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Tips on how to get back into the job market
Career management
Manage your career
Have you been out of work for an extended period of time? Perhaps you have been on maternity leave and now ready to jump back into the job force. Maybe you took a "time out" to travel and explore different parts of the world. Whatever the reason, it is never too late to get back into the job market successfully, and we have a few suggestions for helping you to do so. Research your options: One of the first things you might consider doing is actually thinking about what it is you want to do. Do you have a specific field or industry in mind? Do you know what relevant qualifications/skills are required for that position? What have you done in your past that is relevant to that position? These are all good things to think about, and will help you with our next step. Re-write your resume: If you've been out of the workforce for an extended period of time, chances are that your resume is probably a bit out of date and needs to be more relevant to the present. Now that you have a good idea of what you want to do, you can now re-write your resume so it is more targeted toward that industry. Research the skills that are in demand for that industry, and make sure your resume includes these (if they are relevant to your experience). Think of the transferrable skills that you may have learned in your previous positions and incorporate these into your resume as well. You might also want to think about addressing your employment gap somewhere in your resume. A good tip is to write a "qualifications profile" at the very start of their resume, where you can summarize and promote your experience and qualifications. Most importantly don't forget to include keywords. A well resume will include the use of strategic keywords. Many times recruiters or hiring managers will often skim over the resume looking for keywords or use software programs to find key words. These key words can be changed depending on the job you are applying for. A keyword rich resume will help highlight your resume and cover letter. Learn new skills: It is never too late to learn something new that might assist you in a job position, so you might want to consider taking some classes that are relevant to the industry you're looking to get into. Look into some relevant certificate programs or brush up your skills in customer service or sales (industry dependant, of course). If you don't have time, there are always online courses available that you can take at your own pace. Apply! You will never know unless you try! After you've considered the above steps, start applying for jobs and see what happens... you never know. If you find that you aren't finding success, you can at least get a better idea into what hiring managers are looking for specifically, and you can work toward meeting those qualifications.
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132
Is your professional resume a Gold Medal document?
Resume writing
Make my resume stand out
With the Olympic Games fast approaching, athletes from across the world will all be vying to be the very best in their chosen sport and take home a gold medal. In events such as swimming and athletics it is usually only seconds that separate first and last and with competition so strong, a tiny mistake can often be the difference between winning gold or missing out on a medal. Just as an athlete will have to prepare and train in order to win gold, a job seeker needs to ensure that their resume is worthy of winning a gold medal! Although competition for a job may not be as fierce as competition for a gold medal, the same rules apply. A simple spelling mistake could lead to your resume being deleted and you missing out on your dream job. Preparation is key for any athlete and the same applies for any job seeker. Going online and using an out dated resume template which you complete in 10 minutes will not stand you out from your job seeking competitors. Before you even begin writing your resume, you need to have an understanding of the type of positions you are going to be applying for, and the type of skills and experience that will be required for that particular position. With this understanding, you will be in a far greater position to target your resume towards the types of jobs you are applying for. Market your Skills on Page 1 of the Resume: Reports suggest that hiring managers spend between 10-20 seconds when first reading through your resume. In this short time you need to grab the reader's attention. Introducing a qualifications profile or career summary is a great way to show off your skills to the reader within the first 2-3 lines of the resume. Rather than opening your resume with an objective statement (telling the reader what you want out of the job) -introduce a qualifications profile where you tell the reader the value-added skills that you can offer the business. From a hiring managers perspective which resume would you rather read? Highlight your Achievements: Your resume is your marketing document. Don't be afraid to highlight your achievements, awards, skills and expertise. If you are a manager include how many people you manage. If you received a promotion or award, point these out in the resume. The more quantitative examples you can provide the greater. Remember that your resume may be competing against hundreds of other resumes. Although you may be the most qualified or the most talented, if you are unable to portray your achievements throughout your resume than you greatly reduce your chances of being selected for the interview stage. Just as an athlete needs everything to go right on their day in order to win gold, a job seeker is the same. There is not one most important aspect that makes a professional resume but a lot of smaller details that goes into preparing a gold medal winning resume. Marketing your skills and highlighting your achievements will give you a strong advantage over your competition and help you stand out from the crowd.
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204
So you've found an ad for your dream job and submitted a thorough and thoughtful application. What's next? If your application makes it through the screening round, the process of securing the job is likely to involve a series of interviews, initially on the telephone, followed by a number of in-person, face-to-face meetings. Many people underestimate the importance of the initial telephone conversation: the recruiter's goal is to determine your suitability for the role, so if you don't make a great first impression, you're unlikely to proceed to the next round of interviews. Most of the time, you'll receive a phone call from the advertiser (this could be a Recruitment Consultant or someone from the company's HR/Recruitment team). There's usually no warning of the call, so be prepared to shift into interview mode quickly. If you happen to miss the call, it is common courtesy to return the call promptly (which is also likely to help your application). While the phone interview is relatively informal, this is still an interview. A few points to consider: 1. Be proactive. You could consider contacting the advertiser proactively - either from the details in the advertisement or through your own research into the company. This leaves no doubt about how keen you are about the role. Not all advertisers encourage this approach, particularly for roles which are likely to attract a large volume of applicants. Be prepared to be told to apply online and don't be overly pushy if this is the case. 2. Don't rush. You won't be judged for taking the time to consider the question and answer it properly. Stay calm, composed and think your answers through. If you've reached this stage, it means the recruiter genuinely wants to understand who you are and discover why you're suitable for the role. This means that even if you have a lot to say, the recruiter is unlikely to hang up on you and you don't need to worry that you're wasting their time. 3. Be direct in your answers. Being cagey or not giving the full answer doesn't help your cause. Remember that you are competing with other candidates and will likely to be asked the same questions as they are. Listen carefully for clues about whether your answer is on the right track. For example, if the recruiter needs more detail or is confused about your response, she may try to ask the same question in a different way. 4. Listen. As the saying goes: "You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice more than you speak." The conclusion of the call will usually be close when the questions end, and either a description of the role or being asked if you have any questions comes up. Simply enquiring about the next stage or a couple of questions about the role itself (team size, how this position fits into the team, etc.) will also be a good way for the interviewer to determine how keen you are and serve to leave them with a good impression. Both of which are key in hopefully securing your first stage interview.
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371
Asking for a raise? Try to avoid these red flags
Career management
In the work place
There comes a point in every worker's career when he or she feels deserving of a pay raise. If you're like most people, it will probably be on you to ask for one - a raise won't just be granted automatically. What you need to do is give your employer some concrete reasons for why you deserve one, and try to make it hard for them to say no. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that no matter how deserving you feel of one, employers will be reluctant to give you one if you possess one of the following traits: You routinely arrive to work late There is no better way to kill your chance at a raise. No matter how much you may excel at your job, it won't matter if you are habitually late to work, even by a couple of minutes. You've had some issues with co-workers Someone once described a constant disagreement between two co-workers as a "cancer in the workplace" because it spreads and eventually affects everyone else in the office. You don't need to be best friends with everyone at work, but you definitely should avoid personal disputes with your colleagues. Problems like these will label you as a liability rather than an asset - no boss wants to deal with workers like this. You take a lot of sick days Sure, everyone gets sick sometimes, but have you ever noticed the people who always seem to be out of the office for one reason or another? Chances are that you're not the only one who's noticed. Employees like this are seen as unreliable and as ones who routinely take advantage of the company. This is definitely a label you don't want on your back - especially if you're about to ask for a raise. Your boss asks you to do things more than once - repeatedly It's not the end of the world when you forget to do something at work, but it does become a problem with this is somewhat of a habit. No boss likes to ask for things twice, especially on a regular basis.
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36
Job interview first impressions
Job interviewing
Preparing for the job interview
Are first impressions really that important? The answer is... YES! When the decision comes to hire a new employee, the candidates that are chosen almost always will share similar educational backgrounds, skills and experience. Because of this, it can be the small things that make the difference between getting the job or not. A lousy handshake or dirty shoes can be all it takes to lose out on getting the job. Top tips to make sure that your first impression counts! Dressing appropriately A person who looks professional portrays the image of being professional. A person who looks sloppy portrays an image of being sloppy. If two people walk into an office and candidate one is perfectly dressed with clean shoes a shirt tucked in and brushed hair, and candidate 2 walks in looking like they just woke up, it goes without saying which candidate will more likely get the job. Before even discussing their skills, the hiring manager's first impression about professionalism has already been made. Hygiene As a hiring manager, I can tell you there is nothing more off putting than interviewing a candidate with bad hygiene. No matter what job you are applying for, bad breath or lack of hygiene is not going to help you to get ahead. There is a fine balance between wearing the right amount of perfume/aftershave or too much. If the interviewer can smell your perfume from across the table you are probably wearing too much! Addressing the interviewer properly Showing respect toward the interviewer is paramount. Remember the interviewer is not your best friend who you have known for many years. Using slang or shortening their name ("Wassup Dave") is not the correct way to make a good first impression. Listening A great mistake you can make in the interview is to speak too much and not answer questions. Interviewing is a 2-way process. Not only do you need to directly answer the interview questions, but you need to listen to what the interviewer is saying. Unless it is a direct yes or no answer, always provide examples and evidence to support what you are saying. Make sure you leave the interviewer with no doubts that you are the right person for the job. Handshake and Smile When you walk into the interview, a solid handshake and smile will go a long way to building rapport with the interviewer and will also leave a positive memory in their minds after the interview has finished. Typically the person who is interviewing you will often be your boss, and therefore they will want to know that not only do you have the skills required to do the job, but that they are going to want to work with you on a daily basis.
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This month's top rated article
How to handle the telephone interview (and reach the face-to-face interview stage)

So you've found an ad for your dream job and submitted a thorough and thoughtful application. What's next?

If your application makes it through the screening round, the process of securing the job is likely to involve a series of interviews, initially on the telephone, followed by a number of in-person, face-to-face meetings. Many people underestimate the importance of the initial telephone conversation: the recruiter's goal is to determine your suitability for the role, so if you don't make a great first impression, you're unlikely to proceed to the next round of interviews.

Most of the time, you'll receive a phone call from the advertiser (this could be a Recruitment Consultant or someone from the company's HR/Recruitment team). There's usually no warning of the call, so be prepared to shift into interview mode quickly. If you happen to miss the call, it is common courtesy to return the call promptly (which is also likely to help your application).

While the phone interview is relatively informal, this is still an interview. A few points to consider:

1. Be proactive. You could consider contacting the advertiser proactively - either from the details in the advertisement or through your own research into the company. This leaves no doubt about how keen you are about the role. Not all advertisers encourage this approach, particularly for roles which are likely to attract a large volume of applicants. Be prepared to be told to apply online and don't be overly pushy if this is the case.

2. Don't rush. You won't be judged for taking the time to consider the question and answer it properly. Stay calm, composed and think your answers through. If you've reached this stage, it means the recruiter genuinely wants to understand who you are and discover why you're suitable for the role. This means that even if you have a lot to say, the recruiter is unlikely to hang up on you and you don't need to worry that you're wasting their time.

3. Be direct in your answers. Being cagey or not giving the full answer doesn't help your cause. Remember that you are competing with other candidates and will likely to be asked the same questions as they are. Listen carefully for clues about whether your answer is on the right track. For example, if the recruiter needs more detail or is confused about your response, she may try to ask the same question in a different way.

4. Listen. As the saying goes: "You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice more than you speak."

The conclusion of the call will usually be close when the questions end, and either a description of the role or being asked if you have any questions comes up. Simply enquiring about the next stage or a couple of questions about the role itself (team size, how this position fits into the team, etc.) will also be a good way for the interviewer to determine how keen you are and serve to leave them with a good impression. Both of which are key in hopefully securing your first stage interview.

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Popular questions
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Should I have an objective statement on my resume? Are there other ways to make my resume stand out from the crowd?

Replacing the Objective Statement with a Qualifications Profile on your resume

Does your current resume begin with a generic objective statement telling the reader what type of jobs you are looking for? Let me guess that it reads something similar to this:

"I am seeking the opportunity to expand my skills, knowledge and experience in a challenging professional environment. I am honest, reliable, eager to learn and open to tackling a range of tasks. I am a strong and empathetic team player and always complete tasks to a high degree of quality and to deadlines"

If this is how your resume begins, it's time to make changes. In the competitive job environment where hiring managers may receive upwards of 500 applications for a single position, an objective statement is more likely going to lead to your resume being deleted. From a hiring manager's perspective, they are not interested in a non-specific, all-purpose statement that adds no value to the resume and provides them with no reason to want to hire you. You may have the best skills and be the perfect fit for the job however, you may never get this opportunity because your resume has already been deleted.

What is a Qualifications Profile?

A great way to introduce yourself on your resume is by creating a qualifications summary or career summary. Rather than telling the reader you are seeking an opportunity to expand your skills, rather promote what skills you actually can bring to this specific role. A targeted resume including a targeted profile will encourage the reader to continue reading the resume as opposed to pressing the delete button. For example, if you are applying for an IT job that requires programming skills, list you're programming skills within your introductory profile. That way, the reader will straight away be interested to read on as they know that you have skills that are required for this position.

How long should my Qualifications Profile be?

The last thing you want to do is turn your qualifications profile into an essay! Statistically, a hiring manager will only spend between 15 to 20 seconds when initially reading your resume. If they open your resume and see a half page profile they are more likely to be turned off as they won't be bothered to read all this information. A well written profile should be no longer than 2-4 sentences. It needs to be targeted and present value.

Final thought:

When you begin to write your new resume, don't forget the number one rule. Your resume is a marketing document. The more you can showcase your skills and achievements the greater chance you will have of being selected for the interview stage.

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