Carers – support is out there

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Having met with a number of local employers recently, I have been struck by the difficulty in recruiting for Carers positions in Suffolk.  

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Last month I met a woman I’m going to call ‘Anne’. She cares for her husband ‘Ted’ who has a hereditary eye condition – he is also registered blind. Anne has been caring for Ted for many years, but recently has struggled with her own physical and mental health.

Anne felt that her health and wellbeing needs should come second to Ted’s, as he has suffered for so long… and this is a very common syndrome amongst home-carers. But the truth is that when the wellbeing of the carer deteriorates, so too does their ability to care.

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Happily, Anne’s GP was quick to spot this and referred her to a carer’s support group. There were many people from all walks of life in this group; some, like Anne cared for relatives and spouses, other were professional carers, working in this sector and determined not to stop – and were therefore seeking the support they needed at crucial times, when they otherwise may have stopped doing this work altogether.

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Anne worked with her support group for around 12 weeks. She was monitored for both her physical and mental health and offered support and advice in both areas. She told me that the most significant part of being in that support group, was the realisation that she was not alone.

She received one-to-one support and her confidence grew. Anne now volunteers at the support groups and speaks to others in a similar position to herself and also this employed as professional carers.

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She has also spoken at events for the social work students at various universities, to illustrate or them the realities of being a carer.

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As Anne says, this is the hardest job in some respects – but it’s also the best job in the world!

if you’d like information regarding support groups for carers, please go to:


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We all have our ups and downs – even those in dream jobs have off-days. So how can we tell the difference between a ‘bad patch’ and the need for change?

Well, we’ve compiled a nice little list to help you work this out… so if any of these sound familiar  maybe your job isn’t such a good fit for you any more.


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 1. Are you bored with your job?

Doing the same thing at work day in, day out, can effectively kill your passion. There’s nothing wrong with doing a job you’re good at, but if there comes a point where you have to ask a little more of yourself, it’s time to move up the ladder before you burn out.

Burnout affects your mental and physical wellbeing and is a clear indicator that something has got to change!



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2. Have you stopped learning? 

If you can see no opportunities for further growth and development – you possibly need a change. No longer gaining new skills and experience in the workplace, in addition to affecting your own wellbeing and integrity, will leave a hole in your CV!

It could be high time to find a change that challenges you and increases your knowledge base.



Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 02.03.46 3. Have your earnings flatlined?

Do you feel underpaid for the role you’re in? If you’re giving your all to your employer but receive little in return, maybe you have been in the same job too long?! Don’t settle, don’t under-sell yourself!

The longer you go without a decent pay rise, the greater the likelihood that you’re being underpaid.



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4. Do you feel underrated?

Do you feel your work is thankless and that you’re unappreciated? Do you find it difficult to see eye-to-eye with your boss?

If you’re getting frustrated at work and feel that you need a change, tensions can arise which then impact on your job satisfaction and performance.



Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 02.06.06 5. Are you overworked?

A highly competent, more than capable, employee who always delivers results is always going to be in danger of being taken advantage of.

Alternatively, there’s also the possibility of being taken for granted… which can have a huge impact on your self-esteem and thereafter the quality of your work.



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x6. Are your skills being used, exploited and extended? 

If you’ve got skills you’re not using in your current job, it’s a waste. Sometimes we find ourselves falling into a job that is there when we need it, but doesn’t utilise our strengths.

If you have niche skills – those which few other people possess – there may be an organisation out there that is willing to pay handsomely for your services.



Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 02.07.15 7. Are you fulfilled every day, any day?

‘Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life’ – a popular phrase nowadays and one that rings true.

Having a strong sense of purpose is what drives passion in the workplace, and if you can’t stoke the fire, you’ll burn out!



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 8. Do you shout it from the rooftops? 

Do you talk about your job with enthusiasm, with pride?

If you lack confidence your work, or feel embarrassed or disinterested – the time may well be upon you to seek change!



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Do any of these signs sound familiar?

If so, it might be time to make that change… 


You only get one professional life, so it’s up to you to make the most of it!

Top Tips for Job Interview Success – PART 2


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4. Be positive

Your interviewer will be thinking about what it would be like to work with you, so the last thing they’ll want to hear is you talking about your boss or current colleagues behind their back. Interviewers like to see someone who enjoys a challenge and is enthusiastic.

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5. Develop rapport

Show energy, a sense of humour and smile. Jean Smith, a social anthropologist says: “It’s infectious, being positive and enthusiastic.” Ask your interviewer questions about themselves and any issues the business is facing.

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6. Speak clearly and concisely
…there’s nothing worse than waffling on.

Answer questions properly – even if you need a few moments’ silence to collect your thoughts. Anderson advises, “It’s better to say you need a minute to think about your answer rather than speak instantly and regret it afterwards.”

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7. Why should they hire you?
Most job adverts will list qualities they’re looking for – a team worker, a good communicator – so it’s up to you to think of examples of how you can demonstrate these skills. Be ready to talk about your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills. Have at least three strong points about yourself that you can relate to the company and job on offer.

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Top Tips for Job Interview Success.

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So you’ve done it: you’ve secured the interview!

You spent hours labouring over your application, CV and covering letter. You kept everything crossed they’ll like you enough to want to know more. And now, here’s your chance.

Too many people fail to see the opportunity in a job interview; instead they see the test.

This is the big one – your Warhol-style 5 minutes of fame.

Make the right impression, demonstrate with flair and this one could be the game-changer!

To get ahead of the game and win the ultimate prize you need to be seriously on the ball… so here’s the first 3 of 10 top tips, to help you ensure you are in the best possible shape for that interview:

1. Preparation is the key

…to your success on the day.

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  • Checkout the company website – and any social media channels. You may have the opportunity to refer to this on the day, so take note.
  • Have a clear idea of the salary you are expecting – especially if it isn’t advertised. Prepare to justify this with specific reasons if necessary.
  • Discover if there are any local (or national if appropriate) competitors you may need to be aware of. if so ensure you are acquainted with their work/details/website. This often comes in useful when asked what you can bring to the role.
  • Ensure you have read your CV throughly – contradictions in interview do not make a good impression!
  • Also, re-read the job advert / job description just before the interview; be clear about the role you are applying for!

2. You will be judged

…from the very first moment.

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Enter the building smiling, speak confidently and politely to any reception or support staff.

  • Handshakes should be firm and accompanied by a genuine smile – with good eye contact.
  • If you walk with your interviewer to the room, make engaging small talk: don’t moan about weather, traffic, parking etc. instead speak confidently and positively e.g. about the building, the ethos or the company website.

Remember that you need to sell yourself – and experts say that it takes a mere 30seconds for another person to decide whether or not they like you and if you will be a good fit with them or their team.

Use every one of those 30 seconds wisely!

3. Think about your body language

…it’s saying all sorts about you even when you’re not speaking.

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There’s lots of info on the internet about good body language – assertive versus aggressive etc.

If you don’t know much about this it’s definitely worth doing your research.

Body language is highly powerful and can put off or attract potential employers without you even realising what you’re doing.

Top Tips:

  • maintain good eye contact throughout – do not look at the floor!
  • do not fold your arms across your chest – instead lay them in your lap calmly.
  • don’t lean back in your chair, sit upright and to the floor! Sit upright and remain an active participant at all times.
  • when emphasising or illustrating a point, don’t be afraid to use gesture and expression.
  • use your hands, lean forwards when you talk – and engage your interviewers.
  • don’t hang back when walking with anyone else, maintain a pace with them and show them your are equal to it.
  • relax your shoulders but keep you chin up – literally!

You need to prepare and practice your body language – when panic, or nerves, kick in you wont be able to think about it. So practise, practise, practise until it’s perfect!

More tips to follow – check back soon and find out more useful info on preparing for your job interview………

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Writing THAT Covering Letter

covering letter First impressions. So incredibly important.

We all know that. It’s uppermost in the minds of most of us when we are preparing for interview.

But – what if we’ve already missed that FIRST ‘first impression’ opportunity?

Don’t forget, in many cases, the all-important-but-much-maligned ‘Covering Letter’ is actually our FIRST chance to make that first impression.

If you talk to experienced interviewers, seasoned managers and recruiters; they have, in some cases, laughably crazy stories to tell of the weird and wonderful cover letters they have seen over the years. Everything from brief one-liners, or indeed a total absence, to those clearly cut-and-pasted – referring to a completely different job!

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 00.40.59Back in the days of paper and pen there are even more horror stories, of scribbles on torn notepaper and verbose passages written on scented, personalised notelets.

covering letterYou may think that this simply wouldn’t happen now: it’s 2017 – and with all of the supportive info/how-to blogs across the web, there’s no excuse for people to get it so wrong. You’re right of course – there is no excuse. So don’t be one of those who do.

You may not get it wrong as those described earlier did… but there are other ways of going ‘wrong’ too.


Job Interview

Your covering letter is your first communication with a prospective employer. It really is your ‘first impression’. So make it count.

  • Begin by introducing yourself; don’t be afraid to show your personality, your skills and your enthusiasm!

Studies have shown that managers hire people that fit the company culture best.

  • Next, provide two or three solid examples of your skills and experience; be sure not to undersell yourself, but also not to oversell. Be honest!

Phrases like “I’ve never worked in advertising, but …’” show them what you haven’t done. Better to say what you have done and how it applies to this job.

  • HR managers read hundreds of applications every day, they should all mention the business/company being applied to. General phrases that are not company-specific impress no one!

Include specific facts about the company and tie them in with your skills and ambitions.

  • To make your cover letter effective, be as accurate as possible. Vague claims like “I have excellent interpersonal skills” may make the HR manager fall asleep!

Use action verbs, make yourself sound dynamic – “I implemented” “I prioritised” “I streamlined”

  • Ensure the letter is not longer than one page –  make every word count.

Always check your letter for mistakes and ideally get another person to proof-read it for you. Ensure the layout is clean and that the letter reflects you and your ambitions accurately.

Remember – a good covering letter should stand out. It should be informative, yet ideally somewhat intriguing. This is what will lead an interviewer to think ‘I want to see this person’.

Job application

Make your next covering letter your best yet!

Writing your CV

A quick guide to CV writing

Your CV is clearly the most important document to get right when applying for a new job.

It doesn’t matter how long it’s taken you to write it or how pretty it is, the employer will take 5 seconds to form an opinion, so the first impressions really do count!

There are a few simple rules to bear in mind when you are trying produce an accurate, concise and well presented CV.

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  1. Write the CV yourself: it has to represent you and the language you use. You will be expected to talk about your CV in the interview and employers will know if your CV has been written by someone else.

  2. The best way to start your CV will be with your contact details: name, full address, telephone numbers and email address. You do not have to disclose your date of birth or marital status.

  3. Next should come your Key Achievements: take this opportunity to show that you are dynamic, high achieving and a potential asset to a new employer. Always back this up with compelling facts.

  4. Employment History comes next: most recent position first, then work backwards chronologically. Include dates, company name and location, job title and then a description of your duties and responsibilities. Be concise and clear.

  5. After this is your Education History: again, most recent first. Always start with the most relevant qualification for the job. Give the summary of your qualification and the dates and the results you achieved.

  6. Any relevant Training, should come in a separate section: in order of relevance to the job/industry you are applying for.

  7. The Interests and Hobbies section is too often underestimated: here is a wonderful opportunity to list activities that demonstrate skills outside of the work place -some of which may be transferable into the workplace, but all of which show a rounded picture of you!

  8. Finally, References: you do not have to include the referees details at this point but can say ‘available upon request’.


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Career suicide: courtesy of social media!


“Congratulations! You’ve impressed our selection committee in the first two rounds of interviews – and now, we just have a few more questions…”

Don’t we all want to hear this during an interview?

Music to our ears surely! But then what if this comes next…

Social Media where you least expect to find it:

Social Media - Twitter

 “You’re familiar with our corporate policy on substance abuse? Good. In light of that, I wonder if you could explain this entry we found in your personal blog on”

Social Media where you least expect to find it:

Or this…

Social Media - Facebook“With regard to our policy on harassment, we wondered about this picture of you on”

Or (my personal favourite)…


Social Media - instagram

“This picture on         …err, is that a ferret?” 




We’ve all read the stories about people being fired for:

  • inappropriate
  • foolish
  • illegal
  • or just plain dumb

…posts on their social media profile!

and we all know tales of the guy who telephones in to the office, too sick to come in… then posts photos of himself, out on the tiles with his friends, on his Facebook profile.

Or the woman who tweets about how she’s going to get a promotion as a result of an upcoming merger… when the news isn’t public yet!

You didn’t really think your online life was private did you????

Remember, the very same Social Media networks that keep friends & family in touch with your life, are a generous feeding-ground for smart prospective employers too!

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5 tips to avoid Social-Media-based career suicide:


1. Think! Social thinking

No matter how much you believe you’ve taken steps and locked down your privacy, don’t forget that retweets, shares and comments from others won’t necessarily afford you the same protection.

Social managing2. Manage!

Many employers now do background checks routinely. Don’t be fooled into thinking your secrets are safe.

3. Conform! Social conforming

Many businesses now have formal guidelines regarding use of social media during work-time and also what details it is permissible to share.

4. Stop! Social Stop!

Use common sense when venting your spleen! If you post nasty comments about your employer, they WILL find out! Many companies actively monitor social networks.

5. Time-out! Social Time-Out

Don’t allow social media, blogs or networks to take over your life! Some businesses now block employee-access to specific sites. Just because you know how to hack into your company’s network or you can bypass it all with your iPhone, doesn’t mean you should!

  • Will you be in hot water should your boss see it? DON’T POST IT!
  • Don’t want others knowing specific things about you? DON’T POST IT!
  • You don’t know whether the timing or content is ok? DON’T POST IT!
  • You have a complaint; talk to someone appropriate! DON’T POST IT!
  • Posting instead of fulfilling your work responsibilities? DON’T!

Ultimately, it all comes down to this simple test: take a dispassionate look at your profiles, then ask yourself if you would employ this person.


Social Media Success

How Suffolk migrant workers could be impacted by Brexit

Surprise Brexit

The Brexit decision of Britain to leave the European Union was a big surprise to many. This unusual event has not been experienced in Europe since 1985 when Greenland decided to leave the European Economic Community. The impact on businesses, workers, entrepreneurs, industries and the economy in generally is a big unknown.

Certain areas of industry in Suffolk will be feeling the effects of the referendum more than others. Overall it has left both industries and companies with an uncertain future. The migrant workers in Suffolk are likely to be amongst those who feel most negative effects from the result

Brexit may impact migration by reducing the general number of people moving to work in Suffolk. EU workers will be allowed to continue to work in the UK for the two years of Brexit negotiations. Their future is uncertain. The UK’s Prime Minister, has warned that the status of EU migrants is up for negotiation.

Immigration impact

Brexit implementation may introduce restrictions on EU immigration in a way similar to the visa scheme. The effect will mostly be noticed towards the top and the bottom of the job ladder where the migrant workers are concentrated. It is reasonable to expect labour shortages in some sectors of Suffolk economy with a large presence of immigrant workers. In particular, food manufacturing, domestic personnel and the parts of the public sector already exposed to skill shortages in areas like social care, education as well as health.

One can thus expect an increase in prices and wages and probably further shortages in these sectors. This might have a negative impact on the Suffolk economy as there might be a huge increase in the number of immigrant that might be willing to leave Suffolk.

Although many see this as a thing that will take time, one cannot deny the fact that immigrant workers make up a reasonable percent of Suffolk economy and even the UK at large.