Unemployed office workers holding cardboard signs job hunting

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

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

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

1

An $11.5 million clean-up project at the former Newcastle Gasworks site could start early next year, paving the way for a future development on the Hamilton North site.

The 12-month project would see the heavily contaminated site, which has laid dormant since the mid-1980s, concrete capped and rehabilitated to a level suitable for commercial or industrial purposes.

Newcastle Gasworks operated on the seven hectare site between 1913 and 1985. It left in its wake one of the region’s heavily polluted legacies.

An analysis of contaminants revealed a range of known carcinogens, potentially carcinogenic compounds and toxic compounds including benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), total recoverable hydrocarbons (TRH), benzo(a)pyrene, cyanide, ammonia and lead.

A 2016 report noted some of the toxins, including cyanide, ammonia and lead, were leaching into groundwater and posed a risk to human health and the Hunter River, NSW Department of Planning documents show.

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/news/local-news/5560774/115m-clean-up-bill-for-newcastle-gasworks-site/

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

 

An alliance of prominent Hunter bodies have banded together to form a Committee for the Hunter, an organisation that chair Richard Anicich says will provide a unified voice for the region.

Mr Anicich, a solicitor and former president of the Hunter Business Chamber, cited the long-established Committee for Geelong and the more recently formed Committee for Sydney as two of the Hunter committee’s inspirations.

The Hunter had been criticised in the past for having too many representative bodies and Mr Anicich said pulling major “thought leaders” into a single organisation would hopefully make it easier for the region to articulate its needs when dealing with funding bodies and decision makers.

He said the inaugural members were the Hunter Business Chamber, the Hunter chapters of the Property Council of Australia and the Urban Development Institute of Australia, the industry network HunterNet, the University of Newcastle, the privatised Port of Newcastle and Newcastle Airport.

Asked whether organisations such as the union body Hunter Workers had been invited, Mr Anicich said the final shape of the committee – which he described as “a network of networks” – had not been finalised.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed by the participants “as an initial step” in working together to “foster success across the Hunter region and the business community” by having “a unified approach and voice in dealing with all three levels of government”.

By doing this, the committee hoped to attract investment and economic development and enhance the conditions that “make the Hunter an attractive place to live and work”.

Mr Anicich said the committee had already met four or five times. In the next few weeks it would finalise a list of “major projects for the region” – a set of “high-level priorities that the committee would seek to advocate”.

He said the various Hunter councils, its state and federal MPs and various government departments had been briefed about the formation of the committee and its desire to “drive growth and jobs for the region”.

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5551788/committee-a-new-voice-for-the-hunter/

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

Mildly excited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

HU Newcastle airport

Virgin Australia and Newcastle Airport announced last week direct international flights between Newcastle and Auckland, opening up a range of travel and tourism opportunities for the Hunter region.

Virgin Australia will operate three return services per week during the peak holiday period from November 22, 2018 to February 17, 2019, providing 13,000 additional seats.

New Zealand is a key market that the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association will target for leisure tourism and business events in 2018/19.

As part of our strategic partnership with Newcastle Airport, the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association will seek out marketing activities to leverage this fantastic opportunity and to drive overnight visitation to the Hunter Valley, working with the airport, Virgin Australia and industry stakeholders.

The Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association congratulates Newcastle Airport’s CEO Peter Cock and his team for their dedication in striving to become a second international gateway into NSW and recognises the significant contribution this will have for our local economy.

 

Source: https://www.cessnockadvertiser.com.au/story/5541804/new-flight-route-great-opportunity-for-hunter-valley-tourism/

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. What’s My End Game?

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

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

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

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

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

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

1

Hunter Wetlands Centre will undergo a review of its business operations after receiving a $25,000 grant from the NSW government.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC, announced the funding on Thursday at the centre in Shortland.

The Newcastle Herald reported in May how the Hunter Wetlands Centre (HWC) board was seeking funding for a comprehensive review.

It had not replaced an outgoing CEO after a drop in visitors and concerns about the centre’s long-term viability.

“I’m pleased to be able to announce an inter-agency response to fund a strategic business review of the Hunter Wetlands Centre operations,” Mr MacDonald said.

“I thank those that have contributed to supporting the HWC, including Hunter Water Corporation, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and NSW Office of Regional Development.”

“This business review will examine how to ensure the HWC remains sustainable to continue its important environmental, educational and social functions.”

The $25,000 grant comes after a $146,820 state government grant in June to upgrade the visitor centre.

“It is essential for the iconic Wetlands Centre to be more financially sustainable in the future, and the business review is a critical part of this renewal process,” HWC chair David Crofts said.

“We want to continue to deliver the best possible environmental, education and visitor services.”

“The funding will enable the Wetlands Centre to undertake a thorough professional review of its operations. We will use these funds to engage an external expert to help us ensure our operations are as efficient as possible and well targeted to our needs.”

A $4,750 grant was also received for HWC’s freckled duck program.

The centre has kept freckled ducks in captivity since 1993, successfully breeding over 150 ducks from an original crop of 17.

The duck’s nursery and holding shelter will be upgraded through a range of works, including relining the nursery pond and providing mains water to the holding shelter.

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5510256/hunter-wetlands-centre-lands-funding-for-critical-business-review/

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When British artist Jamiroquai’s hit single Virtual Insanity took off in the late ’90s, it was considered groundbreaking, mostly because of the music video, which featured cutting edge cinematography. Very much of its time, the video showed moving floors and unpredictable wandering furniture. The video won several awards, including MTV’s Video of the Year for 1997.

The catchy chorus of the song was an earworm: “The future’s made of virtual insanity.”

While the video and song might be dated, the lyrics are prophetic. We now have options to experience virtual reality everywhere, in ways more insane, experiential and positive than Jamiroquai could have ever predicted.

Today you can pop into Newcastle’s East End, step into VRXP on Watt Street, don a headset and try to walk a narrow plank off a skyscraper. If you slip, you plummet to the sidewalk below and feel your stomach launch into your throat. If that’s too dramatic, you can just use the hand-held controls to paint colourful nonsense in every hue and brush stroke imaginable, although some artists paint virtual landscapes that you can also explore if you prefer.

Virtual reality (better known as VR) has arrived full force in Newcastle. It’s here to entertain, teach, train, and heal.

Academics, tech nerds, graphic artists, film makers, product designers and even an ex-debt collector all want a piece of the fantasy pie, which can look pretty realistic.

Businesses and institutions are on board to test it out and work with it, including places like University of Newcastle, Newcastle Museum, 2Real (a VR company focused on new home environments) and ctrlspace (a Newcastle consultancy and development studio focused on immersive technologies including VR, augmented reality and mixed reality.

Virtual reality is applicable to a huge array of situations and environments.

Virtual Exercise
Rohan O’Reilly is a neurogenesist from Smart Bodies, Smarter Minds, a virtual rehabilitation centre in Mayfield. O’Reilly says his centre offers alternatives for “medical orphans,” or people who have tried everything else and are looking for a new avenues.

Many successful VR stories happen at the centre. One specific example involves men in their late teens to early 20s. O’Reilly describes it as a “not uncommon scenario” when men at this age develop depressive symptoms and withdraw from life. They start eating badly and stop exercising.

“They come to a point where they know they need to exercise, but they hate the concept of exercise, and this is the VR magic,” he says. “If they’re into gaming, which a lot of these men are, we ask what they’re into. We match their VR experience to what they’re used to in gaming, so they’ve automatically got a source of reward.”

Now, he says, they are no longer sitting around moving only their thumbs; they have to put physical effort into playing a game to get the reward. For example, the centre has what looks like an exercise bike, but when you put on the gear, you are inside a tank and another tank is trying to shoot you. You have to push the pedals around to make the tank move – patients exert huge amounts of physical energy.

“If you said to them get on that exercise bike and go 45 minutes, that’s not going to happen, or if it does, they won’t come back. This [virtual reality] quickly turns them around, so they’re getting rewarded to burn physical energy,” O’Reilly says. “The difference is you’re not telling them what to do, you’re offering them a system to engage in that has these systemic health benefits.”

Fortunately, you don’t need to be unhealthy and depressed to enjoy and appreciate virtual reality.

Dementia Assistance
To get in on the virtual magic, see for yourself at no cost during NAIDOC week (July 8-15), celebrating Aboriginal culture. Head down to Newcastle Foreshore to experience the Dual Names project, a Newcastle City Council initiative. Along with physical interactive signs that explain the pre-settlement names of places, visitors with YouTube on their mobile phones can access a visual experience of what the land and people might have been like in the pre-settlement time. Local artists and linguistic experts assisted on the project. Users can listen to stories told in Awabakal or Worimi while it is also written in English below on the screen. Users standing at a physical location can get a virtual reality experience of what it looked like long ago.

Virtual Perspective are the creators behind the Dual Names concept. The Warners Bay consultancy creates bespoke virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and visualisation software. The team became a business in 2016 after meeting at a co-working space. They are a finalist for the Excellence in Innovation category for Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards, but they remain humble with their big ideas, operating out of a modest office.

The Virtual Perspective team is three experts: Ivan Demidov (customer relationship management systems and IT), Tim Davidson (visualisation) and Sam Parker (communicator and project manager).

“Ivan’s the mad scientist and Tim’s the artist,” Parker says.

While some of their commercial projects remain under wraps, they’ve also been hard at work with Hunter New England Health, creating empathy training for nurses and doctors who are treating patients with dementia.

By seeing the perspective of a dementia patient, nurses will better understand ways to care for them. This includes making sure the room is set up in the best possible way.

In the simulation, machines turn into monsters and wires start moving. Shadows on the walls are menacing human shapes. The carpet can look like liquid and the user’s challenge is to get to the bathroom.

“If there’s not enough light and the curtains are closed, it’s hard to get out of bed. It’s hard to do something simple like go to the bathroom,” Parker says.

“Statistics show that if the room is set up improperly, it can lead to falls. If a person with dementia falls the likelihood of them passing away is quite high,” Demidov says.

Virtual Perspective are 70 per cent finished with their HNEH project. They are also working with an RTO that does fire warden training. This simulation teaches soon-to-be fire wardens how to evacuate the building. The training assessment package is graded, and users can do things right or wrong and learn from their mistakes without any lives lost.

“They call it kinesthetic learning, learn by doing,” Demidov says.

“The thing is virtual and augmented reality and new technology in general allows the users to step into new places that they never saw possible, allowing people to do things that are dangerous, to be in scenarios that would be extremely expensive to set up. It’s experiential; it isn’t just audio and visual,” Davidson says. “You can read a textbook on ancient Rome, or you can go and visit.”

Grandmas to Gamers
Like Parker, Demidov and Davidson, VRXP founder Andy Gallagher is excited and passionate about virtual reality and all the creative potential that comes with it.

The self-described “super nerd” features old school video and arcade games in his studio because “we’ve got to show the young ones where it all comes from.”

Gallagher is a new parent to an eight month old. He studied digital art at ANU in Canberra and went on to work in video. He relocated to Newcastle five years ago, and he said VRXP was the first public facing VR space in Australia, the first bricks and mortar building. It opened in October of 2016.

To determine the best simulations to offer people, Gallagher and his wife held virtual reality parties out of their own home, testing different experiences with families and friends.

“We had to choose the best options for people experiencing VR for the first time; we were the Guinea pigs to choose the best and most fitting experience for the general public. If things were too complicated it would just get dropped; we stuck with our favourites,” Gallagher says of their decision process.

Like the paint and plank immersions mentioned above, all the customer’s experiences happen within the confines of an enclosed spacious area, giving the user “room scale” virtual reality, a chance to move about freely without getting disoriented.

He said lots of kids prefer the job simulator option, a cartoon- styled job experience, where the user performs everyday tasks.

“Some of the kids are completionists, absolutely ‘I need to complete the job’ and other kids are just photocopying donuts to make a donut stack that goes from the floor to the ceiling,” Gallagher says.

His customers include kids as young as 10 and people in their 60s. They currently employ four other employees, and when he’s not running VRXP, Gallagher puts his creative skills to work in other ways.

Gallagher’s full time job is creating VR films for a variety of clients ranging the University of Newcastle to Yan Coal. He specialises in fully immersive 360 degree cinema from preproduction through to shooting to postproduction. This is a cinematography that allows the viewer to see their surroundings in every possible direction.

“The bad thing about 360 degrees cinema it has such a bad stigma, it’s really blocky and you can’t make out much detail, but the camera system we invested in can give you a sense of depth,” he says. “The benefit is, you feel like you’re literally there; it’s up to the filmmaker to tell the story.”

He’s also working with the heritage archeological company RPS. The employees are finding spots from 1800s Newcastle on the new light rail corridor. They’ll ring him up if they’ve found something interesting that the workers want to demolish and schedule an immediate filming time. After he films it they’ll have the raw footage forever, and it’s up to them whether they want with it.

“It’s a part of capturing the find,” he says.

These are just a projects he’s pursuing while his studio dazzles Novocastrians.

“There’s always something that I’m totally immersed in,” he says.

The Unreal Deal
Twenty-five-year-old Daniel Girgis is the co-owner and managing director of Unreal VR in Charleston, which opened in April of last year.

“It’s something you can’t really understand until you try,” he says of VR. “Someone said something like, it was not what I expected, but it was what I wanted it to be.”

The business is a family affair, with his cousin Matt Thomas co-owning the business with him. His father is also a director.

“Matt was the CEO at the Collection House up in Brisbane, and he retired and was looking to do something fun and different, and this just kinda happened,” Girgis says.

Girgis has a product design background, and says they are now up to 12 employees including himself and his family. They offer virtual reality for ages six and up, and at the beginning of this year they expanded their studio space to accommodate everyone.

It’s not just headsets either.

“We’ve also got some flight simulators; we’ve got chairs that are full motion chairs so you can sit in them and fly a fighter jet, or also (experience) V8 supercars in Bathurst, so you can race any car on any track. It’s surprisingly good,” he says. “I’ve had some of the pit crew come down when we had the V8s on. I’ve had a couple people who use them for training. (It’s) less petrol and less expensive when you crash.”

They also have pilots as customers.

“All (the pilots’) simulators are just front projected, so you can’t look at your wings. If you’re exiting a hanger, you just have to guess how far your wings are. On (our VR) you can lean out the side and look back,” Girgis says. “I’ve been getting the FA team in from the RAAF Base, we’ve been getting them coming in and dogfighting each other.”

Previously he was working with a creative director at the Uni named Jeff Julian. Julian was mentouring Girgis, and they were making lots of things together. Through discussions with him, Girgis started looking into virtual reality.

Along with running the business, he’s established a monthly VR meetup where they can meet other interesting people in the field.

“(We’ve got) heaps of stuff is going on; Matt is a networking guy pulling in people from around the place. We’ve met everyone local.” he says.

Girgis regularly collaborates with people. He’s been working on some of Newcastle’s West End buildings in product design. He’s also working with the Hunter Valley Gardens on a VR tourism project.

What excites him most is starting up something new and being on the “bleeding edge of technology”.

“It’s something I’ve always chased, and now, with Unreal VR and the other ongoing projects, it’s a fulltime job,” he says. “Starting a business from scratch – there was a lot I didn’t have a clue about, and it’s been a good journey.”

Reflecting on past speculations about virtual reality is interesting. Pop culture hasn’t always been optimistic about future technologies. If you read “Virtual Insanity”’s lyrics, you’ll see that Jamiroquai was incredibly skeptical about virtual reality and future technologies, and plenty of Sci-Fi movies out there send warning messages of technology’s dangers. But perhaps they’re all wrong, at least at this stage.

So many more people and initiatives are launching into the experiential space; and a growing number of Novocastrians have their own spin on the power and potential of virtual reality. As VR continues to revolutionise how we work, play and learn, you can either watch from the sidelines, or suit up and jump in.

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5492752/appeal-of-unreal-virtual-reality-takes-hold-in-the-hunter/

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

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

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

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

2. Think Through Your Day-to-Day

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

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

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

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

3. Unlock Your Potential

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Two leading academics from the University of Newcastle are among the 38 beneficiaries in the latest round of the Australian Government’s Priming Grants, aimed at building international relationships to commercialise ground-breaking research.

The grants will facilitate Professor Christopher Grof to further his work in medicinal cannabis and Dr Adjanie Patabendige to explore pharmaceuticals designed to combat the effects of stroke.

Aimed at supporting researchers and small-to-medium enterprises, Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator Michaelia Cash, said Priming Grants showed how fostering industry-led innovation created commercial benefits and inspired job growth.

“These Priming Grants are designed to empower researchers and businesses to work with overseas experts to commercialise their projects.

“This means more opportunities for Australians to grow their ideas by opening doors to foreign markets, which contributes positively to Australia’s economy and job market,” she said.

Professor Grof will collaborate with Dutch company Bedrocan to investigate the development of a novel strains of medical cannabis to export to a world market estimated to be worth $56 billion by 2025.

Dr Patabendige, an affiliate of the Hunter Medical Research Institute, will work with Pharmidex Ltd in the UK and develop pharmaceutical agents that could reduce swelling within the skull after stroke.

Liberal Senator for New South Wales, the Hon Arthur Sinodinos, said the grants would allow the locals driving important projects to travel overseas and develop partnerships to take their ideas to market.

“Since 2016–17, the Australian Government has provided 114 Priming Grants worth approximately $800,000 and I’m glad local researchers are benefitting from this new round,” Senator Sinodinos said.

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) works with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to deliver the Priming Grants under the Australian Government’s Global Connections Fund (GCF).

Source: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured-news/newcastle-innovators-awarded-grants-to-go-global

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The days when you had to put on a mask for work in the name of corporate conformity are over. They died with the wide-and-shiny neck tie, “kitchens” that looked like your dentist’s office, and other bad memories from yesteryear’s workplace.

Today’s workplace trades on inclusivity, empowerment, teamwork, and—in a word—realness.

Whatever your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, it’s not only yours to embrace, but your employer’s. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report, 69% of executives say diversity and inclusion is an important issue. And that’s smart—because it’s good for business.

Recent research from Diversity Council Australia found that employees who work on inclusive teams are 10 times more likely to be highly effective than workers who don’t. They were also found to be more satisfied in their work, and studies have proven that happy employees are more productive.

So, it looks like it’s the perfect time to get real. Here are a few tips to make sure you can thrive as you at work.

Ask Upfront for a Diversity Onboarding

If you don’t identify as a white male (no shade if you do), chances are you have questions when entering a new workplace. What’s the policy to ensure women are paid as much as their male counterparts? Is there a mentorship program here and how can I find a mentor whose values align with my own? How can I help this company cultivate and hire diverse talent like myself?

Many reputable organizations will answer these as part of new-employee onboarding in the form of policies, videos, training, and general information. The goal should be to equip you with the knowledge and resources to work freely as your true self and ensure others can do the same.

If your new-hire briefing falls short of these expectations, don’t let your questions stew. Ask them. Doing so doesn’t mean you’re anticipating some sort of institutionalized discrimination (why would you join the company in that case?), it just means you’re curious and you’re looking forward to being part of progressive solutions to today’s workplace challenges.

Phrase questions to show that you’re curious about something meaningful to you and it’ll be easier to start the conversation: “I’m really passionate about women’s issues, I’d love to know what you do here to make sure women have access to leadership opportunities and equal pay?”

Join an Organization, or Start One

Whether you’re underrepresented at work or just have a really niche interest, joining a club—or starting one—is a great way to create space for the parts of you that don’t fit neatly into your job description.

Find groups that empower you—whether they’re creative or career development-oriented. The best part, clubs can fill voids if something you feel passionate about is not already reflected in your workplace. For example, if ladies aren’t exactly running the show (yet), a women’s group can be a great way to find support and mentorship. If people seem clueless when Pride rolls around, an LGBT+ alliance can change that.

If the group you’re looking to join doesn’t exist, consider starting it. Talk to HR or your manager and ask whether there’s a formal process in place to secure funding.

Be Aware of Your Biases, and Wake Others Up to Theirs

For better or for worse, we all carry unconscious biases. They’re woven into our minds from childhood and continue to proliferate in popular culture. These biases can affect our interpretations of and interactions with coworkers.

One of the best ways to be more self-actualized in the workplace is to help others be the same by granting them freedom from even small stereotypes and assumptions. Look into ways you can become more aware of your biases and spread the word to co-workers.

A few places to start: browse YouTube for bias exercises like this one, ask your colleagues for honest feedback, and pay close attention to your thoughts and reactions in groups (are you responding to hard facts and values, or assumptions and emotions?).

Grow Your Social Circle

Finally, it’s easier to be yourself if you’re among friends.

You can find them, but you may have to work for it. That means going to company events, grabbing coffee with new co-workers, switching your lunch crowd every so often, or hopping in new channels on Slack.

And try to connect with a range of coworkers, not just your immediate peers. You can learn from others who are different from you and who are in more senior or diverse roles. You may have to leave your comfort zone, but it’s well worth it—you’ll be more relaxed at work if you have a group of people supporting you.
Work should be inviting—not just because you like your work (although that’s a big plus), but because you can be yourself while you’re there. Whether your workplace is super progressive and has all the diversity and inclusion boxes checked, or you have to do some work to help get it there, use these tips to make your workday—and that of your coworkers’—more real.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/bring-your-whole-self-to-work?ref=recently-published-1

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Newcastle Airport has increased the number of public car parking spaces with the official opening of a new car park on 8 June to cater for passenger growth.

An extra 345 spaces have been created following a major development off Kindler Way, which includes additional long-term parking, dedicated staff parking and rental car storage.

The development brings the total number of public car parking spaces at Newcastle Airport to over 2,100 bays.

“These extra spaces will help meet the increasing need for car parking following on-going growth and record passenger numbers,” said Newcastle Airport CEO, Dr Peter Cock.

In 2017, Newcastle Airport welcomed a record 1.28 million passengers, 25-month consecutive year-on-year monthly passenger growth and an extra 85,000 airline seats.

The people of the Hunter and Central Coast love to travel and with new destinations, great value fares and connectivity to the world it’s smarter to use Newcastle Airport.

“We are constantly striving to improve the experience and convenience for all who visit Newcastle Airport; this is another step forward in meeting the needs of the local community.

We now have the most car parking spaces and product options we have ever had, and are ready to welcome the influx of travellers jetting away to enjoy the June long weekend,’’ said Peter.

The Airport website’s transport guide has extensive information about transport choices and on-site car parking options, including an online car parking calculator, giving passengers all the information they need to make the best choice to suit all individual travel needs and budget.

 

Source: http://www.hbrmag.com.au/article/read/new-airport-car-park-ready-2797

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A collective of ex-service officials are hoping to establish a one-stop shop at Wallsend to house the variety of services on offer to past and present members of the Australian Defence Force.

The proposal comes at a time when many ex-service organisations are looking to get more younger personnel involved in their work.

Among talks are the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Veterans’ Association, Newcastle Vietnam Veterans and Wallsend RSL Sub-Branch.

The centre has been discussed previously, but has recently gained momentum and a meeting will be held on June 7 to establish a list of interested parties. The centre could be open to emergency service workers too.

“We’re finding that the younger veterans, from after Vietnam on, there’s no tendency to join the RSL,” Stephen Finney OAM said.

“There’s quite a number involved, but we’re finding a lot of them don’t know the services that are out there for them. What we want to do is organise this separate entity, where them and their families are quite welcome to just come in, have a cup of tea and catch up with somebody. Have all the services available there and get it to be run by some of the young veterans.”

Mr Finney, 70, is an Australian Army veteran who has been helping ex-services for over 40 years. He is a life member of the TPI Association, as well as vice-president of the City of Newcastle RSL Sub Branch, Vietnam Vets, and secretary of the TPI.

He says the need for a centre is paramount and centralising services will strengthen support by increasing availability and accessibility.

“There’s been more Afghanistan veterans commit suicide than there was killed in Afghanistan,” he said.

“There’s a lot of services there for them to access, but they need to know where to go … we want to set this up to help them and assist them in any way that we can.”

Mr Finney received an Order of Australia medal in 2008 for services to the veteran community. It followed the work of his father, who got the same award in 1986.

“The wealth of knowledge I’ve got, I want to give it to one of these younger guys and let them carry on.”

The centre could also host consults of the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), as well as legal, financial and health services.

Mr Finney says the Wallsend site, the TPI building on Cowper Street owned by Newcastle City Council, is a more central Hunter location than the DVA’s Auckland Street premises in Newcastle.

“Where we want to put the drop-in centre, it’s on a main artery, we’d put some big signs up there and people could just call in. Find out what’s available for them.”

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5430820/veterans-drop-in-hub-at-wallsend-proposed-by-ex-service-groups/?cs=12

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

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

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

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

Celebrate—But Not Too Much

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

Be Realistic About Your To-Do List

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

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

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

Frontload Any Prep You Still Have to Do

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

Sleep, Relax, and Take Care of Yourself

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

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

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

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

“Focus on the Positive Things Ahead”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group has been recognised at the 2018 PIANC Working with Nature Awards for restoring wetland habitat on Ash Island.

NCIG was the recipient of a certificate of recognition, which is the first to be received by an Australian project since the establishment of the awards in 2014.

The group has been working with National Parks and Wildlife, the University of NSW, Hunter Bird Observers Club and other groups to re-establish the endangered coastal saltmarsh ecological community.

The tidal wetlands around the Port of Newcastle are home to a number of threatened species and communities. The coastal saltmarsh vegetation community and numerous species of migratory shorebirds, such as the critically endangered Eastern Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper, are increasingly losing habitat along the Australasian-East Asian Flyway.

NCIG created habitat for migratory shorebirds in an area close to the terminal site, specifically Ash Island in the Hunter Wetlands National Park.

The construction of habitat on Ash Island included restoration of 24 hectares of migratory shorebird habitat, including removal of 17 hectares of juvenile mangroves, installation of an automated flood gate to manage tidal levels and manage re-establishment of mangroves in the habitat, installation of mangrove seed screens to prevent mangrove seeds from floating into the habitat system and installation of “bird diverter” devices on local electricity infrastructure to make power lines more visible to birds flying in and out of the habitat.

NCIG’s CEO, Aaron Johanse, said the nomination is testament to NCIG’s commitment to the environment and the local Hunter Estuary wetlands.

“The migratory shorebird habitat restoration project is unique in its type and scale and unlike any other conducted in Australia,” he said.

“The great beneficiary of this project however is local wetland communities and the vulnerable and endangered migratory shorebird species which rely on them.”
Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5425099/newcastle-coal-infrastructure-group-awarded-for-its-wetland-restoration/?cs=316

 

1

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

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

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

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

When Should You Ask?

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

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

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

How Should You Ask?

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

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

What Should You Ask?

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

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

Who Should You Ask?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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EACH week, the Weathertex manufacturing plant at Heatherbrae sends up to four double-size containers full of its hardwood-based wall-cladding products by semi-trailer to Port Botany.

Executive chairman Paul Michael says the company, which exports about 20 per cent of its product, would love to ship its containers out of Newcastle, and is supporting the Port of Newcastle’s push to have a container terminal established on the former steelworks site.

About 10 kilometres away, the giant Tomago Aluminium smelter brings in about 1.1 million tonnes of its main raw material, alumina, through the Port of Newcastle each year.

About 60,000 tonnes of aluminium – or about 10 per cent of its output – heads the other way out past Nobbys as bulk cargo.

But most of Tomago’s output, or about 500,000 tonnes a year, is exported through Botany, leaving the smelter on freight trains at the rate of about 400 containers a week.

Tomago chief executive Matt Howell says the company is “doing the sums” on what a Newcastle container terminal would do for the smelter, saying “we can see the sense and logic” in the proposal.

“The Hunter has the industrial presence to support a container terminal,” Mr Howell said. “Obviously there are no concrete plans as yet but we like the idea.”

With a Newcastle container terminal back on the political agenda, Weathertex and Tomago are just two of the Hunter businesses who see benefits in shipping containers out of Newcastle.

Mr Michael says as well as a saving in trucking costs, growing congestion made planning truck movements in and out of Sydney was becoming increasingly difficult.

The Port of Newcastle has highlighted transport costs and congestion in recent documents, including a submission to the NSW government’s draft freight and ports plan, which closed for consultation in March.

The NSW opposition is supporting the Newcastle push, with Labor leader Luke Foley saying the secret container fee imposed on the port during its privatisation was stopping it from developing a container terminal.

The fee would add about $150 a container to Newcastle’s costs.

It meant “a wide swathe of the state from the Hunter and the Hawkesbury to New England and the mid-North Coast will be paying more to import and export their goods”.

“The Berejiklian government’s decision to prevent Newcastle from competing with Port Botany means imposing high transport costs on businesses for 98 years,” Mr Foley said, referring to the length of the Newcastle lease.

Dubbing the fee a “port rort”, Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said Hunter businesses had put the cost of road-hauling a container to Sydney at about $1500.

“This includes fuel, maintenance, vehicle booking fees, surcharges and labour,” Mr Crakanthorp said. “The tolls alone for travelling north from Botany are $68.19 one way. These costs would be much reduced, or avoided altogether, if a container terminal was developed in Newcastle.”

After a tour of the Weathertex plant, Port Stephens MP Kate Washington said it was a “manufacturing marvel” that would benefit from a Newcastle container terminal.

Mr Michael said that after 20 years under the existing ownership, the plant had lifted output from 1.2 million square metres a year to two million square metres.

It had been running around the clock on two 12-hour shifts a day and was about to add a third shift, meaning another 15 or so jobs on top of a workforce of about 100.

The plant had capacity to run four shifts a day.

Mr Michael said the plant, built in 1939, was the only one of its kind left operating in the world.

It still made small amounts of its original product, masonite interior panelling, but its main output was Weathertex, made for external use in various styles.”

Masonite and Weathertex are both made of hardwood pulp, formed into shape using high pressure steam and hydraulic presses.

Masonite is named after William H. Mason, who patented what became known as the Mason process in America in 1924.

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5402664/what-could-a-newcastle-container-terminal-mean-for-these-local-industries/

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who Needs a Summary Statement?

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

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

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

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

1. Start by Saying Who You Are

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

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

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

2. Make it an Elevator Pitch

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

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

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

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

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

3. Keep it Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Newcastle,_Australia_aerial Tim Starling

Here are more great job opportunities available in our wonderful Hunter Region.  Click here and take a look!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

to do list

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

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

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

1. Consider Quality Vs. Quantity

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

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

2. Make Your List The Night Before

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

3. Try To Start The List With The Hardest Task

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

4. From There, Try A Sequential Approach

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

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

5. Include Time Estimates

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

6. Try Using An “Other” Section

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

7. Limit The Amount Of Meetings In Your Day

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

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

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

 

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

1

Merewether’s most prominent sports ground is set for an impressive upgrade after Newcastle City Council unveiled plans to renovate and extend the existing grandstand at Townson Oval.

The $2m redevelopment will be jointly-funded by council and Merewether Carlton Rugby Club and is set to provide a vast improvement to the playing and viewing experience at the ground, also known as Mitchell Park.

A  top-floor glass pavilion which can be opened to the sea breeze tops the list of upgrades, which includes a new gym, change rooms, refurbished public amenities and installation of a lift.

The project will benefit Townson Oval’s other tenants, South Newcastle Rugby League Club and Merewether District Cricket Club.

“I am delighted to announce this much-needed upgrade for Mitchell Park or Townson Oval,” Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“This proposed project is a fine example of how sporting clubs and associations are able to contribute and partner with Council on refurbishing their home grounds.

“The upgrade will deliver an asset for the entire community and provide the footballing, cricket and cycling groups that use Townson a boost.”

Council has listed the project in a draft budget which they are considering placing on public exhibition on Tuesday night, before final adoption in June.

They will fund $1.5m for the grandstand’s base build, with Merewether Carlton set to provide $500,000 from club reserves and funds raised by the Merewether Greens Rugby Foundation.

Merewether Carlton’s contribution will fund the interior fit-out of the new glass pavilion, which will be known as the club’s new ‘Green Room’.

John Davis, a board member of Merewether Greens Rugby Foundation, said the new grandstand and Green Room are a game changer for the club.

“We are extremely grateful to be able to partner with Council to help redevelop the grandstand,” Mr Davis said.

“Not only will it offer our players, members and supporters better facilities, it will give fans a better vantage point from up behind the bleachers and also allow administrators to host in-house presentations, sponsors functions and club events.”

Construction is likely to commence after the football season pending final approval of the council budget.

 

Source: https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5369589/redevelopment-plans-unveiled-for-merewether-sports-ground-video/

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

1. You Don’t Need the Approval of Others

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

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

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

 

2. Scary Is Exciting

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

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

 

3. You Never Know Until You Try

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

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

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

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

 

4. Your Career Really Doesn’t Define You

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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4 things leaders shouldnt say

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

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

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

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

1. “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”

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

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

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

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

2. “Was That Clear?”

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

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

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

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

3. “Failure Isn’t an Option”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE Hunter is proving a holiday hot spot for other Australians, with stays in the region increasing faster than the national average, according to new figures released today.

The latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) statistics show a 22 per cent growth in Australians visiting the Hunter over the past three years, Liberal Senator for NSW, Arthur Sinodinos, said.

“That’s much more than the national figure of 15 per cent and testimony to the Hunter Region’s attractiveness as a destination for holidaying Australians,” Senator Sinodinos said.

He said the statistics showed 3.63 million local tourists visited the Hunter Region in the last 12 months, an increase of 9 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Most tourism in the Hunter was domestic, with short stays of two nights, the statistics revealed.

“On average, they’re spending $467 a head, which is 17 per cent more than the year before and a 27 per cent increase over three years,” Senator Sinodinos said.

Data for international visitors released earlier this month showed 194,000 visitors from overseas flocked to the Hunter in the year to December 2017, a 12-month increase of 14 per cent.
Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/5308944/the-secrets-out-hunter-proving-hot-spot-for-aussie-mini-breaks/