Categories
Interviews

Help! I need to do a presentation

Congratulations – you’ve been invited to interview BUT there is a catch.  Along with the standard interview questions – you have been asked to do a short presentation.

This is not uncommon, especially for roles where you may be required to interact with stakeholders or clients, or you are in the training or education space.

Don’t panic! Follow these tips to ensure that you make an impactful presentation.

1. Know your time limit.  Read the email carefully and understand whether you have 10 or 15 mins for your presentation.  If you are unsure ring your contact and clarify your time limitations.

2. Understand what the presentation is meant to be about – that is, how the presentation topic relates to the job that you have applied for.  If there is no topic and the interview panel has left it open – make sure that you present on something relevant.

3. Start developing your presentation immediately.   Step one is to think carefully and strategically about what you are going to present and how. For example, will you be presenting with slides, have a handout or demonstrating an app?  The answer to this question will then guide your next steps.

1. Slides – typically this would be a Microsoft Power Point presentation.  We have all lived death by Power Point, so be sure to only have the bare minimum number of slides and make certain that they are easy to read; have a suitable image or graph that is relevant and capture your key words.  It is these key words that will give you the trigger to a smooth presentation.

2. Handouts – these should be targeted and easy to read; containing just enough information to be relevant but not so much information that it will distract the panel. Ideally as you make your discussion points, you will be able to move the panel member through the various pieces of information on your handout in a logical sequence.  You must have the flow of your information on your handout in sync with your talk.

3. Demonstrating an app.  Ideally this will also be able to be presented on a screen so that each part of your demonstration can be followed closely by the panel members.  To make the demonstration interesting use techniques to engage your audience.  This could include asking them direct questions such as ‘what would you like to see or something similar.  Obviously the right questions depend on what you are demonstrating.

So key points to cover:

  • Figure out what message you want to send.
  • Decide on your supporting points, keeping them brief.
  • Make sure you have done your research to ensure your points are valid.
  • Prepare your material (Power Point or handout)
  • Provide supporting detail such as a graph or image (if required)
  • Always triple check your work for errors, including spelling mistakes and incorrect capitalisation.
  • Revise your presentation constantly.
  • Get somebody else to review your presentation with you.  Ask them what could be improved.
  • Practice your presentation as many times as you can.  You need to be ‘pitch’ perfect and adhere to their time limit.  It will be very obvious if you have gone in underprepared.

But, if you want to sway the way your audience thinks and feels then you need to influence, motivate and persuade them to take action.  Decide on your audience-related objective. What do you want your audience to do, feel or think differently about based on your presentation?

Find out what you can about the audience.  After all, if you’re trying to convince your audience of something, you really need to know who they are how you can make your presentation relevant to them.  What will they want to see from those people who have been invited for interview?

Consider all the strategies that you might use to help you deliver (images, graphics, videos, stories, data, etc.)   What other ways could you present?  Perhaps a role play, a story, an anecdote or even an activity.

Consider how you will present yourself; how you will develop trust with the audience.  Practice, practice, practice. And it is not just the speaking, you will need to practice talking, conversing, and convincing, all while being your most relatable self.

Do you need help preparing for your interview or developing your presentation? Contact me for assistance.

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

If you have enjoyed this article please tell a friend and send them to my site. If you have any questions or suggestions for a blog post drop me an email.

Cheers for now, Kate.

Categories
Identifying Your Skills

What employers want – Analytical Skills and Critical Thinking

What employers want –Regardless of the type of job that is on offer, we all know that employers are looking for a fairly standard set of skills that allow candidates to be productive and work with colleagues and clients.

Knowing this gives you, the candidate, the edge.  But how do you use this information to your advantage.

I am providing a series of short posts about these skills and will set you a task to help you respond to selection criteria or interview questions.  This task has two components.  After reading the post I would like you to reflect on how you have demonstrated that skill during 2020; and then turn that reflection into a story.  You will then be able to use your story in your application or interview.

Today I have clustered two skills together because they go hand in hand when problem solving – Analytical Skills and Critical Thinking

What are these skills?

Analytical skills relate to your ability to gather information, visualise and solve simple or complex problems with the information available. 

Critical thinking involves observing a situation or critically reading a piece of information, then using the facts to form an opinion.

Essentially managers want to know that you are capable of thinking for yourself and have the ability to resolve a problem.

There are many different ways to resolve problems, including techniques such as the 5 Whys (really great for root cause analysis) or the Fish diagram (also known as the Ishikawa Diagram).  Then there is the 6 thinking hats (a true classic), problem definition process, and many more.  For a really good list of problem solving techniques check out this article: 35 problem solving techniques and activities to create effective solutions | SessionLab.

However, before you can find the right solution for a given problem, you need to identify and define the problem that needs to be solved. ften we will try to short cut the process and go immediately to what we think the solution is going to be, that is, we jump at the solution before we critically evaluate whether it will be the best solution.  This is essentially put the solution first without doing the thinking.  The solution should come at the end of the process when we have moved through all the steps. 

The 7 step process:

1. Identify the problem or the issue

2. Understand everyone’s interests

3. List all the possible solutions (options)

4. Evaluate the options

5. Select an option or perhaps the best two options

6. Document what was agreed

7. Agree on contingencies, implement the solution, then monitor and evaluate.

An even simpler framework with fewer steps is:

1 – Define the problem

2 – Generate alternative solutions

3 – Evaluate and select a potential solution

4 – Implement and follow up on the solution

And yet another is:

1. Identify the problem

2. Prioritise the major problem (if there is more than one)

3. Investigate solutions and analyse the evidence

4. Consult and seek advice

5. Identify a solution based on your evidence

6. Make a recommendation

7. Implement the recommendation

8. Evaluate the effectiveness of the solution and monitor for any unforeseen consequences.

So, what is your problem solving story? 

To get you started you might like to develop a response to one of the following potential interview questions:

  • Describe a time when you had to solve a problem?
  • When did you participate in a problem solving process?  What was your role and what did you contribute to the eventual outcome?
  • Describe a time when you saw a problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

Use the SAO method to develop your experiences into a great story which you can recount at interview or place into your cover letter or selection criteria.  Your story should be specific enough that it provides sufficient detail for the interviewer/reader to understand:

Your framework is:

  • What the situation was
  • What action you took; and
  • What the outcome was.

Write it down and refine it.  Then save it away in your interview question database.

If you need help to develop your cover letter or selection criteria – contact me for assistance.

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

If you have enjoyed this article please tell a friend and send them to my site.

If you have any questions or suggestions for a blog post drop me an email.

Cheers for now, Kate.

Categories
Job Hunting

Jobs on the Rise in 2021

Following on from a previous post about skills shortages – I would now like to share the findings of a LinkedIn report with you.

Just to recap – in my previous post I talked about skills shortages occurring in the following industries:

  • Health care and social assistance
  • Education and training
  • Construction
  • Mining, and
  • Transport, postal and warehousing.

The LinkedIn report outlines 15 emerging jobs of 2021 and I am pleased to say that it very much echoes the content from my previous post.

A snapshot follows but you can read the full report at Jobs on the Rise Reports | LinkedIn Talent Solutions

Covid-19 has put the focus on health care workers with special focus on nurses, doctors, paramedics, clinical specialists and mental health professionals.  This group also extends to social workers, youth workers and child welfare workers as the pressures from Covid have had an impact on social issues, such as housing, child care and general wellness and well-being.  People need the assistance of professionals to help them navigate access to support and services. 

Other health care and medical support roles are also emerging as professions in demand.  These include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, home care assistants and patient services staff.  Admissions to hospital continue and the population continues to age, all factors that are driving demand for services and the need for specialist health care services.

Next on the LinkedIn list are construction workers.  As outlined in the previous blog post his has been driven in Australia by the Federal and State government stimulus packages both in domestic housing and nation building infrastructure projects.  Site Managers, estimators and equipment operators are all in high demand.

There has also been a rise in demand for what was once considered a humble occupation: customer service – finally they are getting the recognition that they deserve. Their strong interpersonal and communication skills should never be underestimated.  How many times have we been grateful for a customer service agent who does their job well and solves our problem?   They are subject matter experts in their area of expertise – so don’t undervalue the service you get from a customer service professional.

Now here is a group that I haven’t mentioned before but can relate to on a personal professional level – and that is personal coaches.  Specifically LinkedIn discussed the changing world of recruitment and the need for specialised resume writing and coaching services.  Need I say more?  This is my passion and I have seen an increase in coaching clients during late January and early February. 

The next group on the list is real estate specialists.  This should not come as a surprise with Australia’s super low interest rates there has never been a better time to enter the real estate market.  The only concern for many is that property prices are rising fast as well.  The rush to escape from the city has also impacted the property market.   In demand professionals also include mortgage brokers to help navigate the plethora of loan options. 

Financial services specialists are also in demand, partly driven by the recent Banking Royal commission.  However, the focus here is on uncovering fraud and risk analyst.  So if your skills fall into the field of forensic accounting, risk analyst, taxation consultation then you may find yourself in demand.

Following on from fraud is the rising demand for cyber security specialists.  The increase in online scams and security threats has seen the demand for better and stronger detection and response by businesses grow.  The need to detect and eliminate is stronger than ever. And within this category there is a growing demand for data managers, web developers, IT engineers and specialist programmers.

Covid’s impact has also affected the way we buy so it is no surprise that e-Commerce skills are in demand.  Businesses are looking to transition away from bricks and mortar stores to online offerings and need savvy IT specialists to help them develop their sites.  But, along with that – products still need to get out the door so warehouse supervisors and inventory management professionals are in demand too.

Along with going ‘online’ businesses recognise that you can’t sell a secret so they are turning to social media to get the word out, using digital content specialists to do the job for them.  However, the draw back here is such specialists are usually freelance, servicing a number of clients across a range of categories.  Skills in demand are social media marketing professionals, web content writers, audio editing specialists and copy writers, as well as digital marketing experts, content designers and search engine optimisation specialties.  Every business wants to be at the top of the ‘Google’ search.

I also mentioned in the previous blog that educational workers were in demand and LinkedIn have confirmed that indeed they are essential workers.  Roles include early childhood educators and school principals.

If you want to progress your career and to take advantage of these career hotspots get in touch with me today so that I can help by developing your cover letter or selection criteria.

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

If you have enjoyed this article please tell a friend and send them to my site. If you have any questions or suggestions for a blog post drop me an email.

Cheers for now, Kate.

Categories
Identifying Your Skills

What employers want – Communication Skills

Regardless of the type of job that is on offer, we all know that employers are looking for a fairly standard set of skills that allow candidates to be productive and work with colleagues and clients.

Knowing this gives you, the candidate, the edge.  But how do you use this information to your advantage.

This is another post about these skills and set you a task to help you respond to selection criteria or interview questions.  This task has two components.  After reading the post I would like you to reflect on how you have demonstrated that skill during 2020; and then turn that reflection into a story.  You will then be able to use your story in your application or interview.

Today’s skill is Communication

What are communication skills?

Communication has four elements – listening, speaking, reading and writing – and you need to be competent across all four elements. Communication skills is one of the broadest skills group categories because it can cover everything from having a conversation with a manager, colleague, client, supplier or other business related person, to writing a letter, a report, a memo, a business case or giving a presentation to a small work group or a full auditorium at the annual conference.

In essence communication is about the way you interact with other people, not just about sending messages, but also the way you hear the message and respond.  Communication is a two way process both in the verbal and written domains.

Verbal communication skills are used to

  • Resolve conflicts
  • Provide advice and guidance
  • Give instructions
  • Negotiate an outcome
  • Ask questions
  • Persuade
  • Explain a concept
  • Offer words of comfort
  • And so much more.

All jobs need communication skills – you may be required to:

  • Make sales calls
  • Respond to customer enquiries
  • Run a meeting
  • Provide advice
  • Interview job seekers
  • Negotiate services or prices
  • Write a report
  • Develop a case study
  • Draft an agenda and write the minutes
  • Undertake research and present your findings
  • Write a speech
  • Develop a press release.

Managers want to know that you have appropriate communication skills in relation to who your audience is and that you can prepare and present information appropriately to others.  You must be able to listen for meaning, seek understanding and respond appropriately as well as overcome any communication barriers.

So, what is your communication story?  When during the last year have you needed to communicate well?  How do you make a story from these experiences?

To get you started you might like to develop a response to one of the following potential interview questions:

  • Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult client who had made a complaint?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to explain something complex to somebody that had no knowledge of the subject matter?
  • Provide an example of a report that you wrote that contained advice or recommendations?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to get agreement from people outside of your team?
  • Describe a time when you had to correct a miscommunication?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to really listen for meaning.  Why was it important and what did you learn from the experience?

Use the SAO method to develop your experiences into a great story which you can recount at interview or place into your cover letter or selection criteria.  Your story should be specific enough that it provides sufficient detail for the interviewer/reader to understand:

Your framework is:

  • What the situation was
  • What action you took; and
  • What the outcome was.

Write it down and refine it.  Then save it away in your interview question database.

If you need help to develop your cover letter or selection criteria – contact me for assistance.

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

If you have enjoyed this article please tell a friend and send them to my site.

Categories
Identifying Your Skills Job Hunting

What Employers Want – Adaptability

Regardless of the type of job that is on offer, we all know that employers are looking for a fairly standard set of skills that allow candidates to be productive and work with colleagues and clients.  Knowing this information gives you, the candidate, the edge.  But how do you use this information to your advantage.

I am going to deliver a series of short posts about these skills?  Read on to find out more.

Today’s skill is Adaptable

What does being adaptable mean?  It is when an individual, team or organisation is able to adjust to changes.   It is

  • where adjustments happen easily, and a new course of action can be identified and followed
  • being open to change and taking action to make that change occur. 
  • having a flexible mindset to allow us to consider alternative options and propose new ideas.

We are all fairly familiar with how changes in workplaces and technology have required us to adapt.  Evidence of this is in the number of workplaces that have transitioned to an agile workplace and moved away from desk top computers to individual laptops that get put away in lockers or taken home at the end of the day.  In the face of Covid-19 there has also been the mastery of Teams and Skype. 

During Covid-19 many businesses changed their operating mode rapidly transitioning from sit down café culture to take-away only.  Who would have ever thought that McDonalds would be selling bread and milk from their drive-throughs?  Or restaurants creating ‘make it at home’ packs of their most popular menu items.

As customers could no longer come into an office or a branch to perform their transaction they were obligated to go online.  For many, this was a new experience, so companies had to empower their call centre staff to coach and train their customers on how to create on-line accounts, place orders and make payments.  These may be things that many take for granted, but some in our communities are not so savvy and need additional assistance.

So, what is your adaptable story?  When during the last year have you needed to be flexible and adapt to changes? How do you make a story from these experiences?

Use the SAO method to develop your experiences into a great story which you can recount at interview or place into your cover letter or selection criteria.  Your story should be specific enough that it provides sufficient detail for the interviewer/reader to understand:

  • S = What the situation was
  • A = What action you took; and
  • O = What the outcome was.

Write it down and refine it.  Then save it away in your interview question database. This response can be used to respond to a multitude of ‘tell me when or how questions’.   For example:

a) Tell me about a time when you participated in a change at work?

c) How do you adjust to changes you have no control over? [Think Covid-19]

b) Tell me when you needed to respond to unpredictable changes at work, for example a sudden resignation?

d) How do you re-adjust your schedule when your manager asks you to prepare some information for a report within an hour?  How do you make sure you don’t fall behind your regular tasks?

Your activity has two components.  After reading the post I would like you to reflect on how you have demonstrated that skill during 2020; and then turn that reflection into a story for you to use during your job search.

If you need help to develop your cover letter or selection criteria – contact me.

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

Categories
Identifying Your Skills Job Hunting

Where are these skill shortages anyway?

This is a continuation of previous blog post – Have you heard about the skills gap?  You might like to read that article first.

Before I start please be advised that I am writing about this topic from an Australian perspective.  The comments and points I discuss in this article may not apply to your particular location if you are not currently living in Australia.

A caution: Labour markets are fluid and a skills shortage does not guarantee you a job even if you have trained or re-trained in a particular field.  This is because shortages are often in occupations that need specific skills, qualifications and experience.  So, any job or training decisions you are making should not be made just on predicted skill shortages.  Make sure that you are interested in the field you are entering and have the capability (intellect, physical and emotional) to stay the course.

It would be an understatement to say that Covid-19 has had a major impact on jobs and employment.  In April 2020 we began to see jobs being lost and vacancy rates fall dramatically.  Now in December 2020 we can see a significant rebound with jobs returning to the hospitality and retail sectors and a strong demand for construction trades.

The period between March and now has seen a shift in focus to those occupations that are considered resilient.  Australia’s National Skills Commission has a formula for identifying these occupations and the list of the most resilient jobs include:

  • Professionals such as speech pathologists, audiologists, medical practitioners and mid-wives.
  • Community and personal service workers including aged and disabled carers, as well as security officers.
  • Machinery operators and drivers working in agricultural, forestry and horticulture, as well as plant operators and delivery drivers.

And the industries that these jobs fall within are:

  • Health care and social assistance
  • Education and training
  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Transport, postal and warehousing.

You can see from these lists that many of the ‘essential’ workers fell into these categories, along with public administration and emergency services.

Let’s take a closer look at three categories.

Health Professions – Around 45% of employers had unfilled vacancies in 2017-18 with strong shortages in audiologists, sonographers, optometrists and medical diagnostic radiographers. Part of the demand is the need to service an increasingly ageing population as well as the need to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Growth has meant that bachelor degree graduates are highly likely to obtain a job soon after graduation.  Employment in the health care and social assistance industry is projected to expand at double the pace of all industries over the next few years to May 2023.

Food Trades – In 2018 one third of employers did not have any suitable applicants for their vacancies with major shortages for pastry chefs, bakers and butchers.  Only 31% of vacancies for bakers were filled.

Almost all employers required applicants to have at least a Certificate III qualification and were expected to have two to four years post apprenticeship experience.

Initial demand was due to international tourism which has now declined as a result of Covid-19 but demand is now growing because more Australian’s are holidaying at home and taking staycations. 

While supply is declining partly due to a decrease in available apprenticeships, employment in the food trades is expected to grow by over 14% in the next few years to 2023.

Construction trades – The Australian federal and state governments have fast forwarded their infrastructure projects and this, along with the HomeBuilder program which supports jobs in the residential construction sector, is a strong source of jobs growth.

Even before the pandemic only 44% of vacancies were being filled.  Glaziers and wall and floor tilers were in demand the most, with only 24% of glazier and 21% of floor and wall tiler vacancies being filled.  Other trades in high demand include painters, carpenters and joiners, bricklayers, plumbers, cabinet makers, plasterers and stonemasons. 

85% of the vacancies required candidates to be trade qualified. 

Demand is driven by the value of building work in the pipeline.  National employment of construction trades is projected to grow by 6.5% in the period to May 2023 and there are some indications that apprenticeships are on the increase.

So, where does this leave you?  Are you looking for your first job or changing careers?

Let me help you to develop your resume or craft your cover letter. 

Please contact me now.

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

Categories
Identifying Your Skills

Have you heard about the skills gap?

Before I start please be advised that I am writing about this topic from an Australian perspective.  The comments and points I discuss in this article may not apply to your particular location if you are not currently living in Australia.

Sometimes there is a bit of confusion between a skills shortage and a skills gap.  So, let me try to explain the difference.  A skills shortage occurs when employers find it difficult to fill a skilled job vacancy when they are offering market based wages, standard working conditions and the jobs are in easily accessible locations (think cities and highly populated regional areas).  Often, the employer will need to offer a higher salary and/or better conditions to fill the job.

A skills gap applies to candidates and is the difference between what skills the candidate has and what skills are needed by the employer to get the job done.  This means that some people don’t have the right skills for the jobs that are available.  They could be underqualified (such as a kitchen hand not having barista training or skills) or overqualified (such as an overseas trained accountant working as an accounts payable clerk to gain local entry level experience).

Skill gaps can occur because of technology, such as artificial intelligence and automation; education, while we have lots of graduates there are gaps in the basic skills such as literacy, numeracy and IT; and training, graduate roles are declining and the practices of taking on trainees is diminishing.  Employers are prioritising experience over potential.

This presents a problem for both businesses and candidates.  For businesses, it means there are less qualified and/or experienced staff and jobs take longer to fill.  This can then have a further flow on effect, possibly resulting in lost productivity (not making and selling enough widgets), not being able to expand the business, overworking existing staff who may then suffer low morale from stress.

For candidates it may mean the need to retrain which can be a very daunting prospect.  Firstly there is pressure to make the right decision regarding what course to undertake, followed by the time and effort to learn the new skills and the potential cost, including course fees other expenses such as equipment and course materials.   All of this may need to be juggled with an existing job and family commitments.

If you believe that the skills gap might impact you there are some things that you can do about it, including a self-analyse of your existing skills, finding ways to close the gap (undertake training/get different experiences), know your work related strengths and be confident to sell yourself in order to get the job you want.

Let me help you to demonstrate your appeal to an employer by developing a strong resume and a crafted cover letter.

Please contact me now.

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

If you have enjoyed this article, come back soon as I am going to write more on the skills gap next week.

Categories
Job Hunting

The Great Debate – Cover Letter or No Cover Letter?

Firstly, a quick ‘did you know’. 

The cover letter is so called because it was the cover page for resumes.  Its purpose was to entice the reader to continue reading and seek out more detail contained in the resume.  Back in its day (the 80s and 90s) the cover letter was a detailed self-promotion of career history and skills for the writer – a work life history.

Now a days, the resume is the hero!  And the focus on the cover letter has dropped away, with it being more the support act to supplement your resume story

What this means for you

When you submit a cover letter it has to be relevant and highlight your specific skills and experience.  It is also a useful tool to explain any exceptional circumstances such as gaps in employment, career transitions or something relevant that isn’t stated on your resume.  Your cover letter should also be a solid example of your written communication skills AND your attention to detail.  So this means, you have to get it right – the grammar, the spelling and the layout.  Your resume will get you over the line if it is well written, nicely laid out, contains relevant skills and experience and highlights your work accomplishments. If the recruiter or hiring manager reviews your resume and believes you are a good match for their job, they will then review your cover letter to reinforce their opinion; so essentially, your cover letter has a stronger chance of being read if you are a close fit for the vacancy.  At this point you don’t want to spoil your chances by having irrelevant or duplicate detail in your cover letter.  It is necessary to make sure that it is tailored and customised to the specific job.  It is important that it looks and reads professionally.

So, back to the question – should I submit a cover letter?

To answer this question you get your first clue by reading the advertisement.  If it asks for a cover letter then provide one!  Otherwise it appears that you don’t follow instructions and this creates a poor impression.

If the advert is silent – then you need to use your judgement.  Ask yourself ‘what value (to the business) am I adding if I include a cover letter’?  If you want to differentiate yourself, show off your communications skills, explain something unique about you or highlight some relevant experience or skills in more detail than that contained in your resume – then the answer is probably ‘yes’.

Just be sure to write it well, read it twice or more and polish it before you hit the submit button.

Don’t know where to begin?  Writing a cover letter too hard?  No time?  Let me help you!  Please contact me now.

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

Categories
Job Hunting

Get a head start on your job search for 2021

Yes, we all know it is Christmas and holiday time but should that stop you from being organised and getting a head start for 2021? No way.

Resolution – find a (better) job!

Here are a few tips to get your New Year’s resolution started early.

Action steps – get prepared.

1. Understand what you are looking for – review your favourite job boards and identify the jobs you are interested in.  Even if they aren’t an exact match – don’t worry – read the job detail closely to understand what the employer wants and what you have to do (read responsibilities of the role). Use these snippets of valuable information – include them in your resume or your cover letter.

Utilise this analysis to identify what the gaps are in your own experience or skills.  Is there a recurring them – for instance – a certain programming language (think python) or project management.  If this is a gap – start planning how to minimise that gap.

2.  Use the holiday time to give your resume a refresh – are you working from an old resume that no longer reflects your current job or newly acquired skills, is the format looking tired, old-fashioned and just plain messy?  If so, it is time to brush it up and get it glowing.

3. And ….. what about your referees – firstly are they current?  Do they really know what your current skill set is / what your job aspirations are / what projects or activity you are currently working on?  If not, maybe it is time to bring them up to speed or perhaps even replace them with someone who is more contemporary and knows your current value.

4. Next, your LinkedIn profile – is it up to date, have you been making any relevant posts?  Have you been networking?  Give your profile the once over and bring it into 2021.

5.  Finally, get some discipline and stick to a job search routine. Committing to a routine gives you a sense of accomplishment, even if you are getting a few knock backs along the way.  Make sure you devote some time to review job sites and connect with people in your professional network.  Often doing these things in the morning, when you are fresh, is best and has the added benefit of you being able to ‘tick’ them off your ‘to do’ list.  Maybe even limit the time you spend searching so that your mental health stays intact!  Look after both your physical and your mental wellbeing.

Is updating your resume too hard?  No time?  Let me help you!  Please contact me now. Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

Categories
Identifying Your Skills

Sample interview questions

I came across these sample interview questions and wanted to share them with you.

For high-stress jobs, such as a senior management position:

“Can you tell me about a stressful experience you faced at work recently and how you handled it?”

For jobs where teamwork is important (isn’t that most jobs?):

“Can you tell me about a time when you had to work with someone whose personality was very different than yours?”

For jobs that are client-facing, such as a sales position:

“Describe a time when making a good impression on a client was particularly important. How did you prepare, and what did you do to impress them?”

For jobs that involve problem-solving and customer service, such as an IT professional:

“Tell me about your experience with high volumes of requests. How have you managed this in the past while still providing a friendly and helpful service?”

How would you respond to these questions?  Would you be able to provide strong and thoughtful answers?

Is writing a job application or preparing for an interview stressful? 

Want some advice and assistance?

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

Cheers Kate

Categories
Identifying Your Skills

2020 Turn Challenges into Skills

Has there ever been a more challenging year for you?

We are almost at the end of 2020 and I am sure that it has proven to be challenging in more than one way for most people.

For many that challenge has been with their employment.  Some people lost their jobs, others had reduced hours or perhaps even increased hours depending on the industry.  For some there was the challenge of working from home, perhaps coupled with home schooling.  For others it was the challenges that their work places presented, whether that was dealing with retail customers or caring for those affected by COVID-19, while others were making important decisions in situations that they have never faced before and no doubt never want to face again.

Whatever the case has been for you, now is the time to reflect and think about how you can use those challenges to highlight your personal strengths and build them into your new resume.

What new skills did you master?  Even if you were unfortunate and lost you job – reflect on how you handled that situation – did you call on your inner strength and use your resilience to stay positive and identify skills that you could enhance.  Did you take any free online training courses?

What about the decisions you needed to make over this time?  How did you go about solving problems, juggling work and life?  Were you coordinating a variety of activities?  Perhaps scheduling a busy day/week?  Were you managing a significantly decreased personal / work budget?  How did you priortise the funds available to you?  Did you branch out and turn your side-hustle into something more substantive?  What hurdles did you overcome to make that transition go smoothly?

Did you come up with creative ways to beat boredom or to stay in touch with your family and loved ones?  Did you make a conscious effort to keep in touch with friends or relatives who live a long way away? What did you do to celebrate the small wins?

Did you contribute to your neighbourhood or community in some way?  Were you sewing facemasks or did you make a donation to a local foodbank?  Did you keep a watchful eye on your neighbours or friends that you know that may have needed some extra support?

All of these things demonstrate your skills and abilities – both hard (technical) skills and soft skills (your personal characteristics that make you who you are). 

So, take some time now, grab a notebook and pen, or your favourite online app, and think back over the last six months and do a stocktake – I am sure that you will find that you have come a long way since March 2020 and are headed into 2021 with some skills that you have sharpened and can be proud to list on your resume.

Need help to create a new resume?

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

Categories
Job Hunting

Looking to Apply for a Government Role?

Do you know the biggest mistake that so many applicants make when applying for a government job?  Truly – it is such an obvious mistake that it will SHOCK you!

Are you ready? Want to know the answer? OK – here it is. 

They don’t read the full advertisement or FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!

I liken it to buying all the ingredients for a great meal and ending up with a failed dinner because nobody followed the recipe!

There is a really simple method.

Step 1 – read the advertisement – at least twice.

Step 2 – if there is a contact officer – ring them.  Find out more about the job – but ask sensible questions.

Step 3 – understand what you have to do to apply – just uploading a resume to a government job ISN’T GOING TO GET YOU SHORTLISTED!

Step 4 – understand what selection criteria you are required to answer.  Yes, it is a bit like a school test – read the question, break it down into its various parts and write a response.  Make your corrections.

Step 5 – have somebody look at your responses – check for meaning, check for grammar and check the spelling.

Step 6 – review your resume and update or refresh it as necessary.

Step 7 – once all your documents are looking and sounding professional – upload – but make sure you apply well before the cut off time – you just never know if you might have a technical glitch.

Is this all too hard? Need help?

Email: kate@professionalresumesandjobapplications.com

Cheers, Kate