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  1. What are your transferable skills?

    July 23, 2013 by Jenna

    We have all heard the term transferable skills, but do you know what your transferable skills are and how to use these skills to your advantage?

    Transferable skills are those skills that you have now that you can transfer to a new job or career area. Whether they are skills that you personally developed on-the-job or developed through training, there are many types of transferable skills that can help you get your foot in the door for your next role.

    The top transferable skills employers are looking for include:

    1. Communication – How do you present yourself? Are you a confident communicator? Do you engage with others using eye contact and open body language?

    My communication skills were first developed when I worked as a Checkout Operator at Woolworths. It was my first role and I needed to be able to liaise with customers on a regular basis. This experience helped me develop my communication confidence. I have since transferred these skills to corporate settings; meeting and greeting clients, liaising over the phone with professionals to meet their needs, and organising events and conferences.

    2. Problem Solving –What information do you collect in weighing up information? How do you respond to different types of problems? How do you find solutions to meet deadlines?

    Whether it is work or personal life we have all experienced a moment where we have been outside of our comfort zone. The more my roles had progressed, the greater accountability I had in decision making. As my career progressed the steps in problem solving remained the same, but the problems became more complex, involving more people and in shorter time constraints. I transferred my skills and grew my problem solving skills as I grew within my career.

    3. Teamwork –How well do you cooperate with others? Do you contribute to group tasks with enthusiasm? Do you motivate and inspire others?

    Challenge Consulting conducts a weekly group interview for our temporary team members, part of the reason we do this is to see how individuals interact with one another in a group environment. Transferable skills don’t need to only have been developed in your paid work. I gained my teamwork skills while taking part in many volunteer roles for not-for-profit events and exhibitions while studying at TAFE. You learn a lot about yourself working in group environments and the great results that can be achieved delegating tasks amongst team members. You even learn how to adapt in the environment if situations change and how to deal with different personality types. I have then been able to transfer these skills into different roles and positions throughout my career.

    4. Planning and organising – employers look at examples of how you organise yourself, adapt to change, what you have learned from your experiences etc. And they will also assess if you have had situations where you have lead a team of people. How well do you delegate? How well do you take responsibility for tasks at hand? Are you self-motivated and disciplined when you need to be?

    Planning and organising skills are developed with the more experience you gain over time. However, even if you aren’t currently in a management role, we all have to manage and organise priorities outside of work. Some examples can include, sporting teams, committees, family commitments, personal events etc.

    What are your transferable skills?

    As you can see I developed my skills through my studies, jobs, and outside of work. It is important not to discredit your skills when considering a career change. Take the time to review the skills you have built up over the years and see if you can transfer those skills in the new role for which you are applying.

    When I changed roles over a year ago I found my administration skills (customer service, data entry, event planning) to be highly advantageous to my new role, and I am continuing to grow new skills in marketing and social media which I will be able to transfer in future job areas.

    When have your transferable skills helped you get your foot in the door for an interview or has helped you through a career change?


  2. When was the last time you did a ‘spring clean’ of your career?

    June 4, 2013 by Jenna

    Whether you are happy in your current role or currently looking for something new, it is always important to keep your job search and career development skills up-to-date.

    Not only that but cleaning out some of the distractions and bad habits that may be weighing you down instead of helping you move forward can only be a good thing, right?


    Have you reviewed your resume lately?

    We tend to only look at our resume when we need to look for work. But whether you are looking for work or not, your resume is your most important personal brand document. And we all know how time consuming writing a resume from scratch is.

    So pull out your resume for a spring clean:

    Update Information – Are your most recent achievements added? Is your employment history up-to-date? Have you identified who you references will be?
    Formatting – Is your resume easy to read? Is it set out in a way where the employer or recruiter can identify your key skills without having to do an investigative search? Does it look clean and neat? Is the language formal and professional? Would it grab your attention if you were an employer?

    Another thing to keep in mind, in the age of technology – is your online presence. What does Google say about you? What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? Is it time for an update to list your most recent skills and experience? What other social media sites do you currently have a presence – do they represent the image you would like to portray?


    Do you know what level of skills you have? Do you know what skills you need to take the next step in your career?

    If you are not sure what level your computer skills are at, there are plenty of opportunities to assess your skills through online skills testing. For jobseekers you can keep a copy of the results to share with future employers.

    There is no time like the present to invest or consider additional training to update your skills. Perhaps your current employer offers training programs that you can sign-up for? If not, consider what training you need and ask at your next performance discussion with your manager.

    Set Goals

    What are your personal goals? Do they tie in with your career goals? What matters most for you?

    I’m most successful when I have a healthy body and mind. But I tend to find that my body and mind are more often in conflict rather than cooperating together!

    To get myself back on track, I set physical goals to reach the state of health and fitness I want. For me, being more active allows me to be more positive in my approach to life. Not to mention, knowing that I’m capable of achieving these physical goals helps build my confidence to push myself forward to achieve my career goals as well.

    Now I’m not saying go out and spend a lot of money to join a gym, sometimes simple things like going for a daily walk, having a yoga stretch in a park or going to a class with a friend, can really boost your overall well-being. And let’s be honest, when you are not healthy you tend to feel sluggish and demotivated. I know how difficult it is when I get caught in this rut, but once I push myself outside of my comfort zone, I definitely feel more motivated to achieve even more.

    Remove Obstacles

    Are there factors in your life that are making you stressed or holding you back from making the best decisions regarding your career?

    Too often we get busy just being busy. But are there tasks that are taking too much time that are stopping you from investing in what is important? Are there things that you could delegate, share or remove entirely to allow you the time you need to invest in what you really want to achieve?  The body cannot function without the mind, and if you are losing too much sleep because you have too much on your mind or have too many commitments on your plate this will not benefit you in the long run. In fact, if you are tired and unfocused it could potentially harm your decisions. So get rid of those negative factors that are holding you back, and if you can’t get rid of some factors try and find a way to find balance. Most likely you will know someone who has been in a similar situation and their advice could really help guide you.

    It can also be very easy to be comfortable in your current routine ‘bubble’. But every now and then we need to challenge ourselves outside of that bubble to examine if what we are currently doing is the best for us and our future career. What do you need to spring clean in your career?

  3. Are you really THAT busy? What is your routine?

    April 15, 2013 by Jenna

    Do you ever find that the common reason behind many cancellations and postponed meetings is because people are too busy? In today’s world it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t have work commitments, family commitments, social commitments, bills to pay, side projects to run etc.

    Why is it when we all have the same hours in a day that only some of us are finding the balance that we need and others barely have the time to get anything done?

    Is it psychological? Is it poor time management skills?

    And what sacrifices are you making when you are too busy?

    We are all different when it comes to dealing with busy or stressful situations. Some of us thrive on the adrenalin rush of a short deadline and others require more preparation and may crumble under pressure.

    Know your limits

    There is also some of us, like myself, who have difficulty switching off and like to take on multiple projects at once, whether at work or in your personal time. But the best advice that I can give to this crowd is know your limits, because at the end of the day, if you are overworked and too busy, no one will be impressed by the amount of projects that you have on if you are unable to accomplish them because you have over-committed!

    Not sure what category you lie in? Well here are some common symptoms of those that are overworked and stressed:

    • Memory problems
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Poor judgment
    • Seeing only the negative
    • Anxious or racing thoughts
    • Constant worrying
    • Moodiness
    • Irritability or short temper
    • Feeling overwhelmed
    • Sense of loneliness and isolation
    • Nausea, dizziness
    • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
    • Frequent colds
    • Eating more or less
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Isolating yourself from others
    • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
    • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

    As individuals we need to be driven, we need goals and projects and challenges to keep us going. But we shouldn’t need to put ourselves in situations where we have ‘too much’ on our plates. And if it is too much, we need to say so. Admitting early on that you are not able to complete a task does not make you a failure, it allows you time to let management know what you are doing and it allows them to effectively delegate tasks amongst members of your team. Or you can even ask a team member to help, because working together as a team is important for development.

    Now I’m not saying that if you cut down on your workload that you won’t ever experience stress or feel overworked at some stage of your career. But if this is a daily habit then you have to consider the facts that it’s unhealthy for your physical being and your personal life.

    And if you keep using the line ‘I’m too busy’ as an excuse, it tends to fall in the same category as ‘my dog ate my homework’ when you were at school. Everyone is in the same boat and we are trying to make the time to see you, and they will only fall for that excuse so many times.

    Set a plan of attack

    A work routine can be like a fitness routine – We follow strong for the first few months then we can start to either lose motivation or we start to lose track of our initial goals. But at the same time a routine is so vital in order to achieve results! Especially when we are balancing multiple tasks, if we don’t set out the important/urgent tasks at the beginning of our day we will most likely get distracted and end up unprepared, disorganised and incomplete. In fact, we probably save ourselves more time setting out a plan for the day rather than entering our day worrying about everything we have to do and not having any sense of direction.

    Not only that but how can we expect to move up the corporate ladder or be trusted to manage tasks if we are unable to manage ourselves?

    So what goals have you set so far that you might have strayed away from this year? Do you think it may be time to re-evaluate these goals to find more of a work-life balance?

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