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Ascendant Recruitment – celebrating 15 years in business!

Posted on: 04 Apr 2018, admin

I hope you all had a great Easter break!  I wanted to take some time to write the latest Ascendant Recruitment blog post as we’ve hit a huge landmark – 15 successful years in business.  The official date was actually 3rd March (I set the business up on 03.03.03 so I’d always remember the date!). However, our plans were scuppered by the ‘Beast from the East’ and the team had to pull out all the stops to make sure our temporary teams were able to make their placements.  There was also the little matter of my recent holiday so we’ve decided to put our proper plans to celebrate on hold! I wanted the focus of this blog to be around what I’ve learned in business over the last 15 years.  Lots has changed in business over the past 15 years - I started Ascendant Recruitment before everyone had smart phones and Facebook – imagine that!  I’ve personally learned a lot throughout the years and wanted to share 15 things I’ve learned in 15 years.  Here goes. 1.  Invest in yourself When you run your own business, there is no training department, appraisal system or boss to breathe down your neck! You need to constantly push yourself.  Make the time to take courses, find people you can learn from and who will inspire you and if you can afford it, hire a business coach to help you take your business to the next level. 2.  Cash really is king You need to be really good at credit control. You may be the most talented person in your field, but if you don’t have good cash flow, your business will fail.  This article shows that 90% of small businesses fail because of cash flow. 3.  Be clear on what you stand for Ascendant Recruitment is deliberately different, and we pride ourselves on providing an excellent service to businesses in our local area.  I have built this reputation up in Milton Keynes and Northampton alongside the excellent team I have working with me and to be successful you need to recruit people who buy into your vision. 4.  Surround yourself with the best people you can find I have a great team of consultants and support staff at Ascendant Recruitment – you can learn more about them on our website. 5.  If you can’t change your people, change your people This is a great quote by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great.  What Jim is saying is, try to develop your people to embrace your vision and goals, but if you have to admit defeat then you’ll need to change the person by replacing them.  When I’m recruiting within my own team, I’m really clear about my business goals and I’ve been really lucky to have been able to recruit a team that really ‘get’ where Ascendant Recruitment is going. 6.  Selling = listening It’s true; you have 2 ears and 1 mouth! Listening is a very hard skill believe it or not. Pay attention to the choice of words that somebody uses and their body language. Not what you’ve got to tell them next! 7.  Be obsessive about what your customers say This goes back to the earlier point. Customers are such a wealth of information – fail to listen to what they’ve got to say is the worst mistake you can make in business. 8.  Remember it’s a marathon.  Not a sprint Some of the biggest companies started out being based in people’s homes (Apple, Disney, Google). Author JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series was turned down multiple times.  You won’t achieve overnight success but if you have a strong plan, pace yourself by setting some realistic goals and keep going, you’ll get there (but only if you’ve sorted out your cash flow!) 9.  Remember you can do anything but not everything Make sure you’re using your time as wisely as possible. If you’re a great salesperson but rubbish at administration, get out there and sell and outsource your admin! If you can’t afford to pay somebody full time then consider a virtual assistant.  Find somebody through the Society of Virtual Assistants website. 10.  Make sure you have at least 1 win everyday If you’ve got your plan and set yourself a daily goal, make sure you strive to achieve something every day.  Sometimes, my win is to secure a new client, sometimes it might be something personal, like leaving the office on time. 11.  Not all business is good business It’s really hard to turn business away when it’s your own company. But if a client or candidate doesn’t fit in with your values as a business, then it’s better in the long run to turn away and let them be a bad customer for somebody else. 12.  Build a business that you want This goes back to the point about knowing your values and the type of company you want to be.  You need to be profitable and deliver a service that the market wants but be true to yourself and passionate about the business that you’re running – this will lead to success. 13.  Beware of toxic people There have been many times in the last 15 years that I’ve met someone, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what didn’t feel right about them. Generally, they had their own self-interests to serve so try to avoid these people! If somebody wants you to do something for nothing, then they won’t value what you’ve got to give – trust your instincts! 14.  Get a coach I mentioned this earlier. Not everybody can afford it, but as a business owner, it’s really tough without a boss to guide you. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes is a good thing for your business – there could be an easy win that you can’t see because you’re too close to it.  If a coach is unaffordable, try to find an accountability buddy – somebody who can spur you on to achieve more who perhaps works in the same sector but in a different location.  Make sure you use an accountant who can give you good business advice.  And don’t forget Linked In – find someone who has been there and done it and ask for their help. Lots of business  owners, if approached politely will be generous with their time. 15.  Every setback is an opportunity I’m incredibly passionate about setbacks being an opportunity for greater things.  As the old saying by Churchill goes: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.”  In business, there will be things that knock you down. In my second month of trading, my main client went bust and owed me £5,000.  It put me in a really difficult position (note again the point about cash flow). But I used it as an opportunity to do more and do better next time.  And 15 years later, I’m still learning these lessons but I’m still here! If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, we’d love to send you our regular updates – subscribe to the blog here to find out the latest news and views from the Ascendant Recruitment team. We are a growing team – if you’re interested in a role as a consultant in our Northampton or Milton Keynes office, please drop us a line at info@ascendantrecruitment.co.uk.  We’re looking for full time and part time roles and are offering a £1,000 incentive! Best wishes Nick Peacock Managing Director Ascendant Recruitment

 

Estelle- Temp of the month for Northampton

Posted on: 26 Mar 2018, admin

Congratulations Estelle! For her exceptional hard work, she’s won Northampton’s temp of the month and received a £20 voucher! Estelle is in the middle with her managers Patricia (left) and Abby (right) Estelle has kindly given Shaun Rickard, our consultant some gifts to say thank you!

 

Don’t let social media ruin your career!

Posted on: 20 Mar 2018, admin

BBC Radio 1 are featuring stories from people who have had their career ruined by social media posts in their ‘Life Hacks’ show.  The stories vary from people who have hobbies that an employer may raise an eyebrow at, have joined a group that maybe they shouldn’t and even lost their job by doing something a bit silly at work!  You can view the stories here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p061n6l3 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p061n11t We all know that social media is here to stay.  It’s a big part of everybody’s lives – but more so for some more than others.  Although it may seem quite harmless to post updates about everything you do, at Ascendant Recruitment we have a few top tips that may be helpful to make sure your potential – or current – employer won’t see anything you don’t want them to see! 1.  Privacy settings Our advice is to make sure you set your privacy settings to an appropriate level.  If you don’t want to risk colleagues or employers seeing your social media, go in to the settings and limit who can see your post only to connections. 2.  Restrict who you connect with Some people see social media as a ‘numbers’ game and want as many fans and followers as possible.  If you think your employers or colleagues may have an issue with what you post then don’t allow them to follow you on social media.  It’s fine to say: “I like to keep my social media separate from work.” 3.  Use a Linked In profile This should be where you showcase your professional self on social media – so make sure you have a profile shot that’s appropriate for the industry you work in (or want to work in).  Our advice is to have a photograph of you as you would appear at work – not from a night out!  Make sure your details are up to date and accurately reflect the skills and experience you have. 4.  Think about it! Stop and think before you post. It’s so easy to take a quick selfie or video and post it up without considering the impact it may have on your career. 5.  Be informed Speak to your boss or HR department and review the terms of your contract as there may be some guidance in there about what is appropriate and what isn’t. If you have any concerns about your social media profiles and the impact it may have on you finding your dream job, then get in touch with the Ascendant Recruitment team and we can discuss this with you. Please call 01908 200270 (Milton Keynes) or 01604 439380 (Northampton) or email info@ascendantrecruitment.co.uk

 

How to Write a Curriculum Vitae For Temporary Jobs

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Applying for temporary roles is a slightly different process than applying for a permanent position, and will require an alternative approach. A temporary role may have far more specific requirements than a permanent job – where an employee will be given more opportunity to develop – and decisions as to who to accept for a temporary role can be made on a narrower set of criteria. This is why it’s important to make sure that your Curriculum Vitae (CV) is geared up for temporary as opposed to permanent work – here are a few tips on how to do it: 1. Organise your CV. There is little point in submitting a ten page document for a temporary position, as the recruiter is unlikely to make it past the first page. Your CV needs to be concise and filled with relevant information. Relevant is defined as demonstrating skills and abilities that the temporary role demands. Limit it to two pages and don’t include anything that isn’t relevant for the role you’re applying for. 2. Don’t list employment agencies. When listing your relevant employment experience, you should always list the employer, rather than the employment agency that you worked for. Listing the agency doesn’t give any information about the specific position and if you worked for the same agency numerous times there will be little on your CV to show the real range of your experience. 3. Tailor your CV content. There can be a temptation with a CV for temporary roles to throw everything onto it – and if you have been temping for a while then you probably have a lot of different jobs to include. Try to avoid listing everything in your CV, the important bits (read relevant) could be missed in the mass of information. Recruitment Consultants, the normal gatekeepers to temporary work, are inundated with up to 200 CV’s a day, they will not spend time trying to find a needle in a haystack. A recent survey of Consultants concluded they spend two to five seconds glimpsing at a CV before deciding whether to read on! If you have a lot of experience try grouping it by sector, employer, or roles. Alternatively, only include those positions that best demonstrate your aptitude for the current job, or that demonstrate the skill set required for this position. 4. Make it personal. Nowadays, even in the temporary market employers will be looking for an applicant that fits their ethos because temporaries are viewed as potential permanent recruits. To be prepared, include your achievements from previous roles, any overall career objectives that you have and the qualities that you feel make you exactly right for their position. This will give your CV more personality and help you stand out from the other applicants. Preparing a temporary CV should take just as much time and attention as for a permanent role. A great temporary position can be a confidence builder, can give your career a real boost and might be a leg up into a new and exciting permanent position. For more career tips, visit the Ascendant Recruitment blog today.  

 

Milton Keynes is growing. And here’s why!

Posted on: 19 Feb 2018, admin

2017 was a big year for Milton Keynes. As well as turning 50, recent research has revealed the area saw a 53% rise in jobs compared with the same period in 2016. This unprecedented growth easily surpassed the national average of 25% and got us thinking; why is Milton Keynes expanding at such a rapid rate? We’ve had a dig around and found some statistics that show why new start-ups, SMEs and large established businesses alike are flocking to the local area, helping Milton Keynes become one of the fastest growing areas in the UK.   Population The jobs market is not the only area where Milton Keynes is rapidly expanding; the population is also growing too. When Milton Keynes was established in 1967, it was home to just 60,000 people. By 2015, that number had swelled to over 261,000 residents, with the population increasing by over 17% between 2005 and 2015 alone. In addition, MK has the highest concentration of new build properties outside London. This means there is a high demand for housing, making the area extremely attractive to developers. Areas of growth are an extremely strong draw for businesses because they provide something which every company needs to thrive; a skilled workforce.   Skilled Workforce With over 55% of employees being educated to A-level standard or higher, a large number of young people enrolled on vocational training courses and one of the most productive workforces in the country, it’s easy to see why businesses are looking to move to Milton Keynes. The area has a high proportion of small and medium-sized businesses working within the high tech and digital arenas and is also handily placed to attract graduates from the universities in Cranfield, Oxford and Cambridge. The fact that businesses have the confidence to relocate or start up here is testament to the forward-thinking, entrepreneurial spirit pervading the local area.   Accessibility People often poke fun at Milton Keynes because of the vast number of roundabouts dotted across the area, but this innovative road system means MK is extremely easy to navigate, with one of the shortest commute times in Europe. Many of the access roads are dual carriageways, meaning traffic is largely free-flowing. As a result, there are fewer bottlenecks and traffic jams, which means less stressful commutes for all concerned! Work is currently underway on ambitious expansion plans, which includes 10,000 new homes and carefully planned commercial business space, helping MK keep up with cities worldwide.   Location In addition to great accessibility, Milton Keynes is also handily located for Birmingham, London and the South East. The M1 connects it to the national motorway network and a high-speed rail link means you can be in the capital in around half an hour. For international travellers, there are a host of airports nearby, including Luton, Heathrow and East Midlands. With 7.5 million people living within a one hour drive of Milton Keynes, it’s the perfect place to be if you’re looking to be close to a huge potential customer base.   The last few years have seen great growth across Milton Keynes and the future is looking bright too! With a predominantly youthful population (half of all people in Milton Keynes are aged under 35) and ambitious growth plans, including 10,000 new homes and business development areas, the exciting times seem set to continue. If you’d like more information or details about everything Milton Keynes-related, please visit http://www.investmiltonkeynes.co.uk/.

Check out January’s Temp of the Month winner!

Posted on: 12 Feb 2018, admin

Congratulations to Dominic Muir, the latest winner of our Temp of the Month award. He was nominated by Fiona Hodgkin, who’s been incredibly impressed with Dominic’s hard work and accurate approach. Fiona said: “Dominic was hired as a temp to extract data and enter it on a spreadsheet for us. Dominic anticipated and carried out the relevant checks unprompted, producing basic data to an extraordinary level of accuracy. His willingness to take up a challenge and see a project through to accurate completion is exemplary. He works well on his own and asks relevant, carefully thought-through questions to complete his tasks. He has been given more work of a similar nature and tackled it with relish. To say Dominic ‘goes the extra mile’ would be an understatement: we’d heartily recommend him as your Temp of the Month.” Dominic receives an Amazon voucher and our thanks for all his hard work. We caught up with him to find out how he feels about the award.   How do you feel about winning temp of the month? Winning temp of the month has made me feel really valued by my team. I’m glad my employers believe I’m doing a good job. What do you like about the company you’re working for? There is a great atmosphere here. The staff are always really friendly and professional and I’ve been made to feel very welcome. What do you enjoy about your current role? My current role as a Project Data Executive is really interesting and challenging. Although the work can be repetitive at times, the managers do their best to keep the role varied and stimulating. How would you describe your experience of temping with Ascendant Recruitment? Temping with Ascendant Recruitment gives me the reassurance of being placed in professional organisations. The friendly team are very efficient and always happy to help. How will you spend your Amazon voucher? On something techy. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.   Well done Dominic. If you’re immediately available and want to find out more about our current temporary opportunities, please call 01908 200270 (Milton Keynes) or 01604 439380 (Northampton) or email your CV to info@ascendantrecruitment.co.uk Photo: L-R, James Cooke, Dominic Muir, Fiona Hodgkin

7 signs you should look for a new job in 2018

Posted on: 04 Jan 2018, admin

With Christmas done and the New Year celebrations out of the way, now is the time for reflection as we look back on the past year and make our plans for 2018. One of the most common resolutions people make during this period is to find a new job. It will come as no surprise that January is one of the busiest times for recruitment companies as people take the first steps towards finding their dream job. If you’re not sure whether it’s time to move on, here are some questions to ask yourself: Do you dread Monday mornings? Of course, we all enjoy the freedom of our weekends, but if you go to bed every Sunday evening with a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach, you’re probably working in the wrong place. Are you learning new things? Money is very rarely the only factor that plays a part in someone’s decision to stay in a role or accept a new one.  Studies show that employees (particularly Millennials) place training and development high on their agenda. If your role isn’t challenging you anymore and you’re starting to feel bored, it might be time to move on… Do you feel appreciated? One of the most common reasons people decide to move to new pastures is simply because they don’t feel valued. Does your boss let you know when you’ve done a good job? Do they listen to your opinion? Are they sharing pertinent company information with you? Does your employer offer you flexibility when you need it? Are you fairly compensated financially for the job that you do? If you’re answering no to the above questions, it’s not surprising that your motivation has dipped and you could be much happier working for a company who values you. Are you being made promises that haven’t been kept? Another key factor that drives employees to leave are broken promises. Typically these include promotions, additional training, a pay increase and new responsibilities. If you’ve been made promises that never materialise, it’s likely you’ve started to lose trust in your employer and your energies are likely to be better spent with a company who follows through and takes action. Do you feel like you’re making a difference? A key motivator for many people at work is being able to see the difference that their contribution is making and knowing that they are adding value. If you’re starting to question the purpose of your role or indeed the values of the company you’re working for, it’s probably time to look for something more meaningful. Does your team hold similar values? Cultural fit can play an extremely important part in our happiness at work. Do your colleagues have a similar work ethic to you? If not it could potentially lead to frustration and resentment if you feel that you’re doing more than your fair share compared with other members of the team. If this is the case it might be better to look for a role within a more like-minded company. Does your company offer the opportunities you want? In many cases, people decide to move on because they want to progress further and there are no more opportunities to do so. If you’re hoping to progress and you still like your company, it’s a good idea to look at other opportunities within the business that could allow you to expand your skill set. If not, then it’s probably time to continue your growth elsewhere. There are many things to think about when you’re trying to decide whether to leave your current role. These questions are certainly a good place to start and should help you realise what’s missing from your current role and what’s going to be important to you in your next company. You can then focus your energies on finding your perfect job in 2018. If you do decide the time is right to move on, it’s worth downloading our free guide ‘5 Simple Steps to Guarantee More Job Interviews.’    

Win a CV Makeover and £50 towards your office wardrobe!

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Returning to work after the festive period is never easy, especially if you’re in a job you hate. January is traditionally one of the most popular times of year for jobseekers and competition is fierce. To stand a fighting chance of getting an interview, you need a CV that does you justice (having a trusted recruitment consultancy working on your behalf can work wonders too!). We know the difference a good CV can make in securing an interview so we’re offering one lucky person the chance to win a CV makeover. Plus we’ll throw in a £50 voucher towards an office outfit to help you feel your best at interview! To enter, simply click here and complete the short form. We’ll draw a winner at random at midday on Friday 12th January. Good luck!

Help a friend and earn £100 with our Refer and Earn Scheme

Posted on: 08 Dec 2017, admin

Do you know someone who deserves a new opportunity? They could be a friend, a member of your family or someone you used to work with. If so, introduce them to us and when we place them in a role, we'll pay you £100 to say thank you as part of our Refer and Earn scheme. Here's a photo of Daniel Fortune (left), with Recruitment Consultant Shaun Rickard.  After we found Daniel  a new job in July, he recommended his friend to us and we helped him find a new role too.  Daniel's friend has a great new job and Daniel has earned himself an extra £100 with our Refer and Earn scheme so they are both delighted! If you'd like to find out more about how you can earn £100 with our Refer and Earn scheme, click here.

Five rags-to-riches stories that will inspire you

Posted on: 13 Nov 2017, admin

Job hunting can be fraught with difficulties and pitfalls. All of us face rejection and disappointment at some point during our careers and it can often be difficult to pick yourself up and carry on after a negative experience. If you’re feeling demotivated and demoralised with the way your job search is progressing, then this blog is for you! We’ve taken a look at some of the world’s most successful businesspeople from a broad range of industries and discovered that many of them had a tough start in life. From growing up in poverty to escaping genocide, these five successful entrepreneurs have shown plenty of grit, determination and spirit to make it to the top. So read on and take heart from the background stories of these impressive individuals!   JK Rowling With book sales totalling over 400 million, an avid fan base of readers and an estimated fortune of around £650m, life is pretty sweet for the Harry Potter novelist. However, things were not always so rosy. Shortly after starting work on the first Harry Potter book, Rowling was unemployed and living in a flat in Edinburgh with her infant daughter, her marriage having broken down. Surviving on benefits, she would frequent local cafes and write whilst her daughter slept in her pram. The book was initially rejected by twelve publishers before being released in 1997 with an initial run of 1,000 copies. By the time Rowling released the final book in the series in 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it sold 11 million copies in its first 24 hours, becoming the fastest-selling book of all time. From those initial early struggles, Rowling has since transformed Harry Potter into a global phenomenon worth £11 billion pounds!   George Soros Regarded as one of the world’s most successful investors, George Soros is also a renowned businessman, philanthropist and author with an estimated worth of £18.5 billion. Between 1979 and 2017, he donated over £8 billion to initiatives to tackle poverty and improve education around the world and played a key role in bringing capitalism to communist Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. If that represents a life of incredible achievements, his early years were, if anything, even more remarkable. In 1944, the 13-year-old Soros was living in Hungary when the Nazis invaded. After Soros was asked to distribute documents by the Germans, his father recognised them as deportation notices and told Soros to deliver them but advise the people not to report to the meeting points. Thanks to the quick-thinking of his father, Soros and many other Hungarian-Jewish families were saved and survived the war. Soros moved to England in 1947, where he worked as a railway porter and waiter whilst studying at the London School of Economics. After graduating, he wrote to the MD of every merchant bank in London before finally securing an entry-level position in the industry that would help him make his fortune.   Ingvar Kamprad His name may not be as instantly recognisable as others on this list, but Ingvar Kamprad went from an inauspicious upbringing on a farm in rural Sweden to founding IKEA, one of the largest retailers on the planet. Business-minded from an early age, Kamprad would buy matches in bulk then sell them to neighbours individually, making a tidy profit. After also dabbling in fish, seeds, Christmas trees and pencils, Kamprad started IKEA with money he received from his father for attaining good grades. Initially selling furniture by mail order, Kamprad eventually expanded his business empire which now boasts 389 stores in 48 countries, giving him a net worth of around £37 billion. Despite this incredible wealth, Kamprad remains incredibly humble. He drives a second-hand car, flies economy class and never stays in expensive hotels. This frugal approach is reflected in his business philosophy of cost control, which allows IKEA to reduce prices and remain competitive.   Ursula Burns These days, Manhattan’s Lower East Side is home to boutique stores, upscale restaurants and expensive apartments. When Ursula Burns was growing up there in the 1960s, it was blighted by crime, poverty, drug dealers and derelict buildings. Against this backdrop of deprivation, Burns was raised by her single mother, who babysat and did laundry so she could afford to send her child to a good school. After obtaining a Masters’ degree in Mechanical Engineering, Burns started working for Xerox in 1981. By 1999, she had risen to the position of vice president for global manufacturing, becoming president in 2007. In July 2009, she became the first African-American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company when she was appointed CEO. Burns is one of the founding members of ‘Change the Equation’, an organisation dedicated to improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in the United States, with a particular focus on helping minorities and women gain access to these fields. In a recent interview, Burns attributes her success to her mother’s support. Despite growing up in poverty, her mother always reminded her, “where you are doesn’t define who you are.” Wise words indeed.   Oprah Winfrey Fronting one of the most popular television programmes in history, receiving honorary degrees from Duke and Harvard, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and launching her own production company are just a few reasons why Oprah Winfrey is often cited as the most influential woman in the world. These impressive achievements are all the more incredible when you consider Winfrey’s early years. Born to an unmarried teenage mother, she spent her first six years living in such poverty, she often had to wear dresses made of potato sacks. After enduring sexual abuse and the death of her prematurely-born son when she was 14, Winfrey was eventually sent to live with her father in Tennessee. He was strict, but encouraged his daughter to make education her priority. She won a scholarship to university and started her media career as a TV news anchor before hosting The Oprah Winfrey Show for the first time in 1986. It ran for the next 25 years, achieving viewing figures of up to 20 million viewers a day at its peak. In addition, Winfrey has diversified into other areas of the media including film, publishing and radio, amassing a fortune of £2.3 billion along the way.   Hopefully these rags-to-riches stories will inspire and motivate you during your job search. It’s very easy to feel downbeat and discouraged during a job hunt, especially if you’re not hearing back from applications or missing out at the interview stage. So take inspiration from these people, who had to overcome various obstacles to pursue their dreams and become successful. It takes determination, a will to succeed and a never-say-die attitude to get what you want, so take heart and keep going!