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  1. What to expect in a performance review

    April 14, 2015 by Jenna

    Performance reviews can seem intimidating and can make you feel anxious, but at the end of the day they are important in helping us develop and improve our performance. Whether you have been in an organisation for a few months or a few years, the performance review is inevitable. With correct preparation though, they don’t have to be scary.

    1. Be Prepared

    There is no harm in asking your manager ahead of time what to expect from the upcoming review. You can also ask fellow colleagues who have been at the organisation longer what they have experienced. Make sure that you are recording your work progress and achievements so that you also have something to present to management during the review process.

    1. Be Honest

    This is an opportunity for you to share with your manager your honest thoughts and opinions on your current workload and working environment. This means acknowledging if you are struggling in some areas and working with management on ways to resolve or delegate certain tasks. This is also an opportunity to shine and really show your manager where you are excelling (as long as you can back it up with examples).

    1. You are Part of a Team

    Remember that your performance review should not be just an opportunity for your manager to point out all of your failures. You should both be discussing how you are performing as an individual and a team member for the overall success of the company. If you have ideas or feedback to put forward on possible improvements or incentives for the team, now would be the time to do so.

    1. Know Your Accomplishments

    Don’t sell yourself short. A manager may not always be present during the time of an accomplishment and may ask you what you have contributed to the company so far. Don’t let it fall under the radar, even get a colleague or witness to verify it if it was a team effort or if it helped another person significantly. If you are a facts and figures type of person, present it to management with the data necessary to support your review.

    1. Be Open to Constructive Criticism

    These periodic assessments are provided to everyone in your team to help you improve. It is important to not take constructive feedback as though it is a personal attack or react in a defensive manner. Take the time to listen carefully to the feedback your manager has provided, and once you know they have stated all of the details, take the time to ask any questions about anything you may be unsure about. You can also ask what steps you can start taking to improve this area of feedback.

    1. Give Feedback

    There should be a point in the review session where you’re asked if you want to give feedback on your colleagues, your boss, or the projects you’ve worked on. Be honest, but professional with your feedback, especially about co-workers or the way a certain project has been organised. Don’t leave anything out, but at the same time provide value by offering suggestions for improvement instead of just complaining.

    1. Ask Questions

    Show that you were attentive and have initiative by asking questions at the end of the review on the next steps and areas of improvement. Be open to answer any questions provided by the reviewer as well. It’s a lot better to reflect on questions while the conversation is still fresh and even take notes on responses to reflect upon afterwards.

    If you’re honest and assertive in your performance review and know what to expect, you’ll leave your review with more positive motivation than ever.


  2. Writing a self-evaluation: Are you promoting yourself in the best light?

    November 25, 2014 by Jenna

    Self-evaluations are often used as part of a review process, either at the end of the probation period or as part of a performance review. They include providing a personal review of your workplace experiences and accomplishments to date. Many people find this process nerve racking. However, if you take the time to plan your evaluation properly it can be an enlightening and valuable experience for both you and your boss.

    Why do we write self-evaluations?

    Staff are asked to write self-evaluations for two main reasons; Firstly so that managers can get a staff members of perspective about working in the company or team; Secondly it gives you the opportunity to reflect on your experience in the role, your accomplishments and as well as areas for improvement.

    Where we fall short and how it should be viewed

    Errors can occur when individuals assume they need to answer the questions in the way they think their managers would like to see their review. They may also fail to ask for clarification on a question or subject or fail to elaborate when there is the opportunity.

    Sometimes the thought process of writing the review is a scarier process than actually writing it yourself and we can often put it off until the last minute.

    Self-evaluations should be a great opportunity to showcase your skills and display your best qualities as an employee.

    Take out some time in your busy schedule to block out distractions and take down points on what you have accomplished over this time period, you may surprise yourself!

    Benefits of writing a self-evaluation

    • Having your own voice: This is your opportunity to give an honest reflection of the work you have done for the company so far and outline how well you have accomplished your objectives.
    • Creating awareness: While management may provide you with assignments and tasks, they may not be fully aware of what other projects and tasks you complete regularly and what you are contributing to the company. It also increases your own awareness of what you are capable of and can build self-confidence.
    • Promoting your key skill sets: This is an opportunity to provide examples of when you had to use those skills to achieve outcomes. Perhaps even provide a list with dates to present with the document.
    • An chance to ask questions and seek feedback: Some potential questions you could ask might be: 1) Where do you see my role progressing? 2) Is there an opportunity for further training or mentoring in a particular field? 3) Are there any future goals or targets that I need to be aware of? 4) Do you see me taking on further responsibilities within my role?

     You also have to opportunity to provide feedback on your current working environment (what works and what doesn’t work). Perhaps you can even provide suggestions based on improvements within your work environment, show initiative.

    • Reflect on your personal development needs: While this can seem scary at first, establishing weaknesses can also open up the opportunity to discuss how management can best assist you to work on areas of improvement and how to further develop in that area you may be struggling in.
    • Building a closer bond between you and your manager/supervisor: By writing a self-evaluation, you can open up barriers and allow communication to flow more freely. Working collaboratively to achieve future goals and outcomes together as a team.

    Writing your self-evaluation

    Take the written evaluation seriously and consider the following:

    • Presentation – Check your spelling and grammar (as well as formatting – make sure the information flows well). If it appears like the work has been added in haste or looks rough around the edges, management may think you don’t take this process seriously.
    • Be specific when you can – include dates, examples, who you reported to (for validation) etc.
    • If there were problems or difficult situations, discuss the issue and provide feedback on possible solutions so that mistakes do not repeat themselves. Take responsibility and show your genuine interest in self improvement.
    • Re-establish your understanding of the role and how it ties to the goals and vision of your company/team
    • Highlight achievements, but make them relevant and try not to come across as arrogant or boastful.

    What feedback have you received before regarding the self-evaluation? What have you learned from writing your own evaluations?


  3. Productivity boosters no matter how busy you are

    October 21, 2014 by Jenna

    When you are trying to get ahead at work it is important that you are productive and show initiative. Sometimes that can be difficult when you are busy balancing multiple tasks and find yourself feeling physically or mentally drained. However, there are some simple steps that you can follow daily to help you to continue to perform at your best.

    So what are the easiest ways you can stay productive daily? I have reviewed the article 5 Instant, Effective Productivity Boosters for Busy People and provided my own advice on each point below:

    1. Put things where they belong.

    Sometimes it can be as simple as clearing the paperwork from your desk and removing unnecessary clutter. It is much easier to manage yourself if items are clearly set up on your desk or surrounding environment and are easily accessible when you need them. The great part is, it usually will only take you five to ten minutes to do so. Avoid letting mess build up as it only makes it harder to manage your workload. This includes, cleaning out your inbox and managing calendar appointments.

    1. Pause before saying, ‘Yes’.

    I used to have this problem and still do at times where I like to be a people pleaser and say yes to everything that is asked of me. The truth is, my manager and colleagues will not know how busy I am unless I advise them otherwise.

    Often people think that by saying ‘no’ you will be letting the team down. On the contrary, if you take on something that you do not have the time for, you will be letting the team down if you when achieve the deadline.

    Focus on the important tasks you already have in front of you, and only agree to commit to additional work if you believe you can realistically achieve the outcome.

    1. Make technology your friend.

    You may be on the go and may not be at your desk to see your written to do list. So manage your calendar, set reminders, read from a tablet or smart phone while on the morning commute. With so many different methods of accessing data you don’t have an excuse not to be able to organise yourself!

    Another tip is to be realistic about setting your appointment times, for example don’t set your appointments too close to one another if you know there could be transport delays or if you think the first meeting will run over time. You want to appear reliable to clients. If you are arranging the meeting, nothing is more embarrassing then arriving late!

    1. Stay hydrated and nourished.

    This is one point that is very important but we tend to overlook it. We think that by putting off our breaks we will reach our deadlines faster. While it may allow more time, your body requires fuel to perform, otherwise you reach a slump and turn into a zombie.

    If you want to minimise that amount of time you get up from your desk, keep a bottle of water and small snacks in the drawer of your desk so that you can continue to hydrate and provide energy bursts when you need it.

    Sometimes though, it is important to get up and go for a walk for 5 minutes to allow time to clear your thoughts and come back to the task with a fresh set of eyes.

    If you are not managing your health and well-being you not only feel bad, but you may miss important opportunities because you are not in the right mindset to do so.

    1. Implement just one change at a time.

    Set your to-do list so that you are tackling the important assignments first and tick them  off your list when you complete them. Some assignments will require more urgency than others and there is nothing worse than showing up with a half completed assignment because you were trying to accomplish five things at once.

    If you organise yourself and stay focused you will achieve a whole lot more.

    What do you find works and doesn’t work when you are trying to keep productive? Do you keep a daily list or routine? What can you recommend for others to try?


  4. 8 Ways To Get Ahead At Work

    April 8, 2014 by Jenna

    gold star

    Keeping your skills up to date is one of the key requirements for career progression, but it is only one piece of the puzzle.  Here are 8 more ways, outlined in WomansDay.com to get ahead at work:

    1.       Take on diverse assignments

    How often do you offer your assistance or ownership to new tasks? Letting fear of failure prevent you from doing a task will not help stretch you any further than where you are now.

    Perhaps there is an area of work that you are not familiar with or have not been trained on before. Why not take the opportunity to pair up with someone who is experienced in that field on a task and learn new skills? Management will appreciate your initiative to pursue new directions and learn about different sections of the organisation and roles of your team members.

    The more that you can get involved in at work, the more you are showcasing what you are capable of, and you never know what opportunities can open up as a result.

     2.       Put out fires before they start

    If you notice any potential conflict or errors on the horizon do not be afraid to speak up or use your initiative to try and solve the issue. This shows management that you can use good judgement in stressful situations and can be reliable in events when they may require an extra pair of hands.

    3.       Ask questions

    Many of us perceive the idea of asking too many questions as a sign of weakness or lacking the ability to follow instructions. In fact, you can save yourself a lot of heartache and potential problems occurring if you ask a lot of questions early on, especially when it comes to taking on new tasks or responsibilities. It is the role of management to train and guide you in the right direction, and if it appears that management may being going through a busy period find a point of contact within your organisation who may be able to steer you in the right direction.

    4.       Find-and learn from-a mentor

    While your manager can coach you on a current task, you can receive an incredible drive by directing your long term goals with someone. It is also a good motivator knowing that you have someone to be accountable to, who will follow up on your progress, whom you can receive advice from. A mentor can be anyone – a friend, colleague, or someone by mutual acquaintance (This links to a previous Challenge Consulting blog: Lessons I have learned from my mentor).

    5.       Get to the point

    Make sure when you are putting forward a new idea, proposal, and reason behind why you may want more responsibility that you keep to the point. Be confident with what you put forward and don’t waffle on. Management and colleagues will have other tasks that they also need to attend to, so they will appreciate it if you are a sharp shooter and don’t beat around the bush. Being more direct also shows that you taking the matter seriously and that you are looking for a more direct response.

    6.       Take control of your career path

    If you want advice on where to take the next step in terms of responsibilities and your career path, have you actively gone out to seek direction? Is management aware of your plans, motives, and goals? Have you set out a timeframe, follow up meetings, what training may be required? And are you following through on any feedback or advice that you may have been provided?

    Write things down, put reminders in your calendar, find your daily source of motivation and discipline yourself to follow through on what you have set out for yourself. After all, it is your life, only you can complete what you have started.

    7.       Mind your attitude

    Keeping an open mind to participate in any group or individual activity (or at least approach it with a smile) people will be more inclined to want to work with you or for you. Being proactive is much more beneficial than being a naysayer or complainer. You can use positivity to motivate others around you as well because having a positive working environment can be just as important as a positive mindset.

    There could also be a situation where you may not see eye to eye with a colleague or management on an issue at work. Instead of getting into an argument over the situation, address it sooner rather than later and try to collectively work together to find a solution. It is important in these cases to keep an open-mind and try to see the other person’s point of view.

    8.       Don’t boast about your accomplishments

    While it is important to inform management of your successes (and often we can be excited and wrapped up in the accomplishment) try not to extend every detail or repeat the same story over and over again.

    Accomplishments are important to take note of and keep on record, especially when times of review are approaching and you can specify what you have contributed to the company. Make sure you have a strong case if you are putting this forward to be considered for a promotion or salary increase. If management does not considered this a strong enough case at that point in time, make sure to ask the appropriate questions on how to get there, and if you can have a follow up meeting to discuss further opportunities.

    Have you followed any of these steps when it came to moving up in your career? If so, what direction did it take you? Was it where you expected it to go?


  5. Why it’s great to be a mentor

    July 1, 2013 by Jenna

    Have you been a mentor to others?

    Is it something that you have ever considered trying before?

    Last week I looked at the benefits of mentoring from the mentee’s perspective, this week we are reaching out to those that are more established in their careers to explore the benefits of being a mentor.

    To find out more about being a mentor and the value of providing mentorship I went straight to my mentor, Anthony Duckworth, an Events Team Leader at PwC who I attended the MEA Mentoring Program with a few years ago.I could tell Anthony enjoyed being a mentor because the moment I outlined that I was in a fairly new role in a new industry; he couldn’t help but ask me, ‘What next?

    I began the conversation by asking him why he initially volunteered his time to be a mentor. At the time of signing up to be a mentor Anthony was already working in a role that had a heavy emphasis on coaching others, but he had a real passion for helping individuals on a broader scale, rather than just individual assistance for their daily tasks.

    ‘Being a mentor for me is about passing it on – about reaching a point in my career (& life) and being able to turn my hindsight into someone else’s insight. Being a mentor is a privilege and is the most rewarding role I could be asked to play. Its a connection driven by a motivated mentee where no task based answers are sought – its more a relationship built on different perspectives, experiences and open dialogue.’

    For those of you who thought that a coach and a mentor were the same thing, I have listed similarities and differences below:

    Coaching

    • Task focus (current and future)
    • Skills and performance Focus
    • Empowerment and accountability for results is shared
    • Usually a line manager role
    • Agenda set with coach
    • Focus on short term (6-12 months)
    • Initiated by line manager
    • Coach provides solutions
    • Feedback to participant
    • Fosters co-dependence leading to independence
    • Deals with factual information
    • Promotes Self Esteem

    Mentoring

    • Discovery and development of capability and potential (future)
    • Empowerment of participants to develop their own abilities
    • Can be a non line manager role
    • Agenda set by participant
    • Focus on long term (1 year plus)
    • Initiated by participant
    • Solutions are set together
    • Feedback by participant
    • Fosters independence
    • Deals with feelings and factual information
    • Promotes Self Esteem

    While a coach is valuable for resolving on the spot issues and directing your current position and tasks, the mentor will be valuable in helping you decipher the ‘what if’ scenarios of your future and how you can turn those dreams into a reality.

    Can anyone be mentor? Of course!

    Anthony told me about his first mentor. Very early in his career, Anthony was attending a conference where one of the guest speakers really inspired him. He wrote a hand-written note in an attempt to make a connection with the individual. He had no idea whether he would get a response or not, but he used his initiative. The mentor was so touched by the hand written note that he shared this note with his family and he was very moved by Anthony’s personal touch. And would you believe it, Anthony still meets with this mentor to this day – many years later!

    So what is the value in becoming a mentor?

    For Anthony, the greatest reward is being energised by being with an individual who is eager to learn, motivated, enthusiastic and follows up.  Someone who can communicate, challenge you as a mentor through open questions and is genuinely seeking the mentor’s guidance. He feels that he is really able to help, but at the same learn so much himself through the process.

    This of course is all subject to the relationship that you build with a mentee, and as a mentor you must be as open and willing to build a relationship with your mentee as much as they are willing to seek you out for your support and guidance.

    And I can comfortably say that there are a lot of mentees out there, whether they are new to an industry or a recent graduate, and they may not even be seeking someone in the same industry, just someone who can provide them with a fresh, creative and wise approach to their future.

    I haven’t had a chance to be a mentor to others, but I can say that if I had the opportunity I would certainly take it.

    Do you have any stories about the benefits of mentoring or what you have learned from your mentor?


  6. What do you need from your manager?

    April 30, 2013 by Jenna

    In order to be effective team members, or to become effective team leaders, supervisors or managers, we first need the direction of a great leader.

    ‘Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.’ —Peter Drucker

    Have you had a great manager that stands out in your mind? How did they help you develop your career? Or perhaps you are currently a manager? Do you know what your team members need?

    Melissa Raffoni submitted a blog in the Harvard Business Review on Eight Things Your Employees Want From You (as the manager):

    1. Tell me my role, tell me what to do, and give me the rules. Micromanaging? No, it’s called clear direction. Give them parameters so they can work within broad outlines.

    2. Discipline my co-worker who is out of line. Time and time again, I hear, “I wish my boss would tell Nancy that this is just unacceptable.” Hold people accountable in a way that is fair but makes everyone cognizant of what is and isn’t acceptable.

    3. Get me excited. About the company, about the product, about the job, about a project. Just get them excited.

    4. Don’t forget to praise me. Motivate employees by leveraging their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses.

    5. Don’t scare me. They really don’t need to know about everything that worries you. They respect that you trust them, but you are the boss. And don’t lose your temper at meetings because they didn’t meet your expectations. It’s often not productive. Fairness and consistency are important mainstays.

    6. Impress me. Strong leaders impress their staff in a variety of ways. Yes, some are great examples of management, but others are bold and courageous, and still others are creative and smart. Strong leaders bring strength to an organisation by providing a characteristic that others don’t have and the company sorely needs.

    7. Give me some autonomy. Give them something interesting to work on. Trust them with opportunity.

    8. Set me up to win. Nobody wants to fail. Indecisive leaders who keep people in the wrong roles, set unrealistic goals, keep unproductive team members, or change direction unfairly just frustrate everybody and make people feel defeated.

    Does your manager know what you need to be successful?

    It is up to each of us to make our expectations and needs clear to our manager. While it may be an easier option to blame the boss when things go wrong, remember that management is also dealing with many other tasks on a broader scale and they too are human and make mistakes. And even while they may appear to be busy, it is important for you to approach them and provide feedback when needed. Taking accountability and showing initiative by taking action is part of the way we grow, both personally and professionally.

    Managers are not expected to be mind-readers however, when it comes to employee goals and expectations. In order for effective progress to be made, communication needs to be established between both parties to achieve company goals, personal goals and when processes/procedures need to finalised by (setting deadlines, follow up meetings etc.).

    Companies across Australia are about to be busy with Performance Appraisal Meetings – what feedback will give to your manager? What do you need to be most effective in your work?

    I personally need a manager that I can approach to ask questions or report issues to. Who can make the time to sit with me to discuss upcoming tasks. Not only that, but someone who can allow me to get the job done and make decisions on my own and I can report to back to if I have any questions/issues.

    If you set out your needs and management sets out their needs, it is then the process of collectively working together to achieve those goals and move forward. In order to work collectively however, you will need to consider the following:

    • Not all goals/strategies may be agreed upon when meetings take place. Certain goals may be put on hold to be re-evaluated at a later stage. However, take the opportunity to ask management to review this again if you are truly passionate about it and believe it will benefit the overall business.

    • Try to understand from a bigger picture where your goals tie in with the company goals. This will help you to understand management’s perspective and will help further build your bond between one another instead of creating a barrier.

    • You need to be adaptable and flexible with the feedback we are provided with. This needs to be taken into consideration from the manager and employee perspective, as you will both have the opportunity to share your opinions. Don’t take constructive feedback too personally. As one of my articles in this week’s news outlines, use feedback to your advantage.

    I have been in situations in the past where management has offered me the opportunity for advancement for hard work and effort, and I have also been advised on times where I needed to step up my game and it does leave you in a situation of vulnerability as negative feedback can feel like a personal attack. The shields go up and you may end up spending a long period of time reflecting on the negative instead of looking for positive solutions.

    Listening to management’s feedback and then offering feedback to work together towards a solution is the best way that I have found dealing with feedback and also getting my own needs met within any organisation. It could even be something like ‘further training’ required in a particular field or area of your job and you should never be afraid to ask, especially if it offers advancement within the company.

    Have you compiled a list of items that you would like to discuss with your manager? It’s never too late to do so. Take the time to assess the most important items or ones that require more immediate action. Also make sure to review what goals will overall benefit your career and the organisation as a whole.

    Are you prepared to take action and approach management about your needs/goals? You don’t need to wait until the performance review, and you can even arrange a meeting if you would like to discuss items in more detail. In order for changes to take place, someone needs to be the initiator, so why not take the stand and be the one to enforce it. You will feel better knowing that you took the steps to voice you needs rather then spending your days wondering ‘what if’?

    As a manager, what feedback have you received from your team? How did you handle this feedback and what did you provide to your staff in return?


  7. How To Ask For A Promotion

    April 9, 2013 by Jenna

    According to recent research, asking for a promotion ranks high on the list of one of life’s most anxiety-inducing activities. Do you think this is true?

    Most people agree that promotions are also one of the most vital things that you can do to move ahead in your career. But there is always that underlying question of when is the right time? Or even that subconscious fear of what if management says no?

    But with any increase in responsibility or salary, it is something that needs to be earned, not expected. Especially as a recent graduate stepping into the workforce, sometimes you have to start from the bottom and work your way up to get to that job of your dreams.

    For example, my cousin works for a law firm in the city and he puts his heart and soul into his work. When the opportunity arose for a chance to prove himself further within the company and be promoted to different section of the firm he didn’t hesitate. He came in to the office early, stayed back late, and pulled the extra yards needed. Needless to say I did not hear from him during the process as he had his priorities on showing management what he was capable of, but in the long run he got the promotion and we were able to celebrate together. He pushed through the challenges to win the goal. And he always takes on new challenges the same way.

    So you have put in the hard yards and worked above expectations, how do you go about asking for the promotion? Megan Alpern at Forbes outlines the following key tips:

    1. Do your homework – Assess what you have brought to the organisation so far and have it written down and prepared to present to management. Providing examples of how you have gone above and beyond can be very advantageous.

    2. Plan the Timing – As there is no perfect time to ask, however, a good time to ask may be when annual or semi-annual reviews take place. But also keep in mind the current economy within your team or department. Is your business struggling or thriving and is it a wise move to make the request now?

    3. Ask for the Meeting – Perhaps you are not near review time, you can request a meeting, but make sure to outline to management what you are hoping to discuss so that you do not catch them off guard.

    4. Know Your Numbers – It is best not to discuss numbers until you are technically offered the promotion, but make sure you are prepared to negotiate it if the conversation arises. And don’t sell yourself short!

    5. Follow-up – If you receive the promotion then you can go and celebrate, but if you don’t make sure you are not closing the conversation just yet. Assess what has been discussed and areas of improvement, and if conversations arise again in your department about a potential promotion later down the track, ask management if they would be willing to revisit the conversation again. They will appreciate your initiative!

    In the event of a less than favourable outcome, I am not saying that every request for a promotion will be accepted and there are a couple of other factors that you need to consider:

    • The answer may be no for now. Your current organisation or the economy may mean that you cannot be offered a promotion at this time. You may need to consider if you want to wait until things turn up or look for alternative employment. Alternatively, rather than stepping up could you take a sidewards step to take on new responsibilities or projects to develop the skills you may need in the long-term?

    • You don’t have the skills needed. Management may want you to pursue further training and development before considering you for this role. As we all need to continue to learn and grow, take this as a good opportunity to take on training as who knows where this could take you in the future.

    • Negative feedback – areas for improvement. Although this may be disheartening, keep in mind what feedback has been provided and start following the measures put in place to get past it. Then if the opportunity arises again, ask if you can revisit the topic of promotion.

    Have you been in the situation where you approached management for a promotion? If so, what steps did you take to do so and what was the feedback received?


  8. What Are The Top Skills That Employers Are Looking For?

    November 7, 2012 by Jenna

    Yesterday we all looked to pick a winner from the Melbourne Cup pack. Some of us used a form guide, recent success, and odds to guide our decision. Others looked at other, or more essential criteria, like jockey colours, name of the horse, or our lucky number.

    Just like our criteria for choosing a winning horse, employers have a set of top skills that they are looking for in selecting the best candidates for the job. Of course these specific criteria must change dependent on the job that needs to be filled.

    But there are 10 skills that employers are consistently asking for as their “top skills” in selecting a candidate, regardless of job.

    1. Communicate effectively – How well do you express yourself at work? How well do you communicate to others and management? Do you speak up and ask questions when learning new skills? Are your written and verbal skills strong?
    2. Great interpersonal skills – Getting along with co-workers effectively, try to maintain a positive attitude and be able to accept constructive feedback. How do you work effectively within a team?
    3. Learn new tasks willingly – Being willing to learn any new tasks. How do you demonstrate your initiative?
    4. Accept responsibility – Taking pride in your work and taking responsibility for your actions.
    5. Show flexibility – Covering on a previous blog topic, being able to adapt and be flexible with changes at work and your environment.
    6. Ability to meet deadlines – design, plan, organise, and prioritise workloads to achieve deadlines.
    7. Problem Solving – can you assess a situation from multiple perspectives? Obtain the information needed to identify the key issues that need to be considered? What types of problems have you faced in your work and how you have developed the best solutions?
    8. Make decisions – Independently and on behalf of a group. This is also a way of helping you prioritise your day and organise tasks effectively.
    9. Grow in the job – I find this one to be important as most managers are training their employees for growth in their industry with the potential to lead and guide others. Showing top performance and the desire to grow are quite desirable traits that employers often look for on a resume as well.
    10. Commit to the job – Can the employer depend on you to fulfil the role with dedication and enthusiasm? How have you demonstrated your previous commitment?

    Now this is only a guideline. By all means, if you do not possess all of these skills, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be put forward for jobs. But consider which of the skills that you have demonstrated in your career to-do-date. Do you have examples of these skills to share during interviews and on your resume?

    One thing that I would not recommend would be to include skills on your resume when you don’t have experience. Lying on your resume can come back to haunt you and can hurt your future chances of employment and it is not worth it when trying to get your foot in the door.

    You need to make sure to highlight the skills that you do currently possess, and if you do not have experience in a field (for example in leadership), be honest about it in your interview, but also demonstrate how you have shown initiative to grow your career in the past and take on leadership responsibilities within your previous jobs.

    So now you know the skills that employers are looking for in the perfect candidate. How will you demonstrate these skills in your next interview? How will you stand-out from the pack to take the winning position?

    Challenge Consulting also provide Career Guidance Services as well as CV Writing Services and if you would like further information please visit our website for details. We are also promoting a free copy of our Job Search – Tools, Tips and Tactics Booklet when you like our Facebook page and join our mailing list so make sure to check it out today!


  9. What characteristics make a top temp?

    July 12, 2011 by Jenna

    Last week, we asked our readers to vote in our online poll: “What is the #1 characteristic of a top temp?”

    The results were:

    – #1 = Reliability: 45%

    – Attention to Detail and Accuracy: 20%

    – Initiative / Proactiveness: 20%

    – A Can-Do Attitude: 15%

    – Ability to Work Under Pressure: 0%

    Of the myriad characteristics an employee can display in the workplace, being a temp is a whole different kettle of fish. The very nature of their work and the demands required of being a temp makes them a unique group of workers. The #1 characteristic voted for in our poll was Reliability – 45%. Definition: the quality of being dependable or reliable.

    Employers expect the temp to be there on time, every day, job-ready and keen to fulfill the requirements of the assignment to the best of their ability. Employers depend on the temp to achieve the tasks and responsibilities of the assignment for its duration all day, every day. For a top temp, there is zero tolerance towards slacking off or doing a so-so job. They take pride in doing a good job and making a real contribution to their host employer. No matter how small or big, they have made their mark.

    I asked our Temporary Recruitment Consultant, Melissa Lombardo, for her insights into the highs and lows of managing temp staff. She had this to say:

    “It is a great feeling to have a top temp as you are confident in placing them absolutely anywhere knowing they won’t let you down or jeopardise your reputation.

    When a temp lets you down, you can’t help but feel bad and that it is your fault, even though you did the best you could and ultimately have no control over people’s actions and behaviours! Added to this is the frustration of time wasted and having to start the process of sourcing a candidate and filling the job for a second time.

    My criteria for a top temp are as follows:

    1. Reliability and commitment to an assignment

    2. Honesty

    3. Returning phone calls promptly

    4. Warmth, friendliness and a smile

    5. Regarding a temp assignment as they would a permanent role, with 100% professionalism and commitment, and not a casual ‘oh this is just for a few days so who cares?’ attitude

    6. Flexibility – with pay, with job type and tasks, and with location – ‘Oh, I only work in the East, darling’ – No Thanks!!!!!!”

    Reliability is the cornerstone of being a successful temporary employee. A top temp is a valued and respected member of a team, regardless of how long they are a member of it.

    “Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.” Doug Larson




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