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Newcastle’s heritage buildings will get a hand from the state government with funding.

Nobbys Headland will receive $39,000, while the Maritime Museum will get more than $64,000 for projects that “increase community interaction and participation” with heritage.

The museum said it plans to use its funding for an animation project, which includes a 360-degree 3D virtual reality exhibit.

Income generation, activation options and flexible interpretive spaces will be explored for the headland.

Source: http://www.newcastlestar.com.au/story/4977516/heritage-buildings-get-some-love-and-funds/

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Can you get me a job at your company, please?

Do you know the CEO—and can I talk to her?

Want to see my resume? It’s awesome, I swear.

These are the things we’d like to say to people when we’re networking, but for obvious reasons can’t.

So, the question always becomes, what can we ask?

I recently read Molly Beck’s book Reach Out: The Simple Strategy You Need to Expand Your Network and Increase Your Influence. And in it, she breaks down the art of networking into bite-sized steps—one of which talks about good versus bad favours.

The concept is simple: Some things you choose to ask your network are better than others. And this means the difference between someone wanting to help you out and someone wanting nothing to do with your request.

If you read the quotes above and cringed at the thought of saying them to someone you knew, you already know what a bad favour is.

So, what makes a good favour?

“The key to a great favour is to ask a particular, definable question whose answer cannot be found on Google and can be answered easily in a paragraph or so via email,” says Beck in the book.

Let’s break that down a bit more:

 

It Should Be Specific

Your ask should be tailored to the person and not super open-ended. Beck gives the example “Can I pick your brain?” as both being way too vague and asking too much of someone (and for free, mind you). You’re better off saying something like, “What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into finance like yourself?”

 

It Should Be Non-Googleable

Don’t ask someone a question that you can look up yourself. Beck uses “What open jobs does your company have?” as an example that you could easily search on your own time.

 

It Should Be Short

Many of your requests will be sent over email to someone who’s already pretty busy, Beck points out, so they should be able to answer it without spending hours crafting a response.

 

Now of course, if the person seems excited to chat with you, you can ask to meet in person. But, Beck suggests, “If and when people say yes, keep in mind that you are working around their schedule, not yours, and you should be traveling to go to a place that’s easy for them to get to. Additionally, when you do meet for coffee or even a meal, you should be paying for them.”

Finally, the author says, every favour should come with a gift. Because this person is going out of their way for you, you should do the same—meaning you should include at least two beneficial things in your initial reach-out. Now, before you worry that you have to send a fruit basket and a bottle of wine every time you ask someone to grab coffee, don’t. It can be as simple as a compliment, a book recommendation, or an introduction to someone you think they would benefit from knowing.

(But if they end up helping you out in a big way, you might want to send them one of these thank you items.)

One of the most memorable favours I’ve ever gotten asked was when a reader of my blog emailed me to say that her friend was a big fan of my writing, and would I consider doing a birthday shout-out on the blog to her? It made my day that she and her friend thought so highly of my blog, and it was such a cool way to make someone feel special on their birthday. Of course I said yes. That super-unique favour opened up a great line of communication between all three of us.

Your request may be simpler (or, even more complicated) than this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth asking. If you follow the guidelines above, you’ll make it that much easier for someone to say yes—and be excited about it, too.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-networking-expert-on-how-to-ask-people-for-career-favors-and-get-a-yes?ref=carousel-slide-3

Weekly Jobs Update

Posted by | October 16, 2017 | Weekly Update

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Jobs In The Hunter – lots of jobs, in the Newcastle and Hunter Region, on-line, right now.  Click here to find your next role, in own backyard!

Let’s be real for a second. These days, many of us live in a world of excess, where more is definitely better. We heap our plates full with seconds when we’re already full, overstuff a drawer with t-shirts we’ll never wear again, and ensure that we own at least 20 mugs. (I know, I know—each of those mugs serves a very specific purpose.)

Often, we apply this “more is more” principle to our professional lives, too. Clocking in at the crack of dawn and logging off only when our eyelids can’t stay open anymore are often heralded as hallmarks of star employees.

But, I have news for you: This type of lifestyle is not necessary for success, growth, or job satisfaction. In fact, I’d argue that it can actually hurt you (but that’s a story for a different day).

The main message here is: You can be the apple of your manager’s eye even if you don’t make working overtime a habit. Provided of course that when you’re in the office, you’re kicking ass, completing everything assigned, and turning it on time.

Ready to start leaving before dinner time? I recommend making these three things habits:

1. Stay Engaged

I used to bring my laptop to every single meeting. And, without a doubt, I’d spend the entire time answering emails, surfing random sites, and chatting with friends.

Now that I work in an office where this isn’t the norm, I realize just how annoying it is. A surefire way to signal that you don’t care about your job or your teammates (even if that isn’t necessarily true), is to spend your time with them with your eyes glued to a screen.

Instead, be present in meetings and all other conversations you have. Ask questions, provide helpful feedback and context, and flex those active listening muscles.

And yes, this applies to remote workers, too. Working off site doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to communication. If anything, you’ll probably need to make a bit more of an effort, but it’s worth it if it means you’re staying in the loop and others are, too.

2. Know When to Say “Yes” and When to Say “No”

Lending a colleague a hand or volunteering to take the lead on a new project are invaluable characteristics, and there’s an added bonus if you can anticipate needs and offer your services before someone needs to ask.

It’ll show that you’re a go-getter, a team player, and someone who wants to learn and grow. It’s a big plus for a supervisor if his staff isn’t constantly muttering, “That’s not my job.”

But—but—this doesn’t, in any way, mean you should be a “yes person.” It’s also crucial to know when and how to turn down requests for help, new assignments, and so forth. Putting too much on your plate is a recipe for becoming severely overwhelmed.

You may start producing shoddy work or missing deadlines completely, and, well, neither of those are invaluable characteristics. The key is knowing not just how much you can fit on your plate, but how much you can execute at a high-quality rate.

So if you’re at the point in which you can feel yourself starting to slip, say no.

3. Check in With Your Boss Regularly

In each position I’ve had, my manager and I met regularly. And, I admit—these times weren’t always helpful. Sometimes, it was because my supervisor always canceled them (thanks). But other times it was because I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible, so I didn’t say much.

That was a mistake. This one-on-one time is so important. It’s your time to update her on your progress, ask for help, discuss career goals, and get to know each other a little bit better.

Taking these meetings seriously will reassure your boss that you are, in fact, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and it’ll also signal that you care. And caring is a big part of being a good employee.

And hey—If you don’t have regular time like this on your calendar, I highly recommend requesting it.

Yes—there will be occasions in which you need to put in a little extra time. But that doesn’t have to be an ongoing theme in your life. I’m here to tell you that you can be a rock star employee and live a life outside of work.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-be-a-hardworking-employee-without-sacrificing-your-personal-life?ref=carousel-slide-1

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MORE than 400 job seekers with a disability have been hired by Hunter businesses in the past 12 months, according to leading employment services provider, APM.

APM has been promoting the benefits of employment for people with illnesses, injuries or disability, and supporting employers in the region, since 2002.

Since October last year the company, which is Australia’s largest provider of Disability Employment Services (DES), achieved 426 successful job placements for throughout the Hunter.

As well as supporting job seekers through applications, interviews and training, the service works with employers to match potential employees to positions in their business.

APM’s Regional Manager for DES, Kate Falkenmire, said their teams work with job seekers from all backgrounds and with a range of disabilities to seek out the sustainable employment options across the region.

The service also helps local businesses access government wage subsidies and access funds for new equipment, workplace modifications or training required to assist a job seeker when they start work.

The Smith Family Trust owner Doug Smith recently hired job seeker Shane Riley through APM. Shane is the fifth person he has employed through the company and Doug said he regularly makes use of the support APM offers.

“They assisted with the end-to-end recruitment and have been providing regular support for over six months for my employees in the workplace,” he said.

Building on the success of their DES program, APM recently launched its first service to specifically help young job seekers across Hunter and the Central Coast.

APM YES (Youth Employment Services) looks to engage school leavers and people aged 15 to 24, and help boost their prospects of finding employment after leaving the classroom. While also helping local businesses fill their hiring gaps.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4968945/bring-down-barriers-with-apm-services/

Weekly Jobs Update

Posted by | October 9, 2017 | Weekly Update

tomaree national park

Summer is fast approaching!  Whether you are seeking work or in business, now is the time to start connecting before the next holiday period is upon us!  Click here to view the latest vacancies or list your local job opportunity now!

interview q

“Do you have any questions for us?”

You’ll be asked it in almost any interview. And while you may be tempted to sit back and relax during this portion—while the recruiter’s put in the hot seat—that’s not actually in your best interest.

Why? Because this is your final chance to make an awesome impression.

My team and I interview around 100,000 people a year so, as you can imagine, we always take notice when someone asks a question besides “What’s a typical day like?” or “When will I hear back from you?”

In fact, you shouldn’t be afraid to grill hiring managers during this portion of the conversation. Chances are, they’re hoping you will.

To help get you started, here are some of the super-smart questions I’ve been asked during actual interviews by real-life candidates–and the reasons they got my attention.

1. “Who Does the Wireframing for Your Site?”

OK, that’s clearly specific to a certain role. But I’m using this one as an example of a question you can ask that places you in the role you’ve applied for.

This question came from a prospective designer. We got talking about a new internal website we were developing and he asked, “Who does the wireframing for your website, the design team or a specific UX team?”

We ended up having a great discussion about our processes and how he could contribute to the development of the project. I remember thinking it was like we were already working together. And, from his perspective, he got a great insight into the way we work across teams and who has responsibility for what.

2. “Why Does This Role Matter to the Growth of the Company?”

Talk about putting the ball back in my court! This question showed me the candidate was interested in more than just what I thought of him then and there, in the interview. She wanted to make an impact beyond her own role or team and get a feel for how she’d fit into the future plans of the business.

And, from a candidate perspective, it’s a great way to help you see whether the role you’ve applied for will be a high or low-profile position. It also gives you an indication of what’s expected of the person who fills that role.

3. “Could I Meet Some of the People I’d Be Working With?”

I’ve been asked this a few times—especially more recently—and it’s a great question. (And one that we always try to accommodate.) It shows me the candidate understands the importance of cultural fit and team dynamics and that it matters to them. This is clearly not a person who wants to come to work, sit down at their desk every day, and work in a solitary bubble with their headphones on.

Plus, if you want to get a sense of whether you’ll enjoy being around the people you could be working with every day, this is the question you should ask.

4. “Why Has the Person in This Role Decided to Leave?” / “Who Had This Role Before?”

This can be a very revealing question! Why is the position you’ve applied for available? Is it because the previous person has been promoted or moved to a different team? Both of which would suggest that this job would set you up for progression.

Or, did the person leave to join another company? Or because they didn’t meet expectations? If the recruiter hesitates or becomes evasive, that could tell you everything you need to know! Equally, stay alert and if you sense it’s time to move the conversation on, gently change the subject to something else or ask a new question that’s easier to answer.

5. “What Do You Like Most About Working Here?”

I’ve only been asked this once, believe it or not. It was by a candidate who’d just finished giving a very competent response to the question, “Why do you want to work here?”

I loved the way she tossed this question right back at me. And, although it took me a few seconds to think how to respond, we ended up having a great conversation about how rewarding a career at J&J can be, both personally and professionally.

As a candidate, it’s the perfect question to catch the recruiter a little off-guard and get an honest answer. Regardless of what they say, you can probably gauge how they truly feel about their company, which gives you another indication of whether it’s the right fit for you.

6. “Do You Have Any Reservations About Me or My Qualifications?”

A seriously gutsy question! So gutsy that I was impressed by the confidence of the candidate who asked it. You might think you’re setting your self-esteem up for a knocking. But it’s actually very smart.

A question like this gives you the chance to address any concerns the recruiter may have about your fit for the role head-on, in person. In the instance I’m thinking of, the candidate was actually able to mitigate the concerns I had about a large, unexplained gap on his resume. It transpired he’d taken an unpaid sabbatical to care for his infant daughter while his wife went back to college.

Sure, it takes some gumption to ask. But why allow a potentially unfounded reservation turn into a reason to give someone else the job ahead of you?

7. “How Do You Deal With Professional Disagreements Within the Team? Can You Give Me an Example?”

Another question that shows a recruiter that they’re talking to a candidate who cares about team dynamics and understands that how a team works together can make or break the success of its projects.

For you as a candidate, it’s an incredibly useful way to find out whether you’ll be joining a team of ‘yes-men’ or whether respectful (emphasis on respectful!) disagreements are encouraged to ensure all avenues are explored and that company goals are put ahead of egos. Providing the interviewer answers honestly, it also gives you an indication of inter-team dynamics.
As a recruiter, I’ve heard a lot of awesome questions (such as these)—and some I bet the candidate regretted instantly! But, with a little preparation, there’s no need to feel anxious about this part of an interview.

The hiring manager knows you want to figure out if the role is right for you so they’ll be expecting questions. And by taking a couple of the examples above and modifying them to fit your own situation, I can almost guarantee you’re going to instigate some really valuable discussions that help you (both!) to make the right decision about the role.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/out-of-100000-interviews-these-7-candidate-questions-stood-out

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A messenger from another planet was spreading the gospel of change in Newcastle two weeks ago.

Her name: Kaila Colbin.

Her message: prepare yourself for great technological change.

Colbin is an ambassador for Singularity University, a Silicon Valley think tank and business incubator that aims to educate people about technology change in society.

Singularity University has planned its first Australian Summit for February 2018 in Sydney, with several speakers covering topics on technology and change.

Colbin, who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, curated the organisation’s first summit in New Zealand.

Among her chief interests is artificial intelligence (AI).

“I’m interested in technological unemployment. What are we doing about jobs, that are being replaced by AI,” Colbin says. “Do we have systems, processes and structures in place to retrain people for new jobs. Are we looking effectively at all the possible policy responses to that, in terms of minimum basic income or affirmative action for humans, or a whole range of possibilities we can be thinking about now.”

Among the topics that come into that discussion: provision of a universal basic income and continuous learning.

Colbin points to the notion of society changing its lifestyle model – “Right now, the first third of our life is education, the second third is work and the third is retirement. We have to move away from that model and towards a model where we take those things and we slice them up into thin slices and we shuffle them together.

“So we do a bit of education and them we deploy that out in the real world, then we do some more education and we deploy that in the real world.

“So instead of you’ve learned to be your thing . . . you are that thing for the rest of your life, it is a model of continuous adaptation for the rest of your life because we don’t know what jobs are going to look like 10 or 15 years from now.”

Colbin was keen to visit Newcastle, even for day, because she had heard much about it from the ReNew Newcastle project created by Marcus Westbury. Colbin is heavily involved in the regeneration of Christchurch.

She called it “one of the most fascinating cities to live in in the world”. And acknowledged it has much in common with Newcastle.

“We have similarities in collective sense – our unique position, our scale, the society that we have, the kind of people we have. We have the opportunity to reimagine the way we want to live together in a new way,” Colbin says. “We have the opportunity to be innovative in a way that larger cities struggle with.”

Colbin addressed several groups in Newcastle in her short stay, encouraging attendance the Singular University Australia Summit, where technology and change will be front and centre on the agenda.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4953443/finding-our-way-into-the-future/

Weekly Jobs Update

Posted by | October 4, 2017 | Weekly Update

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Your first few weeks at a new job can be exhilarating. It’s often fast-paced and full of brand new things that can reignite a spark that you lost. After all, that might’ve been your reason for looking for this new gig in the first place.

But, it can also be overwhelming. And when you look at all the meetings on your calendar, you might think that your goal is to survive it. You can always go back and re-learn anything you missed this week, right?

And in a lot of ways, that’s true. Nobody expects you to master everything you learn during your first month, especially when it comes to understanding the finer details about your company. But there is an important question you should ask in every meeting you have (when it makes sense, of course):

How can my work make your life easier?

You might be thinking, “I barely know where the coffee machine is! How can I think about helping anyone else right now?” And that’s totally fair. But on my first day at my current job, my boss suggested that I set up meetings with everyone on my team and ask each of them this question. It was terrifying, and if I’m being honest, I really didn’t want to do it. But I didn’t want to disappoint my new boss more, so I got over my fear and piped up.

And when I did, I was pleasantly surprised by how it went.

Some people had really strong opinions. Others told me that they hadn’t even thought about it, but appreciated that I opened the conversation with that question. But what I ultimately learned was that your intro meetings don’t have to be a one-way street.

As much as you have to learn, it’s important to remember that you were hired to bring something different to the table—and you can do that as early as your first week on the job.

Again, I’m not going to pretend that this won’t be uncomfortable. I also understand that in some meetings, this will be seen as completely out-of-context. But when the opportunity presents itself and it feels like the next natural thing to say—challenge yourself to say it.

And then, before you worry you’re putting too much on your plate, know that you can respond with, “That’s really interesting to hear, once I’m completely onboarded, I’d love to find more time to discuss how can I start making this happen.”

I know. Asking this question might not make your first month any easier, but it’ll make the exact right impression on your new team. Not to mention, it’ll set you up to prioritize your tasks correctly. So take a deep breath and do it!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-best-question-to-ask-when-youre-new-at-work?ref=carousel-slide-3

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The Hunter Region’s lack of highly-paid jobs could be greatly improved with a much bigger injection of state infrastructure funding, a leading academic says.

This lack of higher incomes meant less consumption and less opportunity, University of Western Sydney Professor Phillip O’Neill said

Only 6 per cent of Hunter residents earn more than $2000 a week, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.

The Hunter is slightly ahead of its regional neighbour, the Central Coast, an area where 5 per cent of citizens earn that kind of money.

In Sydney’s eastern suburbs, 17 per cent of people make more than $2000 a week.

Professor O’Neill, who teaches geography and urban studies, said there was an absence in the Hunter of “very highly paid professional services occupations, in particular law and finance”.

The decline of heavy industry like BHP and the sale of coal mines to global corporations added to a lack of senior positions, he said.

An exodus of senior positions in the region’s public sector since the 1980s and 1990s was also a factor.

Professor O’Neill said the Hunter had its positives, including a world-class university and TAFE, but “a lot of graduates from those institutions are forced to leave the region” to get good jobs.

Other attractive attributes included Newcastle Airport, the M1 motorway and Newcastle’s harbourside location.

But by world standards, the region was not competitive enough, he said.

He said it was difficult to think of any solution, other than a concerted government effort to attract a core of quality employers.

“There are good lessons in Australia to how governments can build concentrations of work,” he said.

“One is the Barangaroo project in Sydney.”

He said the NSW government had built infrastructure and partnered with the private sector to create this precinct.

“Barangaroo will yield 25,000 high-quality professional services jobs,” he said.

“If it takes that sort of effort to generate that number of jobs on the edge of Sydney Harbour in the middle of a global city, why would governments think that jobs can somehow spring up spontaneously in a regional city without similar effort?”

While the NSW government is spending $650 million to revitalise Newcastle, it is spending much more at Barangaroo.

Additionally, it is spending billions on the Sydney Metro rail system, which will have a station at Barangaroo.

“Every successful professional services conglomeration has excellent amenity for workers and high-speed transport and telecommunications connections,” Professor O’Neill, who lives in the Hunter, said.

Investment in Newcastle was “unbalanced because it’s biased towards residential”.

“It’s high quality residential and, no doubt, it’s the type of development that would attract qualified young professionals,” he said.

“But we don’t see the type of commercial and infrastructure development that significant employers would be looking for to invest in downtown Newcastle.”

As such, apartments would more likely attract retirees than workers, he said.

Newcastle City Council said it had, for years, been working with Hunter Development Corporation, Urban Growth and the Department of Planning to revitalise the city centre.

“Council has also examined the future role of Wickham, adjacent to the new commercial core, through the recently released master plan for the suburb,” a spokesman said.

“The vision sees Wickham evolving into a diverse and dynamic mixed-use precinct.

“As part of the master plan, proposals are being considered to increase building heights along the rail corridor to help promote the growth of employment opportunities, including service industries.”

Professor O’Neill said the Hunter was evolving into “a broader service-based economy”.

“The sorts of jobs that are typical of a population-based service sector aren’t highly-paid positions,” he said.

“They also include a higher proportion of casual and part-time positions.

“This gives you a larger number of people in the $20,000 to $30,000 a year bracket – almost certainly they are part-time and casual workers.”

The ABS figures show that 30 per cent of Hunter residents earn $15,600 to $41,600 a year.

Professor O’Neill said the coal industry had provided numerous jobs worth more than $100,000 over the last decade.

“Those coal numbers have backed away in recent years,” he said.

“There isn’t a high concentration of occupations in the Hunter that pay in excess of $100,000 per annum, at least as far as wages and salary earners are concerned.

“If anything, the likelihood of finding those jobs is diminishing.”

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4941580/how-newcastle-could-attract-the-big-bucks-photos-poll/

Weekly Jobs Update

Posted by | September 26, 2017 | Weekly Update

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Whether you’re spending time with your family, or enjoying a quicker, quieter commute to work, we hope you’re having a happy school holidays!  Search here for all the latest jobs in the Hunter Region.

yoga

Yoga is often bandied about as something for the ultra hip but one group of dedicated yogis is using the practice to help frontline workers combat the ongoing stress of their professions.

Frontline Yoga offers free classes to those who serve on the frontline — from defence members to emergency services workers.

The charity is based in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, but yoga teachers from all over Australia are now learning the Frontline principles so they can offer classes in their towns too.

“We ask the yoga teachers to stand at the front of the class and be predictable in their movements.

“Students are free to keep their eyes open, to get up and walk out of the class and we also have [students] facing the door.”

The guidelines have been created in collaboration with frontline workers who were coincidentally attending yoga classes.

“I had feedback about the subtle but ongoing benefits in their lives,” Ms O’Donoghue said.

“I started thinking if it was working so well for this particular group, surely there’s a lot of other industries working with stress and exposure to trauma who could benefit.”

Personal experience

Ms O’Donoghue said she used her personal exposure to front line work to inform her classes.

“My foster father was the state commissioner for St Johns [and] my [biological] father was really quite severely impacted by PTSD.

“As a child you just adapt and modify [and] I was always striving to make him more comfortable.”

Ms O’Donoghue said Frontline Yoga was battling to change the stigma around mental health.

“I don’t see a broken person, I don’t see a helpless person,” she said.

“I’m amazed. If that person could have done one activity that day — and maybe that is the only activity they’re doing — and they’ve chosen to come to my yoga class, I can’t help but be completely overwhelmed with gratitude.”

Former RAAF combat engineer Chris Thompson-Lang has trained as a yoga teacher to help with his own PTSD and depression and is a co-founder of Frontline Yoga.

“I came to start practicing yoga in Canberra two years after returning from Afghanistan,” he said.

“Things weren’t going well for me — I’d had a marriage breakdown, I was struggling with my personal connections and drinking a lot.

“[Yoga] is something that I need to stay focused on because if I stop practising, I go back to some of my old habits and I do notice that spiral.

“It takes a fair bit of self-discipline but fortunately, the military gave me that and it’s something we can all take with us.”

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-14/yoga-helping-frontline-workers-combat-mental-health-issues/8944556

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You know those days when you leave work feeling amazing, pumped that you were highly productive? On the flipside, I’m sure you have days that are just the opposite. Ones that leave you feeling frustrated, wondering whether you got anything done. What if there was a way to end every day knowing that it was successful?

Unfortunately, there’s no bulletproof formula to guarantee this, but there are certain practices you can follow that’ll help.

Here are five habits that, if practiced daily, can boost your success at work:

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journals have grown wildly popular and I can understand why. Earlier this year, I started a journal and committed to writing down one thing I’m grateful for every day. At 159 days in, I’m still going strong. I found that expressing gratitude every morning before work gets me in the right mindset and helps me prepare for the day’s challenges.

But don’t take my word for it. A study by UCLA found that people who regularly wrote down what they were grateful for were more optimistic and cheerful than those who didn’t. Interestingly, they also had fewer doctor visits and fewer work absences. Expressing gratitude daily is a simple, quick practice that has a massive impact, and there’s even an app for it in case you’re not a fan of physical journaling like I am.

2. Reduce Context Switching

Context switching is when you jump between various, unrelated tasks. You’re heads down on a project but get interrupted by an urgent message. A few minutes later, a conversation between co-workers distracts you, and, after you finally refocus, you remember an email you should have responded to earlier in the day. Does this sound like your day?

While rapid context switching may seem like the norm of the modern worker, Jessica Harris from Trello explains how it comes at a high cost:

We spend an average of just one minute and 15 seconds on a task before being interrupted.

It takes an average of 25 minutes to resume a task after being interrupted.

Heavily multitasking can temporarily lower your IQ by up to 15 points.

You probably can’t eliminate context switching altogether, but being mindful of the productivity damage it causes will allow you to create rules to avoid distraction (more on that in a second).

3. Create “If/When-Then” Plans

I learned about this habit from Robert Cialdini’s book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. Here’s how it works. You pick a cue, then pick a desirable action that you can link to that cue. Here are a few “if/when-then” rules I follow:

If/when I need to work without interruption, then I leave my desk and find a drop-by room.
If/when it’s time to eat lunch, then I order a salad. Boring, I know.
If/when I get a calendar invite for Thursday (when my company has a no-meeting policy), then I move the meeting to a different day.
Research suggests that people who use “if/when-then” planning are between two and three times more likely to achieve their goals. This type of planning is effective because you’re proactively creating automatic responses. When situations arise that might prevent you from reaching your long-term goals, you’ve already decided how you’ll act.

4. Exercise—Even if Only for a Few Minutes

You know you should exercise—the benefits are significant. But knowing isn’t the tough part—it’s finding time in your busy schedule to make it happen.

Running, cycling, or going to the gym may be ideal, but all you really need is a few minutes. One option is the 7-Minute Workout. It’s an intense workout you can do almost anywhere and is proven to deliver results.

Taking a short break to go on a walk is a great way to reduce stress. A few years back I committed to going on one walk in the middle of the workday.

These quick strolls elevated my heart rate, for just a few minutes, and it enabled me to go back to my work with renewed focus. So, even if you don’t have time to hit the gym, exercising for only a few minutes each day is still worth it.

5. Have a Shutdown Ritual

Eric Barker, a best-selling author who wrote an entire book on success, teaches the importance of having a “shutdown ritual” in which you take the time to close out the day’s business and prepare for tomorrow. His research found that the simple act of writing down the things you need to take care of the next day can settle your brain and help you relax.

My shutdown ritual includes making a concise list (no more than three) of the most important things I need to do the next day. Since committing to this practice I’ve found that I think less about work when I’m out of the office. My ritual also includes cleaning my desk and shutting down my laptop, practices signaling that my work day has come to an end.

It turns out that implementing this has been found to relieve anxiety and help you enjoy your evening.

One final thought. While each of these five habits is intended to help you be more successful, it’s important to also pause and take a moment to define what success means to you.

These are guidelines, and, ultimately, you’ve got to create your own standard of excellence and measure progress accordingly. Because real, lasting success comes by aligning your actions with what’s most important to you.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-habits-thatll-ensure-youll-end-every-day-feeling-successful?ref=carousel-slide-0

Weekly Jobs Update

Posted by | September 20, 2017 | Weekly Update

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NEWCASTLE Library will close for almost a fortnight as part of a restock and upgrade.

The War Memorial Cultural Centre, which houses the library, is receiving a grand re-opening to mark its 60th anniversary.

It will shut from October 3 until October 14 as part of the works, which begin September 30.

The local history library will also be closed ahead of the October 16 re-opening.

“This is an exciting time for Newcastle Library as the final work is done on its transformation into a facility befitting the digital age,” Newcastle City Council interim chief executive Jeremy Bath said.

“The original design and layout of the facility catered to manual record keeping of the 1960s and a catchment area of around 150,000 people, so it’s a timely upgrade ahead of the building’s Diamond anniversary.”

Work started in April to modernise the library, including a “makerspace’ showcasing digital technology on the first floor.

The building will also accommodate collaborative work and study areas under the $1.3 million changes.

Space to read and research will grow about 85 square metres, with quiet spaces and a children’s zone also included.

The after-hours return chute will remain open to accept the return of items during the 11-day closure.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4914467/newcastle-library-to-close-for-13m-upgrade/

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Acclimating to a new company can be both exhilarating and daunting. You want to jump into the role with enthusiasm, come across as a fast learner, and prove that hiring you was 110% worth it.

I know: I returned to work after 10 years away and put a lot of pressure on myself to adjust as quickly as possible. While my re-entry was through a fairly unique 10-week returnship program (a.k.a., an internship program for mid-career professionals who’ve taken a break), I was subject to the same uncertainty anyone would feel upon going back to the workforce after time away.

Fortunately, in addition to my background in front-line business roles, I’d had experience in leadership and professional development, so I realized that assessing the landscape and “fitting in” would be critical to my success.

With that in mind, here are my four best tips for adjusting:

1. Pay Attention to Company Culture

The role of culture can’t be overstated: Cultural norms can span the range of high-level company values to very specific action steps. They usually come in the form of unwritten rules.

For example:

Are senior leaders approachable, or is there a more formal channel that you need to be aware of?
Do colleagues eat lunch at their desks, or use that time to meet and network?
Do people leave at a reasonable hour or is facetime important?
Are they “always on” (through emails and logging in), even when they’re out of the office?
Culture’s the outcome of encouraged and accepted behaviors. And sometimes, there are aspects of culture that aren’t discovered until you make a mistake. For example, early on in a new role, I mentioned “business development” when referencing a topic. The senior leader in the room stopped the meeting to inform me that our firm never engages in selling, therefore the proper term was “client development.”

It didn’t count against me: Mistakes happen! But one way I was able to fit in and move beyond my faux pas was to make a note of it and use the preferred terminology moving forward.

2. Be Open to New Experiences

Regardless of your most recent role, changing companies means you’re entering a new situation. And this new group will inevitably do things differently.

Rather than fight to do things the way you’re used to, embrace the opportunity to adopt new approaches. For example, if your new team seems more focused on output than on strategy and analysis, learn more about the associated business impact before trying to change direction.

Or, if your boss is heavily focused on a thorough analysis of ROI before moving forward with a new program, make your best attempt to understand the drivers of that need.

Try it the new way at least once. That way you’ll give yourself a chance to determine which battles are worth fighting (and which aren’t).

3. Take the Time to Build Your Network

Your co-workers will be key to your success at your new company. Achieving results will require knowing whom to reach out to—at every level.

Figure out who has the insights, time, or interest to help you and introduce yourself. You’ll find that most people are happy to share their expertise if you ask. And take the time to see if you have skills, insights or contacts that would be of help to your new colleagues. It never hurts to build good will. The stronger your internal network, the easier time you’ll have when you need help.

Bonus: You can also build your overall network, by updating your online profile with your new role. It’s a natural reason for people to reach out and reconnect, which is always worthwhile.

4. Learn All You Can

The benefits of exposing yourself to multiple perspectives and new experiences are vast. If you remain open-minded and park your ego at the door, you’re bound to benefit from an amazing amount of learning.

Seriously, by just carrying around a notebook your first few days, jotting down questions, and seeking out answers, you’ll pick up so much more knowledge than you had before. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re supposed to know this—the fact is that you don’t and the more quickly you learn, the more at ease you’ll feel.

Above all, it’s important to remember that you’re entering a group of established professionals and they’ll respect you for taking the time to understand how everything works.

While you may feel an urge to share your past (and possibly lofty) experiences with your new team to establish yourself, resist the temptation to brag. Rather, use time with your colleagues to understand what they do and what they see as priorities. There will be plenty of time to add your perspective once you’ve gotten a more complete picture and have the data you need.

Before long, you’ll stop feeling like “the new person” and start feeling like someone who’s been there forever—in the best way possible.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-tips-thatll-make-easing-back-into-office-life-a-little-easier?ref=carousel-slide-1

Weekly Jobs Update

Posted by | September 11, 2017 | Weekly Update

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Searching for jobs in the Hunter Region couldn’t be easier when you’re looking in the right place.  Click here to see the latest vacancies on Jobs In  The Hunter.

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IF you’ve ever wanted a captive audience to show the best sides of Newcastle, here is your chance to shine.

Roughly 120 accredited guides will be chosen to promote Newcastle in a Newcastle City Council bid to spread civic pride to the city’s growing numbers of visitors and tourists.

The NEW Crew, established with Training Services NSW and TAFE NSW, will give guides free training to help showcase Newcastle’s tourism and hospitality hotspots to the city’s visitors.

“We are seeing more and more major events choose Newcastle as a host city,” interim chief executive Jeremy Bath said.

“From Socceroos, Matildas and Wallabies to Supermoto and Supercars, we’ve proven to be gracious hosts and we want to build on this reputation by having guides on hand.”

 Total visitor nights in Newcastle rose to 2.6 million last year according to Tourism Research Australia, a 9.7 per cent rise on the previous year’s figures.

With potential for international flights into Williamtown and a new cruise terminal, Mr Bath said the city was well positioned to maintain the trend.

Anyone interested in becoming a guide as part of the NEW Crew can email tourism@ncc.nsw.gov.au for more information.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4894641/keen-guides-to-showcase-our-citys-best/

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Your paycheck just got a bit heftier, and you’re thinking about finally biting the bullet and buying yourself that new computer, or taking your significant other out to a super nice restaurant, or splurging on a massage more than once a year. Or, maybe you’re trying to be more fiscally responsible, so you’ve decided to throw all that extra money into a savings account that you’ll one day use for something important.

Turns out, neither of these options is guaranteed to make you as happy in the long term as a third option—buying yourself time.

A recent study cited in The Washington Post found that some of the happiest people are those who invest their hard-earned money into outsourcing chores they dislike to do, such as cleaning or grocery shopping.

And, these findings doesn’t discriminate based on household income, marital status, or number of children—meaning no matter who you are and how much you make, this applies to you, too (even if you’d argue having the latest cool products is all the happiness you need).

So, why do so many of us lean toward buying nice things the second our bank accounts grow? Says the article’s author Jenna Gallegos, “…we’re hesitant to trade money, which is concrete and measurable, for time, which is much more uncertain,” while we know exactly what we’re getting our money for when we buy goods.

And yet, time is so valuable in our lives and careers. It means the difference between leaving work early or staying late, getting all our tasks done or only getting halfway through our to-do list, checking our email on vacation or having the luxury to truly unplug. So, if we could afford to get back an extra hour in the morning, or free up our evenings or weekends to work on things that actually matter to us, wouldn’t we be willing to pay for it?

Consider it the next time you get a raise or bonus—maybe you trade an expensive smartwatch for a laundry service that delivers (because sorting whites and colors every Sunday morning drives you crazy).

Of course I’m not saying that you can’t treat yourself to something you’ve worked hard for, but having clean clothes magically appear when you need them and an entire Sunday to yourself sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-best-way-to-spend-your-raise-if-you-want-to-be-happier?ref=carousel-slide-1

Weekly Jobs Update

Posted by | September 4, 2017 | Weekly Update

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Whether you’re looking for a new job in the Hunter Region in administration, manufacturing, healthcare, or any other industry, you can submit your application by clicking here.  Happy job hunting!

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When you are thinking about career options, it can be helpful to know where the jobs will be.

Australia’s population is changing. The population is getting older, more females are in paid work, and the number of school aged children is growing. Demand is likely to grow for aged care, childcare, home based care, and education services.

Housing construction, investment in infrastructure (like roads, railways and airports), tourism activity and the international education sector are expected to stay strong.

The number and type of JOB OPENINGS available in the future will depend on things like

  • turnover (workers leaving their job to do things like study, move to another job, care for a family member, retire or travel)
  • demand for goods and services
  • demand for resources
  • changes in technology

Industry Outlook
Over the 5 years to 2020, the department expects the LARGEST JOBS GROWTH will be in

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Education and Training

By 2020, there will probably be FEWER JOBS in

  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

These are important industries and turnover will provide opportunities for workers with the right skills.
Some parts of these industries (like Food Product Manufacturing) are expected to grow.

Career Outlook
The department expects there will be many new jobs for Professionals, Community and Personal Service Workers.

Some of the JOBS EXPECTED TO GROW the most are

  • Registered Nurses
  • Aged and Disabled Carers
  • Accountants
  • Electricians

Some jobs need more training now than they used to (like Child Carers in day care centres), and most of the new jobs created over the next few years will be higher skilled. There are millions of lower skilled jobs and these can be rewarding careers or pathways to other jobs.

Employer needs can change quickly. Workers who are willing to learn, gain experience and build their skills will be well placed to find and keep a job.

Source: http://joboutlook.gov.au/FutureOfWork.aspx

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THE Grateful is, well, grateful.

The “one for one” pay-it-forward bouquet business launched barely six months ago by Newcastle mums Gemma McBurnie and Jessica Shuwalow has reached a milestone.

The online floral business has delivered more than 500 of its bouquets to the John Hunter Hospital and Ronald McDonald House thanks to the support of local businesses and individuals.

The Grateful works on the concept of allowing clients to buy a bouquet knowing that another similar bouquet will then be donated to the hospital.

“It’s almost like it’s become bigger than us, The Grateful has its own legs and we are just keeping it going, the community support has been amazing,” says Mrs Shuwalow.

“And when you go to the hospital, people come running up to say thank you and that we’ve made their week, so it’s taken off.

“It’s not really about the numbers [of bouquets] but it’s about the impact.”

Friends Mrs McBurnie and Mrs Shuwalow began their venture late in 2016, determined to run a business that “removes transactional consumerism” and allows customers to bring cheer to themselves and others.

Hunter businesses soon learnt of the venture and many take part in a subscription program where they receive a weekly bouquet for their office, home, clients or employees and then sponsor a particular area of the hospital or Ronald McDonald House where their donated bouquet goes.

At the end of each week following the delivery of their donated bouquets, participants receive an ‘feel good’ email update with some pictures and a story about their donated bouquet, which businesses can then share with their network.

Mrs Shuwalow said the business has grown organically – both she and Ms McBurnie have young children and have not actively promoted it – and relied on word of mouth: “For us it’s not about the money so far, it’s been more about the cause.”

And the community has rallied to the cause.

“We’ve had people calling to offer jars or vases which we use to put the flowers in, or just to donate, it’s been overwhelming,” she says.

“People feel so good with the concept, it puts things in perspective, like ‘Hey, I can afford flowers if it’s once a week or yearly but I can share that’, because there is someone else always worse off than you, so be grateful for the good things.”

The Grateful supports local florists in sourcing its blooms and its founders plan to open a bricks and mortar store in Carrington with the same concept, this time dealing in homewares and clothing.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4871084/idea-blooms-to-create-a-fresh-way-of-giving/?cs=4200

Weekly Jobs Update

Posted by | August 28, 2017 | Weekly Update

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Can you believe it’s the last week of winter?  Time for a spring clean – dust off your resume and find your next job in the Hunter Region by clicking here!

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Local engineering company Varley Group has secured the contract to unload cargos of wind turbines from ships arriving at Newcastle Port.

The contract win comes after the shipping company caved to community pressure and agreed to stop using Singaporean workers to unload the ships.

“As the wind turbine parts are welded to the deck of the ship, this is specialised work that calls for specialised metal workers to ensure safety,” Federal member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said.

“It was always outrageous to deploy a fly-in crew from Singapore to unload ships at our port when there is an abundance of skilled workers right here in Newcastle.

“The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Maritime Union of Australia, workers and community members united to send a clear message that this behaviour is not acceptable in Newcastle.”

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4863141/varley-group-wins-contract-to-use-local-workers/

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If you want to be more productive in your life, you’ll have to change some of your current habits.

Self-awareness is key, so you first need to be aware of the things you do (or don’t do), the toxic impact that they may be having on your life, and where they could be holding you back from accomplishing your goals.

These four habits can absolutely damage productivity, but there’s a clear path on how to break all of them.

1. Texting Every Five Minutes

On average, we spend over four hours a day on our phones, which includes 85 texts that we send (for adults under 45).

Pretty crazy, right?

The reality is, every time you reply, you’re resetting your focus and hindering optimal productivity.

How to Break It

The first step to help text less is to turn off notifications to keep you from being distracted when new ones come in.

If you’re too tempted, commit for a specific duration of time (for example, one hour) to not look at your phone—you’ll get used to this over time.

2. Saying “Yes”

Saying “yes” certainly has its benefits, especially when presented with an opportunity that’ll show the depth of your capabilities. But this can be an unbelievably slippery slope.

Once you become stretched too thin, you’ll no longer be able to deliver quality work across various projects, and they’ll all begin to suffer. On top of that, while your intentions may have been in the right place, it may prevent future opportunities from coming across your plate.

How to Break It

When presented with a new project, stop and think for a minute before saying “yes.” Consider the short- to long-term impact, and start getting comfortable with saying “no.”

Trust me, your boss will appreciate the fact that you’re being honest, especially if various projects could be negatively impacted.

3. Getting By With Being Disorganized

Personally, this has been the bane of my professional existence. Sure, a messy workspace could mean you’re a genius, but if you’re organizationally struggling, it can be damaging to your productivity where you’ll be left playing a perpetual game of “catch up.”

How to Break It

First, you should declutter, physically and digitally. If you’re willing to part with the messy desk, it’ll be a cathartic exercise to actually have a fresh space to work at.

Next, think about how you’re prioritizing and what tools you’re using to monitor all the tasks you have. Over the years, I’ve become intimately familiar with the likes of project management tools like Basecamp, Trello, and Asana, but have also upgraded my notes and to-do lists with the likes of Evernote, Todoist, and Dropbox Paper.

Regardless of what you use, do some “grooming” and prioritize by those tasks with the highest weight.

4. Living Without a Schedule

It’s 9 AM Monday morning, and you’re digging yourself out of the abyss that is your email inbox.

But five minutes later, you get pulled into an urgent meeting that ends up lasting two hours while there was a time-sensitive email that you missed.

Ever happen?

Where there are definitely intangibles that you can’t get away from, taking an extra step to control what you can with a schedule you create will pay long-term dividends (especially for your sanity, too).

How to Break It

Spend 30 minutes on a work night (or Sunday) to plan out your day. Check your email, plan your to-do list, and know exactly where you’re going to allocate your time. Block out 30- to 60-minute time slots on your own calendar to ensure you stay on-schedule and on-task.

With the additional visibility, you can plan ahead fewer surprises, and if something unplanned does happen, you’ll know exactly where you need to pick things back up.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-habits-you-need-to-ditch-if-you-plan-on-being-productive-today?ref=carousel-slide-1

Weekly Update

Posted by | August 21, 2017 | Community, Weekly Update

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Searching for a job in your local region is a lot easier when they’re all advertised in one spot – click here to find your next job in the Hunter Valley!

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Interviews come in all shapes and sizes: Sometimes you’re with one interviewer, others you’re with five. Maybe you’ll be asked to lunch, expected to solve a problem, or invited to a Skype interview.

But no matter what the format, we’ll give you what you need to succeed.

We’ll show you how to nail every type of job interview you might face. Check out these 10 common interviews and what you need to know about them.

1. The Traditional Interview

This is the scenario you’ll face most often: You sit down with a solo interviewer and answer a series of questions designed to help her figure out if you’re a great candidate for the job.

2. The Phone Interview

Asked for a phone interview? A call is typically a first-round screening to see if you’re a fit to come in for a full interview, so nailing it is key. You’ll want to prepare just as you would for an in-person interview, with some key adjustments for the phone format.

3. The Skype Interview

Skype video interviews take the phone-screening interview to the next level, and they’re becoming a regular part of the job application process for many companies. From choosing the right on-screen look to making sure all of your tech systems are a go, you’ll want to be 100% ready for your TV debut.

4. The Case Interview

The case interview is a more specialized format in which you’re given a business problem (“How can BigCoal Co. double its growth?”) or a puzzle (“How many tennis balls fit in a 747?”) to solve. While case interviews were once exclusively the domain of aspiring consultants, they’re now popping up everywhere from tech companies to NGOs.

5. The Puzzle Interview

Google and other highly competitive companies have been known to ask “puzzle” questions, like, “How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30 PM on a Friday?” Seems random, but your interviewer wants to determine how quickly you can think on your feet, how you’ll approach a difficult situation, and how you can make progress in the face of a challenge.

6. The Lunch Interview

Has your potential employer suggested an interview over a meal? That’s a good sign—it usually means she wants to learn a little more about you and how you act outside of the office. We’ll show how to highlight your strengths and accomplishments while trying to maneuver a mouthful of chicken Piccata.

7. The Group Interview

Group interviews aren’t common, but you might find them for sales roles, internships, or other positions in which the company is hiring multiple people for the same job. How do you catch the hiring manager’s eye when you’re part of the group? It takes a little gusto and a few smart tactics.

8. The Working Interview

In some industries—writing, engineering, or even sales—you may be asked to complete an actual job task as part of the interview. Basically, your interviewers don’t want you to tell them you can do the job, they want to see it.

Don’t panic: If you go in prepared, this is your chance to shine.

9. The Firing Squad

If you’ll be reporting to several people or working with a team, it’s not uncommon to meet with multiple interviewers—all at the same time. Sounds nice, because you only have to answer those tough questions once, but it can also be tricky to make a strong connection with each decision maker.

10. The Career Fair Interview

If you’re attending career fairs as part of your job hunt, get ready for impromptu interviews, where you’ll only have 10 or 15 minutes to sell yourself to the recruiter for a chance to come in for a full interview.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-types-of-interviews-and-how-to-ace-them?ref=carousel-slide-0

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Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery has called for the the state’s new fleet of regional trains to be built in the Hunter.

On Monday Deputy Premier John Barilaro announced the replacement of the entire regional train fleet and the construction of a new rail maintenance facility in regional NSW.

Expression of Interest will soon be issued for the design, construction and maintenance of the trains and the new maintenance facility, with Dubbo earmarked as the preferred location.

It has prompted Ms Hornery  to call for a commitment from the government to build the trains locally.

“This government has a track record of kicking workers while they are down, after last year announcing that the $2.3 billion project to build the new fleet of intercity trains was being sent overseas,” she said.

“Now we see the government announce the replacement of the Regional Rail Fleet and there is no commitment to build these trains locally.

“We have that capability right here in the Wallsend electorate. Our local workers can build these contracts on time and on budget.

“The government should commit to build them here.”

A tender process will be conducted next year, ahead of the contract being awarded in early 2019. The announcement also mentioned the “use of private financing” for at least part of the project to replace 60 XPT passenger cars, 19 diesel locomotives, 23 XPLORER and 28 Endeavour passenger cars.

The new trains will be operated by NSW TrainLink, the NSW Government owned regional rail and coach service provider. The new trains are expected to be completed in the early 2020s.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4858593/calls-to-build-new-train-fleet-here/?cs=305

Weekly Jobs Update

Posted by | August 14, 2017 | Weekly Update

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With hundreds of jobs advertised on Jobs In The Hunter right now, we give job seekers something to smile about.  Click here to find out more….