General

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So you just landed a leadership role at a new company. Congratulations! Going in, you know there’ll be a learning curve when it comes to handling your new responsibilities. But there’s also the people factor to consider.

Being the boss of a completely new team also means influencing a group of employees you don’t know very well to work together (and with you) toward a common goal. Nerve-racking, yes. But not impossible!

Even seasoned leaders make mistakes when managing a new team. Here are four common ones to avoid if you want to make your transition as smooth as possible for both you and your direct reports.

Mistake #1: Acting Before Understanding
If you think the first thing you need to do when joining a new team is to start making changes—slow down. Yes, part of your role is to help things run better, and you were most likely hired to bring in some new perspectives and fix some outdated or dysfunctional strategies. But ignoring input from experienced team members—particularly those who have been at the company for a while—won’t win you any fans.

Instead, you’ll signal to your team that you’re only interested in running a one-person show. And it will leave you vulnerable to making bad decisions that could’ve been avoided had you gotten some context.

This isn’t to say that you need to form a whole committee to make decisions on every little thing. You’re the boss, after all, and sometimes it’s your duty to make the final call. But strive to implement changes (especially big ones) in baby steps and over time. Be receptive to (and ask for!) feedback from your team before moving forward, and communicate your intentions clearly and proactively when you do.

Mistake #2: Constantly Talking About the “Old Job”
Do you find yourself saying all too frequently, “At my old job, we…”? Maybe you’re trying to prove yourself by bringing up your old wins. Or you may just feel comfortable referring back to a time when everything didn’t feel so foreign. (Being the new kid on the block isn’t easy.)

Here’s the thing: Your current team will quickly tune you out if you’re constantly talking about how things were done at your previous company. They want to see that you’re able (and willing!) to adapt to a new environment, and that you can competently lead and work with their unique skill sets.

Yes, you achieved great things in your last role. But don’t get caught living in the past—it’s time to focus on creating new wins with what your new team has to offer.

Mistake #3: Hiding in Your Office
Closing your office door or hiding behind your monitor can give off the appearance that you’re not interested in being there for your employees.

You may think, “I’ve told my team they can come to me any time with questions.” But as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and it can be intimidating for employees to knock on a new boss’ door. There’ll be times when you’ll need (or want) to close the door, and that’s OK—but make sure this doesn’t create a barrier between you and your team.

Make a conscious effort to show your employees that they’re welcome to come seek guidance or share concerns. Literally keeping your door open helps, so does providing “office hours” or popping your head out every few hours or so to see how everyone’s doing.

If you work in an open office, try to avoid wearing headphones all day, and when you can, sit near your team. You can also schedule weekly touch-base meetings with your direct reports so you have dedicated face time with them on a regular basis—and so that they know they will always have the opportunity to discuss something with you.

Mistake #4: Believing You Don’t Need to Know the Details of Your Employees’ Work
Some people think that the role of a leader is to just tell others what to do and set expectations. But there’s more to it than that. You can’t hold employees, especially new direct reports, accountable if you don’t fully grasp what their roles entail and how they approach their work.

While you don’t need to know all of the nitty gritty details of their responsibilities, you want to do more than just care that tasks are getting done. Understanding the “how” of operations and the “whys” behind how your employees tackle them will make both you and your team function better. You’ll be able to better manage them knowing their strengths, weaknesses, and preferred forms of communication, and they’ll feel more comfortable around you and motivated to do great work with the knowledge that you’re invested in their success.

Take the time when you’re just starting out to talk to each employee individually to learn about what they do, what their current challenges are, and how their tasks fit into team or company goals. You can even ask the following questions in your next one-on-one:

What challenges are you facing that are making you less productive?
What’s missing from the team that will help make everyone’s life easier?
How do you like to receive constructive feedback?
What are you hoping to learn from me that will support you in your role?
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
Or you can have them fill out this user manual so you have all the information you need about their working style.

Mistakes are going to happen when you’re starting a new job, whether you’re a manager or not, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get things “right” the first time. Even just reading this article means you care deeply about being a good boss to your new team—and that’s a great place to be in!

Most importantly, make sure you enjoy this new beginning—because it’s one more phase in your career that will help you grow and become the kind of leader you want to be.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/common-mistakes-starting-new-job-boss?ref=recently-published-1

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This year marks twenty years in business for SafetyWorks Group.

Led by two directors; Liz Nicol and Kerry Walker, SafetyWorks has gone from a small consultancy based in a home office to a fully-fledged consultancy working for large organisations across Australia and internationally.

Since 1999, Liz Nicol and Kerry Walker have merged strategic safety management skills with the vision of a safety culture encompassing values-based leadership and engaged people, to create a unique and holistic approach to workplace health, safety and wellbeing.

SafetyWorks was founded on the principle of ‘valuing people to create freedom of choice’.

Freedom of choice comes when we can go home safe and well every day to the things we love.

Work should be an enabler to this choice and help us to be the best we can be. This purpose drives everything the team does at SafetyWorks.

“During the last 20 years we have partnered with over 300 clients, forging strong relationships with companies like Coca-Cola Amatil, Port Waratah Coal Services, Australian Rail Track Corporation and various departments of the New South Wales Government (Health, Water, Trains and Schools),” said Liz Nichol, Director of SafetyWorks.

“While we have worked in every state and territory of Australia, as well as engaging in work in the Asia Pacific region, we have had the pleasure of employing 41 people and have achieved rapid growth and change along the way,” she said.

“When we started out, health, safety and wellbeing was still very compliance driven,” Kerry Walker, Director of SafetyWorks said.

“During the past 20 years we have seen a huge shift in the workplace and we are proud to have contributed in particular to the growth in active engagement of organisational leaders,” she continued.

Both Directors gained their expertise with forward-thinking global corporate enterprises, bringing a quality focussed customised approach to SafetyWorks Group.

They seek out team members with diverse backgrounds to provide a wealth of knowledge and experience to deliver specialist solutions in partnership with our clients.

Liz and Kerry seek to partner with organisations, building frameworks for sustainable change in health and safety where people feel valued and can work every day without harm.

“I love that at SafetyWorks we make a difference. Sometimes it is a “light bulb” moment that creates a significant shift, and sometimes it’s just a small change in one person,” Kerry said.

“Either way, caring about and valuing people creates a ripple effect that spreads out to free people to make choices.”

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/celebrating-20-years-business-safetyworks-group/

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Young people undertaking education in our region will benefit from Mentor Support Network scholarships that have been made possible by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle.

Each year, the Lord Mayor chooses a charitable organisation to be the beneficiary of a collaborative donation made possible by long-term supporters of the annual breakfast event.

This year, Cr. Nelmes chose to support the Mentor Support Network because of its ability to provide students access to scholarships and support that furthers their education endeavours.

The Annual Lord Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast is a gathering of churches, charities, businesses and community leaders who donate money to the chosen charity.

Mentor Support Network Chair, Jon Chin, acknowledged the support of the Lord Mayor and the other sponsors.

“It is a valuable contribution that will assist the continued work of the Network, and importantly, young people in our region.” he said.

“I was stunned when I found out we were the beneficiary for this year as we are a small non-profit voluntary organisation, but we are so thankful and the students who receive the scholarships will be as well,” Jon said.

The Mentor Support Network provides scholarships to young people who are committed to achieving their educational goals but lack the financial means necessary to obtain basic educational resources.

An MSN Educational Scholarship allows recipients to pay for items such as computers, course materials, uniforms, reading glasses and excursion fees.

Their Refugee Student Education Program is a pilot program that allows refugee students to flourish within their school setting no matter their background.

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/young-people-benefit-lord-mayors-prayer-breakfast/

 

 

 

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When you’re getting ready for a job interview, it’s always good to try to predict which questions an interviewer might ask. If you’re like most people, you’re fully prepped to field queries about what you know and the experience you have, like “Tell us about your responsibilities in your current job” or “Explain the strategy you used for [project on your resume].”

But don’t stop there! Recruiters and hiring managers also often ask behavioral questions, which can help them get a better idea of your personality and your soft skills. This could include questions like, “What type of work really excites you?” or “Tell us about a time you were frustrated by your colleagues.”

An even more sophisticated example that may not initially seem like a behavioral question is “What do you like least about your job?” Because it can be a bit of a “gotcha” question, you’ll want to craft your response with care. We talked to a few career experts and got their insights to help you avoid the pitfalls and answer it the right way.

Resist the Temptation to Vent
Even for those of us who genuinely love our careers, “What do you like least about your job?” is a question that we could easily wax poetic about over a few rounds of drinks with friends. But an interview is not the time to dish about, for example, how your boss is not nearly as smart as you.

That’s because this question isn’t really about discovering what you dislike, points out Conrad Woody, a partner at Odgers Berndston, an executive search and recruitment firm. More likely, it’s a test of how you would respond to an invitation to vent. “The interviewer wants to know if you’re the type of person who will go negative when given the opportunity,” says Woody.

Your answer should not leave the interviewer believing they could be your next gossip victim if things don’t go well. Speaking negatively of your current employer ends up reflecting poorly on you, not the company. If you must vent, save that for your friends—ideally not ones you work with.

Focus on New Opportunities
A great way to answer this question is to talk about a responsibility or duty you’d get to have at your new job that your current role doesn’t offer. For example, if the job you’re interviewing for requires that you deliver presentations to large groups, you could share that you wish your current job gave you the opportunity to flex the public speaking skills you’ve honed at your local Toastmasters club.

Alternatively, you can speak about a responsibility at your current job that simply isn’t challenging you any longer because you’ve mastered it. Just make sure that whatever it is, it isn’t a duty that’s integral to the job you’re interviewing for!

Frame the Answer in a Positive Way
No matter what you talk about, always take the opportunity to turn the negative into a potential positive with your new employer. “You don’t want to focus too much time on something you hate or don’t like,” says Tamara Rasberry, an HR Manager in Washington, DC. “Even when you briefly mention something you don’t like, highlight that you are well-versed in it but that it simply doesn’t challenge you anymore or utilize all of your strengths.”

By quickly pivoting to how your current role was a necessary and informative building block for your next career move, you show your ability to find the silver lining and do what needs to get done.

What This Looks Like
Need some inspiration? Consider these sample answers:

The “It Was Fun While It Lasted” Answer
By concentrating on the positives of the new employer, you can avoid mentioning anything explicitly negative about your current job:

“While I enjoyed working for a large law firm because I was able to gain experience across several subject matters, I’d prefer to bring all those learnings to your firm because I believe that your singular focus on the entertainment industry would allow me to have deeper impact.”

The “I’d Rather Be Doing Something Else” Answer
This answer briefly mentions a current responsibility, but focuses on the opportunity the new job would provide:

“In my current role, I’m responsible for drafting media lists to pitch. While I’ve developed a knack for this and can do it when it is necessary, I’m looking forward to a job that allows me to have a more hands-on role in working with media partners. That is one of the things that most excited me about your Account Supervisor position.”

The “You Asked, So Here Goes” Answer
There is of course, always the bold option, which is to speak more bluntly and directly about something not-so-great about your current role or company. But again, you’ll want to end on a positive note that spotlights your enthusiasm for the new job:

“My current company acquires new business through traditional methods like cold calling and direct mail. I’m impressed with the digital, email, and social acquisition campaigns you have implemented and how they reflect a more modern, innovative approach. While I am flexible enough to succeed in a diversity of work environments, I’m eager to work for a company that embraces change.”
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/what-do-you-like-least-about-your-job-interview-question-answer?ref=carousel-slide-0

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Newcastle’s dedicated cruise volunteers were recognised on Thursday 23 May 2019, for their contribution to the success of the Hunter’s tourism sector over the past 16 years.

Port of Newcastle hosted a thank you event for its volunteers on Thursday marking National Volunteer Week (20 – 26 May 2019) and the recent completion of the successful 2018/19 cruise season.

The season saw 16 cruise ships and more than 29,000 passengers visit the port, two records supported by the 35 dedicated volunteers on-hand to provide a friendly welcome to visitors.

Distinguishable by their red shirts and white Newcastle-branded hats, volunteers get to share their love of Newcastle and their expert local advice to ensure passengers get the most out of their time in the region.

Port of Newcastle CEO, Craig Carmody, said National Volunteer Week provided an opportunity to acknowledge this contribution and was particularly relevant given this year’s ‘Making a Difference’ theme.

“Newcastle’s cruise volunteers are passionate locals who are proud of our city and make a difference to the experience of cruise passengers when they visit the region,” Mr. Carmody said.

“We value the time, effort and dedication every volunteer brings to their role as ambassadors for the City of Newcastle.”

Port of Newcastle continues to support the Hunter’s tourism sector by berthing cruise ships in port and coordinating the many wonderful volunteers dedicated to welcoming visitors to our city.

Current bookings for the 2019/20 cruise season suggest another record of more than 30,000 passengers could be set.

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/celebrating-dedication-newcastles-tireless-cruise-volunteers/

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Newcastle businesses cleaned-up more than 1.64 tonnes of litter from around the port on Friday, 3rd May 2019.

The second annual Port Litter Pick saw everything from cigarette butts, plastic bags and soft drink cans through to old tyres, scrap metal and an ironing board cleaned up and properly discarded.

The Port of Newcastle initiative attracted 87 people from 13 port-related businesses, including Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Port Authority NSW, Cargill Australia, Linx Cargo Care, Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, Kooragang Bulk Facilities/Tomago Aluminum, Impact Fertiliser, Sims Group Australia, Port of Newcastle, Koppers, Newcastle Stevedores, Custom Transportable Buildings and Newcastle Yacht Club.

The ARTC team took home the ‘Litter Legends’ trophy, having collected 400 kilograms of rubbish from the rail corridor, the largest haul from all participating teams.
Port of Newcastle environment adviser, Jackie Spiteri, said the Port Litter Pick was an important annual event that formed a part of the Port’s overall environmental management and sustainability program.

“It is a collaborative effort that is only possible due to the enthusiasm and service of the many port business that have a mutual commitment to protecting our environment and the overall health of the Port,” Ms. Spiteri said.

“We set a new record this year, easily eclipsing the 300 kg collected last year.

“It is concerning that there is such a large amount of rubbish needlessly being dumped on and around Newcastle Harbour and port land. It is a reminder to everyone in the community to take responsibility for their own rubbish and dispose of it safely and responsibility.”

All rubbish was collected using biodegradable bags and gloves and will be sorted for proper disposable and recycling where possible.

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/port-community-members-roll-sleeves-environment/

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Two Hunter based electrical apprentices have been recognised at HVTC’s annual Excellence Awards, which were held in Newcastle on Friday, 3rd May 2019.

Daniel Beavan, who is currently employed as an electrical fitter at Origin Energy’s Eraring Power Station, was named HVTC’s Apprentice of the Year. The Award, which was sponsored by Howden Australia, was selected from finalists across HVTC’s nine regional branches located throughout New South Wales.

“I was over the moon to have been named HVTC’s Apprentice of the Year. It’s a huge honour to receive this Award,” Daniel said.

Meanwhile Phoebe Giadresco, a first-year electrical apprentice hosted to Liebherr-Australia, received the inaugural Milton Morris Encouragement Award.

Sponsored by Glencore, this Award was created in honour of HVTC’s founding Chairman, the Honourable Milton Morris AO, who passed away in February of this year.

“It is such an honour to be the first recipient of the Milton Morris Encouragement Award,” Phoebe said.

“It means a great deal to me to be acknowledged by HVTC and my trainers for my efforts and commitment to completing the Electrical Accelerated program with HVTC. This program provided the skills and knowledge for me to be confident and successful in obtaining an apprenticeship as a female in a non-traditional trade.”

Despite being at different ends of their apprenticeship journeys, Daniel and Phoebe were both pursuing other career paths before making the switch to the electrical trade.

Already a qualified fitter machinist, Daniel decided he wanted a dual trade under his belt, so he commenced an electrical apprenticeship with HVTC in 2016.

Initially hosted by Donaldson Coal, Daniel was rotated to Origin when the mine went into care and maintenance. Since completing his apprenticeship in December, Daniel has gained a full-time role with Origin and is grateful for the opportunities and support he received as an HVTC apprentice.

Phoebe commenced the NEWSTEP program in the hopes of pursuing Nutrition, but soon realised that university wasn’t for her. Following in her father’s footsteps, Phoebe decided she wanted to become an electrician and enrolled in the electrical Accelerated Program with HVTC to boost her chances of securing an apprenticeship.

During the course, she successfully applied for an electrical apprenticeship with Liebherr-Australia.

HVTC CEO, Sharon Smith congratulated Daniel and Phoebe on their awards, which showcase the calibre of the organisation’s workforce.

“Every year at the HVTC Excellence Awards, we celebrate the achievements of our apprentices, trainees, students and the many host employers we partner with to deliver skills training and employment opportunities across NSW,” Smith said.

“The achievements of apprentices like Daniel and Phoebe are proof that VET pathways lead to successful careers.

“Daniel took the initiative to undertake another four years of training after already completing one apprenticeship, making a lot of sacrifices for the betterment of his skills and long-term career aspirations.

“Throughout his apprenticeship, Daniel was consistently praised for his leadership and communication skills, passion for learning and his work ethic and it is unsurprising he was offered a permanent role with Origin.

“Similarly, Phoebe took it upon herself to complete an electrical pre-apprenticeship course to gain introductory electrical trade knowledge and skills.

“Phoebe now attends the Work Readiness program at HVTC 4 days per week and is on site at Libeherr-Australia each Friday. Her tenacity and commitment to improving her career opportunities epitomises the characteristics Milton Morris would have been delighted to support and she is a deserving winner of this award.

“I wish Daniel all the best in his career and look forward to supporting Phoebe through her remaining years as an HVTC apprentice. They both have a bright future ahead of them.”

 

 

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/industry-news/hunter-electricians-shine-hvtc-awards/

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One of the region’s most historic locations celebrated its future by officially opening its newest building on Monday in Maitland.

Chairman of The Maitland Benevolent Society Ltd (Benhome), Bob Geoghegan, together with fellow board members hosted the official opening of the Benhome Board Building in front of a crowd of residents, their families, staff and people from the Maitland community at a special ceremony officiated by Australian Senator for New South Wales, the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO.

Bob said the event symbolised an important milestone in the aged care village’s history.

“Creating places for people to live and be cared for is not about bricks and mortar. It is about understanding the needs of our community now and into the future. We are very proud of what has been created in Maitland for local people,” Bob said.

“We are also very pleased to welcome Senator Sinodinos to officially open the Benhome Board Building and celebrate with us.

“On 3 April, the board announced that it had sold Benhome to Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution (RFBI). We are very proud of what we have built and we are very excited about its new place within RFBI’s network of aged care services.

“RFBI is a leading aged care provider that has been providing high quality aged care services in the Hunter region for over 40 years and shares our commitment to improving the quality of life for older people in this area.”

The Benhome Board Building is the product of many years planning and reflects an $18 million investment made by The Maitland Benevolent Society Ltd to create a place where residents can receive the highest quality care and love to call home. The capital development works included a complete refurbishment of the Eichholzer and Ribee Wings, a new front entrance, new kitchen and laundry facilities as well as the addition of 24 new resident rooms.

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/benhome-officially-opens-benhome-board-building/

As a job seeker, your jobactive provider can help you to:

  • write a résumé
  • look for work
  • prepare for interviews
  • get skills that local employers need
  • find and keep a job.

What help can I get?

jobactive providers have the flexibility to tailor their services to your assessed needs to help you get and keep a job.

Your jobactive provider will meet with you to help you find work and develop a Job Plan that could include:

  • activities to help you get skills that local employers are looking for
  • help for you to overcome or manage non vocational issues where relevant
  • looking for up to 20 jobs each month—your jobactive provider can tailor this number to your circumstances and local labour market conditions
  • Work for the Dole or another approved activity (such as part-time work, part-time study in an eligible course, participation in accredited language, literacy and numeracy training or volunteer work) for six months each year.

To help you get and keep a job, your jobactive provider can access funding to pay for work-related items, professional services, relevant training and support after you start work.

Your provider can also connect you to a range of other government initiatives. These include relocation assistance , employer wage subsidies, training, apprenticeships and help to start a business through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

If you’re under 25 years and have been registered with your jobactive provider for more than six months, Youth Jobs PaTH can help you gain the skills and experience you need to secure a job.

Through Youth Jobs PaTH you can undertake practical face-to-face training, tailored to your needs, to improve your job preparation skills and better understand the expectations of employers. You can also undertake an internship placement of between four and 12 weeks with a business looking for new staff to show them what you can do.

If you’d like to know more about Youth Jobs PaTH, including the eligibility criteria, talk to your jobactive provider or visit the Youth Jobs PaTH page on the jobactive website.

Want more information?

  • Call the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68 or talk to your provider if you are already registered with jobactive
  • Search for a local jobactive provider on the jobactive website
  • Read the jobactive—helping you find work fact sheet

 

Source: https://www.jobs.gov.au/jobactive-help-job-seekers

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HVTC has announced 35 new positions to encourage local women and Indigenous people to take up apprenticeship and traineeship roles across NSW.

Available to Hunter-based individuals, the group training organisation recently gained approval from the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board to advertise and recruit 35 Women in non-traditional trade (WNTT) roles and 35 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander (A&TI) roles.

For the next two years, HVTC can offer recruitment of WNTT and A&TI apprentices and trainees to host employers without the three-month waiting period and can place advertisements for positions that are only available to WNTT and A&TI applicants.

HVTC Manager Human Resources & Safety Services, Janet Lee said these exemptions will go a long way towards helping HVTC achieve greater diversity in its workplace and that of its host employers.

“HVTC is one of Australia’s oldest group training organisations, established to connect more people to the opportunity of employment and training,” Janet said.

“One of the fundamental principles of group training is that it provides pathways to employment opportunities that might not have otherwise been available. A particular focus for the sector has been supporting minority groups, such as women in non-traditional trades, Indigenous people, school-leavers and the long-term unemployed.

“Women in non-traditional trades are currently underrepresented at HVTC with only 10% of applications for trade roles submitted by females. Often job seekers are discouraged from applying for roles because of stereotypes or self-doubt.

“Offering targeted roles is one way we can demonstrate our commitment to addressing gender imbalances while providing additional encouragement for women and Indigenous people to apply for roles they might not normally have considered.”

To date, one host has taken up an Indigenous placement in Lismore, while HVTC recently placed two female apprentice electricians in Salisbury.

“Over the next 12 months, we hope to achieve a representation of more than 5% of WNTT and 10% for Indigenous placements,” Janet said.

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/hvtc-targets-women-indigenous-apprentices-trainees-latest-push-diversity/

170319

Workplace social media apps might make our work life easier, but similar programs can have detrimental effects on our personal lives. So, should we really be using them at work?

Organisations work hard to create connections and collaboration between their employees. Firms are increasingly embracing social media platforms to encourage this with tools such as Yammer’ and ‘Workplace’ becoming ubiquitous. But as there’s an increasing body of research showing the negative effects of social media usage in our personal lives, it might be time to consider whether using these tools at work is similarly damaging?

Social media is a fact of life in most workplaces. Thirty-thousand companies around the world use Workplace by Facebook in the hope it will “promote openness, feedback and diversity to engage employees and drive cultural change”.

Subscribers to Yammer, Microsoft’s rival platform, are harder to spot as the platform is integrated into Office 365, but a 2012 McKinsey Global Institute study found that 72 per cent of companies were using some form of internal social media to promote communication and collaboration.

The plus side

There are plenty of advocates who point to the benefits social media has brought to our workplaces. In the Harvard Business Review, researchers found that employees who used such platforms were 31 per cent more likely to find colleagues with relevant expertise to complete a task, as well as using the platforms to “make faster decisions, develop more innovative ideas for products and services, and become more engaged in their work and their companies”.

Impressed? It gets better: the McKinsey study, which looked at just four industry sectors, argued that maximising the use of social media technologies at work could unlock $1 trillion in value annually.

The benefits are not just clear, they are substantial, inarguable even. Workplace social media platforms are designed on the same principles as their non-work counterparts. Engaging and user-friendly, they provide a constant stream of news, video clips and updates from colleagues across the organisation. Posts can be liked and shared just as they can outside of work.

The dark side

While the above research argues the productivity benefits of social platforms in the workplace, there is an increasing amount of evidence that these exact same features can be very damaging to users in their personal lives.

A 2014 study from the University of Toledo demonstrated the impact Facebook can have, finding an inverse correlation between time spent on the platform and self-esteem; the longer you spend on Facebook, the less likely you are to feel good about yourself.

This is in part because we compare our lives and experiences to those we see online; photos of a friend on holiday can reinforce the fact that we are on the sofa at home, and eating our reheated pasta in front of an Instagram feed of Ottolenghi delights has the same effect.

This in turn is proven to lead to feelings of envy and social isolation, which can be hugely damaging both mentally and physically. And then there’s the productivity issue: social media is addictive – it’s designed that way – and users can easily spend hours on the platforms, feeling genuine symptoms of withdrawal when they eventually log off.

Those cravings can also be accompanied by a fear of missing out, physical fatigue and depression. These are hardly feelings you want to cultivate in your employees.

To cap it all off, a 2018 study demonstrated that the reverse is true; reducing participants’ exposure to social media to ten minutes a day led to a decrease in loneliness and depression.

So, if there is such a large body of research demonstrating the negative impacts of social media, surely it’s time to consider all of these findings in a workplace context?

It’s not hard to imagine employees spending too much time on social media at work just as they do at home, particularly when many companies encourage the creation of online social groups alongside work-related content.

Anxiety can quickly be generated by looking to see whether or not your boss has “liked” your latest post, or when you notice that peers in your team have more followers or connections than you do.

Work platforms are often used to share positive news about promotions, team achievements or company successes. Managers might, post something to provide updates, or to create a sense of shared success and community. But if you’ve missed out on a role you applied for, or feel that your pay rise doesn’t reflect the wider performance of the firm, then this sort of celebration could easily feel smug and self-congratulatory.

Perhaps your colleague has posted a selfie from their trip to the New York office that you see while you’re sitting on the bus on your way to work. Are you going to ‘like’ that? The main social media platforms had a long honeymoon period before academics seriously studied the potential downside of this new phenomenon that was sweeping the world, and it’s only in recent years that this has been comprehensively analysed.

So now it’s time to cast an analytical eye onto workplace social media. Much of the writing to date has focused on the potential upside and benefits it brings – like that trillion-dollar McKinsey bounty – and we are still arguably in that same honeymoon phase.

But if we know beyond doubt that social media can be damaging and dangerous to users in their personal lives then surely it’s time to think twice about how far we should encourage its use in our workplaces?

To go one step further, if a manager insisted their employees perform activities that were proven to have negative physical and mental side-effects then they would be negligent at best, and at worst, culpable. Social media does exactly that, so we should reconsider how we use it at work.

 

 

Source: http://www.hrmonline.com.au/topics/communication-and-social-media/is-there-a-place-for-social-media-workplace/

retirement

Most people take time to adjust to retirement. A job provides not just money but lifestyle, self-image, purpose and friendships. For those who have turned an interest, hobby or passion into a career, a job is a means of personal fulfilment and creative expression.

Responses to retirement for each person, and depend a lot on the reasons for leaving the workforce. For example, a person who carefully planned for their retirement is more likely to feel positive about it, while a person who is forced into early retirement due to redundancy or illness may find it harder to cope with the transition.

If you’re unsure about whether or not to retire, it may help to take long service leave or extended unpaid leave to give retirement living a trial run. Stepping down the number of days you work from five to four, and so on, may make for a more successful transition into retirement.

Plan your post-work lifestyle

Some people look forward to retirement as an extended holiday where they can finally slow down and ‘smell the roses’. Other people expect to have a busier, more active life than when they were working.

The life expectancy for women is around 83 years and for men, 77 years. If you leave work at 65, for example, you could expect between 12 and 18 years (at least) of retirement. How are you planning to live those years? It is important to consider the kind of lifestyle you want before you retire and start to make plans, and even implement some of them, before you leave work.

Financial issues and retirement

Consult with your financial planner, accountant or similar to work out the financial issues of retirement. Some of the factors to consider include:

  • the size of your superannuation nest egg
  • other savings and assets
  • whether you have any dependants
  • if you are planning to continue working part-time or not
  • your eligibility for pensions or part-pensions
  • financial options if you or your partner fall ill
  • the kind of retirement lifestyle you’re anticipating.

Emotional issues and retirement

At first retirement can feel like a holiday and the initial phase is often referred to as the ‘honeymoon’ period. You can sleep in, catch up on reading or hobbies, and spend more time with family and friends. However, once this ‘honeymoon’ period wears off, you may feel down or depressed. Emotional issues to consider include:

  • Our vocation forms part of our identity. Some people can feel a loss of self-worth once they stop working.
  • Daily routine and activities add purpose to life. If there is nothing in particular to do or look forward to on any given day, a person is more likely to feel bored and depressed than a person who lives an active meaningful life.
  • Spending time on hobbies and interests, for example, may not turn out to be as rewarding and meaningful as anticipated.
  • Grandparents may find they are expected to baby sit all the time.
  • Partner issues can include differing (and conflicting) ideas on retirement lifestyle.

Partner issues and retirement

Some of the common issues include:

  • One partner has retired or plans to retire, while the other wants to continue working.
  • Ideas on retirement lifestyle may clash; for example, one partner may want to keep busy with travel, hobbies and volunteer work, while the other expects a more relaxed daily routine.
  • It can be difficult at first to work out how much time to spend together. This is particularly the case if one partner is outgoing and social, while the other is more introspective. In this scenario, the outgoing partner may feel ignored, while the introspective partner could feel harassed.
  • Some people may try to do everything as a couple, but lack of personal space can cause stress and relationship conflicts.

Planning can help create a happy retirement

People who plan an active life after retirement tend to be happier than those who have no plans or routines. Suggestions include:

  • You’ve retired from a 38-hour week, not from working altogether. If you love what you do, consider dropping the hours to part-time (if possible), rather than fully retiring.
  • Volunteer work is a satisfying way to add structure and purpose to your life, and there are many community organisations to choose from.
  • Put time and energy into much-loved interests.
  • Try to achieve at least five hours of purposeful community activity a week.
  • Think about all those hobbies you wanted to try but didn’t have the time – you do now.
  • Further education options range from short courses through to university degrees. You could launch a new career during your retirement years, if you wish.
  • Reduce the risk of health problems by exercising regularly. Joining a gym, walking club or team sport, which can also add a social element to your weekly routine.
  • Make sure that you and your partner discuss ways to accommodate each other’s wants, needs and expectations.
  • Loneliness is a common source of depression in older people, so make sure you maintain and increase your social networks.

Unplanned retirement

A person who has retirement forced on them because of redundancy may find it harder to adjust. Suggestions include:

  • Ask your employer if it’s possible to continue working part-time in the same position.
  • Look for other opportunities. There may be another job you could apply for in the same company.
  • Apply for jobs with other companies, either full-time or part-time.
  • Consider retraining to update your skills and make you more employable.
  • Try volunteer work; it may help get your foot in the door and provide valuable contacts.
  • Discuss your options and expectations with your partner. Remember that meaningful activities, regular exercise and social contacts can help make retirement a satisfying time of life.
  • Seek professional help if you feel prolonged anxiety, stress or depression.

 

Source: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/retirement

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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

Australia Day NCC Awards

Following journalist and ovarian cancer research advocate Jill Emberson’s recognition as Newcastle Citizen of the Year 2019, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes has named the City’s other Australia Day award recipients at this morning’s Citizenship ceremony.

Emberson, who was earlier announced as Citizen of the Year for her contribution to journalism and advocacy in the fight against ovarian cancer, gave a heartfelt acceptance speech at today’s ceremony that addressed her love for Newcastle and desire to see better outcomes for women living with the disease.

Also honoured at today’s ceremony was Junior John Hunter Hospital doctor Bhavi Ravindran who was named 2019 Young Citizen of the Year.

The 24-year-old University of Newcastle graduate was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the medical profession at such a young age.

Dr Bhavi holds numerous positions on medical boards including the Australian Medical Council and Medical Students Accreditation Committee, which is responsible for the accreditation of the 24 medical schools across Australia and New Zealand.

The group also raises funds for local and international charity organisations through the delivery of all-age music and art events in Newcastle.

“Through advocacy and educating youth on ways they can interact in their community, The Y Project is encouraging and inspiring young people to become proactive and strive to create a future enthused with empathy, equity and justice,” the Lord Mayor said.

“After forming at high school in 2017, the group has helped engineer some positive momentum for social change among young people at various live music and arts events, and, in doing so, raised thousands of dollars for charity.”

Also at today’s ceremony, which marked 70 years since the Australian Government first introduced Citizenship into Commonwealth law, more than a 160 new Australians from 46 different countries received their Citizenship.

Just seven men were sworn in as new legal citizens in 1949, swearing their allegiance to Australia from Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Norway, Spain and Yugoslavia.

Today, Australia is one of the most successful multicultural nations in the world, having welcomed more than five million new Australian citizens to our shores.

 

Source: http://newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Council/News/Latest-News/City-announces-Australia-Day-awards-honours

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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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CAKE and chocolate are two of life’s pleasures that Alesha Thompson has always loved to eat – and create.

She grew up learning the ins and outs of old-fashioned baking from scratch – scones, sponges and gingernut biscuits – from her grandmother Grace on the family’s farm property in the Hunter Valley.

She was hooked from the age of 10.

“My Nan was famous for her coffee sponges in the area and her gingernuts, too, so I started off with those basic biscuits and cakes,” Thompson says.

“All of her cooking was from scratch. She hardly ever used bottled anything.

“She loved creating, and loved cooking for the family and friends, and the community. It’s what she did. It was her passion and she really passed that, and those skills, on to me.”

Two years ago, Thompson decided to leave behind a career in business administration to embark on a career as a chocolatier with the launch of her brand, Madam Cocoa.

She runs the entire operation on her own, moulding and decorating 600 chocolates a week out of her commercial premises in Newcastle.

After studying under master chocolatier Dean Gibson at TAFE NSW Hamilton campus and Melbourne pastry chef Paul Kennedy at Savour School, Thompson ditched the idea of opening a cafe to focus on chocolate.

“Studying and learning to create chocolate, it just really sung to me and my personality, and my perfectionist streak,” Thompson says.

“I fell in love with it, so I’ve run with it since then. The process of making chocolate is just so precise and finite that everything about it has to be perfect. Everything has to occur in the perfect time, environment and space.

“It all has to align for the end product to come together beautifully. It’s a far more intricate process and it resonated with me at a core level a lot more than what a cake does.

“I love the artistic side of it and creating amazing fillings.”

Madam Cocoa’s entire range is packaged gift box-style and features 12 flavours in white, milk or dark using Belgian Callebaut couverture chocolate, including botanical mint, espresso, raspberry splash, Caribbean cherry, salt flake caramel, hazelnut crisp, vanilla smooth, lemon tang, Mrs Jones blueberry cheesecake and creme coconut, which is sprayed teal blue with flecks of white and gold.

Each morsel is meticulously decorated like a piece of edible art.

Another is the Valley Mango which is Thompson’s vision of summer encapsulated into a chocolate.

“When you bite into it, it has this beautiful mango jelly and this intense mango puree through that, and then the ganache has Hunter Valley Distillery’s mango liqueur through it. It’s a delicious absorption of summer on your palette,” she says.

“It’s not too intense, it’s just a beautiful blend.”

Thompson, who says she is a “dark chocolate fan, all the way”, is in the process of developing three new products in time for Valentine’s Day which will be available to order online or in-store at Pork Ewe Deli in Mayfield and Cooks Hill (online orders for Valentine’s Day need to be placed no later than February 10).

She already has plans for a Christmas range later in the year.

Her beloved Nan passed away in June last year. Fortunately, Thompson was able to spent time in the kitchen with her earlier in the year.

“She was a driving force behind my career change and she was very encouraging about me taking on a food-based career and being creative, so she was an amazing support. She loved taste-testing the new products and seeing how it all came together. She loved being a part of it, so it was great to have her as part of the initial journey.”

 
Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5842066/crafting-a-new-career-in-cocoa/

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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

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Projects that light up Newcastle’s stunning harbour make up some of the successful applications in Round 4 of the 2018 Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC announced that five new community infrastructure projects would benefit from the Round 4 Fund, with a total value of $1.35 million going into projects to enhance the port-side areas for the community.

“I am pleased to announce that a good mixture of community activation and port-side infrastructure works make up this year’s successful projects,” Mr MacDonald said. “The $1.35 million will be awarded to Projecting Newcastle, Cottage Creek Beautification, Seafarer Volunteer Service, Camp Shortland Precinct Activation, and Lightscape. “The largest single grant this year is $450,000 towards Hunter Water’s work to explore Cottage Creek Beautification – Bank Amenity Works.

Pending environmental investigations, community engagement, design and approvals, the project could see new vegetation, open areas and promenades introduced along the stormwater channel, stretching from the rail line to Honeysuckle Drive.” Hunter Water’s Managing Director Jim Bentley said Hunter Water welcomed the $450,000 grant.

“This grant will allow Hunter Water to continue its exploration of the liveability and public amenity benefits of naturalising the existing Cottage Creek channel, and allow us to work with our communities and stakeholders to finalise design, environmental investigations and approvals,” Mr Bentley said.

“Naturalising the Cottage Creek stormwater channel would transform the current concrete waterway into a thriving space for community recreation and greatly improve the environmental and social amenity of the area.”

“There are also two separate lighting/projection projects that will add attractive activation to the harbour, with the University of Newcastle successful with its Honeysuckle Lightscape project and GrainCorp successful with its Projecting Newcastle initiative,” Mr MacDonald said.

These will use state-of-the-art laser technology to project images and video onto some of Newcastle’s iconic structures and landscapes, providing safe night-time attractions to bring people into the city after dark.

In addition to this, the city will benefit from significant infrastructure improvement with Newcastle City Council’s Camp Shortland Precinct Activation that involves temporary infrastructure improvements to the Camp Shortland site, including children’s play areas, walkways, seating and exercise equipment.

http://www.hbrmag.com.au/article/read/successful-community-port-fund-projects-announced-2898

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HGT Australia and the University of Newcastle have signed a five-year deal that will see students of the training group gain credits and pathways into university.

 The contract opens up a serious of guaranteed credit and direct entry pathway arrangements for international students graduating at HGT Australia to progress onto various Bachelor degrees at the University of Newcastle. Better known locally as Novaskill, HGT Australia launched its International College in 2015.

Head of HGT’s International College Mr John Liddicoat said though HGT had campuses in other cities, Newcastle was its original home and it was fitting to have the deal in place with the university, with “two of Newcastle’s long established educational institutions working side by side.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5658012/hgt-in-pathway-deal-with-university-of-newcastle/

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A new Australian program, including an interactive website and app, has been developed specifically for small business owners to give them practical resources and tools to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

In NSW, the small business sector makes up almost 98 per cent of all businesses, employs 1.51 million people, contributes approximately $41.61 billion in annual wages and salaries and contributes more than $269.32 billion to annual sales and service income.

Ahead for Business will be activated initially in three sites across NSW in October – Lake Macquarie, Singleton and Parramatta. Local business owners are being invited to register to attend a free event in each area to find out more and network with other locals in small business.

The program has been developed by Hunter-based mental health and suicide prevention institute, Everymind, in partnership with the icare Foundation and NSW small business owners.

Everymind Director, Jaelea Skehan said Ahead for Business was designed following research conducted in 2017 into the stressors small business owners face and the gaps in existing support for this sector.

Jaelea said small businesses are the backbone of the economy and the community. Yet, until recently, there has been very little focus on the wellbeing of small business owners.

“Small business owners face a range of stressors including long working hours, feeling obliged to work when sick, multiple responsibilities, and financial stress,” Jaelea said.

“We also know from our research that many small business owners were concerned about the impact of the business on the family and many were feeling disconnected or isolated in their business.”

A survey of more than 440 small business owners showed they had higher levels of symptoms of depression and anxiety than the national average. Stress levels were high too with 57.6 per cent falling outside the normal range.

Jaelea said the website and app will help people to assess their current situation and direct them to relevant information and available supports tailored to their specific needs. It also enables people to identify simple things they can include in their everyday routine and provides templates to develop their own Business Mental Health Plan.

“Ahead for Business not only builds awareness about the importance of mental health and wellbeing within the small business community, it connects people immediately with tools, resources and supports,” Jaelea said.

“We listened to small business owners and the online screening tools and resources on the Ahead for Business portal can be accessed discreetly, 24 hours a day from home or work, to help to prevent and manage stressors and support early help-seeking.

“Whether people are new to small business, are running a side hustle or have many years of experience in business, it is important they are encouraged to focus on the most important asset that their business has – themselves.”

She said the upcoming information events are a great opportunity for small business owners in Lake Macquarie and Singleton to be the first to start using the program and the range of tailored supports it provides.

The Lake Macquarie event is being held in partnership with Lake Macquarie Combined and Southlake Business Chambers, the Business Growth Centre and Lake Macquarie Art Gallery. The Singleton event is being held in partnership with The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program and Singleton Business Chamber. Joining Jaelea to speak at the trial site events are: Workplace Psychologist, David Burroughs; Founder of Billy Goat Soap, Leanne Faulkner; and former Wallaby Player and Founder of the social network Karma, Clyde Rathbone.

 

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/new-program-keep-hunter-small-business-owners-mentally-healthy/

1

There are over 100 Newcastles (or New Castles) around the world. Newcastle, South Africa. Nyborg, Denmark. New Castle, Indiana. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK – just to name a few.

Every two years there is a conference where they come together. This year’s conference was the 20th anniversary and was held in Shinshiro, Japan from 3 to 9 October 2018.

Local marketing and brand agency, Out of the Square sponsored Irini Kassas, an ambassador of Newcastle, Australia, to attend and represent the local community on an international scale at the conference.

Only 21 years old, Irini already presents a comprehensive resume, including Newcastle’s Young Citizen of the Year in 2018 and the 2017 Humanitarian and United Nations Global Youth Award.

OOTS Managing Director, Marty Adnum said she is passionate about the city’s future, so the business had no hesitations in sponsoring her and covering the airfares for her to attend the conference.

The conference discussed business development, tourism, cultural collaborations, youth councils, charitable support and sporting links.

“As passionate Novocastrians, and myself coming from a migrant background, I felt because of the mix of the conference’s multicultural diversity and regional benefits along with Irini’s own intellect and youthful insights, that it would have been a travesty for us not to get behind this,” Marty said.

Before leaving for the conference, Irini said she was honoured to be provided with the opportunity to represent Newcastle, Australia, on the world stage.

“I am proud of my community and wish to be educated on issues relating to our community and how they can benefit us all through such experiences,” Irini said.

“In addition, I will do my best to promote the incredible assets that our region has to offer and encourage others to visit and enjoy.”

The opportunity exists to bring the conference to Newcastle NSW in 2024 and Irini has put her case forward, highlighting the benefits of this region, easy access from Newcastle Airport, and the cultural, business and tourism attributes to be shared.
Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/oots-sponsors-young-ambassador-attend-newcastles-world/

1

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/

1

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/

1

Tomago Aluminium employees have dug deep, donating a portion of their pay packet, matched by the company, to total $50,000 for farmers doing it tough throughout the drought-stricken Hunter region.

Tomago Aluminium CEO, Matt Howell said the employee-led initiative was the biggest single donation of its kind for the organisation and reflected just how important the cause was to the workforce.

The money will be donated to Australia’s signature drought assistance program, Rural Aid, to be used for the Hunter’s Buy a Bale campaign.

“Our community is very important to us here at Tomago Aluminium,” Matt said.

“So when the communities surrounding Tomago Aluminium are doing it tough, we feel it.

“There are so many people in our workforce that have strong links to Hunter farmers who are doing it tough out there. The initiative is a direct result of our employees seeing what our local farmers are going through and wanting to help.”

The employees initially set their sights on a target of $9,500, which according to Rural Aid buys one semi-trailer load of hay. Matt pledged that the organisation would match the total amount of employee contributions dollar for dollar.

“Within just one week of promotion, over 500 employees donated out of their pay bringing the total amount to $21,000, which far exceeded expectations,” Matt said.

“We extended the campaign another week and managed to bring the total amount contributed by staff and Tomago Aluminium to $50,000, which I am told is a lot of hay bales.”

Rural Aid Co-founder, Tracey Alder, will visit the smelter Monday 3 September to collect the generous donation and enjoy a morning tea with the employees.

The donation would fund the equivalent of nine semi-trailers of hay and feed, plus provide for other vital supplies to go to families on the land.

Source: https://www.hunterheadline.com.au/hh/business-news/tomago-employees-dig-deep-farmers/

1

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/

1

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/

HU Charlestown square

Charlestown Square has released details of a planned $4.6 million redevelopment of its north-east corner after gaining development approval from Lake Macquarie City Council.

The shopping centre’s owner, GPT Group, plans to bring bars, cafes and an outdoor performance space to the corner of Pearson and Ridley streets, although it said the project hinged on securing commitments from suitable tenants.

Charlestown Square general manager Dwight Hodgetts said the council approval was an important milestone for the project.

“The development will transform the existing space into an activated public leisure and dining area that celebrates on-trend and local food heroes and lifestyle operators,” he said.

“The revitalised precinct will showcase a mix of the Hunter’s best local eats and a range of health and wellbeing operators.

“It will also include extensive landscaping, public art installations, decorative lighting and spaces for mobile food vendors.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5547819/charlestown-square-plans-new-bars-cafes-in-shopping-centre-expansion/

 

HU housing growth

While Sydney has posted its largest annual house price fall since a decade ago, several regional areas in NSW have experienced double-digit growth over the past 12 months.

The star performer was the Port Stephens local government area (LGA), just north of Newcastle, which recorded 16 per cent growth over the year, and 3.6 per cent over the quarter. The median house price for the area is now

$580,000, from $500,000 a year ago, although it remains below the Newcastle median of $631,500.

Ray Noonan, from Raine & Horne Port Stephens, said his area was trading quite well with many buyers relocating to the region.

“It’s predominantly people coming out of Sydney for lifestyle reasons and with future retirement plans,” Mr Noonan said. “They’re buying, looking to lease it out for few years, and then planning to retire here.”

Mr Noonan said local buyers upsizing and downsizing probably accounted for 30 to 40 per cent of their sales.

Port Stephen’s growth was closely followed by the Upper Hunter Shire, which includes towns like Merriwa, Scone and Aberdeen, posted 15.9 per cent over the year, but only 0.3 per cent over the quarter, landing on a median house price of $337,500.

On the South Coast, the Kiama LGA grew 14.8 per cent over the year to a median house price of $953,000. Ballina, on the North Coast, posted similar annual rates of growth off a lower base, up 14.6 per cent over the year and 7.2 per cent over the quarter to $637,500.

Celina Gregory, from First National Coast & Country, said the Kiama market was also being driven by buyers from bigger cities.

“We’re still getting buyers looking for a lifestyle change from Sydney,” she said, adding they were used to Sydney prices and were quite happy to pay for good qualities properties. The train access was also a drawcard for them.

“There’s not a huge amount on the market at the moment”, Ms Gregory said. “There’s more buyers than properties. Once people are here they don’t tend to want to move on, and that shows in our property prices.”

Ms Gregory said downsizers tended to be interested in the newer apartments and villas, while younger families, facing affordability issues in Sydney, were predominantly looking at land.

The holiday rental market was “extremely strong”, she added, and owners could let their properties while they were away and get excellent returns.

John Nicolson, principal of McGrath Ballina, said the Ballina region was very attractive to retirees because of its accessibility, via its airport connection.

“We still are getting a lot of demand, a lot of response to any new listings,” he added. “When the GFC hit years ago, that market dried right up. It’s certainly back now.”

Mr Nicolson said there had been a lot of new construction aimed at the retiree market, and recent infill developments had been “snapped up” by retirees looking to be close to town.

There were also buyers coming from Byron Bay. “If you’re selling in Byron, and buying in Ballina, you’re doing quite well,” he said.

Other LGAs to record median house price growth of above 10 per cent over the year were Orange, Cessnock, Eurobodalla and Byron Bay.

While several areas posted small drops over the last quarter, including Bega Valley, Tamworth regional, Port Hastings and Macquarie, and Shellharbour, it was only Wingecarribee, in the Southern Highlands, that was behind year-on-year. It recorded a median house price of $780,000, down from $800,000 a year ago.

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5552559/regional-nsw-coastal-towns-outstripping-capital-cities-for-house-price-growth/

1

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

1

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