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Top 5 cover letter mistakes
Resume writing
Cover letters
If you're going to take the extra time to write a cover letter that you include along with your resume, you might as well write it properly! We talked to a few recruiters and found out that they frequently find mistakes so annoying that cause them to immediately discard some applications all together. Here's a sample of some of the mistakes they mentioned: Letter addressed to the wrong person or company: It doesn't annoy hiring managers that you're probably applying for other jobs, but it does annoy them when you don't take the time to check that your cover letter is addressed properly. Sending it to the wrong person or company will get your application deleted immediately. Spelling and/or grammar mistakes: You're probably tired of being told to check and re-check your work, but it is extremely important! When spelling or grammar errors show up on your cover letter, the person reading it is going to think that you either don't know how to write properly or that you didn't bother to check it over. Either way, it's bad news for you. It's too long: Cover letters should be short and to the point. They should provide some basic information about how you are specifically qualified for the job in question. That's pretty much it. Anything longer than a few paragraphs starts to look more like an essay, and it's an immediate turn-off. No contact details: It happens quite frequently - people forget to include their name, let alone a way to contact them. While your details may be on your resume, no one wants to take extra time to fish for information that should have been provided for them right away. No cover letter: This is the worst mistake of all. You're competing against dozens of other applicants who have instantly shown that they took more time to apply than you. At the end of the day, you just want to give yourself the best chance possible to be called for an interview. Think about what a potential employer wants to know most about you, and try to convert this into a cover letter.
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663
The Australian resume is unique
Australian job market
Australian resume writing
How do Australian Resumes differ from those of other countries? A well written and properly presented Australian resume can be your ticket to finding an Australian job. The Australian job market is different to job markets around the world and it is important that your resume is presented in the "Australian way" Responsibilities, achievements and duties need to be written clearly and backed up with supporting evidence. If these are not present, it is assumed you do not have any experience at all Use British English ONLY in your Australian Resume - words such as "specialise" and "realise" need to be spelled with an "s" not a "z" Ensure you tailor EVERY application to suit the job for which you are applying. If you are going to stand out from the crowd, you have to make sure that your application is outstanding No picture is necessary on your Australian Resume Do not include personal information such as marital status, date of birth, number of children, occupation of spouse, gender, religious affiliation, colour or race on your resume. It is true that in certain countries (South Africa, for example) personal information is included and is required, however it is not necessary or needed on your Australian Resume Spend as much time as possible ensuring you address EXACTLY what the Australian employer wants. For example, if the job advertisement lists certain duties for the job, make sure you incorporate these duties into your current resume. If the job requires excellent customer service skills, provide examples about how you have provided excellent customer service Get the edge on other job seekers and save yourself enormous amounts of time and stress by ensuring your resume ticks all the right boxes.
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515
Finding a job without local experience
Australian job market
Find job in Australia
As a foreign job seeker trying to find work in your new country, the odds are stacked up against you. Not only are you competing against other foreign job seekers, but you're competing against domestic job seekers who share similar skills and experiences. After working with foreign job seekers from all over the world in every type of industry, I have found that the most common excuse these workers use to explain the lack of interview requests is the fact that they don't have "local experience". It frustrates me so much when I hear this, and I know how depressing it can be to a foreign worker trying to get a foot in the door of their new country. Rather than being put off or depressed by not having "local experience" (and how hard must it be to put on a brave face and carry on), let's prepare strategies that can improve the chances of finding a job as a foreign visa holder. Online Networking With no local experience you need to become an expert in networking and become an expert ASAP. Use online networking websites such as LinkedIn to make contacts with as many people as you can. Talk to people in your industry and find out comparisons (and differences) between the role you performed in your country of origin and the types of roles you are applying for in your new country. This way you can incorporate this into your resume and interview preparation. The more you understand about your new country, the greater chance you can prepare yourself for finding a new job. Think Outside the Square There are many ways to search for job openings - don't get stuck with just applying for roles online. My advice is to seek out hiring managers and people in positions to help you. Don't be intimidated to approach these people directly. Although there may not be a current role open at their organisation, there is a possibility that they may know of other job openings or other areas within their business that is looking to hire. Finding the perfect job takes time and people appreciate pro-activeness. I have heard of stories of hiring managers keeping resumes in their database for over 12 months before positions come up. Social Networking Step away from the computer and begin to enjoy your new country! Again, the more you can learn about your new country, the more help you will have with your job seeking. No matter what your hobbies are, you can always find other people who share the same hobbies and interest. You can begin to gain local experience by participating in extracurricular activities or even by volunteering. This is a great way to begin to gain local experience. Patience One of the least favourite words a job seeker likes to hear. Patience. Unfortunately, job seeking takes time. Do not get despondent if you can't find immediate success. Moving abroad takes a lot of guts, determination and courage. Be proud of your efforts in doing something that many people wish they could do but never try. Finding success may take time but will definitely be worth it in the long run.
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456
Questions you can ask in the job interview
Job interviewing
How to ace the interview
As a job candidate what is the best question to ask in an interview? At some point in the interview (typically at the end) the hiring manager will turn to you and ask "Do you have any questions which you would like to ask me?" There are two main benefits in asking the right questions. Firstly don't forget the number one rule from chapter one. The interview is a two way process and you need to ensure that this organization is the right fit for you. If you are uncertain about certain aspects of the role or need greater clarification, than this is the time to ask those questions. Don't be shy or intimidated. Secondly by asking clever questions will not just help you in deciding if this job is right for you but will impress the interviewer and leave a positive image as someone who comprehensive and professional. What you need to do • Prioritize your questions based on the interview situation - Is this the first interview or the second interview? • The best questions you can ask are open ended questions • Have 3-5 questions prepared (The more the better) • Only ask questions that you are interested in knowing the answer! • Only ask questions that are relevant to the job, department, management and organization Sample 15 Job Interview Questions to ask • How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? • Do you provide any sort of professional development or training? • How do you measure performance and how often is it reviewed? • Who was in this job before and why did they leave? • Is this a new position? How long has this position existed? • Could you explain your organizational structure? • How many people work in this office/department? • How much travel is expected? • What's the makeup of the team as far as experience? • With whom will I be working most closely? • Why do you enjoy working for this company? • How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? • Can you describe the company's management style? • What would be the goals of the department in the coming year? • What are the traits and skills of people who are the most successful within the organization? Types of Job Interview Questions NOT to ask • Salary and benefits • Questions that are clearly stated on the website • Generic / Obvious questions • Questions that the interviewer is unable to answer. Do not try to "outsmart the interviewer" Asking questions that appear to be challenging the interviewer or a question that the interviewer is unlikely to know will only create a negative vibe between you and the interviewer. Remember you are trying to build rapport with the interviewer not challenge the interviewer. • Questions that are irrelevant to the job or organization Sample 15 Job Interview Questions NOT to ask • How many sick days and holiday days do I get? • Do I still get paid for a sick day? • If I start next week how long until I will get a pay rise? • How long is the lunch break? • What is it that your company does? • Are the working hours flexible? • Am I able to have my own office? • Who are the "coolest" people on my team? • How many warnings do you get before you are fired? • Are there many coffee shops close by? • How financially sound is this company? • What are your strengths and weaknesses? • Will I be given an employee handbook? • What is the company policy on internet use? • Can I use Facebook?
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1072
Listing hobbies on your resume
Resume writing
Resume writing tips
I frequently come across resumes that include a section for "hobbies and interests" or something similar. Many people think it's necessary to include something like this, however I can assure you that it's probably best to avoid doing so. There is a limited amount of space for content on your resume and just a small amount of time for the reader to look over your information. That being said, you should use it strictly to highlight your professional qualifications and achievements, not your personal hobbies and interests. Hiring managers are looking to see how you can specifically help them and their companies, not whether you enjoy skiing or bike riding. This sort of information is often times seen as "fluff" - in other words, irrelevant information that is used solely to take up space on a resume to make it seem longer. If you're concerned about your resume looking too short, there are lots of ways to increase the content without having to lists your hobbies and interests. Think about substituting them for something more work-related, like a section for your professional qualifications or computer-related skills. Or maybe try adding some achievements onto your professional experience section. While I feel I make a strong point against listing these on your resume, people are always going to be adamant about using them. So, if you absolutely must include your hobbies and interests, try to at least make them pertain to the job you are applying for. Do any of your hobbies involve using your leadership skills, for example? Do they show a pattern of long-term commitment? The most important thing to remember is to keep the content on your resume professionally relevant.
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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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