The world we live in has changed …

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           Jane Harvey

Job seekers need to be more savvy and careful than ever when it comes to social media. Gone are the days of turning up for an interview in your Sunday best, providing details of a couple of referees who would be sure to sing your praises and then turning up to your new job the following Monday!

Social media can both advance and hinder your career depending on how you use it. As the Internet and social media grow increasingly important, particularly in business, most future employers and recruiters explore candidate’s social media profiles including Facebook before making hiring decisions.

 And this is the very reason you need to be extra careful with how you use social media, how you portray yourself in this medium and how you set up your privacy. After all, it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to provide an unflattering social media image to future employers.

So, before you apply for your next job, take a good look at your online presence in some of the following ways:

Google yourself

Yes, this is the first thing anyone will do to see if you are who you say you are! Search your name and see what comes up? If there is something there that you would not be comfortable with a future employer seeing … take it down or get in touch with whoever published it and request that they remove it. This is not always possible and some things will remain for a very long time … so think before you post!

Check your privacy settings

Most people think that their privacy settings are sufficient and only their chosen ‘friends’ can see what they post… but in actual fact most people allow friends of friends to view certain content and it just goes on from there. If you go into Facebook and in your profile click “view as public” you will get a better understanding of what anyone in the world can see – including a future employer. If you can see too much … change your settings and get rid of anything that may cause damage to your professional image.

Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date

LinkedIn is one of the most important tools you can utilise as a job seeker or even as an employer. Often referred to as a professional Facebook, LinkedIn is your opportunity to get noticed and to stand out from the crowd, so make it work! Make sure your content is accurate and informative and that you include a snippet from your past few roles on the cover page. Make sure you keep it up to date and most importantly, include a professional and current photo, not one of you and your children or partner or best friend on a park bench or in a pub. Keep it up to date! If you don’t have it, then get it! If you are going for an interview, look at the profiles of the people interviewing you, it will show you are interested and doing research into them and their business.

 In all honesty, prevention is better than trying to fix social media disasters. Everybody has a life outside of work but photos of partying hard, can and will tarnish your professional image. If you must post, make sure your pictures are private. Future employers and recruiters do not need to see them.

Lastly, limit your work related comments on social media such as Facebook, particularly anything that may be seen as derogatory, and limit your social related comments on mediums such as LinkedIn – they are very different and you need to draw a very distinctive line between them. Open your LinkedIn profile so that almost anyone can access it, and your Facebook, Twitter etc. so that almost no-one can, and you should be on your way to that great new role without the worry of skeletons in the closet!

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Is the Cover Letter dead??

AngelaNg

By Angela Ng

Some think that in the new transactional world, where shortlists are formed by keyword searches, that the cover letter is dead, but I have news for them. The cover letter remains a key tool for the candidate to differentiate themselves from the crowd, to personalise their application for the role, and to get the recruiter’s/hiring manager’s attention sufficiently to make them want to turn over and review the CV.

A good cover letter has the following:

1. PROOF THAT YOU’VE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK

Recruiters and hiring managers want to see that you know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s important in the early sections of your cover letter that you refer to the job, its title and the company in some form.

Bonus points if you can impress your potential future boss with an acknowledgement of a major company success. Triple points if that success relates to the team you’d be joining.

2. AN EXPLANATION OF HOW YOUR SKILLS RELATE

Your cover letter is also the written explanation of your resume as it relates to the job at hand. So it’s important you explain in the letter what exactly it is you can do for this company and this role based on your previous experience.

You could use, what’s called a “T-Letter” to effectively present this section. This is a letter with a two-sentence intro followed by two columns—one on the left headed, “Your Requirements” and one on the right headed, “My Experience.” Bye-bye big, boring blocks of text.

Using the job description, pull out sentences that express what they are looking for and place those in the “Your Requirements” column. Then add a sentence for each to the “My Experience” column that explains how your skills match those.

It’s an aggressive, bold approach—but one that could set you apart from the rest.

3. YOUR EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE POSITION

Here’s an exercise: Think about yourself in the job you’re applying for. What do you feel? You’re probably pretty pumped, huh? Now harness some of that excitement and put it down on paper.

For example, if you were applying to a web design or UX job, you could write, “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in how the digital world works and how users interact with websites. Website design is not only my career, it’s my passion, which is why I hope you’ll consider me for this great role on your team.”

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

To tailor or not to tailor!

To tailor or not to tailor?? This is the big question … my answer is ALWAYS!! 1D6A0634

Whether it’s a good suit, an expensive pair of pants, a fitted jacket… if it doesn’t fit perfectly… tailor it and then it will!  A CV is no exception … ALWAYS tailor it to each and EVERY role! It could be the absolute difference between getting the interview or not, from standing out in a pile of applications or being cast aside.

I have been meeting with a number of candidates recently who are not in the job market by choice, but because of a downturn in their sector of expertise. Some are going through outplacement services and some are paying for expert advice and guidance.

With 18 years in the recruitment industry, what can I advise these people to do to make them stand out from the crowd? How can I lessen the burden they are feeling? How can I give them advice on the ‘professional’ advice they have already been given?

It can be so frustrating to read a ‘vanilla’ CV. I recently assisted a candidate who I know has acted in a CFO capacity for almost a year, their CV was two pages long and said their most recent position was ‘Management Accountant’… great role but not Acting CFO or Financial Controller or Finance Manager as I knew this candidate to be.

I told this person not to undersell themselves, to which they replied “I was told that my CV should not be longer than two pages and I should not be looking for a CFO role if I hope to get a job in this terrible market” WRONG!! This is not a terrible market, it is a competitive market and you need to do what you can to stand out.

My advice is simple, look at the role you are applying for, read the job spec or the advert, call the contact person to find out more about the skills and cultural fit required, and tailor your CV to it. Look at the prerequisites and if you satisfy most of them, highlight them in your CV. Put your best CV forward … each and every time.

Don’t even get me started on the ‘two page CV’ advice – how can a senior candidate who has the right experience, the right attributes and expertise ever get their CV down to two pages? Don’t get me wrong, recruiters or hiring managers don’t want to read a 20 page CV either … it is about keeping it clear, concise and to the point, but more importantly than anything, it’s about making it relevant to the position you are applying for.

What do your social media profiles say about you?

Todays job hunt no longer consists of flicking through classified and endless pages of results on job boards. Everyday new social media platforms are being released and used by job seekers and recruiters alike. Not surprising considering social professional networks are the fastest source of quality hires globally – and this has increased 73% over the past 4 years.

They say ‘first impressions last’! Well in the social media soaked world we live in we no longer have the ability to make that first impression in person with a smart suit or firm hand shake; this is now made through review of your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ …

So, where are you showcasing your ‘personal brand’? Where are you promoting your professional expertise? Are these platforms projecting a positive image for a prospective employer? Are they ‘employer friendly’?

Tips for creating a professional digital impression:

  • Google yourself … Then review all of your social media accounts from the perspective of a potential employer
  • Delete/Untag inappropriate photos
  • Remove posts that could be potentially offensive (i.e. Race, gender, religion, or politics. These things can be taken out of context)
  • Contribute to relevant forums and discussions
  • Review your grammar and spelling
  • Keep content up to date

92% of recruiters use social networking sites so whether you are actively seeking employment or not – remember we are looking at your profiles.

Make these sites work for you. There are endless sites with tips and information about how to better use each of the platforms to boost your job prospects. Eg.Mashable: The Ultimate Social Network Job Searching Guide

Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The Perfect Resume

By Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

I usually spend about 5 minutes reviewing a resume in the first instance, and research suggests that recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before they make the initial decision about your suitability or not for a role… ouch!! That means you have to win them over fast. So what makes a perfect resume? There is no perfect resume format, but some are certainly better than others. At the end of the day, your skills and qualifications will get you the job. However a great resume will be the key to getting you in the door and securing a job interview. So here are a few key things to consider.

Given the growth of social media, it is a good idea to include a link to your professional online profile (I am assuming you have one – if not… I suggest you read one of my earlier Blogs). Employers and recruiters look at any potential applicant’s online profile, so why not just include your URL with your contact information in your resume.

Don’t include an objective statement, it is so yesterday. There’s no point in including a generic objective about “a professional looking for opportunities that will allow you to leverage your skills… blah.. blah”. It’s not helpful; it’s distracting, so just ditch it. Replace it with an executive summary, which should be similar to a “30-second grab” explaining who you are and what you’re looking for. In no more than five sentences, explain what you’re great at and how you can provide value to a prospective employer. In a nutshell, what makes you stand out from the crowd?

List your most recent roles first. This means anyone reading your resume is able to see what you’ve been doing in recent years immediately. More information should be provided about the more recent positions, since this is where your most important achievements are usually found.

Another good trick is to identify keywords consistent with the job advertisement or role description and incorporate them into your resume (assuming you have those skills).

Ensure you describe your past experience, skills and achievements. This should be changed for every job you apply for to ensure prospective employers understand why you are perfect for the job. Please don’t send a generic version of your resume for every role you apply for, it is obvious you haven’t taken the time to tailor it and does not win points with prospective employers. Include your achievements, as it is not sufficient to simply state the roles and responsibilities that you have held. Ensure you highlight and even quantify the outcomes you have delivered. This is a testament to how you have added value to an organisation, and can include the dollars you saved or revenue you created for your employer and projects delivered on time or under budget.

As I said in one of my previous blogs, “you get out what you put in”, so be prepared to spend some time on your resume and refine it for every role you apply for, “near enough is not good enough” in this competitive market. Your resume is a critical part of your professional toolkit, and will play a key role in you nailing that next job.

Change Fatigue – What is it?

Change Fatigue – What is it?

By Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Is there such a thing as “change fatigue”? In my opinion, there most certainly is!!! It’s that sense of dread that comes when another change is just around the corner.

I understand change is an important part of organisational growth. But I don’t understand why it is continually managed so poorly, with such negative impacts on both staff and the business. The purpose of change is to ensure currency and competitiveness in the market, reduce costs, improve efficiencies and increase revenue, it is not to create stressed, burnt out and overwhelmed employees.

Leaders sometimes unfairly equate change fatigue to resistance to change. Not true. People like stability (we are human right… not robots), but we can quickly adapt to change, if it is introduced properly. Resistance is the push back often experienced because of the uncertainty the change may have, which can create unfounded fear. Successful change management and staff engagement can usually help, however unfortunately, many leaders fail to address this… jeopardizing organisational success. A stressed and unhappy workforce leads to lost productivity, lack of competiveness in the market, and ultimately a drop in the bottom line.

Change fatigue is the product of poor leadership. Leaders often fear they are missing some essential strategy, positioning or concept, often driving the implementation of change so that they don’t get left behind in the competitive world we operate in. While I understand the need for change, too much change can result in confusion, disorganisation and lack of competence. People become frustrated with the constant loss of productivity, the expense and effort of packing, moving, ordering new telephones or changing numbers, inducting and orientating new bosses, losing team members, gaining team members and living in a state of continual confusion.

I accept that change is constant, but I don’t accept that it cannot be managed better. This is the one of the key challenges for leaders, who must operate in a world of constant change. Our ability to respond to change, ultimately determines our success or otherwise, in a highly competitive market place. So it pays to take the time to get it right!!!

Are you feeling the change fatigue or want to know more about this space? Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Resumes, I Have Seen It All!

By Kate Broadley

I’ve sent lots of resumes over my career and I’ve personally reviewed thousands.

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Some are fantastic, most are just ok, and many are just dreadful, sorry I know that hurts. The worst part is, I continue to see the same mistakes made over and over by candidates, who are then shortlisted out and eliminated from consideration for a job. What’s most depressing is that I can tell from the resumes that many of these individuals are really good and would offer much to the prospective employer. But in this fiercely competitive labor market (yes fiercely competitive is what I said) employers don’t need to compromise or even wonder if you might have the right skill set. All it takes is one small mistake and your resume will be rejected, there are many other well written resumes to consider.

I know this is well-worn ground, but I promise you, more than half of you have at least one of these mistakes on your resume. And I’d much rather see you win jobs than get passed over.

Typos. This one seems obvious, but it happens again and again. So please read your resume from bottom to top: reversing the normal order helps you focus on each line in isolation. Or have someone else proofread it for you.

Length. Some people believe that resumes should be one page. Some say two pages. Some say three. Many candidates for positions are frightened that if they don’t comply with some arbitrary length limit, their resume won’t get read. This is all nonsense as there are no so-called “rules”. You should provide sufficient detail so that employers and recruitment consultants realise that you understand the impact of your role, that you go about your work using a well-reasoned thought process, and you have the judgment, knowledge and other skills needed for the types of roles for which you are applying. The issue is not how long the resume is. It’s about whether it conveys enough information to differentiate you from the competition and gets you to that first interview. Once you’re in the room, the resume doesn’t matter much. So cut back your resume. It’s too long.

Formatting. Unless you’re applying for a job such as a designer, your focus should be on making your resume clean and legible. At least ten point font, white paper, black ink and a reasonable margin on both sides of the page. Consistent spacing between lines, columns aligned with your name and contact information on every page. Your head shot, no matter how good you look in it, is unnecessary… your LinkedIn profile will usually suffice for employers who are interested in you (and if you don’t have your photo on LinkedIn, refer to my previous blog “How to build your professional brand”).

Of course, I shouldn’t have to mention it, but please, please don’t lie… you will get busted, its just a matter of time.

The good news is that if you can avoid these mistakes, you will be halfway there. In a future blog, I’ll talk about what you can do to make your resume stand out, other than the things to avoid!! Go on, review your resume and see if you can eliminate some of these mistakes.

Need help with your resume or want to know more? Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The Queensland Election is Looming …

1D6A0555 Written by Kate Broadley

… And with this brings the impact of the caretaker conventions.

The Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman is yet to announce the date for the State election, but what we do know is that it will be sometime soon. By convention, the government will then enter caretaker mode until the result of the election is known and, if there is a change of government, until the new government is appointed. Of course the normal business of government will continue during the caretaker period, however major approvals and decision are normally deferred.

Eden Ritchie Executive Scribing and Report Writing Services offer independence from an external third party, transparency, reliability of the interview process and fast turnaround of recruitment and selection documentation to the highest standards. Given the election will be called soon… now is the time to act and finalise those outstanding selection processes!!!

Our services include:

  • Screening applicants
  • Shortlisting of applications
  • Scribing for interviews, shortlisting meetings and panel deliberations
  • Providing immediate professional advice where difficult issues arise
  • Development of selection tools including effective interview questions, benchmarks or work tests
  • Reference checks
  • Criminal history and medical checks

For more information, contact Kate Broadley on 3230 0018 or 0448 858 178 or email kate@edenritchie.com.au.

Remember to visit our website and follow Eden Ritchie on LinkedIn to stay up to date with more industry news, careers and Eden Ritchie events.

ACHSM Breakfast Forum “Health IT Reform in Queensland Health – New Beginnings”

Written by: Bridget Young

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I entered the function room at Royal on the Park with trepidation, as I always do when arriving at networking events or forums – will I fall flat on my face and cause the whole room to turn and stare; will this be a valuable investment my managers and directors have made for my benefit; will I get some real market intelligence to help me with better serving my clients?

In direct order the answers to the above were No (thank God!); Yes (more thanks to the heavens!); and YES (FINALLY!). A public introduction to Queensland Health’s Chief Health Information Officer quickly confirmed why Mal Thatcher has been selected as the person to captain the sometimes ‘leaky boat’ that the public has often perceived as the IT component of our public health offering in Queensland.

With an ironic and self-deprecating sense of humour, it became immediately apparent that in keeping with Government’s Contestability and Fit for Purpose drivers, Mr Thatcher wanted us to know what he had achieved so far and was transparent about where he hoped to steer this ship moving forward.

Alignment with Health’s “Blueprint for Better Health “ and the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 will be forefront in the ‘devolution’ from centralised Corporate services, enabling adoption of an Agile approach to Policy, Governance and Architecture to facilitate innovation. With an intended reduction of red-tape and reallocation of responsibility and accountability to the regional Hospital and Health Services, we will ideally see Fit for Purpose solutions determined by those best informed to evaluate what will work for their unique requirements, whilst still maintaining integrity and future integration options.

A very strong focus on eHealth, innovation and waste reduction should further stimulate ICT job opportunities and find us on the cutting edge of Healthcare Technology. Some topics of note included Digital services such as open data, security/privacy and archiving; Information as a strategic asset; As A Service offerings; core system replacement and a paradigm shift from “IT Projects” to “Business Transformation Projects” with IT elements.

Success in 2014 …

Jane Harvey

By Jane Harvey

It sounds so basic but many a great motivator over the years has stated that the whole secret of personal success is to find out what your calling is, and then do it. Sound easy?? The great question for success has always been, how do successful people get there? Why is it that some people naturally think in a positive way, while others don’t? What determines your success or lack of it??

Many successful people I have interviewed and spoken to over the past (too many) years, have been asked the simple question, “What do you think about, most of the time? And where do you see yourself in 10 years” Their answers are so simple yet so profound. In short, they either choose to be positive… or they don’t.  They either think about what they want, and how to get it or they think about the obstacles in their path.

Successful people all think the same… and I think that if you look at people who seem to have come from nothing and succeeded. They are not super heros or even always academic. The common denominator is almost always the power of positive thinking and self belief. Your self-concept plays a prominent role in almost everything you think, feel and accomplish in life. By looking at and learning from the habits of successful people and by remaining positive in your thought patterns, you too are sure to become a successful person!

We have just come through a couple of years of uncertainty in Australia and it has certainly been an up and down year in QLD alone but 2014 is looking to be shining bright on so many fronts. As you would all be aware, the employment space is a key indicator to the overall economics of not only QLD but the whole of Australia. It impacts what people buy, the housing market, the tourism sector and even the not for profit space, basically it is the catalyst for so much of what happens in our life.

So I was so happy to come out of a hard year in 2013 and into the throws of what, by all accounts is destined to be a big year on the job front. Some of the most exceptional candidates I have met with in my career have just entered the job seeker market and some of the most interesting jobs we have worked on recently seem to be pouring through the doors. So I can only come to one conclusion. The future of 2014 is looking so bright! I feel optimistic after a turbulent few years and I am also feeling that optimism from clients and candidates alike!

Bring on 2014… Lets get started!

To fill or find?

Recruitment is an interesting business and I honestly think one of the few modern business areas that can have such a dramatic impact on the success of a business. As a topic, it is one I could write and debate about for way too long. However this week for the Eden Ritchie Recruitment blog I wanted to focus on just a small part of this idea.SueT

As a recruiter I have often been faced with the dilemma of am I just filling the role or am I finding the right candidate for the role and organisation. Sometimes this is driven by the client themselves with their need to just have a ‘bum on seat’, a topic that really deserves a whole blog to itself. The other part of the dilemma is finding the right candidate and what do they look like?

An article I recently read really hit home on this topic and I thought I would give my spin on it all, check out the story here – http://www.fordyceletter.com/2013/04/25/30-client-questions-that-will-save-you-time-and-make-you-money/

The articles lead idea matches my thoughts exactly – preparation is the key to not only understanding what the ideal candidate looks like but also developing the ‘business partner’ relationship with the client.

I realise in our industry time is a massive factor in how we do our job, and I know this can be an issue, however I think there is always time to make a plan of attack before we run that magical search.

My ideal way to find out what a client wants in a candidate is, at the basic level asks these key questions. From the clients response to these questions I will drill down my search criteria.

The candidate profile questions:

  • Why is the position vacant,
  • When do you need someone,
  • How does the role impact on you and/or the business,
  • Forget the position description, what are YOU looking for,
  • What makes this role attractive to people in this field,
  • What does success look like for this person,
  • Is there any absolute or mandatory requirements,
  • What is on offer,
  • When are you free to interview and can we lock it in now.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the questions you ask to find out what a client really wants in a candidate and if you have found this useful.

OWN THE INTERVIEW!

In today’s market, it is essential that you have an impeccable CV to secure an interview. But how do you capitalise on that C.V. when you are sitting across from your prospective employer?

Let me ask you a question:

Q: How many times have you received feedback from a recruiter that the client secured a stronger candidate, but thank you for your time and effort; we will contact you when we have another position that matches your profile?

A: Often tom

Or this – 

Q: “I’m sorry we will not be moving forward with your application. The client was not confident in your ability to bring a professional approach to the role and was put off that you didn’t look them in the eye OR shake their hand with confidence”?

A: Just as often

If you are securing interviews but never securing the role, maybe something as simple as the above examples are holding you back.

With the amount of candidates in the market today, it is essential that you are prepared for your interview and are aware of all the aspects that will make you stand out from other applicants.

So, to be successful in securing a job in this market here are a few of my tips:

  • Do your history on the organisation and the panel members.
  • Give demonstrated examples of where you have completed a similar project or role.
  • Detail your specific duties within those projects/roles.
  • Point out transferable skills you offer.
  • Talk about the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.
  • Ensure confident and continual eye contact with the panel members.
  • Speak clearly and confidently and as if you are aiming for the back of the room.
  • Ask questions about the project and challenges they are facing?
  • Ask what sort of candidate they are looking for?

Here are some things that I see candidates do that may prevent them from securing a role:

  • Being under prepared and not having a thorough understanding of the organisation or panel members.
  • Under dressing.
  • Over dressing – wearing strong colours is not always good. Stick to light easy on the eye colours. We are not saying don’t be yourself but do consider the panel.
  • Giving vague answers about your experience.
  • Answering questions as if the panel members know everything about you from your CV – they don’t always know your CV and they also want to hear YOU talk about YOU and how YOU can help THEM.
  • Badmouthing past employers.
  • Leaving your mobile on.
  • Talking too much.
  • Looking around the room for answers.
  • Not thanking interviewers for there time.

Interviewing is simple, if you prepare and do your homework!

If you want to know more about interviewing, CV preparation or a general chat about the market and how the team at Eden Ritchie can help, give us a call on 3230 0033 or check out our website www.edenritchie.com.au 

Stand out from the pack

It’s not the most positive way to start this weeks blog, however with an increase in unemployment rates, it has become extremely competitive in the employment market. The more people looking for employment, means organisations, including recruitment agencies, are being overwhelmed with candidates keen to find a new opportunity.

With the urgency people are feeling to find employment and the sheer numbers in the market, you do need to ensure you stand out from the crowd. Now the question is, what will make the employer or recruiter take interest in your application over any of the others?

Now the positive part, here are some of my simple tips to ensure you stand out from the crowd.Mel1

The job

So you have just searched some job boards or social media and found what looks like an ideal role. Reading over the description, you are thinking, I could do this job. You read the requirements they want and in your mind you are ticking off each point, yes Yes YES!  Now what do you do?

Contact them first

Make contact with the recruiter or employer. Ask questions, find out more information that may not be in the position description or advertisement and show a genuine interest in the position. This also ensures they might keep an eye out for YOUR application when it comes through or at least have a connection to your name over candidates who do not call.

Follow up

I cannot emphasise this enough. Follow up and check on your application’s progress. As a general guide, leave it a couple of days before you first follow up, and chase up unanswered messages – but not too often. You want to show an interest in the position without getting in the road of recruiters doing their day-to-day work.

Get the person’s or company name right

Its important to take the time to get the basics right. It’s hard to make a good impression if you haven’t taken the time or effort to double-check who you’re speaking with or how to pronounce the company name. This includes ensuring your cover letter is addressed correctly.

Tailor your resume

Your resume is the most critical part of the application process.  It will determine whether or not you get an interview. Tailor your previous history around responsibilities and achievements to highlight what the organization is looking for in their position description. Listing specific industry related information like projects, methodologies, technologies, frameworks, functions, qualifications and trainings do make a different.

Make your resume catchy

Remember this is your pitch, your glossy sales brochure, selling you to the client. You want to spark an interest in your skills and experience. Focus on achievements and use short but sharp summaries for each position that draw the reader in.

Prioritise information

You need to engage the reader in the first couple of pages so a strong executive summary at the beginning of your resume and cleverly thinking about the layout will ensure they continue reading. Make sure everything in your resume is relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Apply early

Getting your application in early shows a number of positive traits, and if you beat the pack of applicants who leave it to the last minute, your application will be one of the first they see.

If you need more information about resume preparation we have more information available on our website.  http://www.edenritchie.com.au/contracting/resumes_coverletters.php

 

Are you Linked In?

Linda ParkerThe power of an on line job board has changed dramatically over the past few years.

Whilst we in the recruitment industry have used the major job boards since their inception, in recent times they have simply become a supporting tool for recruiters. For me, job boards are certainly not a proactive tool or the most effective tool to source key talent across a range of disciplines.

Now, without wanting to sound like I’m on their payroll (because I’m most definitely not!), LinkedIn has become an effective and powerful head hunting tool, and all you as the job seeker has to do, is keep your profile current and active, at no cost other than your time.  LinkedIn also has a job search area, and you may even discover that the most amazing and newsworthy opportunities can be found here – such as this unique role posted a couple of days ago (and has subsequently been filled)…

pope-linked-in

Seriously though… a client reminded me just this week how effective LinkedIn can be after she was approached by a CFO within her network to take on a senior finance position. No formal selection process was carried out, just a couple of casual phone conversations and assurance from key references that she was the right candidate for the role.

In a market where a large number of candidates are applying for roles through job boards, how are you making yourself visible and standing out from the crowd?

2013 in Queensland – a positive outlook or more of the same?

Dan2012 was a tough year for many Queenslander’s with the employment market suffering from a lack of Government spending on projects and infrastructure. The large number of redundancies across the Government sector as well as the reduced confidence of the large mining and resources companies all contributed to a significant reduction in the hiring of both contract and permanent staff across most industries in Queensland throughout 2012.

With 2013 now in full swing, what is the outlook for the remainder of the year? We have seen a steady increase in the number of contract and permanent opportunities throughout the first couple of months of year which is certainly a welcome change from the last quarter of 2012. After a strict spending freeze since the election in March last year, the State Government appears to slowly be ramping up its spending on new projects which has created the increased need for contractors with specialist skills to help deliver key initiatives.

The lowering of interest rates by the RBA over the past six months has increased confidence in the Australian economy and has seen many commercial sector organisations increase their recruitment to help meet deadlines and drive growth. We have seen a significant increase in the number of permanent roles in Queensland compared to the past 6 months.

Overall, the increase in Government spending combined with the increase in confidence in the Australian economy certainly bodes well for the year ahead. With the Government’s need to deliver critical services across the state, we should see a substantial increase in the amount spent on projects for the remainder of the year. For anyone looking for a new role, this should have a positive impact as the number of both permanent and contract opportunities rapidly increases to meet the demand of employers.

The Element of Luck

tomIn job seeking, as in life, no matter how you plan or scheme, sometimes, great opportunities come as a result of dumb luck. But this luck is situational. Here’s an example:

Actress Charlize Theron was struggling financially, so she moved to Hollywood to try and make it as an actress. One day, she went to the bank to cash a check she had received from a modelling job. The cashier at the bank refused to cash her check, causing Charlize to erupt in anger at the bank teller. A talent agent just so happened to be standing behind her in line and was suitably impressed by her theatrics. He slipped her his card when she made her way out.

Now Ms Theron is one of the biggest names in Hollywood and is in no way strapped for cash. All this because of a series of events that proved to be ‘lucky’. But if she hadn’t been in that town, surrounded by talent agents and trying to make her mark, this story could have turned out a lot differently.

You can facilitate luck when looking for a job – don’t discount it.

Take risks: Calculated risks can be rewarding. If you’re used to being in a particular position, but only in one sort of industry, you’re going to land yourself in trouble if you’re not willing to look outside your current space. But if you know that your industry is going to take a downturn, don’t be afraid to try the same position in a new area. Skills can translate rather easily over different industries.

Recognise advantageous positions: The chances of landing your ideal role by simply walking out your front door and into the path of a prospective employer are extremely low. However, if you position yourself correctly through networking, applications and an active online presence, your chances of getting in the path of someone in a hiring position who likes what you have to offer dramatically increase.

Stay vigilant and prepared, because luck may just play a role in landing you your next job.

Making the Move from Government to Commercial

Linda ParkerHave you recently taken a redundancy from the State Government and considering the move into a commercial organisation?

You are not alone.

In the current market more and more candidates are attempting the transition from the public sector to the private sector.

Unfortunately there is a ‘public servant’ myth, which can hinder your ability to even get an interview. So how do you convince the hiring manager of a successful blue chip organisation that you have what it takes to work in a fast paced environment?

Tips to bear in mind when presenting your application to a commercial organisation, or through a recruitment agency, is to highlight the ‘commercial’ aspects of your previous roles and have a clear plan in mind.

Do your research!! Going into an interview without any prior knowledge of the company and its operations or strategic vision is a sure fire way to not get the job!

In recent years, Government organisations have been recruiting candidates with commercial experience in order to change the culture and drive greater efficiencies and performance. This argument can be used to flip the public servant perception on its head.

Private sector employers who fail to recruit the most talented employees, and prejudice themselves against people with different career backgrounds are unintentionally exposing their own management weaknesses. Their inability to recognise that public sector workers have an enormous amount to offer suggests a lack of foresight on their part and can potentially make them appear narrow minded.

There are so many strengths that you can bring to a role in the private sector including your ability to manage change and varying levels of bureaucracy, not to mention multi-million dollar budgets!

Take the time to think about what you can offer, and sell it!

If you’re currently preparing your CV, or would just like to enhance your current one, this article from Business Insider offers some great advice on what to avoid putting in your resume.

Outplacement Services – A Good Investment or Money Wasted?

Recently I have been providing outplacement services to Queensland Government executives as part of the Queensland Government employee assistance program. For many years government jobs were considered untouchable, but government is no longer immune to the constricting economy, and they too have to make efficiencies while at the same time maintaining the services the community expects.

By the time many of us get to Executive level positions in government, we feel that we are institutionalised and are too proud to think that outplacement services will be of any benefit.

Well, let me be the first to tell you, those of us who have been employed in government for long periods of time (me included), have lost our mojo in terms of what the private sector market is looking for in a prospective employee.

My experience working with executives as part of the outplacement services has highlighted the barriers that they face, not only in terms of the outdated tools used to promote themselves in the employment market, their lack of personal self worth, but also their limited knowledge of the market.

You would be well advised to seek independent advice and support to help you transition into this market. As you could very well spend a lot of time barking up the wrong tree, especially if you use the resume you have always used in government. You could waste a lot of time and energy being upset with not getting that call, when you know you have all the right skills and experience. Not only will you get upset but it is also a blow to your already fragile self-esteem.

Outplacement services can assist you to to build your confidence and ability to sell yourself to prospective employers.

So take advantage of coaching and support outplacement services. Yes there may be a cost, but ask yourself the question – Are you and your career are worth the expense? It is these very services that will help you prepare yourself for the market and find those opportunities.

LinkedIn – what is this?  It’s a business tool to promote your qualifications, skills and experience. Many employers no longer advertise in the traditional newspaper or even on Seek. They are using LinkedIn – Recruiters are looking for candidates through this medium too. So get on board, or you may be missing valuable opportunities.  In this job market, opportunities are not to be missed.

Preparation is key.  Evaluate your options, identify your best opportunities, create an outstanding resume, use social media and learn to interview effectively.  This takes time, planning, commitment and effort on your part.

We are here to help you navigate your way through this new world of opportunity. Contact us to discuss career transition, psychological testing, career coaching, creating a red hot resume, using social media to find employment opportunities and tips for preparing for that dreaded interview.

It’s a Tough Market – How Are You Selling Yourself?

When you apply for a job, whether it be with a recruitment agency or directly to a company, you are being shortlisted or put in the unsuccessful pile based on what you’re resume is telling us.

Recently I’ve been working on a permanent financial accounting role, for which I received 86 applicants. You need to make sure your resume stands out!

I don’t mean you need to pay hundreds of dollars for a Graphic Designer to create you something – all we look for is a neatly formatted resume, that is easy to read and clearly defines your experience, relating to the role you’re applying for.

So, you’re on Seek or looking through the paper and you see your ideal role, you love the sound of the company, the responsibilities, location and money are perfect… don’t miss out on being called up about this role because of a bad resume! Double check that the responsibilities this dream role is requiring are clearly defined throughout your resume. You need to prove you have the expertise we are looking for.

In the next few weeks, take some time out to review your resume and read it from an employers perspective… would you employ you, based only on what is in your resume? Does it clearly define your skills, not leaving room for assumptions? Give your resume to a colleague or relative and ask them what they think – is it easy to read, is it neatly formatted?

We read resumes everyday, if you need assistance with making your resume the best it can be, please contact us.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s going to be an advantage to you in the long run.

Queensland IT Market Update

What a difference a couple of months make! It’s good to see some positivity returning to the Queensland IT market after a relatively quiet six month period following the state election in March this year. Whilst the market hasn’t yet returned to the busy times we saw during 2011 and the early part of 2012, it seems there is momentum building slowly across a number of organisations, with key projects requiring resources as we come into the traditionally quiet Christmas period. This bodes well for 2013, particularly as the State Government starts to undertake new projects following the results of the ICT Audit that it is close to finalising.

In a number of conversations with employers and candidates throughout the year, I have mentioned that I believe we will see significant growth in the market from around March next year. I still hold this belief after hearing QLD Government CIO, Peter Grant, speak at the ICT Industry Forum last week, where he mentioned the government’s plans for significant spending on ICT initiatives as we move into the New Year. This has a flow on effect for many private sector companies that are influenced by the spending, or lack of, by state and local government in Queensland.

So what does this mean for the ICT employment market? My expectation is that the need for ICT contractors will increase as these ICT projects begin. In the early months of 2013, we should see a steady increase in the number of contract roles, particularly Project Managers and Business Analysts. As the year continues, we should see growth across other areas as these projects ramp up their recruitment.

Despite what has been an up and down year for many, it is good to see some positive sentiment in the market. Good signs for the industry as we move into 2013!

Successful Hiring

Is near enough, good enough? I have noticed that there is a reasonably good candidate market out there at the moment with some real talent on offer. This I believe, has come about for several reasons, including the job cuts in government and the desire of candidates to relocate from other states and abroad to Queensland, for what they consider a positive lifestyle change. Whatever the reason, now is the time to take advantage of the available talent.

With a rich source of potential candidates, is near enough, good enough? When you’re hiring, you’re growing. That means business is good? The last thing you want to do is take on people who could be wrong for the job, or your organisation. Some important points to take into consideration when hiring, whether you’re running the process yourself or using the services of a specialised recruitment agency.

In my experience the following points are not only useful but essential when running a recruitment process to find the right people for your organisation:

Provide a detailed Position description: One that is accurate – this needs to outline the duties, responsibilities, and necessary skills, but also mention “how” the work is to be done, and timely expectations. An article I read recently put it appropriately for the Healthcare Sector “If patient care is critical, don’t assume that a candidate’s empathy is a given”. Outline how you see this is to be carried out. Don’t be afraid to put down the sometimes unmeasurable, otherwise you run the risk of having to settle for second best.

Recognise the talent you already have within your organisation: Is there any potential internal applicants that can do the job? Don’t be afraid to hire from outside if you believe that “fresh” would work better. But also recognise existing talent that could step up.

Utilise a professional firm: If you need assistance. Common problems can be looked at from an outside point of view, which offers a non-biased and hopefully a realistic view. With so many different theories on interviewing techniques and lengthy processes, specialists in this field can often expedite the process and match the well-prepared position description to the right type of talent. Be committed to the process.

Don’t oversell your organisation: Don’t run the risk of not being able to deliver, the old cliché of “under promise, over deliver” works well for retaining good talent. The last thing you want when you have put in so much time and effort into your recruitment process or paid for results, is that the expectations on both sides is unfulfilled.

Without trying to sound overly optimistic at the state of the job market in Queensland, now is the time to be securing good people for your organisation, engage them now for future gains.

Looking for a change – Ever considered overseas job opportunities?

Ever dreamt about securing a role with an overseas company and combining work with your love of adventure and travel? With the global job boards and the use of Skype it has never been easier if you are thinking about an international move.  With South East Asia still going through aggressive growth – the Aussie and Kiwi  “right of passage” no longer necessarily means going to the UK for a 2-year stint.

Australian experience is highly regarded in the Asian business market and opportunities closer to home in Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam have become increasingly accessible in recent times, with most organisations doing business in English, the request for Australian/NZ qualifications is more prevalent than ever.

But before you think about such a life-changing move you need to consider the pros and cons and what it will mean to your career.  Questions to ask and things to consider; what is the financial reward/tax regime in the country you are considering, is the organsiation and role going to add value to your resume and future job prospects, what are the conditions of your employment contract.

Do your research, understand the cost of living in a foreign country and if all the stars align why wouldn’t you take the chance and immerse yourself in a different culture for a few years, you might be surprised what you learn and what it will do for your career.

Life adventures and considered risks are never a bad thing in my opinion.

Change brings the certainty of more change.

Linda ParkerSo we have a new Government, no surprises there, although the landslide victory was probably even more ‘shocking’ than many predicted.

But how does this effect where the employment market is heading in the short term?  We know that there is going to be a change of power at the senior levels. We have already seen a new Director-General appointed for Department of Premier and Cabinet, and the word on the street is that a new Under Treasurer will soon be named, but what does it mean for the thousands of public servants across Queensland, who are simply focused on delivering outcomes for the State, whether it be related to health services, education or roads.

One guarantee these changes will bring is with it even more change.

Changes to department names, changes to reporting structures, and changes to policies, to name but a few.  It will be a matter of time before Machinery of Government changes are announced and the flow on effect begins.

For those of us providing recruitment services to Government, our job will be to very quickly gain an understanding of what the mandate will be for each new Department, who is in charge, and what the strategic vision so we can identify what skills are going to be in demand and work proactively to meet that challenge. Yet another flow on effect from change at the top!

Change has many meanings, some may say “it’s a cause to be different, a transformation, others may say it’s seasonal, to move from one phase to another (Anna Bligh herself referred to the cycle of politics and the momentum for change in her concession speech).

Whatever spin you want to put on it, change is inevitable and shouldn’t be feared.  Change brings opportunity, the chance of doing things better, or smarter. After all, we call ourselves the Smart State don’t we? Or perhaps the new Premier will change that strategy too.

Company Culture and The Recruitment Process

What you experience as a applicant during a recruitment process is generally reflective of that organisations culture…

True or false?

It is a fact that many applicants still have a less than favourable experience when they apply for a new job, be it a direct application to an employer or through a recruiter…

In this employment market where skill shortages do exist in particular areas, many employers are still acting to their detriment in the way they treat potential employees.

The “sins” are many – with the most common including:

  • Not acknowledging applications received
  • Taking months to fill a vacancy
  • Not providing a contact person and phone number on a job advertisement
  • Outdated and irrelevant position descriptions (sometimes none at all)
  • Advertising a role when you already have someone earmarked to appoint
  • Interviewing and never providing feedback

If an applicant does get to sit across the interview table, often the way an interview is conducted is enough to drive the conclusion home that this organisation, isn’t culturally a good fit.

An interview needs to be a two-way dialogue, where the applicant demonstrates the expertise they bring and how the organisation will benefit from their appointment.

The organisation in turn has to demonstrate what benefits the applicant will get from joining them over a competitor – whether it is training, challenge, growth or development…

I believe that a recruitment process where the opportunity is not provided to talk to someone about the role from the outset is a flawed one.  I believe that any employer not prepared to interview within 4 weeks of advertising is crazy.  I also believe that not acknowledging an application or providing feedback post interview is rude.

I also believe that if you are a serious job seeker – thinking that you can just hit the apply button and stand out in the crowd is laughable…

I’d be interested to hear your experiences… Please share your thoughts in the comment box below!