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Pros and Cons of Time Zones in Business

What time zone are you in?

It’s only since starting my business that I have even considered time zones.  My very first client has offices around the world, I format CV’s for them and quite often I receive emails over night from places such as Texas and Canada. For a few weeks it wasn’t a problem, the work started off slowly so I was doing them as they came in.  But a few weeks in and I had a lot of CV’s to format and I found I needed to prioritise them in order to get them back to the consultants within their deadlines.

I downloaded a world clock app on my iPhone which meant I could easily see what time it was in Texas or Canada for example, so at 9am when I had an inbox full of CV’s it meant I could work on the London or Scotland ones first and then do the others later in the afternoon.  I now have categories set-up in Outlook so when a new email comes in it’s automatically assigned a colour so I know which country it’s come from.  It works really well and makes my Outlook look colourful too.

Being a virtual assistant means you can work for pretty much anyone in the world.  There are not many restrictions, although there are some things you need to take into consideration when working with someone in a different time zone, both for you and the client.

Pros

  • You can concentrate on work during your day (say 9am – 5pm) and not necessarily be disturbed by emails or phone calls from people in a time zone 7 or 8 hours behind or ahead of you.
  • The client’s work is completed while they sleep and will be in their inbox at 9am on the next working day which no doubt will make them very happy.
  • It is easier to prioritise your work when you work for clients in different time zones, you can concentrate on your different clients work at certain times of the day.
  • Depending on what your role is you might even get an invite to the client’s country for a meeting or conference, travel opportunities are always exciting.

Cons

  • An urgent request from a client in a different time zone might not be picked up by you immediately.  An example of this happened to me this week, it was Friday evening and I had finished work for the weekend.  A CV came in from Canada at 11pm my time (GMT+1) which meant I received it the next day, a Saturday, a non working day for me – it will have to wait until Monday morning unfortunately.
  • A client may have to rely on email only instead of making use of phone calls, as your working hours don’t coincide with theirs.

Can you think of any more pros and cons of working with clients in different time zones to you?

As for me, I only have one client in a different time zone at the moment but I hope I’ll eventually get some more. I’ve struck up some good working relationships in the time I’ve been working with this client, I even have some great testimonials from some of them.

You might also be interested in some of the other blog posts I have written recently, Freelancer? How Do You Manage Your Time? and 20 Reasons for Hiring a Virtual Assistant.

If you’re in a different time zone and would like to work with a virtual assistant, have your work completed when you’re sleeping, then get in touch, it would be great to hear from you.

Make Your CV Stand Out

In the current climate finding a job is extremely difficult even with the right qualifications, training and experience.  If you want to stand out from the many applicants applying for that dream position (in February 2011, Google received on average 12 applicants per job*) the most important thing you can do is have a CV which sets you apart from the crowd.

Spelling and Grammar

This must be your priority when creating your CV.  If you have just one spelling or grammar mistake the person tasked with looking through these CV’s may doubt your ability regarding the job in question.  Making silly errors on your own CV could mean you don’t make it to the next stage of the recruitment process.  Having worked with a lot of CV’s over the last few months, I have come across an enormous amount of silly spelling and grammar errors, it doesn’t take 5 minutes to spell check a document or get someone else to double check it for you.

Length and Formatting

The general rule for the length of a CV is 2 pages.  I have seen CV’s as long as 15 pages, this is just far too many, an employer doesn’t want to know your life story, they want to know you can do the job.  With an employer spending an average of 8 seconds per CV this means you need to say as little as possible but also get across that you have the relevant experience they are looking for.  The format of the CV isn’t necessarily an important factor, but it must be clear, concise and above all readable.  Use bullet points instead of long drawn out sentences and make sure the size and fonts all match. 

What to Include

Some key headings for a CV might be:

  • Qualifications (a degree or professional qualification if you have one, remember to include the institution and date)
  • Professional Experience (your work history in date order, most current first – remember to include the company name, your job title and the dates of your employment)
  • Additional Training
  • Languages
  • Publications
  • Professional Memberships
  • Executive Summary

If you interested in getting your CV to look more professional and formatted in a way that can improve your chances for that dream job, then why not use a virtual assistant and contact me today to find out more about this service I offer.

 

*taken from a Mail Online article.