How To Quit Your Job

Open Door.jpg

You’ve got a new job (Whoop Whoop), but now you really do need to quit your current job. Maybe you are excited, maybe you are still tentative, either way you need to make sure that you leave well. Even if you want to run out the building and never look back, it is always good to leave well and in the process leave the door open.

Below are five of the top tips to leaving your job well.

  1. Don’t Let HR Be The One’s To Tell Your Manager

    Follow HR protocol when it comes to resigning, but show your manager the courtesy of telling her or him yourself. You might not have had much face time with them, but they will remember the courtesy you extended.

  2. Stay Focused Until The End

    The prospect of a new job is likely to have your mind wondering, but keep your mind in the game. It might be difficult to maintain face, especially if you are prepping for your new job, but finishing strong will solidify your reputation.

  3. Train Up and Clean Out

    Do they already have a replacement for you? If so, do they need training? Offer to train your replacement, or at the least provide them with all the instructions they need. The team you are leaving will thank you for it. Likewise, clean out your inbox. Don’t just delete them all, make sure you consider what information might need to be passed on. Those random account login details for that rogue website service you used might be useful again one day.

  4. Constructive Feedback

    Depending on the size and structure of the company, and if you haven’t had one already, it’s likely you will have an exit interview. Use this time to be honest, open and constructive if you have any criticisms. It’s not an opportunity to slate the company, but one to show them that you know and care about the company.

  5. Thank Everyone and Keep In Touch

    Thank everyone you have worked with, and keep tabs on Linkedin. It’s a small world especially if you are staying within an industry.

Being A Bike Courier in London

Pedals Logo.png

Shaf Hussain, who is 24 years old, has been a courier with Deliveroo, Uber, City Sprint and Rush. Now, for the last year, he has worked for Pedals Delivery and for himself as a freelance Bug Bounty Hunter. I spoke to him to see what being a bike courier at Pedals is all about.

 

JF - So Shaf what is your normal day like?

SH - For me it depends on what bug jobs I have, but I usually start around 8am or 9am. I might have some reoccurring jobs with Pedals, or I might have picked up some jobs from the Pedals website the day before. I probably do these in the morning and afternoon and then I might go to work on some bug bounty projects.

 

JF - What happens if the weather is terrible?

SH – You still cycle. I’ve cycled far in the rain sometimes, because it is raining so people might want more deliveries. You might get soaked, but I’ve got a good jacket.

 

JF – How far is far?

SH – I’ve cycled to Croydon before, I’ve cycled to Bermondsey, I’ve actually done those a few times for the same people.

 

JF – How do you know what route to take? Surely there are a million routes you can take? Especially is you have multiple deliveries?

SH – Pedals are really good, they give you the exact route you should probably take. I’ve cycled long enough to know how to get to most placed, but it can be hard to find the exact house/building/flat. Pedals are really good at directing you to the exact door, some courier companies can be pretty bad at that. You would spend ages wondering around looking for a company.

Shaf-1110105 Combo 1.jpg

 

JF – So you like working for Pedals?

SH – I’ve worked for people like Deliveroo, Uber and Rush, and Pedals is definitely the best. They really care about their cyclists. They also allow us to take a few breaks, you can easily call them if you have a problem, and they just care about us.  

 

JF – You didn’t take breaks at other companies?

SH – You did, but they were pretty short breaks. Working as a courier in central London is busy, and all couriers have an expected time frame, but some are pretty crazy, I knew one guy who worked for a big courier company and he got fired because it was a little slower than everyone else. He had just started so he wasn’t as fit as everyone else, but they got rid of him. It’s tough because most people have other gigs as well as being a courier so a break can be good to check in on them. And you are also cycling far and pretty fast so a break is nice.

 

JF – Have you learnt a lot by being a courier?

SH - You learn a lot about yourself. When I first started I thought I was fit, but I realised I was actually really unfit and really slow. Now it takes me 30 minutes to get from Farringdon to Fulham, but before it took me an hour, hour and a half. You also learn all the roads and lights in London. I know which route is the quickest and easiest, and which lights are the longest.

 

JF – Have you met any interesting companies?

SH - I’ve met loads of companies who I never knew about. It’s good because It is helping me understand companies and who is who. It’s useful if you want to setup a business! It’s good research.

 

JF – Would you have any advice for people who were thinking about being couriers?

SH – Enjoy it and have fun. Maybe also start with companies like Deliveroo or Uber, they may not pay as well or be a community like Pedals is, but you need to build up your road knowledge and fitness. It’s difficult, you do need to be really fit, especially if you go somewhere like the hills in Balham – one minute you are at the top, the next you have to cycle up a massive hill again. You also have to be alert! People, especially people with pets, don’t look or think about you when crossing the road.

Shaf-1110093 Combo 2.jpg

 

JF – I don’t cycle too much, but cycling in London is really hard, drivers and people don’t always look for you, and if they do I think they assume you are just a bike so they can squeeze past you - do you struggle with this? Does it put you off being a bike courier?

SH – You just have to watch out for everything and everyone. Cars always scrape up against you, and then they get annoyed if you somehow scratch their car. I try and watch out but sometimes it happens. It doesn’t bother me really because I like to be out and about, I’m not good at sitting at a desk, I am setting up my own business though, so I will stop one day. For now though Pedals makes it really easy and it fits with my other jobs. There are some people who make it their career. There is this one guy who has been a bike courier for 20 years. I’m not sure I could do that, but he loves it and it works for him.

 

JF – And, final question, what is the craziest and/or weirdest thing you have delivered?

SH – It’s not as crazy as some, but Pub Quizzes. I always thought pubs made their own quizzes until I had to deliver a punch of quizzes to different pubs. It think though the craziest things one of the couriers at Pedals has done is cycled with a sofa on the front of her bike.

 

JF – A sofa?! Not sure I could do that somehow. Thank you Shaf! Happy cycling.

 

This interview has been paraphrased in order for it to be shortened.

We Need More Grit

We Need More Grit

We all have that friend who despite what looks like setback after setback still seems to be performing/enjoying life/doing well. And we all have that friend who despite lazing about at school, now either owns their own successful company or has risen the ranks of the corporate ladder with ease - why is that?

Angela Lee Duckworth left a high-flying corporate job to teach maths to kids. She quickly realised that her strongest performing kids weren’t necessarily the ones with the highest IQ’s, rather they were the ones who just kept going - they had grit. Angela left teaching to become a psychologist, and since then has continued her research into what grit is, and why it is important. She is yet to fully understand why it makes such a difference, but it is clear that it plays a large part in success no matter where you find yourself.

So we ask you on this lovely Thursday morning - what do you think grit is?

Top Tips to Help You Master That Interview

Interviews are one of those obstacles in life you would rather not do, however they are a necessary evil, so we have collated some of the top tips from the likes of Harvard Business Review and Forbes to help you master them:

Pre-Interview

  1. Research The Company and Think About Questions
    An interviewer won’t expect you to know everything, but they do assume you know what the company actually does. It’s one thing to know that Babylon Health is a Health focused company, another to know it connects patients and GP’s via an app.

  2. Record Yourself
    Practice talking about yourself, and record yourself so you can listen back. This usually makes anyone’s skin crawl, but listening to your tone, volume, breathing and what you actually say can tell you a lot. You might think you sound convincing but shallow breathing due to nerves might be making you sound quiet and slightly distorted. You might also realise you frame everything in a negative way e.g. ”If you don’t do xyz it can really affect profit.”, instead try flipping this and saying “I did xyz to maintain and/or increase profit.”

  3. Talk To Yourself In The Mirror
    Looking at yourself as you speak might be equally as disturbing as recording yourself, but watch how you convey your message when you are speaking. It might be that when you are nervous you use your hands to express absolutely everything you say. Expression is good but too much movement might distract interviewers from what you are saying. This is also a good time to practice those question’s you are dreading. Practice answering these and practice what body language you use.

  4. Practice Being Superman
    Now if you watch, or have watched, Grey’s Anatomy you will know that in one episode (in Season 11 no less) Amelia Shepherd holds a Superman pose prior to a big surgery. She stands with her chest up and out, her chin up, her hands on her hips and her feet hip distance apart. We are happy to confirm that this actually does have benefits, and those who practice high-power posing, as it is known, are more likely to secure a job. If you don’t believe us check out the study by Harvard.

  5. Bring A Folder With Your CV, A Pen And Paper
    There is a two-fold advantage to this. The respective company already have your CV but that doesn’t mean the interviewer hasn’t misplaced, lost or forgotten to print off your CV. It happens, so if you happen to have a few copies of your CV on hand it not only might help them, but it also shows any interviewers that you are prepared. It also means you can take a last minute glance at your CV prior to the interview if you need a refresh on what specifics they might ask.

The Interview

  1. Treat Everyone On The Way In With Respect
    We hope that you are already pleasant to everyone, but some people can get snappy when they are nervous so it’s worthwhile mentioning that you should treat everyone in the office with respect. People often forget that an office is a community, you might not care about what the random person by the photocopier on the way in has to say, but she or he might hold a lot of sway in the office for one reason or another, so show respect and kindness to everyone. This always pays forward in one way or another.

  2. Crack Out Your Super Man
    If you have been practicing your power posing it’s time to practice again. Find a moment in a quiet space (e.g. the bathroom), where you can hold your pose. If you have practiced it, it will build your confidence and ground you.

  3. Firm Handshake, You Aren’t A Noodle
    I don’t know anyone who likes a weak handshake. It will make people remember you for the wrong reason, so when you go to introduce yourself give a firm shake, not bone-crushing firm, but firm enough for them to know that you are there and you believe in yourself.

  4. Remember Names
    You likely have quite a few thoughts running through your brain at this point, such as “My hand isn’t a noodle.” but if you can, take a moment to repeat any interviewers names a few times in your head. Remembering their names means you can use their names either after the interview (see Post-Interview) or throughout the interview if it is appropriate to do so. And by appropriate we don’t mean talking to Karen the interviewer like she is your mum’s next door neighbour who comes over for a chin-wag.

  5. Eye Contact
    Most individuals make some form of eye contact, but if you are nervous you might find you slip into a habit of not making eye-contact with your interviewer(s). Make sure you look up and at them every so often when you are speaking, especially if there are multiple interviewers and you are directing your response to one particular interviewer who asked the question. You might feel like your eyes give you away but it’s better to show nerves than to come across as someone who uses avoidance to tackle their nerves.

  6. Smile
    Old but gold - smile at your interviewer. A smile really does make an impression, and it needn’t be a massive over the top, in your face smile, it can just be a small smile which just shows that you are somewhat happy to be where you are.

  7. Embrace The Nerves
    Your palms are sweating, your chest is tight and your stomach is turning - you must be nervous right? Have you ever noticed that you get the same symptoms when you are excited? We usually assume that such symptoms mean we are nervous and as such we can start a spiral of negative self-talk e.g. “I will be doomed because all I can think of is my stomach flipping.”. Instead of letting your body take the reins think of such symptoms as your body pre-empting, not necessarily for anything dangerous, but pre-empting the need for a little more cognitive power and the need to be more alert, that is it. And even if during the interview your hands are shaky and your palms sweaty don’t condemn yourself, let yourself be nervous, steady your breathing, and think about your superman pose.

  8. Be A STAR
    When you are talking about yourself and giving examples and stories of how you solved certain problems, think about the following structure that Kenneth Johnson provides:
    Situation - What was the situation that needed attention?
    Task - What task did the situation create?
    Action - How did you act on said task?
    Result - What was the outcome of your action?
    It’s good to be relaxed and talk naturally, but by keeping STAR in mind it will help you give some structure to your answers.

  9. Ask questions, it’s your interview too
    If you either thought of questions during your pre-interview research, or if one or two cropped up during the interview, now is the time to ask them. It’s your interview too, so look at it as a chance to find out if you really do like the company. It’s worthwhile noting here that the reason for asking matters. If you are asking how many holiday days you get or what their policy is for leaving early, unless you have a legitimate reason such as “I need to pick up my daughter from school” or similar, it could imply to the company that you won’t care about the role.

  10. End On A High
    As you say your goodbyes be sure to thank them and if you enjoyed the interview say so. It’s always nice to hear “Thank you for your time, I really enjoyed meeting you all.”

Post-Interview

  1. Send A Thank You
    That late afternoon or evening, depending on when your interview was, be sure to send a thank you email to your point of contact at the company, even if it wasn’t them who interviewed you. A simple thank you mentioning how nice it was to meet xyz (do you remember their names?!), can go a long way to creating lasting impression of you.

  2. Follow-Up
    If a few days have passed and the company haven’t got back to you and they said they would, it‘s worthwhile sending an email following-up. Avoid asking them “When will I hear?” but rather say how you are looking forward to hearing any response they may have.


Job Hunting Skills That Give You An Edge

Work Work Work.png

Applying for jobs is a tedious, mostly fruitless task at the best of times, and knowing how to get your application to stand out can feel bewildering, luckily, however, there are now a variety of tips and tricks that candidates can search for and use to make their job hunt more effective.

From tailoring your CV to using Linkedin groups to reach out to people of interest, here are six tips which will help give your job hunt an edge.

Tailor your CV
You might be applying to a variety of roles, or you might be applying to almost identical roles, either way that nifty job description that you are provided with will tell you what skills a company are looking for, and what skills you should subsequently highlight throughout your CV.
Some desired skills will be easy to showcase e.g. “We are looking for someone who has demonstrable skills in Windows, particularly 2019 and 2016.”, knock these ones off first by including them in your Skills/IT Skills section and in your job descriptions where you can. Other desired skills however, might be harder to spot. Some companies can be fairly ambiguous when describing a job role, so this is usually where they want to hear what you think the role is. If you are unsure do a bit of research around the role and highlight any of your skills that you think are relevant. It is worth noting here that if you are unsure, try to avoid the temptation to write every single skill you have on your CV. It’s good that you did your bronze DofE, and if it is relevant it is relevant, but if not, it’s not a distinguishing factor, save space for more unique skills that will help you to stand out.

Find yourself a recruiter
Many jobs, especially the more senior and/or unique jobs, usually aren’t posted online, instead a company will reach out to a recruiter/headhunter to fill the spot.
Recruiters can have a broad focus or a narrow focus. If you are looking for a general job a broader recruiter could be useful, however, if you are looking for a more specific job it is worth investigating some of the more niche recruiters. You can find these by scanning through recruiter directories, Linkedin or even by asking people in your own network to start with.
It is worth noting that companies pay the recruiters and or headhunters for their time as such they will put the companies interests first.

Use Linkedin Groups
Do you know who you want to work for? Do you also know what interest’s they have on Linkedin? Usually you can’t Linkedin Message just anyone on Linkedin, however, a small loophole does exist in some cases. If you know what Linkedin groups the person you are trying to contact belongs in, join the group, if you are accepted into the group you can now Linkedin Message any other members. Go forth and slide into Richard Bransons Linkedin messages.

Get Yourself Out There
Maybe you have tried your network and nobody has any job or company ideas to offer you, and your online search is proving fruitless, or maybe you just want to add some extra oomph to your search, either way getting yourself out there and networking can be incredibly useful. Maybe you won’t find the job of your dreams straight away but you might find your next client who you can bring to your new job, you never know!
See below for some useful links.

Follow Up
If you haven’t heard back from a job application that doesn’t mean it’s a no. Sometimes a company has hundreds or even thousands of applications to go through so don’t be disheartened, instead reach out to them. It might seem bold, but just sending a polite email following up with your application can draw attention to your application and potentially impress the company.

Look After Yourself
Job hunting is hard, especially if you are unsure of where you want to go and what you want to do, so look after yourself. Stay on top of the job hunt, but remember you are human, if you want to give up let yourself take a break. It is possible that by applying to too many jobs you burn yourself out and you don’t even remember which job was what, so make sure you have a balance.

A Few Useful Links
CV templates

Recruiters

Networking

To CV Photo or To Not CV Photo

I am frequently asked whether or not a person should include a photo on their CV, it seems like a simple question but in reality it provides a lot of anxiety for some people. We always stand by the opinion that you should simply ask yourself: “What do I think?” because after all it is your CV, however, we know that life isn’t that simple and even the most confident of people still question themselves a little, so we did a bit of research for you.

It is Illegal To Discriminate But We Do Live In A Multi-Media Age

In the UK it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of their age, gender, marital status, whether they are pregnant or on maternity leave, disabled, their race, their religion, their sex, or their sexual orientation, as a result of this, many companies, for legal justification, prefer that you don’t include a photo on your CV. In some cases, usually financed based companies, a CV photo is a firm no. This is understandable, but in reality it is likely they will see a photo of you elsewhere.
In today’s multi-media age it can be important for companies to know what your social media accounts look like, especially if they are public, as such it is pretty likely that prior to hiring you, a company would have searched for you across various platforms as a means of assurance. Unless you are a private person and/or don’t use Social Media it is likely then that a photo of you will appear on a companies radar.

In Some Countries A CV Photo Is The Norm

According to MoveHub.com’s 2017 Global Moving Trend Report 60% of 18-35 year olds enquired about moving abroad, citing reasons such as better salaries and new cultures as the reason. With this is mind it’s worth mentioning that in some countries CV photo’s are expected. It seems to be both Mid to Eastern Asia and Eastern Europe where a CV photo is quite normal, especially for customer-facing service jobs. So if you are considering a move it might be worth investigating.

Who Are You Applying To

Not only do companies have different CV requirements, but you might also want to consider the following study: Two economists from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, found the following response results after sending out 5,312 CV’s in pairs to 2,656 jobs, including no CV photos and CV photos of what they deemed attractive & plain people:

Men

Women

Attractive females received fewer job responses than attractive males, why is this? The team did a subsequent follow-up study and found that 96% of people receiving the CV’s were female, the average age was 29 years old, and 67% of them were single. To the team at Ben-Gurion this suggested that women were being biased towards other women.
It’s worth baring in mind that this is one study, and based in Israel, but for some, perhaps if you are in a notoriously competitive industry, this bias might be something to consider.

Our Thoughts

Be smart. Unconscious bias will always be a factor, even the most aware fall prey to it unknowingly, but laws and specific company requirements do change, so know who you are applying to, where they are and what message you specifically want to send across. And if you need a headshot, you know who to call.

Good luck!

Sources:

https://www.uibk.ac.at/econometrics/lit/cv_goodlooking.pdf

https://www.movehub.com/blog/no-nation-generation/

Young and Free(lance)

freelance.png

I’ve been a freelancer since my university days ended, and although it is pretty empowering there are a few tips I wish I had known before joining the freelance genus:

  1. Get smart about where you work. Working in your room undoubtedly leads to cabin fever, but likewise working in the living room can come with flatmates, and working in a cafe comes with a coffee, tea, and that piece of cake bill. Either work out a routine where you alternate, or if you can stretch to it, look into a flexible co-working office where you can hot-desk.

  2. Dress to impress. Not only will it be a useful routine that will help your brain switch gears, but you do never know when a client might appear, even if you are working at home.

  3. Always aim to get a contract. In the beginning, especially if you don’t have much experience, it can be hard to negotiate this, but always try to. You may tell yourself that you are showing a client good grace by getting to the job straight away and sidelining things such as signing a contract, but it is likely someone will eventually walk away without paying you.

  4. Fear of numbers? Get an accountant. If the costs start flowing it’s likely you will do everything to save money where you can, this area shouldn’t be one of them. Accountants can be expensive, but not as expensive as a penalty charge when you fill in your tax return incorrectly.

  5. Be okay with making mistakes. You have to be on top of everything, and usually you are the one motivating yourself, so you will make mistakes, some of which will feel pretty obvious in hindsight. Learn from it, but try not to beat yourself up too much. The freelance game can be a draining one so as long as you are keeping yourself on your toes, give yourself room for errors.