Free downloadable guide for HE staff to use with You’re Hired! Graduate Career Handbook


I wrote yesterday about our new book You’re Hired! Graduate Career Handbook. This book is going to be released the start of next week, but you can of course pre-order now.

In the meantime I’d like to share with you the free guide that we’ve made for HE staff. If you follow this blog you are probably more likely to be a careers person or an academic than a current student (although I welcome all readers). We wrote the actual book for students, but we thought that it would be useful to think about how academics and careers educators might make use of it as part of their delivery of careers and employability modules and programmes.

The guide covers how to use the Graduate Career Handbook in the following situations.

  • To support career conversations and as part of careers advice and guidance
  • To support students when they are networking with employers and undertaking placements and other kinds of extra-curricular experiences.
  • To run employability workshops.
  • To design employability modules and programmes.

We ‘ve included a load of workshop plans, draft module specifications with learning outcomes and an extensive reading list to support modules.

Hopefully you will find it useful.


Publication of You’re Hired! Graduate Career Handbook brought forwards!


I’ve got a new book coming out next week called You’re Hired! Graduate Career Handbook. The book was originally supposed to be released at the start of next term, but there has been a lot of interest in it and so we managed to persuade the publishers to push it out a bit quicker to allow people to get hold of a copy over the summer.

The book offers a comprehensive guide to career planning and job hunting for students and graduates. I think that what is different about this book in comparison to some of the other volumes out there is that we take a holistic view of career rather than just talking about how to beat your way through recruitment processes.

The book covers thinking about what to do with your life, how to make the most of your time at university, building up experience and networks, making the transition to further learning and work and perhaps most importantly being prepared to make a plan B and deal with setbacks. So we think that it should be essential reading for everyone from those who are about to start at university to those who are currently a couple of years into their graduate career and wondering where it all went wrong. Your career is something that you build everyday and it is never too late (or too early) to take action.

So (pre-)order your copy today!

You’re hired! Job hunting online. Careers Matters Review


Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, I published a book with Jim Bright and David Winter on job hunting (and career building) online.

You can buy the book on the Trotman website (as well as Amazon and in all good bookshops).

We’ve recently been reviewed in Careers Matters so I’ll let the review do the selling for us.

In essence, it is a no-nonsense guide to showcasing your career credentials in the best possible light and finding the relevant opportunities.

Read the full review in Careers Matters

Top tips for job hunting online: seven steps to your dream career

I have published a blog post on the Trotman website discussing my top tips for online job hunting.

This draws from our new book You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online.

We do pretty much everything online these days. Whether it is ordering take aways, watching Game of Throne or finding out what Kim Kardashian, we tend to go to Google and Facebook before we go anywhere else.

In our new book You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online we explain that finding a job or building your career is no different. If you are serious about finding the career that you want you need to get online. In the book we argue that there are seven steps to using the internet to get the career that you want.

Read more…


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!

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.