Interview Prep: How to Sound Like You Know What You’re Talking About

Job interview

Positive first impressions are the gateway to a successful career path, so there is no better time to start preparing for job interviews. You’ll rarely have a second chance when it comes to the interview process, so you’ve got to sound like you know what you’re doing and stay at the top of your game from the very moment you contact the interviewer. Even if you are the most charismatic or most connected person in the room, a successful interview candidate would need much more research and knowledge prior to speaking with the hiring officer. No amount of charm will help you wing a question such as “What do you know about the history of this company?”, “What are the company’s values?” Or a twisty one like “What do you consider to be the biggest challenge facing mid-sized engineering businesses like ours, and how would you measure the success of overcoming these challenges?”

Prior to attending your interview, you’d be expected to have researched the company and role position, build up the enthusiasm and prepare conversation starters to engage your interviewer. These tips and tricks will give you a solid foundation to pitch yourself from, as you effectively express your interest in the open position, and how well you are suited for the company’s current needs.

Job interview

Research!

The first step to knowing how to sound like you know what you’re talking about is to know what you are talking about! You’ll be thrown many questions on the topic of the company’s background, behavioural questions, competency questions or brainteasers. To answer these, you’ve got to weave in your sound understanding of how the company operates to show you are familiar with key aspects such as how many employees work at the company, how many offices the company owns across the country, the management structure, and most importantly, the industry in which it operates. Flaunting your connectedness to the company will help you become an outstanding candidate with impressive commitment and initiative. To find relevant information about the company, you can explore the company’s website, social media pages or LinkedIn portfolio. For extensive information about the job you are applying for, dissect the job posting and every detail of the job description. Research similar roles and their demands. If the employer lists the requirements of the role, you will be prepared with a critical elaboration for each point and your aptitude for them.

An additional helpful tip is to get to know your interviewer to create a bond with them, but be careful not to scare them with too much knowledge of their personal life! Questions or topics focused on their career achievements will suffice. For example, you might mention “I’ve noticed you were nominated and subsequently won the award for the highest achieving woman in the office. I admire your dedication and hard work very much and hope to work alongside you one day.” Going the extra mile to get to know your prospective employer and praising them will open a casual dialogue with them and help you prove your enthusiasm for the position.

Relaxing before important interview

Don’t Memorise

Definitely retain as much information about the company as you can. But don’t memorise a scripted response for any prompts you’ve prepared. The term “prepared” means you have a general to excellent understanding of the company and the ability to mould them into an effective response, NOT memorising a strict answer to every possible question that may be asked. Over-rehearsing your answer can induce more stress when you are under the pressure of an actual interview and you struggle to remember your lines. This will do the opposite of preparing you if you get nervous and fumble your words, causing you to come off ironically unprepared and unequipped to respond. The aim is to stay relaxed, authentic and hyper-vigilant to any potential question.

Radiate calm

Avoid tensing up! It’s hard not to fidget and distract your interviewer with nervous tendencies when you let the nerves get the best of you. You definitely don’t want to give your interviewer second-hand anxiety this way! Be zen!

If you know you tend to tap your feet or speak too fast in these situations, prepare for it beforehand. It helps to calm yourself through yoga or meditation and practice putting your nerves at bay. After mastering how to radiate calm energy, you’ll go into the interview much more relaxed and by extension, allow the hiring manager to stay calm too. Or even if you take a few deep yoga breaths before stepping into the room, you’ll find yourself much more focused and powerful. Overall, you’ll notice yourself being more open and conduct yourself confidently with others and increase your chances of impressing them.

Here are some tips to help you through those nerve-racking interviews:

1. Allow yourself to pause instead of babbling on. It’s fine to give yourself a breath in between long answers, instead of allowing your sentences to run on. If anything, a profound pause if much more powerful and impactful. Don’t use a word vomit to cover up silences because it can get overwhelming for the interviewer too.

2. Avoid filler words. “Um…”, “uh…” will make you sound less confident and unprofessional. For clarity, let the pause occur and then pick up your sentence again. You’ll be more collected and have better thought out responses. Short pauses make you more authentic and real.

Don’t Overcomplicate to Compensate

People who indulge in complex and long words are in fact compensating for being less educated or less respected by their peers. Smart people will use simpler terms to convey their message to everyone without any confusion being caused. You’ll also sound more believable and authentic. Giving long-winded responses can negatively reflect on you, as you give off the impression that you might be making up a story or full of yourself.

Master Small Talk

There is no better way to fill up time or silence than by opening a two-way dialogue with your interviewer. This takes the pressure and focus off you, to give you a break from an interrogation. You’ll be showing interest in their work or enthusiasm for what a regular day at the workplace looks like. Now is no better time to forge a connection with the people across the table, by finding any common interests you share! Ask what they enjoy doing in their spare time, what projects they are currently involved in or where the best food around the building is. Connect yourself in a meaningful way to emphasise your suitability for the brand or business. As mentioned before, don’t go overboard and assert yourself in a creepy manner. Avoid personal topics like asking where they live, who their parents are or perhaps their age. Pointing out you know what their pets look like or that you admire their swimwear from a long Instagram stalk is a definite no-go. Simply bring up relevant information pertaining to a normal workplace discussion in a natural way is very appealing. Have strong command of your body language to show you are listening, and give them your undivided attention as they speak.

Practice makes Better!

Confident speakers are made, not born. You don’t need overtly extroverted qualities to effectively convey a message or ace an interview. Practising how to upskill your interpersonal and communication ability will be very rewarding throughout your future as these critical core skills will be prevalent in your work, social or personal lives. Practising is about repetition, reflection and creating a feedback loop to improve. This way, you’ll know your strengths, weakness while opening many opportunity doors. You can only get better over time!

So as we’ve learnt, showing enthusiasm and confidence in your skills and knowledge is the key to a successful interview. You want to leave the room with both you and the interviewer feeling like you’ve just concluded a very meaningful conversation. To sound like you know what you’re talking about, research, familiarise yourself with the company, the hiring manager, and most of all, practice your verbal communicative skills. With that, all the best of luck with your future pursuits!

Preparing for job interview

How to Onboard Remote Interns

Remote internships are greatly advantageous if structured correctly. It’s perfect for smaller workplaces, more cost efficient and highly enriching for both employees and employers. As employers, your remote interns will be trained into highly regarded job candidates with familiarity towards the company and it’s staff, so there is little to lose by creating a program to accommodate them. In the wake of COVID-19, many businesses are restructuring to manage impactful work and training for students in need of experience- so keep with the times and recruit a virtual team. With enough care and consideration, onboarding remote interns can be seamless!

Mentorship Program

Employers should expect a great extent of handholding to enrich their interns because remote learning is especially hard without synchronous workflows that is usually achieved by in-person office environments. A mentorship program should be developed to emphasise the importance of clear communication channels.

Onboarding new intern

Managers can be trained to mentor a virtual team by being alert and punctual in answering their questions and rectifying their concerns about work assignments. These mentors will learn to be more empathetic when struggling remote interns are unable to articulate their obstacles through online communication channels, as opposed to showing their computational problems in-person. It is hard to manage nervous and inexperienced students who are new to professional environments so offering well-equipped remote mentors will invigorate their internship and allow them to thrive accordingly.

Ensuring Psychological Assistance

Without a personal mentor sitting beside them to guide the way, remote interns will have an ongoing stream of questions throughout their program. The physicality that is deprived from an intern may evoke psychological issues due to a fear of appearing as a ‘hassle’ or ‘bother’, creating a barrier preventing them to ask questions and get their work completed efficiently. Eventually, interns will reach out less and the friction between mentor and mentee may grow- self searching and self learning can only take them so far and is very time consuming. Creating a psychological safety net for these struggling interns will boost overall business productivity. To proactively address this virtual barrier, employers can ask mentors to regularly call interns to identify any concerns, remind interns daily they can ask questions as often as they’d like, or host a 24/7 conference room online specifically made as a checkpoint to see how interns are handling their work.

group cohesion

Managing Expectations

Managing your expectations as the employer will take lots of pressure off interns who are simultaneously learning to handle the job as well as cope with the virtual workspace. How employers measure what, how and when the work is assigned should be calibrated to the unique characteristics of remote internships. With asynchronous work, there is higher inclination to demand expediency. But due to the increased need by interns to assimilate into an unfamiliar work structure, this expectation should be minimised.

Selectively Craft Work Assignments

With junior staff and asynchronous work schedules at hand, employers can mould job tasks to be accomplished more effectively. Interns should be able to complete tasks without too much difficulty if their tasks are designed according to their level of training or knowledge.

In this instance, it is unhelpful to allow existing employees to offload their personal tasks on remote interns who are not properly trained with the right tools or qualification. It should also be noted that interns are still an essential part of the team and that their contributions are valued. Make their projects notable to large groups to encourage the company to be invested in their success, whilst involving interns in communications among staff regularly so they feel useful.

Competitive Hiring Advantage

Remote work has recently been considered the ‘future of work’- a candidate’s capability to complete set tasks and assignments sufficiently is held to high regard, and is believed to become a norm soon. Companies have already mass restructured their work spaces and adapted to the influx of digital software to engage staff, which are built to support remote learning and management due to its flexibility, cost efficiency and convenience. Talented interns who are job-ready with the appropriate skills are overqualified with digital talents and technical skills. Employers who are strategic will know to seek these top talents and mould them into perfect job candidates at the end of their internship. These interns are assets to a business and offer a competitive edge once they are fully equipped with knowledge of workflows and business operations.

Diversity

Remote internships have the added advantage of allowing business to broaden their candidate pool, as outsourcing becomes a primary opportunity. With a more diverse scope of talent, the cultural and geographical differences between employer and intern can enrich the company by introducing unique ideas and skills. Diversity is simply an excellent way for the company to be better connected with a global market as well as invigorate the vibrancy of their business by exploring fresh perspectives, new tools and methodology.

Communicate!

The biggest factor to perfect before onboarding remote interns is to seek the best media through which communications are exchanged. As aforementioned, clear communication and transparent feedback plays a crucial role in keeping interns updated on the company’s goals, their work requirements and check up on their development during a rapidly changing work environment.

With much room for miscommunication errors, creating a constant feedback loop between employer and remote intern will reduce work-related stress while maximising the productivity metric.

Clear, direct communication with students will ultimately strengthen the work relationships within a company, boosting morale and establishing confidence. In the digital era, many applications and softwares are available to businesses to explore easy to navigate chat rooms, collaborative documents and calendars, and live conferencing technology. So communicate, and communicate even more!

Final Mentions

Before hiring talent and situating them within an unfamiliar workplace, employers should evaluate the above steps to onboarding remote interns. Taking great consideration of how the management system is structured, how communications channels are established and remote jobs are designed will ultimately enable companies to enjoy the benefits of diversity and competitive advantage.

interns working together

What’s the Right Career Path for Me?

 

Determining what the perfect career path for you is, can be a daunting decision to make. Most people understand that enjoying your work is a crucial aspect of the job. As you begin University, you may not always have a clear idea of what job you want from the get-go. This is totally normal! You have a couple years to learn what sort of work inspires you and adjust your academic pursuits accordingly. A graduate job should not feel like a life sentence! To know how to figure out the right career path suited to you, here is a helpful guide to narrowing down your options.

Conducting Career Assessments

Finding some insight into your career options can be as simple as completing a Buzzfeed survey… but with some added measures, of course, it is your future at hand after all. You’re about to seek help both online or through deep introspection. Now, before you exhaust every career quiz on the internet, it is important to know where to look for the best and most effective results. The site you use should have some level of validity and reliability. If it is from a highly acclaimed agency or delivers consistent results, it is worth trusting.

These career assessments are good starting points to help you open a dialogue with yourself to self reflect. Use it as a tool to your advantage, to evaluate how well the results match your passions, personality, values and preference. Ask yourself some honest questions.

What is most important for you in a job? High pay? Location? Workplace culture?

What do you excel at?

Are you open to change job locations?

Would you like to manage people or work in backroom analysis?  etc…

Finding the right fit for you requires more research. Explore the many employable fields. You have an abundance of internship roles, volunteer opportunities or apprenticeships to allow yourself to do some further soul searching. As long as you are open and flexible to new opportunities, you may never know what you will stumble upon, and your luck will expand exponentially.

Get more organised and create a ranking or comparative spreadsheet to assess the job opportunities or education you’ve had and align them with the industries you want to work in. Breakdown the characteristics of every job description or responsibility and rate them against how they match your own traits to narrow down your goals.

Look for Overlap.

One way to optimise your career options is to use more analytical thinking. Pretend you are marketing yourself as an asset to businesses and look for the value proposition of your brand as a candidate. Align your strengths with what companies are demanding and search for overlaps. Consider factors beyond desirable job titles and look at your interests, talents, hobbies and skills.

Find your Passion

Rather than closely analysing your critical or technical skills, look at the things you love to do. Ask yourself what you enjoy doing in your spare time, what you wouldn’t mind dedicating free volunteer hours into or what inspires you. If an organisational ability isn’t a strength of yours, perhaps dig into your artistic aptitudes and pursue a career in a more creative environment as opposed to a corporate managerial role. If you love reading books, perhaps you could seek employment in research. Having a strong interest in something makes it a lot easier when it comes to job decisions. Capitalise on your passions and you’ll never work a day in your life!

Is Your Career Sustainable?

It is very important to consider whether or not your chosen career path has a future. Research the projected growth of your field before coming to any conclusions about where you want to situate. Many industries have high projected job growth such as renewable energy or digital media. Others are forecasted to decline, such as work in Wired Communication Carriers or apparel manufacturing. Be sure you are making informed decisions about your career path and thoroughly research the sustainability or demand for labour in your chosen field.

Network

To get a sense of what path you want to be on,  networking is a fantastic way to get in touch with experienced individuals with valid advice. To be more in touch with your career path, socialise and connect with qualified people who have most likely tackled every hurdle or requirement of their respective field. Asking them to share their knowledge will give you great insight into what you have to look forward- the environment, the culture and the rewards. Especially when it comes to job-seeking in a new industry or field, you’ll be grateful to have the connections to guide you into unfamiliar terrain. Next time you have the chance, ask someone out to lunch or coffee (your shout!) to discuss their career journey or accomplishments to broaden your network. Surveys have shown that roughly 85% of jobs are filled by networking!

Consult with a Mentor

A great coach or mentor will take you to great heights in your career. To be the best, you must learn from the best. Most Universities offer counsellors or work advisors to help connect you to suitable job opportunities. Take advantage of your available resources and you will be much more exposed to potential worthwhile experiences. If you are seeking a new job without Uni enrolment, there are many avenues to seek the best mentors- from the paid services you can seek online, to the kind who have a highly acclaimed accomplishment to advocate your skills or qualifications, you will find effective guidance in many places if you know where to look. Be resourceful to boost your career by speaking to mentors to bounce around ideas and introspective questions to point you in the right direction. Having interview experience in this manner will be helpful in more ways than one as you practice discussing and building your interpersonal or critical thinking skills. Seeking a second opinion will also give you a new perspective on how effectively you are utilising your skills and assets to find the right job path.

Ending up in the career of your dreams is easier said than done, and the path can be full of intimidating obstacles. As long as you make thoughtful job decisions, your career journey can potentially be very rewarding. Remember, as long as you learn to effectively assess your options, make external connections and think critically about your personal qualities, entering a new career path does not have to feel like a life sentence. Being resourceful will optimise the available tools around you, and allow you to pursue a career which aligns with your passions, values and aptitudes. Happy career hunting!

Advantages of a Remote Internship for Students

internship from home

Internships are the best opportunity you can seek to learn basic functions of businesses within an industry of which you want to guide your career path. Remote internships come with the added bonus of immersing yourself into the workspace but from the comfort of your own home. It’s a great avenue for when you’re already juggling extra-curriculars or day jobs on top of a school timetable. This rewarding virtual program will grant privacy, control and convenience whilst enriching you with relevant industry skills and knowledge.

Flexible Work Schedule

The best part about remote internships is that it can be moulded to fit around your schedule, and not the other way around! Their innate flexibility with time means that working on projects at 5am or on a Saturday night is just as valid and standard as working during the 9-5 work crunch. This scheduling convenience works in your favour as it reduces overlaps with your other daytime commitments while promoting initiative-taking so that you stay focused and productive to get work done.

online internship

The time flexibility of working from your own bed or home office also omits commute or travel time and gives you the extra couples hours every week to be productive. With a virtual internship, you won’t be disadvantaged by your erratic sleep pattern or break time because you are in complete control of when and where you get work done, as long as it is submitted before set deadlines. You are not going to be working with a clock in, clock out system, so metrics of productivity may be conducted by how timely you manage and submit your projects. Also, do not forget that live communication with your employer is still essential to upskilling yourself. Just because you are granted the time flexibility of organising your assignments, does not mean you should neglect scheduled group or conference calls. Time is in your hands!

Remote Work- Specific Skills

The medium for communication and self-learning required to complete a successful remote internship will demand strong initiative, timeliness and adaptability from the candidate. One reason a business might recruit remote interns is to avoid the overhead costs of introducing the student into their physical start-up workspace. This strategy also reduces the need for logistics planning for in-person internships as it may disrupt their usual workflow. Therefore, there may be greater reliance on the interns to equip themselves with the adequate skills and knowledge to integrate into the work culture. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing- as you will be urged to research how to optimise your aptitude for content creation, business planning or creative support. The entrepreneurship which is shown through this knowledge will also allow you to more effectively familiarise yourself with the industry.

intern from anywhere

Develop Technical Skills

As said before, pretty much all you need for virtual programs is an internet connection- and of course, the appropriate computer software. Remote internships require students to be comfortable with using mediated communication platforms online to create and deliver their projects or messages. You can easily master how to use task assignment software like Microsoft Teams or online platforms like Trello or Facebook Workspace, and add these to your list of technical skills (it looks great on your CV!). As you’ll be using these services on a day-to-day basis, you’ll quickly become accustomed to integrating your technical skills across all areas of your work. With practice, you’ll effortlessly navigate these platforms, learn their countless functions, as well as how to troubleshoot technical issues without assistance. Taking on board these transferable skills is vital to succeeding in your workplace and quickly adapt to new job positions.

Strengthening your Concentration

Working at home may feel like a battle against all the distractions around you. As much as your phone, TV or friends may be tempting, use this time to strengthen focus and get your work done efficiently. You’ll have plenty of tie for leisure afterwards, without the stress of incomplete work looming over you. Remote internships will put you to the ultimate test of concentration, as you have a revolving door of work or assignments to complete. Some tips to stay focused are to pack away your distractions, create a checklist of daily tasks and remind yourself constantly of your goals to motivate yourself. To really shine in your remote internship, practice strengthening your focus to complete tasks ahead of time.

Saving Money

One perk of working from home is the cost-benefit of no longer needing transportation to get to the office. Not having to pay for any commute means you are saving both time and money which you otherwise might’ve spent on fuel, bus or train fares or taxi fees. You can worry about one less thing, now that the cumulative cost of travel is no longer relevant.

Some people prefer to live closer to their workplace and seek housing in the local area. Fortunately, a remote internship is available to people interstate, intercity or international. Transferring the internship to a virtual platform resolves concern of living costs, so you won’t have to worry about these expenses. Altogether with travel costs, starting an in-person internship will cause lots of financial strain which typically cannot be afforded by the wage of an intern. If you’re already living on a budget, it is highly recommended to consider a remote internship to ease financial concerns whilst still receiving quality experience and training for industry work.

internship from home

Final Note…

If you’re not a fan of someone breathing down your neck and reading your work over your shoulder, you should undoubtedly consider the benefits of taking on remote internships. You’ll have many opportunities to work on rewarding projects whilst exploring different work styles to find the one that suits you best to perfect your work ethic. Additionally, there are cost-saving and upskilling opportunities which add value to the experience. The flexibility, privacy and control that complements a remote internship will prove to have a breadth of benefits for your career goals.

How to Take a Good Linkedin Profile Photo

Taking a LinkedIn headshot

On LinkedIn, the first impression someone makes of you is made by scanning how you have presented yourself in your profile picture. During the recruitment process, your profile image matters most because it is the first feature on your account that a hiring manager will see and assess. You must learn to maximise the effectiveness and appeal of your profile photo, to market yourself to prospective employers, or even simple connections. This article will teach you how to curate a professional headshot that will impress potential connections and get the invitations to roll in.

The Right Photographer

A selfie will not get you far on LinkedIn. Invest in a photographer or ask a friend to help you find the perfect headshot. Have them take multiple photos of you, preferably on a DSLR camera to optimise both the photo quality and overall professional look of your headshot. From there, you will have the extra help handling all the camera equipment, and with directing you on how to pose more naturally- this will make all the difference. A second opinion is also more ideal, especially from either a professional or multiple friends/colleagues.

Professional linkedin photographer

The right photographer will know how to frame you appropriately for a LinkedIn profile picture which is only a small thumbnail. Your photo should be cropped from a couple inches above your head, to the top of your shoulders. Far shots of your full body will not make your face readable and consequently, your profile is not be recognisable by your friends or colleagues. LinkedIn suggests your face should fill 60% of the frame for optimal reception of your profile image.

A Realistic Image

It should go without saying, but your photo should represent how you look on a normal workday. Your LinkedIn profile viewers need a clear image of how you look in real life in a professional setting- not a photo of you 5 years ago, or in casual clothing, or a candid from a party. If your photo is unreliable, people will be prompted to question your credibility. An updated profile image needs to show the minor details which make ALL the difference such as your latest eyewear, hair colour or makeup style. An additional tip is to keep it consistent across your social media platforms. If you have scheduled a meeting with someone you have only contacted online, chances are they’ve had a little stalk of your profile to prepare them for seeing you for the first time. Therefore, it is recommended to use similar images and themes on your professional and social networking profiles to make you more recognisable.

Natural light for linkedin headshot

The Right Expression

The purpose of your profile image is to market your personality. From looking stern, friendly or aloof, there are many outcomes for how your photos turn out after the photoshoot. Generally, a warm smile works best to put people at ease and invite them to connect with you. LinkedIn suggests people are shown to be twice as likeable and influential if they show teeth in their smiles, as opposed to a closed mouth smile. Be conscious of your body language because it is a non verbal expression which represents you. Maintain eye contact with the camera so that you look straight at the profile viewer in your LinkedIn image. Treat your photoshoot like you did the morning of a school photo day, and practice perfecting natural expressions in the mirror beforehand.

Dressing the Part

Replicate the professional and business-oriented focus of LinkedIn’s platform in your photo. You want to dress in business attire which reflects the manner of your field of work.

Typically, men’s profile images perform best if they are wearing a dress shirt, blazer or a tie, and blouses and blazers for women. Collared shirts are recommended because in a photo cropped at the shoulder, the professional attire will still show through. Clothing with busy patterns, bright colours and thin fabric are not suitable as it hinders your professional manner, so opt for neutral solid colours. Wearing revealing clothes, distracting jewellery or too much makeup is also undesirable.

Natural Lighting

Soft, natural lighting emphasises a warm, welcoming look and feel for your photo. This effect lends to a reduced need for after effects and over-editing because it brightens up your face and minimises shadows, which are flattering qualities. Therefore, avoid cloudy, overcast days because there is little direct sunlight to illuminate your face.

Adding Filters

LinkedIn has a photo editing feature which you can take advantage of. There are six filters to choose from so you can set a mood with your photo, but be careful not to over saturate the image by turning up the filter to 100% opacity, because you may risk lowering the overall professional feel. There are also adjustments for brightness, cropping, contrast and vignette to help tweak your image to be more clear and attractive.

A Simple Background

Don’t take focus away from your photo by having a busy background or distracting subjects in the frame. Where the picture is taken is important because you must ensure you are the focal point. However, it’s best to also avoid plain, boring backgrounds too like a blank white wall. Instead, experiment with taking headshots in various locations just as in front of a building, in a park or office. The goal is to have an interesting but non-distracting background.

Your profile is about you. Don’t include images of pets or children, for example, because you do not share the account with them. Be the only person in the frame- this means photos of you that are cropped from a group picture is undesirable. A solo photo without a random person’s shoulder beside you is optimal for focalising the image on you. If you would like to include a team picture in your profile, consider using it for your banner instead.

LinkedIn profile pictures require more consideration than they seem because selecting the ideal image is one of the first hurdles in attracting prospective employers or new professional networks. Don’t forget that you are marketing yourself- your skills, qualifications and experience, and your profile image should embody this. Take the time to frequently update your photo, look for ways to improve it, and you’ll boost your chances of success!

Good Linkedin headshot

How to write an excellent resume

Write a Resume

How to Write an Excellent Resume

A strong command of your written expression is a critical skill to impress prospective employers. When crafting your resume, you must aim to have a vice grip of the recruiter’s attention because they typically only skim over a CV for no longer than 6 seconds. This article will elaborate on how to develop your written communication skills to enhance your academic or career pursuits, and disprove the common misconception of using superlative phrases amongst students which can put off recruiters because you come off pseudo-academic.

Clear and Concise

You must consider the amount of time each recruiter spends on each CV they encounter. Excessive word count and circumlocutive sentences are ineffective because not only does it show you have little experience writing a standout CV, but it also buries the important key points in your resume that show your experience/achievements.
Practising how to write in an active voice will set the tone of immediacy and power in your resume. Starting your sentences or bullet points with “power words” such as “organised”, “promoted” or “developed” can help eliminate ‘fluff’ language as it cuts straight to the point and reads as declarative, staccato phrases. Keep in mind that using weak and vague verbs can diminish the excellent work in your past experience!
Another extraneous habit to be mindful of is including filler words such as “this”, “that” or “of”, which extend your sentences unnecessarily. With practice, you can train yourself to become more conscious of your written language, and ultimately help you express yourself more succinctly.

Correct Jargon

Using professional jargon will enhance the level of sophistication of your resume. Not only can you establish the industry you are looking to work in, but show your aptitude for the field. That being said, you should not use over the top jargon to presumably impress prospective employers, as you risk over complicating your resume. It is a common trap for overzealous students to saturate their resumes with ‘jargon tactics’, and resultantly turn away recruiters who see you as ‘trying too hard’.

There are many reasons why you should limit your use of jargon and technical language in CV writing. For businesses who outsource their recruitment process, the recruitment consultant who reads your resume may not be familiar with your language. In the case that the person who is hired to recruit you, isn’t the person who conducts your job interview, you must consider simplifying your resume to be more universally readable.

The key to effective writing is to look for the perfect balance between simplified english and technical language.

Keep it Relevant

It’s understandably hard having to omit the 200-hour volunteer work you proudly completed seven years ago, but employers are looking for your recent achievements and work experience. To keep your resume short and sweet, cut off your list of experience at approximately two years prior to the current date.Irrelevant information such as minor achievements or jobs which aren’t in the same industry you’re striving for should be removed. Reducing old information can allow you more space on your resume to list more key information on your job responsibilities and accomplishments, or to elaborate on your technical skills. If you are having trouble distinguishing what the relevant information is within your resume, research the key attributes and responsibilities that are requested in job listings. Prioritised information like relevant industry work should be ranked higher on your resume and chronologically list downward.
Include Numbers
To increase the visual appeal of your CV, use metrics and statistics of your contributions to vary the content of your resume. The most successful candidates will include numerical data in their achievements subsections to prove your qualifications or capability to deliver results for the business. Recruiters are attracted to measurable output as the metrics speak for the value you can offer to their company. For example, if you are seeking employment in marketing, you might include this metric in your resume, “Reached 60,000 impressions per week on social media channels without expanding budget”, or “Increased social media following by 740%”.

Grammar Police

Using the correct grammar is an easy way to ensure you convey yourself in a sophisticated grammar, but it is also easy for small grammatical mistakes to slip through in a resume submission, which may be detrimental to your job application. Simple touchups like ending each sentence or point in a period, using the correct tense or proper nouns, capitalisation or possessive words will improve the consistency and coherence of your CV exponentially. Recruiters will greatly appreciate when you have shown grammatical fluency and subconsciously presume you have fantastic written communication skills.

Proofread and Edit

You must show you have taken time and lots of effort to craft the resume you have sent the recruiting officer. Your work should undergo several rounds of proofreading, perhaps even undergo peer assessment to increase the effectiveness of your resume. This will give you many opportunities to spot grammatical errors or rephrase ineffective sentences because there is always room for improvement or updating. When editing, consider the font and layout of your resume as their greatest influences the readability and ease of assessment for a recruiter. Attention to detail will not go unnoticed to the reader.
Overall, you must remind yourself that a resume is the first impression a prospective employer has of you. With this in mind, you must sell yourself through it. Show an outstanding amount of effort and consideration to your work, and your resume will effectively become an extension of you and your metaphorical passport throughout your career pursuits.

40 Things to do During Quarantine

It’s definitely an understatement to say that times are weird and uncertain during the Covid-19 pandemic, as the world responds with idiosyncratic practices on how to slow the spread of the virus. But one thing you do have control over is how you choose to spend your time in lockdown right now, whether you’re isolating by yourself, your family or with roommates. If you’ve run out of Netflix shows to binge, or you’re tired of waking up at 2 PM everyday, here are some tips and ideas to get you productive and enliven your everyday routine. From virtual tours of the Grand Canyon to online multiplayer games with your friends, these activities will have you entertained, informed and invigorated in no time.

1. Meditate. Meditation will relieve your stress and allows you to practice improving your wellbeing. It’ll soothe and relax you mentally and physically as you clear your headspace. To manage any coronavirus related stress, begin your mindfulness journey with life coaching apps such as Aura, Headspace or Calm.

2. Keep A Journal. What better way to organise your life and stay on top of your schedule than to jot it down onto paper. You can try habit tracking, mood tracking or count calories to process your lifestyle and even make improvements. This is a good way to preserve and externalise your memories, perhaps to tell the grandkids one day.


quarantine dance party at home

3. Green Juice? A concoction of leafy vegetables made into a smoothie might sound worse than it is. It can’t hurt to add this to your breakfast routine every day so that your immune system is fortified, and your waistline is supported.

4. Relax with Yoga. There are plenty of yoga classes on Youtube for you to experiment with. Do Yoga With Me is offering quality Yoga instructions for free amidst the pandemic so everyone at home can enjoy their high definition classes with one less financial worry. You’ll find it can be stress relieving and very meditative.

5. Brain Training. Challenge your brain with agility games to keep your mind active. There are plenty of mobile apps such as Luminosity which offer courses or games to boost your cognition and memory, all whilst educating you.

6. Set Up Your Home Theatre. You can still enjoy a blockbuster movie from the comfort of your own home despite all the cinemas being shut down. Get creative and decorate around your TV or Computer, or connect your mobile devices to a projector, and build a cosy fort around it.

7. Revamp your Home Office. Your workspace should set the appropriate mood and atmosphere to get you motivated and focused on your work. Simple touchups like removing clutter or tucking away cords will go a long way in helping you be productive.

8. Make Quarantine Art. Use this time to express your emotions and externalise your feelings onto any medium- canvas, embroidery, digital art etc. It’ll be a great skill to improve as there are no wrong moves, and you will teach yourself to appreciate your surroundings much more by painting them in a new form.

9. Discover Your New Favourite Podcast. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Audible, to name a few sites, all connect you to great stories. There’s a huge range of genres to choose from so you will never get bored, and you’ll also stay informed on current events or therapeutic talks.

10. Grow A Green Thumb. Get a headstart on Spring gardening by using items you have around the house. A small Tupperware container or plastic cup makes a great pot, and you can easily reproduce fruits and veggies you have in your fridge by preserving their seeds or replanting their roots. Your home-cooked meals will taste a lot better knowing you grew the herbs that are in it!

11. Learn a New Language. They say it takes a minimum of 480 hours of practising a language to learn basic fluency. That’s 10 hours a day, for 48 days. Luckily for you, now is a great time to dedicate your energy to learn a new language! With apps such as Duolingo, you’ll have access to free courses with daily lessons for 35 languages.

12. Bake Homemade Bread. What’s better than the smell of fresh, hot bread wafting through your house?! Perfect your own bread recipe during quarantine so you can whip up some great bread-based meals later for your next neighbourhood block party.

13. Go For a Jog. In Australia, you are excused to go outside for the purpose of physical exercise. Fresh air will do you a lot of good, and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle as cardio and sunshine is beneficial for your physical and mental wellbeing. Never forget to enjoy and appreciate the nature that is right outside your doorstep!

14. Finish a Puzzle. Puzzle.io is a great website to test out if you want to complete an online puzzle- you also have the option to do the puzzle on your own or collaboratively. Make it your goal to relax your mind with at least one completed puzzle by the end of quarantine!

15. Free Live Shows. Many DJs are showing off their tunes for free on Facebook Live or Eventbrite in lieu of available venues. Popular icons such as Marlos can be found on these platforms performing for the public. You can also find authors, comedians and other performers regularly interacting with their audiences online.

16. Dance Party! You’ve definitely performed as if you were the King of Pop in the shower, why not make a whole night out of it? Get loose on your own, or with your roommates or siblings to your favourite songs on the highest volume, just like you would at the club. You can also explore virtual clubs online such as Club Quarantine, for virtual party-goers.

17. Sew a Face Mask. Public Health Officials recommend wearing a mask to help slow the spread of the virus. Should you leave the house for a quick grocery trip or an essential errand, it’ll be hard to maintain the strict 1.5-metre gap with all the strangers you pass. Instead of wearing the standard face mask, try sewing your own mask by following simple Youtube tutorials from materials in your home.

18. Practice an Instrument. If you’ve forgotten how to play an old instrument, exercise those muscle memories and learn a new musical piece or two.

19. Start a Blog. Write about your interests and publish stories about prevalent events in your life. Chances are, you’ll reach people who can relate and help them through the quarantine.

20. Did someone say ‘Face Masks’? You have so much time for self-care, specifically skincare nowadays. Test out what works for you, from the Korean 12 Step beauty routine, to a DIY Egg Face mask. Don’t forget to spare some time for yourself to take a nap with cold cucumbers on your eyes.

21. Charcuterie Boards. Practice making an aesthetic charcuterie board for your next picnic opportunity. All the materials and ingredients can come straight from your fridge or pantry, which is a bonus! Plus it’s a fun skill to have, and definitely an instagrammable one!

22. Write letters. Touch base with your writing skills by addressing a few ‘How have you been’ letters or romantic love letters to family and friends. It’ll jog your creative thinking ability and will definitely get you in the mood to reminisce. You can take it one step further by writing letters to strangers who have unfortunately been separated from their families during the pandemic- such as senior citizens or essential workers in self-isolation.

23. Learn Calligraphy. You’ll never know when this skill will come in handy but it’ll surely impress anyone who has the pleasure of reading your pretty penmanship. You can incorporate your own decorative handwritten labels around your workspace to make you feel more inclined to be productive in your office.

24. Boardgames with the Family. With all the spare time, you can now thoroughly read through those long instruction pamphlets for boardgames. Spend time creating a competitive spirit with your family, and see if you can finally finish a game of Monopoly.

25. Marie Kondo your Wardrobe. What more has to be said? Does it spark joy? (if it doesn’t, consider donating your unwanted clothing to charities)

26. Catch Up with Friends. Don’t let the lockdown stop you from seeing your friends, online, though, of course. Video chat your friends on Facetime, Skype or Zoom. There are many virtual multiplayer games available at your fingertips. Try out the recently trending Covidopoly, Skribl.io or Virtual Escape Rooms. As the world adjusts to the pandemic, be considerate of everyone and try your best not to break social distancing rules despite how hard it may seem.

27. Attempt a Self Portrait. It’s a great exercise for self-reflection and introspection. Take a long look in the mirror and draw the person you see.

28. Reflect. What goals have you accomplished recently? What goals will you set for yourself this coming year? How have you made the most of your time? Deep dive into your subconscious whenever you can to build up your self-awareness and emotional connectedness.

29. Write a Short Story. You can take inspiration from anything around you. Let your creative juices flow onto the paper.

30. Pinterest Home. Actually attempt to remake something you’ve pinned on Pinterest. Its time to stop telling yourself you’ll get to it someday. You might fail, or you might not. Good news is, you can try again.

31. Plan your Financials. It might sound like a drab, but you should take your time to explore your options for a Plan B income, and check if you have any loans to refinance. There has been a lot of economic pressure to save more money so it will benefit you immensely to take a look at how you could manage your money more effectively.

32. Support Local Businesses. Buy gift cards from your favourite restaurants or venues that you frequent. It’ll help the small businesses in the short term, and you can always spend that money you paid in advance once they reopen. It’s a win-win as you stimulate the economy.

33. Quarantine Hair. No one will have to know if you gave yourself a terrible box hair dye job, or experimented with some unflattering bangs. Fellas, you can finally grow out a lovely quarantine beard, or get a bit crazy with a buzz cut!

34. Rearrange your Furniture. You’re at home all day and have probably grown bored of seeing the same layout every day. Keep things interesting for yourself and scramble the furniture around your home to make the space feel new, yet familiar.

35. Learn New Party Tricks. The partying scene will have a massive jumpstart once the quarantine laws are lifted to allow large gatherings. You’ll want something to show for your time in lockdown, so learn some party tricks to impress your fellow peers. Some ideas include perfecting your rendition of Rap God by Eminem, complex card shuffling tricks, or breaking an apple in half with your bare hands.

36. Talk to your Plants. It might sound silly but check up on your green friends! Are they getting enough water? Enough sunlight? Would they prefer different soil? Studies show they grow faster and stronger if spoken to.

37. Tour our National Parks. Take a trip through some natural wonders on Google Earth and experience the world in virtual reality. There are countless virtual tours offered online, not just of natural landscapes but also museums, amusement rides and zoo enclosure tours.

38. Cute Animals! The internet would not be the internet without hours of cat compilations and cute puppies being cute. Get lost in an endless stream of animal videos and then wonder why its already dinner time.

39. Repair shop. Become a master of many trades by finally fixing up all the broken or worn-out objects around your home. There’s a shirt in your cupboard with a hole begging to be patched up, a squeaky door hinge to be oiled, or a creaky floorboard that need replacing.

And Finally…

40. Give Back! Remember to be grateful for all the hard work and collaboration of essential workers and health care professionals. Everyone is working towards one goal and risking their safety to save their communities. As long as we cooperate with quarantine laws and practice being selfless, we can get through this together and come out stronger at the end of it!

How to Adapt to the Job Market During Covid-19

The current pandemic has caused great stress on the Australian job market as businesses reduce their operating hours, furlough redundant employees, or even shut down businesses, to protect the safety and wellbeing of employees and customers. Despite this, it is vital that you do not give up hope on job searching. Instead, use this time to upskill yourself, update your resume or practice for interviews. With some industries closing, restructuring or cutting back, many are searching to acquire new employees. Below is critical advice on how to make the most of employment opportunities you may come across during this economic downturn.

Consider the Urgency of Your Job Search

Every occupation will have different implications. Industries such as tourism, hospitality and event planning are the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Conversely, healthcare, supermarkets and cleaning services are fields which are hiring. Despite being temporary or contractual, many roles such as stockers or cashiers have potential to convert to being permanent afterwards. Their application cycle has also collapsed to occur within a week to adapt to the changing work climate.


job search during covid-19

For those who are currently employed, it may be difficult to adjust and find short term work that fits within your schedule. Instead, it is suggested you make your current occupation more palatable to get on a hiring manager’s radar. Ensure you take out time to review your resume and LinkedIn profile, and keep it consistently updated. Don’t overlook the importance of a cover letter when searching for new jobs as it sets apart your CV.

Beginning Your Job Search

You have access to job opportunities on many job sites and employee acquisition company agencies, as well as social media or directly on careers pages of company websites. Spare time throughout your day to browse these online platforms from your home and frequently take the initiative to contact businesses to check for job availability.

Explore Alternative Work Arrangements

Due to the general uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, many are faced with a situation whereby leaving your home is anxiety inducing or a risk factor for people you live with. If you have young children, highly susceptible adults or immuno-compromised people in your household, it is for everyone’s safety that you remain at home in quarantine. With prolonged time at home, reconsider your work arrangements; research work from home options and jobs to supplement your income for the short term, and alleviate any financial stress. Depending on your experience and professional skill set, you may be lucky enough to find a job opportunity as lucrative as your previous job. Simply look up “work at home”, “freelance”, “remote gig” or “contractual jobs from home” among other alternatives into job sites for a potential hit.

Set Yourself Apart: Resumes/Cover Letters

The job market is extremely competitive due to the challenges faced by both employers and workers. If you can flaunt your unique skills, capability and professional experience to your hiring manager, you’ll increase your chances of employment. Take into consideration the problems faced by the company and what you can do to solve them. For example, if a cleaning service requires efficient workers, you could elaborate on your skills as a window cleaner or other relevant skills they employers need for valuable candidates. Research the company well, decode their job listing and directly address these needs in your cover letter with links to your qualifications to make your resume and profile more attractive. If you can justify how you could do the job from home, you will have a better chance of appealing to the hiring manager because of the pressure to stay home during the pandemic. Experience in telecommunications is good to mention for this component.

How to Adapt to the Job Market Covid

Set Yourself Apart: Interviews

Video calling has become a popular method of interviewing. Familiarise yourself in the navigation and operation of Skype or Zoom, as these are applications most commonly used by hiring managers to connect with candidates. Plan ahead of time by testing all your equipment and setting up the camera to produce a good impression of yourself to the employer. Treat the interview as a real face to face interview by dressing professionally, be aware of your body language, and minimise distractions in your environment. Take advantage of the situation by having a paper and pen beside you to take notes during the interview to track your speech and questions for the employer.

Spend Time Networking Online

In the era of social media, you can network and make good impressions without meeting face to face, or shaking their hand in person. Use this time to practice an important tenet of networking; if you want people to help you later, help them now. Leave digital traces of recommendations on former colleagues’ LinkedIn profiles or frequently liking and commenting on other’s job updates.

Refer friends to job opportunities you come across or one open at your company. You can help proofread friends’ resumes or cover letters to give other reassurance, and this will in turn, strengthen your networks. Other networking strategies you can use would be to seek out virtual events on LinkedIn Facebook groups with other like minded professionals.

Upskilling

With the extra time, use the opportunity to boost your skills. There is an abundance of applications and websites which offer training courses such as LinkedIn Learning or Coursera, to develop your skill set online. This is one component you can control during the pandemic. Once the crisis is over, you will have many open doors and an expanded network to bounce back.

Be Patient and Kind

The coronavirus has affected everyone in many facets of their everyday life, including their work life. Everyone is like you and is trying to adapt to the sudden change in this uncertain time. Be sympathetic to people who have experienced loss and help them by contributing to boosting their job profiles,  be understanding when employers take longer to respond to you or your job applications and don’t neglect to thank everyone for their time and consideration when helping you build up your own work experience or job search.

Key Takeaways

To surmise, it is essential you don’t forget there are still job vacancies in the job market and you still have a chance to find short term work. Consistently check job sites and frequent  their online training courses to upskill youself and set yourself apart from the crowd. Networking during this difficult time can also take the pressure off for yourself and others who hope to build their experience while the economy slows. Above all, don’t forget to remain sympathetic to everyone who is trying to cope and get by during the uncertainty of this crisis.

Getting a head start on your Career: 3 Essential Tips

You career is one of the most important defining characteristics of who you are and also represents your ability to secure and advance yourself within society. If you’re a student or recent graduate, it’s naturally prudent to seek out ways to get a jumpstart on your career so you can start reaping the rewards sooner rather than later.The following are 3 tips you can use to help get a head start on your career.

1. Pursue an internship

There are few more direct and effective ways to get a head start on your career than to jump into an internship with a firm in the industry of your choice. The success of your internship depends very much on your preparedness and the overall quality of the placement, so you want to do your research and find a firm that’s got the time, resources and will to take you on.

When looking for a good vocational placement, many people choose to engage services like our Premium Internship Program of which more than 90% of interns find permanent, full-time work within 4 months of their placement. A big part of the appeal of internships is that they allow you to get hands-on experience in a real work environment, build industry connections, connect with mentors and potentially gain full-time employment at the firm you’ve interned at.

3 Essential Tips to head start your career

While being offered employment during or after your internship is never guaranteed, you can still get a valuable reference out of it and leverage contacts you have made when looking for a job. A successful internship at one or multiple firms looks great on your resume as it shows your eagerness to enter the industry and work vocationally in exchange for experience.

2. Connect with student organisations and career hubs

If you’re a student at university, there’s more than likely multiple student groups relevant to your industry of choice that you could join. There’s also likely a campus careers office and online careers portal that contains a plethora of useful resources to help you start you career.

You can find a job or internship via firms who have networked with your university and are eager to recruit recent graduates. Also, participating in student groups and other extra-curricular campus activities is good to have on your resume and gives you lots of anecdotes you can use to demonstrate your resourcefulness.

3. Network with lecturers, professors, peers and alumni

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone within your educational institution and within the academic/professional field of your preferred industry. You’re surrounded by likeminded people who you can build valuable connections with that, as mentioned earlier, you can leverage in your search for employment.

Exchanging emails with professors and alumni about career opportunities or internship offerings can really help put your name out there as someone who’s going above and beyond to get involved. Without being a teacher’s pet, you can demonstrate a sincere eagerness to get into the industry that will be noticed by the people around you who will come to you first with relevant opportunities.

Who knows, perhaps the friends you make at university will remember you when a job specifically suited to your skills comes up, or perhaps a lecturer you got a reference from is a trusted former colleague of the person interviewing you for your first job.

Conclusion

Ultimately, getting a head start on your career comes down to the competitiveness of the industry you are trying to get into versus your determination to do what it takes to stand out. When it does come time to have that big first interview, take a look at our tips for getting prepared.

PREPARING FOR YOUR BIG INTERVIEW

Interviews

You’ve come all this way in the recruitment process. You’ve sent through your CV, and you’ve received that all-important phone call for an interview. Great! Now what?

Interviews are integral as it is your opportunity to market and sell yourself to your potential new employers, and state why YOU are the best fit for the job. It is also your opportunity to gather useful information about a potential employer to see how well you will fit within their business. Ultimately, the way you respond to an employer’s invitation to interview, interact with staff whilst in the office, and your ability to stay focused and relaxed, will undoubtedly play a part in communicating what YOU are all about.

Here are a few handy little tips to help you nail that interview and get you on your way to landing that job.

1.PREPARATION:

There is a saying that goes ‘if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. Preparation is crucial in giving a good first impression to your potential employer. Make sure that you first mentally prepare for the interview. This includes gaining a detailed understanding of what your role will entail, what the organisation does, and the team that you will be working with. Using sources such as LinkedIn, Instagram, as well as the company website, press releases and annual reports, will assist you in understanding how the company operates. Additionally, you should take the opportunity to learn about its history, areas of growth and financial performance, as well as its own managerial culture and how it may potentially align with your own values.

preparation for interview

Preparation doesn’t just stop at learning about the company. Self-reflection is extremely important. Try and list all of your experiences, all of your skills that you’ve developed, your professional achievements, your goals and aspirations, and how all of these make up the person you are today. Be sure to list your key characteristics, skills and capabilities, as well as what interests you most about the role and how you can assist the organisation in meeting their goals, as the interviewer is certain to ask you to tell them about yourself. A really great way to show your interest in the role is to prepare your own questions to ask in the interview.

The best thing you can do in an interview is to correlate the fit between your capabilities, personality and goals, and the culture, offering and requirements of the organisation. Why should YOU be picked for the role? What makes YOU stand out from other potential candidates?

Mental preparation is key, but so is physical preparation. Get a good night’s sleep so you are well rested for the next day, and make sure you have all your items ready to go. Look up where your interview is taking place, and ensure you are aware of how to get there. If travelling by public transport, allow extra time in case of delays.

dress properly for interview

2.ON THE DAY:

Dress to Impress:

Unless specified by your interviewer, make sure that you are dressed in business attire. This includes clean, ironed clothes and clean shoes. Be sure to look as presentable as you can. Regarding perfume and cologne, only use one spray as an overpowering smell can negatively impact on your interviewer.

Before you leave:

Give yourself adequate time to review your notes and run through the specific points you wish to make, and leave early enough to arrive at your interview a few minutes head of time.

Final little tips:

Make sure you turn your phone to silent, give yourself time to compose yourself through simple breathing techniques to calm yourself down, and tidy yourself up, checking your face, clothes and hair. When you’re finally face to face with the interviewer, greet them by name, firmly shake their hand and most importantly, smile! Your first impression is crucial.

Good luck! 🙂