How to get a professional headshot today

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to get a professional headshot todayIf you think you don’t need a professional headshot in your line of work, think again. We regularly view professional social media and other profiles that include blurry or inappropriate photos, or even no photo at all. This situation directly impacts whether or not someone decides to reach out to you.

According to LinkedIn, profiles with photos are far more likely to receive connection requests than those without. I’ve also read countless articles that point to profiles with photos being viewed up to seven times more by potential contacts or recruiters than those without a photo.

If you can’t afford a professional photographer, we’ve put together some tips on how to achieve a professional result with no budget at all:

  • Enlist a friend or family member to help who is good at taking photos – preferably someone with a camera but a late model phone will also do. Avoid taking a selfie!
  • Put on some professional attire – whatever you’d wear to work is best – and make sure you’re well groomed. We’re taking a head and shoulders shot so don’t worry too much about what you’re wearing below the waist. Make sure you wear a different colour to the background to create a good contrast. For example, if the background is white, avoid wearing a white top or shirt.
  • Find a plain background with great natural lighting – use the natural light from a window for indoor shots, however, avoid standing directly in front of a window or anything too busy. Try different rooms to see which area works best.
  • Stand just far enough away – making sure your face is level with the camera so it’s not shooting up your nose, or down from above. It should be far enough away so that your head and top of shoulders are included in the shot. You don’t want your face filling the whole frame.
  • Smile and go for it – take lots of photos so you can pick the best shot. Try to look natural, open and friendly. Smiling photos are best so as to avoid the ‘mug shot’ look. In my experience, most people hate having their photo taken so my only advice is to stand in front of that camera, look directly at it and smile – then have your friend take lots of photos.
  • Pick the best one – save it and use it for all your work-related profiles and bios.

Of course, you could also enlist a professional photographer if your budget allows for it. A good quality headshot can be used for so many situations in your professional life – your email account, email signature, LinkedIn profile photo, Twitter and Facebook photo, company bio/website, personal website or portfolio, for guest blogging or article writing. So just go for it and once you have one be sure to update it every couple of years. 

Are you interested in obtaining some career advice. If so our career advisors are experts in their field and can provide comprehensive Career Counselling. We also have experienced writers who provide professional Resume and LinkedIn Profile writing services designed for people who want to make employers sit up and take notice.

6 quick tips to tailor your application for success

Article by Belinda Fuller

6 quick tips to tailor your application for successWe often tell our clients that job applications are like sales proposals and any good sales person knows how important tailoring is for success. If you’ve been applying for jobs unsuccessfully, taking a more tailored approach to preparing your application might be a good place to start.

While we always recommend that our clients write a customised cover letter for each role, working to tailor your entire application is often something relegated to the ‘too hard’ basket. The process of tailoring your resume and/or LinkedIn profile can sound time consuming, but we challenge you to take a good look at your application and ask yourself (as the recruiter) ‘what’s in it for me?’ Your job application should immediately highlight you as someone who can add value in the role. If it doesn’t do that, you’re not giving yourself the best opportunity to succeed.

Before we start with the tailoring process, we are assuming you have a great resume in place already – a document that highlights who you are, identifies your key skills, and shows the value you have added in previous roles. If you haven’t already done that, then focus on that step first – see our previous article How to Write a Resume – Top 10 Tips to get started. Then, follow these simple steps to tailor your application for success:

  1. Do your research: The first step is research. Read the job ad and identify exactly what’s required. Highlight specific skills or experience that seem important and make notes. If the company is advertising directly, view their website, search the company name and find out if there is any news or company activity that may impact the job. Writing just one sentence in your cover letter referencing a current situation, challenge or opportunity the company is facing could mean the difference between success and failure at this initial stage.
  2. Customise your career profile: We recommend including a good strong career profile as the first section in your resume. Your career profile should highlight what you bring to the role. It should clearly demonstrate your skills and past experience and highlight how they add value to an organisation. Most people see this section as fairly standard, however by customising the content to address specific individual job requirements, you’ll put yourself a step ahead. Make it personal, enthusiastic, passionate, easy to understand, and engaging – and clearly demonstrate to the recruiter how you’ll excel. This can also apply to your LinkedIn profile summary – we would take a similar approach to tailoring the content to ensure you’ve covered off the key skills and attributes required for the role. We don’t recommend doing this for every role, however if there is a role you’re applying for that mentions new or different skills (that you possess but aren’t covered effectively), you should work to incorporate them.
  3. Change your key capability list: Once you know the recruiter’s main priorities in terms of what they’re looking for in a candidate, you can customise your key capabilities to meet those needs. In its simplest form, this means re-ordering your ‘key capabilities and skills’. Get more involved by rewording those points and/or customising them to suit the role. Again, this also applies to LinkedIn so make sure you’ve covered off all the main areas within the ‘skills and endorsements’ section.
  4. Show your value: If a buyer can’t see the value in a product or service, they simply won’t buy it. Same goes for your job application. If you don’t offer the recruiter what they’re looking for, you won’t succeed. Your application needs to demonstrate to the recruiter how you are going to add value. This process is simple once you know their pain points because you can clearly demonstrate how you have the best solution. Again, customisation is important so spend time ensuring the content in your documents targets and addresses as many of the requirements of the role as you can. Use past successes and achievements to show how you’ve ‘added value’ in the past.
  5. Write a customised cover letter: We can’t stress enough how important this step is. Writing a customised cover letter is the simplest way for your application to stand out. If a recruiter receives 100 or so applications, how do you think they’re going to choose which ones to actually read in detail? Research has proven that you literally have seconds to make a good first impression. Preparing a cover letter that highlights your key skills, experiences and past achievements that are highly relevant to the role you are applying for increases your chances significantly of getting noticed.
  6. Change your job history order: This is not something we recommend doing unless absolutely necessary because it can confuse the reader. However, where we would recommend doing this is if you have highly relevant experience in your past work history, where your recent roles and experience are not at all relevant. In this case, we recommend applicants make a new section which is included upfront and entitled “Relevant Employment History” then list the relevant job history. You would then move your recent and other roles to a section called “Other Employment History”. This ensures the recruiter sees your ‘relevant’ experience first but the title of the section will give insight into why that experience is not recent.

Preparing a tailored application for every role you apply for is something you should strongly think about making time for. While it might sound time consuming, the reward far outweighs the effort. You’ll end up with an application that screams ‘look at me’ to the recruiter and that is exactly the position you want to be in!

Are you interested in tailoring your application for improved success? Would you like some assistance from a professional writer to prepare a winning resume for your next job application? If so, please see our Resume Writing Services and Job Search Coaching Services.

 

 

The best questions to ask in an interview

Article by Belinda Fuller

The best questions to ask in an interviewAsking your own great questions during a job interview will not only give you a feel for whether you actually want to work there, but the recruiter will also think more positively of you. Formulating some questions before the interview to ensure you’re well prepared is the best approach.

Whether you’re looking for your first job, or your tenth, asking insightful questions in an interview is a must. It shows confidence, preparedness and professionalism, and is something the recruiter will be keen to explore with you.

Having a pre-prepared list is a great idea, however usually the best questions will be driven by your conversation in the interview, so don’t be afraid to jot down notes as you go. These notes will help you formulate relevant and insightful questions that relate specifically to the interview and the role. Use your pre-prepared questions as the basis – while ensuring relevance to the conversation you’ve had. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Show interest: Do your homework and find out about the company. Devise questions that relate to recent news or events. Start your question by saying “I read about XYZ and wanted to find out more about how that impacts this role”.
  • Training & development: Ask about the company’s policy on professional training and education, formal mentoring or coaching, and attendance at workshops and seminars. Great companies want to hire people dedicated to personal and professional growth so show it’s important to you. “What opportunities will I have to learn and grow?”
  • Strategic plans: Ask about the company’s strategic plan, or better yet, have some idea from your research, and ask how it fits with this role/department. “What are the company’s goals for the next five years?” “How does this role contribute to that?” “What are the biggest opportunities/threats facing the company right now?”
  • Structure: Ask why the person is leaving the role OR for a newly created role, where the work has come from. It is helpful to know if you will be stepping into someone else’s shoes or paving your own way in a new role. It also helps you understand any career path opportunities and/or blocks. “Why is the position vacant?” If the previous employee left, ask why they left. “Did they leave for another organisation, were they made redundant or promoted?”
  • Culture: Ask about the turnover rate on the team or the organisation to find out if it’s unusually high (a worry)? “What is the current staff turnover rate (in the team or in the company)?” Or ask straight out “What is the company culture like? What is your favourite thing about working for the company?”
  • Performance: Ask about the performance review processes, and whether there are any KPIs/targets upon which the role is evaluated. “How is success measured in this role?” Find out what the role expectations are for the first 6 or 12 months. “What would you want to see me accomplish in the first six months?” “What are some of the challenges that the predecessor faced in this role?” 
  • Your suitability for the role: Ask the interviewer if there is anything else they’d like to know about you – or whether they have any hesitations about you being able to do the job. Don’t be frightened of this one – it’s great feedback for you personally and if there are uncertainties you might be able to dispel them. “Is there anything that makes you doubt I would be a great fit for this position?”
  • Next steps: Ask what will happen next, how long the decision is likely to take and whether you might be required for another interview. “What are the next steps in your recruitment process?” “What’s the timeline for making a decision?”

Focus your questions on the role, company, its strategic focus, general direction and/or competitive environment – and how that impacts the role you are applying for.

Remember, you should try to ask at least a few questions to show that you’ve come prepared and are interested in the role and company. If possible, listen carefully to the interviewer’s answers and devise further questions that expand on that conversation.

Would you like some assistance preparing for a job interview, to ensure the questions you ask are insightful, positive and professional? If so, please see our Interview Training and Coaching Services.

6 ways to clean up your social media

Article by Belinda Fuller

6 ways to clean up your social mediaWhile your active presentation of yourself is important to secure your dream job, the reality is that recruiters will explore your background more proactively through social media. That doesn’t mean changing everything about yourself and altering your online profile, but it does mean taking some steps to ensure it’s clean.

In a recent report on the current state of hiring in Australia, 9 out of 10 Australian hiring managers felt the need to look beyond active applicants to fill a role. By exploring a person’s online activity, recruiters can determine if the face you put forward in your application is a representation of your true self. That means it’s essential to ensure your online presence matches what you wish to convey.

This doesn’t mean being ambiguous or vague about who you are, it doesn’t mean changing everything about yourself, and it certainly doesn’t mean deleting all records of yourself online. Conversely, while it is important to maintain a clean online profile, a positive online footprint can be an important aspect in securing your dream role. We talk a lot about consistency of message and maintaining that across all your job search tools. This includes professional online tools like your website, blogs and LinkedIn profile – but it also applies to your person social media profiles and other online content. A negative and unappealing presence can result in you missing out, even if you’re a great candidate in all other areas.

Below are some quick tips that apply across all social media. While some are more relevant to certain sites than others – all can be leveraged in one way or another to help clean up your profile.

  1. Update your photo: This is particularly necessary if it is more than a couple of years old. Always go for a clear head and shoulders shot – taken against a white or plain background and not a cropped image from a social situation.
  2. Update your summary, bio or ‘about me’ section: Make it interesting and relevant, highlighting the personal or business traits you want to emphasise – and ensure it’s up to date with your latest and greatest accomplishments and interests. For LinkedIn, your professional headline automatically defaults to your most recent (or current) job title. Change this to brand yourself while adding relevant keywords to your profile. Decide what you want to be known for and make this your professional headline. For more tips on creating a great bio, read our article ‘How to write a winning bio’.
  3. Check your settings: Take some time to understand the different security and privacy settings across different sites. For example, on certain settings LinkedIn notifies connections when you’ve updated your profile. If you don’t want your employer to know you’re working on your profile – check these settings. Likewise, with Facebook and other personal social media, check your settings to maintain some level of discretion – but don’t depend on it as your security blanket because it’s not foolproof.
  4. Claim your vanity URL: A vanity URL is a custom URL address that is specifically branded for marketing purposes. Many social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google Plus offer this facility. It helps users remember how to find specific pages – which means it should be easy to remember, use, and share. Often your name will be gone to someone who claimed it earlier, so we always suggest trying the best combination of your actual name rather than non-descript letters and numbers (which is what the system usually generates). Each site will have its own specific instructions on how to change this so simply search the site’s help section for instructions.
  5. Check your posts: Looking at what you’re posting and commenting on with an objective eye is really important. Think about the impression you might be giving to a potential recruiter – and be mindful of unnecessarily alienating people due to controversial beliefs or posts. If you’re not sure, ask someone you trust – preferably someone with different beliefs to you. Again it’s not about concealing who you are, but rather about being mindful of your public image.
  6. Clean up your friends lists and likes: For Facebook, this means unfollowing people or businesses that no longer interest you. Consider grouping individuals into the readymade ‘Acquaintances List’ which means they will show up less in your feeds. Review all your groups and leave if they are no longer relevant. In addition, consider ‘unliking’ pages that contain posts and/or conversations which could be seen as inappropriate. For other social media sites, a similar approach is needed – review groups, likes, follows etc. and clean them up as appropriate.

Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs and other social media can be easily accessed by recruiters and usually don’t lie. If you are expressing strong opinions or comments and sharing controversial photos or topics, this could ruin your chances of securing your dream role. On a positive note, recruiters use social media to search for aspects about an individual that may demonstrate good cultural fit. Leverage your social media pages to improve your ‘online footprint’ and enhance your prospects through improved social responsibility.

Is your social media presenting the best version of you online? Would you like assistance auditing your online profile – perhaps developing a professional, keyword optimised LinkedIn profile or bio that highlights your strengths and achievements and sets you apart from your competitors? If so please see our LinkedIn profile writing service or check out our job search coaching service.

How to write a winning bio

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to write a winning bioToday’s digital world demands on online brand that defines and differentiates you. Conveying your distinct brand through a well written personal bio is essential in today’s competitive market. But writing your own professional bio with the right ‘message’ while still sounding authentic can be hard.

Whether you work for yourself as a freelancer, you’re employed by a large multi-national, or you sit somewhere in between – having a winning bio that’s relevant and professional is essential. It’s important for inclusion on social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter but it’s also what people will often see when they search for your name – so anyone with an online presence will benefit from one.

What is a bio?

A bio is basically your professional story or brand. The information provided is similar to what’s in your resume, but it’s more condensed, possibly less formal, sometimes with some personality thrown in, and often written in the third person. The purpose of a bio is to inform the reader who you are, what you do, and why you’d be of value to them. It needs to establish credibility and trust – and work hard to develop your own personal brand – which is an important concept to understand. For more information on developing your own personal brand, see the following articles: 5 tips to build your personal brand and How to build your personal brand, or search ‘personal brand’ on our blog.

When would you need a bio?

You might be wondering where you’d use a personal bio. There are many situations when you need one including:

  • As a summary on your LinkedIn profile (written in the first person)
  • As an introduction posted on your personal or company website or blog
  • As an inclusion in client proposals and quotations for credibility
  • Submitted to organisers for potential speaking spots or included in a conference agenda where you’re presenting
  • As an inclusion in a published article or document

What should be included in a bio?

This largely depends on where you’re going to use it. For example, LinkedIn has a character limit of 2000 which is pretty generous. If you’re writing a bio as a speaker for potential inclusion in a conference program, you might not be given as much space. I’d usually recommend having both a 1 page and ½ page bio and then adjust the content to suit different purposes. The information you’d start with (not all of which needs to be included in every situation) could include:

  • Your name and current position
  • Your recent and/or relevant experience
  • Your academic qualifications
  • Your credentials or other important information such as professional memberships
  • Any published work or previous presentations you’ve done
  • Any awards or other career honours you’ve received
  • Any interesting career achievements or anecdotes
  • A photo
  • Customer quotes/testimonials
  • Links to examples of your work
  • Your contact information

How do you write a bio?

As mentioned, there are many different format requirements, and usually you’ll be given a word or character limit. Typically, you would write it in the third person (or in the first person for your LinkedIn profile), in a conversational tone. Injecting an interesting, personal or unique piece of information will make people want to learn more about you. The bio shouldn’t be too long or wordy, and using short sentences and punchy paragraphs will make it easier to read. You could include links to more detail where relevant but be careful not to cram it with too much detail, and be sure to update it often. Don’t forget to save your different versions written for different purposes. Some may be longer and more formal, while others may be shorter and more conversational.

Do you need a bio for your work? Our professional writers can prepare a winning bio that will help you stand out from the crowd.  Contact us for more information.

 

Could healthcare be the career for you?

Article by Belinda Fuller

Could healthcare be the career for youHealthcare is currently one of the key sectors driving overall employment growth in Australia, with the industry recently recording a 19% year on year growth. Various roles are experiencing significant growth thanks to our ageing population, as well as the rise of chronic diseases which require on-going healthcare management and support.

With national new job ads consistently recording rises of more than 10% each month compared to the same time last year, some industries stand out more than others. In Australia, one of those sectors is community services and development – with aged and disability support roles a key occupation driving growth. The need for more workers in this area is being driven largely by Australia’s ageing population, but also by the country-wide roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which has positively impacted job ad growth in that area over the past two years.

With healthcare currently Australia’s biggest employer, and the Productivity Commission forecasting that Australia may need almost one million aged care workers by 2050 in order to meet the anticipated demand from ageing baby boomers, healthcare may be a great career to consider.

Whilst the demand for aged care nurses and workers is high, our rapidly ageing population will also drive demand for employment in other areas. Some of the most in-demand jobs will include:

  • Aged Care Nurses: Taking care of the medical and social needs of the elderly on a round-the-clock daily basis, an aged care nurse typically works in a nursing home, residential facility, hospital or through a home care service. These nurses ensure their patients’ final years are as comfortable as possible for both themselves and their families. As a job seeker, you could start as an assistant in nursing (AIN) which is also known as a personal care worker (PCW) and personal care attendant (PCA) after completing a TAFE or RTO qualification – usually a Certificate III or IV in aged care.
  • Clinical Nurses: Working alongside doctors, a clinical nurse is a registered nurse who is recognised as a senior staff member across all areas of practice but particularly in acute care. Clinical nurses care for patients throughout hospital wards with responsibility for administrating medication, comforting patients, and assisting medical staff to provide quality care. To work as a Clinical Nurse, you usually require postgraduate qualifications in nursing.
  • General Practitioners: Commonly known as a GP, general practitioners perform a very important role in medicine, and are often the first point of contact a patient has with the healthcare system. There is currently a high demand for GPs, particularly in rural and regional areas. In Australia, there are multiple pathways into general practice. The most common pathway is through the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) which includes four to six years at a university medical school, a minimum of 12 months’ hospital training, and completion of GP registrar training and exams (usually three to four years).
  • Physiotherapists: Physiotherapists are highly qualified health professionals who work in partnership with their patients to assess, diagnose, and treat a wide range of health conditions and movement disorders. They also help older patients to repair damage, reduce stiffness and pain, increase mobility, manage chronic pain, and improve quality of life. To become a physiotherapist, you will need to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy or a five-year double degree. Once graduated, some people choose to specialise in a particular field which involves further postgraduate study.
  • Social Workers: Social Workers assess the social needs of individuals, families and groups, assist and empower people to develop and use the skills and resources needed to resolve social and other problems, and further human wellbeing and human rights, social justice and social development. To become a social worker, a four-year bachelor’s degree or higher is usually required.

If you’re thinking about a career in healthcare, there are many specialist healthcare recruiters. These sites are a great place to start your research and learn more about different job opportunities.

Here are some examples of sites:

Are you thinking about a career in healthcare? Would you like career counselling to help you decide on a new career path or course? If so, please see our career coaching services.

 

How to manage failure at work

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to manage failure at workYou’re about to miss an important project deadline so what do you do? You could bury your head in the sand, make up an elaborate excuse, or lie to cover your tracks – we definitely wouldn’t recommend that approach. But there’s no need to panic either. It’s important to own up to your lapse and offer a solution to the problem.

There’s a saying that the most successful people in business are the ones who’ve failed the most. It makes sense that the more you try and fail, the more you will succeed. If you never put yourself in a position to fail by trying new and innovative approaches, chances are you won’t fail – but you won’t achieve any outstanding success either.

Here’s our tips to manage failure in your work:

  • Take responsibility: Whether it’s a client, a colleague, your boss or a partner that your oversight will affect, it’s important to own up to what’s happened as quickly as possible. As soon as you identify that you’ve messed up or you’re going to miss a deadline, make sure to advise everyone who is affected. This way you can quickly put some plans in place to mitigate potential damage as much as possible and come up with a plan to address the issue. When you take responsibility for a mistake, those involved will be able to trust you to address the issue and/or prevent future damage.
  • Consider the best way to deliver the news: Depending on what the consequences of your oversight are, this will dictate how your news should be delivered. If it’s a one off and the project doesn’t have broader business impact, it might be appropriate to send an email. Anything affecting a client, revenue, or larger piece of work might be better delivered via phone or in person. Gauge the situation and seriousness of the impact, then decide on your best course of action.
  • Offer a solution: Provide information to all the involved parties on what you plan to do to address the issue. Make sure you include everyone who will be affected and provide detailed information regarding the steps you will take to ensure the project gets back on track, or the ways in which you’ll address the issue.
  • Set a new deadline: Identify and provide timelines and deadline dates of when you will be able to provide a remedy. Make sure it’s realistic and give yourself enough time to resolve – perhaps with a little leeway that might enable you to over-achieve your target this time. Under promise and over deliver is a much better approach – particularly when you’re in this position in the first place. You really don’t want to have to go back and ask for another extension so consider this stage carefully.
  • Promise it won’t happen again: Accepting responsibility and conceiving a solution for the problem is the first step. Making assurances that you won’t let it happen again is vital. If it’s the first time you’ve erred, then the person on the receiving end should understand – but if it’s an ongoing issue, they might not be so easygoing. Likewise, saying it won’t happen again is fine, but backing that up with strong reasons as to why it won’t happen again is also important.

Let’s face it, this is never going to be a great situation to be in. The affected parties may be annoyed, upset, and/or angry but that’s to be expected. You’d probably feel the same way. Assuming this isn’t a common occurrence, and you’ve taken responsibility to ensure it’s fixed as quickly as possible, you should soon be forgiven. Take a deep breath and move on.

Are you interested in obtaining some career advice? If so our career advisors are experts in their field and provide comprehensive Career Counselling Services. We also have experienced writers who provide professional Resume and LinkedIn Profile writing services designed for people who want to make employers sit up and take notice.

5 ways to turn negative feedback into career positives

Article by Belinda Fuller

5 ways to turn negative feedback into career positivesThere aren’t many people who are lucky enough to have been untouched by negative feedback or criticism in their career. Most people, even senior leaders and managers (often even more so), will have to deal with some kind of negative feedback in the workplace. The key to coping is to use it as a positive career boost.

We’ve identified several ways to use that criticism to help progress your career:

  1. Don’t take it personally: Instead of viewing the feedback as your boss or client reprimanding you, take it for what it is. Receiving criticism about your work is never easy, but it will be easier to handle if you digest it in a disconnected way. Of course it’s perfectly natural to feel upset or unduly attacked in the first instance, but try to put those emotions to one side and not react defensively. Don’t dwell on the negative or beat yourself up about what happened. Instead take some time to think about the issue with a clear head and use the feedback to come up with ways you might be able to do things differently in the future. If you need to, ask for some time to process the information, and come back at a later date to discuss it.
  2. Ask questions: In order to show professionalism and maturity, ask questions about the feedback – display a genuine interest in getting to the bottom of the problem. Remain calm and listen to what the person providing the feedback is saying so you can ensure it doesn’t happen again.
  3. Own it: It’s important to own up to any honest oversight or mistake you’ve made. But owning up or apologising isn’t enough – you need to follow the apology with a solution. Once you’ve received the feedback and analysed the issue from different directions – make an effort to come up with a solution to address the issue in a way that helps you move forward. Ideally you want a concrete plan that shows you’ve thought everything out to ensure no repeat episode in the future.
  4. Recognise the need for improvement: Often, negative feedback is tough to take because in your heart you know it’s true. Recognise where you need to make improvements and show you can take negative feedback well by thanking the person for their insights. Acknowledging your mistakes and challenging yourself to prevent it from happening again is the best way forward. Identify weaknesses that might have contributed such as time mangement, communication, computer skills, relationship management etc. and take steps to address those shortcomings.
  5. Move on: Once you’ve made a concerted effort to fix the issue or put strategies for improvement into place, it’s time put the negative feedback in the past, learn your lesson, and move on. Remaining resentful or angry about the situation will prevent you from growing professionally.

No one is immune from workplace criticism – even the most senior business person will probably have to deal with criticism from clients or staff at some stage in their career. We advise you to take the feedback seriously but not personally. Try not to wallow in the negativity; understand what’s led to the negative feedback; and take steps to move towards a concrete plan that will help you address the feedback and progress your career.

Are you interested in obtaining some career advice? If so our career advisors and resume writers are experts in their field and provide comprehensive Career Counselling and Resume Writing services.

How to be a great job seeker

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to be a great job seekerAs a job seeker, it’s important to think about the recruiter and what they’re looking for. Addressing all the requirements of the role in your application, and being prepared to discuss why you’re an ideal fit for the role during the interview are obvious drivers for success. But what are some of the other ways you can ensure you’re a winner?

Finding a job takes effort, commitment, time, and energy. To ensure success, you need a plan. Of course you need a polished application – a revamped resume and customised cover letter as well as a strong LinkedIn profile. But what about a structured job search strategy? Here’s our tips on what you need to do today to ensure success:

  1. Ensure consistency: You literally have seconds to catch a recruiter’s attention. If you don’t do that very quickly, you might never get a second chance. Even after you’ve gained their attention, you have to hold it long enough to be selected as a viable candidate. If your digital profile doesn’t match what you’re saying in your job application, you might lose the battle. Make sure you clean everything up so that you maintain consistency with dates, titles, formatting etc. across all mediums. Recruiters don’t want to be confused, and they don’t want to be left wondering.
  2. Stay motivated: Learning to handle rejection is an important part of the job search process and learning how to not let it get you down is even more important. At the end of the day, it can be a numbers game – so try not to let it get you down – instead focus on the future, don’t get disheartened, and just keep moving forward.
  3. Seek assistance: Search your target role on popular job sites and identify common recruiters. Add the sites to your favourites folder and make a note of individual consultants, HR and/or recruitment managers. Try to gain introductions, either via LinkedIn or in person – and reach out to ask for help. Often, these types of requests can lead to opportunities – if not, you haven’t lost anything but a little time!
  4. Know your elevator pitch: Finding a job is a sales process. You are the product with features, benefits, referrals, and great potential. In this process, it’s extremely important you have a great ‘elevator pitch’. This is a story (short, sharp and punchy) that positions you and the value you provide. Think about it this way – what if you found yourself in a lift with the hiring manager of the job you always dreamed of? Do you have a 30 second pitch on how you’re the perfect fit for the job? Great job seekers know their elevator pitch, and how to customise it depending on the person they are talking to.
  5. Build your online presence: There are many ways to do this including LinkedIn, writing a blog, developing a personal website, creating a Facebook page, Twitter account, or YouTube videos. This is especially important if you are looking for contract/freelance work, however as a minimum, most job seekers should have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile with a current, professional photo. Fill out as many sections as you can as this will provide a comprehensive view of you, as well as creating additional opportunities to connect with others.
  6. Activate your networks: Many roles are never advertised so this is an important part of your job search strategy. Think about who you know and who you might be able to connect with. Let your network know you are seeking new opportunities. There are many different ways to connect with your network so use them all – phone calls, emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, face-to-face meetings etc. Join relevant professional associations and networking groups, and attend seminars and connect with people in your industry. Develop a standard pitch about why you want to connect and what you can offer. Think about specific companies you’d like to work for then research their careers page and follow them on social media.
  7. Check your social media: First impressions count with most employers these days reviewing candidate’s social media pages as part of the screening process. Make sure your privacy settings are appropriate, clean up any inappropriate content, and check and edit pictures where necessary.
  8. Take your time to apply: This may seem counter-intuitive – especially if it’s your dream role. But, the worst thing you can do is submit an application without proper preparation. Taking time to research the company and people who work there, and asking for advice can be invaluable in ensuring your application gets read. You could start by calling the contact person listed on the job ad and ask them what key things they’re looking for in an application. You might be surprised at what they say and at the very least you’ll have a leg up on other candidates who didn’t take the time to do this.
  9. Prepare for the interview: One of the biggest mistakes we see is candidates focusing on landing the interview, but not thinking too much beyond that. To prepare for your interview you could brainstorm common questions, practise your answers, research the company, prepare some relevant questions of your own, plan what you will wear, and practise listening without interrupting – so you can respond more effectively to every question you get asked.
  10. Stay in touch: Once you’ve identified relevant recruiters and companies, make sure you follow them up at regular intervals and stay in touch.

Today’s job market is competitive and complex. Be prepared for the process to take considerably longer than you’re expecting. For higher paying roles it can take 6 – 12 months before you achieve success. There are many different avenues to leverage within the job search process so being organised will help.

Would you like to become a more successful job seeker? Perhaps you need assistance with writing a winning resume, creating a job search strategy, updating your LinkedIn profile or improving your interview skills? If so, please see our Resume and Cover Letter writing, Job Search Coaching, LinkedIn profile writing and Interview Training services.

How to adapt in our changing digital world

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to adapt in our changing digital worldRecent research conducted by Manpower indicates we are in the middle of a ‘skills revolution’, both in Australia and around the world. With digital transformation happening within most organisations, and technology evolving rapidly, the types of skills employees need are ever-changing. So what will the most in-demand skills be and how do you ensure you have them?

With the necessary skills changing at a rapidly increasing pace, most employers are reporting that they cannot find the talent they need. The people in demand are those that seek to continuously learn and adapt.

A recent Manpower survey asked 20,000 employers across 42 countries (with more than 1,500 participating companies from Australia) about the likely impact of automation on their headcount, the functions that will be most affected, and the human skills they value the most. The results indicate that automation is mostly a good thing for employees (as long as you have the right skills). While many companies agree that no one is immune from digitisation as more and more industries shift to advanced, automated processes, most employers expect their companies to grow rather than shrink – and the need for additional people – especially those with good IT skills to drive transformation – is real.

Labour market predictions often talk about the long-term extremes where technology will erode jobs – with robots replacing roles and even the threat of a world without work. However, this recent research indicates a different future, while providing a real-time view of the impact of automation on the workforce in the digital age – now and in the near-term. It shows which functions within companies are set to grow or contract. And it provides insight on the value of soft skills – or human strengths – that are in demand by employers but that are challenging to find.

The most in-demand individuals have a blend of human strengths with technical and digital know-how. 8 out of 10 companies say communication skills, written and verbal, is their most valued soft skill. We’ve identified several other skills we think will be important for individuals to succeed.

  1. Complex problem-solving skills – with increasingly complex problems that include incomplete, contradictory or ever-evolving requirements, threats and trends – people who can solve problems with viable solutions will be in demand.
  2. Critical thinking – this can be defined as the objective analysis of facts to form a judgement. Often the subject is complex and requires analysis or evaluation of vast amounts of information. In today’s ‘information age’, data is present everywhere – with companies collecting huge amounts of data about everything their customers do on a day-to-day basis. Being able to leverage and effectively utilise this data for competitive advantage is a key skill to possess.
  3. Creativity and innovation – competition is fierce today across most industries, budgets are tight and doing things the way they’ve always been done doesn’t cut it. Having the ability to think outside the box to achieve success is a top skill to possess.
  4. Collaboration – working well with others and appreciating the input from different team members is essential in today’s work environment. Human interaction in the workplace will become more and more important as computers and robots take over certain tasks. Being able to work together to leverage individual’s strengths while being aware of weaknesses and adapting to address these will be important.
  5. Leadership – regardless of how much an organisation and its day-to-day operations become ‘automated’, employees will remain at the heart. Being able to develop strong relationships with employees and successfully lead teams is important. Listening carefully to understand concerns; identifying ways you can help them become more efficient, effective and enthusiastic; and developing and maintaining strong ongoing professional relationships is key. Good leaders consistently provide support and show their team they are there for them. It is more vital than ever for future leaders to know how to motivate teams, maximise productivity and respond quickly and effectively to needs.
  6. Service orientation – digitisation, technological advancements, and increasing competition means customers will be picky – and rightly so. Customers can choose who to do business with and they can change that decision as often as they like. It’s no longer as difficult as it once might have been to switch suppliers or move to a different brand. People who make customer experience a priority, anticipating customer needs, and designing products and solutions to meet those needs, will be in demand.

As our workplaces continue to rapidly evolve, it’s clear that we need to develop new skills if we’re going to keep pace with change. Employers will begin to rely more and more on people with the desire and ability to develop new skills. Employability today is becoming less about what you already know and more about your capacity to learn.

Would you like assistance from a Career Coach to identify areas where you might be able to improve your career? If so, please see our list of services.