Category Archives: Career Counselling

How to get a professional headshot today

Article by Belinda Fuller

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best questions to ask in an interview

Article by Belinda Fuller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 ways to clean up your social media

Article by Belinda Fuller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could healthcare be the career for you?

Article by Belinda Fuller

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some examples of sites:

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

 

5 ways to turn negative feedback into career positives

Article by Belinda Fuller

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

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

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

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

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

How to return to full-time work after a break

Article by Belinda Fuller

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

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

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

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

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

NextGen work – the new way forward

Article by Belinda Fuller

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

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

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

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

What is NextGen Work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to handle rejection

Article by Belinda Fuller

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

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

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

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

In a competitive job market, landing an interview is a huge achievement. Learning to handle rejection is an important part of the job search process and learning how to not let it get you down is even more important. Acknowledge what you did well and understand some things are out of your control. Learn from every experience, then try to let it go and move on to the next application.

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

The future of work – will robots replace us all?

Article by Belinda Fuller

The future of work - will robots replace us all?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to combat decision fatigue?

Article by Belinda Fuller

Want to combat decision fatigueDo you ever feel like having to make one more decision is simply not possible? Decision fatigue is a real thing and according to some experts, it’s the reason why people make silly decisions that aren’t well thought-through. The inability to make a rational decision occurs after several decisions have been made in a row. Some simple lifestyle changes can be made to help combat this fatigue and ensure better decision making.

I often think my ‘brain is tired’ and after recently reading an article on this very topic was amazed that it’s an actual scientific principle. Roy F. Baumeister, a social psychologist known for a wide range of work on the self, coined the term ‘decision fatigue’ in reference to the idea that our willpower or ability to make good decisions declines when our mental resources are limited. This can be compared to how our muscles suffer from fatigue and feel ready to give up after a strong physical workout.

Countless studies have been conducted to help understand the concept with various results and theories emerging. The constant amongst them all is the idea that our brain has a finite capacity to make decisions – once that’s been depleted, we may start to look for shortcuts in decision making or we may even decide to give up and do nothing when faced with a decision. Understanding decision fatigue can help you make positive changes to your lifestyle so you can save your mental energy and willpower for making important decisions.

Here are our top six tips to help you make better decisions on a more consistent basis:

  1. Stick to routine: Routine helps because the decision has already been made and the number of decisions you have to make each day is reduced. This increases your odds of doing the right thing more consistently. Having the same (or similar) breakfast every day, organising lunches in advance, menu planning for weekly dinners, and having a ‘work uniform’ are all simple ways to limit your daily decisions. Many successful and/or high profile people wear the same or similar outfit to work every day – and for good reason. Former US President Obama always wore the same thing, which he claimed was part of his secret to getting so much done. He once told Vanity Fair “You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
  2. Make important decisions in the morning: This is when your brain is clearest because it is not yet fatigued from the day’s activities. You haven’t been faced with too many decisions, so you can stop and think about the specific situation. Experts believe that scheduling important decisions for the morning can set you up for success. I have personally observed my own behaviour in this area and now try to make important decisions about tasks early – I believe these decisions are made faster and more accurately than if I leave it until later in the day where I am more likely to procrastinate because the decision seems more complex.
  3. Limit daily decisions: This applies to those decisions that need to be made every day – it goes back to number one with limiting decisions about what to wear and eat, but it works equally well for more complex decisions about work. Setting up standard processes or ways to complete tasks that need to be done regularly means you’re not constantly ‘deciding’ on the next course of action.
  4. Get rid of perfectionism: Sometimes, if we try to make sure everything is ‘perfect’, we procrastinate. Try completing a task until it is just good enough, and come back to it later to refine. You’ll often be amazed at how good your first attempt actually is, and how little ‘refining’ it really needs.
  5. Schedule down time: Try not to schedule back-to-back meetings or fill your day with tasks you know will be difficult to achieve. Allowing time in between meetings or tasks to de-compress, write notes, think about your next tasks etc. will help your brain to better cope with your workload. It also means fewer decisions that often make you feel guilty about what to cut out when you end up going over time on tasks or meetings.
  6. Set up regular ‘appointments’ for non-negotiable activities: This applies to exercise, time with family, or any tasks that can get sidelined when you’re busy. Rather than hoping to make the ‘right’ decision about doing things, you’ll probably be more successful by simply scheduling the things that are important and making them ‘non-negotiable’.

Your capacity to make decisions can decline as your brain becomes fatigued. Every time you make a decision, it’s like doing another set at the gym. When your brain is tired, this means it becomes more likely you’ll make a bad decision, or no decision at all. Implement some or all of our tips to improve your decision-making capacity.

Do you have trouble making decisions about your career or day-to-day work? Are you interested in obtaining some career advice? If so our career advisors are experts in their field. If you would like some direction, please see our Career Counselling Services.