Monday, 30 December 2013

Tips for Job Hunters

Ashley Park Financial Solutions offer job hunting tips

The unemployment rate in the UK has recently fallen to 7.6%, which is the lowest it’s been for four years. Ashley Park Financial Solutions think that’s great, but we realise there are still lots of people struggling to find suitable employment. We thought we’d bring you a few tips to help you out if you’re currently looking for work.

If you’re on the hunt for a job, remember that word of mouth is a powerful ally. Tell your family and friends that you’re looking for work. But don’t stop there! Mention it to everyone – you never know when your name might crop up in conversation with someone who’s looking for a hard worker like you.

Make the most of the resources you have available. The internet is filled with thousands of websites advertising jobs. Upload your CV to all of them and if there’s an option to allow employers to review your credentials, make sure you check the box. is a great place to search and filter jobs according to your preferences.

Get a professional-sounding email address. Employers are much less likely to reply to an email from a ridiculous sounding address. If you still have the same email handle you made when you were 15, it’s probably wise to make a new, more sensible one now you’re an adult.

Set up a LinkedIn profile. Employers who are interested in you CV are highly likely to search for you online nowadays, so it’s important to have a strong, well-presented online presence. If you haven’t heard of LinkedIn, it’s basically an online CV service through which you can connect with potential employers and recruitment agencies who may be able to find work for you. You can list your education and employment history as well as your hobbies and interests. Your connections can then endorse your personal and professional skills to give anyone viewing your profile a well-rounded view of your attributes.

Similarly you should be aware that potential employers might look for you on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Obviously these sites are more personal than LinkedIn so if there is anything you’d rather a boss or colleague didn’t see, be sure to set your profiles to private.

Have several different CVs. If you’re applying to a range of industries that require different skill sets, it’s always best to tailor your resume to the job description. Save copies of different cover letters too so all you have to do is tweak them to suit the role you’re applying for.

Finally, have a list of referees at the ready. If you’re called for interview, take them with you so your employer won’t have to ask at a later date. Give their names, addresses, contact numbers and email handles. And make sure your chosen people know that you intend to use them as referees!

We’d love to hear from you if you have any other advice for job hunters. You can comment before or follow Ashley Park Financial Solutions on Twitter

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Dinner on a Budget

According to the annual Christmas survey from Good Housekeeping you can treat your family to a fantastic festive dinner this year for as little as £21.85 for a family of eight, which works out at just £2.73 per person! Here at Ashley Park Financial Solutions, we think that’s an absolute bargain, so we thought we’d share where and how to shop to get the best Christmas deal this year.

The full Christmas dinner, according to Good Housekeeping, includes turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, sprouts, carrots, potatoes, mince pies and brandy butter. For the best one-stop shop, bargain hunters are best to head for Lidl, where you can get everything for £27.33. Morrisons offers it all for £30.54, with Aldi coming a close third at £31.30. Tesco, who have struggled to compete with budget supermarkets this year came in fifth at £34.03, after Asda at £33.12.

Surprisingly Iceland, usually included in the list of budget shops has a slightly more expensive Christmas dinner priced at £35.75, though it’s still far cheaper than Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, who top the bill at £51.29 and £53.15 respectively.

Anyone aiming for that awesome price of £21.85 will need to shop around though, heading to a number of different supermarkets to pick up the components separately. For more information, click here.

Bear in mind though, if you’re going for a budget bird, you should be careful. Sometimes during the cooking process the meat can “shrink”, which means you’ll actually get more meat for your money with a better quality, slightly more expensive bird. You could also think about making your own mince pies. There are some fantastic recipes available online, and a bit of Christmas baking is bound to get you in the festive spirit! Similarly, you might like to try whipping up a Christmas cake. You could even get the kids in to help you decorate. Check the cupboards to see if you have any leftover dried fruit, nuts and marzipan before you start and save even more!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Personal Finance Course from the Open University

Last week it was announced that the Open University Business School has opened a new personal finance research centre, which will offer three free open-access modules to help people get to grips with managing their day-to-day finances. The team here at Ashley Park Financial Solutions think this is fantastic news and the course could benefit thousands of people across the UK.

The first modules, Personal Finance: Understanding the Basics, will be available from spring 2014 and is primarily concerned with household budgeting. Students will also cover borrowing and debt management; insurance cover; starting/managing a pension and smart savings and investments.

The second and third modules have yet to be fully defined, but will offer teaching on investment and risk, consumer rights and the financial industry in general. These modules will be available later in 2014 and 2015.
Each module has been put together by academics and industry experts who have in-depth knowledge of the financial system and the emotional effects that the mismanagement of money can cause.

At a time when so many people in Britain are struggling to pay their bills with no means of saving for the future, it is vitally important that everyone is as educated as possible when it comes to their personal finances. This announcement along with the fact that school children in England will be taught about personal finance through “financial mathematics” as of September next year, are certainly steps in the right direction towards educating the nation on sensible money management.

Making the right decisions in terms of your finances can be a daunting process with many complex things to think about. A course like this one is suitable for everyone and Ashley Park Financial Solutions certainly think it will allow the nation to feel much more confident in their financial choices, which can only be a good thing!

If you’re worried about money, visit our website for the full range of our services.