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Jobs and java: Why recruitment agencies are like a quality cup of coffee

November 22nd, 2019 by

Coffee is a wonderful thing. For many of us it’s a welcome caffeine hit on a low-energy, high-stress day. But there’s a reason why its nicknames include ‘mud’ and ‘dirt’, and it’s not just the colour.

Home-made coffee will do in a pinch. A decent instant isn’t altogether terrible, and home coffeemakers have vastly improved the quality of a self-made cup of coffee.

But nothing compares to a really good barista-made cappuccino, flat white or a simple and classic americano.

That’s why in an age when every discerning java enthusiast has a Keurig or a Nespresso waiting for them at home, there’s still a coffee shop on every corner waiting to serve you exactly what you want, freshly made from beans ground just for you.

It’s a level of bespoke service that you can’t replicate by doing it yourself – and the same is true when you turn to the personalised services of a really good recruitment agency.

Brewing the perfect cup

The comparison doesn’t end there. Good recruitment agencies offer a service surprisingly similar to that of a decent coffee house:

  • Candidate shortlists or vacancy shortlists that are truly tailored to you – nobody wants an americano with cow’s milk if they ordered a latte with almond milk!
  • Fresh beans in every brew – an ever-updated list of job vacancies and a talent pool that is continually bringing in new high-quality candidates.
  • Grande, Venti or Trenta? Don’t put up with one-size-fits-all services when you can get a recruitment agency that offers bespoke and scalable contracts.

Notice throughout this we’ve talked specifically about really good recruitment agencies. A bad barista will sometimes serve you a half-decent cup of coffee by pure fluke, but a great one will never serve you a dud cup.

Make the coffee worth the grind

We’ve ground this analogy as far as it will go, so let’s filter out the important points for you to brew over in your mind…

Nobody’s denying the existence of jobs boards and search engines. In fact they’re a useful tool for recruitment agencies to reach as many candidates and employers as possible.

But like coffee pods and instant granules, they’re a quick fix to be used in moderation. They might give you a caffeine hit, but they can’t give you the fullest flavour.

Java junkies return to their favourite coffee shop time and time again because:

  1. You know what you’re gonna get.
  2. You’re gonna get quality and value.

You can’t grind the best beans without the best baristas, and you can’t hunt the best heads without the best headhunters.

Recruitment agencies give you that hands-on human expertise and enough experience to ensure that you get the best results every time. It’s second nature to us.

Whether you’re a candidate or an employer, we put in the extra effort to match you perfectly with the opportunity or applicant you’re looking for. That’s what makes the coffee worth the grind.

How to find a job using social media

September 19th, 2019 by

The different social media sites each have their own possibilities when it comes to finding a job.

While the obvious social network for job seekers is LinkedIn with its CV-style profiles and networking opportunities, others like Facebook and Twitter have their own potential too.

Here are some ways to find a job using social media, whatever sites you are most active on.

 

LinkedIn

The business social network has a clearly defined niche, so if you’re looking for a job using social media, LinkedIn is worth some attention.

First and foremost, make sure your profile is up to date, with recent career history, achievements and qualifications listed.

It’s worth keeping your LinkedIn profile active and updated – not only might you get headhunted for a lucrative role, but it’s a handy reference for facts and figures you want to remember to include on your CV too.

 

Facebook

Facebook is ‘the’ social network and has always had more of a local community, friends and family feel to it.

That doesn’t mean it’s no good for jobhunting though – look out for relevant groups you can join, such as groups based on the area where you live, or the industry you work in.

Respect the rules of the groups you join, for example if they specifically don’t allow advertising or asking for work.

Other than that there’s nothing wrong with writing a post asking if anyone in your area is hiring, or even reaching out to high-profile individuals via their business page or group.

 

Twitter

Twitter is surprisingly powerful when it comes to finding work. Many job boards tweet out their latest vacancies – you can use Advanced Search to restrict the results to your geographical location.

You can also find freelance and contracting opportunities just by spotting tweets from individuals in need of a particular service.

Try to build a network of like-minded individuals within your profession, or major employers in your industry, and you can increase your likelihood of seeing job opportunities on your timeline.

Finally if you want to keep a close eye on new employment opportunities on Twitter over time, consider using a tool like TweetDeck, which can keep specific searches open at all times in a separate column.

 

Instagram and YouTube

Depending on your chosen profession, it might be worth putting the ‘media’ in ‘social media’ by building a profile on a multimedia-based social network like Instagram or YouTube.

You can show off your artistic side, post video CVs and showreels, and curate a different audience than you have on your text-based social networking profiles.

These are by no means the only websites that allow you to do this – there are plenty of photography hosting sites too, for example – so find one that allows you to show off your work at its best.

 

Relevant posts

Last of all, no matter which social network (or networks) you decide to use, make sure you post relevant content and comments, especially when looking for employment.

Think about the kind of words and phrases a potential employer might be searching for – this can help you to show up if they run a search for possible candidates.

It may also increase your chances of making the cut if they use an applicant tracking system to weed out the less relevant candidates’ CVs from the pile.

 

Are you on the hunt for a job? We can help you strengthen your CV and pair you with a  perfect job! Call us today to get started.

PA Prep: What to expect day to day in your new PA job

September 6th, 2019 by

The first day at work in any new job can be challenging as you try to learn the ropes as quickly as possible, but when you’re a personal assistant it’s even more important to hit the ground running so you can excel in your role.

Once you’re past that first day, week and month, you’re likely to settle into more of a routine – although of course there will be surprises along the way too.

Here’s our guide to what to expect on the first day as a PA and what is likely to follow on a ‘normal’ day after that…

 

How to prepare for a PA role

By the time you’re given the job as a PA, it’s likely that you will know exactly who you will be assisting – and you probably met them at the interview stage.

This gives you a great opportunity to do your background research, find out the kinds of appointments and commitments you will need to keep on top of, and start planning a daily schedule.

Make sure you know what tools you would like to use to keep track of things. You might prefer a paper diary or calendar you can easily jot things down on, or an electronic or email-based calendar that triggers automatic reminders – whatever works best for you.

 

First day as a PA

Your first day is about getting your bearings, and as much as you might want to start at full speed ahead, it’s not always possible to do that.

There’s likely to be certain orientation sessions, whether that’s meeting your managers and colleagues, learning about the company culture, health and safety, and fire evacuation routine, or some other kind of icebreaker or introduction.

But you’ll usually have at least some time to yourself too, and this is your chance to familiarise yourself with your new working environment, any computer equipment and other tools at your disposal, and start your planning.

 

How to excel quickly

The PA role is all about organisation, so the sooner you can get your plans in order, the better.

You might want to start by drawing up a timetable for regular commitments and available appointments for one-off meetings, interviews and other events.

Even if you’re a natural when it comes to time-keeping, you may also want to set up some reminders so you don’t miss anything important in your first few days.

 

Day two and beyond…

Congratulations, you survived your first day in a high-stress PA role – now comes the rest of your career!

That planning you already made will prove helpful in the long term, as you settle into a routine of repetitive weekly meetings and other commitments, occasional interviews and one-off events, and ongoing responsibility for timekeeping

A lot of your role may prove to be admin support, from ghost-writing correspondence from your boss, to photocopying spare copies of important documents.

Don’t sweat the small stuff – it’s the bread and butter of the role, and should leave you able to put your attention on making sure your boss never misses an important engagement, no matter how long you are their PA.

 

If you’re interested in becoming a PA, give us a call today to get started on the road to success!

CV do’s and don’ts – our top CV writing secrets

July 12th, 2019 by

A strong CV can not only make the difference when it comes to getting a job, it can be a deciding factor in whether or not you even get an interview.

When you send off your application, your CV has just a few seconds to stand out from the crowd before probably being lost among a sea of other applicants.

Here are some CV do’s and don’ts, CV hacks and instant wins that together add up to give you our top CV writing secrets.

 

CV do’s and don’ts

Do give your CV a logical structure, with separate sections for basic contact details, education, career history and outside interests. Our CV Builder can help you make sure you’ve covered everything you need to mention.

Don’t go into too much detail. Make sure the important points are mentioned but remember you can provide more background in your interview – and don’t go over one or two sides of A4 unless you’re sure it’s appropriate to do so.

Do tweak your CV for each role you apply for – but don’t spend more time than you need to on each new version!

Do put your most relevant info up top so interviewers can find it easily. Don’t neglect the basics like your name and contact details though, as you want recruiters to be able to contact you easily.

 

CV hacks

These three CV hacks can help you to say what you want to say, without cluttering the page:

  1. Use a narrow/oval font. The letters are narrower than in a typeface based on circular characters and you’ll fit more words on a line.
  2. White space makes text more readable. It’s better to make your text slightly smaller if it means you can miss a line between sections or use 1.5x line spacing.
  3. Stick to a single font (or at most, a second font just for titles and subheadings). Any more than that starts to confuse the eye.

Remember, you want your key information to be easy to find and easy to read, so interviewers can cast their eye over your CV in just a few seconds and notice what you want them to notice.

 

CV instant wins

Some tweaks can have a big impact on your CV in literally just a few seconds – these are our CV instant wins:

  • Change the font to something modern, elegant and easy to read on-screen and in print. Remember the tip from above about font widths.
  • A border usually isn’t necessary but a horizontal line can help to mark the divide between different sections. Larger titles help to draw the eye too.
  • If you’re just a few words over a single page but can’t find anything to remove, very slightly reduce your character spacing, line spacing or margins to make it fit!

Don’t take it to extremes – it’s all about finding balance and making the page look good overall – but with these top CV writing secrets and the help of our CV Builder, you can be sure of making the right first impression.

Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day 2019

June 7th, 2019 by

This week we are supporting the Alzheimer’s Society and we hope that you will join us to raise money for this fantastic charity.  Here at Alexander Hancock, we know the reality of supporting a loved one with this terrible disease and also the toll that it takes on the family and friends who are supporting a loved one through this difficult time, therefore we know the importance of raising vital funds in order to support this amazing charity in raising awareness, research into the disease and also provide help and support to the people who are living with the disease.

 

Dementia can affect people at any age.  It is more common in people over 65 however there are currently around 42,000 people in the UK under 65 currently living with Dementia.  It is not a normal part of ageing.  A person may have problems with memory, language or concentration.  It may also lead to mood changes, emotions and behaviours.  Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms gradually get worse over time.  Dementia can affect many different areas of your life and the people around you which is why it is so important to help support this charity and the wonderful work they do in order to help prevent, cure and support the people who are suffering today.

 

We are supporting the Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day by holding a Cupcake week.  All week, we will have a host of treats available for you.  All we ask in return is for a donation.  All donations are extremely welcome and we will be incredibly grateful for your support.  £50 could enable the charity be there for five people, for five hours of in depth support from our Helpline team at a time of crisis.  £150 could pay for two people with dementia to attend Singing for the Brain® sessions for one year, where they and their carers can come together for an hour each week to sing and dance to music.  £610 would pay for a Doctoral Training Centre to run for one day, helping up to eight PhD researchers to carry out ground breaking study in dementia research.  Help us to help them.

 

Thank you for taking the time to help us support the Alzheimer’s Society.

 

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/

 

In memory of Norman Rawlinson

 

Paint Altrincham Pink 2019

February 28th, 2019 by

A great big thank you to everyone who has supported us so far in helping to Paint Altrincham Pink this week.  Here is why we are taking part.

 

PAINT ALTRINCHAM PINK

 

As Max Bygraves would have said, and for those too young to remember him.. Go Google!

“I want to tell you a story..”

It is 1990, the time when dinosaurs still walked the planet ie mobile phones were bricks, Sky was something blue above us, the Web was something spiders spun and it was also when my mum aged 47 went to the doctor with a small lump in her breast. The doctors and surgeons at The Christie Hospital were all amazing, told her it was breast cancer but so small that there was nothing to worry about, removed it and she underwent a fairly horrific course of chemotherapy. But as a family we were fairly chilled, calling her the ‘Cancer Bunny’.. after all, the doctors told us there was nothing to worry about, so we didn’t..  lymph nodes had only just been discovered as being an indicator of the cancer spreading but removal of them was not considered…fast forward 2 years and she was yellow, struggling to breathe and feeling basically shit.. The GP told her she was a hypochondriac and that she was fine.. she died 6 weeks later; secondary liver cancer which had not been picked up.

I was 26. 26 years of age and burying my mother, the light of my life, my absolute role model whom I looked up to for all of my life.

A short time after that, exploration into genes and cancer came to the fore and a small charity called Genesis (now Prevent Breast Cancer) was set up funding the research into whether or not genes could indicate a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer. My sisters and I were asked to take part in a research study as to whether or not we had the genes that meant that we too would contract cancer at some point in our future. The results that came back said “ yes we had a gene but as yet they could not identify which gene it was or what it actually meant for us long term”..

Well what it meant was that both my sisters developed breast cancer, resulting in one having regular lumps removed and tested and the other having to have a double mastectomy and chemotherapy; she was 46 but thank God because of the amazing research and development in Cancer Research medicine she is fine; we pray a lot but she is fine.

Cancer is still the worst word in the world to hear.. you hear the word ‘cancer’ but what you really hear is ‘Death’ but thankfully, and particularly for us in Manchester, we have Prevent Breast Cancer and we have the Christie Hospital which is at the forefront of Cancer treatment in the whole world. We have available to us the possibility of having our daughters tested to see if they have a rogue gene, and if they do, preventative action can be taken.

This story is not unique. Pretty much every single one of us has been touched by Breast Cancer and that is why we are Painting Altrincham Pink, for all those who have suffered and lost the battle against this awful disease; for those who are still fighting, for those who have fought and won but most importantly of all for continuing the research to ensure our children do not have to even think about taking up that fight.

Thank you to all those who have popped in and bought a prize ticket from us, and to anyone else, knock on our door.. every donation is welcome and every ticket gets you a prize..

 

https://preventbreastcancer.org.uk/

Christmas Jumper Day 2018

December 7th, 2018 by

Here at Alexander Hancock we are proudly taking part in the Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper day again.  We will be donning our festive woollies and partaking in various activities in order to raise as much money as we possibly can for this fantastic charity.

 

Each year, during the build up to Christmas, it is very easy to get carried away with the decorations, buying gifts, going out and celebrating with friends and family, and we forget about children, both here and abroad, that won’t be enjoying the holiday season.   By donating as little as £1, you could help 16 children from diarrhoea through simple rehydration salts, by donating £2, you could pay for antibiotics for five children suffering with pneumonia, one of the biggest killers in children.  We can’t stress enough how important every donation is at it really could change someone’s life.  We know that this is a busy and expensive time of year but we would really appreciate anything that you can spare as it would mean so much to someone around the world.

 

On Friday 14th December, like many other people around the country we will be wearing our Christmas Jumpers and making our donation.  If you would like to donate £2 to this brilliant cause you can do so by texting TeamAHR to 70050 or call in to our office where you can donate what you can.

 

We appreciate any donation, no matter how big or small as we know that it will make such a difference to a child’s life.

 

Merry Christmas

 

100 Years of Remembrance

November 6th, 2018 by

I read, with a heavy heart and no little shock, that the Student Union at Cambridge University, supposedly a seat of our brightest and best students, voted to change the way in which they supported Remembrance Sunday. The only day in our calendar when we come together as a Nation to remember those who laid down their lives for the people of this country. Those young men and women died fighting to protect our nation, our people and our society and yet, shockingly, a number of these students decided that this was wrong, that poppies were wrong, that talking about British War Veterans was wrong, that Remembrance Sunday glorified war and that we should campaign against militarism.

My first thoughts were did these enlightened individuals ever study any of Siegfried Sassoon’s or Wilfred Owen’s poems? Nothing glorified there. Did they ever study History in school? Because nothing I was taught glorified war. Did they ever even see the film War Horse? Because even Hollywood did not manage to glorify war. And my second thought was just plain anger.

We all live safely under the cloak of democracy, with the right to question, criticise and protest ONLY BECAUSE of those thousands of young men and women buried under small white crosses. How dare any of us undermine the bravery and the ultimate price paid by our soldiers? How dare we take for granted the rights we have, that had these soldiers not fought for King and Country we would be in a very different world; one where free speech and the right to protest would not exist.

To people like me, whose grandparents lived through two World Wars, the horrific consequences of war, the fear of what the world could have been had we not fought against tyranny and evil are so embedded in our psyche that we are in no doubt as to why we need to remember. It is not to glorify war, it is to ensure that it does not happen again, that tyrants are never again given the opportunity to gas light society and never again should parents have to worry that their children might be conscripted to a front line. Never again should we have to watch thousands of men and women march down the streets waved off by their families. Never again for those families to receive telegrams explaining that their child was Killed in Action, or have to help them recover on their return from those horrors that they encountered. This is something the younger generations have been saved from, and please God they should always be saved from, but it has meant that they are insulated from the reality of war. There is a lack of understanding as to why the World Wars took place; maybe they believe it will never happen again but the one thing my grandfather, who lived to be a 101, taught me, is that it is only by remembering that it can be prevented. Because as sure as eggs are eggs if we take peace for granted, if we forget those who fought for peace, if we learn no lessons from those who died, then it is a very short journey to yet another World War.

Remembrance Sunday is not about governments or politics. It is about the ordinary man who is called upon, at times of great darkness and conflict, to stand up and fight for what is right. No-one sane wants to go to war, but sometimes we have to, to protect what is right and what is just.  It can easily be argued that some wars entered we would have been better staying out of, but that has nothing to do with our Armed Forces. They do what is asked of them, without question, for the genuine good of us all and for that reason alone we have a duty to wear our Poppies, to stand silently around a war memorial with heads bowed in remembrance and gratitude to them.

And for that reason, and that alone, we would and should thank the Armed Forces, past, present and future for their bravery and protection;  we will be wearing our Poppies with pride and eternal gratitude on Sunday 11th November 2018.

Alexander Hancock Supports Macmillan Coffee Morning 2018

September 24th, 2018 by

Alexander Hancock is proud to announce that we will be taking part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday 28th September. It is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer and donations on the day are made to Macmillan.

One in two of us will face cancer, and the money raised at the coffee morning will help them make sure no one has to face it alone and gives people the support need to live their lives as fully as they can.

If you are lucky enough to have an appointment with us this Friday, our team will be putting on our baking hats and aprons and baking up a selection of delicious sweet treats for the office! Fierce rivalry can be expected to ensue..

More information on The MacMillan Coffee Morning can be found can found by visiting the link below..

https://coffee.macmillan.org.uk/

 

 

A Level Results Day 2018

August 16th, 2018 by

Thursday 16th August:  A Level results day is now upon us and although we hope many of you have obtained the grades needed for your chosen University, there will be some of you who may have just fallen short of what you had expected or perhaps you have decided for whatever reason that Higher Education isn’t the path for you at this time. Please do not be despondent as no matter what your results are, you have many options available to you!

 

The most important step is to take a deep breath and take stock of the avenue you wish to go down. If you are still wanting to go to Uni, UCAS Clearing gives prospective students the chance to find places on university courses that still have vacancies, including at a number of top institutions. Please take a look at the below link as a guide:

http://www.themix.org.uk/work-and-study/applying-to-university/university-clearing-1512.html

 

You can also consider retaking exams so please speak to your Head of Sixth Form or class tutors, there is a handy guide to this in the link below:

https://www.studential.com/further-education/A-levels/A-level-retakes

 

There is also the option of taking a break from education and having a gap year which can involve travelling or finding a job. If you do decide to venture into the world of work, this is something we can help with at Alexander Hancock Recruitment.

We deal with office based positions across the board, at all levels, including entry level positions. Please see the link below for some of the entry level vacancies we are recruiting for right now:

https://www.alexanderhancock.co.uk/post_type_vacancies/support-team-member/

https://www.alexanderhancock.co.uk/post_type_vacancies/administration-assistant/

https://www.alexanderhancock.co.uk/post_type_vacancies/claims-handler/

https://www.alexanderhancock.co.uk/post_type_vacancies/trainee-account-manager/

 

Our consultants would be delighted to receive your CV if you could please send it over to CV@alexanderhancock.co.uk

 

Other key sources and information:

https://www.ucas.com/

https://www.ucas.com/contact-us

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/32yNgfNwzLKmZLHs9HZd4xx/post-a-level-or-highers-options

https://www.gapyear.com/articles/travel-tips/a-level-results-disappointing-grades