Launch of new resources to support the development of digital career literacy

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At the International Centre for Guidance Studies at the University of Derby we are about to launch a new resource for teachers and career development practitioners. The resource will help them to enhance learners’ digital career literacy skills. The resources include lesson plans, worksheets and presentation slides based around the 7Cs of digital career literacy.  Together these resources form a comprehensive programme for KS3, 4 and 5 students.

It builds on some work that I’ve been doing on digital career literacy which was first published in an article in the NICEC journal and then in a handbook that we did for HE teachers and careers professionals. The current project is much more in depth and will provide some really key resources designed to run a state of the art careers programme in schools.

The launch of the resources will be on June 23 and will include a training session on how to use the resources. The programme includes presentations by me and by David Andrews as well as the authors of the new resources.  All attendees will receive a copy of the pack and access to online, interactive activities.

The cost of the training and resources will be £175 and this includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

If you would like to register for a place please click here

For more information about the resources please contact Nicki Moore at


The role of brokerage within career guidance

Last year I was involved in producing a number of literature reviews for the Skills Funding Agency. These are now being released and so I’ll be blogging about them.

First up we wrote a paper which looked at the role of brokerage within career guidance.

The review found that there were considerable benefits to the brokering of relationships between education and employment. For schools, colleges and pupils these included improved motivation and attainment; contextualisation of learning; reduction in NEET; greater understanding of industries and educational pathways; clarification of career aspirations; and improved transitions into further and higher education, training or the workplace.  For employers this included the development of company personnel; the building of a positive reputation for organisations and the contribution to business recruitment strategies.

We also identified a range of features that needed to be in place for brokerage to be effective.  These include:

  • Identifying the right personnel to be involved in brokerage work.
  • Creating the right mode of operation between schools and businesses.
  • Identifying the appropriate driver for partnership.
  • Clarity about what is required and what the commitments will be.

We argue that at the heart of effective brokerage is building a good understanding of both the educational organisation and the employer. We conceptualised the relationship between careers organisations and educational providers as follows.


We then conceptualised the relationship between careers organisations and employers as follows.


For further information see the paper.

Hallam, R., Morris, M., Hooley, T., Neary, S., and Mackay, S. (2015). The Role of Brokerage within Career Guidance: A Review of the Literature.  London and Derby: SQW and International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby.

10 steps to develop your online career brand


In our new book You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online: The Complete Guide we talk about the importance of creating an online presence which will be appealing to potential employers. People need to know who you are and what you stand for. In essence you are creating an online brand for yourself.

Here are our 10 tips for building and effective online brand.

  1. Decide what it is you have to offer. For instance, you might have a law degree or be an excellent user of Photoshop.
  2. Think about what you want. For instance, you may want a job as a corporate lawyer or a graphic artist. Thinking about what you want helps you to clarify what content you need to create and who you would like to read it.
  3. Decide who you want to talk to. It is important to know your audience. What are they looking for? What are their expectations in terms of presentation, customer service, professionalism and expertise? Also consider, what gets your customers interested and excited? For instance, corporate lawyers are likely to expect a corporate and reasonably serious presentation. They will expect ethical behaviour, so no sharing indiscreet remarks about clients or yourself. They are likely to get excited about legal updates, information about potential clients, stories of lessons learned from the corporate legal world, information about what is coming next or the next big thing in their world, and most importantly how to improve their practice and profitability. Personal interest stories that your readers can use as examples in their own work are also likely to be popular.
  4. Do something. You will only build your brand by putting yourself and your content out there. It can be frightening at fi rst but you need to push through that and actually post. Start by being extra careful and cautious, but recognise that practice makes perfect and that you will fi nd each public post easier than the last.
  5. Be consistent and reasonably focused. Treat your audience with respect. Treat them as though they have paid to come into your theatre and are expecting a good show. This means sticking to a subject area or topic, and not straying too far from this. In the same way, many actors can lose credibility and our patience when they start pontifi cating about political matters: your audience doesn’t care about your cat, your passion for tiddlywinks or other topics unrelated to your expertise. You may have strong views on the decline in church architecture in the 19th century, but sadly nobody cares if they are there to read about new innovations in trainspotting.
  6. Be careful in your use of different platforms. If LinkedIn is the formal business meeting, Twitter the business text message, then Facebook is the conference bar, or weekend company event. Although it may be expected that you are more personal and forthcoming on Facebook compared to the other platforms, if you choose to allow potential employers or colleagues access to all three platforms, then it is important that the way you present appears to be shades on a continuum rather than Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
  7. Don’t trash your brand. Many years ago, Gerald Ratner, then Chairman of the jewellery company bearing his name, described their best- selling product in a public meeting at the Royal Albert Hall as ‘total crap’. The reaction was instantaneous – £500 million wiped off the value of the company that very nearly collapsed, and Ratner himself was sacked within the year. This happened before the time of social media! These days that remark may well have led to an irreversible collapse. Don’t do a Gerald on yourself!
  8. Develop a style and stick to it. Usually the best style is write as you sound in real life – in other words, try to be authentic. It might take some experimentation to work out which style works for you. For instance, if you are not very funny, leave it to those who are. There are many difference ‘voices’ you could adopt including: fair- minded; independent; factual; critical; sarcastic; satirical; humorous; up- to- the- minute; a sharer; an originator of ideas; a supporter; a representative; a booster of other initiatives; the insider’s perspective; the view from the top; the voice of the masses; the customer; the technical wizard; the helper; the objector; myth buster; taboo breaker; campaigner or the spokesperson for a group. You do not necessarily have to adopt only one voice, but trying to speak in too many different voices is likely to confuse your readers and even alienate some who have come to expect or prefer one of the other voices
  9. Keep on keeping on. Your brand will be built slowly across thousands of small acts and conversations. Setting up a LinkedIn profile or a blog is great, but it is only when you start to use this regularly that it really starts to have an impact.
  10. Review how it is going. There is no point in banging your head against a brick wall. It is important to spend a bit of time thinking about what you are doing that is working. Many social media platforms offer you a range of statistics. Have a look at these and see who is looking at you (and who is not). Are you unexpectedly big in China? Is there a topic that you talk about that everyone seems interested in. Once you find out what things are working, then do more of them!


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I’ve just found a site called Pexels which offers free stock photos under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose.

  • The pictures are free for personal and even for commercial use.
  • You can modify, copy and distribute the photos.
  • All without asking for permission or setting a link to the source. So that attribution is not required.

This all seems too good to be true. Anyone got any information/opinions on this?

In the meantime I’ve got access to loads of great pictures for various things.


10 tips to protect yourself from online recruitment scams


We’re all hoping that one day someone is going to contact us and recognise our brilliance! We dream that a headhunter’s email will drop into our inbox and that, like a prince on a white charger, they will take us away from our every day life, double our salary and offer us the chance to change the world. In our new book You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online: The Complete Guide we discuss how to use the internet to drive your career forward, but also advise some caution.

With social media and sites like Linkedin the possibility of unsolicited job offers has grown, but you still need to be very careful. So in this post I’m offering you 10 tips to avoid getting scammed.

  1.  Be suspicious of any job that looks too good to be true. For example, if it appears that anyone can apply. Most vacancies will require particular skills, qualifications or experience. If the ad says ‘no experience necessary’, think again. This could be a sign that they want as many people as possible to respond to increase their chances of finding a victim.
  2. Be suspicious of adverts that encourage you to apply immediately. Scammers often try to get you to act quickly without giving you time to think. Most reputable vacancies will have fixed recruitment deadlines unless they are in high-turnover areas such as telesales and call centres.
  3. Check with the company where you will be employed. If an advert claims to be for a job with a particular company, go directly to the organisation’s website (don’t follow a link in an advert or email) and see if the vacancy is there. If in doubt, call and ask them.
  4. Check links and email addresses. So-called phishing scams attempt to trick you into visiting a spoof site and entering your login details. They may use web addresses that look very similar to the real site, but there will be subtle differences.
  5. Research the agency. It is easy to check who owns a web address by using the WHOIS service and to look for information about agencies in the Companies House register.
  6. Beware of poor spelling and grammar. This can often be the sign of a hastily concocted scam.
  7. Don’t just communicate with recruitment agents by email or text. Try to meet them in person or ask them to phone you. If they are reluctant and give excuses, then be on your guard. Don’t phone them in case it is a premium-rate phone scam.
  8. Don’t download attachments or allow software to be installed on your computer. They may be a way for criminals to get malicious programmes on your computer which can steal your passwords and bank details.
  9. Don’t hand over money. Legitimate recruitment agencies charge the employers not the candidates. If you are asked for administration fees or to pay for record checks, the alarm bells should start ringing. If you are asked to pay for training or police checks, tell them you will provide this yourself and bring in evidence.
  10. Don’t hand over your personal details. This also applies to your CV. This would include: date of birth, full postal address, passport number, driving licence number, National Insurance number, credit card or bank account numbers, your weight, height, hair colour, eye colour, marital status, number of children or any other personal information that is not relevant to employment.

For more information on how to avoid recruitment scams and to keep yourself safe have a look at SAFERjobs, Get Safe Online or Action Fraud.

If you found this post useful you may be interested to know that there is a lot more where this came from in our new book You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online: The Complete Guide.

You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online: The Complete Guide


This morning we’ve just launched our new book. You can buy it from Amazon or ‘from all good book shop’. Just click on the link below.

You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online: The Complete Guide

I wrote the book with Jim Bright and David Winter and so you get the full benefit of our combined wisdom! Hopefully you’ll find it useful and interesting.

In the book we discuss how best to use the internet to build your career. The chapters take you through a systematic process designed to take you from an internet career novice to an expert online careerist!

It will cover:

  • Who to trust online
  • Getting to grips with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+
  • Effective online communication
  • Making an impact
  • Finding vacancies and other opportunities
  • How to embrace technology in recruitment practice

I’d be really interested to hear more from people about what they think about the book.