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  1. Interview Responses: Why did you leave your previous role?

    September 30, 2014 by Jenna

    Once you have been considered for the interview process, it is important to know that the employer or recruiter will ask questions to assess your suitability for the role.

    One of those questions they tend to ask is: ‘Why did you leave your previous position?’ Depending on your current situation there can be a variety of answers associated with this, but what answer will best get your foot in the door?

    I decided that it would be best to ask the experts in my team for their point of view when it comes to screening a candidate with this particular question. This was their feedback on suitable responses:

    • Looking for a new challenges/ Wanting more responsibility – You may have been excelling in your current role but the opportunity was not available to take on new challenges or move up in the company. You are taking on the initiative to pursue new options and take on more responsibilities.
    • Something different/ change of scenery – This is fine to admit, but not in the event that you are applying for a role that exactly matches the outline of your previous one.
    • Redundancy/Restructure – Of course this can be a sensitive subject but the recruiter can often relate to these situations.
    • Cultural change within the company – This can also be an acceptable answer, just make sure you try to be diplomatic and where possible try to avoid sounding too negative about the situation.
    • Career Change – if you have any transferable skills that you could bring to the new role it can always be advantageous to mention them.
    • The role became too demanding/long hours/not enough work-life balance – Think carefully before describing what ‘demanding’ or ‘long hours’ mean to you. Make sure it is relevant to why this new role is more appealing and fits with your career prospects.

    Do keep in mind there are also responses that should be avoided and this is why:

    • Being negative about a company or person within your previous employment – There may be circumstances where you have had a bad experience, however, how you relay this information is important. You don’t want to appear bitter about management or your previous work environment. Try to make your answer is more diplomatic rather than accusing.
    • A higher salary – Most managers/recruiters won’t hold this against you however, if it appears that money is the only driving force for behind you pursuing this role then the chances of getting this new position may be slim.
    • Not being able to give a valid reason – This can be a concern to the employer if you have a history of moving employment frequently. It may cause the employer to question your longevity in this upcoming role.

    Try preparing answers to these types of questions before the interview takes place so that you are not caught off guard. It is the employer’s way of trying to get to know you, what your interests/passions are, and whether you are the right fit so make sure to put your best foot forward.

    What have you learned from these types of questions in an interview? And for employers, what are some of the responses you have received from star candidates?


  2. Interview Horror Stories – A recruiter’s tale – By Melissa Lombardo

    August 4, 2014 by Jenna

    Interviews can be scary. For some, it’s comparable to the shower scene from Psycho or being trapped in the hotel from The Shining.

    Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating.

    Conversely, sitting on the other side of the desk can be just as horrifying. If I had a dollar for every time a candidate didn’t meet some of the basic ‘interview 101’ requirements, I would be as rich as Stephen King.

    Hold on, I know what you’re going to say … and I get it. Interviews can be nerve racking, uncomfortable and just plain awful. Therefore it can be difficult for some to shine at the interview and demonstrate that they are the best person for the role. However, after the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted, I’m still amazed at how many candidates still get the basics wrong.

    If you don’t repeat these horror stories, you’ll be way ahead of the pack.

    1. You don’t need to follow fashion but the outfit counts. Prepare your outfit the night before. Make sure it is clean, ironed and appropriate for an interview. For corporate roles this means no purple tights, sneakers, doc martins and Kermit green suits (I’ve seen it all. And hey, you shouldn’t be wearing Kermit green suits anyway!). If unsure, keep it conservative.

    2. Cleanliness is next to godliness. First impressions are made quickly. Have a shower or take a bath, whatever floats your boat. Don’t forget to wash and comb your hair, clean your nails and brush your teeth. Am I sounding like your mother yet?

    3. Don’t bring your lunch. I know it’s nearly 12pm and it’s almost sandwich o’clock but please don’t bring half a loaf of sliced bread to the interview and plonk it on the table (yes this really happened). Further to this, try not to eat a heavy lunch prior to the interview which might make you burp consistently throughout.

    4. Know your CV. Remember that job you did last year? If you have a memory of a goldfish go through your CV before the interview to ensure you know your dates and responsibilities. It doesn’t look professional and authentic if you have to consistently refer to your CV during the interview.

    5. Is common courtesy dead? Be respectful and friendly. I once opened the door for a candidate who greeted me rather rudely, but as soon as she realised I was interviewing her, her attitude immediately shifted.

    6. Ego at the door? Check. A good interview does not consist of you telling me about every single achievement you’ve had since Year 4, the moment we sit down. You may be an accomplished individual but it’s not necessary to dramatically take off your solid gold ring, place it on the table and tell me how much it costs (true story, which he followed up by also showing me his pilot’s licence which was also irrelevant for the role). Remember to be patient and wait for your turn to speak. There will be a chance for you to speak about any relevant achievements you have made.

    7. Why are you difficult? I know filling out forms can be annoying and answering competency questions tiresome but, most companies have an interview process. And if you choose to make a fuss “because all that information is on my CV” then you’re just proving to be a challenging, uptight and a demanding person. Who wants to work with one of those!

    8. Don’t be like Debbie Downer. If you don’t know who she is click here. I know that interviewing is tough, particularly when jobs in the market are scarce but don’t bring a negative or desperate attitude to the interview. I once interviewed a candidate who was so bitter throughout the entire interview she was muttering things under her breath. I just had to give her constructive feedback – which was to be more positive at interviews. Let’s just say she didn’t take this well and any sympathy I was feeling for her ended there.

    9. Robots have no personality. Be human. Yes you need to be professional, but don’t overdo it (I often see this in young Graduates trying to make a good impression). I want to see your personality and don’t need to hear your over rehearsed or textbook answers.

    10. Blah Blah Blah Blah. Please don’t waffle. If your answer goes beyond two minutes it’s more than likely I’ll be thinking about whether I feel like fish or chicken for dinner. Be concise and make sure you’re answering the question that has been asked.

    Rather than creating the next scene for Wolf Creek 3, prepare and use some common sense and you just might come out the other side alive. Oh and most importantly, you may nab your dream job and create your own Happily Ever After.


  3. How do you currently look at feedback?

    June 24, 2014 by Jenna

    When we seek reviews and feedback on our performance and productivity it can feel like we are leaving ourselves open to whatever comes our way. It can make anyone nervous. We work hard and we strive to achieve goals. We want to be recognised for our hard work, but we often forget that feedback isn’t just about praise. We need to remember that feedback is a stepping stone. To lead us towards our future because we need direction, counselling and encouragement to grow.

    Personally I am not one who likes to be told what I can improve on. I find it hard emotionally and I don’t think that I am the only one. When constructive feedback is given it can lead to any of the following reactions:

    • Self-defeat
    • Lack of motivation
    • Defensive/Argumentative Behaviour – ‘It isn’t my fault, these other factors got in the way…
    • Low Morale
    • Stress or Anxiety

    Luckily, as I have gained more experience at receiving feedback, I am now more aware that the initial feeling is only temporary. In the long term I gain so much more from valuable feedback. This is what I have learned from my experience:

    The value in seeing another perspective

    Sometimes I can be so focused on a task that it can be hard for me to broaden my mindset and approach it in a different way. I find it valuable to seek feedback, if I am struggling to reach my desired outcome I can gain alternate ways to find a solution. Asking for feedback is NOT a weakness!

    We all have different talents and areas of expertise, so if you are asked to approach a task in a different way don’t take it to mean ‘your way isn’t good enough’. Take it as an opportunity to challenge yourself to try something new.  In turn, you can provide feedback on whether or not it worked for you.

    Setbacks don’t mean you have failed, it just means you’re not there yet

    For example, you may have been in a role for a while and want the opportunity for a promotion. You go through the whole process of presenting it to management feeling 100% confident to only find the feedback to be ‘We don’t have anything suitable for you to step up into at this time.’ You may also be told that you require more training before moving ahead into a role of greater responsibility.

    Remember, this does not mean that you have failed. Be aware of your workplace environment. If your manager turns down the opportunity at that time, ask for some specific feedback on why and then ask if you can approach the conversation at a later time. There could be structural changes, budget cuts and a variety of other issues that you are not aware of that could be influencing that decision. It doesn’t mean another door will not open later on.

    Don’t dwell on what you can’t control and focus on what you can 

    As addressed previously I can find it difficult to accept constructive feedback. I can take it personally. Based on experience I can only recommend that you do not dwell on the feedback as a negative and have it replay in your head again and again as a sense of defeat. This will only increase stress levels and anxiety and further distract your productivity levels.

    It is important to ask the person providing feedback for specific examples, show accountability for any issues (after all, any role of leadership requires someone to take responsibility), and brainstorm solutions for the future.

    Any great leader will have a story about something they didn’t succeed at. It’s human nature to make mistakes. But it is what we do once we are made aware of this that will define our future endeavors.

    Lastly, make sure you request feedback on a regular basis. It shouldn’t be a one off request. We are constantly learning new skills, approaches to work and experience. Not to mention the more experience we gain through feedback, the more confident we will become to pass on our feedback and experience to others.

    What feedback have you received that has lead you to where you are today? What did you learn from the experience?


  4. New role in leadership – Tips on leading your team

    May 13, 2014 by Jenna

    Learning to be an effective leader takes time. All of the great leaders we have come to recognise and revere had to learn and grow their skills over time.

    If you want to pursue a role in leadership you need to understand that your prime responsibility is to your organisation, your team and your clients. So how can you devise an effective leadership strategy to keep your team moving on the path towards success?

    While doing research on the topic I found an article on Career Realism that outlines 5 Tips For Good Leadership Skills:

    1. Communication is key
    Communication is important for many reasons – it builds connection and relationships between other colleagues and team members, it expresses ideas clearly and it also creates an open environment for others to express their ideas. It’s important that others know what is required of them, and if employees and colleagues feel like they can openly approach you to communicate on issues this will create a sense of trust.

    2. Wrong can be right
    Encourage creativity amongst your team and try different approaches to help your organisation reach success. If the idea fails, it is important not to discourage individuals to not input ideas but to instead assess what worked and what didn’t work to come up with plausible outcomes for the future. Keep inspiring others to think outside the box and work together to come up with new solutions.

    3. Look into the future
    Every great leader has a vision, and setting a plan into motion with your team is valuable to help you reach these goals. Make sure to meet with your team to share your vision and establish with each person his or her part to aid in the completion of the objective. This will not only keep your team members motivated but also accountable for their tasks and willing to work together for the overall outcome.

    4. Passion is contagious
    If a leader is enthusiastic and believes in their work, others can’t help but be enthusiastic to partake in the project. This also includes recognising and outlining the hurdles that the team may encounter as well so that they can try and prepare themselves for what lies ahead. Keeping up the enthusiasm and a positive attitude however will keep the momentum going regardless of what stages your business will encounter.

    5. Know Yourself
    This involves identifying your own strengths and weaknesses. It may also be best that while in early stages of the role you keep record of the goals/tasks that you have set out (or even making an important decision) and re-evaluate the outcome in nine to twelve months’ time. It is important to pinpoint where you and your team have excelled and where you may have fallen short for improvements to be made for the future. Did your course of action meet expectations?

    For current managers, do you find these points effective for potential new leaders? And for recently appointed leaders, what steps are you following to grow and develop yourself as well as your office team?


  5. Is a Career in Financial Planning really for you? – By Lauren Eardley

    May 2, 2014 by Jenna

    As a Specialist in Finance Recruitment, I screen hundreds of resumes a day from people looking to break into the Banking and Finance industry. My inspiration for this blog comes from a trend I have noticed recently. That is there has been a significant increase in the number of people looking to break into one specific area: Financial Planning.

    The RG146 qualification has become more prevalent on resumes even for applications to roles which are not related to Financial Planning. This inspired me to uncover my candidate’s motivations and understand; what is so attractive about Financial Planning?

    The vast majority of candidates I speak to are recent graduates in the field of Business, Commerce, Finance or Accounting. Financial Planning is one of many paths that a graduate from these subjects can choose to go down. Based on my research and insights, a candidate’s attraction to Financial Planning can be summarised into three main points:

    • An opportunity to use their degree and pursue their field of interest
    • Personal Financial reward
    • The opportunity to directly help people with their financial goals

    So how fulfilling is Financial Planning in reality? I spoke to Bill Gilroy, Ryan Sparks and Gabrielle Bell of Ipac Securities to get the inside story on how to get into Financial Planning and what to expect.

    Both Ryan and Gabrielle are relatively early in their Financial Planning careers; they both studied Business and Commerce at University and were successful in gaining experience from a graduate program: one with Macquarie Bank and the other with Dixon Advisory. Their initial attractions to the industry were much the same as those of most of the candidates I spoke to; with the main motivation being the opportunity to help people. Working with Ipac securities has given them firsthand experience of Financial Planning beginning with a specialism and more recently branching out into more holistic advice.

    They advised that the type of Financial Planning you go into depends on your own choices and the type of firm you work with. You could specialise in a certain area of advice such as investments, insurance, retirement preparation, tax management or Self-Managed Super Funds, or offer more holistic advice. There is a stigma that Financial Planners are all about sales however the recent FoFA legislative changes which came about mid-2013 have meant enhanced clarity on charges for advice and products. This has put greater emphasis on Financial Planners actually helping their customers achieve their financial goals rather than product placement.

    As a Financial Planner, the salary and bonus structure can vary dependent on the company you work for. Some Financial Planners receive a base salary with a modest incentive structure others will place more emphasis on a generous commission structure. Both create very different cultures within a firm so make sure to find a structure that matches your motivations.

    Gabrielle and Ryan’s best bits of the job were centered around engaging with people and using their privileged position to be able to understand their situation and provide a solution. They both enjoy the personal aspect of the role, being empathetic to a client’s needs but remaining professional. They have flexible working arrangements and are happy with their remuneration structure.

    Any negatives? Pressure; being responsible for a client’s finances, particularly following a redundancy or the loss of a loved one can be intense. It is important to maintain an emotional distance from a client’s situation and provide impartial advice.

    Overall the expectations and reality explored for this article were closely matched. Working as a Financial Planner is rewarding. This comes with a caveat however; the industry is broad and there are a wide variety of firms out there all operating in very different ways, with different salary structures, cultures, specialisms and motivations. It is up to you to work out where your strengths and motivations lie to allow you to become the most successful Financial Planner you can be.


  6. Want to be more productive?

    April 22, 2014 by Jenna

    Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.

    –          Paul J. Meyer

    We all need productivity; it is the driving force in our lives that leads to the results we want. Being productive encourages us and motivates us to strive for something better and to be better. But there can also be times when we say to ourselves, ‘I could be more productive than this,’ or ‘How can I be more productive?

    For those of you that need a productivity boost, here are some helpful things to consider from an article I found on Careerealsim:

    1. Time Management

    Find those peak times of the day where you feel most productive to get the important tasks accomplished. For example, if you feel more refreshed in the morning, take that opportunity to utilise your energy and show your personal best.

     2. Exercise

    While it can be hard to find the motivation to exercise, once you begin a routine you will see the benefits. Not only does exercise make you look and feel better, but once you reach that level of accomplishment it creates momentum for you to strive for further achievement in your daily life. Plan a time that works for you, whether it’s before work, in your lunch break, after work or just planning outdoor activities on the weekends.

    3. Being Reactive

    While multi-tasking is a great skill to have, if you are the type of person that accepts each tasks and hops from project to project, chances are you are not going to be very productive. Taking on too many projects at once can also increase stress levels and be very bad for your health.

    Take charge of one task and complete it before moving on to the next one. This will make you more productive and appear more reliable to management when it comes to allocating future tasks.

    4. Priority List

    It is very important to establish what needs to be accomplished first and what urgently needs to be focused on so that you can manage your time and tasks better. If you don’t prioritise, the tasks will most likely run you. Establish time-frames, set it out in your schedule, avoid distractions and get it done! This can also apply to tasks that you may not necessarily favour the most, if you get them done early, then you won’t dread having to do them at the end of the day.

    5. Setting Boundaries

    This links to the priority list, and will vary for every person. But if you want to focus 100% on the task at hand you can set out boundaries so that you are not interrupted during that period of time. For example, you can try not taking phone calls for an hour, or if you are in sales, allocate 10 calls you need to make within the hour etc.

    If management or a supervisor approach you to ask you to complete another task, make sure to advise them of your current workload and availability. It is better that they are made aware of your workload so that they can advise you on how urgent the task is. It will also give them an indication on whether you currently have the capacity to complete it or if they need to delegate the task elsewhere.

     6. Commuting and Traffic

    Delays commuting to and from work can vary, so try assessing timetables and possible scenarios the night before to avoid being late for morning projects. Taking that extra time to plan and get in earlier will save the stress and anxiety you would feel if the worst case scenario were to happen.

    Some organisations may even provide you with the opportunity to work from home if you can access your emails and database remotely.

    What are some of your routines that help you stay more productive at work? What steps have worked and what didn’t work?


  7. 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?


  8. How To Be A Top Performer In A Panel Interview

    April 1, 2014 by Jenna

    The interview process is becoming more and more thorough. There are often two or even three rounds before you are contacted and confirmed successful or not.

    If you receive the call to attend a panel interview, what goes through your mind? Lots of individuals find this process quite intimidating; however, that is not the intention of the employer. If you will be working in a department where you need to report to more than one person, it can be quite beneficial to meet all members of the team beforehand. You can also find out what their expectations are of the individual they want for the role.

    As with any interview process, there are ways to prepare and present yourself successfully in front of a panel.  I found an article on Careerealism that outlines these five steps:

    1. Direct Your Attention To Each Person On The Panel:

    Make sure you introduce yourself to everyone on the panel and engage with eye contact. Positive body language is important as well as showing each individual that same level of respect and attention. Even make a note to write down their names if need be to avoid awkwardness if you need to address them for questions afterwards.

    I tend to have this problem if I am in a group with people that I don’t know very well. I tend to give eye contact to just one person when I am talking. If you are the same, try and be aware of this and shift your focus to each individual in the room. Project your answers confidently to the whole group, and don’t forget to smile when you can!

    2. Expect To Repeat Yourself

    As you will be dealing with new people in the panel interview, you may find that you have to repeat some of the information from your first interview. It is to be expected. The panellists want to get to know you, understand your skill sets and how they will apply to their department and the role you are applying for.

    3. Find Out Who You Will Need To Impress The Most

    As every individual in the group is different, there may be some panellists that you need to work a little harder at impressing or winning over. It shows your ability to work with all different types of people and also how to problem solve on the spot.

    Make that pitch count, be clear and precise and do your best to make a lasting impression. If you are able to appeal to the toughest member of the group it may help influence the other members of the panel to look in your favour.

    4. Be Prepared For At Least One Zinger Question

    With most interviews there will be a question that puts you on the spot for various reasons. It can also feel a lot harder to address it to a group of people as opposed to a one-on-one interview. Take the time to brainstorm some difficult questions and practice your responses. This will help you to relax and address these questions in a confident, composed manor.

    5. Thank All Participants Promptly

    Similar to the first step, make sure you address each interviewer at the conclusion of the interview. Shake hands, thank them personally, and even collect business cards if you haven’t done so already.

    You can use the business cards to your advantage if you send a prompt thank you email to those that attended the interview. This will help keep you fresh and memorable in their minds and also shows a level of professionalism.

    Have you attended a panel interview before? What steps did you take to prepare for it? And what was the overall outcome?

     


  9. Considering a Career Change?

    March 25, 2014 by Jenna

    The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them. – George Bernard Shaw

    Change can either enhance the direction of your career goals and aspirations, or it may take you in the opposite direction. If you find that opportunities for advancement may extend to areas other than your current field of work, have you ever considered a career change?

    While researching this topic I came across an article by Grace Owen called How To Set Yourself Up For A Successful Career Change using six C.A.R.E.E.R. tips:

    Tip 1: Clarity – Where do you want to go next in your career?

    Take the time to sit in a quiet room and narrow down what career paths you would like to take to prepare for the transition. Write down your passions, what you have enjoyed over the years. Reflect on what your skill sets are and more importantly your transferable skills that can be of advantage to any industry.

    By steering yourself into a direction, it will help motivate you to pursue the planning process further and start taking action. For example, updating your resume and making contact with recruiters and professionals in the industry you are hoping you apply for.

    Tip 2: Attitude – Is your glass half full or half empty

    How you feel about your career and working life can lead you to feeling powerless or powerful. It is important to consider that first impressions count, especially when you are on the pathway to a new career. A person who projects confidence and enthusiasm towards a desired role are memorable during an interview. Whereas bitter comments or negative behaviour can often come back to haunt you.

    So be self-aware and let the best part of you shine, after all, you are competing with other talented candidates.

    Tip 3: Relationships – What kind of network do you have?

    Your network, personal and professional, is a valuable source of expertise and advise. It is vital that the people that you need are in place.

    How often are you keeping in touch with your contacts? Do you meet for coffee, attend networking events you even contact them on the phone?

    Word of mouth can be a great way to find out about availability in the job market and your contacts can help open the door for you by providing introductions to different industries. Maintaining your relationships are very important so make sure you are putting in the time and effort to meet the needs of others and they will in turn support you.

    Recruiters, such as Challenge Consulting, are also available to help tailor your search to the industry that you hope to pursue. We also provide Career Guidance programs and Online Skills testing so that you can be aware of your options and results.

    Tip 4: Equipped – Are you investing in your own learning and development?

    By updating your skills, talents and knowledge, the more you will have to offer to potential employers.

    If you are interested in a certain industry or role that requires additional skill sets, why not take a course to familiarise yourself? You can then include the course results on your resume.

    Take the time to evaluate what you currently know and see if there are any areas for improvement. If there are, what steps do you need to take?

    You can also gain knowledge through reading, keeping up to date with industry news, seeking advice from a mentor etc. You are never too young or too old to keep learning something new.

    Tip 5: Excellence – What does excellence in your work mean to you?

    Putting your best foot forward in everything you do is important because you can gain the most from each experience. Whether the results are successful of pitfalls, each experience is something that you can pass on to others to motivate them to pursue their dreams. It is also valuable information to pass on to interviewers when it comes to providing examples on certain situations or aspects of your career.

    If pursuing a new career is definitely the avenue you want to take then you need to be proactive and follow through completely on the process to achieve your desired outcome.

    Tip 6: Reflection – Are you taking care of yourself?

    We all have a lot on our plate, but if we are not finding enough balance by getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising or getting fresh air, we can become sluggish and may not be performing at our best.

    Finding that balance is important and may require you to cut out bad-habits to achieve better results. Having a clear head and being refreshed can also help you focus on your options and make more accurate decisions in regards to your future career prospects.

    Have you undergone a new career change? Where did it take you? What was the overall outcome of this decision?


  10. Soft skills that you can apply in almost any role

    March 11, 2014 by Jenna

    As a jobseeker, you will find that your soft skills (people skills) are just as important as tertiary qualifications and hard skills (typing, mathematics, reading comprehension and software training). Employers are looking for roles to be filled and they are often high in demand so you really want to stand out from the competition.

    I found an article by Alison Doyle of The 7 Most Important Soft Skills an individual can have:

    1. Acting as a team player – Team work is very important within most organisations. While independent work is also vital, you need to make sure you can cooperate with others around you (this can also mean finding common ground with someone that you may not always see eye to eye with) and also take on a level of leadership when required.

    2. Flexibility is a valuable asset – Employees that are able to adapt to any situation can be reliable if anything is thrown their way. This can also mean being resilient to change in the workplace. The more experience you can gain making executive decisions and reacting to situations when needed, the more you can take on when you start taking steps forward in your career.

    3. Effective communication is paramount – Not being afraid to ask questions or share feedback when needed. You also need to articulate yourself well, be a good listener after you have spoken and use appropriate body language.

    4. Problem-solving skills and resourcefulness – During an interview, recruiters will ask you to name a point in time where you had to solve a problem or you were in a stressful situation and needed to resolve an issue. Do not be afraid to be specific and give examples. It is important to also not be afraid to raise your hand or offer to take charge to help resolve an issue if you feel confident that you have a solution.

    5. Accepting feedback and applying lessons learned – We all enjoy being recognised for our strengths, but we also need to be willing to regard feedback in terms of areas of improvement. Not only do you need to listen to the feedback but apply action and take steps for professional growth/development.

    6. Confidence is key – The only way you can contribute new ideas, opinions, projects and feedback in an effective way is through confidence. This skill can be developed over time, but you need to be confident in yourself to deliver in order to see results.

    7. Creative thinking – I think we all have creative ideas and ways of approaching tasks, it is just the matter of whether or not we share those ideas. It creates innovation and increased efficiency, and also showcases to managers what you are capable of.

    When it comes to the interview process, make sure to review the job description so when the recruiter asks you to relate to a situation, you can make specific reference to your hard and soft skills that would be appropriate to the role.

    What do you do once you land the role that you want? When the opportunity presents itself, showcase these skills, show the manager what made you a stand out in the interview to begin with. Action speaks louder than words.

    How many of the soft skills listed above can you apply to yourself?

    As an employer are there any additional soft skills that you look for in potential candidates?




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