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46 years of success - Established 1974

46 Years of Success
Established in 1974

"Helping you gain
.control of your career"

Develop Your Own Style

I know that when we hear the word ‘style’ with regard to writing we usually think of books – novels or non-fiction. It’s how the author writes: what gives a piece an author’s distinctive voice.

But you’ve also got to think about ‘style’ when you’re writing at work – letters, emails, reports etc. Your own personal style is the way in which you express your ideas. It should be as attractive and as easy to read as you can make it.

You can learn a lot by studying the style of other writers, but don’t be tempted to try to write exactly like them. Your style must develop naturally. Practice leads to better writing, and the more you practise, the more confident you’ll become.

Here at Business Training, our own rule to help you is this: remember the Six Cs: correctness, conciseness, clarity, coherence, completeness and courtesy. So let’s have a closer look at these. Continue reading

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You Don’t Need a Passport to Write Travel Articles

You’d think a passport would be pretty essential to writing travel articles, but you’d be wrong! In fact, you don’t have to go anywhere to write great travel articles – you can produce them from the comfort of your own home. Well, you might need to drag yourself outside to take some photos, and once you realise how much they can improve your chances of getting published I’m sure you’ll want to do that. But, essentially, that’s as far as you’ll need to go. And that’s great news now when there are so many travel restrictions and social distancing makes ‘normal’ life increasingly difficult.

It sounds so obvious, but most people don’t realise that they don’t have to be on holiday somewhere exotic in order to write a great travel piece. For instance, I could write an article about Manchester and its attractions. As a resident of the city I have significant advantages over a tourist because I know where the: Continue reading

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Nail That Job!

Last month we looked at applying for a new job. So, let’s assume your CV and covering email were so good that you went onto the shortlist, what should you do next?

The first thing to do is find out as much as possible about the company which has advertised the job. Where are they based; do they have offices/factories in other towns, cities or countries; what do they sell/produce; how are these products and services advertised; how are they perceived by the general public; how long have they been established; how many people do they employ…?  This is a basic list, but knowledge is power and the more you know, the more you can impress the interviewer/s. So, if the job is local, talk to people who might know about the company or who might even have worked there. But also go online and find out as much as you can – most companies have a website that gives information about them. If they make domestic items such as furniture, goods or food have a look how these are promoted in stores, on radio and TV and on social media. Continue reading

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Beating The Unemployment Blues

There’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a worrying time for everyone. Most of us have had to endure lockdown during the Covid pandemic and even though restrictions are starting to lift in some countries, others have had to re-impose lockdown because cases have started to rise again.

This has hit economies hard around the world and, certainly in the UK, a surge in unemployment is predicted. And I’m sure this isn’t the only place where it will happen.

So, perhaps now is the time to overhaul your CV in case you find yourself having to look for a new job. But before I go into this, I’d just like to say that if this happens to you, try to stay positive. Before starting to send out job application in a scatter-gun manner, sit down and think about what you really want to do. Do you want a job similar to your old one? Do you feel you’d like to go down a different path? You might even take the plunge and decide to Start Your Own Business. Continue reading

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Stop Putting It Off!

I was reading a copy of Management Today recently and saw an article entitled “Are you suffering from ‘someday syndrome’?”  What they meant by this was procrastination – putting things off instead of getting on with them.

We’re all guilty of this to some degree.  I sometimes find myself putting off starting to write a difficult report or – even worse – completing my annual tax return!

But there’s no point promising yourself that you’ll lose weight or get fit or learn a new skill unless you actually start the process.  So, whether you’re already enrolled with us and need to press on with your studies – or you’re still contemplating which course to choose – don’t put it off!  There’s no time like the present.  And you’ll find that with our Business English with Spoken English Diploma Course we provide you with a study schedule that won’t make you feel stressed – but it will keep you motivated. Continue reading

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How To Stay Creative

First, I hope that you’re all keeping safe and well and that wherever you live you’re starting to see life getting back to some kind of normality – however slowly.

I’m not going to go on about Covid19 in this blog as I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing about it on TV, in newspapers and on social media. One thing it has done, though, is to make people hold their meetings online rather than face to face. I’d never heard of Zoom before all this started but I now use it for meetings, getting together with my family and we’re even considering doing some seminars. Continue reading

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Stay Well!

First, I hope everyone reading this is keeping well and has not gone down with Coronavirus.

If you live in a country that has not yet imposed restrictions on movement you will probably be going about daily life much as usual: going to work, meeting friends and family, having a drink and something to eat with them. If, however, like much of the world you are in ‘lockdown’ then life will seem very different!

I’m writing this post at home, where I’m working rather than going into the office and mixing with other people. I know I’m lucky that I can work remotely, because it means I don’t have to risk public transport or coming into contact with people (except direct family) who might have the virus Continue reading

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New Year…New Job?

Whether you’re just leaving school, college or university and looking for your first job, or you’re more mature and looking to move on and enhance your career, preparing a good CV is essential.

Certain parts of a CV are easy to put together – your personal information, details of your education and qualifications, work experience etc. Yes, I know, you might have to think carefully about how to describe previous jobs so that they demonstrate that you’ve got the experience required for the new position you are applying for. But that’s not too hard.

But there is one important thing which many people struggle with: the personal statement. So let’s have a closer look at how to get this right.

These days everyone is encouraged to put a ‘Personal Statement’ at the beginning of their CV but it can have pitfalls. When I’m recruiting for Advisors for our Student Services department you’d be surprised how many people just include meaningless ‘waffle’ in their personal statement. They put things like this:

I am a dynamic person who enjoys achieving personal goals. In addition I have good teamwork and communication skills.

Right! What exactly does ‘dynamic’ mean here? They might like ‘achieving personal goals’ but will those goals fit in with what the company needs? And you would expect anyone to have good teamwork and communication skills. Put simply, all this means is that they can get on and work with people – the very minimum you would expect from an employee.

Let’s have a look at one that’s even worse:

I’m a dynamic and intelligent person who feels they have the knowledge and skills to help any  business prosper.

Sounds like boasting to me! Plus it doesn’t tell the reader anything concrete about the person. I’d probably stop reading at that point and hit ‘delete’.

So what should you be aiming to include in your Personal Statement?

According to the University of Kent Careers and Employability Service it should:

Be no longer than six lines – some sites suggest a maximum of four lines. It must be short and positive with your key strengths, skills, experience and interests. It is meant to be an appetiser rather than to give the employer indigestion! The time to elaborate and give evidence for these is later in the CV.

Be placed at the start of the CV… the object is to give a concise introduction to your aims and skills.

Start with a short description: “A highly motivated graduate who has just completed a Law degree at the University of …”.

Analyse your core strengths. A profile is a sales tool: a concise summary of why they should take you, so you should include brief details of your major selling points, especially those that are important in the job you are applying to.

I’ve put the final phrase in the previous paragraph in bold, because it’s so important.

So there you have it – how to use (not abuse) the chance you have to impress a prospective employer with your skills and make sure that your application goes on the ‘possible’ pile rather than in the waste paper bin!

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Go Into The New Year With ‘SMARTer’ Goals

Throughout life we have goals that we wish to achieve. It could be as complicated as getting to the top in our career, buying a house or planning a career break. Or, it could be as simple as buying this week’s lottery ticket or planning a meal for friends.

In order for us to achieve the goal, though, it needs to be a SMART one. SMART stands for:

SPECIFIC:   Our goals need to specify clearly what we hope to achieve. A specific goal is one that is clearly defined. I want to be a millionaire by the time I am 50 is specific. Now we know exactly what we’re trying to achieve and when we need to do it by.

MEASUREABLE:  We need to be able to measure our achievement. Measurability ensures that we know how close we are to achieving our goal and, more importantly, enables us to know when we’ve achieved it. So, you would have to check your bank statements regularly to ensure that the money in your account was increasing in a way that would make being a millionaire by the time you reach 50 realistic. Continue reading

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Communicating Instructions

Last month we looked at how to make more time for yourself by delegation. But if you do this, then you have to be prepared to give instructions to staff first to make sure that they can carry out the tasks you want them to do efficiently.

There are several ways you can do this. The quickest way is to tell each worker verbally what you want. For many tasks this will be sufficient. However, there is always the danger of misunderstandings, especially if you are giving long or complicated instructions.

Research has shown that within three days people forget about 90% of what they hear and 80% of what they read, but they only forget 45% of what they read and hear. Continue reading

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Susan Metcalfe - head of Business Training - discusses business, training and work issues. Come and join in the conversation or just enjoy the read!