List of Tips for Job Seeking Students

The summer holidays are finally upon us, and for those of you that are graduating this year, that means it’s time to start the dreaded job hunt! To help you kick things off, we’ve got a guest blog from Rachel Summers, who’s sharing her top tips for a successful job hunt.

Finding a job can be difficult at the best of times. So, you’ve put in all the hard work over the last few years, you’ve done your time and achieved the best grades you possibly can. Now is the time to find that ideal job that made you want to take up the course in the first place. But how do you go about it? Where do you look and what kind of positions are you looking for? Nine times out of ten you can be sure you won’t find your dream job advertised in a shop window, but then where else is there to look?

To give you a helping hand, here is a list of pro tips you can use to securing that job of your dreams.

Getting Prepared         

First things first. You’ve got to get everything set up ready for your job hunt. This means taking to the Internet to sort out and organise your social media profiles and professional pages. You can be sure that your potential employers will be looking through your social media pages to ensure you’re the right person for the job. If your Facebook page is full of pictures and videos of you acting crazy and irresponsible, you can be sure that any chance of you securing that job will be gone. Photos of nights out here and there are fine but it’s recommended that the video of you rolling around town in a shopping trolley at 3 am should be removed.

The Two-Way Hunt

As a job seeker, you’ll spend a lot of your time on job hunting websites. However, it’s important to remember that job-seeking websites don’t just cater for job seekers. Companies and recruiters will also spend a considerable amount of time on these pages looking for individuals to fill their roles. There are a vast number of job-board websites out there, including leading sites such as Monster, where you can upload your CV to be found by future potential employers.

Polish That CV

You’ll be handing in your CV to companies as well as uploading them to job seeker websites. Before uploading, you need to ensure that your CV is as good as it can be. Recruiters may pour through hundreds of resumes every single day, so it’s important you get yours right the first time to minimise the risk of your becoming dismissed immediately. Not everybody is a born writer so you can use websites, such as Student Writing Services, to professionally create your CV for you on your behalf, giving you the maximum amount of opportunities to secure the job of your dreams.

Update Your Knowledge

If you decided many years ago that you wanted to be a veterinarian, you might have researched which courses and degrees you needed to secure this job before joining college and then university. Now, several years later, the requirements and laws may have changed. There may be different processes to apply to these roles that you may not know about. Before applying for any jobs, be sure that you research your field to see what employers are currently looking for and for advice on how you can tailor yourself and your CV to match these initial requirements.

Seek the Assistance of Your University

Your university was there for you throughout the entirety of your course, and that help doesn’t cease now you’ve finished your course. There are multiple helplines, including the universities careers service, that can help you to find the job you’re after and will be able to provide you with the relevant contacts necessary for contacting businesses, companies and individuals in your industry.

Be Responsible

Over the last few years, you may have become accustomed to living off your student loan and the income from your part-time job. Unfortunately, the time of monthly or quarterly loan payouts has come to an end, and you will now be fending for yourself. It’s important to look after the money you have, especially until you can find that job position you are after. Using websites such as Save the Student, you can research tips and tricks for managing your money so you can afford things like work clothes, transport to interviews and any other costs that make cost you your dream job.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

This is by far the most important aspect to consider. It’s fairly unlikely you will secure the first job you apply for. Expect to get knocked back a couple of times, even if you manage to make it all the way through the final stages of the interview process. The trick here is to remain positive. If you’re rejected for a job role or even if you don’t hear back from our dream company whatsoever, it’s not the end of the world. The trick is to get your foot in the door any way you can. Once you’re in the industry, the world is your oyster.

Rachel Summers is a local newspaper journalist and freelance creative writer. To see more of her work you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Salary Survey 2017

I am delighted to introduce the third annual TFPL and Sue Hill Knowledge & Information Management Salary Survey.

We are living in uncertain times. And these uncertain times will definitely have an impact upon jobs, but in a positive or negative way? I can’t say. But I do know that we need to be future-proofing our skill sets to keep our employability levels high and to keep us in demand.

The World Economic Forum reports that the skills most in demand in 2020 will include complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, emotional intelligence, decision making, service orientation and negotiation – all of which easily fit under the heading of ‘Soft/Transferable Skills’. These skills are seen as the very core of employability – those qualities which make you a confident, competent, credible and collaborative team player. We mustn’t ignore the technical, hard skills which give the knowledge and information professional a real edge. Recently LinkedIn listed the top skills sought by employers as including statistical analysis and data mining, web architecture, information security and storage systems and management. Language ability is increasingly more important, although we are faced with the uncertainty of employment rights outside of the UK and impending trade deals will almost certainly shape the language classes of UK school children.

Specific jargon may change from sector to sector but the underlying theme to me is that people who understand how to find, capture, store, analyse, manage and provide access to information in all its forms… well, they are the people who are employable.

I hope that you find this guide insightful and I look forward to receiving your feedback. On behalf of TFPL and Sue Hill, I would like to thank the IRMS and their members for working in partnership with us and of course to everyone who has taken the time to input into this year’s salary survey.

Download the 2017 Salary Survey here!

Information Security in a Digital Age

Last year we implemented a new CRM system, Talent Rover. It’s now been one year since we went live and it’s working fantastically well. We continually review our processes and make incremental improvements each and every week. One of the key drivers when we chose a new software solution was to make significant improvements to our data security. Recruitment organisations, by the very nature of what our work entails, collect a huge amount of personal data about candidates and with so many cyber-security breaches being reported in the news, it only seems a matter of time before recruitment companies are targeted. One in four companies report a cyber breach each year. I wonder how many aren’t even aware that they have been breached? The implementation and ongoing review of our systems & processes has taken us on an interesting journey which has culminated in us achieving Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation and I hope to announce soon our compliance with ISO27001.

As part of our ISO9001:2008 certification we regularly audit our internal processes in order to ensure they meet the needs of our customers. What became clear from this was that whilst we had safeguards in place to secure our data, there was an opportunity to do more. The external threats have become greater and the legislative landscape has evolved (GDPR for example). These reviews coincided with a number of our key clients asking us to demonstrate our commitment to safeguarding data, which has lead us down the two paths of Cyber Essentials Plus and ISO27001.

Cyber Essentials is the UK government scheme aimed at promoting cyber security for businesses, it is mandatory for all suppliers to HM Government that process personal information have this in place. The Cyber Essentials plus scheme includes an external audit that independently tests organisations’ cyber resilience. You can learn more about Cyber Essentials here

Of course, Information Security is so much more than just a tech-orientated solution. When we started peeling back the layers and thinking about our entire information ecosystem, we felt there would be significant benefits to be gained from having an overarching management system to control potential risks and demonstrate to our customers that we take protecting their data very seriously. ISO27001 is the de-facto international standard for Information Security and is invaluable for monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving a company’s information security.

I look forward to being able to announce our compliance with the standard shortly. We hope that by taking these steps, our clients and candidates will continue to have (perhaps even an improved!) confidence in using us.

…and it’s goodbye from me!

With a heavy mixture of emotions I will be leaving TFPL this week after 17 years’ unbroken service. My journey as a Recruiter to the Knowledge & Information world began way back in 2000 when I joined Intelligent Resources, who then joined forces with TFPL and in time we came together with the Sue Hill team under the Progility umbrella.

Many relationships were formed that continue to this day both in terms of colleagues, candidates and clients.  The Information Officers, Knowledge Executives and Junior Researchers I was routinely meeting then are now in positions of seniority and it has been a joy to see many careers grow and flourish.

How times have changed!  Back in 2000 we had dial-up internet access and woe betide anyone who didn’t close down their internet connection – think of the bills. We also relied on the regular use of a fax machine and could almost set our clocks on a Friday afternoon when our contractors started to fax through their weekly timesheets and the machine would whirl up and rolls of paper would spill down from it. Of course we did have a recruitment database, so we didn’t have to rely entirely on our memory vaults! Saying that, I have amazed myself over the years for an ability to remember names and companies people work for.

So much has evolved within the information world. We witnessed whole teams of researchers be made redundant when their roles were outsourced. Skills have had to adapt to meet new demands and role responsibilities. The outsourcing/offshoring trend continued across other sectors and I have clear recollections of heated discussions amongst the information community about the perils of offshoring their roles.  So too with Knowledge Management, we have seen lots of evolution in this area. Through it all we have retained an excellent group of clients who have remained loyal to both TFPL and Sue Hill through the ups and downs in economic change.

Anne Leaving PictureI have regularly been asked why I have stuck with this job for so long. The answer is simple – the people. The current team here at TFPL and Sue Hill have all been tremendously supportive with my decision to move on – I will miss you. I  also take away fond memories of many people across the many networking groups we have supported. I remember the CIG soirees… we got to party in some awesome venues!  I also loved the challenge and good banter at the SLA Winter Warmer Quiz and of course, the Association that has been closest to my heart for many years – BIALL. My diary in June will be sadly empty now I no longer have BIALL conference to attend.

But, a desire to change and have new adventures comes to the best of us. The timing was, to put it simply, right, right now.  In the last year I presented at several seminars and one of the areas I touched on was about how to future proof yourself and so I have taken on board some of my own suggestions which include the need to be adaptable, the importance of networking and building relationships, as talking to people really can open doors to new challenges. Above all be open-minded, listen to new opportunities and embrace change.  I have done just that.   You really don’t know what is just around the corner.

So, all that leaves me to say is THANK YOU to all the clients, candidates, colleagues and overall fabulous people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting during my time here for your continued support and good humour.

TFPL wins place on UK public sector procurement framework

TFPL has been awarded a place on the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Framework RM3781 (Lot 6) for Multifunctional Devices, Managed Print and Content Services and Records and Information Management worth an estimated value of £35 million.

The CCS brings together policy, advice and direct buying; providing commercial services to the public sector and saving money for the taxpayer. Under Lot 6 of the RM3781 framework, TFPL will focus on the supply of records and information management services to central government and other public sector customers.

TFPL’s Managing Director, Chris Jones, said ‘I am delighted that we have been recognised as a supplier to the Government and have been awarded a place on Lot 6. Lot 6 is concerned with providing a Sensitivity Review Service for Government departments and other Public Sector bodies. This provides TFPL with a significant growth opportunity throughout the duration of the framework. I am also very pleased that the government’s commitment to increasing its usage of SME’s is demonstrated in our award.’

Suzanne Wheatley, TFPL’s Framework Account Manager said ‘This is an excellent opportunity for TFPL to build on our existing work with the public sector. We have a longstanding commitment to providing measurable value to our clients and a wealth of expertise in records and information management, our inclusion on the framework is testament to our knowledge of the sector and the hard work of the team.’

Lot 6 is a Sensitivity review service with options of a fully managed sensitivity review service or a triage service. It is designed to help with identifying material to transfer to The National Archives for release in the public domain. The scope includes; determining the sensitivity of a record, considering whether the exemptions support withholding sensitive information, determining whether records should be retained, closed or partially closed and provide a redaction service for a fully managed sensitive review service.

RM3781 runs through to October 2020, and enables Government Departments, Non-departmental public bodies, Local Authorities NHS trusts; Schools; Colleges; Universities and other public sector organisations across the UK to access services available on the framework.

The great mince pie challenge

mince pies
*Not an accurate representation of the testing area.

As the festive period approaches and generally most people start to wind down for a well-earned break, it’s that time of year when we take a moment in order to take stock on the important events of the year and the issues that matter. So here are our thoughts on the best mince pies available in the shops this Christmas.

For the record, I should point out that the outcome is as a result of meticulous research carried out by the TFPL and Sue Hill teams over the course of a number of weeks. We had a panel of judges, and some of us even got a bit too carried away pretending they were Mary Berry. We had categories for judging: pastry, filling and overall. This survey was not just cobbled together, oh no.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, of course, and it is a subjective matter of individual taste; but here are the right opinions:

3) Mr Kipling 7.5/10 Light sweet pastry, with just enough filling

2) Co-op 7.5/10 Substantial but sweet pastry, sweet tangy filling

1) Marks & Spencer. So they are not just any mince pies, they’re… 8.5/10 Smooth sophisticated, lovely pastry and a delicate filling

Trust us, avoid Asda’s version. Leave them for Rudolph.

We are obviously interested to hear your thoughts, so please add to the comments below.

If you have read this far, can I take this opportunity to thank all of the candidates and clients I have met and worked with this year, and wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Enjoy your mince pies!

How to conduct a training needs analysis

Maria Naylor from TFPL Learning explains the six steps to conducting a training needs analysis.

The transcript of the video is below:

Training needs analysis is used to identify new knowledge, skills and attitudes individuals, teams or departments require to meet their own and their organisations development needs.

So here are six simple waysto identify potential skill gaps:

1. List the roles within your team or department
To start with you need a list of the role types within your team or department. You want to simplify the process by grouping together similar roles, for example both a “Customer Service Officer” and “Customer Service Representative” would almost certainly require a very similar skill set.

2. List the skills needed for each role
Now that you’ve created a list of role types, the next step is to list the skills needed for each of these roles. What do the skills look like you may ask? They could be behavioural like “Listens to customer needs carefully to determine requirements” or they could be more Function Specific.

3. Create a survey
It’s ideal if you can find out all of the relevant skills a person has, not just those required for their current role. To do this, create a survey that makes it easy for people to respond. This essentially means you need to keep it short and to the point.

Survey Monkey is a great tool to do this as it will collate all the responses and help analyse the data.

4. Survey your workforce
With the survey designed, you are now ready to ask your workforce to respond to it. let them evaluate the current skill levels of their peers and estimate the skill level their group must reach in order to be successful. An added advantage of this inclusive approach is that it heightens employees’ awareness of their learning needs and helps break down any resistance to learning new skills.

5. Compile the results
If you can avoid it, don’t do this manually – there are plenty of free survey tools out there to choose from.

The results need to be compiled in two ways. For each person, you need to know what skills they have. For each skill, you need to know which people have it.

6. Analyse the data
You can now reap the rewards of your skills audit process. You can analyse:

•    The skill gaps in specific roles
•    Skill gaps within organisational groups
•    Potential successors for certain roles
•    The number of people who have critical skills
•    Future skill requirements

How to make training sticky…

I’m delighted to introduce the latest blog from our leadership expert Paul Dowding. This week he’s tackling the eternal question; “How do we make training stick?”

We all want a magic bullet that will transform learning into workplace change and improvement, create new behaviours and excellence, is there such a thing? There is no one single solution but if we understand how we can translate learning into practical change that’s a good start. From there we can look at the what.

Ideas about how learning translates into practical action have been around since the mid 1970s when James O. Prochaska defined his Transtheoretical model. This snappily named model describes the stages an individual goes through when turning ideas into new action or behaviour. (For the purposes of this piece we’ll call it ‘The Model’).

making training sticky

It is far too easy in our 21 century way to see change as yet another area of our life where we need to speed up, save time, get there quicker. There is a problem however.

The faster you attempt to change the less likely it is to stick.

Okay so a simple change such as ‘I’ll use honey on my cereal rather than sugar’, a simple substitution behaviour, can be achieved quickly, we can go through The Model almost instantaneously and make it stick if we have the commitment (a big ‘if’!).

Work based change is often more complex in a more complex environment:

  • ‘I’m going to get those reports in on time from now on’
  • ‘I’m going to be on time for every meeting’
  • ‘I’m going to stop getting so frustrated with people…’

These changes require a longer timescale. The three stages; Preparation, Action and Maintenance can be a long process requiring discipline to keep up the pressure and deliver actual, sustainable change.

It’s clearly not just time that is a determining factor on whether change is successful or not. Training and coaching have a big part to play in the delivery of lasting change if the training or coaching embodies The Model. The following groundrules bridge the space between training and actual change:

  1. Consciously accepting there is a problem…

Training and learning is the solution to a problem, a situation that needs to change or a different outcome that is desired.  Without conscious realisation that there is a problem in the first place (even if its, ‘I know I can do this better’) there can be no possibility of change.

  1. Devise the change you want to be…

If individuals generate their own alternative behaviours, approaches or attitudes they will have thought about it for themselves, weighed up the options and have exercised choice.  Having thought the change through comprehensively and then making a conscious decision to change helps overcome internal objections and builds determination.

  1. Repetition, repetition, repetition…

To behave differently, use a new approach or have a different attitude requires conscious thought day after day, reminding yourself of the change you want to be. Checking that you have delivered every day helps keep the commitment in front of mind.

Training should encourage the discipline of taking a planned, structured approach to change each day e.g.: taking time out each day to reflect on change achieved in practice at work.

  1. Broadcasting – get it out there…

Training should encourage learners not to be reticent about the change they want to be. Telling others helps firm up resolve and provides added incentive to deliver. Training can build in change motivation by helping individuals explore who would provide them with very honest and reliable feedback and reinforcement.

  1. Right first time?

Unlikely. Training can help individuals give themselves permission and build persistence to improve each opportunity / each day. New strategies take time to master but the early failures are where the nuances and choices are learned that make it possible to adjust appropriately to each situation.

Whilst the above may seem intellectually ‘bleeding obvious’ not all training and learning activities build this change success into their curriculum or their agendas.

What does this mean for training?

Training can easily incorporate all the 5 points above.  Whether the learning is self learning, coaching or training the simplest way to incorporate success is to ensure self exploration. The simplest version of this is questioning… not telling.

There are times when to ask rather than just tell is a waste of time and the benefits of exploring are minimal. If an individual needs ‘data’ then either tell them or enable them to be self sufficient by knowing how to go about finding it.  If the subject is very simple then telling saves time for exploring subjects difficult to explore alone. However one of the areas of change that people find hardest is around social / personal interaction.

Training can incorporate each stage of The Model if trainers and coaches (that includes all leaders of course) deploy the straightforward approach of questioning. Questioning places the emphasis on the learner to think for themselves. The questioner becomes a catalyst enabling the individual to transform themselves. So how does questioning work in the context of each stage of The Model?

Questioning can be deployed at each stage to enable the individual to:

  • Identify and define the problem.
  • Define and scope the practical change needed.
  • Explore the blocks, mental and otherwise, that may get in the way.
  • Identify new behaviours, approaches and attitudes
  • Help the individual identify whether or not they have the will to make the change real e.g:
    • ‘When have you achieved a significant change before?’
    • ‘When did you overcome barriers like this before?’
    • ‘How did you do it then?’
    • ‘What help did you need?’
  • Explore strategies to prevent back sliding

The process of change is a psychological as well as practical one, the move from consciously skilled to unconsciously skilled the ultimate goal. If training only generates an intellectual response such as:  ‘I can see that arriving late for meetings isn’t ideal’ then change is less likely to happen or stick.

There has to be an emotional engagement / realisation as well as an intellectual one: ‘I know that being late for meetings will hurt my reputation.’ Or  ‘I know that when I get frustrated with people they get anxious…’. That emotional element often more often than not provides the drive and energy to change.

Practical actions such as ‘planning in contingency time for report writing’ can only work if there is a psychological will to stick to it. Some call it discipline.

So how to make training (and coaching) sticky?

‘Fast is good’ is a modern mantra. It can result in greater productivity, pace of delivery, satisfied customers internal and external, reduced costs etc. There are some things that cannot / should not be rushed. Personal change is one of them. Training has to provide the space for individuals to fully understand The Model and develop the skills and thinking to take them through it to change.

If you’d like to discuss your leadership and management training needs, or find out more about how Paul could help your business, contact the TFPL Learning team on 020 7378 7068 or can read Paul’s full biography on our Trainer’s page or see his website for more information.

Sue Hill and TFPL Salary Survey 2016-17

2016 has been quite an eventful year so far and early indications are that 2017 will bring more of the same. It’s an interesting time to be releasing a salary survey, poised as we are on the brink of what will probably be some major changes to the UK economy in the post-Brexit world. With so much uncertainty in the air, it will be the knowledge and information professionals we’ll turn to for answers.

Once again, our salary survey covers information-related roles across all sectors and enables salary bench-marking by discipline and location as well as sector. We’ve made a few improvements since last year in response to your feedback – please let us know what you think by emailing

Download the 2016-17 salary survey here!

Why book in-house training?

TFPL Learning’s Mary Bloss explains why sometimes, in-house training has significant benefits over public courses.

The transcript is below:

The Top 4 benefits of in-house training…

Number 1 –Cost Effective. If there are 3 or more people who require the same training in your company, it’s more cost effective to bring the training in-house, as prices are calculated on a per-day basis rather than per person. You’ll also save on the travel and accommodation costs of getting everyone to the training centre.

Number 2 – Customised – With in-house training the course content can be tweaked to suit your requirements. You work with expert trainers to design a bespoke course to meet company-specific goals and create tangible business outcomes. Delegates will be able to work on relevant examples which relate to their roles, rather than generic examples.

Number 3 – Convenience – Organising training for a group of individuals with their own timetables and responsibilities can be a very difficult task. Running a course in-house means that you can choose a time, location and pace to suit you and your colleagues. You have the freedom to choose whether it’s a half-day workshop, two full days or a selection of bite-size sessions to suit your working schedules.

Number 4 – Team building – Regardless of whether everyone’s in the same team or from different departments, bringing them together for a training day is a great way to encourage team building. They learn to work with each other and it can help to create an increased awareness and understanding of other’s roles as well as boost staff morale.

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ILX-Recruitment Suehill