Where to From Here?

Article by Belinda Fuller

Where to From HereEach year, the Department of Employment produces employment projections by industry, occupation and region for the next five years ahead. These projections look at Australia’s future labour market and are interesting for students leaving school this year and heading into the world of study, but also for anyone keen to maintain their skills and knowledge to move into different career areas should the need arise. What careers are likely to be in most demand by 2018 and where is demand shrinking?

While a crystal ball would help us predict the hot spots, projections based on detailed Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) employment data from 2013 indicate strong growth in certain sectors. Of course unforseen economic, natural or other situations or disasters could occur between now and then which may result in these projections shifting slightly or significantly, however they give us a good place to start.

In summary, The Department of Employment projects employment to grow by 7.2% over five years to November 2018 with 16 of the 19 broad industries predicted to grow. However, of these 16 industries, many will experience only slight growth and declines in employment have been projected for Manufacturing, Mining and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing. There are five top industries which are projected to provide more than two thirds of the anticipated employment growth.

So what are the industries to watch?

  1. Health Care and Social Assistance is projected to make the largest contribution with one quarter of the projected total employment growth (increasing by 229,400 or 16.3%);
  2. Education and Training is second (118,800 or 13.3%);
  3. Retail Trade is third (98,200 or 7.8%);
  4. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services is fourth (88,700); and
  5. Construction is fifth (83,500).

What’s driving the growth?

Many factors contribute to (and impact) this strong projected growth including (for Health Care and Social Assistance), the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Australia’s ageing population, and the increasing demand for childcare and home based care services.

For employment in Education and Training, projected growth will be driven by above average growth in the school aged population and continuing growth in part-time workers and non-teaching staff. Retail industry growth reflects recent increases in consumer confidence and the ongoing support of historically low interest rates.

So What Does it All Mean?

A tough or shrinking market doesn’t mean the end of your career or long term unemployment. It’s all about survival of the fittest. Whatever field you work in, it is essential that you understand how your industry is performing – both locally and globally. Then, it is always important to remain flexible and optimistic since industries, careers and jobs are changing constantly. The people who are successful embrace the changes we are experiencing and use any setbacks as a way to learn. Everyone can benefit from diversifying their skills and knowledge or learning about new areas.

We wrote a relevant article this time last year. Now might be a good time to go back and read this article about future proofing your career. Future-proofing your career means many things – primarily the need to constantly listen, learn and plan. It might include studying a different field, taking on part-time jobs or volunteering to learn new skills, going freelance or starting your own business.

Are you worried about long term career viability? If you would like a Career Coach to help you evaluate how to maximise your career opportunities for the future, please see our Career Counselling and Coaching Services.

How to Build Instant Rapport in an Interview

Article by Belinda Fuller

How.to.Build.Instant.Rapport.in.an.Interview

If you’ve ever felt instantly comfortable with a recruiter, you’ll know it’s got a lot to do with rapport. According to its definition, rapport is ‘a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well’. You might think that’s difficult to achieve with someone you have just met, but it may be simpler than you think.

There are several strategies you can employ to help. These include making a good first impression, being prepared, taking an interest, and ensuring the interviewer sees how you ‘fit’ their organisation.

It is well-known that we are naturally attracted to people who are similar to ourselves. When you build a good rapport with someone, the similarities are emphasised and the differences are minimised – which is a great basis for a successful interview. Here are some strategies you could use:

Make a Good First Impression: Whether you agree or not, the interviewer will make some initial judgements about you before you even speak. These ideas will be formed within the first few seconds of seeing you. Give yourself the best possible chance of making a good first impression by arriving on time, or a little early so you’re not flustered or rushed. Dress neatly and make sure you are well groomed. Research the company and work out what attire is most appropriate. Look the interviewer in the eye, use their name, smile and greet them warmly and sincerely. Shake hands firmly.

Show Your Interest in the Role: Research the company and role before the interview so you can demonstrate your knowledge and interest during the interview. Ask questions, comment on a new product/service or recent announcement. Be prepared to talk about yourself. The whole process is about YOU and YOUR suitability for the role. Spend some time brainstorming strengths, weaknesses, recent projects, and accomplishments so when you are asked about yourself, you have something to say. Focus on achievements you made in current or previous roles and demonstrate how you handle different scenarios.

Listen More and Talk Less: There isn’t much worse than a candidate who rambles without really saying anything. Concentrate on the interviewer and listen carefully to the questions they ask. If you find yourself becoming distracted, make an effort to re-engage with the interviewer. Maintain eye contact, lean forward in your chair and sit up straight – don’t slouch or lean back. This will take more effort and concentration and help you to remain alert. Ensure your answers are succinct and to the point. Research common interview questions and practice appropriate answers beforehand, so you have an idea of how you might respond to different questions.

Match Your Body Language: Successful rapport often stems from matched body language which encompasses all forms of nonverbal communication such as facial expressions, energy levels, posture, eye contact, hand gestures and general body position and movement. The technique of “matching” someone else’s body language can be used to support your story and more quickly establish the idea in the recruiter’s mind that you are a ‘good organisational fit’. It can be a powerful technique in an interview but could also be perceived as mimicking or intimidating by the recruiter if done in an obvious way. Simply take note of the recruiter’s voice tone, speed and volume as well as their energy and enthusiasm levels, body posture and gestures. This is a good place to start. Try to also pick up on the recruiter’s level of detail when answering questions – are they detail or big picture oriented? Incorporate your observations and provide your responses in a similar way.

Establishing instant rapport is something that can be done with practice. Do you lack confidence or are you nervous during interviews? This can create a barrier to achieving rapport which is why preparation is key. Research the organisation and the role, prepare standard responses to questions you know you’ll get asked, and watch your body language.

If you would like an Interview Coach to help you prepare for an upcoming job interview, please see our Interview Training and Coaching Services.

Resume Do’s and Don’ts

Article by Belinda Fuller

Resume.Do's.and.Don'tsWhen it comes to Resumes and work experience, faking it is one thing we definitely do not advocate. You may recall the sacking of a new senior executive earlier this year by a high profile retailer in Australia over a fake resume? In this article we discuss the importance of 100% honesty when applying for a new role. But how do you make the most of your skills and expertise to give yourself the best possible shot at the role?

In a job market like we are experiencing right now, it’s never been more important to get your Resume and job application 100% right the first time. Since it will most likely be one of many received, you need to give yourself the best chance at getting noticed. But that doesn’t mean faking your level of expertise. Here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts for success:

Don’t Lie: Never exaggerate your responsibilities, achievements or education. The interviewer may use your Resume content as a basis for interview questions so don’t make statements that you can’t talk about or back up in more detail and lying about your qualifications or education is an obvious mistake.

Don’t Overdo Your Content: A  recruiter does not want to read an extensive shopping list containing everything you’ve ever done in the past. Often, what is NOT included in your job application is almost as important in making that all important first impression as what IS in there. So don’t waste words – put yourself in the employers’ shoes and ask yourself “What’s in it for me?” and only include relevant content.

Do Articulate Your Value: We always suggest a Career Overview to articulate exactly why you’d be perfect for the role. This area can be customised depending on the role and should provide a clear snapshot of you, your relevant qualifications, skills and experience and the value you could bring to the role.

Do Include Relevant Information: If you have a diverse work history, you may find it difficult to present it in a cohesive way. Include information that is relevant to the role you are applying for. This might require thinking creatively about how you could use some transferrable skills to highlight ability or success in other areas. There are also different ways to format your Resume to help you achieve more clarity.

You don’t usually get a second chance to make a first impression. Your resume is your first step in the door – but don’t risk embarrassment if you’re found out lying or faking content. If you’re not qualified to do the job, find another role to apply for that is more suitable. You are not only wasting your own time, but the recruiter’s time as well – and it is only a matter of time before you are found out.

Would you like assistance from a professional Resume Writer to create a job application that gets you noticed? Do you feel your application lacks relevance to the roles you are applying for? If you would like assistance with writing a winning job application, please see our Resume Writing Services.

Career Advice and Planning Tips

Article by Belinda Fuller

Career.Advice.and.Planning.TipsAre you feeling unhappy in your current job but unsure what to do about it? Are you a recent graduate who doesn’t know which career path to take? Do you have experience across many different areas but don’t know how to best present yourself to potential recruiters? The career planning process can be complex, but it is one that should be undertaken on a fairly regular basis in order to ensure you are on the right track to achieve the success you desire and deserve!

Follow these steps to start planning for your success today:

STEP # 1: TAKE STOCK. This first step requires you to sit down and look at your current situation. Think about the kind of work you enjoy and write down your goals for the future – what direction would you ideally like to pursue? If you have absolutely no idea, give some thought to the kinds of tasks you enjoy doing as well as what you’re good at. At this point, it is important to be aspirational – research online and look up job sites for roles you think you would enjoy over the long term.

STEP # 2: LIST YOUR SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE. In this second stage, you should list your current skills, knowledge and experience – then think about how useful they could be. Ask yourself where your strengths and weaknesses lie – both personally and professionally, then think about how they might help you achieve your aspirational role. At this point, you should involve other people – professionals, family, work colleagues you can trust – to help clarify your direction. You could also consider taking a professional career assessment to better understand your interests, values and personality and help narrow down options.

STEP # 3: WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS. Based on your initial research and thoughts, you now need to clearly articulate your broad career goals and think longer term regarding where you’d like to be in five and ten years’ time. Identify areas for improvement – what experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications do you need in order to succeed?

STEP # 4: RESEARCH RESOURCES. It is important now to identify available resources. Look everywhere – courses, contacts, technology, online resources, etc. Consider the financial, family, study and other impacts you will experience if you were to pursue your goal. If you need to study, research providers and decide whether you can complete some study part-time while still working. Identify whether or not you can gain relevant skills in your current role and find out if there is an opportunity for volunteer work to help you gain experience.

STEP # 5: DEVELOP A CAREER PLAN. A well-structured career plan will clearly outline your goals and milestones. You should include action points to help you succeed, but remain flexible to change if need be. Include areas for development that cover skills, experience and education or training; as well as networking with individuals and finding out more about specific companies or industries. Identify your important transferrable skills and how you can best present those to potential employers. If you can, find a mentor who can help you through your transition.

STEP # 6: IMPLEMENTATION. The final and most important step of course is to start taking action to implement your plan!

Are you in charge of your future career direction? If not, consider seeing a Career Counsellor for an independent perspective. Career Counsellors are trained professionals who can help you achieve your full potential in your career. Wherever you are on your career path, start taking those initial steps today towards achieving your future career goals.

If you would like help from a Career Coach to evaluate your options for a new career or better understand the options that best suit your interests, values and personality, see our Career Guidance and Career Counselling services.

How To Start a Consulting Business

Article by Belinda Fuller

How To Start a Consulting BusinessStarting any business can be daunting but with the use of consultants by more and more companies in Australia, it can be a rewarding and lucrative path. According to the dictionary, Consultants are people who provide expert advice professionally. But being an expert doesn’t guarantee you the work.

As a consultant you need to find your own clients directly, or sub-contract to a larger company that provides the same services as you do. Typically you will need to have multiple clients which means working with a broad range of people and personalities – perhaps with a requirement to suit specific needs of individual clients. So what should you consider before starting?

Legality: Depending on your area of specialisation, there may be certain requirements. These could include certifications, legal or insurance requirements. There are also tax rules around working as a consultant. Research all the legal requirements before you start and engage a lawyer and/or accountant to make sure your business complies with relevant regulations.

Qualifications: Do you need any special qualifications to provide your expert advice? This can be the case in the financial and other regulated industries so find out before you get started. You should also look at industry accreditations or professional memberships as a way of establishing credibility and keeping up to date with what’s going on in your industry.

Lifestyle: Is your lifestyle ready for this change? How organised are you? If you’ve been working in a large organisation, it may be a shock to the system to suddenly be in charge of everything from fixing your email glitches to paying the bills (and making sure the money is coming in). You also don’t get paid for any time off any more – no sick leave, no annual leave and no superannuation. Consider whether your personality and lifestyle can cope with these factors.

Target Market: The best services in the world are no good to anyone if there is no market for them. Work out who is going to pay you for your expertise. Is it individuals, small companies, large organisations, or global corporates? Decide whether the target market that is accessible to you is viable. This might not be a major consideration if your services can be offered online, however if you need to provide a face to face service, this step is vital before you do anything else.

Uniqueness: What is it about your consulting services that will make you stand out? What can you provide your clients that other consultants or organisations cannot? As a consultant, you need to be able to articulate very clearly – both verbally and in writing – why someone would use your services. This includes developing collateral such as websites and brochures as well as deciding on your core offer and messaging.

Company Structure: You may want to start small – with just you in a home-based office. Check your own local laws about operating a business from a domestic location, but think about your structure up front. Are you going to hire staff down the track? If so where will they work and what will they do? Can you hire someone to do the administration work while you provide the specialist expertise or would you rather hire another ‘specialist’?

Networking: Networking is key to success as a small business owner. As a consultant it is even more important. You need to make sure you have a consistent flow of work – for that to happen, you should build and maintain relationships with current and potential clients.

Billing: Decide on your rates and stick to them. Be careful of charging too little because your business won’t be viable longer term, but likewise if you charge too much, you may not attract any clients. Finding the perfect middle ground can be difficult but one way to decide is to research what your competitors are charging and base your decision around being competitive. Make sure you are comparing ‘apples with apples’. Don’t forget to consider your expenses and if you are going to incur any additional expenses during the course of a project, provide your client with an estimate up front so they are prepared. Consider charging prior to commencing the work or in instalments if projects are going to be lengthy. Alternatively, specify time-frames for work completion with the clients so you’re not waiting for months to get paid. Determine all of this before you start so you can explain your terms of business up front to new clients.

Are you thinking about starting a consulting business but not sure where to start? Are you worried your personality may not be suited to consulting?

If you would like personalised help from a Career Coach to evaluate your options, please see our Career Counselling and Coaching Services which can be provided over the phone or in person in locations across Australia.

10 Tips for Work Life Balance

Article by Belinda Fuller

10 Tips for Work Life BalanceWork is an essential part of life that many people feel drained by. If you are not consistently challenged and energised, it may be time to think about a change. If you think you just need more balance in your life, you may be able to achieve it by altering a few simple things.

If you run your own business, you’ll know it provides the flexibility to work your own hours, but often we end up working harder and longer than ever before. Finding a balance between work and life can be challenging and the perfect situation is different for everyone, however with a little effort, it can be done! Here are some general tips to get you started:

TIP # 1 – Decide what’s important to you. Working less doesn’t mean better work life balance for everyone. So long as you are happy with the amount of time you dedicate to each part of your life, you’ve probably achieved your best version of work life balance. Decide on your priorities. What would you like to do more (or less) of? Think about what you need to focus on and try to eliminate the stuff that doesn’t really contribute to that.

TIP # 2 – Establish working hours. Set boundaries for yourself and others. If you work from home, try to walk away from your office space at a set time every day. And if you work in an office – try not to take work home unnecessarily. Of course, unplanned events do occur but finishing up at a set time every day to spend planned time with family or friends is a good idea. Likewise, make sure friends and family know not to interrupt you at work unless it’s an emergency. For most people, it would take a big personal emergency to reschedule something important for work. Give your personal time the same respect and try not to ‘reschedule’ it unless absolutely necessary.

TIP # 3 – Switch off your phone, your laptop, and your tablet – anything that’s keeping you connected to work so you can spend time doing whatever it is you would like to do. If you’re spending time with your family or partner this is especially important. We need time to focus on personal relationships. Even if you just switch off for an hour or a meal, try to do this every day. Turning off technology allows us to give people our undivided attention for short periods of time which goes a long way towards improving work life balance.

TIP # 4 – Track Your Time. Not all the time, but try it for just a few days. Tracking how much time is spent on tasks opens our eyes to opportunities for time savings. Then eliminate things that aren’t productive, delegate where you can or consolidate – often we do things without actually thinking about whether it’s 100% necessary.

TIP # 5 – Try to schedule ‘time off’. This includes holidays and weekends. At a minimum you should try to schedule two weeks off each year and try not to work on weekends. This doesn’t mean you need to book an expensive holiday. Some of the best holidays I’ve had have been ‘staycations’. Stay at home and enjoy what your local area has to offer. We often get so caught up in our day to day work that we miss all the fun stuff right under our noses. Time off helps you feel refreshed and recharged and will contribute to you achieving your best levels of productivity.

TIP # 6 – Schedule something enjoyable every day. For me that’s exercise most days. If that’s not for you, schedule something else you enjoy doing. Even if it’s just a quick walk or coffee catch up with a friend or colleague, some gardening, cooking, pottering in your workshop, or reading a book. It could simply be some quiet time to yourself doing nothing – it certainly doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming.

TIP # 7 – Look after yourself. Not eating well, getting enough sleep, keeping hydrated and making sure you get enough exercise are all factors that affect your ability to achieve work life balance. Getting good nutrition and exercise will help you feel happier and achieve higher levels of productivity in the longer term.

TIP # 8 – Don’t sit still. Aim to get up from your desk at least every two hours. Try to do it before your concentration wanes and your attention flags. Get up, have a stretch, grab a glass of water, take a quick walk around the block for some fresh air – just do something that gives you a break from working and clears your head for the next task.

TIP # 9 – Say no! You don’t need to be ‘available’ for work all the time and you don’t have to say YES to everything. Learn to say NO sometimes and feel more in control.

TIP # 10 – Consider a change. If your job is so stressful and draining that you can’t change the way you’re feeling about balance, it might be time to start thinking about a career move.

Studies show that a poor work-life balance can cause stress, unhappiness, and reduced productivity. Implement some (or all) of our tips and start working to live instead of living to work today.

If you would like personalised help from a Career Coach to evaluate alternative career options to achieve a better work life balance, please see our Career Counselling and Coaching Services.

Dress for Success

Article by Belinda Fuller

Dress For SuccessWhat you wear to work varies significantly these days and has changed considerably since the days when females could not wear pants (with mandatory stockings and no bare legs even in the height of summer) and males had to wear a tie and jacket. Many companies even enforced the jacket rule just to leave the building for lunch!

While business attire has certainly relaxed, whether you’re searching for employment or not – paying attention to what you wear is essential. Of course, it’s especially important during an interview, but can also help you get ahead in your current role.

So what are the rules…….. ?

If you’re preparing for an interview, find out what the company’s dress code is – then dress slightly smarter than that to show you’re keen and you’ve made an effort. You don’t however want to appear over dressed and uncomfortable. If you’re going for an interview in a very casual environment and you turn up in a suit and tie, you may not feel comfortable and confident and that could jeopardise your chances. Instead, wear something smart – for example, a smart pair of trousers and open neck shirt (for males) or a smart dress or skirt and top (for females). We don’t recommend wearing denim or t-shirts, and certainly no thongs or runners.

Building a wardrobe of smart clothes can be expensive. If you’re new to the office environment, you can start from scratch and build your wardrobe with classic basics that will last for years to come. If you’ve got budget constraints and can’t afford to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, just start small and begin to build a wardrobe that will make you feel great.

  • Focus on classic basics and stick to colours that will not go out of fashion.
  • Consider price vs quality – in some cases price determines quality however there are many chain stores that offer great quality pieces at lower prices. Do some research on brands you like and subscribe to their emails – that way you’ll be first to hear about sales. Care for your clothes – dry clean or hand wash when required – read labels and follow the instructions.
  • Spruce up your basics with a few fashion items each season – scarves, jewellery, a colourful top for women; or ties and less expensive shirts for men.
  • Make sure your clothes fit well. No matter how expensive clothes are, if they don’t fit they can look cheap. If necessary, invest in alterations to make all the difference.
  • Avoid man-made fibres – again check labels and where possible, opt for natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, linen, and silk – avoid polyester which will wear quicker and may look cheap to start with.
  • Choose clothing that coordinates and can be worn in different seasons. This doesn’t mean sticking to all black or one solid colour, but try to select pieces (especially the more expensive basics) that coordinate. The website ‘Pinterest’ is great for inspirational ideas on wardrobe basics that mix and match to make several outfits.

It’s not just your clothes that need attention, there are other things you can do to ensure you look professional and well put together.

Some suggestions for women include:

  • Moderate shoes, not 15cm spike heels
  • Limited jewellery – stick to smaller, more conservative pieces
  • Neat, professional hair
  • A little make-up & light perfume
  • Manicured nails

And for men:

  • Dark socks
  • Professional shoes that are clean and polished
  • Limited jewellery
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Not too much aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails

Whether you’re looking for a new role, or just hoping to get ahead, a little bit of effort goes a long way. That may mean dressing a little more conservatively than when you’re heading out for a night on the town. Regardless of whether you are dressing for a job interview or you already have a job, appearances can help you get ahead. Employers may think less of you if you consistently dress inappropriately and first impressions are very important in an interview.

Is it Ever Too Late to Change Careers?

Article by Belinda Fuller

We recently posted a graphic on Facebook which showed some highly successful people who made it big after they hit 40. People like the founders of McDonalds, Coca Cola and KFC (in fact – these three were all in their 50s). It really hit home. While there are millions of entrepreneurs out there in their teens and 20s, it prompted us to ponder this question.

Clients often seek our advice on whether or not they are too old to change careers.  As a generation, we are living longer with better health and higher levels of vitality than ever before, so what age for change is really too old?

The answer to that question is different for everyone. It depends on many factors which can only be evaluated by each individual. Everyone has different levels of risk tolerance and adaptability to change and for many a major career change is just too challenging. But for others, there may not be any real reason to wait any longer.

Since the opportunities for study these days are endless, there may no longer be the barriers previously experienced in gaining qualifications needed for a new career path. Just about any qualification you need is available via part-time, full-time, online, distance or on campus options, or in varying combinations of them all. Different budget levels can also be catered for with payment choices designed to suit just about any situation. Changing your career later in life may be easier than you think.

We meet many people in our day to day work who change careers much later than might be considered ‘normal’ or ‘ideal’ with most of them thriving. Being able to handle the physical demands of a new career can appear daunting to some – with many people believing their energy levels won’t cope. But we believe the opposite is true – when you’re doing something you truly enjoy, your energy levels will naturally be higher because passion fuels energy and drive.

In addition, the benefit of life experience cannot be underestimated. This means many late career changers enjoy immediate success with the wisdom and experience they have gained over the years. Many soft skills such as being able to get along with different personalities, negotiating mutually agreeable outcomes and knowing how to get the best out of people, identifying and dealing with issues, dealing with procrastination, and generally taking advantage of the networks built over a full working life will all contribute to success.

It’s never too late to change careers to do something you love. I recently found out that one of my favourite resources when writing – the Thesaurus – was first published when its author was 73! Although an accomplished doctor, lecturer and inventor, it was Peter Roget’s dictionary of synonyms that made his name. Since it was first published in 1852, it has never been out of print.

If you’re yearning for a change, do some research to find out what you can achieve. Even if you have lifestyle, family and/or budget concerns, you might be surprised at what is possible.

Are you thinking about a changing careers but not sure where to start? Do you think it’s too late in your life to consider a change? There are several articles on career change on our blog which can be viewed by clicking here. One particularly relevant article is our post entitled – Want to Change Careers? Here is a Step by Step Plan.

If you would like personalised help from a Career Coach to evaluate your options, please see our Career Counselling and Coaching Services which can be provided over the phone or in person in locations across Australia.

How to Handle Office Politics

Article by Belinda Fuller

Some people love it and some people despise it – no matter what your feelings on office politics are, playing the political game is often seen as crucial to long term career success. Simply understanding how things work politically around your office and observing your behaviour and that of your co-workers can help you to get ahead. Learning how power and influence is managed within your company will help you survive and thrive in today’s highly competitive job market. And while the words ‘office politics’ often carry negative connotations – it is not necessarily always the case. It can be a positive experience as well – it’s all about opportunities to further your career. Here are a few tips.

1. Know your value and make sure others do too – let people know about your achievements and successes. In order to thrive and win the political game, you need to be able to demonstrate specialist expertise and the value you bring to an organisation. Let others know what you have achieved but be careful not to come across as brash – and never take too much credit for teamwork you participated in. Always make sure your team mates are given credit also.

2. Get to know your colleagues – it’s important to understand the people you work for (and with). If you understand people’s personal motivations and aspirations, you will be able to get along with them better, as well as being able to better meet their needs. This takes time and effort to listen and observe behaviour. Most people just want to be heard, so if you can invest some time in listening, you will start to be rewarded.

3. Understand where the power lies – it is not necessarily always the most senior person who wields the most power. Influencers come in many forms and those with authority and power often don’t use it as well as they should. Take some time to work out where the power is – look at individuals who are highly respected, those that mentor others, or the people who really are the brains behind high profile projects and successes.

4. Become a confidante – once you know who wields the power, you need to start developing relationships with them or the people around them. Again this takes time, so be a patient listener. Think outside of the box to offer creative responses or advice when asked and you will become a trusted confidante in no time at all.

5. Be nice – learn when, where and who to speak to. Assume that anything you say to anyone may be repeated. If what you say reaches the wrong ears the outcome could be disastrous. It goes without saying really, but never pass on gossip or spread rumours and always rise above personal conflicts – just don’t get involved. Maintain your professionalism and always act with the organisation’s best interests at heart.

6. Be positive – avoid complaining and whinging. Stand up for your opinions by all means, but when voicing an opinion or objection, be careful to present it from the organisation’s perspective – don’t make it personal. Don’t agree (or disagree) with negative people or questionable opinions – always maintain your integrity and professionalism.

Positive or negative – politics are a fact of life. By ignoring what’s going on around you, you risk not achieving the success you deserve. Learning to use the power of politics positively will help you get the best out of your career.

For more tips on managing your career visit our Career Advice Blog by clicking here. If you would like career advice from a professional Career Coach, please see our Career Coaching services.

Job Applications That Get You Noticed

Article by Belinda Fuller

What really makes a recruiter stand up and take notice? In today’s job market, it is common for recruiters to receive upwards of 100 applications for one role, so what are they doing to cull those applications? How does that process affect how you should prepare your application?

There are many ways to make sure you get noticed in a job application. Despite what many people think, the best way is not with colourful graphics, complex formatting and an enticing head shot on the front page. Today’s job market is tough and there are simply more people with the right skills and experience applying for the same jobs. So how can you ensure you give yourself the best possible chance at getting noticed? Here’s our TOP 8 TIPS:

TIP # 1: Call the recruiter: many job ads include a contact so call them to find out exactly what they are looking for. Ask if there is anything in particular they are expecting or looking for in an ideal application or any specialist experience they would find useful. Then use that information to tailor your application.

TIP # 2: Focus: understand who you are and what you have to offer and focus your content around those core themes. As a Resume writer I am often asked to write a ‘general’ Resume because clients want something they can use across various roles and industries. Unfortunately this approach just does not cut it. Apart from the fact there is increasing competition in the marketplace, by generalising your experience and skills you could come across as a ‘Jack of all trades, Master of none’. Employers look for value and they need experts who can quickly hit the ground running and add immediate benefit.

TIP # 3: Use keywords: many recruiters use software or online systems to make an initial cull of applications and this software works in different ways depending on what it is and how it’s implemented. Regardless if automated systems are used or not to cull applications – it is important to include keywords in your application. By mirroring the content found in the job ad or position description, you increase your chances of getting noticed and being perceived as an ‘ideal’ candidate. Sometimes, all it takes is changing your language like using ‘client’ instead of ‘customer’; and using key industry buzz words to demonstrate your knowledge.

TIP # 4: Write a customised cover letter: you should do this for EVERY job you apply for. Go through the job ad and/or position description with a fine tooth comb and highlight all your relevant experience, skills, qualifications, and specific expertise. If possible, think outside the box to identify successes you’ve had or skills you possess that might make you stand out. For example if you’ve worked in a similar role or industry – perhaps identify a key issue or challenge the industry is currently facing. Maybe you’ve implemented a similar project and have some specialist knowledge – if so, say so and indicate the level of success you achieved and how that is relevant to the recruiter.

TIP # 5: Tailor your Resume: Yes, that’s right – and again EVERY time! This might be as simple as re-ordering some points or de-emphasising/emphasising certain aspects of your job history, but tailoring your resume is just as important as writing a customised cover letter. The recruiter needs to immediately identify with you as being an ideal candidate and you won’t achieve that with generic content. This comes back to focus, but you can brand yourself as the ideal candidate by showcasing relevant experiences and successes and using the same language as the recruiting company.

TIP # 6: Address your cover letter: address your letter to the individual mentioned in the job ad and make reference to the conversation you had if you made an initial call (see TIP # 1). With LinkedIn and other online information sources, it isn’t hard to find out someone’s correct name, title and company address. Take a few minutes to source this information and address your cover letter professionally.

TIP # 7: Include all relevant details in the cover letter: after your address, open with a bold heading stating the job title, where the job was advertised, and the reference number if applicable. This makes it easy for the recruiter to identify exactly what job you’re applying for and allocate your application to the relevant area for assessment.

TIP # 8: Follow up: this is especially so if you have spoken with the recruiter prior to submitting your application but equally relevant if you haven’t. Leaving a brief voicemail or sending a short email is both appropriate and admirable because it shows commitment and interest. Briefly highlight how you match the job description and reiterate your desire for an interview.

Taking a little time to customise the content in your application can reap big rewards when it comes to the job application process so don’t underestimate the value in doing this.

Would you like assistance from a professional Resume Writer to create a job application that gets you noticed? Do you feel your application lacks relevance to the roles you are applying for? If you would like assistance with writing a winning job application, please see our Resume Writing and Job Search Coaching Services.

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