employees

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Going back to work after having a baby is a big career (and life) switch. It isn’t exactly easy, balancing the needs of your child with likely way less sleep than you’re used to, while trying to be the same employee you were before you left. And having a baby changes the way you think about and prioritize your day, and can potentially make you question what you thought you wanted out of your career. It certainly did for me.

Navigating those first few weeks back takes patience, self-care, and boundary setting, both at home and in the office. As I’m transitioning back to work for a second time (I recently took almost six months off in between leaving a long-term role and launching my own company), I’m pulling from my first experience returning from maternity leave three years ago and the community of incredible moms I’ve been blessed to be a part of for advice on making the transition out of parental leave as seamless as possible.

 

1. Be Patient With Yourself
This is one of the best pieces of advice I got from my boss at the time. You don’t have to be perfect your first day back, your first week back, or really ever. This goes for parenting and your body, in addition to transitioning back to work. The advice is actually pretty universal.

Give yourself some breathing room to get back in the swing of things. Don’t schedule big presentations or client meetings or say yes to big projects right off the bat if you can help it. If you can’t avoid taking on something big, try to find ways to move other items off your plate so you can give that one project your main focus.

Do put blocks of time on your calendar to go through email and catch up on projects, reports, or anything else you missed while you were on leave. Note: You probably won’t get through all your emails in one sitting, and that’s OK. Try tackling the most important stuff first and get to the rest over the next few days.

And schedule individual meetings or coffee dates with your team to hear what they’ve been working on and in general how they’re doing (this will be a nice break from all the work-information overload!).

 

2. Build Trust in Your Childcare
If you have confidence that your little one is loved and cared for while you’re not there, you’re going to be a better, more relaxed person at work. So start looking for childcare early and take the time to get to know your caregiver(s) before you go back to the office.

If you’re going the nanny route, try to have the person start one to two weeks before you go back, on a reduced schedule if possible. Play and interact with the baby together and run some errands where you’re only gone a couple hours to get used to the idea of being away. And take your nanny to lunch—sans baby—to get to know them outside of their role.

If you’re doing a nanny share, schedule some family hangouts with both families before going back. And if you’re using a daycare, ask to shadow or observe, take advantage of the tour, and ask any and all questions. Again, have the baby start earlier than needed, potentially on a reduced schedule, so both you and baby can get used to the new setting.

 

3. Set Clear Boundaries With Your Team (and Yourself)
I came back from my maternity leave to a reduced schedule, so I made sure to meet with my team to explain my hours and come up with new normals in our day, including how we could work together in a way that made sense and benefited everyone. The first few weeks I was back, I also started checking in with my team every day an hour before my new “end of work day” to get us all used to the schedule. Even if you don’t have a new routine, make sure your team’s aware of when you are and aren’t available online.

It’s becoming more and more common for new parents to have flexible schedules in those first few weeks back to help ease the transition back to work. But in having more flexibility to work from home, I also had to navigate how to work from home. I experienced, and have heard from quite a few of my fellow parents, that it’s tough to be in both “parent” and “work” mode at the same time, so even at home I set boundaries with myself to try not to be both at once.

When I was commuting, I always checked my email and handled anything that needed immediate attention before walking into my apartment so I could be fully tuned into my family when I stepped through the door. My phone and computer go in another room so I’m not checking them in front of my child or trying to respond to a client while making dinner (and so words like “fart” don’t end up in work emails—yes, I learned that from personal experience). If you’re looking for more tips, here’s advice for working from home as a parent.

 

4. Advocate for Your Needs (and Your Child’s)
This advice, of course, transcends parenting and applies in all aspects of life, but it’s especially important after having a child. It’s simple: Ask for what you need and don’t assume people know what it is. You’d be surprised how much people will give you if you simply ask for it.

Do you need a meeting moved so you can make pickup time at daycare? Present an alternative solution in your ask, but ask nonetheless. Are you not as available for after-hour client events? Advocate for a colleague to take your place, or suggest other creative ways to get in front of clients that fit into your schedule. Who knows, there could be other working parents who will appreciate your ingenuity.

 

5. Manage Expectations
I don’t have to tell you that when you have a baby to get home to, you figure out quickly what’s actually important to get done—and that you need to set expectations in order to get those important items done on time.

So when someone asks you to step in on a project, don’t be afraid to ask: When do you need this by? Is this a priority? How much time do you expect this to take?

Then spell out exactly what you can and can’t do for them, clearly and directly: “I’d love to work on that, but since I have X to get done by the time I leave today and it’s not a huge priority, I won’t be able to get that to you until the end of the week. Does that timing work for you?”

While you may not be able to please everyone, by being direct you cover your bases and show you’re proactive and dedicated to doing your job well.

 

6. Schedule Time to Pump
If you need to pump breast milk at work, block off time on your calendar to do so, and add a 10-15 minute buffer to ensure you stick to your schedule. By slotting it into your day and really making it nonnegotiable (remember those boundaries we talked about earlier?), you can help keep it from being a point of stress. (And it’s not just about emotional distress: Skipping a pumping session can become physically painful, and you can end up wearing the consequences down your shirt.)

If possible, get a second pump to leave at work to minimize lugging the gear back and forth, and make sure you have a comfortable space to pump in your office. If one’s not apparent in your workplace, explicitly ask HR or an office manager about a “lactation room.”

Federal law states that an employer must provide both break time and “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public” for nursing employees. Specifics can differ from state to state and based on office size, which is why it’s important to first determine what your office has in place before advocating for what you need.

 

7. Find Your Support Team
Working parent guilt is real, and it comes in all shapes and sizes—guilt for being away from the baby, guilt for not feeling guilty for not being with the baby, guilt for saying “no” to a colleague so you can leave early to get back to the baby…the list goes on.

When these thoughts start to creep in, repeat this to yourself: You are enough.

And, find your community (whether inside or outside the office). Talk to other parents who have been through it and create a safe space to talk about how you’re feeling. A quick Google search of local parenting and mom groups will at the very least hook you up with Facebook groups where you can start connecting. (These groups can also be a good source for nanny shares.) Also, some hospitals put together parenting groups based on when your baby was born. Take advantage of “Baby and Me” classes in your neighborhood or town, too, from swimming lessons to local library reading sessions to group walks.

I randomly ended up at a “mommy and me yoga” class, and after that class I went to lunch with three incredible women with babies the same age as mine. To this day (three years later) I still text with them weekly to talk about all things parenting, working, and babies.

 

8. Make Time for You—Just You
While it may seem impossible to carve more time out of your day outside of family and work, you can’t be the parent or employee (or really insert anything here) you want to be if you don’t take care of yourself. When I take time for myself, I’m more present in every aspect of my life. I’ve learned that a present moment (even a short one) is worth a million hurried moments.

Here’s how you can realistically make time for yourself during the week:

Actually put lunch on your calendar—and step away from your desk (or turn off your computer) to eat.
Keep up with that once a week yoga (or Pilates, or barre, or whatever) class—you’ll be grateful you did.
Wake up an hour before you actually need to (and an hour before the baby) so you can do something just for you. It’s not for everyone (if you’re not a morning person please sleep in), but for me this way I can take my time drinking my coffee and curl up reading a good book.

Above all remember: There are countless parents out there right now who’ve felt exactly how you feel and may still be trying to figure out how to do what’s best for them and their families. It’s a big deal going back to work after a baby, so hopefully it helps to know that you’re not alone, everything you’re feeling is valid, and it’s okay to be patient with yourself.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/tips-parents-going-back-to-work-after-a-baby?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-0

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I am so tired.

So today I decided, six years into being a mom, to invest in a little thing called “self care.” I went to get my makeup done and when the girl at the counter asked me what look I was going for, I told her, “I want to look like a person who didn’t spend all night googling Coxsackie symptoms through the cries of a screaming two year old while also panicking about a big client presentation.”

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I get it. As a working parent you experience tons of feelings you’re not properly prepared for. Sure, you’ll get the, “Sleep now while you can”, but once that baby comes, it’s up to you to figure out how to manage it all (and make it look easy). But don’t worry, the 70% of working mothers with children under 18 years old get it, too.

We get it in the way the girl at the counter did when she picked out the heaviest concealer they had.

So, remember, you’re not alone in this. Here’s how to navigate the feelings that come with this crazy, beautiful thing called parenting.

Feeling #1
Exhaustion
Yesterday, my new babysitter started. I came home at 7PM to unfed children, one with a leaking diaper, and a house that looked like my boys had used crayons and Play Doh to get vengeance for any parenting mistake I’ve ever made.

And this was after a day of back-to-back meetings and an inbox ticking towards the triple digits.

So here’s what I did:

I ordered takeout. Immediately and without hesitation.

I put my phone in my bag and stopped looking at it (work panic avoided).

I told the kids I had to go to the bathroom, screamed into the shower curtain, and then came down smiling.

I asked my kindergartener what the best part of his day was.

I did NOT clean the house. And I was OK with that.

That last sentence is very important. Sometimes, as moms, we think that we need to do everything at once.

But I’ve let this go, and you can, too. Let. It. Go. All of it. Or at least, try to. I’ve spent way too much time comparing myself to friend’s cute Facebook photos of children in matching outfits in clean houses. It’s not real. They might have gotten it right this week, but next week they will have a messy house and unruly children. And it will be OK because we are all in this together.

The truth is, I recently realized that I spend too much time thinking about how tired I am and not enough time sleeping. So, I did something I don’t think I’ve done since my children were born. After I put my boys to sleep, I went to bed, too.

And although I didn’t do any work the night before, the next morning I felt like I accomplished more. I was more focused. It was so much better.

So, relax when you can. I’ve started listening to music and reading books on the way home from work instead of answering emails. It’s for my own sanity. Cherish those fleeting moments of “you” time and grab hold of them as tight as you can.
Feeling #2
Loneliness
Being a working parent comes with a feeling I never thought I’d have, but one I’ve heard repeatedly: loneliness. Yes, you’re constantly around kids, co-workers, and clients but the connections just aren’t the same as they used to be.

Here’s my hypothesis: Parenting is hard. You often can’t do a lot of the things you used to (like those fun girl’s trips or romantic weekend getaways). Making friends at work can be difficult (it’s not exactly easy to go out for happy hour). And many of us don’t want to admit when we need help, especially if you never had to wave the white flag before having children.

Here are some ways to combat it:

Find your fellow work parents: You know who gets it? Other parents who work at your company. Here at The Muse, we have a #museparents Slack channel. Do some digging to find your fellow moms and dads.

Put yourself out there, even just a little bit: Attend activities that match your family’s schedule. Make awkward conversation, rinse, and repeat, until you find a mom or dad friend.

Pick one day a month to be kid-less: Get a babysitter once a month to do a whole day of socializing. Maybe that means seeing an old friend, taking a day with your spouse, or attending that co-worker thing that you always say no to. Just make sure it’s something that will leave you feeling good and socially replenished.

Join a networking or support group: I believe in this so much, that I started one. With my hectic schedule I never have time for more than a few minutes of socialization, but through my online social circle, I’ve discovered that plenty of moms and dads are going through the same things I am.
Feeling #3
Overwhelmed
This is probably the most common. Why? Because as working parents we have a lot of stuff going on. And there’s studies that show being a working parent is the equivalent of working more than two full-time jobs (but you didn’t need a study to tell you that).

So, here’s how to to keep your head above water:

Accept help: From pretty much anyone who will give it. Your mother-in-law just offered to come over for an hour so you can stay late and grab a quick cocktail with friends? Let her. Your direct report said he would pitch in so you can pick up your children from childcare? Let him do it. Bottom line: Be honest with others about what you need.

Make lists: Buy yourself a notebook or planner and write everything down. Cross it off as you accomplish it. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than manually crossing something off, but do what works for you.

Say no, but not sorry: Even superheroes need a break. It’s OK to decline when a non-essential 6 PM meeting encroaches on family time. It’s OK to turn down a work event because it is just too much this week. It’s OK to take a rain check on the girl’s trip because you can’t find sitters or can’t afford it. It’s OK to not have your child in six activities and always wearing matching outfits. Do what feels right for your family, not anyone else’s.

In short, you are not alone. I know it can feel that way at the end of one of those long, hard days. But remember, even when you think you are failing, your children see a hero… and your co-workers are likely in awe of how you do it all, and make it look easy.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/feelings-you-experience-working-parent-how-to-manage?ref=recently-published-0

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You’re in a job interview, and things are going well. You didn’t get lost on your way to the office, you made some friendly small talk with the hiring manager, and you’re nailing your answers to the questions you’re being asked.

Just when you start thinking you have this in the bag, you hear the interviewer say, “Tell me about a time when…”

Your stomach drops. You rack your brain for something—anything!—you can use as an example. You grasp at straws and finally stumble your way through an anecdote that only sort of satisfies the prompt.

First of all, take comfort in the fact that we’ve all been there. These types of interview questions are tough to answer. But, here’s the good news: There’s a strategy you can use to come up with way more impressive answers to these dreaded questions: the STAR interview method.

What Is the STAR Interview Method?
The STAR interview technique offers a straightforward format you can use to answer behavioral interview questions—those prompts that ask you to provide a real-life example of how you handled a certain kind of situation at work in the past.

Don’t worry—these questions are easy to recognize. They often have telltale openings like:

Tell me about a time when…
What do you do when…
Have you ever…
Give me an example of…
Describe a…
Thinking of a fitting example for your response is just the beginning. Then you also need to share the details in a compelling and easy-to-understand way—without endless rambling.

That’s exactly what the STAR interview method enables you to do. “It’s helpful because it provides a simple framework for helping a candidate tell a meaningful story about a previous work experience,” says Al Dea, the founder of CareerSchooled and a career and leadership coach.

So, let’s break down that framework. STAR is an acronym that stands for:

Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

By using these four components to shape your anecdote, it’s much easier to share a focused answer, providing the interviewer with “a digestible but compelling narrative of what a candidate did,” says Dea. “They can follow along, but also determine based on the answer how well that candidate might fit with the job.”

Answering Interview Questions Using STAR
Knowing what the acronym stands for is only the first step—you need to know how to use it. Follow this step-by-step process to give the best STAR interview answers.

1. Find a Suitable Example
The STAR interview method won’t be helpful to you if you use it to structure an answer using a totally irrelevant anecdote. That’s why the crucial starting point is to find an appropriate scenario from your professional history that you can expand on.

There’s no way for you to know ahead of time exactly what the interviewer will ask you (although our list of behavioral interview questions can help you make some educated predictions). With that in mind, it’s smart to have a few stories and examples ready to go that you can tweak and adapt for different questions.

“Brainstorm a few examples of particular success in your previous job, and think through how to discuss that success using the STAR framework,” says Lydia Bowers, a human resources professional. Repeat that exercise for a few types of questions.

If you’re struggling during your interview to come up with an example that fits, don’t be afraid to ask to take a minute. “I’m always impressed when a candidate asks for a moment to think so that they can provide a good answer,” says Emma Flowers, a career coach here at The Muse. “It’s OK to take a few seconds.”

2. Lay Out the Situation
With your anecdote selected, it’s time to set the scene. It’s tempting to include all sorts of unnecessary details—particularly when your nerves get the best of you. But if the interview asks you to tell them about a time you didn’t meet a client’s expectations, for example, they don’t necessarily need to know the story of how you recruited the client three years earlier or the entire history of the project.

Your goal here is to paint a clear picture of the situation you were in and emphasize its complexities, so that the result you touch on later seems that much more profound. Keep things concise and focus on what’s undeniably relevant to your story.

“The STAR method is meant to be simple,” explains Flowers. “Sometimes people provide too much detail and their answers are too long. Focus on just one or two sentences for each letter of the acronym.”

For example, imagine that the interviewer just said, “Tell me about a time when you achieved a goal that you initially thought was out of reach.”

Your Response (Situation): “In my previous digital marketing role, my company made the decision to focus primarily on email marketing and was looking to increase their list of email subscribers pretty aggressively.”

 

3. Highlight the Task
You’re telling this story for a reason—because you had some sort of core involvement in it. This is the part of your answer when you make the interviewer understand exactly where you fit in.

This can easily get confused with the “action” portion of the response. However, this piece is dedicated to giving the specifics of what your responsibilities were in that particular scenario, as well as any objective that was set for you, before you dive into what you actually did.

Your Response (Task): “As the email marketing manager, my target was to increase our email list by at least 50% in just one quarter.”

 

4. Share How You Took Action
Now that you’ve given the interviewer a sense of what your role was, it’s time to explain what you did. What steps did you take to reach that goal or solve that problem?

Resist the urge to give a vague or glossed-over answer like, “So, I worked hard on it…” or “I did some research…”

This is your chance to really showcase your contribution, and it’s worthy of some specifics. Dig in deep and make sure that you give enough information about exactly what you did. Did you work with a certain team? Use a particular piece of software? Form a detailed plan? Those are the things your interviewer wants to know.

Your Response (Action): “I started by going back through our old blog posts and adding in content upgrades that incentivized email subscriptions—which immediately gave our list a boost. Next, I worked with the rest of the marketing team to plan and host a webinar that required an email address to register, which funneled more interested users into our list.”

 

5. Dish Out the Result
Here it is—your time to shine and explain how you made a positive difference. The final portion of your response should share the results of the action you took. Of course, the result better be positive—otherwise this isn’t a story you should be telling. No interviewer will be dazzled with an answer that ends with, “And then I got fired.”

Does that mean you can’t tell stories about problems or challenges? Absolutely not. But, even if you’re talking about a time you failed or made a mistake, make sure you end on a high note by talking about what you learned or the steps you took to improve.

Bowers warns that too many candidates skip over this crucial, final part of their response. “They don’t make it clear how their action made an impact—the result,” she says. “That’s the most important part of the answer!”

Remember, interviewers don’t only care about what you did—they also want to know why it mattered. So make sure you hammer home the point about any results you achieved and quantify them when you can. Numbers are always impactful.

Your Response (Result): “As a result of those additions to our email strategy, I was able to increase our subscriber list from 25,000 subscribers to 40,000 subscribers in three months—which exceeded our goal by 20%.”

 

Putting it All Together
It’s making sense now, isn’t it? Here’s one more question-and-answer example for some added clarity.

The Interviewer Says: “Tell me about a time when you had to be very strategic in order to meet all of your top priorities.”

Your Response:

Situation: “In my previous sales role, I was put in charge of the transfer to an entirely new customer relationship management (CRM) system—on top of handling my daily sales calls and responsibilities.”

Task: “The goal was to have the migration to the new CRM database completed by Q3, without letting any of my own sales numbers slip below my targets.”

Action: “In order to do that, I had to be very careful about how I managed all of my time. So, I blocked off an hour each day on my calendar to dedicate solely to the CRM migration. During that time, I worked on transferring the data, as well as cleaning out old contacts and updating outdated information. Doing this gave me enough time to chip away at that project, while still handling my normal tasks.”

Result: “As a result, the transfer was completed two weeks ahead of deadline and I finished the quarter 10% ahead of my sales goal.”

 

The STAR interview process for answering behavioral interview questions might seem a little overwhelming at first. But it will become second nature with a little practice. And make no mistake, practicing is definitely something you should do.

“Whether it’s in a mock interview or just practicing your answer in the mirror, talk through your response so that it feels natural and comfortable when you’re actually in the interview,” Flowers says.

With just a little preparation and strategy, you’ll soon view behavioral interview questions as less of a burden—and more of an opportunity to emphasize your awesome qualifications.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/star-interview-method?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-0

021218

We all face many situations that require making career decisions. Everyone will manage these in their own way, as each career is unique.

It makes sense for each of us to take as much control of our careers as we can. In doing so, we’ll be better placed to generate our own career plan and make the decisions needed to put it into action.

Learning how to make effective career decisions is crucial. It will help you to:

  • manage and take control of your career
  • adapt to change
  • take advantage of career opportunities as they arise.

What’s your decision-making style?

Decision making can be complex. To reach a choice, we need to take account of our current values, interests, aptitudes and preferences as we try to make sense of the information, ideas and impressions coming from the world around us.

How do you make important decisions? Most people have their own preferences. These can range from working intuitively and according to what feels right, to doing things step-by-step in an ordered, rational and systematic way. Some people may keep things to themselves, weighing up decisions in their own head. Others will want to involve people they know, gathering and testing out their ideas and thoughts.

Reflect on the career decisions you made when you were selecting your senior subjects at school.

  • How certain were you about your next steps?
  • How did you go about making your decision?
  • Were there any important influences?
  • To what extent was it a well-thought through, conscious decision, based on research?
  • Did you collect a lot of information and generate a range of options?

3 obstacles to effective decision-making

Making decisions that affect your career can be complex for several reasons.

  1. The consequences of a decision can be significant – but it’s usually not possible to have all the information.
  2. There may be many alternatives, each with its own set of trade-offs and compromises.
  3. Career decisions can involve complex interpersonal issues arising from the involvement from other people, including our family, partners and friends.

Given these barriers, it’s not surprising that most of us have at some stage made career decisions that weren’t entirely rational and logical. Instead, circumstances and our emotions influenced them.

Good career decisions will depend on your readiness

It’s common for people to try to make career decisions without asking themselves whether they’re feeling ready to do so. Here are some reasons why you may not be ready to make a specific career decision:

  • You may lack motivation and feel that given enough time the ‘right’ career choice will ‘just happen’.
  • You may be indecisive and confused by decision making in general.
  • You may have beliefs and assumptions that aren’t based in reality. For example, ‘I believe there’s only one ideal career for me’ or ‘I only get one chance at making a career decision’.
  • You may find it difficult to commit to a specific career choice, fearing that you may miss out on a better option.
  • You may find it challenging to balance the importance of your ideas with the importance of other people’s ideas (especially of people close to you).

Getting ready to make an effective career decision begins with self-awareness. Put some time into reflecting on your decision-making style. What do you need to find out, do or have to make this particular decision? Time? Information? Skills? Commitment? Inspiration? Support? Confidence? Other resources? How might you make, develop or find what you need?

 

Source: https://myfuture.edu.au/career-insight/details?id=a-quick-guide-to-making-career-decisions#/

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Construction is poised to begin on a landmark 30,000sqm retail centre in Lake Macquarie set to create more than 600 full-time jobs once complete.

Spotlight Group, which owns the Spotlight and Anaconda retail chains, got the green light in September from the NSW Government to commence work on the first stage of a $90 million centre fronting the Pacific Highway at Bennetts Green.

A Bunnings Warehouse and Spotlight and Anaconda stores will anchor the site, with a number of other businesses, including two fast food outlets and a service station, also included in the plans.

Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Cr Kay Fraser, said the centre – the largest retail development in the city since the 2010 expansion of Charlestown Square – would provide an enormous boost to the local economy.

“This is land that has long been earmarked for development,” Cr Fraser said.

“It’s wonderful to see the Spotlight Group backing the potential of Lake Macquarie and investing in a project that will generate local jobs for local families.”

“A development of this size has the potential to significantly boost employment in surrounding suburbs, including Windale. It will further activate the area and, by establishing itself as a retail destination, provide flow-on benefits to other businesses nearby.”

Spotlight Group Executive Deputy Chairman Zac Fried said the development would generate more than 825 full-time-equivalent jobs during construction and more than 600 full-time jobs once open.

“Bennetts Green is a significant development for the Spotlight Group,” he said.

“We are investing more than $90 million in the local community to support long-term job opportunities and growth in the area.”

The Stage One approved by the NSW Government’s Hunter & Central Coast Regional Planning Panel consists of the Bunnings Warehouse at the southern end of the site, the central block of retailers including Anaconda and a fast food outlet, and utilities infrastructure works.

Spotlight Group will improve footpaths and roads around parts of the site, with new traffic lights installed on the Pacific Highway about 150m south of the Groves Road intersection.

The company has lodged development applications with Council for Stages Two and Three. Stage Two includes Spotlight, while Stage Three comprises a service station and second fast food outlet.

These are expected to be processed by the end of the year.

Lake Macquarie City Council Head of Development and Planning Justin Day said the new development was “an exciting time for Lake Macquarie, and specifically for this part of the city”.

“We’re already seeing booming residential development just up the road in Mount Hutton, as well as a $58 million makeover of the Lake Macquarie Fair shopping centre,” Mr Day said.

“This development comes on the back of a record $1.16 billion worth of development applications approved in the 2017-2018 financial year, and really demonstrates how Lake Mac is increasingly becoming the city of choice for investment and development.”

Of the $20.3 million sale price of the land in 2016, $5.58 million was transferred to Council’s Property Investment Reserve.

The remaining $14.73 million went into Council’s Community Land Reserve, to be spent on community infrastructure.

Projects either planned or underway to receive funding through the land sale include:

Windale Skate Park relocation
Windale library and community centre construction
Scrubby Creek restoration (Windale)
Munibung Road extension
Pearson Street Mall upgrade (Charlestown)
Spotlight Group said the new centre was expected to open within 14 months.

Source: http://www.hbrmag.com.au/article/read/600-jobs-slated-for-90m-bennetts-green-retail-development-2895

1

One of the practices that contributes to Michael Phelps’ success as a swimmer takes place well before he gets into the pool. As part of his training regimen, Phelps visualizes every detail of his race—from responding to something going wrong (like ripping his suit) to crossing the finish line ahead of his competitors.

Phelps has used visualization (along with other training methods, of course) to achieve incredible things in his career, like winning 28 Olympic medals to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. But you don’t need to be a world-class athlete to borrow his tricks—and I’m living proof.

Visualization has played an absolutely essential part in hitting a number of my career goals, such as pitching high-profile clients with confidence, scaling my business to six figures, and tackling large, complex projects without feeling completely overwhelmed. My visualization practice has, in many ways, acted as the bridge between where I am in my career at any given moment to where I want to be—by allowing me to see and feel my future success before it actually happens.

“Think about building a jigsaw puzzle. Have you ever attempted to build one without having the box top to look at? It is extremely difficult to complete the puzzle without knowing what the outcome should look like,” says executive leadership coach Cynthia Corsetti. “You may fit pieces together, you may get bits and pieces of the puzzle done, but it will take longer, be more challenging, and possibly never reach completion.”

Corsetti believes the same is true of your career; the more clear and detailed you are when you visualize what you want from your career, the easier it will be to make it a reality.

Of course, while visualization can definitely help you improve performance, for the best results, you need to pair it with action. Phelps didn’t just visualize himself winning races—he also spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in the pool.

Want to give visualization a try? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Visualization 101

What’s Visualization?

Before we jump into how visualization can completely transform your career, let’s quickly cover what, exactly, visualization is.

“Visualization is the ability to create a clear picture in your mind of the exact circumstance you wish to create,” says Corsetti. “It has also been called setting intention, attraction, and ‘positive thinking,’” she adds. It’s “an actual skill that a person can learn.”

Visualization is seeing, feeling, and completely embodying a future outcome—whether that’s snagging the corner office, completing a marathon, or buying your dream home—before it happens. By creating your desired future outcome in your mind in as much detail as possible, you can actually transform your visualization into reality.

The Science

How Does Visualization Actually Work?

When you visualize yourself hitting a specific goal, your brain interprets that imagery as reality—and, as a result, creates new neural pathways to support that reality.

“Visualization is effective at boosting performance because it activates the same regions of the brain that are activated when actually performing a task—athletic, academic, [or] anything else,” says Roselyn Smith, a licensed psychologist, hypnotherapist, and management consultant. “It actually changes the pattern of our electrochemical brain waves.”

In other words, by using visualization, you’re tricking your brain into acting as if your desired outcome—whether that’s nailing a presentation, landing a big promotion, or launching your own business—has already happened. And because your brain thinks your desired outcome has already happened, you’re more likely to take the actions necessary to align with your brain’s perceived reality.

Visualization can even cause physical changes. One study found that participants who visualized workouts were able to increase their muscle mass by 13.5% over the course of 12 weeks—even though they never stepped foot inside a gym. (Imagine how much more they’d have gained if they’d actually worked out!)

The Exercises

What Visualization Exercises Can I Do to Be More Successful at Work?

So research has shown that visualization can work. But how, in practice, do you use it to make you more successful? Here are a few exercises to get you started.

Start With Basic Visualization
If you’re just hopping on board the visualization train, you’re going to want to start with the basics. Carve out a few quiet minutes each day to sit down, close your eyes, and picture where you want to go, who you want to be, and what you want to do in your career. You can start small (like picturing yourself rocking an upcoming presentation) or go big (like celebrating your first six-figure year in business).

The key to this exercise is being as specific as possible. See what’s going to happen clearly in your mind. Home in on all the small details, from what you’re wearing to the way you’re speaking. And let yourself experience the emotions that go along with the visualization (so, for example, the sense of pride you’d feel when landing a raise or the rush of excitement you’d get when you launch a new product). The more realistic you can make your visualization, the more effective it’ll be.

Picture the Worst-Case Scenario

There are bound to be obstacles on any career journey. With visualization, you can anticipate what they’ll be—and come up with a plan so you know exactly how to handle them when they arise.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re gearing up to pitch a new project idea to your team. Visualize all the things that could go wrong—your presentation crashes, you forget important information in the middle of your pitch, your team says they’re not interested—and, more importantly, how you’ll handle them.

Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss calls this “fear-setting;” basically, you spend time imagining all the potential worst-case scenarios and how you’d navigate them. This way, you’ll be prepared and have a game plan if and when it happens, and you’ll be much more likely to succeed as a result.

Focus on Specific Skills or Goals

As the previously mentioned study showed, practicing a task in your mind can yield measurable results—even if you never practice that task IRL.

Want to become a better public speaker? Spend time visualizing yourself speaking to large crowds. Want to increase the number of potential clients you speak to each day? Picture yourself hitting the phones and connecting with tons of prospects each day. The point is, the more you practice the skill in visualizations, the better you’ll be at said skill in reality.

Write it Down

Have a hard time visualizing things in your mind? No worries! Writing down your visualizations can be just as effective as picturing them in your head—perhaps even more so.

“I have my clients write a story that describes in detail what they want their future to look like—down to the pictures on the wall of their office,” says Corsetti. “Adults learn by using all their senses. By writing the exercise they are using their thoughts as well as the physical activity of writing which seals the idea and makes it more concrete.”

The Next Steps

What Else Do I Have to Do?

Clearly, visualization is a powerful tool. But here’s an important reminder: If you want to see real results, you need to pair it with tangible actions. You can visualize yourself calling up 100 client prospects a day—but if you never actually pick up the phone, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for.

It’s “more than just ‘think about it and it will happen,’” says Corsetti. “You see, when you visualize yourself as a leader, or as an entrepreneur…you have to start to respond [and act] as you would in that role.”

So, for example, if you’re visualizing yourself landing a coveted promotion, in addition to picturing yourself in this new role, you need to start acting as if you’re already in it, whether that means taking on more responsibility, mentoring newer members of your team, or logging extra hours at the office.

And when you pack this one-two punch—visualization and action? “Opportunities begin to present themselves. You attract people and circumstances that will help you get there,” Corsetti explains. “It literally steps up your game on a daily basis.”

Visualization is like a roadmap for that old saying—if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Because the right exercises can help you imagine the career you want. And with that vision, plus the corresponding actions, you can start making it a reality.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/visualization-exercises-boost-career

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So, you’ve got a gap in your resume? Maybe you decided to travel, or go back to school, or maybe you looked after a sick relative, or you took time out to be a parent yourself. Whatever the reason, you’re probably feeling like your job hunt is going to be that much harder. Surely any recruiter looking at your resume is going to run a mile away.

Not necessarily.

Most employers nowadays recognize that it’s rare for anyone to stay with just one or two companies for their whole career. Plus, job security isn’t what it used to be (unfortunately).

As a recruiter, I’ve interviewed my fair share of candidates, and if there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this. Think about how to present your gap. With a little foresight, you can turn a potentially tricky interview situation into a masterclass in personal branding.

 

1. So, You Lost Your Job

Some people find it embarrassing to talk about being laid off, but it’s unlikely to elicit anything but sympathy from your interviewer. It’s fairly commonplace these days. Just remember not to badmouth your past company or boss. Instead, focus your response on all the positive things you achieved while you were there.

Don’t Say

“That #!&$! company had it in for me from day one. I probably would’ve left anyway.”

Do Say

“Unfortunately, the company had to implement some budget cuts and, due to their ‘last-in, first-out’ policy, I was made redundant. However, I’m proud of what I achieved during my time there, something which can be reinforced by my previous manager, who’s one of my referees.”
2. So, You Quit Your Job and Traveled the World

The key with this one is to focus on how traveling contributed to your personal development, rather than how much fun you had schlepping around the world with nothing but a backpack and a smile. If you took on any paid or volunteer work during this time, concentrate your response on the additional personal and professional skills it’s given you.

Don’t Say

“Well let’s face it, partying in Thailand is a lot more fun than going to work. I’m pretty sure I had an awesome time, but I can’t actually remember most of it.”

Do Say

“I spent a number of years working at a company in a very demanding job, in which–as you’ll see from my references–I was very successful. But I’d reached a stage in my career where I wanted to focus on my personal growth. The time I spent traveling taught me a lot about how to get along with people of all ages and cultures. Now I feel more than ready to jump back into my career with renewed energy and focus and I feel this role is the ideal way to do that.”

 

3. So, You Went Back to School

This is perhaps the easiest one to explain. Particularly if what you did is relevant to your chosen career. Even if not, it’s easy to put positive spin on something that requires a certain level of intelligence and hard work.

Don’t say

“I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, so I stayed in school rather than getting a job. I am still uncertain if this career path is right for me.”

Do Say

“I wanted to expand my career options by completing some training/getting a qualification in x. Now that I’ve achieved my educational goals, I’m looking forward to using my qualifications to benefit the company I work for. This role is the perfect way for me to do that because…”

 

4. So, You Took Time Off for Health Reasons

Brevity’s key here. The interviewer won’t expect (or want) you to go into painstaking detail about an attack of depression or a serious back operation. Prepare a straightforward explanation that you’re comfortable sharing. Mention how proud you are that you were able to overcome your health problems and then move the conversation swiftly into the present day by discussing the relevant skills you have to offer this company.

Don’t Say

“Whoa, yeah, things were pretty bad there for a while..”

Do Say

“I went through a tough time emotionally/physically due to… and I took some time out to concentrate on getting better, so I could get back to work as quickly as possible. I’m pleased that I overcame that challenge because it’s made me a stronger person but now I’m fully recovered and ready to focus on the next stage of my career.”

 

5. So, You Had to Take Care of Your Family

Remember, caring for the sick or elderly and raising a family are tough jobs that require a huge range of skills, which you now have in abundance. No interviewer should make you feel like your decision to prioritize family over career reflects badly on you.

If you had time to keep your skills and industry knowledge up to date, make sure you mention this. End the discussion by telling the interviewer that you’re excited to recommit yourself to your career. And remember, any company worth your time and effort should recognize what an all-round superhero you clearly are.

Don’t Say

“I live the closest to my mom so I drew the short straw in having to take care of her. I just couldn’t handle looking after her and holding down a job!”

Do Say

“After a lot of thought, I decided that my top priority was my child/elderly parent/sick spouse. However, I made sure to keep my professional skills up to date during that time. Now I’m in a position to refocus on my career and I’m looking forward to utilizing all the additional soft skills I’ve learnt.”

Lastly, remember that lying on your resume or in interview is a really bad idea. When you’re asked about a gap in your employment, take a deep breath and acknowledge the interviewer’s concern. Stay composed and don’t get defensive: it will reassure the interviewer that you’re confident and comfortable with your reasons so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be too.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/explain-resume-gap-interview-right-way?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-2

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Anyone who has built a career knows that finding your first job is a real challenge. There’s no class in college called, “How to Find a Job That Will Make You Happy,” and many stumble to carve out their own paths in those first couple of years.

When you’re on the verge of graduating, it’s tempting to get buried under online applications and advice from career counselors, all the while forgetting there’s one untapped resource right at our fingertips. Remember those people who raised you?

Your parents are a great resource for the job search process, serving as consultants who help you hone in on your strengths, tap into a wider network, prepare for an interview, and evaluate an offer. But don’t just take our word for it, we spoke with Campus Recruiters at Philips, Brett Romary and Rebecca Abrahams, about how to leverage your parents’ wisdom to make that big jump into your first job a great one:
Get Their Feedback
Your parents, it turns out, know you better than almost anyone. They’re a great resource to help you understand your strengths and passions. And luckily, parents are always there (remember when you couldn’t get away from them fast enough?). They can help with the job search process from the very beginning—from figuring out what cities you want to live in, to what kind of role you want to pursue.

As you consider the route you want to take—and the opportunities that arise from there—parents are a great sounding board to help you process this big life change. Rebecca says, “Young professionals and their parents would benefit from having a good conversation about each opportunity. Is this something that’s aligned with what you did in college and your interests?” You can be a bit more vulnerable (hopefully) with your parents than with your career counselor, which will help you to honestly examine how you feel about a certain opportunity.

That said, make room for your own instincts, too. Sometimes, parents want to sway you in a certain direction; building awareness around that will help you strike a balance between benefiting from their support and making independent decisions.
Tap Into Their Network
Parents have networks, even if they’re informal. These communities may be the key to making inroads into your first job, and they’re worth tapping into. “Making professional introductions is huge,” says Brett. “Parents probably have connections somewhere, whether they work in this field or not. They can really help candidates learn more; the possibilities of these connections are endless.”

Don’t dismiss your parents’ network just because they don’t work in a field related to your interests. Although it’s hard to believe, your parents are social beings. Maybe a neighbor, PTA member, or friend of your dad’s has your dream job. So, ask your parents to mention to their friends (and acquaintances) that you’re looking for a role—you never know what will come of it.

As Brett notes, “These communities often serve as the bridge between students who are just graduating and a job.” And, your parents’ network is one of the easiest ways to get your hat into the ring—you know your parents are dying to brag about your qualifications!
Ask for Professional Prep
Many parents have worked in a professional setting for years, if not decades, so they have a wealth of information about how to navigate a new job. Talk to your parents about the most important career lessons they’ve learned along the way. “Parents can really help their children develop business acumen within the field,” Brett says.

In no situation is this truer than in the interview process. “Young professionals are really nervous because they’ve never interviewed before,” says Brett. “We tell them to practice; if their parents can help prep them at all, it’s a huge plus.”

Set aside time to do a few mock interviews with mom or dad. This kind of exercise will make it easier to get comfortable when you’re in front of a hiring manager, and ask your parents to give you helpful tips to improve your pitch.
Evaluate Compensation
When you’re evaluating a compensation package, it’s difficult to know where to even begin. You probably don’t know the difference between HMO and PPO insurance plans or have a clear sense of expectations for vacation days.

Online research can be really helpful, but if your parents have experience negotiating compensation packages, they could be your best resource. Rebecca says, “It can become really overwhelming to assess your first package because you’re not sure what’s the norm. That’s why we encourage students to talk to their parents.”

Beyond helping you assess the package itself, they can give you insight into whether the compensation is something you could really live on. Work with your parents to create a budget around your potential salary to make sure you can cover daily expenses, have savings, and plan for retirement.
As a young professional, you’re in the driver’s seat. But use the knowledge and experience of your parents, and give yourself a boost when you need one most. We bet your parents are going to give you unsolicited advice anyway, so why not solicit the advice you really need—that extra support from your parents could help you launch your career.

 
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/use-your-parents-as-resource-when-looking-for-job?ref=recently-published-1

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YOUTH in Newcastle and the Central Coast are suffering higher unemployment than the national average, with more than 16 per cent of the region’s young people jobless, the NSW Business Chamber has revealed.

While youth unemployment rates nationally have been suffering since 2014, the Newcastle and Central Coast region’s unemployment rate for people aged 15-24 sits at 16.2 per cent, well above the national average of just over 12 per cent, the chamber said in a statement.

In response to these concerning statistics, Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA) has commissioned the second Skillsroad Youth Census. The Skillsroad 2018 Youth Census follows on from a successful survey last year and is designed to highlight the hopes, fears and general attitudes of young people as they transition from school to the workforce, with a special focus on regional areas, the chamber said.

In 2017, more than 13,000 Australian youth completed the survey, revealing below-average life satisfaction and sense of well being, as well as significant levels of stress and uncertainty about choosing career pathways.

The 2018 census aims to build on existing knowledge from last year’s report.

“This census comes at a critical time for young people in the Newcastle and Central Coast area … who are facing an employment crisis,” ASA’s Hunter and North Coast branch manager Jeff Cooke said.

“The Skillsroad 2018 Youth Census can provide unprecedented, evidence-based insights for our schools, parents and business into the necessary tools required to properly support our young people.”

The census takes less than 10 minutes to fill out and participating youth will be in the running to win their choice of either a $1000 gift card or travel voucher. Weekly prizes of $100 gift cards will also be released over the duration of the census, and participants increase their chances of winning by referring friends to complete the survey.

The Skillsroad Youth Census is open to all Australian young people aged 15-24 and can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/Youth-Census-2018.

The census closes on September 30, with a report to be released on 15 October.

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5647189/employment-crisis-newcastle-youth-facing-higher-jobless-rate/

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Recently, I shut down a project I’d been working on for the last several months. It was a sentimental moment for sure—no longer spending my time on something that had been a big part of my day was certainly a tough pill to swallow. However, it was an experiment from the start, and I knew that once we got the results we needed, it would draw to a close.

Having to end—or in corporate jargon, sunset—an initiative you’ve been a crucial part of is bound to happen in your career, whether by your own accord or someone else’s. Maybe budgeting runs out, maybe it’s a bandwidth issue, maybe goals and priorities shift, maybe someone made a mistake assigning it in the first place.

Regardless, knowing how to wrap everything up in a pretty bow is an important skill—just because it’s coming to an end doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to end it smoothly and professionally. Plus, when done correctly, you can use all you’ve learned and achieved for future career advancement.

Here’s how:

1. Gather All the Facts

Before doing anything, you need to understand why this project is ending. Ask questions, talk it out with relevant team members, and understand what this means for the long-term.

For starters, this could give you both confidence and perspective—especially if you’re concerned that it’s ending because of something you did (or didn’t) do.

This also helps you make more educated decisions going forward. When you know why a project is no longer needed, you can make smarter choices for future initiatives and ensure that you’re on the same page on:

  • whether this is a permanent, trial, or temporary initiative
  • how success will be measured
  • what the timeline expectations are

2. Set an End Date and Prepare

Next, get the little details sorted out. When will this be completed? Who will help in wrapping up loose ends? What’s needed to get done before it is? Who needs to be notified?

Once you know all this, you can start preparing immediately—both for the last day and for what comes after (if anything). You’re going to have more time on your hands after this is over, so figure out how you want to spend your time moving forward and what other projects you might like to start or be a part of. Make sure to talk to your boss to get a sense of what they want you to focus on and prioritize.

Also, take advantage of the time you have to complete this project. Is there an experiment you’ve been meaning to try? Or, a skill you’re looking to build? Use this stretch to test any last-minute ideas or thoughts.

3. Notify Your Team (and Anyone Else Who Was Involved)

This is key: Whoever was involved in some way or another—whether they helped out, contributed feedback, or just followed it passively—should be looped in.

Send out an email or set up a meeting outlining why the project is ending, what this means for each team member and the company, and what the next steps will be. Give your colleagues a chance to ask questions and contribute feedback (and jot that information down for step five).

4. Take the Time to Celebrate Key Players and Accomplishments

This goes hand-in-hand with step three, but it’s so important to acknowledge all the hard work and achievements associated with the project. Make sure to call out and celebrate those who helped and shout out any big positive outcomes that resulted.

Also, celebrate yourself! Whether or not it was a “success,” you spearheaded something and no doubt gained skills along the way (even if those skills are better project management). So, take the time to feel proud of the work you did.

5. Do a Reflective Analysis

Once you’ve closed up shop, gather everything you collected over the course of the project, both qualitative and quantitative:

  • What did you do?
  • How long did you do it for?
  • Who was involved? What did they do?
  • What results were you hoping for?
  • What results did you get?
  • What results didn’t you get?
  • What was surprising?
  • What mistakes were made?
  • What lesson were learned?

Define what success meant for this specific initiative, how you did (or didn’t) achieve it, and what can be learned for the future—and write it all down in a report.

Then, use that report! Having all this information in one place is incredibly valuable for a number of reasons:

  • It forces you and your team to be reflective. Set up some time to go over it all, discuss it, and add to it. Use it as a conversation starter for launching new projects or brainstorming other initiatives.
  • It helps you be strategic in making future decisions and prevents history from repeating itself. Whenever you come across a project or problem that feels similar, look back on this report to decide whether to move forward and how so you don’t make the same mistakes or fall down the same rabbit hole.
  • It’s physical proof of your achievements. You can bring this to your next performance review or reference it in your job search. Also, you can use it to just feel good about yourself—you did all this!

It’s certainly not emotionally easy to end a project you care about. But, by doing it in a well-documented, well-thought-out way, you make it easier for yourself to successfully lead future projects. And that’s a great thing.

 

Source: http://www.americanrecruiters.com/2018/09/14/heres-how-to-gracefully-sunset-an-initiative-youve-worked-so-hard-on/

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Most people have a general understanding of how to prepare for an interview. Yet, it can be easy to overlook some of the details, especially if you’re feeling a bit nervous or you’re focusing on preparing for common interview questions.

To help take some of the stress out of your prep, here’s a handy guide to your interview preparation.

1) Mental preparation
Background research: The first step in your preparation is to gain a detailed understanding of the role and the organisation. Pore over the job description so you understand everything that’s involved and gain an understanding of the team you’ll be working with. Research the organisation using all the sources of information at your disposal: the company website; press releases and annual reports; news and other media; social media and LinkedIn; friends and contacts.

Learn about the organisation’s products and services, areas of growth, financial performance, its history, management team, company culture, and its place in the industry. This information will help you understand how you would fit and add value. Also check the LinkedIn profile of the person interviewing you so you understand their role and where they fit into the organisation.

Self-reflection: Now that you’ve gathered information about the organisation, it’s time to reflect on you – your experiences, the skills you’ve developed, your professional achievements and goals. Go through your resume to refresh your memory on the details of your work history.

Think about the specific points you need to be prepared to articulate: your career ‘story’, personal brand and USP, your key capabilities and achievements, what interests you about the role, how you can help the organisation achieve its goals, and why you are attracted to the company and want to work there.

Prepare for common interview questions and behavioural interview questions, and jot down key points. As much as possible, use the terminology used in the job description to describe your competencies and experiences. Also prepare your own questions to ask in the interview.

The most important thing to emphasise in the interview is the fit: between your capabilities and the requirements of the role; between your career goals and what the organisation is offering; and between your personality traits and the culture in the team or organisation.

2) Logistics
Practical details: Sorting out the practical details involved in getting to an interview is just as important as mental preparation, and helps you remain calm on the day. This includes planning what you will wear to the interview and what you will bring to the interview (printout of your CV, notepad and pen, examples of your work). Check the weather – is it likely to rain so will you need to bring an umbrella?

Getting to the interview: If there’s one golden rule about interviews, it’s that you must arrive on time. That means ensuring you know exactly where to go and how to get there, and who to see on your arrival. Make sure you have the interviewer’s full name and its correct pronunciation, and their title.

If you’re taking public transport, check schedules and estimated travel times and give yourself a generous buffer in case of delays. If you’re driving, check the route on Google Maps. If possible, do a test run before the interview and keep your eye out for one-way roads and roadworks. Do you have enough petrol in the car? Always allow more time to get to the interview than you think you’ll need, especially if you’re travelling in peak hour or if rain is expected.

Physical preparation: To perform at your best in the interview, it’s crucial to get a good night’s sleep the night before. Eat a nutritious evening meal (not too heavy or late), avoid alcohol and start winding down before you go to bed. Get an early night and of course, don’t forget to set your alarm.

3) On the day of your job interview
Before leaving: Give yourself time in the morning to review your resume and notes, and run through specific points you wish to make. Ensure you leave early enough to arrive at the interview a few minutes ahead of time.

Final tips: While a morning coffee can help make you more alert, it might be wise to avoid having too many as you don’t want to be jittery during the interview. When you arrive at the interview, give yourself a final once-over: tidy yourself up (check your face, clothes and hair), turn your mobile phone to silent, and take a few deep breaths. When you meet the interviewer, greet them by name and don’t forget to smile!

Source:https://au.hudson.com/career-advice/how-to-prepare-for-a-job-interview

eyeball magnifier

Recruiters spend all of six seconds looking at a resume.

So you only get a brief chance to grab their attention.

The nature of the process means that hiring managers are looking for faults rather than seeking the skills to match the role on offer. A case of looking for weaknessess before strengths.

One key is to make sure achievements in a resume are backed up by metrics. If a project you were involved in was successful, say why it was with numbers.

“Resumes are vital to most job searches, but creating one can quite often be a long and tedious process,” says Ciaran Martin, Talent Acquisition Manager at Open Colleges.

“With so many conflicting pieces of advice, many people feel like they don’t know where to begin.”

Open Colleges, an Australia online education provider, has created a guide to building a career-boosting profile.

1. Pay attention to detail

Be consistent and make sure you spellcheck.

2. Write a cover letter

This shows your interest in the position and, just like with your resume, make sure it is tailored to the role.

3. Lead with a summary or person profile

But make sure it’s only about 10 lines in length.

“This should act as a snapshot to your whole CV,” says Martin. “Use this space wisely as it’s an opportunity to outline your key experience.”

4. Keep the layout simple

Adopt a standard format for each job role you’re discussing, highlighting responsibilities and achievements.

5. Avoid personal details

Only name, email and mobile number. No photographs. “Recruiters try and rule you out before they meet you,” she says. “For example, including your home address might lead to you being disregarded if you live far away from the place of work.”

6. Be careful with the font

Traditional is best, such as Arial or Times New Roman. The font size should be between 10 and 12.

7. Read the job advert

“Make sure you know what you’re applying for,” says Martin. “Tailor your resume so that your responsibilities and achievements are inline with the job spec. If the job was for a more creative/technical position, it would be helpful if those skills were demonstrated.”

8. Highlight key achievements in previous roles

“Ideally achievements that relate to the job you’re applying for, demonstrating your ability to perform well in this next opportunity,” says Martin. “Outline projects you’ve successfully completed – reflects on other skills such as time management, relationship building.”

9. Simple is best

“If you’re applying for a role such as a Graphic Designer, the layout of your resume will be important,” says Martin. “But as a general rule, the most easy to read and accessible is best. If it’s a creative resume, there must also be a link to a portfolio.”

10. Keep it private

“Don’t put your resume up online for everyone to see, plus always PDF,” she says. “Don’t send through a word version which could be edited.”

 

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/10-tips-for-resumes-to-get-a-recruiters-attention-2018-8

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WHILE concerns about the reliability of renewables, as expressed by some big electricity consumers including Tomago Aluminium, are understandable, industries across the country are adopting the technology as fast as they can.

At a Beresfield plant operated by pallet maker CHEP yesterday, acclaimed University of Newcastle researcher Paul Dastoor was on hand for the unveiling of a commercial-scale pilot installation of the printable solar cells that he and his team have been working on for the past 15 years.

While conventional solar cells have, until now, been reasonably weighty objects held in solid metal frames, the technology developed by Professor Dastoor at the Centre for Organic Electronics generates power by printing electronic inks onto paper-thin sheets of flexible laminate.

In earlier demonstrations of this technology, Professor Dastoor has described these printed cells as so light that large arrays can be attached to a roof with nothing more than velcro. While the Beresfield installation is a collaboration with CHEP, a Brambles subsidiary, rather than an outright sale, it is another sign that of how much the electricity market is changing, and how far removed from reality the federal government is when it comes to energy policy.

It is, admittedly, early days as far as the government led by new Prime Minister Scott Morrison is concerned.

But his initial comments in emphasising power prices over emissions reduction have been widely interpreted as a sign he has little interest in trying, as Malcolm Turnbull did, to convince the Coalition’s climate sceptics that they should listen to the experts when it comes to energy.

The global weight of investment and research going into renewable energy means the best technologies will find their way to the surface, and elbow aside more expensive and more environmentally suspect means of generating power, regardless of the attitude of the Australian government.

Indeed, given that the Coalition is supposedly the party of the free market, it is difficult to understand why it has such a philosophical opposition to progress.

In turning paint and plastic – with the help of sunshine – into electricity, Paul Dastoor is the embodiment of that progress. And further proof (not that we need it) that there is more to Newcastle than coal.

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5615937/newcastle-breakthrough-on-solar-cells/

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Research into the Hunter Valley region has revealed there are particular employment growth areas forecast for the region over the next three years, including construction, aged and disability care, child care and cookery.

TAFE NSW’s Regional General Manager, Susie George said the research, which was conducted by Australia’s largest training organisation, revealed that the predicted growth in employment opportunities in the Hunter Valley is thanks to a number of important factors.

“With a number of exciting projects, such as planning for the construction of a new $450 million hospital in Maitland, diversification and growth of the energy sector, the Hunter Innovation Project which aims to encourage ICT startups, as well as a new facility at Beresfield for FLSmidth, an increased demand for skilled workers will continue to be generated by industry,” Susie said.

“The Hunter Valley is the fastest growing area in the North Region, with the population forecast to grow by 3 per cent between 2018-2021, and employment forecast to grow by 4.1% over the same period.”

TAFE NSW is a provider of vocational education in the Hunter Valley and it is evident that residents are upskilling in readiness for the employment growth in these industries. The top five courses by enrolment at TAFE NSW in this region last year included a Statement of Attainment in Foundation Skills Support; Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology; Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician; Certificate III in Business Administration and TAFE Statement in Youth Engagement.

“TAFE NSW will continue to innovate and develop courses to meet the skills needs of local regions,” Susie said.

“TAFE NSW delivers the skills that drive a strong economy, support vibrant communities and help individuals, enterprises and industries to adapt and thrive.

“With more than 1200 courses available and with current and future job prospects looking bright, there’s never been a better time to upskill or reskill at TAFE NSW.”

Source: http://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/employment-growth-areas-hunter-brings-opportunity/

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Searching for a job can be a job in itself and is not truly finished until you are offered employment. Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy offers a few tips on how to stay motivated during this often trying time:

1. Clarify your values: If the company’s values are in opposition to your personal value, the employment is inherently set up not to work. This determination of values can be done by being honest with yourself and doing a self-appraisal of what you believe in.

2. Write out your marketable skills and areas of execellence: When you are switching jobs or looking for a more challenging opportunity, be sure to emphasize your strengths. Emphasize how your skills have resulted in measurable consequences in the past. Moreover, certain areas of specialty can serve to add flavor and interest to your candidacy for a job.

3. Pinpoint your areas of weaknesses and determine how you can improve them: Try to avoid fluffier answers like, “I am a perfectionist.” Be honest with areas in which you are not the strongest and think actively about how you can make yourself better.

4. Don’t let the world decide your path for you; choose something you love: Tracy brings up the point that you will spend more time in your life working than any activity other than sleeping. Make sure it’s something you can not only tolerate but find purpose in doing.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/video/312868

Resume suggestions

Posted by | August 19, 2018 | employees, Job Seekers

Resume1

Estimates suggest that prospective employers will spend between 10 seconds and two minutes looking at your resume before deciding whether or not they want to interview you. Make sure your resume grabs their attention and demands a second look. Suggestions include:

  • If possible, tailor your resume to fit the particular job.
  • Remember that a resume is only a summary, not a full-blown account of your every career move. Keep it brief – three pages is more than enough detail.
  • Include basic information (such as full name, address, telephone number and other contact details) on the top of the first page.
  • Next, list your educational qualifications, starting from the most recent and working backwards.
  • Then, list your employment history, once again starting from the most recent. Include position, company and length of employment.
  • For each previous job, only list pertinent and interesting details. Don’t just retype your job description – write about your accomplishments.
  • Include specific information if you can. Use numbers and figures. For example, instead of saying ‘raised funds for projects’, put ‘raised over $100,000 per annum’; rather than ‘supervisory position’, write ‘supervision of 25 people’.
  • Explain any gaps in employment history, if you have them. For example, you may have taken time off to travel or further your education.
  • Consider including a summary paragraph of your work skills.
  • Include any other skills that may be relevant such as first aid training, a forklift licence or typing ability.
  • Include industry awards.
  • Include references or contact details for referees.
  • Avoid using gags or novelty tactics to flag attention to your resume. Always type your resume on white A4 paper, and don’t include little gifts or send your resume in unusual packaging. These tactics are just annoying.
  • Attach a short, to-the-point and professional cover letter. Include a summary paragraph to sell your experience and qualifications.

Source: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/job-hunting-tips

Unemployed office workers holding cardboard signs job hunting

Your resume impressed a potential employer, and now you have an interview. Suggestions include:

  • Research the company or organisation. Be familiar with its products and goals.
  • Think about what you want to say in the interview. Imagine the kind of questions you might be asked, and rehearse a few answers.
  • Prepare questions of your own. For example, you could ask them to tell you about the working environment.
  • Dress conservatively and in a business-like fashion.
  • Make sure your personal grooming (such as fingernails and hair) is up to scratch.
  • Arrive on time.
  • Try to be polite, positive and friendly to everyone you meet during the job interview.
  • Don’t use slang or swear words.
  • Display positive body language – such as good posture, firm handshake, relaxed smile and make eye contact – these can make a great first impression.
  • Don’t say anything negative about previous employers.
  • Let the interviewer take the lead. Don’t try to control the conversation.
  • Avoid talking about salary and employee benefits too early.

Source: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/job-hunting-tips

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A job title is a nicely packaged label, but we’re more than just a title.

Your background and experiences provide a wide array of knowledge, skills, and strengths that you can transfer over to any job.

Instead of searching by title, I’d start by researching the responsibilities that excite and energize you. That means instead of confining yourself to a job title, start describing what’s involved with your ideal role instead.

Here’s How to Do That

I recommend starting with an exercise that resembles digging for career gold, where you’ll evaluate all of the positions you have held throughout your career and ask yourself things like:

  • What did I love about this job?
  • When did I lose track of time?
  • When was I most excited?

As you go through this process, jot down all of the responsibilities you enjoyed and skills you liked using.

Next, I want you to take a look at this list and start identifying common threads and patterns. Were you happiest when crunching data? Interacting with clients? Problem solving in a team? Building something from nothing? Working on one long-term project vs. multiple short ones?

As you start to understand your skills and interests, you can lead your job search by sharing the story of what you’re looking for. Each time you share your dream role including the skills and interests you align with, two things will happen:

You’ll open up closed doors as more people hear you stating what you’re looking for. It’s amazing what connections and opportunities crop up once we share our goals with the world.

You’ll hear recommendations from people that often sound like, “Have you ever considered [blank]?” or “Have you talked to [blank]?” Whether you’re talking to career experts, recruiters, friends, or strangers, everyone in the world has unique perspectives, contacts, and experiences that they are able to share with you in turn.

Once you figure out what types of roles really intrigue you, then you can craft your personal brand and ensure you’re highlighting a cohesive and consistent story in all of your online and offline marketing materials.

More importantly, you can start a targeted networking campaign to spark conversations with people who will be able to share more about the career paths you’re truly interested in. These informational interviews can lead into informal job interviews… which can lead to offers.

It’s easy to feel welded to your title in your job search, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Turn your attention to your skills and experiences instead, and I’m confident that you’ll find job opportunities that are way better suited to what you’re looking for. Good luck!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-job-search-with-vague-job-title

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There is certainly a time and a place for a resume overhaul. Taking a couple hours to really clean up your resume is worth doing before you start a job search, or even just once a year as a tune-up.

But sometimes, you don’t have that kind of time. Sometimes, you just have a few minutes, and you want to spend them giving your resume a quick polishing-up. And for those times, we made you this list of resume updates that only take a few minutes, but that can make a big difference in making your resume shine.

Choose how much time you have, pick a (mini) project, and get ready for your resume to be that much more eye-catching.

 

1. Switch the Font

Ready, switch the font of your resume to Helvetica, Arial, or Times New Roman—in other words, make sure it’s not hard to read (or stuck in Word’s standard Calibri). Using a common, clean font may not make your resume the prettiest out there, but it will make it more readable (and less likely to be rejected by applicant tracking systems).

2. Remove “References Available Upon Request”

If they want references, they’ll ask for them!), and use the extra space to add a detail about your abilities or accomplishments.

3. Delete the Resume Objective

That boring boilerplate “I am a hard working professional who wants to work in [blank] industry” is a bit obvious—why else would you be submitting your resume?—and takes up valuable space.

4. Spell Check

…and correct any mistakes.

5. Save it Correctly

Save your resume as a PDF if it’s in any other format. That way, the formatting won’t get messed up when your resume is opened on a different computer. (To see exceptions to this rule, click here.)

6. Change the File Name

Change the file name from “Resume” to “[First Name] [Last Name] Resume”—it makes things easier for hiring managers and ensures your resume doesn’t get lost in the crowd.

7. Remove Your Address.

If you’re not local, recruiters might not look any further. If you are, recruiters may take your commute time into account and turn you down if they think it would be too long.

8. Add Your LinkedIn Profile

In its place, add a link to your LinkedIn profile, as well as any other relevant social media handles (Twitter if it’s professional, Instagram or Flickr if you’re applying to social media or creative positions). Caveat: Never include Facebook, no matter how clean you keep it.

Don’t want to drop your whole ugly LinkedIn URL onto your resume? (Hint: You shouldn’t.) Create a custom URL to your public profile using simply /yourname (or some similar, simple variation if somebody already has your name). LinkedIn has instructions on its website.

9. Make All Your Hyperlinks Live

Your resume is most likely going to be read on a computer, so making things like your email address, LinkedIn and other social profiles, and personal websites clickable makes it easier for the recruiter to learn more about you.

10. Delete Irrelevant Data

Omit any references to your birthdate, marital status, or religion. Since it’s illegal for employers to consider this when looking at your application (at least in the U.S.), they can’t request it (and offering it makes you look a little clueless).

11. Get Rid of That Grad Year

If you’re more than three years out of college, remove your graduation year. Recruiters only really want to know that you got a degree, and you don’t want them to inadvertently discriminate based on your age.

12. Move Your Education

While you’re at it, do a little rearranging, and move education down below your experience. Unless you’re a recent graduate, chances are your last one or two jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job.

13. Make it Readable

To improve readability, increase the line spacing (also called leading) to at least 120% of the font size. To do this in Word, go to Format and select Paragraph. In the pulldown under Line Spacing, choose Exactly and set the spacing to two points above the size of your font (so, 12 if your font is 10 point).

14. Reduce Your Margins

Need a little more space to work with? Reduce your top and bottom margins to 0.5″ and your side margins to no less than 0.75″. This will keep your resume clean and readable but give you more room to talk about what you’ve got.

15. Leave High School Behind

Remove anything high school-related unless you’re a year out of college or need to bulk up your resume and did something highly relevant (and awesome) during your high school years.

16. Update Your Skills Section

Add any new skills you’ve gained, and remove anything that is a little dated (nobody wants to hear that you have Microsoft Word experience anymore—they expect it).

17. Break Up Your Skills Section

If you have lots of skills related to a position—say, foreign language, software, and leadership skills—try breaking out one of those sections and listing it on its own (“Language Skills” or “Software Skills”).

18. Double-Check Formatting

Make sure formatting is consistent across your resume. You want all headers to be in the same style, all indentations to line up, all bullet points to match, and the like. You don’t want the styling to look sloppy!

19. Remove Acronyms

Find any acronyms, and write out the full name of the title, certification, or organization. You should include both, at least the first time, to make sure the recruiter knows what you’re talking about and so an applicant tracking system will pick it up no matter which format it is looking for. For example: Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

20. Get Rid of Distracting Design

Unless you are a designer or are submitting a (carefully crafted) creative resume, remove any photos or visual elements. On a more traditional resume, they generally just distract from the information at hand (and can confuse applicant tracking systems).

21. Work Around Your Gaps

If you have gaps of a few months in your work history, swap out the usual start and end dates for each position with years only (e.g., 2010-2012).

22. Do a Verb Swap

Swap out a couple of your boring verbs for some more powerful (and interesting) ones. Check out our list if you need inspiration.

23. Now, Do an Adjective Swap

Swap out a couple of generic adjectives or titles (words like “detail-oriented” or “experienced” are overused and don’t tell a recruiter much) with stronger language that better describes your more unique strengths.

24. List Your Promotions Correctly

Worked multiple jobs within the same organization? Learn how to list them right on your resume, then update it as such.

25. Leave History in the Past

As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10 to 15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying. So if you have anything really dated or random, remove it and use the space to bulk up other sections or add something more relevant.

26. Look for Orphan Words

Go through line by line and take note of any orphan words (single words left on a line by themselves). See how you can edit the previous line so they can fit—making your resume look cleaner and opening up extra lines for you to do other things with.

27. Make it Skimmable

Make your document easier to skim by adding divider lines between sections. Check out section three of this great guide for instructions.

28. Use Numerals

Include any numbers on your resume? Go through and change them all to numerical form, instead of written out (i.e., 30% instead of thirty percent). Even small numbers that are often spelled out should be written numerically—it makes them pop to the reviewer and saves space.

29. Read it Out Loud.

This will not only help you catch any spelling or grammar errors, but it will also help you notice any sentences that sound awkward or that are hard to understand.

30. Check Out the Top

Look at your resume “above the fold.” In other words, take a close look at the top third of your resume—the part that will show up on the screen when the hiring manager clicks “open” on that PDF. That’s what’s going to make your first impression—so make sure it serves as a hook that makes the hiring manager eager to read more.

31. Shorten Your Bullet Points

Make sure you have no more than six to seven bullet points for any given position. If you do? Cut and condense. No matter how long you’ve been in a job or how good your bullets are, the recruiter just isn’t going to get through them.

32. Identify Your Narrative

Give your resume to someone who doesn’t know you well to look at for 30 seconds. Then ask: What are the three most memorable things? What’s the narrative? Take this feedback and think about how you can adjust your resume to get it closer to where you want.

33. Use a Word Cloud

Similarly, drop your resume into a word cloud generator and see which keywords are popping out. If the most prominent ones aren’t what you want to be remembered by, or if there are important words that aren’t present, think about how you can tweak your resume to make that more clear.

34. Quantify Everything

Go through your bullet points, and add as many numbers and percentages as you can to quantify your work. How many people were impacted? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? (And, yes, it’s OK to estimate as long as you can roughly prove it.)

35. Make Your Benefit Clear

Pick a few statements to take one step further, and add in what the benefit was to your boss or your company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you.

36. Consider Adding a Qualifications Section

Perhaps in lieu of your now-deleted “Career Objective?” This should be a six-sentence (or bullet pointed) section that concisely presents the crème of the crop of your achievements, major skills, and important experiences. By doing this, you’re both appeasing any applicant tracking systems with keywords and giving the hiring manager the juicy, important bits right at the top.

37. Update Your Header to Make it Pop

You don’t have to have a ton of design knowledge to make a header that looks sleek and catches a recruiter’s eye. (Hint: Use this same header on your resume and cover letter to make your “personal brand” look really put together.)

38. Fill it Up

Need to fill up more space on your resume, or feel like you’re light on the experience? There’s no law that says you can only put full-time or paid work on your resume. So, if you’ve participated in a major volunteer role, worked part-time, freelanced, or blogged? Add a couple of these things as their own “jobs” within your career chronology.

39. Or, Cut it Down

If you need more space on your resume, check and see if any of your formatting decisions are taking up unnecessary space. Does your header take up too much at the top? Do you have any extra line breaks that you don’t really need? Tinker around with the formatting and see how much space you can open up (without your resume looking crowded or messy).

40. Make Your Bullet Points Make Sense

Look at each bullet point and make sure it’s understandable to the average person. Remember that the first person who sees your resume might be a recruiter, an assistant, or even a high-level executive—and you want to be sure that it is readable, relevant, and interesting to all of them.

41. Use a Resume Template

So you’ll look extra polished.

42. Update All Your Roles

Make sure all of the experience on your resume is updated. Add any awards you’ve received, new skills you’ve taken on, articles you’ve published, or anything else awesome you’ve done.

43. Spread the Word

Hop over to your LinkedIn profile, and make any updates you’ve just made to your resume to your summary and experience sections there.

44. Ask a Friend to Help

Email three of your friends or professional contacts asking (nicely!) for a peek at their resumes. You might be able to get some inspiration for your own (or even help them out).

45. Get That Baby Out There

Find an awesome job to apply to with one of our partner companies, then get started on your cover letter with our easy-to-follow guide.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/45-quick-changes-that-help-your-resume-get-noticed?ref=long-reads-0

Mildly excited

When it comes to a “safe” job versus a “dream” job, it can be hard to turn down the first if there’s no guarantee of the second.

So, the question becomes: If you get an offer that you’re not too excited about, should you take it, or keep looking?

The answer really depends on your situation. There are circumstances in which it makes sense to say “yes:” whether it’s for experience, much-needed cash, or because it’s a stepping stone to a career you do love.

Remember: Not every job needs to be your dream job, but every new position should offer some advantage over your current role.

Here’s your guide to deciding if an only somewhat exciting offer is worth taking.

Yes if: It Will Help You Achieve Big Goals Down the Line
If it’s common practice in your industry to pay your dues with a not-so-great role for a couple of years, then you probably need to accept it for a bit—just make sure it’s part of a larger plan.

No if: You’re Delaying Important Goals by Taking It
If your life’s ambition is to be a designer, and what you’re being offered is a social media manager position (with no chance of changing roles later on), it’s probably in your best interest to turn it down.

Yes if: The Pay Is High Enough That It’ll Solve Other Big Problems in Your Life
If you have a ton of student or credit card debt, are trying to save for a down payment, need to move out of your parents’ house, or have a health problem that needs funding, a high-paying job can take the stress off and make your life easier (until you’re physically and mentally ready to pursue a career you love).

No if: The Pay’s Not a Big Improvement From What You’re Earning Now
Switching jobs should be for career advancement, much more interesting work, or a significant salary bump—not for another boring position at the same pay level.

Yes if: You’re Going to Get Career-Building Experience
Even if the job description sounds dull, if you can get essential experience and learn some valuable skills, it’s worth going for it. Then, after you’ve bulked up your resume, you can start looking for more exciting jobs where you can use your new talents.

No if: It’s a Lateral Move
If it’s a job similar to the one you have or have had, and there’s no potential for gaining valuable experience or skills in your field, take a pass.

Yes if: There’s a Real Opportunity to Move Up
Maybe you’ll be the receptionist now, but the company does interesting design work and is known for hiring internally. Or, there’s an exciting management job that could be yours in a couple of years. Sometimes, you have to do something you don’t want to in order to get what you want—but just make sure there’s a prize worth waiting for.

No if: It’s Truly a Dead End
If the offer comes from a company where the people in your dream job have been around for decades and show no signs of leaving, or you know they’ll never consider you for an internal transfer, decline.

Yes if: You’re Unemployed and Have Been Applying With No Success
A lengthy period of unemployment can raise red flags for potential employers. If the months are going by and no offers are coming in, take it. This allows you to make money as you look and not end up in a far more desperate situation.

No if: You’re Gainfully Employed and Don’t Think This Will Make You Any Happier
There’s no advantage in changing things just for the sake of a change. Keep looking for a role that’ll make a positive difference in your life.

If you decide to accept an offer you’re not excited about, remember two things. First, keep the reason you’re doing it front and center, and remind yourself that you’re here in pursuit of a larger goal. This will help you not feel stuck forever in a career you’re not happy about—and force you to make a change when you’re no longer gaining fulfillment from it.

Second, put in as much effort and enthusiasm as if it were actually your dream job—not only will this help you succeed later on, it will make your work atmosphere a bit more bearable.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/should-i-take-a-job-offer-i’m-not-excited-about?ref=recently-published-2

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Early on in my career as an HR generalist, I realized that my favorite tasks had to do with recruitment and hiring—probably because my personality is more like a salesperson, and recruiting is the “sales” side of HR.

My career fantasies consisted of me getting to just focus on recruiting all day—finding and interviewing people, making offers, and convincing them this was the right opportunity for them. Eventually, I made my dreams happen and never looked back.

But is specialization always the right answer? Here are six questions to ask yourself to help you decide if it is, or if you should go the generalize route:

1. Who Are the People I Really Admire and Enjoy Working With?

Do you get excited when you talk with a specialist about what they do? What about their expertise gets you jazzed?
If you find your curiosity leads you down a rabbit hole of ever more detailed questions for them, then specialization could be a great fit for you. If you run out of questions or feel confused or bored, maybe you’re more of a “skim the surface” kind of person. There’s nothing wrong with that—business needs both kinds!

2. Would I Be Content Spending All Day Focused on One Thing?

If you’re in finance, you can take that in a lot of different directions. For those who like to dip their toes in all areas—from accounts receivable to treasury to budget management—specializing would be a downer.

But if you’ve seen all that and want to plumb the depths of one specific field, it may be just the right decision. Talk to a few people who work in those roles to make sure it’s what you think it is and you’ll enjoy it.

3. Will I Need More Education to Go Deep Into What I Really Want to Focus On?

Accountants and lawyers often face this dilemma early on. Tax accounting and tax law, for example, can be a fast path to high rewards, but they typically require advanced degrees and a lot of exposure to the specialty.

If you make that investment in yourself to go back to school, you’re making a long-term commitment to your craft. So be sure you really love it (and can afford it).

4. Will Specializing Increase or Decrease My Work-Life Balance?

It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything, according to Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success.

Are you ready to spend a lot of time working to become a topic expert? How will that affect your relationships with your friends and family? It may be smart to ask for their opinion and support first, and decide for yourself if specializing will take away from the things you value outside of work.

5. Will I Box Myself Out of Future Opportunities if I Become Too Narrowly Focused?

It’s key to figure out if becoming a specialist will ultimately limit your career path down the road. Use your networking efforts to get a sense of where specializing will take you—and whether that sounds interesting to you.

Also, consider whether you feel more comfortable in a large organization or a small one. Small companies typically (but not always!) need more “utility players” willing to play several roles and fill in for others, whereas large enterprises often “divide and conquer,” solving problems with teams of specialists.

6. What’s My End Game?

If, down the road, you want to manage others, you might want to keep one foot in the generalist world. As a boss, you’ll need to be able to have credibility beyond your specialty to lead others.

However, if you’re more excited about becoming an expert in your field, specializing might be the way to go.

You may or may not already know all the right people willing to invest in you and advise you as you decide between specializing and generalizing.

If you don’t, that’s okay—but it’s key to have a strong network when making this decision. Talk with colleagues at your current company who are a few years ahead of you. Or, get in touch with fellow alumni who graduated from your university. Or, consider hiring a career coach who specializes in your industry or desired field.

Just be sure not to rush your decision—and know that you can always change your mind. Read a lot of articles and blogs, take people to coffee, listen to podcasts. In short, take your time. After all, this is your career—it’s worth getting right!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/questions-ask-yourself-specialize-generalize?ref=recently-published-0

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If you know you’re capable of doing more than fetching coffee (and I know you are!), then you need to walk into that interview room with the confidence and command that says so. How do you do that? Use these tips when readying yourself for your next interview.

1. Make a List of What You’re Great at

Think about the things that make you feel good about yourself. Are you gifted at organizing or creating systems and processes that improve efficiency? Or, are you great interpersonally and have a knack for making people feel heard and welcome?

Start creating a list of those attributes. This will not only shore up your inner confidence, but it will also give you content that you can relate to what your interviewer is looking for in the company’s next hire.

2. Think Through Your Day-to-Day

So you’re telling me that someone paid you for 40 hours each week plus benefits to only get coffee—and that’s it? Even the most prodigal of companies probably had a few more expectations than that.

When you’re struggling to think of other responsibilities, it’s helpful to talk through your day-to-day with a friend. It’s easy to take for granted the other things you do, and by relaying what you spend your day doing, you’ll be able to come up with significantly more content and depth than you previously thought.

For instance, in addition to getting coffee, did you also ensure the office was appropriately stocked and presentable for visitors and employees? Did you manage the conference room schedule and ready rooms for meetings? Did you liaise with building maintenance staff on the upkeep of the office?

Look at that! You’ve just described the background of a perfect office coordinator or administrative assistant.

3. Unlock Your Potential

Remember, potential is not what you’ve done, it’s what you can do. Rather than fixating on the most literal definition of yourself and what you’ve previously done, use this as an opportunity to think and dream expansively.

What more can you do? What more is within you? Listen carefully to the needs of the person interviewing you and find ways to relate your background or personality to those needs. Your previous job doesn’t define the whole you, nor should it define your potential.

The job search is enough to shake anyone’s confidence—particularly when you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t have valuable skills or experience to offer. But, I’m willing to bet you bring way more to the table than you think!

Put these tips to work, and you’ll tackle your job search with the confidence of someone who’s more than deserving of that open position.

 

Source:https://www.themuse.com/advice/job-search-with-confidence-when-skills-are-lacking?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-1

1

Making a career change is scary. It may seem easier to stay in a job that you’re comfortable with and good at, rather than taking the plunge into a totally different career. But, those who do take that plunge often end up happier.

That proverbial leap requires more preparation than simply closing your eyes and jumping, though. To be sure that you don’t end up at another job that leaves you unfulfilled, you need to have a plan of action.

Catherine Morgan, Career Transition Expert at Point A to Point B Transitions, sees clients take a variety of different career journeys—doing the same job in a different industry, doing a different job in the same industry, or finding a job that is completely different in both skill set and industry.

And while some people know deep down that making the transition is the right thing all along, others come to the realization after a major life event. Regardless of the catalyst, Catherine advises taking calculated steps once you’ve decided to change industries.

So if you’re ready to take the leap, here’s our best advice on how to set yourself up for a successful career change.
Follow Your Passion, Purpose, or Side Hustle.

If you’re considering a career change, you’re probably not fulfilled with your current role. But, before jumping into another unsatisfying job, take the time to figure out what would make you happy. 1 out of 5 people don’t feel engaged with their job, and we know you don’t want to remain one of them.

Finding your passion can seem daunting, but if you examine the things you enjoy most, it gets easier. When thinking about changing jobs, “people often pull from life experience or something they’ve been doing on the side,” says Catherine.

Think about your hobbies—do you love to cook, or read, or sew? What activities are you best at and bring you the most joy? While not every hobby can be turned into a full-time job, examining your interests outside of work is a great way to discover what type of career might make you happy.

Have a Strategy and Take Steps to Implement It
In most cases, a career change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work and preparation—but don’t get overwhelmed. Once you have your big picture figured out, do the following:

1. Research
We know you know how to do some internet sleuthing. So, instead of stalking your ex online, use those detective skills to start researching potential employers. Check out their social media, website, and any other info you can find so that you can make an informed decision on whether a company is the right fit for you.

2. Network
Make a list of people you know who work in the field that you’re interested in. If you don’t know anyone personally that’s okay. Utilize LinkedIn to expand your search, and don’t forget to ask friends and family for their connections. You can even craft an email to friends explaining that you’re looking to change careers and would love to be connected with anyone they think could help.

Once you have contact information, look them up before reaching out. You’ll want to sound informed so people know their time won’t be wasted connecting with you. Request a coffee, informational interview, or even to shadow someone after you’ve made the first move.

3. Know What You’re Willing to Sacrifice
Before making a big shift, Catherine says, consider whether there is an opportunity to rework your current job situation. “Look at what you want and what would make you happier—less travel, working from home more, boundaries to disconnect,” she says.

If you are set on changing careers, there’s a lot to consider before leaving your current job. Before quitting evaluate what sacrifices you are willing to make in order to find a role that you love—can you take a pay cut, start in a lower position, do you have leverage to leave your job without having your next one lined up?

Knowing the answers to these questions beforehand will set you up for success and help narrow down potential jobs and employers.

The Results
Catherine says “the people I work with tend to be happy with their decisions, they are going into it with the right mindset and finding something valuable to them.” We spend the bulk of our time at work, so being happy with your job can make a huge difference.

So, if you think it’s time for a career change, follow the steps above—do your research, create a plan of action, and take the leap. You may just end up happier than you ever imagined.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-a-career-change-may-make-you-happier?ref=recently-published-1

1

There’s a magical period of time that can only be found between the day you leave one job and the day you actually start a new gig you’ve got lined up. There’s nothing else quite like it—a real vacation unmarred by work emergencies, project spillovers, or impending deadlines.

It’d be hard to judge anyone for dreaming of extending that blissful in-between phase and filling it with travel, rest, and all kinds of projects you haven’t had time to tackle. But usually, your old company wants you to stay as long as possible (at the very least the customary two weeks) and your new one wants you there as soon as possible.

And sometimes that leaves you with just a weekend to yourself. How in the world are you going to fit everything into a measly two days? The hard truth is that you can’t. But you can still have some fun, get some rest, and be ready to go.

Here are a few tips to help you plan it right and make the most of the time you have.

Celebrate—But Not Too Much

It’s natural to want to celebrate. But don’t overdo it. If you’re going to indulge in some drinks (or greasy foods for that matter), do it on Friday and remember what you already know about moderation. The last thing you want is day drink your way through Sunday and arrive at your new office feeling hungover.

Be Realistic About Your To-Do List

The biggest mistake you can make is to be too ambitious, according to Muse Career Coach Tara Goodfellow. If you try to take all the things you’d normally do in two weeks off and stuff them into one weekend, you’re going to get overwhelmed and stressed.

“If you go away or do a big weekend event, you’re setting yourself up to start drained,” she says. And if you sign up for that spin class you’ve never tried before and go so all out that you can’t move for two days afterwards, you’ll end up “sore, exhausted, and cranky.”

Easy on the organizing projects too. On Friday night, you might be determined to do a full spring cleaning, but by Sunday you might freak out when it’s nowhere near done and you’ll have to spend the next few weeks living in the mess that is a half-finished organizing job.

Frontload Any Prep You Still Have to Do

The key is to get this stuff out of the way as early as possible. That might mean setting out your first-day clothes when you get home on Friday, says Muse Career Coach Clayton Wert. Or maybe it’s sitting down with your laptop and a cup of coffee on Saturday morning and spending a few hours going over any materials you’ve been sent, jotting down some notes about things you want to remember or questions you have, or poking around LinkedIn to learn about your new team. Or perhaps it’s going out to do a little shopping on Saturday to pick up a new work bag to get you excited.

Sleep, Relax, and Take Care of Yourself

First, make sure you’re getting enough sleep on each of the three nights you’ve got, Wert emphasizes. But beyond that, he says, “do what you need to do to feel good, what puts you in a positive mindset.”

Once you’ve done your last bit of prep, start winding down and do whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed and recharged. That could mean going on a run, taking the yoga class you love, getting a massage, sitting down with a good book for a few hours, or visiting your favorite coffee shop.

Unplugging and doing whatever activity you know you enjoy can help alleviate stress and anxiety you might not even realize is there, Goodfellow says. And if you are aware of your nerves, don’t be afraid to share that with those close to you.

“Sometimes people don’t realize how normal it is to be nervous. They think they should just be excited,” she says. “It’s okay to communicate those fears and concerns and anxieties with people. A lot of times that’s held in,” she adds, but letting it out can provide some comfort.

“Focus on the Positive Things Ahead”

Sometimes the hardest part of the transition isn’t starting the new job, but breaking free from the old one and processing any difficult emotions it left you with. And such an abbreviated break in between might exacerbate that stress.

“Instead of still trying to hold on to the baggage, put that on the back burner for now. You can’t carry that with you the first week or two [of your new job], which is not to say you shouldn’t go back to it,” says Muse Career Coach Eloise Eonnet.

But in this quick turnaround scenario, “focus on the positive things ahead,” she says. “Imagine yourself in great detail a year from now at that company. What are the kinds of relationships you’ve built? What projects are you working on?”

Spending your time visualizing your happy future at your new job—rather than rehashing the terrible boss or toxic culture you dealt with at your last one—will help you start off on the right foot.

We’d never argue that having just a couple days between jobs is exactly as refreshing as having a few weeks. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of that weekend. And don’t forget to think ahead. Carve out some time for self-care in the first weeks at your new job, even if it’s just slotting in a yoga class every Thursday or time to go to the park every weekend.

Finally, plan a real vacation or even just a long weekend, whatever your new time-off policy and company culture allows. Make sure it’s not too far out of sight and start looking forward to it.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/make-most-of-weekend-only-time-between-jobs?ref=recently-published-0

1

The first 90 days of your new job are crucial to set yourself up for long-term career success. It’s where you make good on the promises you touted during your interview and set the stage for how people perceive you.

That’s why asking for feedback during this time is so, so important. It quickly demonstrates to your new boss that you’re invested, you’re committed to excellence, and that you’re in this for the long haul.

Plus, if done well, you can earn major brownie points that may help you get recognized later for opportunities to work on interesting projects or even advance more quickly.

Easy enough, right? Now that you know just how important your first 90 days are, here are some guidelines for how to ask for feedback to ensure you’re on the right path (or how to get on it).

When Should You Ask?

Eliciting feedback in these crucial first few days is a balance between giving your new manager and co-workers enough time to form concrete thoughts and opinions of you, while also being proactive in prompting feedback that will help you as you get onboarded.

Rule of thumb: Don’t expect a formal review by the end of week one. After that, it’s all a judgement call. How much real work have you actually had a chance to do? If you’ve just completed a big project or finished a tougher assignment, now may be the perfect time to ask for some input on how you did. Regardless of the above, don’t let three weeks go by without making the big ask.

A good rhythm for how frequently you continue to check-in will hinge on the volume and involvement of your work. That said, a good best practice is no more than once a week, but no less than once a month.

How Should You Ask?

Don’t pounce at the water cooler or in the bathroom while your boss is washing her hands. Reach out to your manager via email or in person and request a meeting directly. Explain what the meeting is for—people will appreciate having a heads-up so they can prepare ideas ahead of time.

Try something like, “I’d like 15 minutes of your time to talk about how you think things are going so far with me. Are you satisfied with what I’m doing, and the work I’m producing? Is there anything I can be doing differently?”

What Should You Ask?

Give your manager suggestions on what you want to hear, such as, “How am I integrating within the team?” “Am I operating at the speed you need me to?” or “How is the quality of my work? Any development areas you have already identified that I can work on?”

This is also the time to coach your manager on what you need in terms of resources. Would you benefit from regular one-on-ones or additional training? Perhaps a tracking system that you and your manager have access to to share what you’re working on?

Who Should You Ask?

Besides your boss, co-workers are also a great resource for feedback. While it doesn’t need to be as formal as with a manager, try crafting an email along the lines of, Hey, I’m loving it here so far, and would love to get some feedback from you to make sure I’m setting myself up for long term success. It’s really important to me I’m doing a good job and making a good impression.

The reality of soliciting feedback is that it may not always be 100% positive. So, prepare yourself mentally. All your good intentions will immediately be nullified if you go into “defensive” mode. Keep your ego out of this conversation and stay open and non-judgmental.

Then, send a follow-up email thanking your manager or colleague for their time and candor, and briefly outline your takeaways and any next steps you plan to take. Implement any areas of improvement right away and follow-up with your boss to make sure the adjustments you’re making are correct and noticed.

We know there’s a lot to learn in your first 90 days. You’ve got new systems, technologies, faces, and names to remember, and so much more. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Incorporating this advice displays maturity and commitment on your part, and will also give you a good indication of whether you’re doing well, or need to make some adjustments before its too late. Regardless of what you learn, it will empower you to excel in your new role.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-ask-for-feedback-first-90-days-successful-new-job

1

There’s one thing you likely already know: If you still have an objective statement perched at the top of your resume, it’s time for some serious updating.

That formal (and, let’s be honest, totally useless) blurb of the past has since made way for something new: a summary statement.

So… uhh… what exactly is a summary statement? It’s a few short lines or bullet points that go at the top of your document and make it easy for the hiring manager to understand your experience and qualifications. Basically, it explains what you bring to the table for that employer.

It sounds simple in theory. But, if you’re anything like me, when you sit down to actually crank out that brief little blurb, you’re left staring at a menacing blinking text cursor for a good half hour. Yes, even I struggle with these—and I make my living as a writer.

Fortunately, there’s nothing like a little bit of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. So, I’ve pulled together three real resume summary statements that are sure to get a hiring manager’s attention.

Extract some lessons from what these people did well, and you’ll take a little bit of the stress and pain out of writing your own.

Who Needs a Summary Statement?

Just wait—before we jump right into the samples, this is an important question to answer.

If you’re one of those people who has righteously told yourself, “Psh, summary statement? I don’t need one of those!”—well, you might be right, they work better for some people than for others.

“Summary statements are usually best for more experienced professionals with years of experiences to tie together with a common theme. Or, alternatively, they can be used to tie together disparate experiences with a set of key transferable skills,” explains Muse writer, Lily Zhang, in her article on the topic.

If you’re someone with a pretty straightforward career history and path, that precious real estate might be better used for bullet points, rather than this type of paragraph. But, if you’re an experienced candidate or are changing careers? This could be just what you need to make your resume a little more cohesive.

1. Start by Saying Who You Are

“Editorial-minded marketer and communications strategist transforming the way brands interact with audiences through content. With over seven years of experience at consumer startups, media companies, and an agency, brings a thoughtful perspective and blend of creative chops and digital data-savvy. Entrepreneurial at heart and a team player recognized for impassioned approach and colorful ideas.”

Why it Works: “This is a great example of a concise and compelling summary because it explains who this professional is (first line), puts her experience into context (second line), and highlights her intangible strengths (final sentence),” explains Jaclyn Westlake, career expert, resume writer, and writer for The Muse, of this summary she worked on with a client.

But, what this statement does exceptionally well is start with a powerful statement about exactly who this candidate is and what she does. “If this were the only sentence a hiring manager read about this candidate, she’d still have a pretty good idea what this person is about,” Westlake adds.

2. Make it an Elevator Pitch

“High-achieving Enterprise software account manager driven to increase sales in established accounts while reaching out to prospects. Help Fortune 500 companies gain a competitive edge and increase revenue by identifying customer needs, providing recommendations, and implementing technology products that solve problems and enhance capabilities.”

Why it Works: One way to make writing your own resume summary statement easier? Think of it like an elevator pitch.

Since employers care most about what sort of value you can add to their organization, it’s smart to follow in the footsteps of this sample and use the bulk of your summary to emphasize not only what you do, but why it’s important.

“This summary clearly articulates who he is, whom he serves, and how he helps,” says Theresa Merrill, Muse Master Career Coach, of this client sample she provided.

Maybe you won’t use words like “gain a competitive edge” or “increase revenue” in your own statement. But, give some thought to how your skills and expertise help the overall organization, and then weave that into your statement.

3. Keep it Short

“Award-winning journalist and digital producer offering extensive experience in social media content curation, editing, and storytelling. Adept at transforming complex topics into innovative, engaging, and informative news stories.”

Why it Works: This one is significantly shorter than the other statements included here. But, that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective.

“It’s short and sweet,” says Merrill of this statement she wrote for a client, “It highlights his expertise right away with a word like ‘award-winning’ and also shares what makes him unique.”

When you’re trying to keep things to one page, you know by now that space is limited on your resume. So, the more concise you can make your statement—while still ensuring it still packs a punch—the better.

If you do choose to move forward with a resume summary statement, remember to treat it as your own personal highlight reel.

“A summary isn’t meant to be a regurgitation of the information already on your resume,” concludes Westlake, “It should serve to further enhance the reader’s understanding of your experience, specialties, and strengths. It’s also an excellent way to tie your work history together to help hiring managers better understand how your experience would translate into the role they’re recruiting for.”

Think through what you bring to the table and then use these three samples as your inspiration, and you’re sure to craft a resume summary statement that grabs that hiring manager’s attention

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-resume-summary-examples-thatll-make-writing-your-own-easier

1

POWER company AGL has committed to building a 252 megawatt gas-fired power station somewhere “near Newcastle” as part of its plan for life after Liddell shuts at Muswellbrook in 2022.

Chief executive Andy Vesey will be at an AGL facility at Tomago on Friday to publicly announce the decision, which was released late yesterday to the stock exchange.

Although AGL is yet to formally commit to a site, the Newcastle Herald understands that the company is looking at a shortlist of three possible sites within a few kilometres of each other, in and around Tomago.

Macquarie Generation, which AGL purchased from the NSW government for $1.5 billion in 2014, gained approval for a similarly sized gas-fired power station at Tomago in 2003.

The approval may have lapsed, but that plant had a proposed first stage of 260 megawatts.

It was aimed at easing power shortages at the time caused by a rapid uptake of air-conditioners.

Although the new plant will not fully replace Liddell, which can generate 2000 megawatts, AGL is promoting it as part of a broader generation plan submitted to the federal government and the Australian Energy Market Operator in December.

“AGL is committed to supporting the orderly transition of Australia’s electricity generation capacity to modern, clean and reliable energy supply,” Mr Vesey said.

“That’s why we gave seven years notice of when we intend to close Liddell … and we are pleased to commit today to build the gas power station near Newcastle.”

Mr Vesey said the power station would be built near AGL’s Tomago gas facility, off Old Punt Road, which was approved by the NSW government in 2012. It and an AGL substation are close to Tomago Aluminium.

He said AGL had now committed to the first stage of its NSW generation plan, which included a 100-megawatt upgrade of Bayswater power station, a solar off-take to provide 300 megawatts, a “demand response” program that would encourage customers to use the equivalent of 20 megawatts less power, and the Tomago gas plant.

He said they were still looking at stage two, which included another 500 megawatts of gas. With all of the stage one elements in place, Mr Vesey said there was enough power to “address the capacity shortfall that may occur as a result of Liddell closing”.

“We are optimistic that the National Energy Guarantee will provide sufficient policy certainty to enable market participants such as AGL to invest with even greater confidence in cleaner, more reliable and more affordable energy generation.”

“Electricity generation is undergoing an increasingly rapid transition to lower-cost, clean renewable energy and storage technologies.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5366930/agl-to-build-400-million-gas-fired-power-station-near-newcastle/

to do list

Let’s face it — life can get really crazy sometimes, especially when we’re trying to balance work, family, a social life, and whatever other real-world obligations come our way on a daily basis. For that reason it’s vital to understand ways to make a better to-do list, in order to keep us organized, understand what things absolutely need to be completed, and to actually be able to finish them in a timely manner.
It seems like an easy enough thing to do, right? Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and jot down the things we need to get done that day. However, there is really an art to creating the best of the best to-do lists — ones that will truly help us to meet deadlines and ultimately feel less stressed and more accomplished.

I know plenty of people who tell me they never make to-lists because they feel they’re a waste of time. These are the same people I encounter in my life who forget to follow up on emails, or send things when they say they will, or even return phone calls or texts. Their head is always in the clouds, so to say. They live in the moment — which is fine for certain types of work and living situations — but definitely is a challenging way of life for those of us with more regimented jobs and family responsibilities. For those who live for structure, I’ve got you covered in this article. Following some of these tips could be a game-changer for you, as I know they have been for me.

Here are seven ways to make a better to-do list.

1. Consider Quality Vs. Quantity

I am notorious for making extremely long to-do lists. For one, I love the feeling of being able to cross something off the list, so even the little things bring me joy. Secondly, I have a million balls spinning at once all day so without these lengthy lists sometimes I honestly will forget to drop off clothes at the dry cleaner if I don’t write it down.

According to Forbes, a good way to prevent us from bogging down our lists with meaningless items is to remember that by focusing on the big things (quality vs. quantity), we’ll be much more effective at our jobs, and in our broader lives as well. Forbes recommended keeping your list as short as possible, and really weighing a task before considering if you need to write it down. I’m not going to recommend you eliminate a task that you might genuinely forget to do. Rather, if you know every morning you start your day by responding to emails, no need to write that at the top of your list for tomorrow. Try your hardest to focus on the bigger things.

2. Make Your List The Night Before

It’s such a nice feeling waking up and already knowing what you need to accomplish that day, rather than spending the first hour flustered as you respond to emails and scribble a list. To achieve a level of uber-organization, try making your to-do list the night before. This will prevent you from having to waste your energy in the morning figuring out what things need to get done, according to Reader’s Digest. Also, making the list the night before can help calm your mind before you sleep so you’re not waking up in the middle of the night feeling anxiety over little things you might otherwise forget to do the next day.

3. Try To Start The List With The Hardest Task

Have to talk to your boss today about a failed project? Likely you’re completely dreading it, so get it over with at the start of the day. By tackling something difficult first thing you can create a sense of achievement that you’ll take with you for the rest of the day, according to foundr. Also, that hard thing will be done. It will feel so nice. It doesn’t always have to be uncomfortable conversations to start the day, just try to think of which task is going to be most difficult, and move it to the top of the list.

4. From There, Try A Sequential Approach

It’s only been in recent years that I’ve been such a crazy organization freak, but prior to that I used to create to-do lists by writing the day at the top of the page and then jotting down items as they came to my mind, rather than by when they needed to be completed. For a writer, this is a horrible approach because you’re constantly working against deadlines. You need a sequence!

Real Simple suggested a sequential approach to list making that organizes tasks by morning, afternoon, and evening. If you want to make it even more granular, the outlet suggested breaking down whether it will be completed at home, work, or wherever else. Keep our first tip in mind her, though, and try to keep your list of items short and sweet.

5. Include Time Estimates

I have come to live by this tactic mostly becomes it helps me see how many things I can realistically get accomplished in a day, and also because it keeps me motivated to finish assignments in a timely manner. Try adding a time estimate next to each item when you’re creating a list — whether you think it’s going to take you 15 minutes or three hours. Omar Kilani, cofounder of to-do list app Remember The Milk, told Fast Company doing this means “you can make realistic decisions about how much you can really fit into your day.”

6. Try Using An “Other” Section

This tip is a personal recommendation for those like me who despise ending a day without being able to cross every item off their list. I always keep a side list of “Other” items — things that don’t necessarily need to be completed that day, but that I don’t want to lose sight of completely. If I finish my must-do tasks early on a given day, I’ll move to the “Other” section and start ticking those off.

7. Limit The Amount Of Meetings In Your Day

This last one isn’t a tip for writing the list, but rather a way to help ensure you can achieve the items on it. Ever have one of those days where you’ve created an achievable to-do list, as the day goes on you’re pulled into meeting after meeting, then by 5:00 have not been able to complete one of your list items? It happens to us all from time to time.

Where possible, try to limit the amount of meetings in your day. TheMuse.com recommended before you schedule a meeting considering whether the issue could be resolved with an email, phone call, or a quick few minute conversation by the water cooler. If you absolutely need the meeting, try to keep it focused on the fewest number of key agenda items as possible, least number of participants, and the shortest amount of time possible, according to the outlet.

By taking the time in advance to make the right kind of to-do list, you can ultimately be much more productive, deadline-oriented, and overall effective in your work and home life. Take note of these tips, get yourself organized, and start getting things accomplished!

 

Source:  Erica Florentine | https://www.bustle.com/articles/142527-7-ways-to-make-a-better-to-do-list

1

I sat fidgeting in an uncomfortable chair that was placed adjacent to my boss’ expansive desk, feeling the sweat already start to tickle my forehead. I kept picking at a piece of torn upholstery toward the bottom of the seat, despite my best attempts to look cool, calm, and collected. But, no matter how many articles I crank out about successfully putting in your two weeks notice, I’ll admit it’s pretty tough to look confident and composed when you’re quitting your job.

That’s exactly what I was doing. I was seated across from a man who had been my manager for years—starting when I was just a college intern to when the company took me on full-time—and explaining to him that I was hitting the road.

“So, I guess you could consider this my two weeks’ notice,” I said to him while doing my best to avoid any direct eye contact. “Oh, here, I put it in writing too, in case you need that or, like, something,” I added while practically throwing him an unsealed envelope and simultaneously trying to edge my way out of the room.

“Well, this is a surprise,” he said, with a forced smile on his face. “Where are you going? Did you receive a better offer elsewhere?”

I swallowed nervously, took a deep breath, and attempted to keep my voice from trembling. “No, not exactly,” I replied, trying to stifle the nauseous feeling that was slowly rising from my stomach to my throat.

“So, why are you leaving?” he pressed, “Where are you going?”

“I want to be a freelance writer. I’m going to do that full-time,” I quickly responded.

His face said it all. Like so many others, he was confused as to why I would leave the comfort and security of a traditional, full-time job (and, hello, health benefits!) for a life of uncertainty as a freelancer.

I wanted to explain to him that this was something I just had to do. I’d been thinking about it for ages, and I could no longer tolerate it being only that—a thought. I needed to take action and give it a try.

But, in reality, I didn’t say any of that. Instead, I kept my mouth shut. Why? Well, the truth of the matter was I didn’t really have a plan that I could share with him. Sure, I had one big client that I was hoping would carry me until I could get things off the ground (that client actually ended up dropping me only a few months later, but that’s a story for another time). But beyond that, I didn’t have any other potential opportunities lined up. I lived in a small town with very few connections to the type of work I wanted to be doing. I really had no idea how I was going to go about running my own freelance business. Oh, and I had absolutely zero clue how I was going to pay those pesky things called bills.

As someone who loves security and predictability, to this day I have no idea what came over me. But, regardless of the fact that I didn’t really know what was coming next, I quit my job anyway.

Looking back, jumping ship from my full-time position with no firm back-up plan in place probably wasn’t the smartest thing. And, I’m definitely not trying to encourage you to march into your own boss’ office tomorrow and use that exact same tactic—unless you’re prepared for a lot of shameless crying into an open carton of those delicious (and somewhat addicting) frosted animal crackers.

However, I do think taking that terrifying leap of faith was one of the most enlightening career experiences I’ve had so far. Call it stupid, impulsive, or brave—at the very least, it was educational. Here are a few of the (many, many, many) things I learned.

 

1. You Don’t Need the Approval of Others

When I would tell people about my plan to sprint away from my cubicle in favor of the freelance life, I so desperately wanted them to reassure me with statements like, “Oh wow, you’re so brave!” “Good for you!” or even a friendly and dad-like, “Go get ’em, tiger!”

Unfortunately, that’s not really what I got. Instead, I was faced with a lot of, “Wait, you’re doing what?” types of comments.

In the end, it really didn’t matter. I was the only one who needed to feel good about my decision. And I did—at least in between the animal cracker crying sessions mentioned earlier. Yes, we all naturally crave approval and reassurance from others every now and then. But, trust me, you don’t need it—at least not as much as you think you do.

 

2. Scary Is Exciting

There’s a reason that people fork over wads of cash in order to see a horror film about possessed grandparents or to walk through a haunted house where someone is guaranteed to leap out with a chainsaw. There’s a big part of being terrified that makes you want to run and cry—but the other piece is actually somewhat thrilling.

In the first few days (ahem, alright, months) after leaving my full-time gig, I’d sit down at my computer and feel totally overwhelmed. Every day was a battle to try to scrounge up work and at least take one step in the right direction. But, at the same time, I felt absolutely exhilarated. I had no idea what was coming next, and that actually made me feel surprisingly motivated and optimistic. It was one of the most distressing, nauseating, and anxiety-inducing times in my life—but it was also the most exciting.

 

3. You Never Know Until You Try

I hate to sound like a cheesy, cliché high school commencement speech. But, this sentiment really does ring true. You have no idea what you’re capable of until you push yourself to try it.

I’ll be honest—it’s not that I strongly disliked my full-time job. However, it didn’t set my heart on fire either. A big chunk of my duties were administrative. And, while I did perfect the art of mail merging like a total boss, I didn’t really feel all that challenged or fulfilled by my work.

However, as a self-described creature of habit, I think that I likely could’ve dealt with that mundaneness for the rest of my life. There was a big part of me that figured I was suited for that sort of life and career. It was safe and predictable. I was content.

Fast forward to now, and I’ve accomplished things that I never even thought were a possibility for me. I’ve been published places that I assumed were mere pipe dreams. I’ve worked with people who are essentially celebrities in my eyes. Just think—none of it would’ve happened if I had stayed with the “safe” route.

 

4. Your Career Really Doesn’t Define You

We all have the tendency to use our careers to define ourselves. But, it’s important to remember that your job isn’t who you are—it’s what you do. As Muse Managing Editor Jenni Maier explained in her article about being laid off, your position definitely adds to your life, but it doesn’t make up the entirety of it.

When I left my job, I felt the need to justify my decision and clarify every last detail until people were literally snoring in front of me. There was this immense need to explain my employment situation in order to give myself a purpose and identity.

Turns out, that’s really not the case—all of that pressure to define myself using my career was totally self-imposed. In fact, most people honestly didn’t care if I was a dog walker or the Dalai Lama. Although, above anything else, they were most likely just wondering why I gave them a play-by-play career breakdown when all they asked was, “Paper or plastic?”

Jumping ship from my full-time job was undoubtedly one of the scariest career decisions I’ve made in my life thus far. But, even though it had my knees shaking and my palms sweating, I’m glad I did it. It’s worked out well so far, and I’ve managed to learn a lot along the way.

So, if you’re contemplating taking your own leap of faith anytime soon, I hope these lessons encourage you and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, in those moments when all you feel is sheer panic? Well, reach out to me on Twitter. I’ll come running—frosted animal crackers in tow.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-lessons-i-learned-from-quitting-my-job-with-no-backup-plan

4 things leaders shouldnt say

When you’re a manager, your employees are constantly watching to see how you behave and what you say. As a result, it’s important to be intentional about your choice of words in any setting.

As the boss, there are certain things you probably shouldn’t say.

You’re probably aware of the more obvious statements, like:

“I’m only doing this because corporate is making me.”
“I really shouldn’t be telling you this, but…”
“I just need to vent to you about [Person]…”
However, in addition to these obviously-nots, there are a few others phrases that, although seemingly harmless, may end up hurting you and your team.

1. “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”

Leaders often say this to their high performers—the low-maintenance team members they know they can count on to deliver. It’s intended to encourage them to keep it up by letting them know they’re doing a good job.

Still, as an executive coach, I’ve heard time and time again from high performers how frustrating this type of feedback is.

Why? Because they’re often ambitious. They want to advance in their careers, and they crave feedback that will help them grow. The absence of constructive criticism sometimes exasperates them so much that they’re inclined to seek out other opportunities where they’ll get the mentorship they need to continue moving up.

A Better Alternative
To maintain your high performers (and keep them growing), try: “You’re excelling with X. Let’s give you an opportunity to stretch by giving you more chances to do Y.” Or, “You’re doing really well! Let’s explore your career goals so that I can make sure I’m coaching you to get you ready for your next step.”

2. “Was That Clear?”

While this might seem like a reasonable thing to say, it might not always give you an accurate picture of whether or not your team understands your intended message.

For example, I’ve often seen really bright leaders provide so much information that it overwhelms their audience. In those cases, people might not even know where to begin to respond to the question. Further, if this is posed in a group setting, people are less likely to speak up for fear of looking like the only person who’s confused.

Even in those cases in which your audience thinks that everything’s clear, they still might not be on the same page (like when you’re talking with a peer and realize that you’ve each walked away from a meeting with different conclusions).

A Better Alternative
Instead, say: “Let’s do a quick review of the key takeaways to make sure I articulated it clearly.” (Then, you can review them, or better yet, you could have other people in the room review them for you.)

3. “Failure Isn’t an Option”

While this might be something that’s appropriate for life and death situations, for most leaders this isn’t the sort of phrase you should be using too frequently.

Although it seems like it sets the bar high, the reality is that it’ll likely encourage mediocrity.

Think about it: If people are afraid to make mistakes, do you think they’ll be willing to experiment to see if they can make something better, or do you think they’ll stay safely within the bounds of what they know?

A Better Alternative
You can tell your team, “To be innovative, we’ll probably have to take some calculated risks. I don’t want us to make mistakes on purpose, but they’ll inevitably happen. Let’s make sure to learn from them so we can continue to improve.”

4. “Don’t Bring Me Problems, Bring Me Solutions”

This statement is usually meant to encourage problem-solving and proactivity. I’ve also seen it said by bosses who want to prevent employees from incessantly complaining about issues while doing absolutely nothing to solve them.

But according to Wharton professor Adam Grant, it can prevent people from speaking up about important issues they simply don’t know how to solve. This can result in leaders being unaware of where their team stands.

It can also create a “culture of advocacy” where people come to discussions highly invested in their solutions. As a result, they’re more concerned about selling their ideas than engaging with the group to work collaboratively.

A Better Alternative
To encourage your employees to speak up when needed, try: “To make this place better, we need to be aware of all problems—whether or not you know how to solve them. I’m also open to hearing your proposed solutions, too, so we can collaboratively improve our environment.”

To excel as a manager, you’ve got to be a great communicator. When you’re speaking, keep your goals in mind, and think critically about the messages you’re sending. With that sort of intentional communication, odds are you’ll have a positive impact on your team.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-harmless-phrases-leaders-never-say-at-work?ref=recently-published-1