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Em Pescott

How To Ace Your Performance Review

By | How to "get ahead" | No Comments

Each year do you dread hearing the words “Performance Review”…?

I know I did.

I hated having to “convince” my manager that I had done a great job that year…and that I deserved a bonus…

…and I hated even more that when it came time to talk about increasing my salary, I either didn’t say anything, or I didn’t get what I deserved for the extra work I was doing…

Super frustrating.

It’s funny, this conversation comes around each year (and for some, twice a year), but it creeps up on you so quickly that before you know it, it’s tomorrow and you’re sitting at your desk cramming for it like an exam…desperately trying to remember all the great things you’ve done during the year…

…trying to “sell” how amazing you are and why you deserve that bonus…or that pay rise…

Sound familiar?

Your Performance Review is such a great time to talk about you and your achievements and how you’ve really made a difference to your company…

…but so many people don’t take the time to thoroughly prepare…

…and they walk out really disappointed.

I don’t want disappointment for you. So this week, I’m going to share with you my best strategies that I’ve learned over the years (and that have worked incredibly well for me) so you can really ace your next performance review.

I’m also going to share with you how to get a free consult so I can help you ace your Performance Review or pay rise conversation…so keep reading!

My #1 Strategy To Ace Your Performance Review

Stop thinking about you – and start thinking from your manager / company’s perspective…

Let me explain…

When I hold performance reviews, what’s really common is that most employees come from a place of they “deserve” a great rating…they “expect” a bonus…and they “anticipate” a salary increase, but…

…they are only thinking of themselves and how hard they’ve worked…but it’s not hard work that actually makes a difference #cruelfact

…your company is actually looking for where you have added value.

I’ve bolded “added value” because it’s the most underrated aspect of any of the reviews I hold, but it’s the most important.

At the end of the day, if you can’t articulate where you’ve “added value” in your role, then you’re really not going in prepared, and you are probably missing out on some extra goodies come bonus or pay rise time.

Adding value, in the simplest terms is how have you tangibly helped the company achieve its goals. Most of the time, it’s financial goals. Because even though you may not be in a ‘finance” type role, you’re still responsible for contributing to the bottom line.

So, when you’re preparing for your review, ask yourself (and answer) these questions and ensure you talk about them when they ask you “how have you gone this year”…

…and see the difference it makes.

  1. What value have you added? And how can you measure it?
  2. Have you not only met, but exceeded your KPI’s? And how?
  3. How have you gone above and beyond in your current role?
  4. What feedback were you given at your last review and have you implemented it?
  5. Do you have any new experience or qualifications since your last review?

Now, it’s not always easy to answer these questions…especially if you’re someone who isn’t great “talking yourself up”, but I’m an expert at it, and I’d like to help you!

You can book in for a FREE Performance Review Blueprint Consult, which focuses on how to successfully ace your performance review including;

  1. What holds you back (and how not to let that stop you)
  2. Top tips on how to prepare for the conversation
  3. Create a plan/strategy for acing the review / achieving a pay rise

Schedule your >>> FREE Performance Review Blueprint Consult

Acing your Performance Review can help you get promoted and earn a bonus or salary increase (ka-ching!), so learning how to be amazing at your next review is super critical for career success.

Read these “must know” online personal brand tips from a recruitment expert

By | How to "get ahead" | No Comments

 

You’re intelligent, have a great work ethic, you’re passionate, and you keep your cool under pressure.  You do everything your boss asks of you (deliver great outcomes and on time) – power house employee, right? Sorry, it might not matter, and you may find you are unemployable.

Why?

Your working personal brand is different to your online personal brand. When it comes to hunting for career opportunities, your online personal brand is critical to get right… I would go as far as saying in today’s social media world, it has become “do or die”.

You may think I’m being dramatic, but really, if you miss the tips I share with you in this post, your career can totally stall, no matter how hard you work.

Lucky for you, I was fortunate enough to spend time with Vicki-Anne Craigen, a personal brand expert and Director of Creative Recruiters, and Vicki-Anne shared with me some crucial tips to avoid you railroading your career.  And the best part?  You can implement these straight away and start kicking career goals.

So, let’s get straight into how to avoid your career being “doomed” and start leveraging your online personal brand immediately.

How social media is ruining your career

Vicki-Anne confirmed that great candidates are not being considered for roles due to their social media profiles (yes, recruiters will thoroughly research you!).  In our discussions, it became apparent this was a problem for a lot of candidates, and many had no idea.

This might seem obvious, but it’s going to be difficult for you to get hired when you post inappropriate photos to Facebook, your LinkedIn photo is unprofessional (or even worse, you don’t have a LinkedIn profile!), or you post a YouTube video where you negatively rant about your life, or your workplace or boss (eeek!).

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have an archive of your pictures and posts, and some of them may not be your “finest moments”.  Remember that time you had a few too many vino’s and took all those crazy selfies…?).  Fun at the time, but the thing is, they don’t make you overly attractive as a candidate to recruiters and employers.

Or maybe you haven’t spent any time updating your LinkedIn profile, still sporting an outdated photo and no recent job updates i.e. you’ve been working at your current job at “X company” for 2 years but it still says you work at “Y company”.

You might be thinking: “what I do outside of work shouldn’t impact my job opportunities… surely my hard work should trump my drunk selfie posts and outdated LinkedIn profile?”

Sorry to tell you, but it is a big deal, and here’s why:

Your online presence is all they see of you initially…

A recruiter’s job is to present the best candidates to employers.  Their reputation depends on it.  Therefore, a recruiter will thoroughly screen candidates and review their online presence.  They don’t know you, so they’re trying to work out who you are and whether they want to spend their valuable time talking to you.

Vicki-Anne reviews her candidates profile pictures, posts, YouTube videos, and she will check spelling and grammar.  And for those in the marketing world, Vicki-Anne also reviews a candidate’s professionalism on their blogs and Vlogs.

Basically, if a recruiter doesn’t like what they see (if it is even slightly unprofessional), they’re not going to refer you for an interview.  Pretty straightforward really.  And it doesn’t matter what level in your career you are at.  One negative image, post, blog or vlog can ruin your chances.  Assume anything you post in a public setting will be checked for professionalism. If you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to look at it, don’t post it.

So, what can you do straight away to create a great personal brand and online presence?

Glad you asked.  Here’s a list recommended by Vicki-Anne.  It’s worth noting here that Vicki-Anne’s company took out the number one ranking for ‘Most Socially Engaged Boutique Staffing Agency’ at the LinkedIn annual recruiter awards for Australia and New Zealand.  She knows her stuff alright.

Top 10 tips for creating a professional online presence and personal brand

  1. Remove any unprofessional content, or better yet, make your social media profiles private.
  2. Build your online relationships and expand your networks by connecting with people in your industry.
  3. Start posting and sharing great industry content that shows off your expertise.
  4. Ensure everything that you publicly post portray you positively.
  5. You don’t need too much information on LinkedIn (sometimes less is more), however listing your career history and having a professional photo is really important.
  6. If you want to be found i.e. headhunted, list content on your LinkedIn profile that matches all the attributes and experience a recruiter might want to see. Recruiters will search for great candidates, so use appropriate words on your profile that can be found in SEO searches.
  7. The companies you have worked for make a difference.  Recruiters know who the good companies are, and they look for candidates within those companies. If you know you are in a company with a bad reputation, it’s not a deal breaker but just consider this when looking for new roles (do your research before accepting a role!).
  8. Provide documents that are easy for recruiters and hiring managers to see how good you are i.e.  if you are a graphic designer, submitting a boring word document as a resume just won’t give a good impression. However, if you present a video resume or digital portfolio demonstrating your ability, skills and experience, you will find that you will have much more success.
  9. For students who typically don’t have too much industry experience, you can show your qualities through examples such as blogs or vlogs, or list projects and initiatives that show you delivered either during your studies or as a hobby/side project.
  10. Ensure any profile pictures are professional and good quality (no blurred or grainy photos). Smart phones can take amazing photo’s so there is no excuse.  Ask a friend or partner to get a good head shot of you (head and shoulders only).  It can easily be taken with you in a professional outfit up against a white wall… remember to smile!  Have a quick glance at other’s people’s photos and profiles, if you were a recruiter, would you hire these people on first glance? If you were a manager, would you want to work with these people? Why would you or wouldn’t you? Replicate what works and avoid what doesn’t.

Alright, time to get your personal brand and online presence into shape!  Big thanks to Vicki-Anne of Creative Recruiters for sharing her wonderful tips with us.  You can find out more about Vicki-Anne and her team at creativerecruiters.com.au. If you have the privilege of meeting the team, be sure to meet their Chief Happiness Officer and Chief Security Officer…you’ll thank me later.

How To Get An Interview By Nailing Your Phone Screen

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So, you’ve completed your brand spanking new resume using the AAA Resume Format and you submitted it for a job that you really want.   A week later you’ve been contacted about the role and they want to talk to you about it #hellyeah

Firstly, great work! Clearly, they’re interested in your skills, experience and the way you have presented yourself on paper.  You’ve got your foot in the door, so now it’s time to “up the game”. The stakes just got higher.

You’ve been advised the next step in the selection process is to have a “chat” about your application with the recruiter.  Great! You’re excited about that but…

…you’re now starting to get a little nervous because you don’t know what they want to “chat” about…

…I mean, it could be anything yeah?

Sure, they could ask you anything, but let’s take a look at what typically this “chat” is going to be about, and what you need to prepare for.  Then you can remove those nerves and be your amazingly fabulous self.

Let’s start at the beginning…

An “informal chat” is typically what recruiters call a “phone screen”.

They’ve gone through all of the resume applications, culled the ones they don’t want and now they’re trying to find the best people to interview.  Time is limited in the recruitment world so they can’t physically interview everyone, only the best of the bunch.

So let’s go through what they’re looking for, so you don’t get caught on the “chopping block” and you do get that interview!

How you present yourself and communicate over the phone

They’ll be judging you on how you answer the phone, how polite you are, how well you know the job you’ve applied for… do you sound professional enough for them to want to interview you?

My tips for success:

  1. Keep copies of the job ads with you in your bag so you can reference them quickly when recruiters call. Nothing speaks more highly of a candidate that knows why they’re being called and is excited about it.
  2. Always activate voicemail – nothing worse than a recruiter trying to reach you and you don’t answer…or there isn’t an option for them to leave a message.

NOTE:  record a professional, friendly voicemail (no voice to text!) and check it regularly and get back to them ASAP.

  1. If they’re trying to set up a time with you, be flexible! They have a stack of people to call and you don’t want to be the one they roll their eyes at over the phone because you’re being a “princess” about times (I’m totally being serious about this one!).  You want them on your side.

Your motivation for applying

They’ll be making notes about your passion for the role, how interested you are and your motivation for applying.  They may ask things like why does this role interest you? Why are you wanting to leave your current role?  What compelled you to apply?

My tips for success:

  1. Think about your answers for these questions now (before they call)…be as truthful as you can but also keep in mind what the recruiter will be wanting to hear i.e. that you hate your current boss – not a good idea. That you don’t get paid enough – again, not a great idea.  That you’re looking for a new challenge and your current company doesn’t have room for progression – good idea.  Get the gist here?
  2. Write your answers down and keep then with you. The beauty of a phone interview is that it’s like an open book test – they can’t see if you’re reading off a piece of paper. This works really well if you get nervous easily too.  This has saved me so many times!
  3. It’s ok if you’re out and about to ask if you can call them back in 10 minutes, or later that day (if they want to talk to you on the spot), just so you can then rush back and grab your notes and be prepared for the call.  Please don’t take the call whilst on a bus, tram, train, driving etc. The signal ALWAYS seems to fail and it doesn’t come across professional.

Review your qualifications and experience

They may do quick review of your qualifications, technical ability and experience and ask you to clarify something such as your job history, formal qualifications, or anything specific about that role i.e. specific industry experience and skills.  If I’m interviewing for an administration position, as an example, I’m going to ask them about their diary management skills specifically and perhaps their ability to multi-task.

My tips for success:

  1. Have your resume with you so you can refer to it without having to remember all that info. Plus, if you’ve used the AAA Resume format you’ve likely adjusted the resume to suit that particular role so you’ll need to know exactly what you’ve written.  I always keep a little folder in my bag with all of my applications in it.  Might seem annoying but really, women have huge handbags nowadays and you can fit anything in there 🙂  It will really save you in the long run.
  2. If it’s a new industry that you haven’t worked in before, make sure you research that industry so you can at least have a conversation about what you know about it. And really, you should have done this prior to applying for that role anyway, so you know if it was going to be a good fit for you or not.
  3. Be prepared to provide examples as they may ask for them i.e. if we use my administrator example and I ask a candidate; “talk to me about your diary management ability”, it’s not enough to say “I’m really good at that” or “yes, I have a lot of experience in that”. You need to be able to demonstrate it through an example, even if they don’t ask you to provide one.  Tell them where you use that skill and the great outcomes you’e had using that skill.

And lastly, here are some of the common question you may need to prepare for:

  1. Talk through what you know of X company?
  2. What attracted you to this role?
  3. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  4. Why are you looking to leave your current role?
  5. What is your salary expectation?
  6. Where do you see your career going in 5 years?
  7. Why do you think you’d be a good fit for this role?
  8. What is your notice period at your current role?
  9. What do you know about X Industry?
  10. Why are you interested in working in X industry?

Write down answers to all of them as you just don’t know what they’re going to ask.  Better to be prepared.  That’s how top candidates get the interviews!

Good luck!

How to use online job platforms to your advantage

By | How to "get ahead" | One Comment

 

I’ve finished my resume, now what?  How to use online job platforms to your advantage.

I get asked this question a lot.  And I see a lot of people unsure of what next steps to take.  Typically, this is what I see…can you relate?

  1. You submit your resume for one job and wait. You don’t apply for another role as you really want this one. And it would be totally bad karma if you applied for more than your ultimate job…
  2. You submit your resume for a few jobs and you wait for a response. Sometimes you’ll wait for weeks just wondering…”did they even get my resume” you ask?
  3. You apply for every single job you see, even if it’s different jobs within the same company – the more the better right?

Do any of these sound like you?

An awesome resume is your first step but blindly submitting it online is not the only way or the smartest use of your time.  Using online recruitment platforms such as SEEK, CareerOne, Jora & LinkedIn are great when you start using their extra features (which most people don’t use!).  I

In this post I want to chat about LinkedIn and SEEK specifically and how to utilise them to your advantage.

LinkedIn is an invaluable tool. Here’s why.

LinkedIn has a little button you can flick on within your profile which allows recruiters to know you are job hunting.  Cool huh?  It’s not obvious to your network (so your boss won’t see it!), but recruiters, who pay LinkedIn big bucks for recruiter access, can see it like a big green flashing light.  Since recruiters are constantly looking for amazing talent, making it that much easier for them to find you is a real opportunity for you.

To let recruiters know you are ready for new opportunities, you have to turn “On” your signal. You can do this from your LinkedIn home page by clicking on the “Jobs” tab on the toolbar. The below message usually pops up however if it doesn’t, simply select “Preferences” at the top of the page.

The recruiter function in LinkedIn also uses Boolean strings in their search functionality.  This means that recruiters can use key words, phrases and words such as “and”, “or”, “not” to broaden or limit their search.  That way they can narrow down the candidate pool when they are looking for something specific.

If you want the recruiter to find you easily, make sure you are keeping your profile up to date.  It’s important that if you have numerous skillsets or different job title options (like I have below) to include these in your “headline” section of your profile.   You’ll notice in my example below there are numerous ways to write what I am qualified in, so I write them all!   That way I’ll turn up in numerous job searches – WIN!

So, what about SEEK?

The good news is that SEEK also has a “find me” function very similar to that of LinkedIn.  First you need to create an account with SEEK via the“ candidate sign in” which is on their homepage.

Once you’ve done that you can head to your profile and start updating it with all of your good stuff.  The best bit? All the info can be “cut and pasted” from your new AAA Resume (time saver, yeah!).

  • You’ll upload your new AAA resume (PDF or Word Doc is fine)
  • Personal summary about you (straight from your ‘about me’ section)
  • Your Career history (straight from your ‘Career Overview” section)
  • Your education (you guessed it, straight from your AAA resume!)
  • Your skills (yet again! From your new AAA resume).

I really have made it easy for you hey?

You can also set your preferred location, the type of work (i.e. full time, part time), your salary expectations, and any particular classification or industry you might be interested in (i.e. sales, marketing, finance etc).

And you’re done!

From there, you can turn your profile visibility to “standard” so recruiters can find you using keyword searches.  BOOM.  You’ve just increased chances of being contacted with minimal work #hellyeah

Another good feature is that you can track the jobs you’ve applied for and save any jobs that you’d like to apply for. Plus, you can do this straight from the app (if you’re not near a computer).  That way if you do get a call from a recruiter you can quickly log onto the app to review the job role so you sound 100% professional, not “can you tell me what job you’re calling me about please?” – that’s a total “no, no” and one surefire way to annoy a recruiter.

How do these tips help you get further ahead than your competition?

You’re way more likely to be approached about a job opportunity if a recruiter actually knows you’re actively looking, AND they can find you easily with a keyword search.  There is nothing better than being approached or “headhunted” about a job opportunity, definitely a confidence booster.

So, no point reading this and not taking action.  Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Update your LinkedIn profile (or create one!)
  2. Register for a SEEK account or update your current profile.
  3. Watch out for my upcoming blog called “how to hustle into your perfect job” – COMING SOON!

Creating Balance In Your Life

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Guest post by the very talented Brooke Taylor:

In my life, it would appear that on the outside I have it all. I have a cool day job in sustainability, a cool night job playing music, I exercise, I do yoga, I spend time with my family and spend time with my friends. I live on my own, have a nice car, don’t settle with dudes that don’t treat me well or friends that sabotage my happiness – all the good sh*t. But…

…before a recent holiday I was at the point of complete exhaustion; both physically and mentally. Admittedly I was totally pushing the boundaries to get cash money for the holiday, but dear god I’m never letting that happen again; I was a wreck held together by stubbornness and pride. So, in that sense, I will still write this post on ‘creating balance’, but just know that I don’t always get it right…

Yes, creating balance…

I suppose the first point I want to make is that balance isn’t found, it’s deliberately made – and  it should be prioritised. Make an achievable goal and stick to it. It’s actually very easy.  If you want to be a better cook, have designated ‘new recipe Wednesday’ or organise a ‘cooking night’ with friends.  People become experts at making excuses for not doing things, but at the end of the day, ‘tis best to just shut up and do what you said you were going to do. Integrity is key.

Make declarations.

I like to book things in advance and I stop myself from ‘umming and ahhing’ about whether I should do something and I just go and do it. I take the first step – baby steps are fine…they’re actually better. And, if I stuff up, I just try again.

My key mantras are:

  • You get what you settle for
  • Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will
  • The ‘hard work’ is to keep doing the work

Stick to your guns ladies.

No one explains that. No one really tells you that the hardest bit is to stick to your guns. Anyone can start a change – a diet, workout regime, creative practice…but NO-ONE reiterates that the really hard bit is to keep it up.

Celebrate your wins.

You’ve got to celebrate your wins. Not with a mid-week blow out, or spending money you don’t have, but write yourself a little message on the bathroom mirror – a little ‘you got this’. Positive reinforcement and reminding yourself of what you’ve achieved is important.

Musically I’ve come a long way in the last couple of years, and I find reflection does give the heart a glow and the energy to keep moving forward.

Reward yourself with rest.

Ah, rest. Rest is the bit that I’ve stuffed up on recently. I was thinking that 3 hours of yoga a week was enough to combat a week’s worth of 16-hour days. I’ll give you the hot tip; it’s not. It’s not even close. Sleep and hydration are key. Take a night off. Netflix and chill. You’ll be more energised and calm to be your best self and get the job done. I’m not saying procrastinate, but you MUST rest.

 Become a practicing person.

Think about what it is you want or want to be better at and practise. Practise fitness, practise kindness, practice strength…whatever it is just do a little bit of it every day (or every week) and improve. And write it down – make a written declaration. Scheduling (I find) is really important.

Make the time.

That’s what I meant at the start about ‘creating balance’. Typically left to our own devices we’ll just coast along and do whatever, but, if you want to make a difference to yourself (or others), you’ve got to dedicate yourself to something and action it.

If you loved Brooke’s wise words of wisdom, why not check out her music at  www.brooketaylormusic.com.au and while you’re at it, check out her song “What If” which really is quite fitting with this post!

Yoga, mindfulness and the paradox of getting shit done

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Guest post by my dear friend Claire Kleynjans:

Mindfulness seems to be everyone’s aspiration these days, and every second person owns a yoga mat. Well and good. But when there’s already zero spare time amid the chorus of work, family, obligations, and chores, how are you meant to carve out an extra hour to sit and gaze at your navel? Mindfulness seems irrelevant, impossible, and perhaps even vaguely insulting (sure, you’d love to be mindful – if you won Tattslotto).

The world we live in isn’t exactly gentle with us. Like an unfulfilled helicopter parent, our screens subject us to a consistent aspirational barrage: Achieve! Dream! Travel! Do more! Be more! Have more friends! Be a better daughter/sister/employee/dog sitter! Be happier! Look younger! Buy more throw pillows! Save the planet! Such directives are shouted at us every day, and soon enough we internalise them, saving everybody time by shouting them at ourselves (in our minds, of course. Out loud would be even more terrifying). It’s positively Orwellian. And no matter how admirable the intention behind it, all this bleating is not motivational. The sheer volume means we’re overwhelmed, dissatisfied and exhausted (why hello, dear Shiraz, Cadbury, Sofa and Netflix! Let us accompany each other into oblivion). And it gets worse – the common message underlying all these commands is simple and deadly: you’re not okay as you are. Not enough. In order to get anywhere, you must change! And so, in response, we push ourselves harder and harder to try and attain some unachievable, mythical standard of perfection. But guess what: You are not a unicorn! And achieving great things actually begins with knowing yourself.

So what does yoga have to do with all this? Well, yoga is a delicious paradox: it’s both the antithesis of getting shit done and the very thing that enables you to get shit done. And not only this, it’s the ideal gateway drug to mindfulness. Let me explain.

In our quest to achieve and be better, our bodies are often the casualty. We come to see our physical self as a mere tool to help us climb whatever mountain it is that we’ve selected. And in the process, we forget that these bodies are complex, finely calibrated, organic creatures, not machines. But many of us take better care of our cars than ourselves. A massage once every six months just isn’t going to cut it!

‘If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?’

To compound this systematic neglect of our bodies, society has also bequeathed us the dubious teaching that our thoughts are the boss, and we should listen to and believe them. All of them. All the time. Back in 1637, a philosophical French fella called Descartes wrote ‘Cogito, ergo sum’ (I think, therefore I am). The intellectual western world was collectively thrilled with this notion, embracing it as a sign of moral and intellectual superiority. And it’s stuck around ever since – even now, we are slaves to our thoughts, and fail to consider ourselves as whole beings (mind + body, both in need of care and attention). We are disconnected from our essential nature (and we never cop a break from that nattering mind. How exhausting).

To navigate your life successfully – to even know what it is you want, let alone summon the grit and guts and gumption to go after it – you need to be coming from a strong inner place. And that’s exactly what yoga teaches you to find. By paying careful, kind attention to your body and mind, building strength, patience, commitment, and a practice of self-care (judge-y self-talk is not permitted on the yoga mat) you begin to live more authentically and richly, and learn to firmly close the door, even just momentarily, on the shouty world outside. And the constant mental chatter inside. And how do we begin? Why, exactly as we are, of course.

We all know that the things we do in our activewear (the actual active things, not the smoothie-swilling things) are good for us. So we’re (somewhat) down with the concept of exercise. And the movement/exercise aspect of yoga gives an over-achieving mind something to chew on while it’s getting used to this mindfulness caper. Just sitting on a cushion in silence for five minutes is enough to make some of us want to run screaming to the closest bar, so let’s make it as easy as we can, for goodness sake. Your yoga teacher’s job is to guide you physically and mentally, make helpful suggestions, and most importantly ‘hold the space’ for you (this simply means that while you’re in class, no one can ask you to meet a deadline, write a report, donate to charity, make them a snack, run them to soccer practice, etc). Yoga classes are kind and respectful – and everyone’s there for the same reason: to do their own practice, in a safe, supportive community.

As we know (enthusiastically or reluctantly), moving the body feels good. Our bodies were made to move! And after a short while of practising yoga, you will actually notice new things about your body, and maybe your mind too. Because the yoga mat is like a training ground for life. You might notice that you’re a bit stronger, that you don’t loathe bloody boat pose quite so much – but you might also notice how it’s possible to feel your breath with your whole body, and how patient, resilient, persistent, smart and kind you really are. How you are great, right now. How focusing on the body is the easiest way to quiet the mind, so you can hear what really matters. The real, authentic you, crying out to be heard behind all that white noise.

Yoga is a tool that can bring us back to ourselves, and back to the present moment (the fundamental essence of mindfulness). We come to yoga just as we are – no prep required. It’s a practice that teaches us, little by little, to be as kind to ourselves as we are to our best friend, or our beloved pet. Yoga is about just showing up in all our grubby glory and learning how to move our body in time with our breath, and building the courage to creep a little closer to that wildest of all frontiers – one’s own mind.

And the best part is that by doing the very last thing you feel like doing – the most counterintuitive act you could dream up, in your hectic, overworked, fragile state – you’ll find a space in which to care for and renew yourself. As the old adage goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.  

Not sure where to start? Try Yoga with Adriene on YouTube (it’s free), or even braver and better, find yourself a yoga studio not too far from home, where the teachers are kind and real. Let them hold the door open for you, as you come back home to yourself.

And just one last thing. It doesn’t matter what you look like. Gasp! That’s right. You don’t need to buy snazzy expensive tights, or practice/do research first, or wait for bikini season (FFS), or change anything at all. Just show up for yourself, and see what happens. Mindfulness – the real calm that enables us to hear what’s true and get important things done – might be so much sweeter than you ever guessed.

‘Self-care is not self-indulgence. It’s self preservation.’ Audre Lorde

Claire is a yoga instructor, poet, editor, and high school English teacher based in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne. For Claire, yoga is a powerful, peaceful way to reconnect body and spirit, calm the mind, and reclaim mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing (perfect recipe for “getting ahead” in your career!).

For more inspiration head to Claire’s Website.

How To Update A Resume For Women Who Want To Get Ahead

By | Resume | 4 Comments

Updating your resume is not the most exciting task in the world, but it is super important. And I can tell you right now that if you don’t update it on a regular basis, it becomes an even bigger chore.

It may feel like a mammoth task. But how do you eat an elephant? A little bit at a time.

In this blog post, I’m going to explain why keeping your resume up-to-date is essential if you want to get ahead. And I’ll also give you some top tips on how to do it…

Watch my free resume training video here!

Why update your resume

But first, let me convince you of the importance of updating your resume. In my experience, the top reasons are:

1. Never forget your skills and achievements

As ridiculous as it may sound if you don’t write down what you’ve achieved professionally you might forget it!

I know my memory isn’t what it used to be. Can you definitively say that you recall the ins and outs of that project you ran back in 2016? What about the results it got?

But you know what’s the additional benefit of recalling your achievements on a regular basis? The morale boost. Remembering your past professional projects and the skills you honed during that time makes you feel good and reminds you of how capable you are.

It can also help to focus the mind and highlight what you excel at and what you enjoy. This could lead to you being more able to spot the right opportunity when it comes along. And ultimately get ahead.

2. Always available for an opportunity

When opportunity knocks, you want to be ready. And opportunities have so many guises. You don’t need to be seeking work actively to get an opportunity. There could be an internal promotion. Perhaps you’re head hunted, or you meet someone at a networking event.  

Whatever form opportunity takes, if your resume is up-to-date, not only are you more likely to recall the great stuff you’ve done during a spontaneous meeting, but it also reduces the stress of having to pull together a resume at the last minute.

How to update a resume

Ok, now you’re on board with why we can dive into how.

This post is about updating your resume. So if you’re just starting out and you haven’t created yours yet, check out this blog post first: 3 Ways To Have Your Resume Stand Out.

Once you’ve got your epic resume, you need to keep it that way. And you need to make sure the right people get to see it. Here are a few simple things you can do to keep your professional profile up-to-date:

  • Keep your LinkedIn and paper versions the same
    • This is important for the consistency of your personal brand. (Yes, you have a personal brand! It’s your own unique way of being professionally awesome.)
    • It ensures that people trust what you’re telling them when the information is consistent.
  • Click the button in LinkedIn that tells recruiters “you’re available”
    • This is a super easy and instant way of updating your status if you’re actively looking for work – it’s like a signal to recruiters that they can view your profile and contact you.
    • And it’s a motivating reminder to you to review your digital profile and ensure it’s got all the latest information!
  • Create a profile on SEEK.com and upload your most up-to-date resume

I recommend reviewing and updating your paper resume once every 6 months or so. You can set a reminder in your calendar if you think you’ll forget. For your digital resume, and to keep on top of your key skills and achievements, I suggest more regular updates; once a quarter is ideal.  

Don’t forget, a killer resume’s best friend is a knockout cover letter. Before you tackle yours, make sure you read this: Tips For Writing An Epic Cover Letter.

I hope you’re feeling more excited about updating your resume now! Stay tuned on the blog for more tips on how to supercharge your career and get ahead.

 

3 Ways To Have Your Resume Stand Out

By | Resume | No Comments

Is it just me, or is there a ridiculous amount of information online about how to write a resume?  To me, it’s all pretty “same-same”; don’t go over 3-4 pages, watch for spelling errors, ensure you include a cover letter…

That’s all great, but it’s probably stuff you know already, right?

If you’re like me, you’re wanting a resume that is not only going to stand out, but one that is going to LEAP out at the hiring manager and land you the interview for [insert dream role here], yes?

Well, here’s three ways you can increase your chances of getting an interview and start bathing in recruiter phone calls…

  1. MAKE IT EASY TO READ (YOUR RESUME IS NOT ABOUT YOU!)

You’re thinking “huh? My resume is totally about me isn’t it?”.  Nope.

If there’s one tip you take away today, it should be this:

The design of your resume is not about you; it is all about the person reading it and how easy it is for that person to get the information they need to make a decision about you.

Let me share with you a little secret.  Most recruiters and HR peeps only skim resumes (we’re pretty busy ok!), so you’re probably only going to get around 6-8 seconds to impress us.

That means you need to construct your resume in a way that fulfills their need. So, fulfill their need, ladies!

Include the most important info on the front page.  That should include at least your contact info, skills, education, job summary and any relevant software.  To ensure you’ve got it all covered, I’ve created a resume cheat sheet for you.

You want to excite them on the front page, so they fall in love with you and keep reading.  Then, once you implement tip #2 below, they’ll be wanting to get you locked in to see them, stat.

  1. MOST RESUMES ARE BORING (SO MAKE YOUR’S APPEALING!)

This is where most people get it wrong.  They write down every. single. thing. they do day to day in each of their jobs.  Basically, it’s a “to do” list and they expect that kind of info will impress.

It doesn’t.

It just shows that you can cram a whole bunch of text on a page and that you’re busy.  Everyone’s busy, don’t you know?

What you want to write is how you’ve contributed to a business.  How you’ve added value.  That lovely ladies, is impressive. Oh yeah.  Talk to me about how you’ve increased sales, created process efficiencies, increased engagement, improved customer service, and I’m yours; hook, line and sinker baby!

There is a particular way to write this (without sounding like a douche), and I go through it in detail in my step by step resume training which includes “done for you” resume templates and a stack of practical examples (simply copy, paste and adjust!).

Get this bit right and they’ll be no stopping you.

  1. INCLUDE A COVER LETTER

It’s amazing how many people don’t write a cover letter.  And when they do, it’s generic and boring and tells me nothing about you.

In my post Don’t write your cover letter without first reading this, I talk about how your cover letter is more than an introduction, it’s your opportunity to stand out.  And to stand out “rock star” style, consider using the same design template as your resume, including your job summary, contact info, skills, education, and any relevant software on that front page.

That way, they get all the best information about you upfront and will certainly impress them in that teeny tiny 6-8 seconds of their brain capacity.

If you’re unsure you’ve got the right templates, use mine!  They’re tried and tested and have gotten jobs a plenty! Plus, you get them as bonuses when you sign up for my step by step resume training.

Alright, time to get your resume writing on ladies.  Take a deep breath and say: “I’ve got this!”.

Don’t Write Your Cover Letter Without First Reading This

By | Cover Letter | No Comments

We’ve all been there. Scrolling through job ad after job ad, you finally find one that sounds like you. In fact, you were made for this role. Your resume pretty much reads like the Skills & Experience section. So do you really need to include a cover letter?

Yes. The answer is always yes.

Unless a job specifically requests that you don’t include one (which would be super rare), always include one.

Your resume is great, but imagine yourself on the other side of the hiring process. Would you want to read resume after resume, listing reams of skills and achievements, without first some sort of introduction? Didn’t think so.

In fact, your cover letter is more than an introduction. It’s your opportunity to stand out. You get about 6-8 seconds to impress, so if your cover letter is awesome, there’s more chance your resume will be read. It’s a chance not only to highlight the points in your resume that are really important but also to link them to the requirements of the role.

It’s also a great way to demonstrate a bit of your personality and, of course, your writing ability. And if you do have any gaps or ambiguous detail in your resume (ie. maternity leave, travelling overseas), your cover letter is your chance to explain it.

So without further ado, here are a few tips for writing a cover letter that will jump off the page and into the interview pile…  

Tailor it

This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many generic cover letters I read. You’ve absolutely got to tailor your letter to each particular job.

As it used to say in the Yellow Pages ad, “let your fingers do the walking”. Or I guess these days it would be “let your fingers do the clicking”. What I mean is, get online – onto Google and LinkedIn at the very least – and do some stalking! Find out about the hiring manager, research the company, its culture, and values.

It only takes a few minor tweaks for it to be personalised and it shows that you’re interested in the organisation and you’ve taken the time to give your application some serious thought.

Don’t be lazy, as it will show. If you want the job, make the effort!

No silly mistakes

Again, this might seem like common sense, but so many cover letters are rushed and end up containing silly mistakes. Don’t be a rookie! Be absolutely and utterly methodical. And if your attention to detail isn’t great, or your eyes are tiring from the screen, send it to someone else to proofread for you.

These are the most common mistakes I see:

Spelling mistakes in the hiring manager’s name

This is an absolute no-no. Everyone hates it when someone gets their name wrong! It only takes two seconds to triple check this in Google or on the organisation’s website.

Typing incorrect job title

It’s ok to repurpose, tweak and personalise a previous cover letter, but it’s not ok not to lie about your job title!

Being too generic

Everyone says they’re an organised team player. The hiring manager has probably read that sentence 15 times already. Triple check what you’re writing and ask yourself, is it unique to you? Bland and boring is instantly forgettable, so what is it about you, your story, your experience that will stand out?

Not a great writer?

Don’t worry. Why not ask your colleagues or friends for cover letter examples they’ve successfully used? You’ll still have to tailor it, but you can always get someone else to help you with the editing process.

You know what they say, practice makes perfect. So even if the right job for you hasn’t become available yet, pretend it has and get started on your application.

Finally, if you really want to get your dream job sooner, upskill yourself! The Promotable You AAA Resume Training includes not only how to design and write a fab resume, it also shows you how to write an epic cover letter (and there are even some “here’s some I made earlier” templates for you). 

I hope you’re now feeling empowered and raring to go on the cover letter of your life. Stay tuned for more tips on how to supercharge your career and get ahead!