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Asking for a payrise
That's one of the most difficult things you can do, is ask for a pay-rise. Another one is resigning, that's a difficult thing, but focusing on asking for a pay rise I think, firstly you've got to have information about: How did you perform in the past twelve months, in your role? Did you have KPI's? (Key Performance Indicators) against which you performed, and how you fared against those; What you're looking for, in the future, with the organisation. So you don't just go in and say "I think I'm worth more money." You actually sit down and think objectively about the work you've done in the past 12 months, how you went, what you're looking for in the next 12 months. And then, if you're clever, you get on the Internet and you'll come onto to something like LinkMe, and you'll compare yourself to other people in similar jobs and you'll have a view, an objective view, to talk to your boss about. About where you compare with your peers, doing similar sorts of jobs, what sort of money they're looking for. You can look in the newspaper, look at job advertisements for the similar role that you're doing now, and see what salaries are being offered. So, if you're with a small company, and they're offering salaries similar to yours in small companies, but they're offering more money in medium or larger companies, you can get a perspective on where you sit in the job market. Another way, before you ask your boss for a job, is to go to a recruiter and talk to a recruiter about what you're doing now and what you might be able to get in the next move you make, or if they moved you in the same role, what sort of salary you would be getting there. So, in other words, plan and think objectively. Show your boss that you've understood what you're doing now, what you want to do in the future, and you understand your value, and so you are confident. I always say, information is knowledge, knowledge is power. So when you talk to your boss about getting more money, be professional about it. Be objective. Give him, or her, information to allow them to make a decision to say yes for you, because most bosses are nervous about "Oh, I know I've got to give you an increase, and we'll make it CPI - just a cost of living increase". But you should say, ok - cost of living is 5 percent, but I think I've performed over and above most people and these are the reasons why, and this is what I think I should be getting. So, make it easy for your boss to give you a salary increase.
Being retrenched
Well, I think people who are retrenched, immediately their first thought is they have been sacked, and people are using retrenchment as a nice way of saying "We don't want you anymore". The good news is twenty years ago, being retrenched was a real stigma. Today many people are being retrenched. Organisations are changing, upsizing, downsizing, being taken over, merged, so retrenchment's now just a normal part of being at work. But I think it's an opportunity, I think you should ... the moment you get over the sort of awful feeling of saying "I'm out of work", (if it's a good organisation, of course, they'll be managing a program for you to help you find more work, but not many organisations manage job process effectively,) so you have to be the manager of your next opportunity. And I think once you get over the shock, I think if you sit down and try and think about things, saying "this is a chance for me to do something new ... maybe better." OK? "This is a chance for me to do something new," and "What do I really want to do? What do I love in life? What do I do in that job? And what didn't I like about it? What would I like to change?" So, take it as an opportunity, try to be really positive about it, ask other people what they think you're good at. Look at yourself, think about what you love, what your passions are in life, and maybe go and get that job that you've always dreamed of. But certainly, don't worry, because there's more work out there, even if you've got to take on something temporarily as a waiter or something in the hospitality business or a call center until you get what you want, it's an opportunity for real change.
Balancing work & life
Well I suppose getting a better work-life balance is a challenge for just about everybody in the workforce. And I think time management is a real key and prioritizing what you do. So, I like to get a "to-do list" each day and I like to start each day sitting down, writing out what my plan is for that day, and then reflecting on what my plan is for that week. The problem people have with time management at work is that work always seems to override personal things. "I'll be home to read to a story to you," you say to your daughter, and something comes up because your boss wants you to do something and you never get home to do that, so your daughter's disappointed and things get in the way. So, I'm a great believer in looking at what an employee's issues are in their life, about their family and their own personal developments. So, I like to see in someone's weekly planner when they're going to the gym. I like to see time-out because I'm a great believer that "face-time", what I call "face-time" is I got to work, people were always telling me "Oh, I was at work at 8.30 or 8.00 and I didn't leave until 9.00" or ring you on Saturday morning to tell you "Oh, I just popped into work to do some things"; all those things, are to me what I call "face-time". I'd like to see people who put in these hours and produce things. So, I never really worry about the amount of time someone's spending at work, I worry about their outputs and their productivity. So, in their weekly planner, I like to see organised time slots for what they're doing and I like to see them telling other people who are in the organisation "I'm sorry, I'll come back to you about that", take a note about that but continue to work to what they've got in their diary, ah ... in their planner. An open plan is the worst environment for losing time at work because people just wander up to your work station and start talking to you when you're on the phone or you're trying to think, or you're writing halfway through your submission or proposal. So that's one of the big time wasters, just say you've got be really strong, put your hand up, communicate to that other work person that "I can't talk to you now, I'm focused on doing this". And measure your time, measure what your outputs are, and the time you put into those things. So, just good time management is the best way to get good work-life balance because you weave into your diary through the week, the 5 days that you are at work, things that replenish you as an employee, whether it's a walk around the block, whether it's a trip to the gym, whether it's to the hairdresser's, and I know that's a very important thing for women in the workforce. Guys just rush along and get a hair cut in 20 minutes and back to work, it's really not an issue for them. So I'd like to see those personal things in people's diary.
Leveraging off people
Well I suppose in a word these days that's called "networking", and networking's alive and well. From school, people have used "the old boy network", (you've heard that before), which is a sort of an incestuous networking thing. But these days networking's a much broader thing and it's much more respected by both individuals and organisations. So, I think you use your friends to talk about what do they think you're good at. So, use people you know to get an objective view about who you are and what you'd be good at and then, you've got something you can look for. So, who do they know? Does anyone know anyone in the IT industry? Who do know that works at Google? Your auntie, your brother, so ask all your relatives, send out emails to all of your friends. And the other way you can do it, which is something I really like, is if you're talking about an IT organisation, you start going along to functions that IT people go to, and you start looking for people who work in the organisation that you've targeted, that you want to join in and you say very up-front: "How do I get a job in your organisation? I've loved it forever." "Who are people that would hire a person with my skills and attributes in your organisation?" "How do I approach them? Where do they go to?" So try and meet the people out of the work environment. It's not devious, it's not being sneaky, it's just being clever. That's what networking's about: using that leverage, other people's knowledge and other people's contacts to help you get what you want, and it's not a bad thing. I don't mind when people ring me up and say "This is what I'm looking for. Do you know anyone who's can help?" It's not a big deal to help people who are asking, it doesn't take long these days to click on a mouse and forward a CV, or forward a contact or ring someone up and say, you know, "Paul Tyrrell, he's going to call you, can you please look after him?"
Networking inside your organisation
Well, networking inside an organisation to better your career is a critical thing, and I don't mean sucking up to the boss. I mean understanding how an organisation works. And the first thing you've got to do to be good network within your organisation is to be interested in that company. Be interested in the products that the company produces, understand where it fits in the business cycle. So understand and take an interest in where you work, that's the very first thing. The second thing you need to do is you need to be really interested in people. I see a lot of people walk into their business every day and say "Hi!" to the person on the front desk, "How're you going?" and just keep walking. They actually are not interested in that person, it's just a reflex action. They could stop for 15 seconds and say "Hi Mary!", "Hi Bill!", "How was your weekend?" or "What did you get up to?", "How're things going?", "Everything going alright?" and just that little moment where you take time to look into that person's eye and say "I'm interested in you as an individual" is what networking is all about. And networking, people get distracted sometimes, they think networking's about "up" networking. Networking is networking all over the organisation, to the "little" people and to the "big" people. Everybody's equally important. And so, being interested in the business, being interested in the people in the business, shows that you're passionate about your workplace. And you can do extra things, you can think about people, you can bring in articles, you can know that someone likes mint in their tea. So one day you can bring mint out of your garden, or your parents' garden, and bring that in and give it to them. Just those little extra things that nobody else does. It's sure not sucking up to me, the boss, that makes me feel someone's a great networker. It's someone who is interested in everybody in the organisation and what we do. Things you should never do in a job interview Classics, which are a lot to do with nerves, but: Forgetting the consultants name Forgetting the name of the company they're applying for Forgetting to bring their resume Making things up about themselves [Making things up] about how much experience they've got Forgetting the address, and being late So, you think of any excuse you can think of, we've heard them all. When you're in an interview situation, an organisation, an employer or recruiter should understand - it's one of the most stressful things a person can do. Changing jobs is one of the most stressful things, next to buying a home, buying a car, having a child, getting married, getting divorced, having some sort of emotional trauma. Right up there with all of those things is an interview and trying to get a new role. So, anyone doing the interviewing has to have some compassion and understanding. But you see just incredible things. I've seen candidates so tired, falling asleep, forgetting the question. Talking for too long. You get asked a question, they answer it, then they answer it again, then they answer it again and answer it again. They think, by talking, over and over and over, that will convince the interviewer that they're the right candidate. You need to think. I always say to people - The motto, particularly for all of us to remember, is that we have two ears, two eyes and one mouth and a nose and we need to use our senses, our sensory perception skills, in that order. So, listen a lot, look a lot and speak only as needed. And I think that's the motto for a really good interview.
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This month's top rated article
Top 5 cover letter mistakes

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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Popular questions
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What should I include in my Australian resume?

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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