal interests (man) – painting my toenails in varying colours

**Personal profile:

Height – 5ft 2″,
Weight – 10 stone,
Religion – catholic,
Colour hair – black,
Colour eyes – blue

**Qualifications: No education or experience.

**Marital Status: Unmarried Bachelor

**Interests: I enjoy driving around in my Lamborghini at the weekends

Let us know of your experiences in compiling a good CV for your job hunting … which approaches you’ve used and how they changed your chances!

The write way to get a job

Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential

Now: let’s make sure  you get that job…

“Get That Job” by Lynn Tulip … The art of successful job hunting (print, Kindle)
“Can’t Get That Job?” by Lynn Tulip … Seven killer CV mistakes that destroy your chance of job success (print, Kindle)
“How To Write About Yourself” by Suzan St Maur … how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write INSTANT DOWNLOAD now available!

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The Write Way to Get a Job: using Twitter

 

The Write Way to Get a JobUsing Twitter … despite its being restricted to 140 characters or less … is a very useful part of your job hunting process. These tips show you how to make the most of it…

It’s increasingly hard to get a job – and a good one – these days, and although there is a lot to consider when you’re looking to get a job, effective business writing plays a major part in helping you succeed. In this series, HTWB columnist Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential explains the best ways to express your career information in your CV/résumé.

And if you want to catch up on all the earlier articles in the series, just check out the sidebar to the the right > > > > and they’re all there for you to help yourself.

Here’s Lynn…

How Twitter can support your job search

Not everyone embraces Twitter. However if you are  Internet savvy and able to spend time online then it is worthwhile creating an active account to support your job hunting and secure the job of your dreams.

(NB: As you probably know the # (hashtag) symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet.)

Advice and guidance are as follows:

Create a professional Twitter background page, with a sensible avatar (user alter ego/character) and personal summary.

Your personal summary should include KEYWORDS that are relevant to your job search and your situation.

Include a link to an online webpage where your CV can be viewed

Use your twitter feed to comment and contribute as an expert, share your job search and ask questions.

Build relationships with people you know, your network and recruiters. Use them wisely and offer support and ideas.

Follow #Tweetmyjobs  and  look on their website http://tweetmyjobs.com/ They offer a free service for job hunters.

Use http://tweettabs.com/   or http://www.twellow.com/ to search for HR professionals and recruiters> Use keywords such as executive search, sourcing,  talent management etc to search within your industry and location.  You can then search the different profiles and follow interesting people.

Sign up for RRS feeds from Jobsites  and http://www.twithire.com/

Get listed in http://justtweetit.com/ . You can expand your choices and network so you are linking with others who have shared interests.

Do not ignore the benefits of searching using the hashtag (#) and abbreviations like NAJ or HAJ; also words like job, hiring, employment.

Tweet out positive messages. “Looking for an opportunity…” reads better than “Wondering whether to have another glass of … ”

Be honest, open and act with integrity at all times. Employers do not want surprises.

Follow @Microjobs – a profile set up to link recruiters and job seekers.  Depending on your sector and location you might find it a useful connection.  They do not follow you back.

There will be a number of Twitter accounts that are dedicated to job listings in different sectors, locations, and more. If you specify your own criteria you can get alerts to your phone or e-mail and be amongst the first to receive notifications.

I cannot repeat enough that job hunting is seriously hard work, and very time-consuming. Investing time and strategy in social media needs a foolproof plan. Used in combination with networking and building strong connections it could prove to be the most successful addition to your job search strategy and genuinely help you find eligible job opportunities, interviews and securing you your new job.

Let us know of your experiences in using Twitter and other social media for your job hunting … which approaches you’ve used and how they changed your chances!

The write way to get a job

Lynn Tulip from Assessment4Potential

Watch out for more of Lynn’s tips next week…

Now: let’s make sure  you get that job…

“Get That Job” by Lynn Tulip … The art of successful job hunting (print, Kindle)
“Can’t Get That Job?” by Lynn Tulip … Seven killer CV mistakes that destroy your chance of job success (print, Kindle)
“How To Write About Yourself” by Suzan St Maur … how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write INSTANT DOWNLOAD now available!

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