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.

Can a recruiter ask you that?

Article by Belinda Fuller

Can a recruiter ask you thatCertain topics of conversation are no-go zones during the hiring process, but there are many questions recruiters can ask in an interview that may surprise some candidates. In Australia, we have laws that make it unlawful for employers to ask job applicants specific discriminatory questions. There are situations, however, when you might be asked a question you’re not expecting that is perfectly legitimate.

In Australia we are protected by strong anti-discrimination laws at both a federal and state level. For example, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the basis of a number of protected attributes including age, disability, race, gender, intersex status, gender identity and sexual orientation. However, on the flip-side there are many attributes that are not protected by law and some of the questions that recruiters are legally able to ask may surprise you:

  • Do you smoke? Legally, a potential employer can ask you if you smoke since it’s not a protected attribute. Whether or not that employer discriminates against you based on your answer is a grey area but the question in itself is legal.
  • Where do you live? Again, this is not a protected attribute. Employers want to know this for many reasons – primarily if your commute is too long and they feel you may not be reliable or that you will get tired of the travel time and leave after a short period. I had a client who lived in a regional area around 60 minutes from the Gold Coast where she was seeking work as a travelling sales rep. She was comfortable with the commute, but was knocked back six times for roles due to the distance. The travel time wasn’t an issue for her since she’d previously lived in Sydney and was used to long commutes, but for Gold Coast natives it was too long.
  • Do you have any medical problems? Whilst employers need to be careful here, asking questions about your health or requesting a pre-employment medical check is within their rights. While the question might be okay, it must be asked in relation to any potential health risks associated with the job or the industry, and your ability to effectively perform the job. E.g. If you had an existing issue with your back that would prevent you from lifting boxes or performing some other physical requirement of a role.
  • How old are you? Age is usually irrelevant, and it is unlawful to discriminate against someone based on their age (because it’s a protected attribute). However, where age relates to a specific job requirement, such as serving alcohol, then the question becomes a legitimate and legal one.
  • Do you have the right to work in Australia? We know that discrimination based on race or ethnicity is most certainly unlawful in Australia, however employers are able to ask you to prove your right to work in Australia. This means they can ask whether you are an Australian citizen or you have an appropriate work visa. In addition, there are certain examples where race might be a genuine occupational requirement – for example where specific local or cultural knowledge is required – particularly in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
  • Do you have a criminal record? Whilst it is okay to ask this, and it’s also okay for a recruiter to make a job offer conditional upon a candidate obtaining a satisfactory criminal history check, refusing to provide it is not unlawful. In addition, there are limitations as to how the potential employer can use the information. In some states, it is unlawful to discriminate against a job applicant based on the fact that they have a criminal record – providing it is not relevant to their ability to perform the job. For example, if you’re working with people, a conviction relating to violence may be relevant, whereas a theft conviction might not. You also have no obligation to reveal spent convictions (which means you’ve fulfilled the 10 year waiting period from the date of conviction).
  • Do you have any tattoos or piercings? While tattoos and body piercings have certainly become more mainstream in recent years, with some employers relaxing their standards regarding visible tattoos and piercings, many employers still have policies that require employees to totally cover or remove them. The fact is there are no current laws that prohibit discrimination against people with visible tattoos, body piercings, unnatural hair colours, or unique hairstyles or other physical attributes. While it may seem unfair to be discriminated against for this reason, appearances still count and it most certainly could occur.

Job interviews can make even the most prepared candidates uncomfortable. If you’re feeling intimidated before your interview, understand that this is not uncommon. Doing some research on the company, being prepared about why you want the role, and having some answers ready that you can draw upon will help you feel confident. Understanding how to answer tricky questions if they’re asked is a great strategy to help you feel better prepared.

If you would like assistance with preparing for a job interview and advice on how to maintain positive body language, build confidence and increase your success rate, see our Interview Training and Coaching Services.

Attention grabbing tips for your next cover letter

Article by Belinda Fuller

Attention grabbing copy for your next cover letterWe’ve long held the belief that the cover letter is one of the most important parts of your application. It’s the best way for you to grab the attention of the recruiter, introduce yourself, showcase what you offer, and highlight why you’d be a great hire. But with research showing you have just seconds to make an impression, you’ve got to get it right!

A cover letter provides the best way to introduce yourself to a recruiter. You need to convey who you are, what you have to offer, and why you want the job – but many experts believe you have just 20-30 seconds to do so. This is the time it takes an experienced recruiter to scan your application in enough detail to make a decision about whether or not to read further. In a crowded job market, recruiters notice ‘stand-out’ applications. This means it must be attention grabbing – easy to read with information that identifies you as an ideal candidate. Here are our tips to ensure your next cover letter stands out:

  • Tailor the content – while many candidates believe they can take a standard approach with their cover letter, this is not usually the case. Take notice of what the company is looking for by studying the job ad and/or position description. Customise your content to suit the role, cross-matching your applicable skills, experiences and qualifications to ensure everything you mention is highly relevant to the role.
  • Show passion for the job and/or the industry you’re applying for. Anything that demonstrates a love for what you do or for what the company stands for will grab the recruiter’s attention.
  • Talk about your love for the company – companies want to hire people who already know and love their brand. Ideally you want to incorporate some unique piece of company information into your letter – this could be a piece of current industry or company news and your opinion on it (so long as it’s not controversial or negative of course). It’s also perfectly okay to flatter. You could tell a short story about what attracted you to the company. Have you been a fan of the brand since you were a child? Has the product improved some aspect of your life? Have you dreamed of working there since XYZ? Stories bring everything to life – but keep them short, sharp and succinct – no one wants to read an essay.
  • Emulate the company’s ‘voice’ – take note of industry buzzwords and specific language in the job ad and use them throughout your letter. By mirroring the same language in your letter, you can demonstrate you understand the company’s environment, industry and culture.
  • Highlight successes – but make sure they’re relevant – the reality of the job search process is that it’s competitive. For most roles applied for, you’ll be competing with many other applicants. Usually, several of these applicants will be just as capable and/or qualified as you. A great way to grab attention is to highlight successes that demonstrate why you’d be an asset in the role. Focus on short stories that convey what you’ve done which have strong relevance to the new role. I like to list out the job requirements or repeat the bullet points that appear under ‘What you’ll need to succeed’ in the job ad – then provide short statements about what you bring for each one. If your background is extensive, start culling – only include examples that you think will interest the recruiter – those that showcase your skills, experience and accomplishments that directly relate to the role you’re applying for.
  • Inject personality – or add some humour. This is a great way to make a recruiter smile, and therefore give you a better chance that they’ll remember you. Showing you bring the right experience and skillset to the role, as well as some personality is important – but be careful about trying to be too funny, informal, sassy, or quirky.
  • Make it visually appealing – your cover letter should match your resume, with the same header, font and style. Use a modern template with a classic font and no clutter – something that looks professional and clean. Always save your documents to PDF format so there are no formatting issues when the recruiter opens it.
  • Quantify examples – if you can, use numbers, percentages or specific results to demonstrate successful outcomes. Try not to make generalised statements about what you can do or have done – back these up with concrete examples.

Remember, it takes many recruiters just 20-30 seconds to decide whether to read your application in more detail, so give them every reason to do so. Make your application stand out by showing you’ve done your research! Talk about the company, the role, your love of everything about the industry – and highlight why you’d be an asset. Taking the time to really understand the role and explaining exactly why you want it will impress most recruiters.

If you would like assistance with writing an attention grabbing cover letter, please see our Customised Cover Letter and Resume Writing Services.

How to return to full-time work after a break

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to return to full-time work after a breakWhether you’ve had time off to raise a family, study, take a sabbatical, work for yourself, recover from an illness, or take an opportunity to work part-time – returning to full-time work can be a shock to the system! It’s not just the need to get out the door each morning and turn up to work, it’s the routine and ‘work’ mentality that you have to get on top of.

It’s a huge shift and returning to full-time work after a break – no matter what the reason – can be difficult. Take some time to prepare, settle in to your new workplace, and go easy on yourself because you’ll soon be feeling at ease. Our tips for success include:

  • Organise your personal life: You’ll have less time for yourself than you’ve had previously, so try to ensure your personal life is as organised as possible. Think about when you can run errands that you’ve previously done during the day, make sure you have reliable child care arrangements if they’re needed, maintain your exercise or gym routine, plan your work outfits, organise your lunches, pack your bag the night before, and try to organise evening meals ahead of time to avoid feeling overwhelmed and out of control.
  • Understand what’s expected: When you work for yourself, you might be used to doing everything. Be careful about being too keen to do this when you return to work. Not only could you offend someone by ‘doing their job’ but you could also be diverting your energy away from the areas you’re expected to be focused on. You were hired for a reason, so learn exactly where you fit and the value you’re going to add – this will be essential for your success.
  • Find a friend: It’s important to have someone who can help you understand the law of the land. This isn’t about company rules, regulations, policies and procedures, but more about the company culture, general office politics and etiquette which can often take time to learn. It’s great if you can find someone helpful whose advice you can seek from time to time. Be careful not to overwhelm this person with requests or take up too much of their time.
  • Get clear on communication: Organisations and individuals have broad ranging expectations regarding communications and it’s important you adapt to the existing behaviours early on. Work out what people do to communicate regarding different issues. Do people mostly communicate face to face, on conference calls, or via email? What’s the culture with walking up to people’s desks and nutting out a problem there and then? Does your supervisor expect constant updates on every detail, or just a heads up on major projects or issues?
  • Keep your goal in mind: Whether you’ve returned to work for a steady pay check and regular benefits, to learn new skills, or be a part of a collaborative team again, it’s important not to lose sight of those reasons. Some days you’ll be thinking you can’t continue with the full-time grind and related commute, so on these occasions, remember your goal and why you returned to full-time work in the first place.
  • Embrace change: Sometimes doing things the way you’ve always done them will not serve you best in the future. In your new workplace, there are sure to be things that are done in ways that you may not necessarily agree with or be comfortable with. Embrace the change and you might be surprised.
  • Build your reputation: As a newbie, you’ll need to build your credibility before trying to change the world. Work on developing good relationships with your boss, colleagues and direct reports. Take some time to get to know people, offer assistance to others where appropriate, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, and try not to be overly critical of the way things are done.

Successfully managing the change from part-time, home-based or no work, to working full-time again can be a huge challenge. By going easy on yourself to take the time needed to settle yourself into your new routine, find your place in your new role, and build new relationships, you’ll be off to a great start.

Are you looking to transition back to full-time work? Would you be interested in obtaining some career counselling to help you decide on what steps to take? If so, please see our career consulting services.

NextGen work – the new way forward

Article by Belinda Fuller

NextGen work - the new way forwardA recent study conducted by Manpower looked at ‘NextGen’ work and the trend of people choosing to work in non-traditional ways, searching for alternative work models in favour of traditional, full-time, permanent roles. It seems that part-time, contingent, contract, temporary, freelance, contract, on-demand online, and platform working are on the rise.

We know that today there are more and more people choosing to work in non-traditional ways for a variety of different reasons. Gigging or the ‘gig economy’ is a term used to describe the growing phenomenon of task-based employment. Rather than working as an employee and receiving a salary, workers receive one-off payments for individual tasks (aka ‘gigs’). In theory, this is just another term for freelancing or contracting, although the difference is scale – with gigging usually referring to smaller ‘tasks’ completed in a more casual or irregular way.

Usually, workers in the gig economy find jobs through dedicated websites and Apps (such as Airtasker or Fiverr) – signing up for the tasks they want to complete and only agreeing to complete work that appeals. For many people, it’s a great casual arrangement with the flexibility to control how much they work while studying or working in a full-time role. For employers – the gig economy can be appealing, since it cuts down on fixed costs such as office space, training and permanent wages and allows companies to seek out specialist skills and expertise as and when they need them – but it doesn’t provide the consistency and ongoing expertise that many companies need.

Manpower conducted a recent study which can be found here. The study looks at shifting labour market dynamics, the aging population, and changing skills requirements which are being driven by technological progress and globalisation. The study found, across the board, that what people want from work is changing significantly. The ‘Monday to Friday, 9 to 5′ job has moved on with the majority of jobs growth over the last 10-15 years occurring in the alternative ways of working mentioned above. Manpower’s study found that while the gig economy or the ‘uberisation of work’ is making headlines, the number of people actually earning a decent living from gigs is still relatively small. What people and businesses really want is NextGen work – new ways of working that still offer career security, opportunity for growth and prosperity for individuals.

What is NextGen Work?

NextGen work is a flexible, non-permanent way of working. While flexible working has already existed for many years, studies indicate that at least 30% of the Australian workforce undertakes some kind of freelance, contract or casual work – with many doing it by choice rather than necessity. And it’s not just the younger generation that enjoys the fact they can pick and choose work to focus on. Older workers are also embracing the trend to reduce stress, increase flexibility, take back control of their career and life, and in many situations earn higher levels of income for their difficult-to-find skills and unique levels of experience.

While people want different types of careers at different times in their lives, the Manpower survey found that 87% of people would consider NextGen work for their next job, or in the future. And employer demand for NextGen workers has risen consistently for decades too. The reasons for choosing NextGen work are diverse and include:

  • Earning extra money
  • Having the flexibility to do different things
  • Learning new skills
  • Reducing stress
  • Having a better work life balance with more control over time

Most people taking on NextGen jobs, work for themselves. They choose when and where to work – and when not to. While some individuals prefer jobs with regular hours, NextGen workers value flexibility and control over their work schedule over working regular hours as a full-time, permanent employee.

Many individuals now mix short-term jobs, contract work, consulting gigs and freelance assignments to create their own portfolio career. There is no doubt that the gig economy or NextGen way of working is here to stay. The opportunities for NextGen work options are endless. Most people choose it to provide more flexibility and freedom in their life with employers appreciating the skills, expertise and fresh eyes that new team members can bring. If you’re going down this path – be prepared to work hard and allow some time to build your client base and reap the rewards this type of career can bring.

Would you like help deciding whether or not to join the NextGen wave of work?  If so, please see our career counselling services.

 

9 tips to get out the door for work with children

Article by Belinda Fuller

9 tips to get out the door for work with childrenGetting out the door for work is hard enough without adding one or more little people into the mix. Anyone who has children can relate to how stressful this can be. Even older children often need constant supervision to make sure they get up, get dressed, brush teeth, and collect their belongings. With the right routine in place though, it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you don’t want to feel like you’ve run a marathon by the time you get to work, or spend your morning being the world’s most painful nagger, try incorporating these tips into your day:

  1. Have a routine: First and foremost, design a routine that works for your family and stick to it. Make sure your children are also aware of the routine and know what’s expected of them. If they’re older – say 8 to 10 plus (depending on their maturity), let them contribute their own ideas on how the morning routine might work better.
  2. Prepare the night before: Anything that can be done the night before should be. Get clothes out (including yours), pack bags, make lunches, locate homework or projects that might be due, complete permission notes, prepare breakfast items, and set the alarm.
  3. Put things away as you go: Allocate a dedicated space for kids’ stuff. Use a spot near the door or kitchen that’s handy for everyone. It could be a washing basket, shelf or spot in a corner where everything can be placed – shoes, lunchboxes, backpacks, library books, permission notes, and anything else related to school or daycare. Teach your child to put anything they want to take with them in this spot – things like a news item or a ball for lunchtime games. That way there’s no last minute frantic search, or worse, tears when you arrive at the school gate and they’ve forgotten their special something.
  4. Create charts: Children, especially little ones, are visual and reward driven. Creating charts to prompt them on what to do (and in what order) is a great idea to help ensure your morning runs smoothly. Your chart should include everything they need to do such as getting dressed, making their bed, tidying their room, eating breakfast, brushing their teeth, doing their hair, putting on their shoes, taking their lunch, and packing/grabbing their bag. You can make your own chart with great ideas available from places like Pinterest, or even purchase one from somewhere like The Organised Housewife. Include a little tick box and trust them to tick it themselves, with the promise of some kind of reward at the end of the week. Consider using a kitchen timer for any areas where your kids dawdle. Most children love to beat the clock and it’s better than your voice urging them to hurry up!
  5. Make breakfast simple: Instead of offering a variety of options for different tastebuds, make breakfast easy by letting kids help themselves to cereal or offering just one or two options. Save the cooked breakfasts for the weekend, and use faster options for weekdays – cereals, yoghurt, bread, boiled eggs (done the night before), smoothies (again with ingredients prepped the night before), or toast. Get all the items out the night before and have them ready on the kitchen bench – bowls, cutlery, cereal, spreads etc.
  6. Use rewards: Most kids want to do anything other than getting ready in the morning. Use that to your advantage – whether it’s playing on their device or watching TV – offer that as a reward when everything else has been done.
  7. Model your desired behaviour: If you want your children to do it – you better be prepared to do it yourself. So that means getting your clothes and bag ready the night before, keeping breakfast simple, and getting ready in the same order you expect your kids to.
  8. Get up earlier: If you’re really struggling to get out the door on time, consider setting your alarm a little earlier. Even 15 minutes can make all the difference – especially if that time is spent on your own before the children wake up. Use it to get yourself ready and maybe even have a cup of coffee or tea in peace.
  9. Build in a buffer: If you can, build in some buffer time for when things don’t go according to plan. Allowing extra time in your schedule – even just 5 or 10 minutes – will help you to better handle a toddler’s meltdown, a nappy blow out, or a lost item that must be located to take to school.

Consistency really is the key to success in this area. Working out the best routine for your own family and following through with it every day will help you get out the door for work on time every time!

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.

How to handle rejection

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to handle rejectionLearning how to handle rejection while job hunting is tough. You need commitment, effort and persistence to ensure success in today’s job market. With multiple avenues available to search for, apply and secure your role, not to mention the competition, it can be complex. As hard as it is, it’s an important part of the job search process and one you need to learn to manage.

Even though we are experiencing a fairly buoyant job market at the moment, our evidence from talking with clients on a daily basis suggests it can take at least six months, sometimes longer, to secure a new role. If you’re sending out application after application only to receive rejection letters (or worse, nothing), it’s easy to get disheartened.

Rejection is a normal part of the job-hunting process and will help you to learn, grow and move one step closer to the perfect role. Until you get there, here are some tips for keeping your spirits up during the search.

  • Don’t take it personally: It’s easy to take rejection personally. But remember there are usually a variety of factors that recruiters consider when making their decisions. In addition, there are often upwards of 100 applicants for a single role. It might just be a case of how well you stacked up against the other applicants on that occasion as opposed to your overall suitability for the role.
  • Don’t get bogged down: Negativity is pervasive and once you start those thoughts, it can be hard to get rid of them. Move on from any rejections or disappointments quickly and treat every application as a fresh new opportunity. Maintaining your positivity and enthusiasm will also help you perform better when you do land an interview.
  • Treat it like a job: Looking for a job is hard work! We suggest clients try to complete some job search tasks every day – whether that be networking with old colleagues, searching for jobs to apply for, talking to recruitment agencies, polishing your resume, or practising for an interview – do something constructive every day but make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.
  • Remember some things are not meant to be: No matter how perfect a job might seem at the time, I’m a big believer that if you don’t get it, then it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s often only in retrospect that we can clearly see that failure or rejection can make way for the best opportunity yet.
  • Don’t settle for second best: Stay focused – the longer you look, the more tedious the process can become. After a long period applying for jobs with few positive results, it can be tempting to lower our expectations and settle on anything, especially if you are keen to leave your current role. Remember that lowering your expectations is not the best approach for your career in the longer term, and you may just be right back where you’re at now in no time at all. Employers value signs of passion and determination, so reflect this in your application, even if you lack the experience.
  • Focus on your strengths: It’s important to be able to clearly and concisely articulate your value and the accomplishments you have made in an appealing way. If you have a good understanding of the areas you need to excel in to achieve the type of role you’re looking for, this process will be easier. Even though you didn’t get the job you thought was perfect – your skills and qualities will be perfectly suited to another company and position – it’s just a matter of talking about them with enthusiasm and confidence.
  • Improve your approach: If you’ve been at it for a while, take some time out to assess your progress. Are your resume, cover letter and application documents tailored for each role? Are the roles you’re applying for truly a good fit? Have you done any networking? What can you improve? Whether its rewriting your resume and cover letter, putting some time into your LinkedIn profile, or practising your interview skills – find ways to improve what you’re currently doing. If you’re applying for government roles, make sure you address the required selection criteria specifically how they’ve requested. The selection criteria process has evolved significantly over the past few years, so the approach you may have used previously might not be relevant now. For tips, refer to our previous articles on responding to selection criteria. For other improvement tips, see our articles on resume writing, LinkedIn, and interviews.
  • Ask for feedback: If you didn’t get the job following an interview, ask for some feedback. Many recruiters are happy to provide this. The reason why you didn’t get the job is often not what you think. This feedback can be used to assist in perfecting your next application or interview.
  • Learn new skills: If there are gaps in your skill set, think about taking a short course or volunteering for extra responsibilities in your current role. There are plenty of short (often free) courses available online that can fill a gap – some worth looking into are: Lynda, Alison, and MOOC.

In a competitive job market, landing an interview is a huge achievement. 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. Acknowledge what you did well and understand some things are out of your control. Learn from every experience, then try to let it go and move on to the next application.

If you would like help in searching for your next role, please see our Job Search Coaching, Interview Training & Coaching, or Resume and Cover Letter Writing Services.

The future of work – will robots replace us all?

Article by Belinda Fuller

The future of work - will robots replace us all?

Digital technology has already reinvented the way people work but there’s more to come amidst a constantly changing technology landscape. As individual tasks increasingly become automated, jobs are being redefined and re-categorised but will robots eventually replace us? Or will we reach a point where people and machines work alongside each other?

With the concept of work changing at this ever-increasing pace and more individual tasks becoming automated through machines, artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies, jobs are being redefined. Some experts predict we are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution with changes marked by mind boggling advances in digital, physical and biological technologies set to revolutionise our future.

As our workplaces continue to rapidly evolve, it’s clear we need to develop new skills to keep pace with the change. Much of the research conducted on this topic suggests that robots won’t (and can’t) replace us altogether (at least not in our lifetimes). With many jobs lost to automation replaced by new ones, jobs aren’t being replaced at the rate some predicted several years ago. In fact, research commissioned by technology company Infosys and presented at the World Economic Forum last year revealed that 72% of workers whose jobs are effected by AI will be redeployed within the same area of their organisation (34%) or retrained for another area (38%).

What the research shows is that robotics and/or AI are being used to automate routine and mundane tasks, resulting in large scale reclassification of work. However, the resulting value of that automation means people are freed up to focus on higher value work that can only be done (at the moment) with human imagination. While new jobs are being created by AI, particularly in the field of robotics, it’s impossible to predict exactly where jobs will emerge and what skills will be needed.

Digital technology has already completely reinvented the way we work, however while many industries have activities with potential for complete automation, many do not. In addition, other factors will influence whether tasks will be automated completely or partially. These include the technical feasibility, costs involved, scarcity or abundance of existing skills to do the work, the costs of workers who would otherwise do the work, benefits beyond labour cost savings (such as improved performance), and regulatory and/or social acceptance considerations. We do know that workers involved in areas requiring more creative and imaginative skills will remain in demand. Examples include jobs where you need to: manage others and/or interact with stakeholders; apply expertise to make decisions or plan, create or innovate; complete physical work and operation of machinery in unpredictable environments; and many areas of healthcare and social assistance.

Skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, empathy, innovation and creativity, collaboration, leadership and a service focus are becoming more important. The ability for workers to be adaptable in developing new skills, and be willing and able to work along-side automation or machines will become more important. The flexibility to move to other areas will drive future success and this will largely fall to the individual to acquire these new skills or retrain in new areas.

If you are looking to advance your career, you may have already identified the areas you need to gain more experience; or the knowledge you need to develop in order to progress. With the future set to bring such staggering change and advancements – think about what areas you could develop more relevant skills in.

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 Career Counselling Services.

How to stand out as a great candidate in seconds

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to stand out as a great candidate in secondsThe ability to spot a great candidate in seconds is how recruiters succeed in their competitive and fast-paced market. They need the skills that allow them to scan resumes and applications quickly while not missing any important details. As a candidate, it’s important that you effectively stand out. So how can you optimise your application to ensure success?

In order to stand out in a crowded job market, you’ll need to ensure your application content is short, sharp and compelling. It needs to sell you and your unique skill set as a viable candidate for the role you are applying for. We often liken resumes to sales proposals on YOU! So what really matters?

  • Format: First impressions do count, so use a format that’s appealing. If your resume looks good, it says a lot about you as a candidate. It conveys professionalism and strong attention to detail. Some colour is OK although we don’t recommend including a photo (unless you’re a model or actor). Take notice of spelling, grammar and edit the content to suit the role – ensuring language used matches the industry or job you’re applying for and the company and contact names are correct. Address your cover letter properly including the person’s title and the company address and make sure to change any factual references to the job or company if you’re using a template. Save it as a PDF to ensure it appears in a consistent way – and name it <first name> <last name> Resume. That way, recruiters can quickly and easily identify you and your relevant material.
  • Structure: Place information in a logical sequence, concentrating on the most important first. We recommend a clear and concise summary up front highlighting briefly who you are and what you have to offer. Skip the career objective unless you’re a recent school leaver since employers are more interested in what you’re going to do for them. Ensure your contact information is displayed clearly at the top or bottom of your resume’s first page, and include links to professional networks, personal URLs or samples of work showcasing your accomplishments. You can include two to four referees, otherwise it is perfectly acceptable to simply state ‘References available upon request’. Use clear (bolded) headings to differentiate sections but steer clear of underline (unless you’re including a publications list) which can make your resume look cluttered.
  • Key Capabilities: A section highlighting key capabilities as they relate to the role you are applying for should also be near the top (after the career profile). These should be re-ordered for each role you apply for – ensuring they reflect what the recruiter is looking for. Try not to use generic statements like ‘Strong communication skills’ but rather provide some context around how you apply these skills. E.g. ‘Strong communication skills with extensive experience writing content for internal and external publications, websites, and sales collateral’.
  • Achievements: Clearly identify your value by focusing on how your employer benefited by you doing what you did. It’s important to do this for each role – not just as a summary section but demonstrating how you contributed in each of your previous roles. This highlights to a potential employer how they might benefit by recruiting you. Where you can, quantify your accomplishments by including numbers, percentages or clear improvement results. Estimates are OK to include if you don’t have specifics, however be prepared to back these up in an interview if asked.
  • Consistency: Display job history in reverse chronological order starting with your current or most recent role. Include months and years for start and finish dates. Same for education, qualifications and personal development – list these with the most recent first and include the year you completed it and where (institution or training provider) it was done. It’s OK to have gaps in your employment, but always explain them so the recruiter is not left wondering. For any extended periods of unemployment, you could include relevant volunteer work or how you maintained current knowledge of your industry during that period.

Memorable resumes build an immediate connection with maximum impact – clearly and concisely conveying to the recruiter how you could be a great candidate for the role.

Are you interested in some assistance from a professional Resume Writer to help you prepare a winning resume for your next job application? If so, please see our Resume Writing Services.

 

Is it time for a career change?

Article by Belinda Fuller

Is it time for a career changeThe new year is often time for change in many areas of our lives. It’s when we take time to reflect on the past, instigate some new habits and set goals! It’s also a time when many people consider changing jobs or careers. If you’ve already begun the process, good for you! Now give yourself some time to ensure success.

Changing jobs is a big deal, but if you’re looking for a bigger career change, this can be an even bigger decision for many people. If you’ve made that decision already – congratulations! You owe it to yourself to ensure you enjoy going to work each day. We’ve compiled a step-by-step guide of all the areas you need to think about to help ensure you are ready for your next step – professionally, emotionally, and financially.

STEP 1 – think about whether it really is your career that needs to change or if your current role just isn’t satisfying you. Make a list of all your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Once you have completed that, look outside your current role, industry, and/or company to determine what aligns with your strengths and likes. We often find clients who are great at what they do and are in a job that is seemingly a good fit for them, but the company they work for is not ideal. It is very important at this stage to understand where your issues actually lie before embarking on a complete career change. If it’s the job you dislike, perhaps a similar job in a different industry or environment would make you happier. If it’s certain aspects of your current role you dislike, there might be an opportunity to diversify and take on a role with different responsibilities.

STEP 2 – once you have decided you would like to change careers, narrow down the direction you’d like to pursue. If you are unsure, consider taking a career assessment and meeting with a Career Advisor to better understand your interests and personality type, which can help you narrow down some new career choices. Research careers using online resources such as those found in our previous Useful Career Resources and Tools article.

STEP 3 – from the overview you’ve developed, decide how you might be able to make a change. You may have a lot to consider before you make your transition, including financial, family and study considerations. Analyse your financial situation and how that could be affected. Look for gaps in your resume and work out how to fill them. Do you need to undertake further study? Can some or all of the study be completed part-time while still working? Investigate opportunities to complete volunteer work. Think about the fact that many careers look great to an outsider, but the reality of the day-to-day job isn’t so interesting. Seek out and talk to people already working in your area of interest to gain a better understanding of their opinions and experiences to help you become more informed.

STEP 4 – contact employers and recruiters that specialise in your new field or industry. It’s important to proactively and enthusiastically hunt for your new role. Set up job alerts on online job sites and make sure you get out there and network with existing and new contacts.

STEP 5 – prepare your application material and update LinkedIn and other social media accounts. Tailor your application materials for every role you apply for – particularly the cover letter. We see too many people sending off applications that aren’t tailored to the role and then wonder why they don’t hear back. Pay particular attention to any selection criteria requirements and ensure you have responded in the way the recruiter has requested.

STEP 6 – take some time to prepare and practice for interviews. You may be the best candidate for the role, but if you don’t perform well in the interview, it’s unlikely you’ll progress. See our article this month ‘How to prepare for an interview without sounding like a robot’ for more tips.

Changing careers can be a very rewarding experience, but will require strong courage and conviction from you. It will most likely involve lots of hard work – especially if you need to complete additional training or study. Taking an honest look at why you want to change careers and what you hope to achieve is a great first step to ensuring a successful career change.

Would you like help deciding whether or not changing careers is a viable next step for you? If so, please see our Career Coaching Services.