How to bounce back from redundancy

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to bounce back from redundancyIf you’re going through a redundancy or have in the past, you’ll understand the enormity of change it can cast on your life. In today’s business climate, redundancies are common and usually out of our control. As technology evolves and workplaces change, restructures occur and redundancies become inevitable. Then there are national and global events that no one can prepare for.

Being made redundant is generally a stressful time, with the loss of income and uncertainty about your next steps. But it can also give you a chance to pause and reassess your career path. It can be the catalyst for positive career change and ultimately take you down an exciting new road.

Read on for our tips on how to bounce back.

  1. Don’t panic! Resist the urge to spring into action immediately. Take some time to regroup and reflect on your new direction. Remember, you’re not alone – many people go through a redundancy at some stage. In fact, there was a 45% increase in redundancies from 2017 to 2019, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. And it doesn’t necessarily reflect badly on you, since many companies have downsized or restructured in recent years, and there are often circumstances beyond your control.
  2. Reassess your career path. This is an opportunity to evaluate your career path and goals. Make the most of the time you have now to set a new course for the future. Look back on your career to assess previous roles and reflect on what you enjoyed. Consider different factors for your next role – for example, market sector, location, company size, organisation structure, responsibilities, salary and benefits. This can help you pinpoint your preferred path. And once you start searching for a new role, this information could provide a perfect recruiter brief, helping recruiters to understand what’s important to you and where you want your career to head.
  3. Consider studying or retraining. If you’re interested in a change of career, research the skills needed to make that change. Look at online and face-to-face courses and get a clear idea of what’s needed to move into your chosen area.
  4. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. When you’re ready to kickstart your job search, your first task should be to update your resume, LinkedIn profile and other relevant profiles. Nearly every industry uses LinkedIn to research candidates, so make sure your LinkedIn profile is more than a storage place for career contacts – it should be an evolving record of your professional life that helps market you as a great candidate. Make sure your work experience is up to date, your profile picture is current and your contact details are displayed. You can also set your profile to ‘Looking for a job’ which makes it easier for prospective employers to find you. Once your LinkedIn profile is up to date, you can align your resume with it, adding more detailed information about your responsibilities and achievements. Having your resume ready to go means you can take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
  5. Start your job search. After preparing your LinkedIn profile and resume, it’s a good idea to brush up on your job application and interview skills. You should also register with relevant recruitment agencies and set up automated job searches on Seek and LinkedIn. If there are specific companies you’d like to work for, visit the careers sections on their websites and send them your resume. Or you could try connecting with current key employees on LinkedIn.
  6. Reach out to your networks. Leverage your network of connections by letting them know you’re looking for a new opportunity. Email them, call them, organise a coffee catch-up – you never know where it may lead. Taking advantage of your network can be key to securing your next position.
  7. Maintain a positive routine. Your mental well being can take a hit when going through a redundancy, even if it’s voluntary. Work provides a huge amount of structure to your life, so when you no longer have that, it’s important to create positive routines for yourself. This will help you maintain a healthy body and mind and a professional presence. Do things that make you feel good such as exercising, eating well and catching up with friends and family where possible. Redundancy doesn’t last forever, so staying positive and focusing on your well being alongside planning your next career move will help you progress in the right direction.
  8. Stay open-minded. The job market constantly shifts, salaries fluctuate and competition can be fierce. While it might not seem ideal initially, being open to compromise when it comes to your next role or salary can help you find the right opportunity. It won’t always be as simple as walking into a similar role in a different company or jumping straight into your dream job. Use your redundancy as a chance to assess different types of roles that might be a good fit. Think laterally, considering your transferable skills and what you enjoy most. Your next role may not always be what you expect – but it could be your best yet!

Finding your way forward after a redundancy can feel overwhelming. If you’ve lost your job, you’re considering changing careers or you’re unsure of your next step, our Career Counsellors can provide guidance and clarity. Our team of professionals can also assist with LinkedIn profile writing, resume writing and interview training and coaching.

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.

The future of work: the tools you use are changing

Article by Belinda Fuller

The future of work: the tools you use are changingYou’ve probably heard it before: the future of work is changing. And dramatic shifts are underway. Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work recently released a report that delves into the most important trends set to change (or already changing) what you do and how you do it, whatever your job.

This month, we look at some of the ‘tools of work’ and how they’re changing – and what that could mean for you.

  1. From thumb to voice: We’ve been tapping keys, clicking our mouse and scrolling for decades. With the rise of smartphones, this changed to thumbs typing and swiping. As devices got smarter, touchscreen interfaces were in cars, restaurants and banks. Thanks to our phone addictions, sore thumbs and ‘text neck’ are now a fact of life. Our vision is declining and our posture more hunched. The hand–eye coordination required to use touchscreens prevents us from doing other things while using them – all driving the need for a new approach. We already have voice-activated devices that listen to us and do things without us touching or even looking at them (Suri, Alexa, Echo, and Google Home) and voice processing technology is getting better every day. Fully shifting to a screen-less, touchless future might return our attention to things that matter most and help us do things like driving more safely. But what does a world of always-on microphones sound like – and how will we maintain privacy?
  2. From microscopes to datascopes: Microscopes changed medicine forever, letting doctors see, at a cellular level, what was truly causing problems. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a “datascope” that is helping to create solutions previously unimaginable. But AI isn’t just a tool that replaces people doing the tasks or completing the processes they do day-to-day; it’s also a way to increase the overall scale of the process. AI will help us better understand the vast amounts of information we now collect. That means that people won’t just be “automated away” from their jobs – AI could allow them to do things they’ve never been able to do before, opening up exciting new opportunities for business growth and employment.
  3. From 4G to 5G: 1G phones let us talk to each other on the move, 2G phones meant we could send messages, 3G gave us mobile internet and 4G made it all a whole lot faster. We use 4G networks to stream music, listen to podcasts, watch live TV while commuting and FaceTime our colleagues – all unthinkable a decade ago. The next stage is 5G. It’ll be 100 times faster than our current 4G phones. Beyond the exceptional consumer experience, the benefits for businesses are huge. Real-time interactions and simultaneous processing will run with no lag whatsoever. Data transmission will happen instantaneously, and you won’t just see your colleague on a screen; you’ll be sitting next to their avatar in a shared virtual office, watching them speak. You could control a robot on a factory floor as you sit on the other side of the country; or you could be a farmer commandeering a fleet of drones soaring over fields, using sensors on the ground to sort, pick, feed and water each individual plant. 5G will revolutionise how work gets done.
  4. From active to ambient: When was the last time you opened a computer manual? A generation ago, a shiny new piece of tech came with a War and Peace–length ring binder. Manuals have all but disappeared, replaced by DIY YouTube videos. But lots of tech that claims to be idiot-proof is still complicated. Roughly 90% of a laptop’s functionality is not used by the average person. Cars are full of tech that’s mostly never used. Apps, platforms, systems and websites infiltrate every hour of our waking day. It’s exhausting trying to figure out what we want from the gazillions of possibilities and understanding how everything works is a full-time job. Now a new approach is emerging: smart products and services tuned to our needs.

Smart things ‘just know’ how we want them to work. These responsive, intuitive technologies are called ‘ambient technologies’, and they blend into the background to drive productivity at work. A future workspace with ambient technology could see co-working spaces that adjust to personal preferences for light, air and productivity. Imagine elevators that automatically take you to the right floor and a hot desk that’s automatically configured just the way you like it.

These personalised, intuitive technologies will free us from the more addictive nature of the apps that rule our lives. We’ll no longer need to figure stuff out — stuff will figure us out.

Work is changing and the way we do our job tomorrow will undoubtedly be different from how we do it today. From technology to business models to demographics, there are many trends shaping the future of work. Are you ready for it?

Worried you don’t have the skills needed for changes happening in your industry? Do you want to improve your future with a new career or job? Our Career Counselling and Coaching Services can help. Or perhaps you’re ready to take the next step and need help developing a tailored Job Search Strategy? To find out more, read about our services.

How to turn your hobby into a career

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to turn your hobby into a careerYou probably know at least one person who dreamt of being a painter or a musician but was persuaded to pursue something ‘safer’ and more financially secure. But doing something you’re passionate about can be just as important.

Have you ever wondered if you could turn your hobby or special interest into a real job? It may seem like a pipe dream, but what if it was possible?

Here are some tips on how to turn your hobby into a career.

  1. Do your research: Investigate the types of jobs or other opportunities that take advantage of your skills or passion. Once you have some ideas of realistic career options, you can find out what’s needed to succeed.
  2. Talk to an expert: Speak to someone already working in the area you’re interested in. Approach them as a fellow hobbyist and use your shared passion to start a conversation. Ask them about the path they took to get there – what did they study? Who did they know? What sacrifices did they make? And do they still love what they do, or has it just become work?
  3. Seek professional advice: If you’re having trouble figuring out how to turn your passion into a career, a career counsellor can help. Through a career assessment and one-on-one coaching, a career counsellor can help you identify the types of jobs that are right for you. The results may surprise you and could open up career opportunities you’ve never considered.
  4. Develop a business plan: If you’ve decided to start your own business based on your hobby, you’ll need to create a business plan. This doesn’t have to be lengthy or overly difficult – this article gives a great overview of the one-page approach. Start by thinking about who your customers will be (your target market), the problem you’re going to solve for them, what your product or service looks like, and what you’re going to charge.
  5. Save some cash: If you’re planning to switch careers or start a business, it’s a good idea to have a financial buffer to cover general living costs in case you don’t have an income. Starting a new business or new job is stressful enough without adding financial worries.
  6. Take a course: You might already spend hours on your hobby, but are you largely self-taught? If you’re looking to turn it into your career, it’s helpful to have a qualification you can list on your resume. Investigate short courses offered by TAFE, community colleges and other registered training providers including online.
  7. Stay open-minded: Things don’t always go to plan, so maintaining a flexible mindset will help you deal with any setbacks. And remember that your ideal career may not look exactly how you expect it to look. Be open to different opportunities.
  8. Start small: You don’t have to immediately quit your job and go all in – it may be better to take some small, simple steps instead. For example, you might start by following our tips above, then look at volunteer or part-time opportunities.

Turning a hobby or passion into a career may seem too good to be true, but if you approach it in a practical way and follow our tips, you may discover a whole new world of possibilities.

Do you have a hobby, passion or skill that you’d love to turn into a career? Our Career Counselling and Coaching Services can help. These services are available over the phone or in person in locations across Australia.

Katie Roberts gift vouchers are also available and make an inspiring gift for friends or family.

9 steps to success in your new job

Article by Belinda Fuller

9 steps to success in your new jobYou aced the interview, negotiated the job offer and now you’re a new employee. But now is not the time to relax and put your efforts on cruise control. While it’s the company’s job to help you settle in and learn about office culture, how successful you are in your new role is largely up to you. The first few months are critical and you need to put serious time into showing management they made a smart decision in hiring you.

Here are 9 ways to quickly impress your boss and set your path to success.

  1. Research before your first day: There are many things you’ll need to learn on the job, but some can be learned by reading and researching at home. Review the company’s website and any related media or other information about recent events. Do your homework, and your boss will be impressed when you can add value from day one.
  2. Understand what’s expected of you: Building relationships with your superiors is important, but you should also spend time learning about what they expect from you. This can include the expectations listed in your job description, as well as informal expectations such as networking, helping others, and supporting the broader goals of the company. If you can help your boss achieve their goals, this will be a huge plus for you.
  3. Manage your time well from the start: Arrive at work on time or early, ready to focus. Organise and prioritise your work. Create to-do lists and achieve as much as possible every day. Avoid the temptation to check social media, text your friends or zone out an hour before the end of the day. Do your best to be fully engaged and productive every single day.
  4. Be proactive: You should start accomplishing your goals and making connections as soon as possible. Your first few days on the job are crucial to creating a good impression and understanding what’s required for you to succeed. You may come across some issues that you’ve never encountered before, or tasks that you’re unsure how to complete. Rather than immediately turning to your boss for help, try to resolve the issue on your own. Investigate the problem, think through possible solutions, observe your colleagues, use Google, and then once you have some ideas, seek out the advice of a team member or superior. You should also take advantage of extra opportunities to contribute, such as pitching in on open projects or volunteering for committees. By offering to shoulder more responsibility where it makes sense, you’ll show your boss how committed you are.
  5. Ask lots of questions – but try to answer them first: Even when you try to absorb everything your new boss or colleagues say, you’re still bound to have lots of questions. It’s normal and shows you’re engaged. However, see if you can answer your own questions before approaching someone else. Use the resources at your disposal, such as the company handbook, training guide or your own notes. Observe how others handle similar situations. This way, when you do need to ask your boss a question, you’ll have some background knowledge.
  6. Set realistic goals with your boss: Your goals for your role should be set in collaboration with your boss, so you can find common ground and get their stamp of approval. Your boss can also let you know which goals might need to change and what your immediate priorities are.
  7. Secure early wins: Consider ways you can build momentum right away. Try to identify an immediate contribution you can make to the team. This will ensure people see you in a positive light and show your boss that you’re committed to the team’s success.
  8. Follow through: Dependability is a quality that employers look for, and there’s no better time to prove that you’re reliable than now. Ensure you complete tasks either before or on deadline. Arrive at meetings prepared and ready to contribute. If you say you’ll do something, make sure you do it. If you know you’re going to miss a deadline or not finish something as expected, be transparent and inform your boss early on in the process.
  9. Get to know people: Demonstrate your interpersonal skills by circulating around the office and staff kitchen to get to know people quickly. Not only will this help you settle in and adjust to the office culture, it’ll also help you build a great base for communication and teamwork. Stay positive and friendly, and be mindful of others and their opinions. Getting along with a variety of people can improve your chances for a promotion down the track.

In your first few months of a new job, you’ve got a unique chance to make a great impression and set a foundation for future success. By following the steps above, you’ll make it clear that you care about your job and the company, and you’re serious about making a positive impact.  

Do you need expert guidance to succeed in your new role or take your career to the next level? Are you ready to find a new job or career path, but not sure how to go about it? Our career experts can help you confidently take your next step. See our Career Coaching Services to find out more.

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.

 

8 tips for returning to the workforce

Article by Belinda Fuller

8 tips for returning to the workforceHave you had an extended break from the workforce? Are you looking to return to full- or part-time work, but unsure where to start? The process can seem daunting after a long break – but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how you can you achieve a smooth and successful transition back into work.

Many people take a break from their career at some point, whether it’s to study, travel or start a family, or for health or other personal reasons. Whatever your reason for taking time out, returning to the workplace can feel daunting. In this article, we look at some first steps you can take to help make the transition back to work a positive experience.

  1. Consider the type of work you’d like to do: Make a list of what you’re looking for when you go back to work. What type of position would you like? Do you want to return to what you were doing before or are you looking for a change? Do you want to work for a company with promotion opportunities, or would you prefer a job where you can go in, do your work and head home without having to worry about your team? The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it will be to find something suitable.
  2. Update your skills: Before you start working on your resume and applying for roles, a great first step is to update your skill set. This will help boost your confidence while giving you a stronger resume. Look for opportunities that help fill gaps in your experience, such as taking an online course, completing an internship or doing some volunteer work.
  3. Refresh your resume: When you’re returning to work after a significant break, creating a functional resume, rather than a standard chronological resume, can work best. This involves focusing on your skills and successes rather than the precise dates of your employment. You can showcase your experience under headings such as ‘marketing experience’, ‘project management’ or ‘leadership’ and then list your achievements accordingly. To find out whether a functional resume is right for you, and how to create one that helps you shine, read our recent article here.
  4. Don’t underestimate yourself: Focus on the great skills and experience you have, and think about any new skills you may have acquired during your break. Recruiters and employers value these skills, especially when they’re relevant to the role you’re applying for, so include them in your resume. For example, you might have developed new skills through activities such as: managing a large house renovation; contributing to local sporting clubs, committees and coaching teams; volunteering for your local community or charity organisations; assisting with local fundraising activities; and creating or managing side projects, such as events or a small business. All these activities require skills such as relationship building, communication, organisation and prioritisation, and often the ability to create something with little or no budget. These are all valuable skills in a workplace.
  5. Update your social media profiles: With more than 645 million members around the world, LinkedIn is a great tool for promoting yourself and seeking out potential employers. It’s also a widely used tool among recruiters and employers. As well as checking out applicants’ LinkedIn profiles, recruiters will often Google applicants’ names, so it’s a good idea to see what comes up when you search your name. In addition to creating a professional, SEO-optimised LinkedIn profile, make sure your personal digital footprint helps rather than hinders your application. You can read our previous article for tips on how to clean up your social media.
  6. Tap into your networks: You can often find opportunities to re-enter the workforce through your existing networks. One way to do this is to send an email to family, friends and former co-workers/managers and attach your resume. Let them know the type of position you are seeking and ask them if they’d mind forwarding on your details if they hear of any relevant positions. This may feel daunting, but most people like to help when they can. To grow your networks and open up more opportunities, you could also research and join local networking events and online groups.
  7. Consider part-time or temp work: If your job search is taking longer than expected, consider part-time work or find an agency that offers temporary or contract positions. Do an online search for agencies in your area and contact them to request an interview. If you get your foot in the door with the right company and prove yourself, you have a good chance of receiving a full-time offer down the track. Plus going part-time initially can be a good way to transition, giving you time to adjust.
  8. Consult a career coach: If you’re considering changing careers on your return to work, a career coach can help. Experienced career coaches have extensive knowledge of a wide range of occupations and offer professional, independent advice on your options. They can help you build your confidence and give you the support you need to make the transition.

 

Re-entering the workforce after an extended break can be tough, but there are things you can do to make this change feel less daunting and more positive. Follow our tips above to take your first steps, and things will flow on from there.

Are you feeling daunted by the prospect of returning to work after taking time out?  Do you need help assessing your skills and experience, and presenting yourself in the best possible light to secure the job you want? Our Resume Writing Services and Job Search Coaching Services might be just what you need.

 

How to boost self-confidence at work

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to boost self-confidence at workWhile it is a generalisation, successful people are often fairly confident people – or can at least find self-confidence when they need it most. But there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and people who aren’t naturally self-confident sometimes struggle with this. Building self-confidence doesn’t have to mean a complete personality overhaul – you can take some small, simple steps to become more self-assured, and this may help you achieve increased career success.

Here are our top tips:

  1. Push yourself: Getting outside your comfort zone is key to improving self-confidence. If you feel you could do your job with your eyes closed, it might be time to stretch yourself. You could do that in your current role by offering to help on a project where you’ll build new skills, or do something outside of work that challenges you while building professional skills.
  2. Visualise success: Having a clear picture of what success means to you is important. Many experts will tell you that the first step to achieving a goal is to visualise yourself doing so. You could imagine yourself working in your dream job or behaving with more self-confidence in an area that’s important to you.
  3. Assess yourself: Take stock of where you’re at and what you have to offer. Write down your skills, qualifications, experience and successes, and how they relate to the role(s) you’d like to secure in the future. Writing down your accomplishments can immediately boost your self-confidence, because more often than not we underestimate ourselves.
  4. Fake it! We never advise clients to lie or mislead, but this tip relates to acting confident to help you overcome your fears. ‘Fake it till you make it’, as they say. Adopting a more positive ‘can-do’ attitude or taking on more responsibility even though it may seem daunting are likely to help build your self-confidence.
  5. Communicate: You need to be able to clearly and concisely articulate what you think and need. If you have concerns, voice them! If you need help, ask for it. If you feel you can talk to your manager about issues – great. If not, seek a trusted friend or colleague with whom you can share your frustrations. Being open and sharing what’s bothering you can help you feel more in control and give you more confidence to determine possible next steps.
  6. Learn to say ‘no’: There are times at work when you should say ‘no’. Unreasonable requests can make you feel out of control. Being assertive allows you to set limits for yourself without being seen as the bully. Learn to say ‘no’ where it is warranted, and you’ll likely feel more confident and in control.
  7. Seek help: Self-confident people often know what they can handle and they delegate the rest. If you’re feeling overworked, talk to your boss and figure out how the situation might be improved.
  8. Get a mentor: Mentors provide a safe space to bounce ideas around and decide which way to go in certain situations. They can also make suggestions to help refine your ideas or point out things you can’t see clearly. This includes successes and achievements that can boost your self-confidence.
  9. Learn new skills: One of the best ways to feel more self-confident is to up-skill. If you’re feeling out of touch with something, find an online course or even just watch a relevant YouTube video. If you take the time to gain the skills you need, you might just begin to feel more confident in yourself.
  10. Accept self-doubt: Even the most confident people sometimes doubt themselves – but they don’t let that self-doubt take control. When you have negative or unconstructive thoughts, acknowledge them but try to analyse if your concern is valid or an over-reaction. Getting someone else’s opinion here can help – the goal is to push past the doubt and move on.
  11. Dress for success: It might be a cliché, but appearances can help you get ahead. Making a little bit of effort with your appearance can go a long way to feeling more self-assured.
  12. Choose your friends wisely: Another well-worn cliché that again is true – choose to spend your time with people who make you feel good about yourself, including in the workplace where possible.
  13. Let go: Try not to dwell on the past or get caught up in what might have been. Instead of worrying about things you can no longer control, stay focused on the future.
  14. Forgive yourself: Beating yourself up about mistakes is not helpful. Self-confident people often learn from their mistakes and move on, knowing they won’t let it happen again.

If you feel like your self-confidence at work could do with a boost, start with small steps. You might like to try just two or three of our tips above to start – but do them consistently and hopefully you’ll see your self-confidence start to bloom.

Is your lack of self-confidence holding you back in your career? Find out how our experienced and compassionate Career Counsellors and Career Coaches can help.

How to answer: hypothetical interview questions

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to answer a hypothetical interview questionHypothetical interview questions put you in an imaginary situation and ask how you’d react. They are similar to role plays. Interviewers ask these types of questions to assess your problem-solving skills, how quickly you can think on your feet and how clearly you express yourself. Questions will often begin with “Imagine you are…” and are designed to assess your thought process rather than extract ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers.

These questions also help recruiters put candidates on an even playing field, since the same hypothetical situation can be proposed and candidates’ answers can be assessed against each other.

How to prepare for a hypothetical

You might think it would be difficult to prepare for hypothetical questions, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Questions usually revolve around solving a work-related problem, so it can help to think about possible issues that could arise in the role you’re applying for. Depending on the role, the question might focus on:

  • Resolving a customer complaint or issue.
  • Addressing a case of employee theft or misconduct.
  • Getting to the bottom of employee conflict.
  • Missing an important deadline.
  • Dealing with an aggressive customer.
  • Working with team members who aren’t pulling their weight.
  • Being passed over for promotion or additional responsibility.

Once you’ve come up with some potential situations, the next step is to think about how you’d resolve them and why you’d take that approach. Drawing on past experience to describe a similar situation you’ve faced and how you reacted is a good way to respond. This shows the interviewer that you’ve ‘been there, done that’ and worked successfully in a similar scenario. You also shouldn’t be afraid to mention things you wouldn’t do.

Tips for answering a hypothetical question

  • Don’t feel pressured to rush your answer: Take a few seconds to gather your thoughts and resist the temptation to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. The interviewer is testing your problem-solving skills and wants to see reasoned thinking.
  • Clarify if you’re not sure: Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you need further explanation. Asking a question or two can also buy you a little thinking time.
  • Stay on point: Try not to ramble or go off on tangents. Tell your story in a structured way, with a beginning, middle and end. Come to the conclusion naturally with a clear description of your desired outcome or result.
  • Don’t think there is a definitive right answer: Discussing your approach – where you’d start, what you’d think about, who you’d talk to, what steps you’d take, etc. – is sometimes better than trying to provide an answer or resolution. The interviewer isn’t necessarily asking you to solve the problem for them – they want to know how you would approach it.
  • Use your own history: Consider preparing some examples focused on common skills such as problem solving, communication, people skills and customer service, as well as general challenges you’ve faced. When a question is posed, you may be able to draw on one of your prepared examples and adapt it to suit the hypothetical situation. You can then say “I actually faced a similar situation and was able to do XYZ.” Again, this shows that you have relevant experience.

It might seem impossible to prepare for hypothetical questions, but by analysing the job description, you can get a sense of what an interviewer might ask. What are the focus areas for the role? If it’s heavy on customer service, you might be asked how to resolve a complaint; if deadlines are important, you may need to explain how you’d handle a missed deadline; if you’re leading people, you might have to discuss handling a conflict. Take time to prepare some thoughts and examples, and boost your chances of success.

Do you struggle with answering questions like this during interviews? If you’d like some help preparing for a job interview, so you can build your confidence and increase your success rate, take a look at our Interview Training and Coaching Services.

Why a career coach could be your secret weapon

Article by Belinda Fuller

Why a career coach could be your secret weaponIf you’re stuck in a rut in your current job or keen to make a change, but unsure of your direction or purpose, you might be relieved to know that you can call on expert support.

Career coaches are experts in their field, with a wealth of experience across a variety of industries and occupations. They provide professional, independent advice on career and/or training options, and help people to embark on new careers aligned to their personality, interests and values.

Let’s look at what you can (and can’t) expect from working with a career coach, what a typical consultation involves and how to get the most from your investment.

 From planning to action: how a career coach can help

  • Career planning: Career coaches use a range of tools and techniques, such as personality profiling and career interest assessments, to assess your interests, values and personality. This helps them to identify the careers, industries and work environments that may best suit you. They can also provide advice and information to help you explore those career options and create a realistic, personalised action plan.
  • Advice on further education and training: Career coaches can help you identify your current skills and explore ways to improve them or develop new ones. They can advise on further education and training opportunities, and can also help you to market your current skills to internal and external recruitment decision-makers.
  • Resume and interview advice: Career coaches can support you during the job-search process by helping you prepare for an interview and providing advice on writing resumes and cover letters. They may also be able to find job opportunities for you that you weren’t previously aware of.
  • Support in taking that next step: A career coach will support you through the process by providing direction, helping you to establish clear goals and advising you on how to achieve them. This will help you to build your confidence and find new inspiration.

What not to expect from a career coach

  • A career coach is a facilitator, not a prophet. Don’t expect them to tell you what you should do with your career. They are a guide and mentor, there to help you make long-lasting changes, position yourself for success and make the most out of your skills and knowledge. But it’s important that you’re accountable for your own career decisions.
  • A career coach can’t do everything for you. You need to listen to, and learn from, your career coach’s advice, but you also need to be an active participant in the process. Coaching doesn’t work unless you do. Your coach won’t come with you to interviews, nor will they find you a job or rewrite your resume every time you need to update it. Be prepared to take action!
  • A career coach won’t change your life in an instant. Major change takes time and commitment. Your coach will support you through this process until you feel comfortable to take your next career step. Be patient and prepared for challenges!

What happens in a career coaching consultation?

Your career coach will cover a range of topics, and your consultation may include:

  • Discussing and assessing your current situation.
  • Identifying your career goals and key values.
  • Personality assessments and career interests profiling.
  • Discussing career options that fit your personality, interests and values.
  • Identifying your strengths and transferrable skills.
  • Identifying work tasks and environments that will suit you best.
  • Feedback on your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.
  • An action plan for taking practical next steps.

A career coach can help you find the clarity you’ve been lacking and move towards your dream job or career. If you’re interested in working with an experienced career coach, see our Career Counselling Services and discover how our experts can support your success.

 

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