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What are some tips to writing a good cover letter?
Resume writing
Cover letters
Most people hate writing a cover letter even more than they hate preparing a resume. In the competitive job environment where first impressions count and the time we have to impress the potential reader is becoming shorter and shorter, the most effective way to ensure that your application stands out from the competition is through a professionally written cover letter. There is, however, a fine line between a cover letter that enhances your application and a cover letter that can actually do you a disservice. My 3 top tips: 1) Establish your reason for applying to the role within the first couple of sentences and make it clear to the reader that you have unique attributes that make you the perfect person for the job. 2) Target you cover letter to the reader and make sure that they know that your letter has been written for their specific job 3) Forget the Clichés!
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Do References belong on your resume?
Students and grads
Resume preparation
The answer is no and here is why. Everything that belongs on the resume needs to be targeted towards the role you are applying for. In the limited space you have available on your resume you need to ensure that only the most relevant and important information is included. From a hiring manager’s perspective, they are going to evaluate your skills and experiences and then decided if you are worth interviewing. It is highly unlikely that a hiring manager will even bother to read your references and if they do it is even more unlikely that they will make a hiring decision based on who your references are. What’s more is that at no stage during the initial selection process is a hiring manager going to contact your references. It just does not make sense. Why would someone contact your references before they have even met you? All you need to do to show that you have references is include at the very end of your resume "References Available Upon Request." This states to the reader that if they decide to take your application further, you are able to provide them with references upon being requested. These 4 simple words should be the last 4 words you write on your resume. Generally speaking, only once you pass the initial resume screening process and have completed interviews would a hiring manager be interested in speaking with your contacts. Only at this stage would you be required to provide the name and contact details of your references.
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How important is it to include achievements in your resume?
Resume writing
Make my resume stand out
Achievement based resume writing is key and the difference between a good resume and a great resume comes down to including achievements. Failing to include key achievements throughout your resume is a recipe for disaster and will cause your resume to be put straight in the deleted folder and never to be seen again. The job market is competitive, and if you’re going to prove to the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for a job, you need to show off every key achievement and skill that will stand you out against all the other job candidates. Remember the golden rule of resume writing - your resume is a marketing document and, as such, needs to market all the great things that you can bring to a potential job. Providing achievements that are backed up with quantitative evidence will guarantee that you will stand out from the other job seekers. The best written resumes adequately sell the person’s achievements, skills and personality. Do this correctly and I guarantee that you will find success.
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How do I find work without any 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. In good news however there are strategies you can begin to implement to help you in gaining that local experience 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. Volunteer or Community Service: Volunteering is a great way to get out and help people, meet people and it also looks great on the resume. Although it may not be paid work it still shows a potential employer that you have some level of experience working in your new country. 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.
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Can you use the same resume for every job application?
Resume writing
Resume writing tips
Every job you apply for will be different and as such you need to adapt your resume accordingly. Writing the perfect resume will be different depending on the job and each resume needs to be tailored and specific towards that position. No matter what position you are applying for the more targeted your resume the greater your chances of finding success. With competition for jobs so intense in order to stand out from the crowd you need to ensure that your skills tick all the boxes that the hiring manger is looking for in the perfect candidate. Don't be alarmed at the prospect of having to design a new resume for every job application. There are certain parts of the resume that will always stay the same however there are certain parts that need to be adapted. A powerful, eye-catching qualifications summary at the top of your resume is the best way to attract a hiring manager's eye and let them immediately of your skills and experience. The other main area of your resume to change is 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. Remember one thing - the aim of the resume is to attract the reader's attention. By targeting your resume you will give yourself the greatest opportunity of finding success.
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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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