Zookel Blog: News & Views

Do you share too much Online?

Interests: Drinking & getting naked.

Perhaps successful interests (as listed on Facebook) when it comes to attracting a new partner, but less likely to be when you’re applying for a role within a professional leadership organisation as was the case with the above.

With interviewers increasingly turning Internet detective to find out what jobseekers say about themselves on social networking websites, it’s more important than ever to consider what your social profile looks like.

To emphasize the point let’s look at the lessons learnt from the recent run of horror stories:

  1. Cisco Fatty. Lesson: Criticizing your current (or indeed your previous or future) boss or company is unlikely to be a good idea but is likely to come back to bite you.
  2. Sickie Email (or more recently Swiss Sacking). Lesson: Your social network is likely to be more visible than you realise. Whilst boring its well worth managing your public settings and thinking about who you’re connected to and why. Also don’t be plain stupid (as in the case of Sickie Email).
  3. Oxford students. Lesson: Incriminating pictures have the shelf life of nuclear waste.
  4. VP of PR. Lesson: Think before you post.
  5. Interests Drinking & Getting Naked*. Lesson: Listing details of your very personal interests or romantic life is rarely a good idea.

Despite the horror stories above I firmly believe that Social Networks are (and will be) a vital tool for jobseekers (indeed it’s one of the reasons we created Zookel). Like any new technology however we sometimes need to step back and learn the rules and our personal parameters in order to gain the greatest benefit.

As always good luck with the job hunt, and please feel free to drop us a note if we can help.

Paul & Team Zookel

*Note – no link provided to Interests Drinking & Getting Naked as this story was shared in confidence.

What can we learn from Graham Edwards?

For those of you who haven’t heard Graham Edwards is the graphics worker who recently offered to pay £2000 to charity in order to secure a new job.

We’ve often talked about the need to stand out differentially, something I personally believe is always critical, but perhaps even more so in a down economy. Whilst Graham’s approach to this is clearly in the extreme and definitely not for everyone I admire it for a number of reasons:

  • It was somewhat philanthropic in that the £2000 went to charity rather than to the future employer.
  • It was structured smartly with £1000 going to charity up front and £1000 after Graham had passed his probation period.
  • By being willing to risk his own money (or putting his money where his mouth is so to speak) Graham showed great confidence in his ability to deliver – something almost 100% of employers looks for when hiring.
  • Perhaps more than anything it was proof that no matter what the prevailing economic environment thinking outside the box, and striving to stand out can help.

Now, I’m not suggesting that jobseekers everywhere should go and raid their savings to further their career. I am however continuing my push for jobseekers to be creative, and to look to differentiate themselves when searching.

Of course I’m slightly biased but I’d argue that one good way for jobseekers to differentiate themselves quickly and simply is to set-up a Zookel profile. Granted it won’t get the same press coverage as offering £2000, but with psychometric tests, video CV’s, personal recommendations, and more it may just help you show you’ve got what it takes to succeed.

As always we’d love to hear your feedback not only on this post, but on the site itself. And of course good luck on the job hunt!

Paul & Team Zookel

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The employment landscape and how can you thrive in it?

When it comes to unemployment forecasts, it’s difficult to know who – or what – to believe.

Just take a look at the data:

  • In July 2008, the OECD was predicting a 100,000 rise in UK unemployment over the course of 2009 and 2010.
  • Two months later, the CBI forecast an unemployment surge of 450,000 by the end of 2009, meaning that over two million people would be looking for work by Christmas.
  • And just as we were digesting this news, the Institute for Public Policy Research painted an even bleaker picture, stating that unemployment would exceed three million during 2009.

Who’s right, who should we believe, more importantly what can you do as a job seeker to thrive in these uncertain times? None of us can influence the future or the economic landscape around us; instead I believe it’s time to focus on YOU.

Here are my top five tips:

  1. Stand out. With increased competition its critical you stand out to potential employers. How – you could use Zookel’s your career focus profile and video CV to show why you’re a great candidate, work for free for a week to prove yourself, or use blogs and forums to build your personal brand.
  2. Network, network, network. The people in your network know your skills, strengths and ambitions. So whether it’s your former colleagues on LinkedIn or friends and family on Facebook, why not use this to your advantage?
  3. Look for pockets of positivity. New funding = new jobs, so it’s worth assessing whether you can transfer your skills to a growth sector you haven’t considered before. For example could your skills transfer to the charities sector where the government has recently announced £42.5 mil in new funding?
  4. Update your skills and knowledge. Now’s the time to ensure your skills and knowledge are completely up to date. Whether it’s attending conferences and webinars, or enrolling in longer term University or College courses, the key is: know your area and stay in the loop!
  5. Be prepared. You’ve found the perfect role and got an interview, so don’t blow it by not being prepared. Find out as much about the company as possible. Review official reports (like the ones on Zookel), the company website, and news aggregators like socialmedian In short, do whatever you can to ensure that you’re ready to shine at the interview.

In my view, the current economic conditions and the Web 2.0 revolution mean the ‘traditional’ job search is dead.

You need to do more than write a CV, send it out, sit back and wait for a call. You have to work as hard to get a job as you will once you’ve got it.

So be proactive, use all the tools at your disposal and put yourself at the front of the pack and good luck!

Paul & Team Zookel

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We have a Winner!

We’re always working so when the winner of our first Zookel competition asked if we could meet him on a Saturday to hand over the MacBook Air he’d won, we were only to happy to get out of the office.

Zookel Competition Winner - Jan 09

Zookel Competition Winner - Jan 09

The Apple store in London was the scene and the winner – Scott – was happy to have a happy snap taken for prosperity. On collecting his prize Scott also shared why he joined (and actively uses) Zookel – ‘the idea of a web 2.0 CV really appeals to me, and with increasing competition for roles I like being able to stand out from the crowd by using the career focus profile and video CV’.

We’re excited for Scott – but selfishly we’re probably even more excited that the benefits we envisaged for jobseekers when we started Zookel are starting to be seen.

For our Zookel members that didn’t win, we will have some exciting new competitions coming up in the next few weeks just for you. And for any jobseekers who have yet to take advantage of the benefits of Zookel (incl. 6000 new jobs added in the last month) – kick start your job search by joining now and you will go into the draw for a great new 3G iPhone.

Paul & Team Zookel

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We’re a month old! And what a month it’s been!

paul-duggan-twitter-image1We first took the covers off Zookel’s public beta a little over a month ago, with the goal of changing the face of online recruitment.

Whilst there’s certainly a long way to go before we can declare our success, as a team (and indeed personally) we couldn’t be happier with our progress.

Our highlights:

Keep tuned our plan is to continue to use this blog as a way of updating our users, clients, and supporters of our progress.

It’s a fair question?

Since we moved into public beta in mid December one of the recurring questions I’ve been asked is – ‘why launch a recruitment site in an economic downturn’.

When we first started developing Zookel in May 08, there were signs that we were potentially heading towards a downturn, so it’s a very valid question.

So, why did we continue to invest and launch Zookel rather than wait? The simple reason is that during this downturn (and the ongoing war for talent) the benefits of a site that can improve the process for applicants competing for roles, and for recruiters seeking to identify the best candidates are clearer than ever.

We’re confident that Zookel is starting to deliver real change for our users and recruiters. We hope you share our enthusiasm! And if you haven’t yet checked Zookel out – click here to see the progress we’ve made.

Paul & Team Zookel

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