Exciting Scottish Job Opportunities in the Digital Sector The modern, digital world holds a wealth of employment potential in today’s job market and that applies wherever you are in United Kingdom and particularly, in Scotland. With flexible, remote working possible across Virtual Private Networks and software collaboration an increasingly utilised resource for digital companies, the geographical divide between the North and South of the UK has significantly blurred in recent years. Tech Careers Scotland currently represents something of a hotbed in the tech sector, one that is expanding faster and faster as the days pass. This expansion is driving a requirement for new talent in the industry, which is in ideally needs to come from the scottish workforce. Those who may not have considered joining the industry before, should at least consider a career in the tech sector as it offers some really exciting opportunities. Some of the world’s largest companies from the tech industry call Scotland their home. Companies like FanDuel and SkyScanner have major offices located in Edinburgh and Glasgow and each generates Billions of pounds every year in revenue. That’s not all, as major corporations like Amazon and Microsoft operate huge tech facilities in Scotland. As the industry continues its inexorable rise, more and more of Scotland’s workforce will be required to fill the many associated IT Jobs  that it contains. The prognosis over the next 5 years, is that there will be almost 13,000 new jobs created in the sector each and every year. The opportunities are there to those who have the drive to take them. Landscape of Opportunity The roles being created in the sector are as varied as they are numerous and the appeal to a range of different skill sets. From data analysts to graphic artists and a raft of associated jobs in between, there is a real pioneering feel to the industry. When we talk about a wealth of opportunity, it is not an exaggeration, as the demand is currently outstripping the supply, with many tech companies having a hard time filling all the available positions. A recent survey of tech companies in the UK has shown that almost half are experiencing a difficulty in recruitment, with a skills shortage in effect. Rewards to Be Had The rewards that jobs in the digital sector are very real, with average salaries sitting at almost £38k, a full £10k higher than the national average. These sorts of wages are on offer, not just to the coder or programmer either, as the industry dovetails into numerous associated professions, such as finance, HR, IT and digital marketing. What comes along too with modern, forward thinking businesses, are concepts like flexible and remote working, offering great freedom to employees, allowing them to enjoy varied lives. The stuffy, traditional working environment is replaced by a modern, dynamic one in an exciting digital world. Shirts and ties are often entirely optional.  So, if it’s a fulfilling, exciting, flexible working life you’re after, then the digital sector is where it’s at and what’s more, Scotland’s where its at too!
Government Scheme to Help Scottish Jobseekers Enjoy Lower Commuting Costs If you’re on the hunt for work and you’ve ever found that the cost involved in getting to and from interviews is prohibitive to your efforts, then you should take a look at a largely unpublicised government scheme to help people in Scotland and the rest of the UK get where they need to go for less. Should you be in receipt of universal credit or jobseeker’s allowance, there is a good chance that you are entitled to a free railcard that offers as much as 50% a discount of lots of different, frequently used rail tickets. The scheme is in full effect in the Greater London area, but only a fraction of people who may qualify in Scotland are taking up the offer, which seems to be largely down to awareness. Qualifying Criteria Whilst the scheme is open to all, this is no guarantee that you will be awarded a free railcard, as they are issued at the discretion of the Job Centre visited. This decision will be based on a number of factors and on case by case basis, but if you are clearly in need for the purposes of finding work, there is more than average chance that you will get one. So, let’s take a look at how to apply and some of the criteria that needs to be met. Firstly, in order to be considered, you need to have been in receipt of either universal credit (whilst hunting for jobs) or jobseeker’s allowance for at minimum of 3 months. Of those that meet this criteria, the entitlement is further broken down into age two brackets. Between 18 and 24 - You can get your free railcard if you have been in receipt of the relevant benefits for between 3 and 9 months 25 and over - Over 25’s are able to receive the railcard if they’ve been in receipt of the relevant benefits for between 3 and 12 months. There are other cases where entitlement applies, such as if you receive Disability Living Allowance, but it is advisable to talk to your local jobcentre for exact details of what you are able to receive. Interview Once it has been determined that you meet the required criteria, you may be called in for an interview, which will give you the opportunity to explain why you need the card to assist your search for work. Whilst it is not guaranteed that you will be awarded one, this shouldn’t been seen as a negative, rather the jobcentre try to identify those most in need of their help. Encouraging Work Schemes like this one are important tools for use by people who are hampered by lack of transport in their job hunting. The assistance is out there and it can’t be allowed to be missed by those in Scotland looking for work simply because it’s not widely known about. There’s a reason it’s being so widely used South of the border, which is that those who can make use of it are aware of it and because it really does help the whole job seeking process go more smoothly. If you are currently looking for work in Scotland, you need to at least find out if you qualify or you could be missing out.
A Proven Route to a Meaningful, Long Term Career If you are either approaching the end of your schooling or are at the start of your career path, you are most probably in search of a way to get the skills, expertise and more pointedly - experience needed to gain entry into the industry of your choice. The answer to this conundrum can come in many forms, but there is one that has been used by more young professionals than most and it is the Modern Apprenticeship scheme, run by many of Scotland’s major employers. Get Paid and Qualified The age old problem of “no job without experience and no experience without a job” is dealt with extremely effectively by a modern apprenticeship, as the scheme allows young people to not just get the experience and qualifications they need, but also to get paid whilst they learn. The great news is that modern apprenticeships apply to a wide range of industries and sectors, so whatever your professional ambitions entail, it should be viewed as a major opportunity to get your foot in the door. Currently, there are over 80 different types of modern apprenticeship that cover a multitude of jobs in a variety of different sectors, meaning there’s likely to be something in there that suits your plans. General Skills Whilst there are many benefits to attending college and then University, what they don’t give you when compared to a modern apprenticeship, is real world experience - something that goes an awfully long way with many employers. While you’re an apprentice, you’ll gain not just specific vocational skills, but also very important general ones like teamwork, time keeping and what it means to represent a company…that’s in addition to actually getting paid! Designed by Industry Another factor that makes modern apprenticeships such an effective way of introducing new people into new industries is that they are designed very much with both the employer and the employee in mind. The best, most appropriate training is given and the qualifications you receive will be industry recognised and its transferable accreditations and skills like these that are so important to a long and productive career. How Do I Find Out More? Hopefully, what we have told you about has piqued your interest and you’re going to be asking how to find out more about how you go about being considered for an apprenticeship. Well, you can start by visiting the Scottish Apprenticeship website , which contains more information than you can shake a stick at and also offers all the relevant contact details of the people you need to speak to take things further. There are countless industries in Scotland that are literally crying out for people with the right skills they need to fill the many roles that exists new and emerging sectors. In fact, the skills shortage that exists right now means that if you get yourself qualified and employable, you’ll have your pick of some of the most exciting jobs available in the country. Get yourself trained. Get yourself paid. Get yourself on a modern apprenticeship in Scotland.
Getting the Job Despite an Unemployment Gap There are many reasons that people might have unemployment gaps on their CVs. The poor economy of the last decade, of course, has had a major impact on employment around Scotland, and many people applying for jobs today might have to contend with having to explain to a prospective boss why their CV includes gaps of months, if not years. Other times, people deliberately choose to take some time off of work for a period of time, either as a means of self-reflection or in order to travel the world. Another possibility occurs when people have to quit their jobs due to suffering from a long-term illness or injury, the recovery process of which prevents them from seeking or carrying out other employment in the meantime. In the past, employers tended to frown upon CV gaps. In today’s world, these gaps are certainly more common and understandable. The following is a list of tips to help you nail the interview and hopefully get the job whether or not your interviewee is sympathetic to this. If possible, avoid the issue entirely in your CV and cover letter. Your CV and cover letter are the places to sell yourself and your strong points and to let the boss know why you would be perfect for this job. Because of this, it is best to not mention any negatives at all. Simply present your information, playing up all of your accomplishments at various previous jobs. If a prospective employer is impressed enough with the good, he or she will likely want to interview you regardless. You can rest assured that, if the gap is an issue, it will be brought up at the interview, at which point you can explain yourself. Structure your CV in such a way that it doesn’t call attention to the gap(s).  The best way to draw a potential employer’s attention away from a gap is to obscure it on your CV. One useful trick would be to not include specific months when listing start and end dates for each job in the “Experience” section but just the years, instead. This could make the gap seem shorter. For example, if your last job ended at the beginning of February 2017 and it is now May 2018, don’t name the month. If you do, an employer would realise you were out of work for well over a year. On the other hand, if you just write “2017,” there is the possibility that your work ended much later in the year, thus constituting a much less dramatic gap. You can also restructure your CV so that, instead of chronological order, it is listed in descending order of importance. This way, your most impressive experience will be the first thing an employer sees. Be aware, however, that many employers will realise that this trick is meant to detract from gaps in work, so only do this if it’s crucial. Also, if you have any gaps in your CV from early on in your career, you could always choose only to begin listing jobs  after  those gaps occurred, assuming that those early jobs aren’t important to selling yourself now. If absolutely necessary, you can explain a gap in your cover letter.  If you are worried that the gap is just too extreme, you can include an explanation in your cover letter, though this is not advised. It’s always easier to inspire someone to empathise with your needs or to convince that person to take a chance on you regardless of an employment gap when you do it in person. Further, there is the slight chance the employer won’t have noticed the gap anyway, so why call attention to it? If you do decide to address it in the cover letter, however, make sure that you only do so  after  explaining why you would be great for the job. Start off with your strong points because they will stand out more. Afterwards, you can explain the gap, but it is best to spin it positively. Be creative. Explain how this experience of unemployment helped shape your worldview to one that is uniquely suited to this job. Describe what you did to help better yourself during this time. Make a strong argument for why, regardless of this gap, you are the best person for this job.  Remember to accentuate the positives at the interview.  The cover letter advice should be similarly applied to the interview. During the interview, don’t bring up the gap yourself. If it isn’t mentioned, that is a wonderful thing. If it is, which it probably will be, come armed with a prepared response similar to the one described above. To clarify, “prepared” doesn’t mean it should be written down but simply that you shouldn’t let it throw you for a loop. Know exactly how you’re going to respond and how you’re going to sell yourself. Don’t sound overly apologetic because that might come across as begging. Instead, address the fact that you realise that this gap may not be ideal head-on but that there are also many reasons that it won’t be a problem in the future. It will make you seem stronger, more competent, and more confident. At the same time, don’t be boastful as that might come across as over-selling it. Be honest and sincere.  Try to obfuscate as little as possible. Odds are that you aren’t an expert liar and won’t be able to spin a completely convincing, airtight story. Furthermore, you might later find yourself having to prove that story. If you had to stop working for a while due to a mental illness, you might want to be vague about its precise nature and just refer to it as an “illness”. There is still a societal stigma about this sort of thing. In this case, however, you haven’t lied. Instead, you just decided to not be specific about a deeply personal issue, which is completely acceptable. In the end, what is most important is that you are as true to yourself as possible. If you know that you are right for a job, don’t let an employment gap on your CV get in the way of convincing a potential employer of that fact. With the right qualifications, a positive attitude, and a strong argument, you will have an enormous advantage before you even enter the interview. Now that you know how to deal with your career gaps, go and find your perfect job in Scotland . And don't let it stop you!