No mobile phone or email address?


Have you never owned a mobile phone or acquired an email address?  Are you a person doggedly resisting the technological age?  In terms of applying for jobs in the 21st century what will this say about you, will it impact on your job search outcome? The answer to that question is almost certainly a resounding yes. If your reputation is such that employers are beating a path to your door, you might get away with it … for the rest of us, it’s an enormous risk.

Resumes – Word or pdf Format?

Some debate exists around whether you should submit your resume in word or pdf format when applying online.  My contribution to the debate is, read the job advertisement thoroughly.  A significant number of ads state that your resume should be submitted in word format only.  This is one of a number of costly mistakes people make when applying for jobs.  If you are not submitting your resume in the requested format, not reading all of the material provided, not following the specified application instructions, or not downloading or requesting the position description, you are sabotaging your chances of success.

What do you not do, that you should be doing when applying for jobs?

Your knowledge, skills and abilities … are they competitive?

question-mark-96285_640Wanting to work in a particular job or field?  How do you find out what’s needed and whether your qualifications, skills, qualities and abilities are competitive?

Try reading lots of job advertisements and position descriptions from a range of companies. Talk to others already working in your target field and then come back to yourself and evaluate your existing knowledge, skills and experience.

So how do you go about it? Search for, and read a variety of job advertisements from across the country for the job you want.  Don’t just read local advertisements, as they will only give you a limited view, and you need to know standard requirements for the industry.  Compare position descriptions, how do they differ, how are they the same, what are the common threads across each document?  Talk to people working in the industry, how does their knowledge and experience fit with your research, how did they go about getting their job?  Lastly, explore your own history.  What have you done?  What skills and experience have you gained?  What challenges have you encountered and what are your achievements?  What do you have to offer that the industry wants?

When you have done all those things, ask yourself how you measure up, what you need to do to enhance your chance of success in applying for jobs in your target field.

Are you Resume ready?

question-mark-49958_640Online job sites are a great way for jobseekers to find job vacancies, near and far. Companies, businesses, organisations, large and small advertise vacancies on job sites. Some advertisements include closing dates for applications, some don’t.

What isn’t so great is a noticeable trend in advertisers removing their job vacancies before the closing date or within a few days of advertising. When asked why the advertised vacancy has been removed, the usual response is sufficient applications have been received.

In light of this trend, consider your current resume, that’s if you have one. Would you be remotely Resume ready should a job be advertised that you would like?


What will your referees say about you?

phone-2127_640The days of written references are gone and referees need to be carefully considered and chosen.  They also need to be individuals who are easily contactable by modern means.

In choosing suitable individuals to list as your referees, answers to the following two questions are essential.

  1. What makes a good referee
  2. And secondly, how can you make your referee’s job easier and more effective?

Before answering these questions important ground rules and details relating to referees need to be thought about.

  1. Never list a person on your resume as a referee unless you have sought their agreement to the role.
  2. Make sure you have a minimum of two referees with a number of additional people if possible to draw from.
  3. You will need the name, current role and employer, (previous role and employer as well if that is where they supervised you), their email address and the contact telephone numbers of their choice.  Make sure all details are kept up to date and correct if they have been on your resume for a while.

Now to the first question, what makes a good referee?

  1. They need to be someone who has supervised you, preferably in your current role, but if you don’t want your existing employer to know you are looking for another job, your immediate supervisor in your previous role.
  2. Use different referees for different job applications so that the best individual will speak to the specifics of the job you are applying for.
  3. If you are a school leaver approach your careers teacher or a supervisor where you undertook work experience.
  4. If you have been self employed and consequently don’t have supervisors who can assume the role of referee, look to your business associates who can speak to your work or characteristics, for example your business accountant, bank manager, a supplier or a satisfied repeat customer.
  5. The best referee will answer a resounding ‘Yes!’ without hesitation when asked the 64 million dollar question, ‘would you re-employ (insert your name here)?’ If you have any doubts they would answer with a resounding yes, use a different referee.

Secondly, how can you make your referee’s job easier and more effective?

  1. Speak to your referees about what you are doing, provide them with copies of the advertisements and position descriptions of the jobs you are applying for.
  2. Have a conversation with your referee and remind them how what you do or previously did, are connected to the job you are applying for.

And finally, in answer to the question of whether or not you should list your referees on your resume; there is no definitive answer.  Personally, I come down on the side of making the recruiter’s job easier and so I list referees on resumes unless otherwise indicated.

Over to you now, what do you think your referees will say about you, have you considered and addressed all aspects relevant to the role of a referee?  Are you making the most of this element of your job application?

The Hidden Job Market

hand-68952_640Depending upon who you listen to, it is commonly stated that about 80% of all jobs are filled word of mouth.  Imagine that for a moment …….. 80% of all jobs are never advertised.  Whether the statistic is accurate or not and while it raises questions about how these figures were arrived at, most recruiters acknowledge the existence of the hidden job market and can cite evidence of its existence.

So who are your contacts in this hidden job market?  The simple answer is they are your personal network which can include family and friends; friends of friends, current and former work colleagues, or even people in a church, sporting or interest group you might belong to. When asking people how they got their job, often you hear a comment like “I heard about it through a friend” or “someone I used to work with told me about it” or “I played golf with someone the other day who was talking about it.”

It is not uncommon to see resistance in people when you talk about this hidden job market, as they often feel uncomfortable about asking those closest to them if they know anyone who is looking for a worker. Some of the reasons for this include feeling embarrassed, a sense of failure, thinking that people will look down on them or that they can’t get a job on their own. It is worth remembering at this point just how many jobs are filled through word of mouth; it is far, far more common than you think. So try it, you might be surprised at the result and a little bit of embarrassment might be a small price to pay.

Then there is online networking, but that’s a whole other article!

Beware the Director of First Impressions!

So you have scored a job interview and on the designated day you arrive in plenty of time.  You present yourself at the front desk and it is there you have your first encounter with the Director of First Impressions, aka; receptionist, customer service officer, front of house; you know the people I mean. Directors of First Impressions are valued by intelligent employers and the cream of the crop is highly sought after.  They are often considered the face of the business being the first person customers or clients meet.   They are also the first person you as a potential employee of the business meet.

Have you ever been patronising, condescending, looked down upon the Director of First Impressions or called her love, sweetie or mate?  Have you missed out on the job and wondered why?   What you may not know or have thought about, is the power a Director of First Impressions holds in the recruitment process.   They can sometimes play a key role in whether or not you get the job.  This is because, unbeknown to you, they may have been asked to report to the interview panel on how you treated them when you arrived.  This report is taken seriously and can be seen as the true picture of you and who you will be within the organisation.  Potentially make or break!

6 Tips for School Leavers Looking for Work

If you are about to leave school and you need to find work, these 6 tips will help.

  1. When the school year is finished and you’ve had a good holiday then your job will be to get a job.  That’s right, treat finding a job as though it is a job.  Allocate set hours each day to your job search, be consistent and follow up.
  2. Have your resume and portfolio developed by a professional; they have the knowhow.
  3. Make sure your mobile phone has message bank, a professional message and that you have plenty of credit all the time; who knows who might be calling.
  4. If your email address is a bit out there or unprofessional, either change it, or get another email address just to be used for your job search and check it daily.
  5. Google your name and clean up your social media, employers are watching.
  6. Check out your wardrobe for interview clothes, beg and borrow from family and friends, don’t get caught short.

Core Resume Document

Many people with a significant career history come to me seeking assistance with their resumes.  Often the resume they submit for consideration to recruitment companies or in application for jobs is more like a novel than a resume.

The major mistake applicants make is in trying to tell the recruiter what they think they want to know rather than what the recruiter actually does want to know.  I think I have said before that a resume is not a one size fits all document.

I recommend to clients that they develop what I call a core resume, or master document that holds every ounce of information relating to their working life from day dot.   Then when applying for individual positions, use what is relevant from the core document to develop your resume for any given job.

Some of the clients I assist are fresh out of school, university or just completing apprenticeships.  I am encouraging them to develop and maintain these core resumes; to develop a mindset that includes this task as part of their working life.

It makes applying for jobs so much easier.