Will a potential employer really look me up on social media?

Short answer. Yes, yes they will!!

The majority of employers will now check a potential employee’s online presence during the hiring process. So it’s a good idea to do a bit of research on yourself, find out what they are going to see and make sure that’s something you want to future boss to see!

  1. Google yourself

This is the first step! Find out what comes up when you google yourself and what you might need to change. Make sure to check the photo section! If there is anything that might make you look bad in the eyes of a future employer, get rid of it. If in doubt, chuck it out!

  1. Check your privacy settings

Login to all of your accounts and double check your privacy settings. If you are using social media primarily for personal reasons, it’s a good idea to have a private profile, so only friends can view what you post.

  1. Showcase your skills

If you are able to photograph or write about skills relevant to your job, think about having a public account specifically for this use. Allow it to be searchable and consider putting links in your job application.

  1. Maintain an appropriate online presence

Even once you’ve got the job, it’s still important to remember to be careful about what you are posting online and who is able to see it. Most companies will have a social media policy, so it’s a good idea to find out what it is and make sure what you are posting is in line with your company’s policy.

  1. Be careful what you write about work

Don’t bad mouth your previous employer or job on social media channels. And especially don’t bad mouth your current employer. There’s no quicker way to get yourself hauled into the HR office!

Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it (and if you have a tech-savvy grandmother like mine who will actually see it), don’t post it on social media!

Written by our social media guru, Tracey. If you need help checking your social media for your job search, make an appointment to see Tracey or one of our helpful advisors.

Planning a career change? Then you need a killer resume!

Imagine you’re a Construction Worker. You have spent the past 20 years working on construction sites in a variety of roles and want a change. You spend several months thinking about your strengths, what you want out of your next role and finally, having taken these and your financial obligations into consideration, have decided to become an Aged Carer. You complete the Certificate III in Aged Care and are ready to start applying for jobs in your new field. You quickly add your qualification to your current resume and are ready to go.

Or are you?

The answer is emphatically no – your resume needs far more of an update than just that. It may sound harsh but in the world of recruitment you are a product and your resume is the marketing tool by which you will need to convince employers to “buy” you. It needs to show employers that you are not only a perfect fit, but the only fit for their needs.

Before updating your resume you need to have a clear picture of what your “brand” is, what image you are trying to present to prospective employers. This image needs to not only be in line with the requirements of the role you are applying for but also be consistent throughout all of your application documentation.

But how do you do this?

  1. Attitude adjustment

The first thing to do is adjust your thinking about who you are and what you have to offer an employer. In the above example the Construction Worker will most likely view themselves as just that, and their focus will be on their skills and experience that are relevant to the Construction industry rather than the Aged Care industry.

  1. Skills, skills, skills

Given you are unlikely to have much practical experience in your new career you need to highlight the transferable skills you can bring to the role – i.e. those skills you have developed in one aspect of your life that are relevant to your new industry. Some examples of highly sought after transferable skills are communication, reporting, organisation, team work, accountability and attention to detail.

  1. Re-arrange

Be flexible in the order your present the information in your resume. You don’t have to list your employment history first, instead you should list whichever section is most relevant to your new career first. This may be volunteer work you have been undertaking or a qualification you have recently commenced/completed.

  1. Treat your education with respect

Speaking of qualifications, if you have undertaken training to move into a new career you can, and should, treat it the same as previous positions you have held. How? As you would list your responsibilities for that position, list the skills developed/practical experience gained during the training:

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  1. Context is your friend

When listing your employment history highlight the related duties/achievements that are most relevant to your new career. Then put them in the context of those transferable skills we discussed earlier. Identify the terminology used in your new industry and use it to replace any jargon from your old industry (e.g. if you previously worked in retail and are moving into community services you use “clients” rather than “customers”).

Remember, everything in your resume should be presented as it relates to your new industry and not your old industry.

  1. Keep it relevant

Sometimes it’s more about what you leave out of your resume than what you include. Going back to our Construction Worker, among his training he will have obtained a White Card and several licences. These have no relevance to an Aged Carer position and thus should be left off his resume.

What should be included, however, is the First Aid Certificate he completed as this is something that would of benefit to an Aged Carer.

The moral of the story? Make sure you are only including information that is relevant to the role you are applying for.

Written by our resume queen, Christina. If you are making a career change and need help with how to tailor your resume, make an appointment to see Christina or any of our helpful advisors.

Top 5 Resume Tips!

In today’s competitive job market finding a way to stand out among the scores of other candidates is getting harder, especially when some employers will spend as little as 6 seconds reviewing your application.

So how exactly do you make your resume so amazing that an employer simply can’t help but notice it? No, the answer does not involve glitter and pictures of unicorns – it’s much easier than that!

1. Tailor your resume

When reviewing resumes employers want to know one thing and one thing only – does this applicant have the skills and abilities to be successful in this role? They don’t care about where you went to high school 10 years ago, the incomplete qualification you started in a completely different field or your marital/health status.

Your job is to make sure that your resume contains only information that is relevant to the role you are applying for and is presented in a way that is clear and easy for the employer to read. The best place to start is by carefully reviewing the job ad and/or position description (if applicable). This will help you gain an understanding of exactly what the employer is looking for and which of your key skills/experiences you need to draw attention to.

2. Keep it short and sweet

The ideal length for a resume in Australia is 2 pages. If you are having trouble sticking to this length, one easy way to save space, particularly if you have a comprehensive work history, is to only go in to detail of what the role involved for positions you have held for the past 15-20 years. For roles held prior to that time frame you can simply list the position titles and employers (no dates required) under the heading “Positions held prior to (relevant year)”.

You want to ensure that the layout of your resume helps the employer find whatever information they are looking for as quickly and easily as possible. To do this, make sure there is lots of white space, that your sections (e.g. Summary, Employment History) are clearly defined and that you use dot points throughout.

3. Mirror the language used in the job ad/position description

Not only will this help get your application past any Applicant Tracking System (ATS) the employer may be using, it is also an easy way to draw their attention to your suitability for the role. For example, if the job ad asks for someone with the “Ability to maintain up to date documentation” then highlight when previous roles have involved this (e.g. you may have as a responsibility “Created and maintained up to date documentation outlining the department’s Customer Service policy.”)

If the requirements of the role involve specific technical experience or software, and you have that experience, make sure you use the exact same wording in your resume as is in the job ad. There is always a risk that the person reviewing your application does not have any experience in that role and has simply been given a checklist of skills/experience to shortlist against. If, for example, you were applying for a role that involved welding, the person shortlisting may not have the technical background to understand that your experience with MMAW (manual metal arc welding) is the same as having experience with SMAW (shielded metal arc welding).

4. Always include a cover letter

I really can’t stress enough how important it is for you to include a cover letter with your resume – even if the job ad does not ask for one. Not only is this your chance to inject some personality in to your application and create a point of difference between yourself and other applicants, including a cover letter automatically makes your application stronger than those that have only submitted a resume. The cover letter offers a great opportunity to build on the information in your resume and clearly state what you have to offer that specific employer and why you want to work for them. It also offers a chance to highlight any values or community involvement you share with the employer.

5. Quantify your achievements

Which sounds more impressive – I increased traffic to our social media accounts by 68% over a 6 month period OR I increased traffic to our social media accounts? Hopefully your answer was example number 1! By providing actual figures around your achievements you paint a much more complete picture of your capabilities for the employer. You also save them wondering “well, how much did they increase traffic by? How long did this take?” Again, this is about giving the employer the information they need in the quickest and easiest way.

By creating a streamlined, easy to read resume you are making the employer’s job that much easier and increasing your chances of being invited for an interview. And that, after all, is the whole purpose of your resume – to get the opportunity to stand in front of the employer and convince them you are the best person for the role.

Written by our resume queen, Christina. If you need help with your resume, make an appointment to see Christina or any of our helpful advisors.

How to use Instagram in your job search!

Have you ever thought about using Instagram in your job search? No, neither had I!

But what a great way to showcase your work to any potential employers or customers.

During a presentation, we were told a story about a barista who was headhunted by another café after they saw photos of the coffees he was making. This was the first time I considered using Instagram as a tool to promote yourself and what you have to offer to potential employers.

If you have something tangible to show, it’s a great (and free) way to get yourself out there. The most obvious are artists or people in creative roles. However, you could be showcasing beer that you have brewed or animals that you look after in your volunteer role. Think outside the box as to the pictures you could take to show off your skills but also a bit of your personality. It can give any potential employers the opportunity to see what you are like as a person and what you are passionate about through the photos you post.

If you want to make the most of your Instagram account for profiling your work:

  • Make sure your profile is on public so that people can actually see it! Make sure what you are posting is suitable for the whole world to see. A photo of you partying on the weekend in amongst photos showcasing your knowledge of conservation probably isn’t the best look!
  • Consider setting up a separate ‘professional’ Instagram account. Use it specifically for showcasing your work.
  • Follow companies you are interested in working for. These will show on your profile and you’ll find the company may also start following you back.
  • Follow others in your area. Instagram can be a great way to gain inspiration for your work and to keep up to date with what others in your field are doing. It could also provide a platform for networking and collaboration.
  • Think about how often you post. It’s important to post enough to show that you are active but not so much that you are clogging your followers news feed!!
  • Consider your current employer. Remember they can also see your public profile. Make sure you have the appropriate permissions to post any images.

As well as profiling your own talents, Instagram is a great way to do some research to find the more ‘fun’ side of a potential employer. If you could drop it into your interview about their ‘Wing Wednesday’ or monthly birthday celebration, it gives you an opportunity to bond with the interviewer, but also to show them that you would fit in with their culture. Most companies are on Instagram now, so it’s a perfect opportunity to find out some information you wouldn’t find on their website!

Happy Instagramming!

Written by our social media guru, Tracey. If you’d like assistance with incorporating social media in your job search, make an appointment with Tracey or book in to her Becoming a Standout Applicant workshop. 

Most common interview questions & how to answer them!

What will they ask? What do I say?

About them questions 

  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What do you know about our company?

About you questions

  • Tell us about yourself?
  • What has been your greatest strength?
  • Why should we hire you?

Behavioural questions

  • Tell us about a time . . .
    • You made a difference to a team or process or colleague?
    • You had conflicting deadlines at work? What did you do about it?
    • When you built rapport with someone at work, even in a stressful or challenging situation.
  • Can you give an example of a time when you had to cope with interpersonal conflict when working on a team project and how you handled this?

How will I answer?

  • Focus on real examples
  • From a diversity of situations

Written by our resident interview champion, Robyn. If you would like to know more about answering interview questions, come along to Robyn’s interview workshop.

 

Why your job application is just like a cake!

Ah cake, delicious cake. Weddings, birthdays, the fact it’s 3pm on a Wednesday – any excuse will do. My personal favourite is the mini Cookies & Cream cupcake from Cupcake Central, which I used to treat myself to whenever I had a job interview (sadly, Geelong is currently lacking in the Cupcake Central department). Not only is cake a great reward that can be used to celebrate milestones throughout your job search, it is also the perfect metaphor for how you should approach your application documentation.

Resume

In this metaphor your resume is the bottom layer of the cake. Targeted to an industry (e.g. Community Services) or occupation (e.g. Youth Counsellor), your resume should outline your relevant skills, experience and training in basic, to-the-point fashion. Use dot points rather than long paragraphs to get the information across, making the document clear, concise and easy for employers to find the details they want. Your resume should provide the base of your application, painting a picture of who you are and what you have to offer.

Cover Letter

Your cover letter is the middle layer of the cake and a chance to build upon the information contained within your resume. It is here that you should be highlighting why you want to work for this particular employer, as well as going in to more detail about the skills, experience and training you have to offer that directly match the requirements of the role. It is also an opportunity for you to inject some personality into your application, making yourself memorable to the employer and not just another name on a piece of paper. Just don’t go making yourself memorable for the wrong reasons, you should be making the employer want to find out more about you, not file a restraining order against you!

Key Selection Criteria

If applicable, your responses to key selection criteria are the top layer of the cake. Not all applications will require a separate document addressing key selection criteria, but for those that do this is where you get down to the nitty gritty and provide in-depth, specific examples of situations you have been in where you have demonstrated the relevant skills the employer has indicated the role requires. Each criteria should have a separate response that is 1-3 paragraphs in length, and all should use a different example.

When putting together your application documentation don’t forget that its purpose is to get you to the next stage – an interview. This is where you will have the opportunity to elaborate even further on your suitability for the role, providing the icing on the cake. Now please excuse me while I duck out to the bakery, I’ve suddenly got a craving for a slice of cheesecake!

Written by our resume queen, Christina. Sign up for Christina’s resume workshop to find out all the resume tips and tricks.

photo credit: Vanessa via Flickr cc