3 Things That Look Good On Your CV

If you are looking to change or advance your career in the future, then the chances are that you have taken the time to examine your existing CV. When applying for job roles, your CV is the primary way of demonstrating your abilities and catching the eye of prospective employers – so it’s important that yours is as good as it can possibly be.

There are plenty of online guides that can help you write your CV already, so this post focuses on the elements of it; the actual facts that you can include about yourself, your experience, and your education. Here is a list of three things that are sure to stand you in good stead when it comes to applying for jobs in the future…

 3 Things That Look Good On Your CV

Unique Extra-Curricular Activities

Most people include a small, personal section on their CV that discusses their interests; while not essential, this can be an opportunity to show a depth of personality that is difficult to achieve elsewhere in the document.

However, it is best to include interests that are relatively unique. Recruiters see thousands of CVs with the interests detailed as reading books, watching movies, or spending time with friends – so be a little more original, opting for interests that are specific to you, and won’t be shared by every other applicant.

Further Education Courses

While it is always useful to have a strong academic background to include on your CV, this can be somewhat limiting, especially if you completed your education many years ago.

Recruiters like to see that an applicant has sought to continue learning, even when their formal education is complete. There are thousands of courses you can take that will look fantastic on your CV; from broad modern topics such as the Google online courses with Squared Online to more niche topics such as aromatherapy. Even if the course you choose isn’t particularly specific to your career, it will still boost your CV, as it serves to demonstrate a quality that all recruiters look for in applicants: a desire for self-improvement.

Clipart style CV picture

References

Over recent years, CV trends have led to more and more people stipulating that “references are available upon request”. While this is not outright damaging, it is rather restrictive, and requires extra work on behalf of the recruiter.

It is preferable to list two references on your CV at the time you submit it to a company. If you are not comfortable supplying full contact details, then just include an email address and make a note to say further details can be provided if required. Most recruiters will appreciate your transparency and the fact that you have sought to make their job easier by providing this information upfront, and they may look upon your application favourably as a result.

In conclusion

If you manage to include the above three things on your CV, then you hopefully have more chance of catching the eye of recruiters as you seek to change your career for the better. Good luck!

*This is a collaborative post.

Most In-Demand Teaching Subjects

Are you thinking of a career change to move into teaching? Or already qualified and wondering which subjects are most in demand? A lot of newspaper columns have been dedicated to the ‘teacher crisis’ but what exactly is the biggest problem? Is it from the National Curriculum changes or are teachers in key subjects leaving the profession?

Most In-Demand Teaching Subjects

According to The Guardian, schools filled about half of vacant posts in 2015-2016 with qualified teachers who had the experience and expertise required. So the government will be striving to improve the education system by attracting and training new teachers and retaining existing ones in the near future.

If you are contemplating whether it is worthwhile looking at Teacher Training Cambridgeshire or doing a PGCE course, it will help to know which subjects are currently the most in demand:

• Biology
• Maths
• Physics
• RE
• Geography
• Music
• Computer Science

It is also anticipated that the foreign languages will be impacted by tougher immigration rules in the UK. So increasing numbers of vacancies, coupled with the increases in pupils (baby boom) will mean that there will be considerable vacancies for most of these subjects in the next few years, providing the budget allows for it.

When you reflect on the areas where there are problems in recruiting people with the right skills, IT is a growing issue. The topmost in-demand jobs in the UK are dominated by IT-related jobs and given the huge advances in technology we are seeing, it is a pattern that will only continue if changes are not made. So computer science will have a much bigger focus in coming years and teachers with skills and experience in this area will be in high demand. The curriculum has already been adapted to introduce coding and other important IT skills but we can expect even more changes in the near future to take into account the skills gaps in the current recruitment market.

Like with most professions, there are plenty of pros and cons in the teaching profession. A lot of former teachers attribute increased workload as to the reason for their decision to leave, as well as the greater scrutiny and pressure of Ofsted inspections and other observations/ expectations.

A teacher with a group of students around a table

However, there are also many great benefits such as the long holidays – which averages around 13 weeks per year. (Although most teachers do work for at least part of these holidays!) When you compare this to other industries, where 4 weeks is common and 6 weeks is good, it is much better. The school day is much shorter than a 9-5 job and although teachers have planning, marking, assessments, meetings and tonnes of other work to do outside of these hours, having the option to sometimes leave at 3/ 3.30pm is a big bonus and can be useful for childcare arrangements. Similarly, the summer holidays are a great benefit when you consider you would otherwise be making childcare arrangements.

Whilst the salary starts relatively low, it soon increases, so if you are happy to wait a few years you will soon have a better salary. The pension package for teachers is ranked in the top 10 jobs, despite changes being made that make them less favourable than they used to be.

A teacher pointing to a world map

Then, of course, there is also the fulfilment you can get from helping pupils to develop skills and build a promising future. The sense of impact you feel when working with disadvantaged children, the joy of seeing the exam results that get them into a good college and set them up for a successful career. If you love working with children then there is no better job to do than teaching.

* Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Self- Employment: Self-Assessment Tax Returns

I am so proud of myself right now; I have just been super organised and filed my 2017/18 tax returns online already! The deadline isn’t until the end of the year, but I couldn’t blog anyway because my site was being transferred to a new host, so I figured I might as well use that time effectively and submit mega early to get it out of the way! Especially after having a massive last second faff last year and finding myself needing to send a paper version in the end, only for Royal Mail to return it to me a week later as the envelope got damaged in transit! So I was then panicking about deadlines and potential late fees; it is a massive relief to know there will be none of that stress this time!

Are you self-employed? If so, you will need to keep records and fill out a tax return form each year too. In many cases that is obvious; people are generally aware that if you run a business and get a regular income from it, you must be self- employed and need to declare your income. However, some people don’t realise that even if you just earn a small irregular income, for example if you mainly blog as a hobby but occasionally get paid work, or if you sell things from home, or receive any other ad hoc income, that you still need to register as self- employed and complete an annual tax return. If that is the case, here’s what you need to do…

Self- Employment: Self-Assessment Tax Returns

Register as Self- Employed

Firstly, you need to register as self- employed. The easiest way to do this is by completing the form online. You must register by 5 October in your business’s second tax year at the latest, although personally I would recommend doing it asap.You will then be sent your Unique Taxpayers Code.

Register for Online Self- Assessment

Assuming you intend to file your tax returns online, you then need to register for this service on the government website. Technically you can use either the government gateway system or Gov.UK Verify to register and submit your returns, but this is the part where it got complicated for me the first time around.

Government Gateway

I tried to use the gateway system, whereby you complete a form online then they send you an activation code in the post. However, this did not work for me and I was told to use Verify to confirm my ID instead. The gateway system is gradually being phased out and will be replaced completely by March 2019, but I am not sure whether this issue had anything to do with it or not.

Verify Gov.UK

So I tried to use the Verify system. And this is where it got really frustrating! For the vast majority of people this would probably be a really quick and easy task. For me, however, not so straightforward; quite the opposite infact!

You see, my passport – which was in my maiden name anyway – had just expired and I don’t have a valid UK driving license either. On top of that my back account is with Nationwide. This combination apparently means you can not possibly verify your identity online with any of the seven different approved companies who offer this service on behalf of the government. Hmm. I wasted so many hours trying to sort it out, it was absolutely ridiculous.

Long story short: eventually I had to renew my passport and open a new bank account with a different bank – just so I could use the government’s online services! Needless to say I was less than impressed.

Tax written on a notebook. Hand holding pencil.

Submitting Your Tax Returns

That said, once you are verified online, it is really easy to submit your tax returns online. If you have all the information you need in front of you, it isn’t too much of an onerous task; actually, it didn’t take me very long whatsoever. If you are submitting online, the deadline is 31st January. For paper versions, it is 31st October.

Record Keeping

Obviously make sure your books are accurate and kept up-to-date, so you have the correct figures to submit. Also keep evidence; receipts, invoices, account records etc… incase you should ever need them. I use a simple Excel spreadsheet to record my monthly income and expenses. I operate on a cash-in, cash-out system, as I find that easiest personally. You will need to check if your situation allows this.

Remember to include all your allowable expenses. For example, if you work from home you can include a percentage of your utility bills. To make this easier, you can use simplified expenses. This is a flat rate, depending on how many hours you work from home per month. Note this does not include phone and internet so they can be listed separately. Once you have got to grips with your record keeping you shouldn’t find it too difficult, especially if you have a straightforward business. However, some people do like to hire a book-keeper to be sure it is all correct.

Calculator, pen, graphs, paperclip

It can be daunting having to complete your tax returns for the first time, but try not to worry! I hope this information is helpful. Let me know in comments if you found it useful!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Qualifications That Can Lead To A Job

When you are choosing a degree to study, you might want to pick one that has the highest possibility of getting you a job as soon as you graduate. With that in mind, here are three degree qualifications that can lead directly to a job…

Qualifications That Can Lead To A Job title on faded background image of graduation robes.

Medicine

Medicine degrees have the highest possibility of getting you a job straight out of University. This is partly because of the time you have committed to learning about medicine and training in one of its professions in that you know exactly what your career goals are. A qualification in medicine has a much clearer goal and destination that other degrees such as ones in English or other subjects. As you study medicine, you get a very specific set of skills that are in high demand for positions like doctors and nurses. These jobs are sought after due to the time it takes to become qualified and learn all of the necessary skills and techniques. This makes medicine one of the best degrees to study if you want a job as soon as you graduate. However, it does take far longer to graduate than other degrees.

Business

You don’t need a business degree to get a business related job. However, it will make it far easier as you will have a lot of knowledge from your degree to fall back on. If you have a degree in marketing, for example, and want to get a job in PR, then having this knowledge and the skills from your degree are going to surpass those from people with history degrees. Certain other business related positions require specific qualification. Accounting is a good example of this. In order to be an accountant, you need to have an accountancy qualification. This might be baked into your actual degree or something that you study for once you have graduated. Either way, having a business related degree such as a business management masters degree is going to give you a head start and make you a better candidate in job applications. For this reason, you want to have a business related career then you should get a business related degree.

Languages

Languages are an incredibly sought after skill. If you are fluent in a language and have a qualification confirming this, then there is very little limit to the type of job that you can do. You can work as a translator, work in another country doing whatever job you want or anything like that. This is because, in order to become fluent in a language it takes years of training, practice and dedication. It isn’t something that you can learn on the job as the whole job is knowing a language. This means that you will be highly sought after by employers across the world. Certain languages are more useful than others. Unfortunately, if you studied Welsh, then you won’t have the same opportunities as someone who learns French or Russian. However, knowing a language is always a good thing, and it will definitely open doors for you.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.