Monthly Archives: August 2013

Choosing the right skills on LinkedIn

This entry was posted in Articles, CV writing, Social media and tagged , on by plabram.

Have things gone too far when it comes to LinkedIn skills? It recently came up on my LinkedIn feed that a contact of mine has been endorsed for “talking”. Although I do not doubt that this is true, I have some doubts about its usefulness to potential employers. With members being endorsed for everything from “breathing” to “drinking”, how can you make sure you get the quality/quantity ratio of skills right?

Checklist for LinkedIn skillsThe argument for including as many LinkedIn skills as possible says that it allows you to cover all your bases in terms of recruiter searches. Doing so to excess, however, may cause recruiters to see you as something of a jack of all trades. If you list skills which you cannot demonstrate to a high level and are not a particularly relevant part of your CV, this may also  diminish the credibility of your more legitimate skills.

A high quantity of endorsements is also key when making sure you rise to the top of the LinkedIn search engines for a particular skill, and listing unnecessary skills may cause you to spread out your endorsements more thinly. So, in short, it’s best to choose your skills wisely.

Adding LinkedIn skills

How many LinkedIn skills should I add?

A quick analysis of professional recruiters’ profiles show that they tend to include anything from 10-30 different skills. Bear in mind, however, that these people are likely to be using the social network more and thus receiving far more endorsements overall than you. A decent amount of skills to aim for might be around 15-20, depending on what it is you do and what stage you are at in your career.

Which LinkedIn skills should I add?
To get an idea of what sort of skills would be relevant, take a look at typical requirements listed in for the type of work you’re applying for, and think about how you can pick out keywords to list as skills. If you’re not applying for any particular job, you can also use LinkedIn’s little-known Trend Tracking Tool for a general picture of which skills are currently most in demand, too.

It’s also a good idea to take a sneaky look at profiles of those with a similar job title to you to check there’s nothing you’ve left out (and equally, that there’s nothing you should be learning at the minute).

What should I avoid listing?
A LinkedIn profile is more cohesive than a CV and generally serves as a storage base for all kinds of information about your work history, so it’s ok to list skills that aren’t directly relevant for jobs you’re applying for. More than anything, however, you want to avoid listing LinkedIn skills that anyone could claim to have. If in doubt, ask yourself how you could prove that you possess the skills on your list if asked to do so.

And to finish off, here’s a list of some of the most eclectic LinkedIn skills out there:

  • Talking
  • Breathing
  • Drinking
  • Laughing
  • Lifestyle
  • Insomnia
  • Working (we would hope so!)
  • Books

…do you have any more to share?

We’ve shared more tips for creating your LinkedIn profile here.

Image: Tapping pencil from Rennett Stowe (CC)

Youth unemployment: 2013 – ?

This entry was posted in Articles, Employment trends and tagged , , , , , , , on by plabram.

youthunemploymentThis article summarises the ILO’s 16-page report on global youth unemployment rates in 2013, including predictions, suggested causes and other trends. In this edition, we’ve mainly focused on OECD countries and the EU.

Do you remember the “forgotten” generation? In 2013, the youth unemployment rate hit 73 million. One in every six young people is without a job. Many of these are able, qualified and willing to work. How did this come about? When will it end? And, most importantly, how can we work towards a brighter future for today’s unfairly disadvantaged youth?

Unemployment in youth: statistics, causes, predictions and suggestions

Key statistics:

  • One in six young people worldwide is currently without a job. That means a youth unemployment rate of 12.6%, or 73 million young people.
  • Young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than other working citizens.
  • Furthermore, many young people are considered to be “underutilised” – to be in part-time work, or work which is of a significantly lower level than their capacities
  • The amount of young people on temporary contracts continues being a problem (estimated at some 40.5% in Europe).
  • Current hotspots for unemployment in youth include developed economies and the EU (which have seen an increase of 24.9% in youth unemployment rates from 2008-12), the Middle East and North Africa.
  • “NEET” rates (young people Not in Employment, Education or Training) have reached 15.8% in the (largely European) OECD countries. This figure does not include “discouraged” workers (those so appalled by the current situation that they’ve given up looking for work entirely), which add on a global average of around 3%.

young person


World economics are in constant flux, and we’re constantly being required to rethink, retrain and readapt in order to be well-placed in the labour market. Events such as the global crisis, however, have put things on fast-forward, concentrating available jobs into few sectors. As such, there are large differences in the kind of skills which are required and those which today’s young people were trained for.

In advanced economies, overeducation often results in “crowding out” at the bottom of the skills pyramid. It seems as though we’re suffering from “too many graduates” syndrome – unreasonably fierce competition for low-level jobs, attributed to an increase on the number of young people with higher-education qualifications without jobs at their skill level to apply for.


The ILO predicts unemployment in youth in the EU will remain high until 2015, and then decrease slightly from 2015-18. Global averages are predicted to keep increasing until 2018.


Governments and businesses can help speed up this reaction time and reduce the “scars” left by youth unemployment. The ILO recommends a several-pronged attack. As well as working generally to improve the world economy as a whole and create more jobs, governments should:

  • Make sure the same rights and conditions more mature workers receive  are also enforced for younger people in the workforce.
  • Encourage entrepreneurship and self-employment as an alternative exit route for young people, and consider embedding these subjects into curricula.
  • Look to changing labour market policies to favour disadvantaged youth. This might include strategies such as tax reductions that lead to greater employment of young people.
  • Improve education and training to ease the school-to-work transition and to prevent labour market mismatches. Work experience and apprenticeships involving the private sector and work-based training for unskilled youth were particularly highlighted. Unemployment should also be hit in its early stages, with programmes such as individual counseling and mentorship recommended.
Germany’s dual apprenticeship system was help up as a particular example of successful policy. Here, the content and financing of placements is determined by both governments and firms, and apprenticeships are recognised by a minimum wage and accredited qualifications. This measure enables young people to make a more seamless transition into the world of work while receiving short-term compensation for their time.

Source: ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 (PDF). Bear in mind that this article provides our perspective on this report, and interpretations may differ.

Songs related to work (playlist)

This entry was posted in Articles, JobisJob news and tagged , , , , on by plabram.

Computer with music and songsWe’re halfway through August now, and you may well be beginning to pack up your pencils and get ready to return to work after a summer holiday. To mark the occasion, we’ve created a Spotify playlist of songs about work to keep you tapping your toes through this time.

It was striking when compiling this list how few songs there actually are about work – something, which is after all, a fairly major part of life – and how negative the few we found were (with the exception, perhaps, of “High-ho” by the Seven Dwarfs, which we decided not to include on the basis that its relentless cheeriness would drive us off our post-holiday rockers).

Why is this? Is it that there’s something about grimness and toil which we can fundamentally relate to, or does it just make a better story? Or is it just that musicians dislike their day jobs? In any case, if you know any more uplifting songs about working life, don’t hesitate to let us know so we can add them to the playlist.

…and if it’s a list of top songs for working to you’re after, you’ll find some inspiration here.

Top 20 songs about work (Spotify playlist track list):

Dolly Parton – 9 To 5
The Beatles– A Hard Day’s Night
Jimmy Reed – Big Boss Man
The Clash – Career Opportunities
The Vogues – Five O’ Clock World
Gossip – Get A Job
Johnny Cash – If I Were A Carpenter
Kenny Chesney – Live A Little
Randy Newman – Lonely At The Top
The Bangles – Manic Monday
Pink Floyd – Money
Dire Straits – Money For Nothing
Fred Astaire – Nice Work If You Can Get It
Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money
Commodores – The Assembly Line
Elvis Costello – Welcome To The Working Week
Belle & Sebastian – White Collar Boy
Marianne Faithfull – Working Class Hero
Lee Dorsey – Working In A Coalmine
Bruce Springsteen – Working On The Highway

How to create a video CV

This entry was posted in Articles, CV writing and tagged , , , , on by plabram.

resumefilmThis article covers tips for making a video CV, as well as some successful examples.

With all kinds of CV and job application out there – infographic CVs, anti-CVs and dynamic CVs to name a few – video CVs are naturally also becoming more and more frequent, especially in creative industries. Now that more or everyone has access to a digital camera, it’s easy to make your video CV. Easy to make, perhaps, but less easy to make well. Make sure you know what you’re doing first. You’ll see some more examples of video (and video game!) CVs on this blog.

Producing a CV for YouTube and other channels

Know your limits
– If “shining on camera” in your case is more of a smudgy glow than a megawatt appeal, avoid making a video CV. We can’t all come out well on camera (I for one certainly don’t), but we can all have the self-awareness to avoid unnecessarily flaunting our weaknesses. Alyssa Berkovitz provides a stunningly creative example of a video resume without actors (below), which would be a great option for the camera-shy.

Choose your set wisely (or not at all) – Test out a few shots of your video CV first to make sure you have adequate lighting and clear sound. Make sure your “set” looks good on camera and is clean, neat and generally well-organised and presented. This goes for you, too – make sure you look professional! If hosting your video in the “real” world just isn’t going to work out, you can create great videos using PowerPoint with a bit of creativity.

Soundtrack – You can use Youtube’s “audioswap” feature to add a legal soundtrack to your Youtube CV. Otherwise, programmes such as Creative Commons Search can help you find tracks available under a Creative Commons licence.

Post-production – Various types of free editing software are available. Of these, Windows Movie Maker is generally recommended as offering a good range of functions (although don’t expect too much, remember this is shareware) and being easy to use. If you have some technical experience, you can try out top professional software such as Premiere Pro and After Effects for free for thirty days to see if it would be of any use. YouTube Annotations may also be handy for creating a clickable video.

Be creative – Simply reading out your CV is a waste of video potential. Play with adding on text, shapes and headings to your video CV as this video does, try making an interactive video CV or use your video resume to tell an original story.

Don’t embarrass yourself – Imagine you’re sitting in a room full of people you don’t know, and your video CV comes on overhead. Would you feel embarrassed? In which case, it’s probably not the best idea to send it off to potential employers (which is essentially the same thing).

Keep it short – About 1-2 minutes should be enough. Don’t forget that the “10 second” principle also applies here – if employers don’t like what they see in the first shots, your carefully-produced video CV is likely to end up straight in the bin. Remember: Dawn Siff managed it in seven seconds.

Seek professional help – If, despite all your efforts, your audiovisual CV still retains that “home video” feel, you’d probably be better off leaving things to the experts. Plenty of professional companies will be able to help you to produce a video CV – at a charge, of course.

Trends in UK construction jobs (2013 edition)

This entry was posted in Articles, Employment trends and tagged , , , on by plabram.

This article discusses trends in the UK construction industry from 2010 – 2013. Data is based on the 44,000,000 UK job adverts archived in the JobisJob database over this time.

The “skip index” (number of skips in a typical street) has often been referred to as a very rough indicator of the economy. Although in these days of big data we can be a bit more refined about the numbers we throw around, this article was written with more or less the same idea in mind.

Trends in construction jobs – overview

statsThe stats. for the construction labour market clearly reflect emergence from economic crisis, with a particularly auspicious period taking place over the first half of 2012. Somewhat surprisingly, the average quantity of construction jobs has actually lowered by 0,00014% of total jobs over the last year, although as the general trend is upwards, this difference is unlikely to be of great significance.

Construction job trends

Top jobs in construction

Most widely-advertised job titles in construction:
1. Construction manager
2. Construction solicitor
3. Construction project manager

Although it should be recognised that lower-level construction jobs are less likely to be formally advertised, it’s interesting that these jobs are of a strongly professional nature. The doors to career progression (and, excuse the pun, reaching new vocational heights) are wide open within this sector, which is crying out for highly-skilled workers.

Top cities for construction jobs

Oil rig construction1. London
2. Manchester
3. Aberdeen
4. Birmingham
5. Bristol
6. Leeds
7. Reading
8. Nottingham

As can be expected, the large population of sprawling metropolises such as London, Manchester and Birmingham means there is great demand for construction workers within these areas. Ranking disproportionately highly, however, are Reading, Bristol and, above all, Aberdeen. The industrial power wielded by the Scottish oil and gas magnate means the area experiences a particularly high demand for engineers working in the construction sector.

Salary information

Almost 40% of salaries fall into the £20,000 – £40,000 range, although a good proportion of construction workers fall into the next salary band as well, with around 25% of workers earning between £40,000 – £60,000.

These statistics have been taken from a sample size of 44,000,000 job adverts recorded over a total of three years (August 2010 – 13) on the JobisJob UK databases.

Image: Mike Towbar (CC)