Choosing to be happy at work

Article by Belinda Fuller

Choosing to be happy at work

What makes people happy at work varies significantly from person to person. Since we spend the majority of our waking hours at work, being unhappy doesn’t just affect our work – it usually affects all aspects of our life. Whilst it’s well-known that recognition, reward, and positivity go a long way to ensuring employees are happy, there are many other influencing factors.

Countless studies are conducted to try to discover the secret to happy employees. Most companies recognise the benefits that come from achieving a positive workplace with happy employees. Apparently almost every business metric that can be measured (e.g. productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction, absenteeism, safety etc.) can be directly impacted by employee happiness. While many companies are great at ensuring this, there are factors you can control yourself. Here are some tips to help you choose to be happy at work:

  1. Limit stress: Easier said than done in many cases, but stress is not conducive to happiness. Many jobs have stressful elements, which is fine in the short-term but can be damaging to both physical and emotional health if it becomes long-term. To limit stress, you need to be open – talk to your supervisor about what’s causing it; take time out by switching off from work and recharging; learn some relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises and mindfulness; and develop healthy responses to combat the stress such as exercise, hobbies, reading, time with family, and getting enough sleep.
  2. Exercise: Including any kind of physical activity in your day can improve your mood and productivity. While regular bouts of longer physical activity are essential for health, studies have shown that including even just a small amount of physical activity in your day can help. If you are feeling overwhelmed, often just a short stroll outside in the fresh air can help lift your focus, productivity and mood.
  3. Do more of what you love: You want to be happy in your work so avoiding what you don’t like doing will help to a point, BUT you need to be doing more of what you love! Identify aspects of your job you love, and skills and interests that inspire you. Think about how you can be even better at what you do. Approach your manager with suggestions on how you might be able to incorporate more of these aspects into your day to day work.
  4. Be organised: Arrive a little early so the start of your day is relaxed. Plan your day and only make commitments you can meet. A common cause of unhappiness at work is missed deadlines, causing unnecessary stress. By planning your workload, checking your diary, and making daily ‘to do’ lists, you’ll be less likely to miss deadlines. And try to factor in some time for breaks – they’ll re-energise and invigorate you and help you feel more positive. For some great time saving tips, see our article on Time saving tips for busy people.
  5. Ask for feedback: Happy employees know what their contribution means. If you don’t receive feedback, ask for it. You can’t change what you don’t know and chances are you know how you’re performing – you just need some acknowledgement – it’s proven as a strong driver of happiness.
  6. Continue to learn: Take responsibility for continuing personal and professional development. If your company supports you by paying for courses and allowing study time, take advantage of it. If they don’t – do it anyway – you are the one with the most to gain from continuing to develop professionally so make investing in training a priority.
  7. Know what’s going on: Seek the information you need to do your job well. Some companies are great at communicating company information, while others aren’t so good. If your company is one of the latter then develop your own networks and use them to find out what you need to know.
  8. Make plans: If all else fails, it may be time to start planning a career move. There’s nothing like planning your exit to make you smile. But don’t compromise your future by slacking off. If you come across as happy and committed, you’ll be more likely to receive a positive reference when the time comes.

Remember, you are responsible for your own destiny. Our number one tip is to avoid any negativity. Choose to be happy rather than down and instead of dwelling on the things you can’t change, focus on what you can change. Find colleagues you like spending time with and don’t get involved in negative conversations. Greet everyone with a smile and you’ll be surprised at how many will be returned.

Are you feeling unhappy at work? Would you like career advice and assistance with planning your next move? If so, please see our Career Counselling Services.

How to be Happy at Work

Article by Belinda Fuller

There have been countless studies and research projects conducted to try to discover the secret to happy employees. In recent years, it has become huge business, as companies recognise the significant benefits that come from achieving a positive workplace with happy employees. Apparently almost every business metric that can be measured (e.g. productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction, absenteeism, safety etc.) can be directly impacted by how happy the employees are. So, it’s in an organisation’s best interests to make sure its employees are happy.

Despite this, many people we speak to are unhappy at work. No matter what the study, happy employees tend to be those that enjoy what they do and feel valued and recognised by their employer as doing a good job. It’s a well known fact that well managed organisations who trust and support their employees to do their jobs are the ones with the happiest employees. However, there are many organisations out there that just aren’t achieving that balance. There are several factors that you have control over. Here are some tips to help you achieve more happiness at work:

1.  Avoid negativity – choose to be happy rather than down. Instead of dwelling on negative aspects of your work or things you can’t change, focus on what you like. Avoid negative people, find colleagues you like spending time with and don’t get involved in negative conversations or gossip. Greet and smile at everyone you encounter and you’ll be surprised at how many of your smiles are returned.

2.  Do something you like every day – you want to be happy in your work so that means avoiding what you don’t like doing will help to a point, BUT you need to be doing more of what you love! Identify aspects of your job you love, and skills and interests that inspire you. Think about how you can be even better at what you do. Approach your superior with suggestions on how you might be able to incorporate more of these aspects into your day to day work.

3. Be Organised – arrive a little early so you don’t have a rushed start to your day. Plan your day and only make commitments you can meet. A common cause of unhappiness at work is missed deadlines which causes unnecessary stress and worry. By planning your workload, checking your diary, and making daily ‘to do’ lists, you’ll be less likely to miss deadlines. And make sure you factor in some time for breaks – they’ll re-energise and invigorate you and help you feel more positive.

4. Ask for Feedback – the happiest employees are those that feel their contribution matters. You can’t change what you don’t know, so if you don’t receive regular feedback on your work, ask for it. You could also ask customers and colleagues for feedback as well as your boss. Chances are you know how you’re performing but you just want acknowledgement – it’s a proven driver of workplace happiness.

5. Improve your workspace – think about how your space could be more pleasant. Keep your desk tidy and invest in some accessories to help you stay organised. Personalise your space with photos, flowers, a plant, and positive affirmations – anything that contributes to making you feel happy and positive.

6. Continue to learn and grow – take responsibility for your continuing education and professional development. If your company supports you by paying for courses and giving you time off, take advantage. If they don’t – do it anyway – you are the one with the most to gain from continuing to develop professionally so take charge and make investing in training a priority.

7. Know what’s going on – seek out the information you need to do your job well. Some companies are great at communicating information about the company, department and current projects being worked on – others aren’t so good. If your company is one of the latter then develop your own networks and use them to find out what you need to know.

8. Make plans – if all else fails, it might be time to start thinking about a career move. There’s nothing like planning your exit to make you smile. But don’t compromise your future by not giving your best. If you come across as happy and committed you’ll be more likely to receive a complimentary and positive reference when the time comes.

Remember, you are responsible for your own destiny. If you’re feeling unhappy at work, there are many things you can do to feel more positive and happy.

Are you feeling unhappy in your work? Would you like career advice from a Career Coach to help you plan your next career move? If so, please see our Career Counselling Services.

7 ways to balance work and study

Article by Belinda Fuller

7 ways to balance work and studyWorking while studying means you can keep paying the bills, while gaining the skills to advance or change your career. But this combination can feel overwhelming. Read on for our tips on balancing work and study while staying motivated to get it all done.

  1. Make your study meaningful: There’s nothing more motivating than studying a topic you are really passionate about. Whether you’re wanting to advance or change your career, make sure you choose a course that’s meaningful and worthwhile. This will help you stay focused from day one.
  2. Establish a dedicated study space: There are so many things to do at home, from watching TV to cleaning the floors, it’s easy to get distracted. You need a quiet space where you can hide away and focus solely on your studies. Whether it’s a whole room or a corner in your bedroom, fill your study space with inspiration, such as quotes and images that remind you of your goals. Keep all of your study materials in this space, so you don’t waste time searching for things.
  3. Get creative to carve out more study time: There are many ways you can schedule study into your day around work. If you catch public transport to work, consider doing some study on your commute. If you drive to and from work, audiobooks could be a good option. If you’re able to find a quiet space at work or in a nearby park, try to squeeze in an hour of study at lunch. For parents juggling children, you might be able to study while waiting to pick them up from their endless after-school activities. Think creatively to find those opportunities outside of traditional study time.
  4. Set a study goal: Know what you’d like to achieve in each study session and use your allocated time to work towards that goal. Prioritise your tasks and start bigger assignments in plenty of time. To keep our brains performing at their peak, some experts recommend studying for 50 minutes, then taking a 10-minute break. Having short study sessions every day, or every few days, ensures the material remains fresh in your mind, and gives you time in between to digest what you are learning.
  5. Delegate household tasks: It can be challenging to focus on study when you get home from work and have to cook dinner, do the washing and tidy the house! So delegate what you can to your partner, children or flatmates. Sharing the load should create more time to study after work or in the evenings. If you find it difficult to delegate, set yourself a time limit to complete what needs to be done, so you have time left for study.
  6. Keep healthy: When we’re busy, it’s easy to stop exercising and eat more fast food, but at these times it’s more essential than ever to stay healthy. To make sure you can stay on top of your work and study, stick to a healthy eating plan and get some exercise each day. Exercise boosts the chemicals in our brains that help us deal with stress. It also releases endorphins, which make us happy and reduce anxiety. Cardiovascular workouts can even help create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance!
  7. Reward yourself: It’s important to reward yourself when you meet your study goals. This keeps you motivated and gives you something to look forward to. So take yourself out for breakfast, go for a bush walk or buy that shirt you’ve been eyeing off. You deserve it!

Are you considering studying, but you’re not sure what the best courses or qualifications are to help you change or advance your career? Our Career Counselling services can help set you on the right path.

Is self-care the new career success secret?  

Article by Belinda Fuller

Is self-care the new career success secret?  ‘Self-care’ has become a buzzword, and some people see it as an indulgence or a reward for a job well done. But self-care – which simply means taking care of our mental and physical health – is critical for living a happy and healthy life. Practising daily self-care can help you stay focused, rejuvenated, stress-free and sane.

Older generations, particularly those aged over 40, were raised with the work ethic that you should push on regardless of challenges. You were expected to show up for work every day, put on a happy face and keep your problems to yourself.

Thank goodness times have changed and we now know how important self-care can be in preventing burnout, improving job performance and being happier and healthier.

Extreme stress leads to health issues

It is now widely recognised in the professional world that stress can lead to a range of mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety and high blood pressure.

According to a State of Workplace Mental Health report published by Beyond Blue in 2014, one in five Australians (21%) took time off work in the previous 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy. This statistic was more than twice as high (46%) among those who considered their workplace ‘mentally unhealthy’.

It’s clear that self-care is important not only to our health, but also to our long-term career success. Read on for some simple tips on incorporating self-care into your daily life.

Take breaks: Remember to give yourself a rest. Try to prioritise this on weekends, even if it’s just to take an hour to read a book or watch a movie. If you have holidays or personal leave days available, use them to step away from the workplace and recharge. During the work day, heading outside can be extremely beneficial, even if it’s just for a five-minute break.

Set goals: The key to preventing burnout is to reduce stress levels. One way to do this is by setting and achieving short-term goals. Break down your bigger goals and responsibilities into small, attainable goals, or set yourself a realistic goal of learning a new skill.

Learn to say ‘no’: We’re living in a culture where we feel we must fill every minute of every day. We overschedule ourselves and then wonder why we’re overwhelmed and unable to finish our tasks. If that’s a problem you face, here’s a simple lesson: you don’t need to do everything. Resist the urge to take on new commitments. Decline activities that will add extra stress to your life. Just learn to say ‘no’.

This is perhaps the most important thing to remember if you’re a ‘people pleaser’ trying to juggle a hectic schedule. It may seem impossible or uncomfortable to push back, but when you do it will be liberating. You’ll give yourself time to engage in other things, and with time you’ll be declining unwanted plans or counterproductive meetings with ease.

Create a support system: Reduce stress in your life by asking those around you for help. It’s okay to rely on other people. Tell family and friends about your work so you don’t feel isolated. Chat to people who do similar work to you, and also spend time with them talking about things other than work. This allows you to connect with people facing similar challenges, while gaining support on different levels.

Connect with your emotions: If you’re feeling anxious or stressed in certain situations, your brain and body are trying to tell you something. Listen to what your emotions are saying about what you want and need, and this will help your overall mental health and keep you on track for career success.

Practise mindfulness: Research has shown that mindfulness can help ease stress, anxiety and depression – and there are many ways to practise it. Take up yoga or unplug from technology and social media to just ‘be’. Try out a few breathing exercises or simply pay attention to your breath, which helps to take you out of your mind and into your body. There are also lots of great apps that can help you practise mindfulness.

Find ways to unwind every day: In the hard-charging, ever-competitive world of business, we often try to squeeze more into each day. But one of the best ways to improve productivity is to allow time for unwinding each day. By knowing when to unplug from work, you give yourself time to decompress, reconnect with loved ones and check in with your own thoughts and feelings. You’ll feel rejuvenated and better able to handle the pressures of your job.

Stress and burnout can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t need to sacrifice your wellbeing for your career, so as you start the new year, remember to prioritise self-care. After all, the healthier you are, the better you can perform your job and help those around you.

If you often feel stressed or anxious at work, it may be time for a career change. Our Career Counsellors and Interview Coaches can help set you on the right path so you’ll have less stress at work and more time for self-care in your day.

Feeling lost? How to uncover your perfect career

Article by Belinda Fuller

Feeling lost? How to uncover your perfect careerChoosing the ‘right’ career is no easy task. You might be new to the workforce and unsure which path to take, or unhappy in your current role and looking for a new challenge. Wherever you’re at, when it’s time to make a choice about your career, it’s common to feel stuck. Here are our top tips on narrowing down your options and choosing a career that suits your personality, preferences and skills.

What we do for work can be one of the most important decisions we make. Many of us will spend around a third of each day at work – and sometimes more – so finding a career that aligns with our values and preferences is important. If you’re not sure which direction you should take, or you want to feel more fulfilled in your job, read on for our tips on finding a career that suits you.

Tip 1: Think about what excites and energises you

This is a great first step. We all want to like and enjoy our job. And while passion isn’t the only requirement for being content in your career, it will help you stay motivated and engaged, and keep you going through the tough times. But you may not feel that passionate about any specific career, or perhaps you’re interested in multiple areas and can’t decide on just one. So instead of focusing just on jobs, think about your personality and what you do (and don’t) enjoy doing.

Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, you probably have an idea of what you like or dislike, work-wise, and this can help narrow down your options.

For example, perhaps you enjoy travelling and dislike working in heavily structured environments, or maybe you don’t like big cities and the idea of working remotely appeals to you.

 

Start by making a list of likes and dislikes. Do you like working in a team or would you rather work independently? Do you value structure or do you prefer flexibility? What appeals to you about certain workplaces and what do you find off-putting? Once you’ve written down as many likes and dislikes as you can think of, you’ll start to build a clearer picture of the type of work that suits you. All these little personal preferences can help lead you towards your perfect career.

Tip 2: Evaluate your skills

Think about the life and work skills you already have, and those you would like to build on. Which skills come easiest to you? For example, communication, self-management, teamwork, problem solving or analysis? Every career needs these skills, but some more than others. For instance, great communication is especially important in sales, marketing and management careers, while analytical skills are more important in finance or IT roles.

Tip 3: Research career prospects and trajectory

If you’ve identified that a certain career would be a good fit for you based on your personality and preferences, make sure you consider all the facts. For example, have you thought about your prospects? How easy will it be to find a job in your chosen area and what sort of compensation can you expect?

You should also consider career trajectory and what your role might look like five or ten years down the track. Would you still enjoy the job if you ended up managing people and had less time to create things or work directly with customers? It’s also a good idea to research the types of promotions you could expect over the coming years and whether you’ll have a chance to grow and expand your skill set.

Tip 4: Get some practical experience

Experiencing a career firsthand is the fastest way to determine whether or not it’s a good fit, and having some practical experience can also make you more employable once you begin your job search.

If you’re still in school, work experience placements and internships offer a chance to try out certain jobs and industries. And if you’re already working, you can gain practical experience by volunteering or taking a course that allows you to develop new skills and make contacts in your industry of interest.

Tip 5: Talk to other people

One of the best ways to discover a new career is to ask other people about theirs. Use your existing contacts as a reference point for information about different roles and careers. Your LinkedIn network can be a good place to start seeking information.

Tip 6: Consult a career coach or mentor

It may also be a good idea to consult a qualified career coach, who can take a solution-based approach to helping you discover a career aligned to your personality, interests and values. With experience across a variety of industries and extensive knowledge of a wide range of occupations, a good career coach can be invaluable.

By using tools and techniques such as personality profiling and career interest assessments, a career coach can provide new insight and information on careers that might suit you. They can also help you explore your options and create a realistic and personalised action plan.

Tip 7: Consider your short- and long-term goals

Now that you’ve spent some time thinking about a career that’s right for you, your next step is to define some achievable goals. To make your career dreams a reality, what are you going to work towards in the coming months and years?

In a document or spreadsheet, list the steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goals, and a date you’d like to achieve them by. Your goals can be small or large, but make sure they’re realistic. Taking time to define the steps required to achieve your career aspirations, and breaking them down into manageable goals, will help you turn your daydreams into a rewarding, long-term career.

Are you ready for a change but feeling unsure about what kind of career would suit you best? An experienced career coach can be invaluable in helping you create a better future for yourself. See our Career Counselling Services to learn how our career experts can support you through the process of choosing a career and taking your first steps.

 

13 things you’re doing wrong on LinkedIn

Article by Belinda Fuller

13 things you're doing wrong on LinkedInLinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with more than 575 million users. It’s become an indispensable tool for recruiters, which means your profile is often the first impression a recruiter gets of you. Does your profile help you put your best foot forward? There are many ways to get it right – and many ways to get it not so right.

Here are the most common mistakes we see and how you can avoid them.

Mistake 1 – No profile picture: LinkedIn says that profiles with a photo are 14 times more likely to be viewed than those without one. And a professional-looking photo makes a big difference. For tips on how to get a great-quality photo without paying a pro photographer, read our previous article on getting a professional headshot. Just remember: no dogs, babies, partners or party shots!

Mistake 2 – Not customising your headline: LinkedIn automatically populates your headline with your current or most recent position, but you can, and should, customise it. We recommend using all 120 characters available to create an informative and impactful snapshot of yourself. This is an important part of building your personal brand.

Mistake 3 – Skipping the summary: This is one of the most common areas we see clients overlook, but this is a wasted opportunity. Use it to provide an overview of who you are, who you help, what you specialise in and what you’ve achieved, using short, sharp wording broken up with subheadings and bullet points. Optimise your summary using keywords related to the roles you’re seeking.

Mistake 4 – Not making it consistent with your resume: LinkedIn should not be a cut-and-paste of your resume, but the two should align. While LinkedIn is more personal, less formal and may contain additional information, make sure your roles, dates and qualifications match up.

Mistake 5 – Forgetting to customise your LinkedIn URL: When you set up your profile, you’re automatically assigned a long combination of random letters and numbers as a unique URL. Take advantage of the ‘vanity URL’ option and customise your URL to reflect your first and last names or your business name (if you’re a business owner).

Mistake 6 – Not having recommendations: Recommendations are the easiest way to show credibility. They’re the modern-day version of a written reference, so spend some time requesting them. Approach appropriate 1st level contacts and ask them if they’ll write you a recommendation, specifying what you’re after or what you’d like highlighted. Be specific and most people will oblige. If you’re finding it hard to ask for a recommendation, offer to write one for somebody you’ve worked with and ask them to return the favour.

Mistake 7 – Sending random or non-personalised connection requests: While it’s not essential to restrict your networking to people you know well, you should always provide context when sending a connection request. For example, if you know the person, ask them about their business or personal life; if you’ve met the person briefly, remind them how you met; and if you’ve never met, do some research and tailor your request to explain why you’d like to connect.

Mistake 8 – Not building connections: Many employers place high value on a candidate’s connections. In many roles, you might be hired because you know certain people in your industry. You might be amazed at just how many people you know on LinkedIn. Seek them out and connect with them. You should be constantly building your network, adding contacts and accepting connection requests.

Mistake 9 – Not using web-friendly content: To improve readability and highlight important points, use bullet points and subheadings in relevant sections, including your summary and experience. Consider adjusting the order of your experience, skills, education etc. to suit your target role or industry. Be sure to use keywords and phrases specific to the position(s) you’re seeking throughout your profile.

Mistake 10 – Having an incomplete profile: Completing your profile not only helps more recruiters find you, it also sends a great message about your professionalism to people viewing your profile. In addition, it provides more networking opportunities. Complete as many sections as possible to achieve an ‘All-Star’ level.

Mistake 11 – Not including supporting information: LinkedIn lets you link to blogs, websites, presentations, projects etc. where people can learn more about you and your professional achievements. Including this supporting information will help strengthen your profile.

Mistake 12 – Not making it easy for people to contact you: LinkedIn is all about engaging with people. Invite people to connect or to contact you for advice if relevant. Including some personal information like volunteer work can also encourage like-minded people to connect with you. Take some time to learn about privacy settings to ensure you’re happy with how others see your profile, activities, and network information. Set preferences regarding job seeking, including letting recruiters know you’re open to opportunities.

Mistake 13 – Not responding professionally: Not responding to emails and connection requests in a timely manner looks unprofessional. Likewise, making judgements about people’s motives could be a mistake. Try to treat any enquiries or connection requests in the same way you would treat a business or sales enquiry. You don’t want to waste time obviously, but try not to ignore people you initially perceive as not able to add value.

LinkedIn is a fantastic professional networking tool with many features and benefits that you may not be taking advantage of. Optimise your profile using our tips above and you may be surprised by the results.

Do you need a stronger LinkedIn profile to help you connect with like-minded industry experts or boost your job search? We can help you develop a professional, keyword-optimised profile that sets you apart from your competitors. Learn more about our LinkedIn Profile Writing Service.

9 tips for avoiding job burnout

Article by Belinda Fuller

9 tips for avoiding job burnoutMost of us feel stressed about our job from time to time, but what happens when we feel stressed all the time? If you’re feeling overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism and detachment from your job, and a sense of ineffectiveness / lack of accomplishment, you could be experiencing burnout. The long-term impact on your physical and mental health from job burnout can be serious. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon in its International Classification of Diseases. While doctors need to be careful to rule out adjustment disorder, anxiety and other mood-related disorders, the classification may help highlight the need for work-life balance for workers.

Leaving the job that’s causing the problem might seem like the obvious solution, but that may not be the answer. It might not even be viable since you need financial security, energy and drive to secure a new job. Plus, many experts believe that the burnout will simply follow you to the next role.

The best approach, therefore, is to avoid burnout in the first place. Here are our top tips.

Tip 1: Work with purpose – This isn’t just a warm and fuzzy idea. When we have a purpose to our work other than simply earning money to live, it can help avoid burnout. Look at the deeper impact of what you do every day and ask yourself: Does the work you do make a difference to your company? How does your work impact other people? Do you feel a sense of satisfaction? How could you add more meaning to what you do every day? If you think you might be in the wrong role, you could talk to a career consultant to help you find your ideal career.

Tip 2: Complete a job analysis – When we feel overwhelmed by work on a daily basis, it can be difficult just to ‘catch up’. To clarify where you’re spending time while understanding exactly what’s expected of you, it helps to analyse your job requirements and track your time for a few days. You can then work towards eliminating or delegating tasks that aren’t contributing to desired outcomes.

If you feel like you have too much work to handle, discuss it with your boss. Come prepared with details about your workload and why you believe it’s unrealistic, as well as ideas about how to address the issue.

Tip 3: Establish working hours – It’s often easier said than done, but setting boundaries for yourself and others is important. If you work from home, walk away from your office space at a set time each day. If you work in an office, try not to take work home unnecessarily. Leave work at a set time to spend planned time with family or friends. For many people, it takes a personal emergency for them to reschedule something important at work. Turn that around and give your personal time the same respect – try not to ‘reschedule’ it unless absolutely necessary.

Tip 4: Switch off – Any device that’s keeping you connected to work should be turned off outside of work hours as much as possible. If you’re spending time with your family or partner, this is especially important. We need uninterrupted time to focus on personal relationships. Even if you just switch off for an hour or during a meal, try to do it every day. Turning off technology allows us to focus on our relationships, which goes a long way towards preventing burnout.

Tip 5: Take time out – Make sure you take your annual leave each year, try not to work weekends and include some ‘me time’ every day (more on this in our next tip). At a minimum you should schedule two weeks off each year. This doesn’t mean you need to book an expensive holiday. Stay at home and enjoy what your local area has to offer. Time off helps you feel refreshed and recharged you so you can be more productive – and less stressed – when you return to work.

Tip 6: Schedule something enjoyable every day – This could involve exercise, a lunchtime walk or coffee catch-up with a friend or colleague, gardening or cooking. It could simply be going to bed 30 minutes earlier to read a book or spending some quiet time doing nothing. It’s easy to find enjoyable things to do that aren’t expensive or time-consuming, and it will make a difference to your stress levels.

Tip 7: Exercise regularly – Exercise is a well-known stress reliever and it helps increase energy and productivity at work. That said, when you’re feeling overwhelmed it can be hard to find the time to fit it in, let alone the motivation to start. Try getting up a little earlier, exercising during your lunch break or involving co-workers in your physical activity. Read our previous article for tips for a more active workday.

Tip 8: Learn stress management techniques – Most of us experience short-term stress at work and that’s normal. But when it’s prolonged or not managed well, it can contribute significantly to burnout. If you’re prone to stress, learning how to manage it is key. Strategies might include deep breathing, meditation, relaxation, getting more sleep and exercise – but just changing the way you think or react to certain situations also helps. The power of positive thinking! Talking to someone about how you feel might also help alleviate stress.

Tip 9: Take back control – You don’t need to be available for work all the time and you aren’t obliged to say ‘yes’ to everything. Learn to say ‘no’ sometimes and take back some control.

If you’ve been in the same job or industry for several years, it’s common to feel a lack of energy or motivation. But job burnout is different. It’s also preventable. So don’t wait until you reach that point – start taking steps today to manage your stress levels and protect your health and well being.

Are you unhappy in your job? Are you counting down the days to the weekend and ready for a change? Our Career Counselling and Career Coaching Service can help. Find out more.

7 job application mistakes to avoid

Article by Belinda Fuller

7 job application mistakes to avoid When you’ve spotted a great job and you’re preparing your job application, it can be tempting to rush it. You want to get it in quickly and it can all feel a bit tedious. But since your application is your first (and sometimes only) chance to show why you’re suitable for the role, it’s important to pay attention.

If you’re applying for roles and not hearing back from recruiters, you might be making some of these common job application mistakes. So what do you need to avoid?

Mistake 1: Typos ­– Spellcheck and proofread all your application material meticulously. Spelling and grammatical errors are still a primary reason applicants are rejected, and it’s a mistake that’s easy to avoid. For any online responses, we suggest writing your response in Microsoft Word or Google Docs first, then copying it over once you’re happy. Feel free to use the spellchecker but make sure you also read everything multiple times to correct any incorrect autocorrects! Plus, your spellchecker won’t pick up on everything. Ideally, you should also have someone else read through your materials.

Mistake 2: Ignoring selection criteria requirements – Not addressing the criteria is a key mistake, but reordering them or not adhering to page, word or character limits are also big no-no’s. Don’t be tempted to rewrite or re-order specified criteria. Respond to it exactly as it appears in the job description, address the points they’re looking for and take careful note of page and word limits. You can provide other relevant ‘value add’ information in your resume and/or cover letter.

Mistake 3: Too much information – We regularly receive resumes from clients that are 10 or more pages long. No recruiter will read that much detail so determine what’s most important and cut the rest. Aim for a maximum of 3–5 pages. Use short, sharp paragraphs (5–6 lines) and plenty of white space. Break it up into clearly defined sections using subheadings and bullet points, and if you’ve held multiple (similar) jobs in the one company, consider grouping them rather than giving each one a new heading.

Mistake 4: Incorrect document file format – ­ Make sure you follow any instructions about the document file format to use; for example, some job ads ask you to submit a PDF or MS Word document only. Many recruiters can’t open documents saved in Pages for Mac or other open-source or less-common formats. We recommend sending your document in MS Word format if the ad doesn’t specify.

Mistake 5: Not personalising your cover letter – Taking time to address your letter correctly can make a difference. If there is a name listed in the job ad, do a quick LinkedIn search to find out their correct job title and look at the company’s website to find their address. If no name is provided, add in the company’s address and attention the letter to the Recruitment Manager.

Mistake 6: Not customising your application – It’s important to tweak the content of both your cover letter and resume to suit the job requirements. Clients often ask us to write a ‘general’ resume or cover letter they can use for a range of different roles. By taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach, you miss an important opportunity to show why you’re ideal for the role and you may end up appealing to no one. If other applicants have highlighted more specific and relevant experience and skills, there’s a good chance they’ll be selected for an interview over you.

Mistake 7: Excluding contact details – If a recruiter likes what they see, they may want to call you immediately for a quick telephone screen or to organise an interview. Make it easy for them by including your email and mobile number in a prominent place on all application materials. And ensure your voicemail greeting is professional and friendly. (Read more about why your voicemail greeting may be hindering your chances of getting an interview.)

Many job applications contain mistakes – make yours stand out by eliminating any errors. Check, double check and triple check your application and ensure your content is clear, concise and relevant to the role you’re applying for.

Are you failing to get results from your job applications and feeling frustrated? Our professional writers can help you prepare a winning resume or job application. See our Resume Writing Services to learn more.

7 signs it’s time to move on from your job

Article by Belinda Fuller

7 signs it’s time to move on from your job

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut – doing the same things, day in day out, without really enjoying them, but not giving it much thought. Work can become monotonous but most of us can’t afford to leave a job whenever the mood takes us. However, sometimes work starts to make us truly unhappy. Often we wait too long to leave or put off the decision because it’s easier to stay. So how can you tell if it’s time to move on from your job?

Recognising and accepting that it’s time to leave your job can be tough. You may have a ‘good’ job and work for a good company. Maybe you like your co-workers and get on well with your boss. But when it comes to your career, that’s not always enough. Simply feeling dissatisfied might not be a sufficient reason to leave, but there are certain situations that definitely indicate it could be time to move on. If any of the following apply to you, start planning now.

  1. Mondayitis is extending to the whole week: And your ‘bad week’ has turned into a ‘bad month’. Everyone has their off days or weeks. Things can go wrong, or maybe you feel overwhelmed and unable to get on top of things. However, if you’re constantly stressed or unhappy, waking up miserable most days and dreading going to work, that’s a sign it’s time to find something new.
  2. You’re bored: Feeling challenged at work is crucial for long-term satisfaction. If you find yourself doing the same things over and over, with nothing new to excite you, talk to your supervisor about your options. Ask if you can take on new or different responsibilities or tasks. If that isn’t an option, is there something in another department, or a special project you can work on for a short period of time to reignite your passion? If you can’t come to an agreement about new responsibilities, then it’s probably time to exit. You can help prevent the same thing happening again by asking questions in your next interview about career growth, support and development.
  3. You’re not achieving your desired work-life balance: Most of us are working more hours every week, which can compromise our health and wellbeing. With technology allowing us to be connected 24/7, it’s even more difficult to switch off. If you feel your employer is making it difficult for you to find time for friends, family or doing some of the things you love, it might be time to start searching for a new opportunity.
  4. You’re consistently overlooked for promotion: If you regularly put your hand up but you’re not really getting anywhere, what is the reason? Is someone standing in your way or are you doing something to sabotage your own success? If the problem is something out of your control, try raising the issue with your boss and if they struggle to provide a clear answer, it’s likely that the situation won’t change much in the future.
  5. Your company or industry is shrinking: If your company or industry as a whole is experiencing slow or negative growth, it might be time to get out while you still have a job.
  6. You dislike the people you work with: While it’s not viable that everyone gets on with everyone all the time, sometimes personality clashes just aren’t fixable. It’s important to know when that’s the case, and if it is, you may be better off looking for a new role.
  7. You don’t feel appreciated: It can be frustrating if you feel taken for granted or your advice is often ignored. If you work hard and are committed, you shouldn’t feel undervalued in the business. Talk to your boss about how you feel, and if they can’t provide a solution you’re happy with, you might want to consider your options.

We spend so much of our lives working, you owe it to yourself to ensure you enjoy going to work each day (or at least most days). If you’re working in a job that isn’t fulfilling, and you’re no longer learning and growing, it might be time to make a move.

Would you like assistance from a Career Coach to help you work out if it’s time to move on? Or perhaps you’ve already made the decision to leave and you need some help developing a tailored Job Search Strategy to secure your future? To find out more, read about our services.

17 podcasts to inspire career success

Article by Belinda Fuller

17 podcasts to inspire career success

Podcasts can provide great inspiration across a range of areas. These convenient, bite-sized chunks of content are also a good way to up-skill or improve your knowledge about various topics, since they’re usually delivered by people with a passion for, and deep understanding of, what they’re talking about.

Whether you’re looking for your first career, searching for major change, struggling with your current role, interested in starting a business or just need inspiration and motivation, there is something for everyone! Here’s a few of our favourites.

Career Tools: A weekly podcast focused on specific actions you can take to grow and enhance your career – no matter what industry or position you’re in. With topics ranging from communication to meeting performance, productivity, workload, asking for feedback, relationships, changing jobs and everything in between, there is sure to be something of interest.

How did you get into that?: Host Grant Baldwin interviews people from all walks of life who are doing interesting or amazing things to make a living. Each episode includes a story about someone who wanted something more from life and made it happen. You’ll find interviews with entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, speakers, writers, filmmakers, photographers, athletes, venture capitalists, Etsy sellers, comedians, nutritionists and more, across all different industries.

Beyond the To Do list: Struggling to juggle life and work? This award-nominated podcast features actionable tips from highly successful people that can help you choose the right projects, tasks and goals in work and life. Host Erik Fisher talks with real people who implement productivity strategies in their professional and personal lives.

Miss Independent: Focused on a female audience, Natalie Hughes founded Miss Independent in 2017 and launched a podcast that features conversations with women in leadership and business. Natalie talks with a broad range of interesting, diverse and inspiring women in leadership and business. She discusses their successes and setbacks, as well as secrets and tips to inspire you to make your own career decision with confidence.

Flying Solo: This is a podcast for anyone starting or growing a small business. Host Robert Gerrish talks with inspiring soloists and expert guests on all things solo, micro and small business.

The Signal: Sometimes the news can feel overwhelming. This ABC Radio podcast helps to sort the news from the noise. It’s a quick (10-15 minute) dive into current news stories that matter, delivered every morning.

Business Women Australia Podcast: Another one focused on a female audience, this podcast is for ambitious women who are serious about business success and leadership development. It provides tips and ideas for those interested in building their knowledge and skills.

Happen to your career: Created for people who aren’t happy in their job, or need some guidance to find work they really love, this podcast helps people to match their strengths to work they will find interesting and meaningful.

Productivityist: Hosted by productivity expert Mike Vardy, this weekly podcast gives listeners tips, tricks, tactics and tools to improve productivity and time management in order to get things done.

The Good Work Revolution: This podcast looks at how you can feel fulfilled and make a positive impact through your work. Each episode includes reflections from different guests, or the host, Kate McCready, on how we can create ‘good work’. It explores people’s relationships with their work – how it influences fulfilment, wellbeing, engagement and a sense of contribution and connection. It’s also about lifting people up and helping them elevate their personal ability to have an impact – whether small and local or big and world changing.

The Tim Ferris Show: Author and entrepreneur, Tim Ferris – best known for The 4-Hour Workweek (which has been translated into 40+ languages), hosts this podcast. In it, he interviews highly successful people and discovers the keys to their success. Guests provide some great tips and tricks that anyone can use to accelerate their work style.

The Jack Delosa Podcast: Founder of Australia’s largest and most disruptive education institution for entrepreneurs, The Entourage, Jack Delosa also co-founded MBE Education, which helped SMEs raise money from investors. He’s been on the BRW Young Rich List since 2014 and is a two-time bestselling author. In The Jack Delosa Podcast, Jack answers questions about business, start-ups, entrepreneurship and the importance of mindset, and shares exclusive interviews with industry leaders and innovators.

Inspire Nation: A top self-help and spirituality show across 185 countries, this podcast features an inspiring new guest every day. Host Michael Sandler felt a calling to start his life-changing show after surviving two near-death accidents. The broad-ranging topics include how to find more energy, strength, happiness, peace, purpose, confidence, and heart to live your greatest life.

Behind the Media: The Australian’s media diarist Stephen Brook hosts this weekly podcast where he interviews journalists, writers, editors, presenters and other media careerists. This podcast is sometimes casual, sometimes serious but presents a diverse range of guests discussing the state of the media industry and their own careers.

Thought Capital: This is a relatively new podcast created by Monash Business School. Host Michael Pascoe delves into topics you probably won’t read about in the business pages. What’s the link between Big Data and election rigging? How can you identify the true ‘key players’ in an economic meltdown? Is there a ‘tax paradise’ and can you live there?

The Leadership Dojo: Hosted by Alex Barker, this podcast features interviews with some of the greatest and most inspirational leaders, from business CEOs to famous Olympic athletes to best-selling authors. Alex aims to help listeners learn success principles from leaders and how to apply them to daily life.

48 days to the work you love: This is a 48-minute weekly podcast hosted by US-based career expert and author Dan Miller, which helps listeners discover their true calling, find work they love, and explore business ideas and opportunities. Dan helps people overcome procrastination with a mission to foster the process of imagining, dreaming and introspection, so they can find purposeful and profitable daily work.

Podcasts are a great distraction during long commutes and there are plenty to choose from across every area of interest. Simply search on a topic and select from a list of top-ranked podcasts. For Australian-specific podcasts, check out the Australian Podcast Awards, an event that brings together podcasters to celebrate the medium’s ability to entertain, inspire and engage audiences worldwide. The site includes a list of annual winners and nominees across different categories to give you some listening inspiration.

Are you happy at work? Career counselling can be an invaluable tool for helping you explore your options and decide on a new career path or course. To find out how we can help, read about our career coaching services.

Back to www.katieroberts.com.au