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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.
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.
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?"
What a good resume looks like
Well, the number one mistake everybody makes is they put too much information in their Resume. And 99% of employers and recruiters never finish reading most resumes because they're too long. So, it needs to be concise, factual and hard hitting. A resume needs to tell me, the employer or the recruiter, why I should interview this person and why I'm keen to hire them. So it needs to target itself to me and the job that you're applying for and particularly the organisation you're looking to join. So, it needs to have those key little points in it that make me want to buy. So if I'm motivated by an organisation that's got a big vision, an open plan, and IT, then I need to see in that resume, someone who's happy to work in a team environment, I need to see someone who really passionately loves IT, not just at work, but in other parts of their life. So I need to see buying signals. And the other real key thing I need is a set of dot-points giving me what your strengths are, and what other people have said about things you've achieved in your work life, OK. Testimonials are really important. And I know that you could write whatever you want, but a good employer or recruiter will ring up and check those testimonials. So, just the key things about who you are, what your strengths are and what you're looking for in life. Honesty is an incredibly powerful tool when you're looking for work and you should use it.
Interview tips #1
What impresses me, is when I'm talking to somebody who I can really feel has researched my business, my organisation. So, gone online and done any searches they can for any articles, so they actually understand my business, they know the sort of business I'm in, and they know something about me. So I think that tells me they're interested. Someone coming and just saying "Well, I'm looking for a job as a recruitment consultant." ... well, they can get a job in hundreds of companies as a recruitment consultant, but why my company? Why me? I think that's a really important thing, to be interested enough to have done the research. Really, really good candidates know things about my business that I don't, which really surprise me. So they weave it into the interview somewhere. So that's the first thing. To know about the organisation you're applying [to]. There's just so much information out there. There's no reason or excuse that you shouldn't be able to find out something about the organisation you're applying for.
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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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