Career Guide

How to Deal With a Stressful Job

According to research, the average professional has 30 to 100 work-related projects on their plate. They’re interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. Adding to this, 4 out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing great uncertainly about their futures. This may be why more than 40% of adults admit to lying awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day. Sound familiar?

But a stressful work environment doesn’t mean doom and gloom. We chat with Mark Bennet, Head Chef at the award-winning Esca Bimbadgen, who knows exactly what a stressful day at the office is all about – working in a job that demands unflagging commitment and energy, gruelling hours and inflexible deadlines.

Mark shares his top tips on dealing with an overwhelming workload and keeping cool in an ever-changing environment that pulls you from every direction.

Get outside
Being outdoors for some period of the day has an amazing power to calm and connect us with our roots. Light exercise can be a great release for stress even if its as simple as walking the dog in the early morning along your street with the sunrise and the birds singing. It is a great way to create a clear slate in your head and organise your thoughts. Even heading down to the beach and strolling barefoot through the sand with the waves of the ocean in the background has a strong power to instantly relieve symptoms of stress.

Sleep well
Getting enough sleep seems counter productive. You are busy and you have lots to do, so sleep more. Plenty of experts say that a lack of sleep can make us more stressed and ultimately less productive. Everybody’s sleep demands are different, some people thrive on 6 hours sleep whilst other need a full 8 hours. When you are assessing how much sleep you need, be true to yourself. If you only ever get 6 hours sleep and you are always relying on coffee to be awake and are constantly irritable and tired, chances are you are the sort of person who needs 8 hours sleep.

Organisation
It’s amazing how just being organised reduces the pressure placed on you. Planning your workday with realistic work loads and goals can make you much more productive and breaks down a seemingly large task into small little pieces. This is how chefs manage to prepare large amounts of food for large amounts of people to serve in a short amount of time, organisation. A prep list at the start of the day helps chefs to be much more productive then just jumping from job, to job as they arise. Tackling large amounts of your workload and being productive in your day, greatly reduces the amount of stress you feel.

Prepare for potential problems that may arise
Preparing for things that might go wrong helps tremendously to ease your mind. This is as simple as just having a plan should something not work out the way you intended. In the kitchen we always prepare for the unexpected, just by talking about what dietary substitutes we may be able to offer people, should they come and dine, rather then leaving the discussion to when the situation arises.

Remember what is important
Yes your job is important and without it, it would be very hard to pay the bills and do all the things that you enjoy. However do not let work get in the way of enjoying your life. We all work, so that we can live. We don’t live, so that we can work. Take time off to enjoy your life. I tell my new apprentices working in a kitchen is tough and stressful at times. Always remember to maintain a lifestyle outside of work. If all you do is eat, sleep and work you will burn yourself out and leave the industry before your career even starts. No one’s job can substitute for all that life has to offer. Get up early and do something before your shift starts, embrace your days off and see your family and friends. It’s the little things that will keep you grounded and happy in the industry for years to come.

How do you cope with a stressful work environment?

September 30, 2013

5 Easy Everyday Networking Tips

Just the word ‘networking’ can make some people feel uneasy. Walking up to a complete stranger and making conversation? I’d rather go to the dentist!

But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways you can start incorporating networking into your everyday life. Remember, be courageous and try to make long-term relationships, not just business connections.

Melbourne blogger Marlee Wakeling shares five of her best networking tips picked up over the years of studying and working in marketing and event management.

1. Hand out those business cards

Buy 250 business cards at the start of the year and aim to give them all out by the end of the year. Don’t be afraid to hand them out, and don’t feel like you’re being pushy. It’s only a business card after all!

2. Use business cards wisely

Buy blank business cards to collect the details of people you meet that don’t have a business card. Make the effort to contact them, rather than waiting for them to contact you.

3. Facebook is your friend

Although Facebook may not seem like the most professional platform, there are often groups you can join that will help you keep up-to-date with the latest trends in your industry. As well as jobs on offer that don’t make it onto the usual job hunting platforms, and opportunities to attend networking events.

Search keywords related to your profession and location, chances are there will be a relevant group.

4. Take time everyday to work on networking

Spend 10-15 minutes a day working on your networks. Whether it’s following up on emails, giving someone a call or simply making sure your LinkedIn account is up-to-date, your efforts will surely be rewarded.

5. Use technology to make networking easier

Have you heard of the app CardMunch? It’s a serious timesaver! Basically, when you receive a business card, you take a photo of it through the CardMunch app. It then uploads the contact details to your address book AND finds the person on LinkedIn! The app is only available on iPhones, and there are similar ones for Android, such as CamCard. However, I haven’t found them to be as good.

If you want to read up on some more great networking advice, I’d recommend the book How To Master Networking by Robyn Henderson.

Share your networking tips in the comments below so we can all learn from each other!

Marlee Wakeling blogs about writing, fashion and music at String of Events.

September 3, 2013

First Time Managers at Risk


New managers are at risk of failing in their first year due to a lack of support from their employers.

So says career and management consulting firm Lee Hecht Harrison, which has just released a new study on how first time managers perform in their first year to 18 months.

The US-research showed that staff promoted to first time management positions had a 40 per cent chance of failure.

Jason Murray, the NSW general manager of LHH, told careerone.com.au that the research was just as relevant to the Australian business scene. He said that many first time managers struggled to make the shift from a “follower” mindset to that of a leader.

The fast pace of business life today also didn’t allow the first time manager the time to “evolve” in the new job before having to deliver results. Mr Murray said first time managers hired from outside a firm as well as those that were promoted from within face the challenges of taking on a leadership role.

However, those promoted from within a company face the added challenge of establishing authority over people who were once on the same level.

In both cases, it was “mission critical” that companies not leave it to the first time manager to figure out a management plan on their own. Mr Murray said companies needed to spend 30 per cent to 40 per cent of a first time manager’s salary on training in their first six months on the job.

“It is a huge cost risk for companies who do not do this,” Mr Murray said. “It really is mission critical to ensure the new manager is supported.”

“A new manager is normally under enormous pressure (to perform) and is putting in a lot of effort. Companies will pay for not supporting that person.”

He said that new managers needed to understand that their promotion represented “a serious transition” that required structured learning and
development planning.

LLH advised that training should be practical and designed to help the new manager develop their own action plan to ensure they are productive and able to handle the increased expectations placed on them by the company.

LLH has designed a training program to help new managers divided into three main parts:

– Outcomes – clarifying expectations, establishing credibility and forming alliances within the office

– Information – how the manager should gather the information needed to create an action plan that creates results immediately

– Strategy – developing an action plan and identifying ways to measure these results against the bottom line

– Results – revising the action plan to achieve long-term goals.

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to www.careerone.com.au for more career related articles. Send job hunting and workplace questions to editor@careerone.com.au

May 11, 2004

The art of the group interview

Don’t let a group interview throw you. Follow the advice of expert Jacqui Whyatt, general manager of recruitment services for the Chandler Macleod Group and be prepared.CareerOne has received several emails from job hunters invited to take part in group interviews. Most seem at a loss as to how to prepare for such an interview and what to wear on the day. Some have been fearful about the great “unknown” factor of what exactly will take place.How it works
The group interview is generally used by organisations looking to recruit several people at once. This style of recruiting allows a company to assess many candidates simultaneously so it’s much faster than the traditional one-on-one approach.

Call centres and companies recruiting several people to join a new or existing customer service team particularly favour the group interview.

Often two people will run the group interview – a representative of the hiring company and a specialist recruitment consultant. They are generally on the hunt for attributes such as good problem-solving skills, strong communication skills, a customer service focus and the ability to work with a team.

Ms Whyatt says that instead of following the traditional question and answer format, participants will be placed in groups to solve problems.

“The group interview is designed to test participants against a range of competencies for a particular role while also giving candidates a thorough look at what the company and the role is all about,” says Ms Whyatt.

Participants are asked to come up with a solution for a particular scenario. This could involve one of the participants acting the part of an angry customer while another plays the customer service person dealing with the problem.

Speaking in front of the group is a pretty distinct possibility as it is likely each participant will be asked to act out a role at some point. Ms Whyatt says it’s also possible each candidate will be asked to tell the group about themselves and explain why their particular attributes suit one of the roles on offer.

“Be prepared for the unexpected. You will find yourself in situations where you have limited time and a limited brief to solve a problem,” says Ms Whyatt.

Another piece of advice is to be active. If you hang back, you will not provide the recruiters with anything to assess you on. Employers are looking for people who are outgoing and proactive but being dominating and outrageous will guarantee you attention of the WRONG kind.

“Try to be as natural as possible because you are more likely to end up in a role that is truly suited to you if you act yourself,” says Ms Whyatt.

“If you are trying to act a role, you will find it so much harder to be at ease and confident.”

Next week, How to Prepare.

March 2, 2004

The right (wo)man for the job

Sarina Russo has succeeded in the male-dominated world of business.Her Queensland-based Sarina Russo Group employs 550 people in 30 offices across three states. She owns no less than four commercial buildings in Brisbane’s CBD as well as apartments in both Brisbane and Sydney. Oh, and she drives a Porche.

Not bad for someone whose teachers privately voted least likely to succeed. Even in the early days of her career, Sarina was “let go” several times from jobs as a legal secretary.

However, there has been no silver spoon or lucky breaks, just immense self-belief and lots of hard work.

After being shown the door one too many times, Sarina started her own typing school in 1979 above a bank. Along the way, many people have told her not to aim too high from ex-bosses and to quickly dismissed bank managers.

When she entered a glittering hotel ballroom on the arm of former US President Bill Clinton a couple of years ago, she knew she had surpassed every naysayer many times over. “Massive success”, she says, truly is the best revenge.

Here are some of the strategies Sarina used to get to the top:

Persistence

When people told Sarina: “you’ll never do it”. Her response was to tell herself “I am going to do this or die.” While the words sound a bit dramatic, they translated into steely determination that helped Sarina meet every challenge.

“Work harder on yourself than your job”

Sarina first heard these words more than 20 years ago when she attended a seminar given by motivational guru Jim Rohn. She has lived by them ever since.

She works out with a personal trainer on most days, watches what she eats and is passionate about long life learning. She told CareerOne that on her journey to the top she attended “as many motivational seminars as I could find on developing self-esteem and self image …” Sarina has also put herself through business programs including a course at Harvard University in the US.

“I put my health first and have been doing that for 17 years,” says Sarina. “In a world of challenge and uncertainty it’s important to exercise, eat well and get enough sleep.”

Other tips include: “find mentors, visit stimulating places, read good books and listen to uplifting music.”

February 3, 2004

What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

Don’t you just hate that moment in a job interview when you’re asked to reveal your strengths and weaknesses?As if you are going to answer truthfully. “My strengths include being a really good party host and my weaknesses include the fact that my mind often wanders to thoughts about my next party when I am supposed to be adding up figures.” Yeah right.

I know a sales consultant who told her interviewer point blank: “You don’t really expect me to tell you my weaknesses?” She got the job.

However, when interviewing with experts such as a recruitment consultant or a human resources professional using humour or candour is unlikely to get you anywhere but onto the reject pile.

Graham Smith of Heritage Recruitment said asking a candidate about their strengths and weaknesses is an important way to test his or her suitability

for a particular role.

“You are trying to see if the person has a sense of his or her own limitations,” he said. “You also want to know what the person is good at and

how that might fit into the role you are trying to fill.”

“The interviewer wants to make sure the candidate has the right ‘behaviours’ and skills for the job. After the interview, the interviewer will then verify that the candidate has the skills they claim to. For example, is the person good at problem-solving? Will they work well in a team? Do they have an eye for detail and are they a self-starter?”

Both Mr Smith and Nicole Gorton, Australian branch manager of OfficeTeam, said it was very important that candidates provide specific examples to demonstrate their “strengths”.

September 16, 2003

What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?(contd)

Known as “behavioural interviewing”, this is where the candidate is asked:

“Tell me about a time when you ….” So make sure you have specific examples to back up everything you relay in the interview. To do this you must

prepare for the interview and rehearse with a friend or family member. It works.A sales consultant who said a strength was the fact he or she was “driven by results” should follow with an example of a time when he or she achieved, let’s say, 110 per cent of their monthly target in three weeks.

Someone in retail or hospitality could be “passionate about customer service” and recall a time of going out of their way to fulfil a customer or guest’s request. Make sure your examples are truthful and can be verified by your referee.

Okay, now for your “weaknesses”. Simon Tobin, a director of Michael Page Finance and Ms Gorton both said you should relate “weaknesses” that were

really strengths and not to use the word “weakness”.

“Start the sentence with, ‘my area for improvement is’,” said Ms Gorton.

Also, nominate a skill you don’t actually need for the job like languages. Being able to say you are actively trying to change your weakness into a

strength is also a good idea.

For example, “My area for improvement is public speaking and I have just enrolled in a toastmaster’s course.”

My stock standard one is: “I’m too focused on work and need to develop some after hours hobbies.” Nauseating right?

Mr Smith has a different view.

“I ask. ‘Give me an example of a situation when you were not successful, what you did, and how you felt about it?”

“I want to know that someone can encounter a knock back and be robust enough to cope with it and get on with the job,” he said.

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to www.careerone.com.au for more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing: editor@careerone.com.au.

September 16, 2003

Preparation vs Personality – And the Winner is…


An international survey of employers has revealed that when it comes to hiring administrative staff, preparation, not personality, wins the day.

Employers in Australia and eight other countries said the top candidate moves that impress were:

  • Researching a potential employer thoroughly before attending a job interview
  • Asking informed questions at the end of the interview
  • Neat appearance and arriving with all appropriate documents well prepared.

Good manners were rated by a small five per cent of managers as a job winner and only one per cent cited personality as a major influence in giving a candidate the job.

The Workplace Survey relied on data collected by a research firm for recruitment giant Robert Half International in nine countries including Australia. The other countries included Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The survey involved 1,550 managers in charge of recruitment from human resource staff to finance directors. OfficeTeam, a specialist recruiter of administrative personnel and a division of Robert Half, released the results in Australia.

Nicole Gorton, Australian branch manager of OfficeTeam, said the survey results showed how important it was for candidate’s to do their research. “In today’s competitive environment, anyone who wants to succeed in interviews has to do their homework and appear committed to the vision of the company,” said Ms Gorton.

“Getting through the interview may only be the first step to career success but it is the time when you are meticulously judged and it is true when people say first impressions last,” she said.

OfficeTeam have also released the findings of a survey of candidates that asked what areas of their career get the creative treatment during an interview.

  • 33 per cent of respondents ‘enhanced’ the content of their former jobs
  • 22 percent expanded on their management skills
  • Only 5 per cent exaggerated their salary
  • 51 per cent of interviewees found it difficult to talk about their weaknesses
  • 23 percent preferred to avoid discussing the reasons for leaving their last job.

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to www.careerone.com.aufor more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing: editor@careerone.com.au.

August 5, 2003

How to get that pay rise

Follow these steps when making a pay rise pitch.Only negotiate from power

Career coach Max Eggert of Transcareer says that if you have no power,

forget a pay rise. He says ensure that your current project and/or workload is critical to the success of your team, unit or company.

Get a good idea of your market worth

Check this out by browsing through CareerOne – particularly the Hays Salary

Survey and all our salary stories on the main page of Dollars & Sense.

Check in with your personal and professional network, professional society and your favorite recruitment agency. No one is going to pay you more than the top end of your market value.

Internal home work

Max says that if you work for a large corporate, check out two things. First your salary band, because you want to know what your maximum is, and second, see if you can discover what precedents there are for individual pay increases outside company reviews.

List your duties outside your original job description All jobs change because organisations are not static. Work out, and record, all the extra things that you now do that are additions to your assigned job. Once you have done this, rank them in order of what your boss views as important.

If your company has experienced a downsizing chances are everyone in the firm is now doing more than they used to.

Now we get down to the packaging of your case, because no one is going to give you a rise just because you want one.

July 8, 2003

How to get that pay rise (contd)

A matter of timing

Timing is critical. When it’s easy for a boss to say ‘no’, then she or he will do so. Friday afternoon is a good time to ask for a pay rise because the boss can then spend the weekend worrying that you might leave.It also gives the boss time to work out how they are going to justify your increase to their own direct report. Max says: “Do not rush your boss into a decision. Use phrases like ‘I would like you to think about’ and ‘at an appropriate time …’

“So it goes something like this: ‘Jane/Jack as you know I have been with you now for nine months and the job has developed in some interesting ways, particularly in xyz.

“I would like you to review my salary arrangements. As you know the range for my job is from x to y. I don’t expect an answer immediately as I know you will want to think through my contribution and my market value.

“However, you can appreciate that I would not have mentioned this unless I had given it a lot of thought. Thank you for this opportunity Jack/Jane. I know you will do your best for me.”

Finally, remember the second rule of negotiation, “if you don’t ask, you

don’t get”

Interpreting the answer

Recruitment consultants would also add a piece of advice about what to do if you are turned down.

It’s all in the delivery. If the boss says to someone ‘we can’t right now but let’s look at it in three months or six months’ then they probably mean it.

However, if your direct report delivers an outright ‘no’ then you might want to think about joining another company.

Make sure you do your research. If you are in sales or another revenue generating positions your chances are better than those that are not.

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to www.careerone.com.aufor more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can

be directed to CareerOne by emailing: editor@careerone.com.au

July 8, 2003

Career Tips: Please don’t go!


If your employer tries to entice you into staying after you have announced

your intention to leave, BEWARE.

Executive recruiter Paul Hawkinson says that in his more than 30-year career

he has only ever known a few examples where accepting a counter offer to

stay with a current employer actually turned out to be a good career

decision.

Your career is your very own business. Deciding to move to a new role is a

business decision – not an emotional one – and so you need to keep a clear

head if your current employer tries to get you to stay.

First up, keep in mind why you are leaving. Reasons could include that you

are unhappy in your current role, you believe you are worth more money in

the current market or that the new role will give you greater responsibility

and thus help build your skill set.

Managers want people to stay for a variety of reasons but mostly because a

team member’s departure looks bad on him or her. Everyone can be replaced

but how quickly and at what cost is the question your manager will need to

wrestle with.

Your departure might impact on the morale of the team or it might be

following closely on the heels of another resignation. It could mess up the

holiday leave schedule or delay the start of an important project.

Whatever the impact, push your ego to one side. The manager’s reaction is

not about you but about what might happen to him or her.

It is tempting to stay when someone says: “We need you.” Tempting but not

always a good idea.

At the end of the day, if it has taken your resignation to get your boss to

offer you the additional responsibility, pay increase, promotion or window

office that you have been asking for then GO.

And if you decide to stay, don’t kid yourself that you haven’t created just

a tad of ill will. Are you really a team player? Will you jump ship the next

time you don’t get what you want? Counter offers can also be a tactic to

give your company time to find someone to fill your shoes.

According to Paul Hawkinson, well-managed companies do not make

counter-offers “ever”.

“Their policies are fair and equitable. They will not be subjected to

‘counter-offer coercion’ or what they perceive as blackmail.”

Now that’s settled, you can get back to the business of telling your

colleagues where you want them to hold your farewell and booking the exotic

holiday you are going to take before staring your new job.

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to www.careerone.com.au for more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing: editor@careerone.com.au

June 10, 2003

Job offer checklist


Don’t be too quick to yell, “yes” when offered a new role. Career experts advise that it’s important to spend some time looking ahead to see if the role will serve your professional long term goal.

Max Eggert, chief psychologist with Sydney-based firm Transcareer provided CareerOne with this list of 20 questions to ponder before you accept a job offer.

Some questions are obviously more important than others are, but all are significant and designed to help you make the right decision.

Be honest with yourself – don’t be blinded by money, desperation to get out of the job you are in or the fact the firm offering the job is supposedly fashionable or prestigious.

Here we go!

  • Can I do the work required of me?If your answer is, “with my eyes closed”, then this job won’t hold you for long and it’s unlikely to help you build your skill set.
  • Do I want to do this work?Again, if you are tired of your job it could be the work you are doing rather than just the particular work environment.
  • How does this job fit into my ten-year career plan?
  • How can I use this job to help me work towards my career goals?
  • Is the job in sync with my values and principles?
  • Will there be an opportunity for me to develop and learn new skills in this job? Always ask a potential employer about its attitude to training and development and if it will support your particular study aspirations.
  • How long should I plan to stay in this job?

    To work this out, you need to know about the opportunities for study, professional advancement and even if there are secondment programs available.

  • Do I know the specific job criteria?
  • Why did the last person leave this job and, are there any implications for me?
  • Will I get on with my new boss?
  • Will I get on with my new team?
  • Will this job give me a greater profile in the company/industry and or profession?
  • Is the market rate for the job equitable?
  • Who can mentor me in this job so I can be successful?
  • What will be the networking opportunity in this job?
  • If this job does not work out? What is my “Plan B”?
  • Will I be able to balance the demands of this job with my commitments and interests outside of work?
  • How will this job affect my status in the organisation/community?
  • How can I accelerate my experience in the early days/honeymoon period of this job?
  • What is the earliest, easiest and highest profile success I can achieve in this job?

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to www.careerone.com.au for more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing: editor@careerone.com.au

May 27, 2003

The Perfect Cover Letter


When you send a resume, you need to send a short cover letter with it as an introduction and to grab the reader’s attention. It should be no more than a page long and, ideally, it should contain three to four paragraphs.

Now follow these easy steps to create a top cover letter and make sure you check out the sample cover letters at the end of the story. Our samples are a guide only.

Appearance

For hard copies, use the same type of paper and font as your resume. The experts recommend sticking to the plainest style possible – A4 quality white stock and Times New Roman, 11 point.

Place the name of the addressee, their title, company name and address in the left hand corner. Some experts say place your own details in the right hand corner like a traditional letter with the date. CareerOne thinks this could be overkill. Your contact details are on every page of your resume – right? Just make sure you have your name below “Yours sincerely”. Alternatively, you could put your details top and centre – the same way they appear on your resume.

If you are sending your resume via email, include the cover letter and resume as one document. It’s more convenient for the recipient. When posting or hand delivering your resume, you don’t make the recipient open two envelopes so there is no reason to make the online reader open two documents.

Content

Paragraph one of your cover letter should state the reason you are writing to this person – namely that you are interested in working for their team.

Paragraph two explains why the company in question should be interested in you. Too many people write about why they want to work for a particular company or land a particular job. Companies want to know why they should hire you.

Paragraph three should be a call to action, namely a meeting or job interview.

March 18, 2003

The Perfect Cover Letter Continued

All the experts agree that a cover letter should use short sentences and simple language. Companies receive hundreds of letters daily so make sure your letter stands out and is easy to read.Check and double-check spelling and grammar for errors. Make sure you have the recipient’s name and title right even if it means checking with the person’s personal assistant or the company’s main reception desk. Finally, get a friend or family member to then check your letter for mistakes.

Don’t make the common mistake of summarising your resume in the cover letter. See our resume stories for more details.

For those approaching companies cold – in other words you are not applying for a specific job or responding to a job ad – it is a good idea to ask for a “meeting” in your last paragraph.

A “meeting” is less pressure than a formal job interview but all the basic rules of presentation, eye contact etc still apply (see our stories on job interviews for tips). Companies will meet with interesting candidates even when they don’t have a job on offer right away.

Cover letters are essentially sales letters so they must be written for the customer – the prospective employer – and not be based just on what you want. Stress what you can do for the company you would like to work for – not vice versa.

Finally, when preparing a hard copy, ensure your resume is on white A4 paper – the same as your resume – and that you use the same typeface and font size. Again, keep it simple. No fancy fonts or coloured paper.

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to www.careerone.com.au for more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing: editor@careerone.com.au

March 18, 2003

How to Ace an Interview

Your resume has landed you a job interview and now you must make the most of a “face-to-face” meeting to secure the role.Being as prepared as possible is vital.

Research

Visit the prospective employer’s website and browse through the “About Us”, “employment”, “our people” and “media” sections. A large reference library will be able to provide newspaper clippings and an annual report so you can find out what’s really going on. If you are going through a recruitment firm, your consultant will be only too happy (and impressed) to help you do your homework.

Rehearse

This may sound silly but rehearsing with a friend or family member is a great way to sooth pre-interview nerves. It will also help you get your thoughts straight. Your rehearsal partner can tell you if you’re speaking too quickly, if your sentences are too long or your answers hard to follow. Rehearse again and again until you feel your answers are flowing. Oh, and don’t get mad at your rehearsal partner when they point these things out, they’re just trying to help.

Pre-interview check

Find out before the interview, the name and title of each and every person you will be meeting with. Memorise the names. Again, your recruitment consultant will be happy to help. If you are dealing directly with the company, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask its HR department to provide these details.

Appearance

Take extra care with your appearance. Ensure your clothes are clean and well ironed. Check for stains, stray threads and loose buttons. Avoid visual distractions such as loud ties, chipped nail polish, heavy make up, sheer fabrics and unwashed hair.

Feeling good

On the morning of the interview, go for a walk or spend some time doing stretches. You will breath deeply, which will help you relax, have better posture and therefore look the part of the successful candidate. On the way to the interview, walk tall and smile. Strangers will smile back at you and the receptionist at the interview firm will be nice to you By the time you hit the interview, you’ll feel good.

During the interview

    • Don’t say anything negative about a past employer.

 

    • Don’t interrupt anyone.

 

    • Keep your answers relatively short and to the point. If the interviewer wants more information, he or she will ask for it. By the same token, try to avoid answering with just a “yes” or “no”.

 

    • Maintain good eye contact. If there is more than one person at the interview, talk to both or all of them – no matter how junior or incidental.

 

    • Prepare something for when you are invited to ask questions.

 

    • Think carefully before accepting a drink. You might find yourself in a chair without arms and out of reach of a table balancing a coffee, tea or glass of water throughout the interview.

 

  • Smile – whenever appropriate of course.

Look out for the next CareerOne column which will focus on how to handle “second” job interviews.

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to www.careerone.com.au for more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing: editor@careerone.com.au

February 11, 2003

Resume Writing: What Employers Want to See?


Contemporary advice on resume writing appears to fly in the face of what employers actually want to read in a candidate’s CV, according to a survey of employers.

Aussie Resumes, a professional CV writing service, surveyed 2,000 organisations specifically to ask employers what they wanted to see included in an applicant’s resume.

Senior writer Tara West said key areas included resume length, including a birth date and how referees should be presented.

The majority of employers rejected the accepted wisdom that CVs should be no longer than two pages. Ms West said 82 per cent of respondents regarded the two-page resume as an American format that did not provide Australian employers with the detail they required. She said that the preferred length was three to four pages and up to six pages for a top-level executive.

Birth date is another prickly issue. A growing number of job seekers are choosing not to include their date of birth on their resume, as is their right under privacy and anti-discrimination legislation.

However, only three per cent of the employers surveyed said they didn’t want to see a candidate’s birth date.*

The rest most certainly did. One employer said the reason was that “if applicants don’t supply their date of birth most employers assume they are hiding something negative.”

The Aussie Resumes survey also revealed that 75 per cent of the employers like to read an applicant’s “career objective” in their resume but only if it’s the “right” objective for the role on offer.

The inclusion of full referee details was another issue raised by the survey. Despite the fact that it has become commonplace for candidates to write “referees available upon request” to protect the privacy of those willing to provide them with references, this does not suit many employers.

Ms West said that of the 2,000 employers surveyed, only one found this practice acceptable. All the others wanted to see a list of referees spelt out clearly on the resume.

Finally, you should create a new version of your resume each time you apply for a job to ensure it’s tailored to the specific requirements of the role you are going after. “Employers have told us they don’t like to receive generic resumes,” says Ms West. “They do like an applicant to spend some time structuring their resume to suit the position being advertised. Of particular interest to employers are the applicant’s key competencies and career objectives,” she said. “These details should directly relate to the position being advertised.”

“Also, the cover letter needs to address the specific requirements in the actual advertisement but at the same time be brief and to the point with no waffle. “It is very important that candidates check the job ad carefully to see if a job description or selection criteria is available,” advises Ms West. If these documents are available Ms West urges all job seekers to take the time to get them and then carefully tailor both their cover letter and resume to the key points outlined.

By Kate Southam, editor of www.CareerOne.com.au

* Editor’s note: HR managers know the law about including personal details such as your birth date. If you want to leave your birth date off your CV, then go for it. Sadly, it’s a fact of life that some employers do discriminate along age lines. Shame on them!

Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing: editor@careerone.com.au

November 5, 2002

Office Etiquette

Smoking in the office is now officially OUT. But there are sneakier rules that you should watch out for if you want to be taken seriously.

    • Never let anyone call you “darling”, “doll”, “love” or “honey” unless, of course, you work in the fashion industry.

 

    • No chewing gum. Ever. Unless you’re paid to be a chewing-gum tester.

 

    • Definitely no long descriptions of last night’s steamy sex session on the office phone and no dirty talk to your partner, even if you think no-one’s listening.

 

    • No personal calls that reveal too much either, like chatting with a girlfriend about your bad case of dermatitis/thrush.

 

    • Beware the office toilets. The person locked in the cubicle while you’re gossiping about the boss with a co-worker probably is the boss.

 

    • If you’re going to steal office stationery, be prepared to be thought less of.

 

    • Ditch plunging cleavage, see-through blouses, skirts that just cover your butt – or that have splits that go up to there, or anything with VPL (visible panty line). Do wear killer stilettos, however, if that’s your thing. There’s no law against dangerous footwear.

 

    • Fudging expenses is appealing. Being called in to explain every single dollar is not.

 

    • Never tell anyone, especially not a colleague or competitor, how much you earn unless they’re the person you’re asking for a raise.

 

    • Be nice to the errand girl/boy. You’ll meet her/him on the way down.

 

August 14, 2002

Confronting The Boss From Hell


The most difficult person to deal with in the workplace might just be your boss!

When I finished reading the best seller Dealing with Difficult People I was so impressed by the advice and techniques it contained, that I thought the book could just as easily be renamed Management 101. I couldn’t understand why such a simple and economical resource that could really make a difference to people’s effectiveness, productivity and dare I say, happiness in the workplace, was not a prescribed text! Author Roberta Cava is similarly perplexed, especially given that her knowledge and extensive experience of this subject shows that managers and supervisors are in fact the worst offenders!

I caught up with Roberta recently to chat about her best-seller and to get some top tips on dealing with difficult people that could really make (or save) your day!

“I keep seeing people who get up in the morning, they’re in a good mood they run into some difficult situations and it ruins their day,” says Roberta identifying a common scenario. “What I try to do is give people the ability to stay in control in difficult situations and to not let other people get control over their life,” says Roberta of her internationally-presented and widely-acclaimed tips and techniques.

“It has been so effective that I get letters from all over the world now from people who say that their lives have changed because they have been able to change their way of responding,” she says of her infinitely rewarding work. A best-seller that’s been in print since 1990, available world-wide through eight publishers and in five languages, it’s easy to see that Roberta’s endeavours in Dealing With Difficult People are both appreciated and necessary. While certainly her area of expertise, Roberta’s work doesn’t stop with workplace scenarios and survival guides.

“I’m busy doing an awful lot of writing related to the book; magazine and newspaper articles and I’m writing a sequel to it for Pan Macmillan in Australia and it’s called Dealing With Difficult Situations. I’ve already written Dealing with Difficult Spouses and Children, Dealing with Difficult Relatives and In-Laws, and there is going to be a whole stream of them come out eventually,” she says of her seemingly prolific output.

The culmination of over seven years worth of experiences in her hugely popular seminars on dealing with difficult people, the book of the same name took just four months to write. A chapter added to the revised edition in 2000 names the 115 (yes, that’s right!) types of manipulators – your basic “difficult” people – and offers strategies on how to deal with them. Roberta explains. “When I first started doing my seminars Dealing with Difficult People I always thought that the most difficult people in the world would be the client. Then I thought that the second most difficult people to people working, of course would be the colleague. I was decidedly wrong,” she admits. “Overwhelmingly, the biggest problems in business start at the top.”

“The reason for this is that most supervisors and managers, directors and CEO, executives of companies have not had basic supervisory training and this is extremely true in Australia. I have never seen so few people in supervisory positions that have the basic supervisory knowledge. And they make a lot of mistakes,” she adds.

April 9, 2002

How to Love Your Work (Contd)

STEP TWO:

So what needs changing?List everything that needs changing – how to do it/who you need to speak with to make it happen. Whinging is boring and never gets you anywhere, so be the creator of your own world and make those changes happen.

STEP THREE:

Is falling in love a state of mind? To love unconditionally we accept another; flaws and all. It’s the same with your job – you have to love and accept it, flaws and all. Make a commitment to enjoy where you spend the majority of your time. Attitude is the key and remembering that you are in the control seat is the most important step to falling in love with your job again.

December 1, 2001

Online Job Hunting – Its So Easy


Cyber Careers

Job-Hunting Online

By Denise Montgomery

Imagine this: it’s Monday morning, you’re sitting at work. You’ve got Saturday’s paper stretched out across your desk, and with highlighter in hand you are busily circling adverts; you’re so engrossed in your task that you don’t notice your boss making her way across the office towards you until it’s too late. You fumble awkwardly with pages of newsprint, you try to look casual, but it’s no good. You know you’ve been caught red-handed! Gulp!

Now, imagine this: it’s Monday morning, you’re sitting at work. There’s no newspaper on your desk, no highlighter in your hand. You’re engrossed in the jobs advertised on your computer screen, so engrossed that you don’t notice your boss making her way across the office towards you until she’s standing at your desk. Within a heartbeat you hit “alt tab” and casually engage in conversation with your boss.

No comparison! Traditional job-hunting is murder on the nerves if you’re trying to hunt at work. Trawling through the situations vacant column in a newspaper looking for a job is just soooo yesterday.

With your bum planted firmly on a chair you can research a company that you think you might to work for, as well as look for specific jobs all over the country – even all over the world. Gone are the days of having to pull out your “best” stationery, and turn the house upside-down to find a stamp. Online job-hunting allows you to make the initial contact online, whilst you’re feeling inspired, just fire off an email. You can usually create a resume at online job sites, but it is best to have one prepared beforehand so you can attach it or cut and paste the relevant bits into the resume form. So what are you waiting for? Click to it!

Online Employment Agencies…

Denise Montgomery is a senior journalist with the award-winning magazine New Zealand NetGuide (www.netguide.co.nz) – one of Australasia’s fastest growing technology publications. Launched in September 1996, its success led to the launch of a sister publication, Australian NetGuide (www.netguide.au.com). NetGuide is a consumer magazine, written in a non-techie way, that &gets you to the best stuff on the Net&.

September 1, 2001

How to Like Your Job?

Do you find that because of our slow economy, financial needs or just life situations (credit cards) we stay in jobs we really don’t love? You don’t mind your colleagues and you really don’t mind the work either. Don’t panic because it’s not a bad thing to feel ‘okay’ about your day job. In fact there are ways to feel positive and good about going to work.Accept the situation

One thing to remember is not to put your job before everything else in your life. Have key areas and determine your priorities. Some people put relationships, self, spouse, family and friends and then work. Of course you can’t be unrealistic and think that work will never get out of control on occasions, but, if you start prioritizing your life? work won’t get your down. Don’t apologise if your job is not on the top of your list.

Expand your outside life

If you have worked out your priorities you can now expand your life outside of the office. Make friends unrelated to your job; don’t get involved in activities that are glorified networking opportunities. Surround yourself with positive people that inspire you.

July 1, 2001

How to Like Your Job? (Cont’d)

Take control of your lack of motivation

If you are feeling a tad bored at work and unmotivated this can be for a number of reasons. The first thing to do is ask yourself, “Why am I bored and unmotivated?” It might be because you have outgrown the job, are bored with the routine or not getting the appropriate feedback you need. A tip to conquer this is to look around at work and see what things need fixing? then go about doing it. Not only will you be seen as taking initiative but also you will feel excited about tackling a new responsibility.Get a hold of your life outside of the office

It’s not abnormal to have your personal life come into the office. You have to recognize this as a temporary situation and that you have to get a hold of it. The best bit of advice I was given was to talk to my manager to see if there were ways I could re-prioritise to get my job done and stay sane. Ask your support systems and don’t try to be a martyr. Only makes your life harder.

Deal with office politics

Keep above the politics. Stay focused on the goals of your job and your projects. Remember you are a professional and don’t get sucked into coffee shop bitching. Never gossip about the people you don’t like to anyone at work. There is no point putting your energy into the people you dislike at work.

July 1, 2001

Movers&Shakers – Account Manager of Cleo Magazine


The women who appear on this page are selected by consensus of the SheSaid editorial staff and are duly invited to participate. If you wish to nominate an inspiring woman to appear in this ‘moving and shaking hall of fame’, please contact us.

Name Kristen Harvey

Occupation/Title Account Manager on CLEO Magazine

Company/Organisation ACP Publishing Pty Ltd

State NSW

Age 28

Star sign Cancer

Describe a typical day? There never really is a typical day at CLEO, there’s always something happening, whether it be working on an advertising promotion, lunching with clients, working on proposals, presenting concepts and of course there are the odd parties and functions here and there which are fun.

What’s the best part of the job? Advertising sales is very rewarding, winning a piece of business will give you such a buzz?..plus there’s never a shortage of great magazines around to get the low down on the latest fashion trends and celebrity goss! Attending the 2001 CLEO Bachelor party was a highlight.

What’s the worst part of the job? Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!!

What would you consider to be your key talents? Attention to detail! Kind natured, great listener and always ready for a good gossip session with the CLEO team which is a prerequisite of the job.

What was your first job & how much was in your first pay packet? I was an assistant at a small Marketing company. What was in my first pay packet – Not very much!!!! Probably around $200.

What did you want to be when you grew up? An Olympic gymnast – I was very flexible back then!!! However that soon changed?

January 4, 2001