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So, you’ve crafted a great looking CV and developed a strategy when applying for jobs and getting invited for an interview. However, the interview stage is the most critical step in the process. The interview is what determines if you secure your dream job. Now is the time to put your best — and most professional — show forward, wearing the attire that will make you memorable for all the right reasons.

I recently did a poll on Linked In to ask how candidates prepare for interviews and had a varied response but one aspect we never talk about is dress code. Here’s a couple of my airtight tips to pick the right outfit for your next interview!

Neutral Colours, Minimal Makeup, and Simple Jewellery Are Your FRIENDS

What do you want your interviewer to remember about the short meeting? Your clothing choices or your expertise? Your eloquent answers or your elaborate eye makeup?

Your clothes should be appropriate. Although there’s space for some stylistic expression, it should be limited to one item. Maybe a pair of emerald stud earrings or a scarf, but anything too eye-catching will also be distracting.

Prioritize Grooming

A clean shave (or a beard shapeup), good haircut, and short nails are professional, they’re also appreciated during an interview. Why not whack out that nice perfume you like wearing when you go out-out?

Wear What’s Comfortable

Your bomb outfit is coming together, you’ve bought some new bits and feel super confident! You might be thinking about those impractical shoes that give you the biggest blisters, but you forgot that they do? Although they make look glam, comfort should trump fashion. A comfortable, but smart shoe should do the trick. You don’t want to be remembered for your spectacular fall in a hallway of an office… Avoid trainers at all costs!

Take Cues From the Company and Industry

Before you arrive at your interview in a three-piece suit or jeans, research the company’s dress code. Look at the profile pictures of existing employers, management, and executives to get an idea of what would be appropriate for the interview; after all, these could be your future colleagues, and you want to showcase that you would be a good team member.

Stick to the Basics

When in doubt, stick to the basics. A white collared shirt, tailored trousers, and loafers should work for both men and women. You can add a blazer or cardigan to the look for warmth and style. Grey, white, black, navy, blue, and brown are appropriate colours.


If you’re unsure what to wear to the interview, the best thing to do is ask, either query the dress code, read any correspondence between yourself and the interviewer or ask the recruiter.


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Let’s talk about first impressions!
They are super important in a variety of situations. It could be a first date, meeting your partners parents for the first time, the first day of your new job…
But you wouldn’t have a first day at a new job without having made a good impression on your employer with your perfectly written CV! Let’s start from the beginning…

We are all in agreement that your CV really is your chance to make the initial first impression when applying for a role, and we know we need to make it a good one! The challenge exists in knowing how to do that! Enter…the seven-second rule!
The seven-second rule is the test your CV needs to pass, to ensure that you get shortlisted to the first round of interviews. Sounds easy enough, right? So, what is the seven-second rule I hear you ask…

Recruiters typically spend their days sourcing and reviewing CVs, in the hope of finding the ideal candidate to put forward for their superstar clients and believe me when I say – we look through a lot of CV’s! On average, we only have the time to spend between five and seven seconds looking through each CV. Therefore, within those seven seconds, it is so important to ensure your CV stands out and grabs the recruiters attention, making us want to pick up the phone to have a more in depth conversation with you.

If your CV doesn’t stand out enough, or capture a recruiters attention within those seven-seconds, you will likely miss out on what could be an amazing opportunity. Nobody wants to miss out! So I’m going to share with you some top tips on how to pass the seven-second test and implement these pointers to your own CV.

·       Keep your CV short and to the point

Your CV should only be two pages long, and that’s if you have a decades-long career. In most instances, a one-page document will be best!
It also works in your favour, as each page takes up precious time within that seven-second window.

·       Only include the most impressive skills and descriptions

Within each section, only mention your most applicable skills and impressive roles, as this should prevent your CV from becoming redundant.

·       Use an easy to navigate layout

Your profile, career summary, and education should be the most important segments. Make it easy to scan by using skills and proficiencies often included in job descriptions as these are often the words and phrases recruiters are searching to find in your CV.

·       Use examples!

Rather than using buzzwords to describe your accomplishments at a job, use real-world, verifiable examples. Rather than saying you helped “scale the company to reach its short-term objectives”,
say you “recruited and trained a dozen salespeople, helping the company achieve £10 million in sales in five years”.

My final tip would be to get a trusted and honest friend or family member to review your CV before sending it!

So there you have it! Hopefully this very simple yet effective rule will benefit you and help you to secure your dream role in the future!

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Like most things in life, CV styles change, the style in which they are written, or way in which they are presented go in and out of fashion…. A bit like shell suits, crocs and fluffy brows. In the time that I’ve worked in recruitment I have seen a big shift in the way CV’s are being written.

Your CV is usually your first introduction to your prospective new employer and we all know first impressions really do count. So it’s really important that you not only make a great first impression with your CV, it also needs to be one authentic to you and your personality.

Here are some of the ways CV’s have changed…

How CVs Have Changed

There are five critical changes that separate a modern CV from an outdated one, ensure you’ve made the necessary changes to meet the latest standards.

Contact Details

Then: a title with Curriculum Vitae, followed by full names, including middle names and honorifics, along with a full home address and business, home, and cell number.

Now: there’s no need to include the CV title because this section is much cleaner. Many of the previous segments have become redundant in line with anti-discrimination laws. Now, you only need to include the first name you are known by and surname, your city and postcode, and your contact number.

Professional Profile and Objective

Then: A professional profile, beneath your contact details often described your skill set and expertise in a paragraph littered with buzzwords.

An objective beneath that described the kind of job you wanted.

Now: Your profile is a purposeful and brief summary of your career, highlighting your proficiencies. You should also edit it for every job you apply to so that recruiters can search their systems for keywords and find your CV.

The objective is no longer applicable.

Career Summary or Work History

Then: A career summary was a detailed list of every job you held and the duties of the job.

Now: The summary is limited to the job/s you held in the last ten years, with a brief description of what the job entailed.

If necessary, jobs beyond ten years can include the start and end date and the role held during those years.


Then: Listed before the career summary, the education section included the year you received your O/A Levels, the subjects and the grades.

After the O/A level grades would be other qualifications.

Now: Qualifications are listed in reverse, with the most recent and relevant qualification at the top and secondary or sixth form qualifications excluded from this list.

Hobbies and Interests

Then: A list of hobbies and interests was common practice, often listed toward the end of the CV.

Now: CV’s now highlight achievements, which could come from Hobbies or from any extra circular or charity work you have done

Fonts have also simplified, with Sans Serif fonts more commonly used.

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There is one simple thing everyone needs to get right when creating a Linked in Profile – create a stand out summary, known as the “About” section!  This is the first key step to expanding your professional network. This is your digital introduction and a first impression (like a handshake or first words spoken when in person) it NEEDS to grab the attention of anyone your trying to attract, be it potential employers or other movers and shakers, and it will only do so IF it is unique and compelling!

So, what does a good “about” section include?  Follow these 5 key principles and you will be on the right track!!

1.        Focus on your Audience

Who do you want to find, read and value in your LinkedIn profile? Answer this before you start writing this section.

If you’re searching for a promotion, industry pivot, new business or a new venture, consider who could assist and craft a summary that makes them “want” you!

2.        Embrace Authenticity, Honesty and Brevity

This is not the time to tell white lies or exert your dominance or superiority. The latter is off-putting, and the former destroys any rapport-building opportunities you had. A better choice is to write about your experience, what you bring to the team, business or industry and why you’re “passionate” about what you do!

Be brief. No need to elaborate on every claim you make

If you become long-winded, remove what doesn’t compel you to continue reading.

3.        Be Personable

To ensure your LinkedIn profile doesn’t appear auto-generated, which has become a thing, add your persona to the copy. This isn’t the same as a CV summary, so there’s room to be humorous and light-hearted without losing your professional essence and etiquette.

When adding your personality to your writing, the trick is to show and not tell.

Rather than adding descriptors like “friendly” or “funny,” add brief anecdotes.

4.        Explain the Work You Do

Those in your field should have a general understanding of what you do, but explaining this allows you to target keywords that will help your profile appear in search results. Another benefit to explaining what you do is providing clarity. As job titles change, a concise account of what you do can answer any ambiguity surrounding a job title…

5.   Develop Your Closing Line

The final sentence in your profile summary should be the most compelling, a line that will drive action and increase engagement.

Talk about what motivates you, the mottos that inspire your work ethic, or summarize your vision.

And it goes without saying, but before you publish it, spell check and correct grammar – it’s amazing what you see!!!

So, there we have it.. my 5 key principles to follow when writing your summary – it’s not hard!
Get onto this today, whether your new to linked in or whether you’re a business owner who wrote there’s 5 years ago when first joining… a lot has changed in recent years and no doubt so have you!  Keep it fresh!

Posted by & filed under Blog, Industry News, Motivating.

Between February and March this year, the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, the lowest it has been in 50 years. Job vacancies have remained well over the million mark, reaching 1.3 million in the first quarter of this year. While these figures were exciting news for the country’s economic rebound in a post-pandemic world, employers were seeing the figures as an obstacle. The rising vacancy rate meant that companies were enduring greater competition to secure top-tier talent, as job-seekers have far more opportunities.

But with recent developments across this summer in the socio/political and financial situations in the UK is there still a “War for Talent”?

Earlier this year the issue wasn’t only evident among specialised, senior, C-suite vacancies — it extended to entry-level jobs as well. Companies and their internal talent teams needed to headhunt to fill vacancies, a process that can often become a time consuming battle. Recruitment agency and search consultancy were inundated with requirements… but is this still the case?

In short, yes…

In our sector however, businesses in real estate, construction, and “proptech” could appreciate the industry’s 3.2% vacancy rate back in May 22, 80 base points less than the country’s average 4% vacancy rate.

Although the industry’s figures provided a glimmer of hope that the “war” won’t be as cutthroat, there was another obstacle in the way, compensation rises!

In the real estate industry, when the search for talent commences, expertise and experience are still being prioritised, as perhaps they should. However, with a diminishing pool of talent, traditional employers only have a handful of perks to attract their ideal candidate or future leader – so compensation and is still taking centre stage.

Across all industries, compensation increased by 4.2% between February and March this year. Despite the rise, this figure isn’t enough to outpace the skyrocketing cost of living, meaning, in real terms, pay dropped by 1.2% in the first quarter and with figures yet to be released this drop could be significantly more in the last two quarters…..

These concerns aside, it’s not all doom and gloom as we reach the end of September. Companies in the built environment can still hire the right candidate without lowering expectations and forking over tenfold what you were anticipating.
Instead, in this war for talent, you can attract your ideal candidate by highlighting some of the other benefits of working for your company – but what are they and have you reviewed this since the pandemic ended?

A lot of firms in our sector haven’t grasped the opportunity that the pandemic presented. A lot haven’t modernised, moved with the times and thought about how they could attract and retain talent over and above compensation and an interesting job role. People in our sector are wanting more in this post pandemic world and if they don’t get it, lots are exiting our fantastic industry and going elsewhere!! But there is still time to act now and those that do, will be able to attract and engage key talent and the future leaders of the industry.

Some benefits or other reasons why top talent will engage with your firm include:
– time off
– the work environment
– hybrid working
– increased flexibility
– working hours
plus a range of other company benefits and much more.

Do you want you, your business and your vacancies to stand out from the crowd? If so, as we teeter on the edge of a potential recession, our team can help you discover some of the benefits of working for your company, making your vacancy a magnet for the best talent.

Sidestep the “war for talent” and fight your way out of whatever downturn we go through by making your opportunities and company something that people just can’t ignore.

James Hanson
29th September 2022

Posted by & filed under Advice, Blog.

For many of us, the easing of lockdown brings long overdue opportunities to see friends and family, play sports, get back to work and resume activities we’ve had to put on hold.  And even though we may, for the best part, be happy about things returning to a bit of normality, there may be other things making us feel anxious.

For many others, the prospect of coming out of lockdown when there is still so much debate about whether it’s a good idea, is affecting people’s mental health.

Every persons’ situation is unique to them, but it can be very stressful and draining managing all the uncertainty.

Fear and anxiety are very common responses when faced with change and uncertainty. Don’t beat yourself up for the way you’re feeling.  Instead, acknowledge how you feel, know you’re not alone and as is the case with everything, this too will pass.  It always does.


Tips on coping with fear and anxiety

In the meantime, you may find these suggestions helpful to ease your anxiety as things continue to return to normal.


Focus on what you can control – worrying about things you can’t control causes more stress.  Start by writing down all the things you can control and all the things you can’t. This will start to bring some awareness to whether your thoughts and emotions are based on things within your control or outside your control.   For example, you can’t control what debates are happening in the media, but you can control how much time you spend watching the news and choose to keep it to a minimum if it’s making you feel anxious.

Then whenever you notice your mind going into overdrive, ask yourself “is this within my control or outside my control?” If it’s not within your control, what can you choose to do that is within your control instead?  For example, if you’re out of work, you can’t control when you’ll find a job, but you can control your ability to give yourself the best chance i.e. updating your CV, applying for jobs and following up on any applications.


Ask for help – know you’re not the only person feeling like this.  You may feel like a weight has lifted if you speak to someone or get some support.  Also, many workplaces are allowing flexible working even if people are returning to their usual place of work.  Speak to your manager if your work is being affected by fear or anxiety as they may be able to provide additional support.


Breathe – sometimes it can all feel overwhelming with so much change frequently happening,  a good way to bring your attention back to the present is to focus on your breathing. Taking nice steady breaths in through your nose for a count of six seconds and out through your mouth for six seconds.  Continue for a few minutes or until you’re feeling more relaxed.


Gratitude – writing down 5-10 things that you’re grateful for every day is a nice way to focus your attention on something positive rather than dwelling on all the negativities.  Studies have found that it lowers stress and can improve your sleep too. Notice whether you personally did anything well that day too and jot it down as a way of congratulating yourself.


Self-care whether self-care for you is exercise, reading a book, going out for dinner, or catching up with a friend, getting clear on what’s important to you and making time for it can really help to ease any stress and anxiety you may be experiencing.

What makes you feel good about yourself?   When are those times when you’re feeling most energised and what can you do less of to give you the time to do more of what makes you feel good?

Make it a priority and schedule it into your diary will mean you’re more likely to do it.


Hopefully, that’s given you some food for thought during these uncertain times that we’re living in, but remember that as with everything, it always passes, and this too will pass.  It always does.