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Revamping Your Resume for the Digital World
May 27, 2020
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By Elaine Mead 

With the increasing focus on all things digital, it could be time to reconsider those two sides of A4 your once spent hours meticulously writing, googling tips about how to write, and re-writing.

Elaine Mead

The traditional resume hasn’t died just yet, but how it’s used has definitely changed and is continuing to do so. It’s time to rethink how you use your resume to ensure it’s getting in front of the right people and scoring your interviews. 

Searchability and Keywords are Key 

In the early days, the best way for an employer to compare potential candidates was by having a bunch of resumes in front of them. A resume provided an overview of someone’s experience, skills and academic achievements in order to see who was a better or worse fit for the role. From this, employers could create their interviewee shortlist. 

Nowadays, a resume is less about selling yourself and more of a way for employers and recruiters to find and screen candidates. When seeking out potential candidates on online job databases, recruiters and employers will search for specific keywords, job titles and skills, then use the results to create a shortlist. For many jobs, applications are scanned for keywords to create the first shortlist of candidates, so it’s crucial to make sure you’re using the correct keywords, titles and skills. 

You can create a competent list of the keywords you should be using by referring to the full job description, and if you’re putting your resume into an online database, make sure you use a few different job ads for the same roles so you can build a bigger list of keywords. 

Be Prepared for the ‘Digital Interview’ 

It’s no secret that employers will look up candidates online. Your resume might still be the baseline requirement that will be taken into account when an employer is weighing up whether to hire your or not, but you can be quite certain they’ll be conducting a ‘digital interview’ – looking up what they can find out about you online – as well. 

It’s no longer about just being on LinkedIn. Employers will want to see recommendations from past employers and colleagues, as well as details of the projects you worked on and what your output and achievement from these were. Employers want new recruits who are engaged and active in their chosen field or industry. Sharing — or better yet, writing — an article or two on your area of expertise will showcase your enthusiasm for your work.  

Having a well-maintained profile filled with relevant content can help build your credibility to potential employers, and also demonstrate you as a contributor and influencer within your chosen field. 

Elaine Mead is a Careers and Work-Integrated Learning Educator based in Tasmania.

The Generation Game: How to Win with Centennials
May 26, 2020
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By 2025, Centennials will account for 30% of the global workforce, jumping into the workplace melting pot of Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials. This article may be something to share with employers you work with.

Their expectations? High.

Their brand loyalty? Low.

But your rewards for winning them over could be huge.

Here, we reveal everything you need to know about this exciting new wave of workers, shoppers and future-shapers to help you prepare your business for long term success.

How well do you know your generations?

Generation Born
Centennials/Gen Z After 1996
Millennials/Gen Y Between 1977 – 1995
Generation X Between 1965 – 1976
Baby Boomers Between 1946 – 1964
Traditionalists or Silent Generation Before 1945

Centennials will soon enter the job market. So, what can you expect from them and how do they work?

How do Centennials work?

They’re multi-multi-taskers: Switching between screens comes naturally to Centennials, which means they are pro-multi-taskers. They are able to juggle multiple projects at one time, without sacrificing the quality of their work – all the while, mastering a work/life blend.

They’re glued to their phones: Employers shouldn’t be worried if Centennials are on their phones all day – it’s their default position for communicating with colleagues, taking notes and doing research. Read more

Why You Should Take Time to Mourn During Career Transitions
May 20, 2020
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The following article by Kimberley Lawson was published in The New York Times.

Grief is common when you leave a job you love

On my last day in the newsroom at a North Carolina alt-weekly, I found myself choking back tears. For the first time in almost a decade, my desk was completely clean. All of my old reporter notebooks, past newspaper editions and sticky notes with scribbled writing on them were in the trash.

At the time, I didn’t think I’d be sad to leave — I chose to quit, after all. But, to my surprise, I did feel as if I’d lost something important, and I felt that way for months, mostly because I never stopped to consider why.

But feelings of grief are common when you leave a workplace you love, said Kim Scott, author of “Radical Candor.”

“Even if you’re moving on to something that you really want to do and it’s the right decision, change is really hard,” Ms Scott said.

She said it’s important to take time, both before you leave a job and after you’ve started a new one, to process these transitions. Dealing with bouts of grief instead of ignoring them can help you better navigate the complex emotions of leaving a job you love and starting fresh somewhere new.

Why do we feel sad when we move on from a job?

For many Americans, identity is tied to work. According to a Gallup poll, more than half of workers in the United States define themselves based on their job and have been doing so consistently since 1989. Read more

These Are the Three Key Dynamics Shaping Modern Careers
May 20, 2020
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The following article was written by Lisa Mainiero Professor of Management at Fairfield University and is published in collaboration with LSE Business Review.

The career landscape of the 21st century, characterised by work interruptions, opt-outs, and temporary contingent work assignments, requires that we think differently about linear careers. 

Until now, much of the career literature has been based on men in the twentieth century who had linear careers in a single corporation or industry. However, men and women in the 21st century have unique career trajectories, sometimes fulfilling the ideal of a linear career, but more often characterised by opt-outs, contingent employment contracts, and part-time work. The Kaleidoscope Career Model (the KCM) (Mainiero & Sullivan, 20052006) addresses the unique features of male and female careers and takes into consideration the non-linear aspects of contingent work. The KCM posits that needs for authenticity, balance and challenge over the course of a career will be present but arise at different intensities across the lifespan.

The three parameters

Read more

UK Employees are Considering a Career Change as Coronavirus acts as a ‘wake-up call’
May 14, 2020
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A study of UK based adults found that 39 per cent of respondents are considering changing careers, with one in ten attempting to retrain for a completely different job during the coronavirus crisis.

Millions of working adults are reevaluating their careers during the coronavirus pandemic with many ‘re-skilling’ to ensure they can adapt to the post lockdown workplace. 

A study of 1000 adults who have been employed over the last two years found the outbreak to be a ‘wake-up call’, with 39 per cent pondering their job prospects.

Just under a third of those polled (28 per cent) are currently furloughed, with a further 47 per cent fearing they could find themselves in the same boat.

Another 42 per cent are concerned they will not have a position to go back to once the lockdown ends.

The study, commissioned by PeopleCert, a global leader in business and IT certifications and languages, found a quarter are attempting to upskill in the hope they will be indispensable or easily employable elsewhere.

Reassuringly, 36 per cent of those polled revealed their employer has offered them support in improving their existing skillsets.

Byron Nicolaides, president and CEO of PeopleCert, said: “We passionately believe in the need for continuous training for every professional – we have even coined a term for this – ‘skilling’.

“Without skilling, existing members of staff are likely to become bored and demotivated because they’re not being challenged or given the chance to grow.

“And given recent events, this is perhaps even more important now than it has been for quite some time.

“If staff are unfulfilled they may start to think about pursuing a career elsewhere when life returns to normal.

“This in-turn is likely to mean businesses will need to invest huge sums of money in recruitment – with no guarantee they’ll be able to find anyone with the right attributes.

“So investing in skilling existing employees is the best way forward – and it’s also less costly.”

The study also found more than a third of those polled have reconsidered their chosen career since lockdown began.

In fact, one in 10 are currently attempting to retrain for an entirely different job.

However, 54 per cent fear they are too established in their current career to do something new.

But despite all the uncertainty at the moment, many are confident about their job prospects.

A fifth of those who have been furloughed revealed they feel optimistic about their career, with half using their time to learn something new with a view to boosting their existing skills.

The PeopleCert study, carried out through OnePoll, found those questioned have 10 core skills on average – with problem-solving, team working and organisation the most common.

However, the skill they would most like to improve upon is public speaking, followed by computing and assertiveness.

A separate study of 1,000 business owners, by PeopleCert, found six in 10 job applicants lack the skills employers are looking for.

Two thirds also said filling vacancies with workers who have the desired skillsets is one of their biggest challenges – even harder than retaining valued members of staff.

Byron Nicolaides added: “As the results show, filling vacancies with individuals who have the desired skill set is a major challenge.

“Not only is recruitment costly on a financial level, but there’s a danger it could also affect a business’ ability to grow because they can’t find the right people for the job.

“This is why skilling is so important – it reduces the need for investing in recruitment because fewer members of staff want to leave as they are likely to be more fulfilled and stimulated.

“Furthermore, businesses can then grow with a workforce which has all the right skills.”

SWOT Analysis: Is The Job For Me?

This activity will help clients to appraise a new job or career opportunity by assessing their strengths and weaknesses against the opportunities and threats created by the role. 

 What To Do: 

1. Consider the new role/opportunity. What would you be expected to do, and what skills and experience would you need? 

2. Fill in the chart below, taking each section in turn: 

Your Strengths 

Think about the skills and experience you have that is applicable to the new role/opportunity. 

  • What have you achieved? 
  • What are you good at? 
  • What skills do you have? 
  • What are your personal qualities? 

Your Weaknesses 

Think about what skills and experience the role requires that you do not have. 

  • Do you lack any skills/qualifications? 
  • Do you lack any work experience? 
  • What personal qualities would you need to portray? 
  • What do you not enjoy doing? 

Opportunities 

Think about why you want the job. What does it offer in terms of development opportunities and how far does it go to meeting your career needs? 

Threats 

Think about the disadvantages of the job, the downsides and the risks of not getting it. 

  • What would the impact be on your personal circumstances, e.g. family, home and relationships? 
  • Who might you be competing with? 
  • Are there any requirements you can’t meet, e.g. are you required to drive but don’t have a car? 
Hints and Tips: Creating Your Personal Brand

The following hints and tips will be of interest to any clients who are engaging in progressing or developing their career.

Managing your career is an ongoing process.

Creating a personal brand and advertising to others what you have to offer will set you apart from the rest and increase your visibility. This will help you in your present role and with future prospects because when opportunities arise, you will be at the forefront of people’s minds.

Personal marketing is about making the most of your unique blend of skills and abilities, and highlighting to others what you can do well. It is about developing and portraying the right functional and social abilities on a day-to-day basis.

Functional abilities are your tangible skills and your ability to produce results. They are the job skills and competencies that employers require. These can be acquired through education, training and experience. You should always demonstrate your strengths, as they are invisible to others if they remain hidden.

Social abilities are your social skills, including communication, empathy, sense of humour, rapport and listening. These are the skills that allow you to relate well to others and make others want to relate to you. These are just as valuable to employers as functional abilities.

Employers Are Generally Looking For People Who Possess

  • Job skills
  • Self-confidence
  • Effective communication skills
  • Teamworking skills, and
  • Organisational skills

The way you package and market your functional and social abilities will determine the way others respond to you. Your professional image, visibility and communication skills should all act to instil and reinforce your personal brand.

Professional Image

Portraying a professional image every day will show others that you are committed to your job, capable and motivated. There are a number of ways you can achieve a professional image:

  • Be well presented, well dressed and well groomed. Dress appropriately for your work environment.
  • Be well-informed. You should aim to find out as much as you can, and keep up-to-date on, your organisation, your role and your responsibilities. Be aware of factors affecting your organisation and industry by carrying out background reading and talking to others.
  • Always be prepared, but especially when you are visible to others, for example in meetings, presentations, training events, or coaching situations.
  • Build a good reputation through your quality of work and interactions with others. Carry out your job consistently well, attend work on time, meet deadlines and get it right first time. Respect others and exercise integrity – you should always aim to be cooperative and friendly.
  • Know the rules of your organisation and work within them.
  • Stay in control of your emotions. If a situation upsets or displeases you, keep your composure and think before you react.
  • Be confident. This will inspire the belief in others that you are credible and capable.
  • Make a good first impression. First impressions are powerful and lasting, so consider how you portray yourself. Are you friendly? Do you talk to others with respect? Do you look the part? You generate an impression within moments, and a lasting impression within half a minute to four minutes, so make sure it is a positive one.
  • Make a good lasting impression. People form opinions of you based on their everyday experiences, so try to avoid ‘off days’ (or if you have one, keep it to yourself). In addition, don’t get drawn into office gossip, denigrate bosses or colleagues behind their backs, or blame others for your mistakes.
  • Your personal brand is always on show, so it must be consistent.

Visibility

There is no point in developing your abilities and personal brand if nobody sees or experiences them. This is where self-promotion comes in. All too often, employees miss out on opportunities because the decision-makers do not know they are interested, or have the necessary skills. Self-promotion is about building awareness so other people know who you are, and realise your skills, values and ambitions. This is important for career progression, getting involved in new opportunities to build your skills and experiences, and for increasing your job satisfaction.

Visibility is a powerful thing. It can work against people, for example, if they are seen to be lazy, disorganised, lack ambition, or are constantly late. However, it can be positive if you are motivated and competent. Think about how you might increase your visibility within and outside of your organisation. Here are some common things to consider:

  • Develop and manage your network.
  • Always have a supply of business cards.
  • Use your performance appraisal meeting. During your appraisal discussions, make sure your manager is aware of your transferable skills, achievements and career objectives. Highlight any skills you would like to use that you are not using presently.
  • Arrange a career discussion with your manager. Work together to reach an agreement on your future with the organisation. Make sure your manager is aware of your aims and ambitions.
  • Make the most of meetings. Before meetings, get hold of the agenda and do some background research on the issues. This way, you can participate actively and positively. You might even offer to chair a meeting, or talk about one of the issues.
  • Ask to be included on the stand at exhibitions and events, even if it is just for lunchtime relief.
  • Get involved in induction and training of new staff. You may offer to be a ‘buddy’, coach or mentor.
  • Get involved in charity work on behalf of your organisation, for example, organising fund raising events.
  • Write articles for in-house newsletters and magazines.
  • Work on building good relationships with clients/customers. Keep any positive feedback, as you can use this to demonstrate your good work.
  • Always leave a job on good terms. You may need a reference for your next job, and positive word of mouth is always valuable. Say nice things about the organisation, complete any outstanding tasks, work out your notice, and offer to be available after you have left.

Effective Communication

Whether it is verbal or written communication, you should always consider the messages you are giving to others. Plan any communication carefully, and make sure your message is clear and to the point. If your communication is in writing, make sure it is accurate, appropriate and aspects such as spelling and grammar are correct. It is very easy to slip up by doing something like sending an email to the wrong person, so always take the time and care to get it right.

Try to demonstrate and communicate your competence and professionalism every day in order to reap long-term rewards in your career.

Hints & Tips: Maintaining Your Professional Online Presence

By Elaine Mead

Elaine Mead

In the past five years, we’ve seen the rise of the creative resume, digital CVs and the increasing need to have an online presence. You might even hear people refer to a person as a ‘brand’. Statements like ‘what’s your digital brand?’ and ‘how are you propositioning yourself in the digital job market?’ are not uncommon. 

Whether you’re currently looking for a new job or are happily employed, it’s advisable to do a professional digital detox at some stage. Having a strong professional presence online can help with not only with securing a new role, but aid in securing promotions too.

Here are some tips to consider for maintaining your professional online presence: 

Do a Privacy Checkup 

It’s more than okay to have a personal life separate from your work life — just have a think about what you want potential employers to see before making something personal public.

Be Consistent 

Make sure your resume reflects your digital profile (especially on LinkedIn) – job titles, companies, dates and projects should all be consistent, online and offline. Honesty is one of the highest-rated qualities that employers look for so don’t fall short by telling fibs at this stage.

Keep Your Goals in Mind 

Is your digital presence matching up with your real-life career goals? Make sure you’re engaged with the right content and websites for your industry and be sure to look for real-life opportunities such as networking events as well. Don’t just do anything and everything — make sure what you’re doing has the right impact and adds value to what you’re trying to achieve in the world of work. Employers will notice. 

Elaine Mead is a Careers and Work-Integrated Learning Educator based in Tasmania.

Five Steps to Career Management

This Five-Step approach to career management sets out exactly what skills, tasks and priorities clients need to consider to move their career forward. Each of the steps has a list of questions which might be posed throughout someones working life. 

 This Five-Step approach is built around the following principles:

Values and Skills:  Identify what it is that you want from a job. Match this to your values and skills. Establish a satisfying and meaningful role for yourself. 

Personal Branding:  Recognise and manage your own attributes and your unique brand. Use this to effectively present yourself in a business environment. 

Networking:  Build a personal network. Exploit it for career opportunities. 

Performance:  Identify and develop your particular people skills to optimise personal performance in the work environment. 

Long-term Planning:  Identify long-term objectives. Use short-term goals and actions to achieve them. 

Value and Skills: Establish your work-life priorities by answering the following questions: 

  • What is meaningful in your work life? Where do you derive your sense of purpose from? How do you contribute? 
  • Define the rewards and incentives, financial and otherwise, that are truly important to you. How important is money? 
  • In which environment are you happiest (an office, working outdoors, from home)? How do you like to work (teams, autonomously)? What would be the ideal culture and environment for you to work in? 
  • If you had multiple offers to consider, which would be the deciding factors? 
  • How would you ideally like to balance your work, family and free time? How might this be achieved? What value do you place on your leisure time? 
  • How important to you is where you live? 
  • What are your skills, professional and personal? What jobs are best suited to these? 
  • In what country, industry and company do you want to work? Can you identify 20 companies for whom you would like to work and who could use your skills and experience? 
  • What makes you different from everyone else? What is your personal competitive advantage? Do you need to ask others (colleagues and family) to identify the latter? 
  • In what areas could you use more training or knowledge? If you are unhappy or dissatisfied in your current role, why is this? Is it something you can change, or do you need to move job? 

Personal Branding: Use the following questions to establish your personal brand and decide how best to market yourself: 

  • Do you have a quality CV that highlights all your achievements? Does it differ in style and tone from the standard business CV? Is it tailored to match each job for which you apply? 
  • Do you make covering letters individual? Are they specific to each job for which you apply? 
  • Is your CV up to date? 
  • Is your dress and appearance fitting for the company for which you are hoping to work or for whom you are already working? 
  • Have you pre-prepared answers to standard interview questions, including accomplishments, and prepared your own questions? Have you practised interviews? Have you identified your interview style? Do you need help? 
  • Are you prepared to chase every lead? If you do not hear from a prospective employer, do you follow up? 
  • What is your reputation in the workplace? How do others see you? What are your perceived strengths and weaknesses? 

Networking: The most effective way to advance your career is through personal networks. Answer the following questions: 

  • Have you compiled a list of family, friends and business contacts who might be able to help you? Have you carefully planned what you are going to say to them? 
  • Are you networking enough? Do you keep in touch with contacts? Do you do your best to be visible and help others? 
  • Are you using all available resources (career fairs, online recruiters, head-hunters)? 
  • Do you have a database to keep track of your applications, contacts and progress? Are you in danger of losing telephone numbers or contact names? 
  • Have you considered joining professional associations or business forums? If you are a member already, do you network with your peers? 
  • Have you identified your job targets? How much do you know about each of them, their history, culture and financial performance? How can you develop contacts in these organisations? 

Performance: Consider the following when managing your career from the workplace: 

  • Do you effectively deal with office politics? Could you improve on your people management skills? 
  • Do you have a trusting relationship with your colleagues? Do you have an internal personal network? Do you have a mentor or sponsor within your organisation?
  • Are people aware of the good work you do? 
  • Do you understand the culture and mission of your organisation? Do you understand your own role within that? 
  • Are you responsive to change and up-to-date with the latest technologies and improvements? 
  • Are you exploiting opportunities at work to expand your skills and knowledge? 

Long-Term Planning: Use the following to consider your whole career, and where you wish to go: 

  • Do you have a professional development plan? Have you considered relevant professional qualifications? Have you contacted universities and professional bodies with a view to obtaining these? 
  • Do you have an idea of where you would like to be in one, five and ten years’ time? How do you plan to achieve this? 
  • Do you have a careful financial planning programme? Do you effectively manage pensions, savings and debts? 
  • Do you have a fall-back option if you lose your job today? Are you continually updating your network in the event that you have to use it? 
  • Have you identified short-term goals? Are they in line with your medium and long-term strategies? 
Career Planning – A Four Step Planning Process

Career planning is an ongoing process that can help you manage your learning and development. The following four-step planning process can be used by those still at school, a school leaver, an adult adding on skills or an adult changing your job or career.

Career planning is the continuous process of:

  • thinking about your interests, values skills and preferences; exploring the life, work and learning options available to you; ensuring that your work fits with your personal circumstances; and
  • continuously fine-tuning your work and learning plans to help you manage the changes in your life and the world of work.

You can revisit and make use of this process all the way through your career.

Start At The Step That Is Most Relevant For You Now.

The career planning process has four steps:

Step 1: Knowing Yourself 

Step 2: Finding Out

Step 3: Making Decisions 

Step 4: Taking Action

STEP 1: KNOWING YOURSELF

Begin by thinking about where you are now, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there.

Once you have thought about where you are at now and where you want to be, you can work on getting to know your skills, interests and values.

Begin by asking yourself the following questions: 

Where am I at now?

Where do I want to be?

What do I want out of a job or career? 

What do I like to do?

What are my strengths? 

What is important to me?

At the end of this step, you will have a clearer idea of your work or learning goal and your individual preferences. You can use this information about yourself as your personal ‘wish list’ against which you can compare all the information you gather in Step 2: finding out.

Your personal preferences are very useful for helping you choose your best option at this point in time, which you can do in Step 3: making decisions.

STEP 2: FINDING OUT

This step is about exploring the occupations and learning areas that interest you. Once you have some idea ofyour occupational preferences you can research the specific skills and qualifications required for those occupations.

Explore occupations that interest you and ask yourself how do my skills and interests match up with these occupations?

Where are the gaps?

What options do I have to gain these skills or qualify for these occupations? 

What skills do I need?

Where is the work?

At the end of this step, you will have a list of preferred occupations and/or learning options.

STEP 3: MAKING DECISIONS

This step involves comparing your options, narrowing down your choices and thinking about what suits you best at this point in time.

Ask yourself:

What are my best work/training options?

How do they match with my skills, interests and values? 

How do they fit with the current labour market?

How do they fit with my current situation and responsibilities? 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option? 

What will help and what will hinder me?

What can I do about it?

At the end of this step, you will have narrowed down your options and have more of an idea of what you need to do next to help you achieve your goals.

STEP 4: TAKING ACTION

Here you plan the steps you need to take to put your plan into action.

Use all you have learnt about your skills, interests and values together with the information you have gathered about the world of work to create your plan.

Begin by asking yourself:

What actions/steps will help me achieve my work, training and career goals? 

Who will support me?

At the end of this step you will have:

  • A plan to help you explore your options further (eg work experience, work shadowing or more research); or 
  • a plan which sets out the steps to help you achieve your next learning or work goal.

Decide which step is relevant for you right now and start from there.