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

Not necessarily.

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

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

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

Don’t Say
“That #!&$! company had it in for me from day one. I probably would’ve left anyway.”

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t say
“I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, so I stayed in school rather than getting a job. I am still uncertain if this career path is right for me.”

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

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

Don’t Say
“Whoa, yeah, things were pretty bad there for a while..”

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

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

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

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

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

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




I feel like I need more than just a traditional resume or cover letter in order to stand out to the tech companies I want to work for. What else can I do to separate myself from the competition that’s applying to these innovative companies?


Dear Desperate to Stand Out,

You really hit the nail on the head. Competition’s tough across the board and tech is leading the way.

Your first step to getting noticed is to get in the right mindset. What does that mean? Don’t think like a recruiter, but more like a marketer. Your product is your experience. Here’s how a marketer would sell it.

1. Focus on Presentation
Maybe you’re not a graphic designer, but that shouldn’t be stand in the way of creating an eye-catching resume. There are plenty of tools that make design easy for everyone—many even offer templates designed by experts.

And don’t just stop there. Think of all the other points of contact a recruiter could have with you—including your LinkedIn profile, other social media handles, a blog, an online portfolio, and so on. Make sure they are all polished and contribute to a cohesive personal brand.

2. Spread the Word
A solid resume or cover letter doesn’t accomplish anything if the right people don’t see it. One surefire way to stand out is to proactively put it in front of the right people and to make it easy for them to notice it.

For example, there’s a story of a candidate who used Snapchat geo filters to advertise his portfolio in front of creative directors at the agencies he wanted to work for. You may not want to go that far, but that core idea has some merit. Think of how you can make yourself discoverable.

Don’t be intimidated. This can be something as straightforward as finding an acquaintance who works at the company and asking for a referral, or even dropping a friendly note to the hiring manager on Twitter or LinkedIn.

3. Make it Personal
Anything that starts with the dreaded, “To Whom it May Concern” will find it’s way to the trash can in a hurry. But, it’s hard to ignore a message when it’s highly targeted and personalized.

Start by showing that you took the time to get to know both the hiring manager and the company. Stand out from the competition by finding unique themes, attributes, projects, values, or needs you have in common and then incorporating those into your application materials.

Proving that you’ve done your homework on the role and the company empowers you to present yourself as a seamless fit, while also demonstrating your high level of interest in that opportunity.

Getting the job you want with the company you want to work for can be challenging. But, the right mindset and approach will help you reach your goals faster.

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns.




Newcastle business owners looking for compensation to reduce the impact of light rail construction have instead been offered advice and assistance from a service that’s already available to businesses across NSW.

It was NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs’ main offer of help to more than 120 business people she addressed in Newcastle on Wednesday at an emotionally-charged meeting that ended with shouting from the floor. Ms Hobbs also offered to be part of a new working group to help businesses in the coming months and said Newcastle traders that required mediation wouldn’t face the $750 fee that the final stage usually costs.

 But several CBD business owners spoke of the hardship that they and their neighbours had faced since construction had closed large sections of Hunter Street. They called for better access, compensation and a greater effort to draw people back into the city.

Paul Murphy, who owns Churchills Carpet Court, argued that the state government should make low-interest loans or grants available to businesses, similar to what was offered in the wake of the 1989 earthquake. Traffic engineer Ron Brown said the difficulties people currently faced driving into the city was “a big obstacle”.

Ms Hobbs said the situation in Sydney, where the government was granting rent relief to businesses in the light rail construction zone because of delays, was different from the Hunter’s situation.

While she was “not ruling out” advocating for a grant, loan or compensation program for Newcastle businesses, she cautioned that extensive investigations would have to take place before she would approach NSW Treasury.

“I appreciate the fact that you believe you are going through a disrupted period in your lives – and you are,” she said. “One of the difficult things is you have to live through it.”

Ms Hobbs said business owners were entitled to four free consultations with Business Connect, a support service available across NSW that can help sort out cash-flow problems, give social media advice, provide mediation and contact landlords on behalf of business owners.

Late in the meeting when Ms Hobbs was referring to the expected benefits light rail would bring to the city, an audience member yelled: “if we’re still here”.

Another attendee followed: “Newcastle businesses will be doing great when it’s all done, but they’ll be different businesses”.

Hunter Development Corporation CEO and Revitalising Newcastle project manager Michael Cassel also took questions and gave an update on the progress of the light rail project.

Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said the issue of assistance for businesses was “unresolved and something we are going to have to work on”.

Mr Hawes and executive manager of business advocacy group Newcastle Now Michael Neilson – whose groups organised the meeting at the suggestion of Ms Hobbs’ office – both said the key to getting through the difficult period was working together and “looking forward, not looking back”.

In a statement after the meeting, Mr Hawes said “there was a lot of emotion in the room” and business owners had delivered a clear message.

Call for access, not more advertising

If you ask Bernie Hockings, easing the pain of light rail construction for city businesses isn’t about getting the job done quicker – it’s about doing it “better”.

Mr Hockings, who owns Metro Cycles, was one of several frustrated business owners who made their feelings clear to NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs at a meeting on Wednesday. His comments came after Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel assured the gathering that the job was being completed as quickly as possible.

Mr Hockings dismissed suggestions from the crowd that loans or grants should be available to affected businesses – he said improving access to businesses should be the top priority.

“I don’t want more advertising, I want access. Do it better, not faster,” he said. “If you paid me to get out of my lease and out of the city, I would.”

He told the Herald he had been hesitant to speak up because when he had in the past, internet trolls targeted his business’ Facebook page.




Hunter Young Professionals (hyp) is seeking community champions, thought leaders and change agents for their 2018 board.

The local networking organisation specifically targeting young professionals is looking for individuals who are passionate about their cause to join the organisation with enthusiasm, desire and focus.

President, James Callender said a position on the hyp board provides opportunities to challenge one’s self, meet new people, learn new skills and advocate for the growth and direction of our local community.

 “2017 has been a strong year for hyp. Our membership continues to grow as young professionals gravitate towards the annual learning journey that we facilitate. The 2017 impact journey featuring local and national keynote speakers saw record event attendance and new venue activation,” James said.

“We have come a long way this year and we are looking forward to seeing and experiencing where the new board will take the organisation in 2018.”

Nominees for the 2018 hyp board are expected to combine their acquired skill set with a desire to learn, collaborate, facilitate and grow as a professional. The organisation supports four key focus areas of communications, events, membership and sponsorship.

To be eligible to nominate for a board position and vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), it is a constitutional requirement that you are a registered voting member of HYP and between the age of 18 and 40. HYP membership is free.

Nominations are open for the 2018 Hunter Young Professionals board until 31 December. Voting will take place at the organisation’s AGM on Tuesday 30 January 2018 at Queens Wharf Hotel.

“If you want 2018 to be a year of change, challenge, reward and recognition, nominate yourself for the hyp Board,” James said.

“It’s a chance to learn, contribute to the community and inspire others.”




Fact: Working with other people is hard. Even when you like them.

And over the years, I’ve tried different strategies to improve relationships (or, at the very least, prevent myself from freaking out in people’s faces).

But then, last year, I started going to therapy to deal with a situation outside the office. And I was surprised to realise that a lot of the advice I was getting could be applied to the workplace, too.

In fact, by using these therapist-approved strategies, I’m able to deal with difficult work situations much better now. So, before you let co-workers drive you up another wall, here are three new things to try.

1. Validate the Person’s Feelings Before You Do Anything Else

You know that passive aggressive co-worker who drives you nuts? Dealing with their behaviour can be super annoying!

Now, most of us don’t need therapy to recognise that we don’t have any control over others’ moods or behavior. But, instead of getting irritated about it, my therapist taught me a trick that makes that reality way easier to accept. All I have to do is imagine why someone might be acting the way they are, identify how I would feel if I were in their position, and then validate that feeling.

For example, if a client asks me to turn a project in sooner than we’d initially agreed and then gets annoyed when I say no, I’ll first try to identify why they might be making this request. Maybe their boss is putting pressure on them. If that were me, I’d be feeling really stressed out. And, I’d be disappointed if my request for an accelerated deadline were turned down. So, I’ll tell my client, “I imagine that this is probably disappointing for you.”

I know it sounds a little hokey, but this works wonders. By trying to empathise (even if I think the person’s wrong) and then validating what they’re feeling, I’m able to shift my attitude from frustration to empathy.

And, the client feels heard, too. Nine times out of 10, they’ll calmly reply, “Yes, I do feel disappointed.” It’s like identifying the feeling takes the hot air out of the situation. I’m then able to reiterate that I can’t accommodate an earlier deadline without things escalating.
2. Say What You’re Actually Thinking—and Say it Clearly

When I used to find myself in an awkward situation, I’d usually scramble to make things less awkward as quickly as possible. This usually meant bending over backward to make the other person happy, with no regard for my needs or feelings.

Now, I use a simple formula that I learned in therapy to clearly and concisely make my point:

the change I’d like + why the current option isn’t working + why my preference is better

For example, I had a client who said she hated my proposal. I’m perfectly fine with constructive feedback, but telling me you hate something doesn’t help me at all. So I said, “I’d like us to communicate with each other more respectfully because telling me you hate something doesn’t feel constructive. I’d prefer if you provided me with specific feedback about what isn’t working for you because that’ll help me to to deliver the work product you’re looking for.”

She immediately apologised and we were able to get on the same page from there.

As I’ve become more comfortable telling people what does or doesn’t work for me, being more assertive has gotten less scary. Even better, it’s made my working relationships stronger and more honest.
3. Set Boundaries

I’m a recovering people pleaser with a serious compulsion to say “No problem!” without even thinking. This usually leads to me feeling stressed and resentful, which isn’t good for me (or fair to my co-workers).

Getting comfortable with setting boundaries has made a huge difference. When a client asks me to sit in on a last-minute meeting or my boss wants me to work late, I now pause and consider whether or not it’s something I am willing and able to take on. If it’s not, I simply say, “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.” If it makes, sense, I’ll offer up a reason or an alternative solution. But sometimes, no just means no.

I’ve learned that setting boundaries can also be a proactive exercise. I’ll often tell new clients up front that I don’t check emails over the weekend or that I need a full 24 hours to respond to new requests. Managing expectations and setting boundaries from the start helps me to avoid annoying or uncomfortable situations in the future.

In no way am I suggesting that you should start saying no to every request from your boss, or setting ridiculous boundaries with your co-workers. These relationships are two-way streets, and you’ll sometimes need to bend to accommodate others.

I also understand that not everyone can turn down their manager when she asks them to work late or to avoid email all weekend—everyone’s boundaries will be different. But, learning about these strategies has made it way easier for me to navigate difficult and uncomfortable situations, so I’m pretty sure that they’ll work for you, too.


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.”


Bluemercury ceo

Many of the most successful people have gotten job interviews down to a science.

They’re not in the habit of wasting time with dumb or irrelevant queries.

In fact, they often have one favourite go-to question they like to ask. This typically reveals everything they need to know about a job candidate.

Check out the questions 10 business leaders love to ask candidates:

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk

According to the biography ‘Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,’ the Tesla and SpaceX CEO likes to ask candidates this riddle to test their intelligence.

There are multiple correct answers, and one is the North Pole.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

One of Zappos’ core values is to ‘create fun and a little weirdness,’ Tony Hsieh, CEO of the company, tells Business Insider.

To make sure he hires candidates with the right fit, Hsieh typically asks the question: ‘On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?’ He says the number isn’t too important, but it’s more about how people answer the question. Nonetheless, if ‘you’re a one, you probably are a little bit too straight-laced for the Zappos culture,’ he says. ‘If you’re a 10, you might be too psychotic for us.’

Another question Zappos usually asks candidates is: ‘On a scale of one to 10, how lucky are you in life?’ Again, the number doesn’t matter too much, but if you’re a one, you don’t know why bad things happen to you (and probably blame others a lot). And if you’re a 10, you don’t understand why good things always seem to happen to you (and probably lack confidence).

Facebook HR chief Lori Goler

Business Insider previously spoke with Lori Goler, Facebook’s president of people operations, about how the social media giant recruits top talent. That’s what this question is all about — on a perfect day at work, what activities allowed you to ‘get in the zone’ and do great work.

She recommends that people interested in working for Facebook apply to roles that play to their strengths:

‘They should just apply,’ Goler told Business Insider. ‘We hire people every day who just apply to the website. We love meeting people that way. Jump right in.’

Paypal co-founder and Clarium Capital President Peter Thiel

PayPal cofounder, managing partner of the Founders Fund, and president of Clarium Capital Peter Thiel always looks to hire people who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, reports Business Insider’s Aaron Taube.

To do this, he always gives job candidates and the founders of companies seeking an investment this interview prompt: ‘Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.”

In a 2012 interview with Forbes, Thiel said the reason he loves this question is: ‘It sort of tests for originality of thinking, and to some extent, it tests for your courage in speaking up in a difficult interview context.’

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson explains in his new book ‘The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership,’ that he isn’t a fan of the traditional job interview, reports Business Insider’s Richard Feloni.

‘Obviously a good CV is important, but if you were going to hire by what they say about themselves on paper, you wouldn’t need to waste time on an interview,’ Branson writes. That’s why he likes to ask: What didn’t you get a chance to include on your résumé?

Dropbox founder Drew Houston

Drew Houston, the 33-year-old billionaire founder of Dropbox, tells Adam Bryant of The New York Times that he has five questions he always likes to ask job candidates:

1. Who is the best in the world at what you do?

2. Who are your influences?

3. What have you learned in the last year?

4. If you were able to sit yourself down 10 years ago, what advice would you give your younger self?

5. What are the most important lessons you’ve taken away?

As Business Insider previously reported, Houston explains that these questions help him discern if a candidate is passionate about constantly improving. ‘I’m drawn to people who really love their craft, and treat it like a craft, and are always trying to be better and are obsessed with what separates great from good,’ he tells Bryant.

Paramore founder and EVP Hannah Paramore

Hannah Paramore, president of Paramore, a Nashville-based interactive advertising agency, told the New York Times’ Adam Bryant that this is one of her favourite questions.

‘I’m looking for how deeply instilled their work ethic and independence are versus entitlement,’ she tells Business Insider. ‘If they worked part time in high school and college because they needed to, especially in jobs that were just hard work, that shows a huge level of personal responsibility. I love people who have to patch success together from a number of different angles.’

Charlotte Russe president and CEO Jenny Ming

Tell me about your failures.  A good answer to this question is important because it means that the candidate isn’t afraid of taking risks and will admit when things don’t work out, says Jenny Ming, president and CEO of clothing store Charlotte Russe and former chief executive of Old Navy.

‘It doesn’t even have to be business; it could be life lessons. I think it’s pretty telling. What did they do afterward?’ she says. ‘How did they overcome that? I always look for somebody who’s very comfortable admitting when something didn’t work out.’

People always like to tell you about their successes, she explains, but they don’t always want to tell you what didn’t work out so well for them.

Bluemercury CEO Marla Malcolm Beck

As Business Insider previously reported, luxury beauty retailer Bluemercury CEO Marla Malcolm Beck’s interviews tend to only take seven to 10 minutes.

She has on query she likes to ask in particular, she previously told Adam Bryant of The New York Times.

Her question for potential hires is: ‘What’s the biggest impact you had at your past organisation?’

‘It’s important that someone takes ownership of a project that they did, and you can tell based on how they talk about it whether they did it or whether it was just something that was going on at the organisation,’ she told Bryant.

Jigsaw head of research and development Yasmin Green

Yasmin Green, head of research and development at Jigsaw, Alphabet’s tech incubator formerly known as Google Ideas, wants to hire creative, independent thinkers, so she gets candidates to think on their feet by asking them how they’d manage an imaginary ice-cream stand.

‘I’m curious to see how people deal with ambiguity and whether they can have fun while thinking on their feet,’ she says.

Green says that to land a job at Google, you also need to ‘be prepared to challenge the premise of the question.’


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There are mixed messages in the November unemployment figures.

Seasonally adjusted, the Bureau of Statistics show a total of 40,800 part-time jobs and 1,800 full-time jobs were added to the economy but the national unemployment rate has gone to a 12-year high at 6.3 per cent.

The Hunter, excluding Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, is 8 per cent. It is slightly higher in the urban areas of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie at 8.1 per cent.

These are the third-worst figures for the State, where the average is 5.9 per cent.’s David Smeeth said the figures showed that many of the full-time positions had gone to those already in work.

“This shows there is still the chance for the people with the right skills and experience to get ahead,” he said.

“This is positive news, but worrying aspects are the number of part-time jobs, pointing to a growing level of underemployment, and youth unemployment continues to creep higher.

“Underemployment is often a ‘make-do’ job and not the career and development of specialised skills that is typically available in full-time work.

“Employability is always a combination of skills and experience, and part-time work provides limited levels of both.”

Mr Smeeth said youth unemployment was a structural problem that needed policies and attention at the three levels of government in co-operation with suitable industries.

“There is often comment that people should be prepared to move to get work, but the success of and its focus on jobs on the region shows that people want to work where they are committed for lifestyle, family and social reasons,” he said.

The JobsInThe website was created to enable people to find work and advancement in their local area, where they have the local knowledge and infrastructure to support them through the transition, he said. aims to be a one-stop employment and skills marketplace for the Hunter Region and Newcastle, whether it’s looking for a new or better job or in the market to hire new talent and experience through its sister-site,

The website can be viewed at and businesses that want to find out more can contact David on 0419 168 177 or by email on

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The region’s leading provider of vocational education and training has become a partner with
Hunter TAFE more than 60,000 enrolments every year, delivering over 450 programs, across 15 campuses throughout the Hunter region, and has helped countless people begin or advance their careers over the past 120 years. has about 300 or more job vacancies posted at any one time and in the past financial year has had more than 4300 listed.
It also has almost 8000 social media followers, almost 3400 email subscribers and has had 270,000 page views in financial year 2014
A presence on what is fast becoming the premier jobs website in the region, and TAFE, was a natural affiliation, said the website’s Partnerships Director David Smeeth.
“Any part of career selection is a combination of researching what sectors with promise are hiring and what skills will be needed to secure a position or advancement,” Mr Smeeth said.
“Now, one website is the portal to those answers at a regional level.”
Hunter TAFE CEO/Institute Director, Phil Cox said the partnership will ensure people looking for employment have access to vocational education and training support through Hunter TAFE.
“Hunter TAFE provides the highest quality and broad choice of programs and courses to meet the best interests of students and their future employment prospects.
“We continue to meet the skill needs of the Hunter and Central Coast region,”
“ engages daily with employers from across the region, so it is developing into an on-line community of shared business values.”
It also provides specific services to business wanting to recruit, whether it was hiring or the primary selection management of applicants.
“Yes, we are trying to be all things to all people when it comes to jobs – finding them, filling them, displaying them and getting a better one.”

Safety Response

Safety training and management is like insurance – when you need it, there is no substitute for it.
Safe Response is a safety training and management company with agents and trainers on the Central Coast, in the Hunter and throughout Australia providing risk audits, emergency management procedure documents, pre- and post incident planning, certificates and approvals and business recovery services.
It is the latest company to enter a strategic partnership with and because of shared business values.
Just as the jobs websites are building to become a one-stop site for all things to do with jobs and hiring, Safe Response aims to be a complete package to help with workplace safety and incident management.
Safe Response Pty Ltd Director Jesse McNeilly said there were almost 128,000 work-related accidents in 2010-2011, resulting in 220 deaths and a cost of more than $60 billion or almost 5 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
It is impossible for even moderately large companies to have the expertise and experience to train for and manage every potential crisis, and that is where a specialist company is indispensible.
“Our strict benchmark means we have decades of fire, paramedic, policing and military experience, which makes us highly sought-after,” Mr McNeilly said.’s Partnerships Director David Smeeth says there are many intersections where businesses cross paths in modern commerce, and there are many more intersections at which any business can reasonably position itself.
“That’s why careful selection must be made of businesses with which you are linked.
“We are delighted Safe Response has become a partner because workplace safety and employee welfare are important for attracting the best candidates for any job vacancy and for retaining the necessary skills and experience in any business’s workforce,” Mr Smeeth said.
JobsOnTheCoast provides specific services to business wanting to recruit, whether it is through a variety of ‘self-service’ products or requiring a more involved and consultative approach.

Click here to view this week’s Hunter Weekly Update 18th August 2014

Here is this week’s update from Tim O’Brien (Founder of relating to the Hunter employment market.

We hope these updates will be of interest and benefit to local businesses and job seekers.  To view this week’s (approximately 70 second) video on our new YouTube channel, simply click the following link …

Hunter Weekly Update 18th August 2014

Click here to view the Hunter Weekly Update 11th August 2014

Tim O’Brien (Founder of has released the first in a new series of personal weekly video updates relating to the Hunter employment market.

Distributed every Monday, we hope these updates will be of interest and benefit to local businesses and job seekers.  To view this week’s (approximately 90 second) video on our new YouTube channel, simply click the following link …

Hunter Weekly Update – 11th August 2014

The introduction of a Work for the Dole scheme could be a leg-up into paid work that many long-term unemployed people need, says JobsOnTheCoast Founder Tim O’Brien.

Mr O’Brien started the website three years ago and it has since expanded to the Hunter-Newcastle and Queensland Sunshine Coast areas.

The site published over 6,000 jobs last year and is a prime site for jobseekers and hirers in the three locations.

Mr O’Brien said as the job market tightens and there are more qualifications for benefits, jobseekers need to show as much commitment as they can, and this is one way they can do that.

Long-term joblessness does not allow a job applicant to show they have the will and the discipline for a position for which he or she has applied.

“As a consequence, employers go for someone who has a job or who has had one until recently because they expect that applicant to be more job-ready,” he said.

“A work for the dole scheme can show the willingness and discipline to a person or business with a job vacancy.”

There has been some negative reaction to the re-introduction of Work for the Dole since it was announced earlier in the year and any scheme can only be as good as its program and administration, he said.

“For unemployed individuals, it can offer opportunity that’s not available any other way except for volunteering,” he said

Mr O’Brien is also a member of a local volunteering association that recruits and manages volunteers, as well as promotes best practices in volunteering. 

“Volunteering offers a similar chance to demonstrate a person is prepared to turn up on time, make an effort and take on responsibilities – all valuable qualities to be able to demonstrate when looking for work,” he said.

There was also the important benefit of feeling that the person was making a contribution to society and large and his or her community in particular.

“It shouldn’t be underestimated what that sense of worth and the confidence it instills is worth when going for a job,” he said.

The federal government announced it was re-introducing the Work for the Dole scheme initially as a pilot in a handful of regions from July this year, with full roll out scheduled for 1 July 2015.

140520 JOTSC Mayor Mark Jamieson, Tim O¹Brien and Anthony Dow

The success of locality-based jobs website has prompted expansion interstate to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The founder of the now three websites, Mr Tim O’Brien, launched the Queensland operation at a ceremony on the TAFE campus at Mooloolaba attended by 100 people from government, industry, training and recruitment sectors.

The Queensland operation is headed by Regional Manager Anthony Dow, who was CEO of Regional Development Australia on the NSW Central Coast before a move to Queensland two years ago.

“After being at the launch on the Central Coast while CEO of Regional Development Australia, it is such a pleasure to be leading the rollout of this third site,” said Mr Dow.

Mr O’Brien started the first website on the NSW Central Coast more than three years ago and replicated the operation in the Hunter about 21 months ago.

“The success is built on a simple premise,” Mr O’Brien said, “People choose where they want to live for all sorts of lifestyle reasons – and they want to work as close to home as possible.”

Illustrating the success of the two sites has been the growth in the number of on-line jobs, with the Central Coast site topping out at more than 300 and to Hunter listing about 450 vacancies in its peak season.

The site is supported by business partners who provide services for jobseekers and employers as well as training and skill development.

The aim is to make it the definitive site for advice and guidance for all matters related to finding work or recruiting.

Mr O’Brien said as well as expansion to the third region there was a continuous process of refinement to improve the websites for those looking for work or advancement and those seeking to hire.

 “Feedback from the growing army of users is monitored so we can make adjustments and improvements,” he said.

Information brought to you by Jobs In The Hunter specialist partner, Finance On The Coast …

Ask an economist where interest rates will be in two or three years and the likely answer will be that no one can see that far into the future when it comes to an economy’s ebbs and flows.

But an astute economist can probably tell you that what goes up must come down, and vice versa. Interest rates, like the broader economy, move in cycles.

But, in case you thought that makes a decision to borrow on fixed or variable rates easier, there is no way to know how long and high or low the cycles will be.

Remember, interest rates in Australia are at historic lows at the moment.

Aside from hedging your bets against the fluctuations, there are sound structural reasons why one form of borrowing might be better that another.

Variable rates have several structural advantages, especially in a stable rate environment and when an economy is growing and jobs are secure [see chart below].

But there are horror tales from the 1980s, for example, of people who borrowed on variable rates to buy homes in the good times only to have interest rates in some cases more than double and, because of a contracting economy, to loose their equity in their home.

More borrowers are now choosing to fix their loans, says Phil Riches, Senior Mortgage Consultant for Finance on the Coast

“Statistics show the average proportion of borrowers fixing their loans is more than 16 per cent of the overall market, compared with 12% for year ago,” he said.

“So, with fixed rate terms of one, two or three years lower than discounted variable rates at this point in time, they can be appealing.

“Key considerations for borrowers should be confirming the indicated variable rate once the fixed loan expires, ensuring the loan is not fixed for a term beyond when the loan will be paid out, and whether it is possible to retain some flexibility such as a fully offset account and/or ability to make extra repayments during the fixed term.

“At Finance on the Coast, we see an increased interest in fixed rate loan inquiries. We go over the typical benefits and disadvantages of variable and fixed rate loans and where our clients indicate a desire to fix their loan.

“Where suitable we finance them with a lender who allows fixed rate loans with 100 per cent offset and no ongoing fees,” he said.

One advantage of a variable rate loan is, as personal prosperity grows and the family income gets bigger, the loan can be paid down quicker, without penalty.

Fixed rates give some certainty. You know what the repayments will be for the duration of the loan.

If you borrow at 5 per cent and, over time, rates go to 7 per cent, you are clearly in front.

But it’s because of the uncertainties of the financial cycle that banks or other lender will give you a fixed rate for a specified period, sometimes up to 10 years.

If, in five or 10 years, rates are high and your loan is switched to a variable rate because the fixed rate period expires, it can be a steep lift in repayments.

Loans and the circumstances in which they are made are as individual as the borrowers.

That’s why it is key to get specific advice based on individual circumstances.

Even within the fixed and variable loan rates there are differences – such as a cocktail of fixed and variable – that enable a tailoring of the loan for the optimum result for the borrower.

JobsOnTheCoast/JobsInTheHunter founder Tim O’Brien says there is no longer such a thing as a job for life.

“It is normal for someone’s career to change direction much more than once and it’s difficult to predict what is around the corner.

“This may include different jobs with different levels of income, or perhaps setting up an business.

“So it’s important to not only set out on the right track but also to get the right advice as your situation changes over time.

“Phil and his team at Finance On The Coast not only have access to a vast array of lenders and mortgage types, they also have the necessary experience to look at individual circumstances and find solutions to non-standard requirements,” Mr O’Brien said.

For further information or enquiries contact Phil Riches, Senior Mortgage Consultant for Finance on the Coast, on 0418 204 304 or email

Variable rate loans:


  • Flexibility to make extra payments without penalty
  • Opportunity to redraw from equity in the loan
  • No penalty for early discharge or refinancing with another institution (administration fees do apply)
  • Interest usually moves down when the Reserve Bank cuts its rate.
  • Linked off-set accounts are available with most variable loans. (These charge interest on the amount of a loan outstanding minus any plus balances on the off-set account)
  • Flexibility to increase the amount borrowed (to put in that swimming pool, for example)


  • When the Reserve Bank lifts its cash rates, repayment rates go up accordingly. To illustrate, loan repayments on $500,000  of principal and interest basis over 30 years  at today’s discounted variable rate of about 4.99% are $2,682 a month. The same loan at 20% interest is $8,356 a month
  • Restriction on borrowing limit based on what you can repay and a margin against interest rate rises, usually a factor of 1.5 to 2 per cent

Fixed rate loans:


  • Certainty of ongoing repayment during the fixed term
  • Protection from increased interest rates
  • Option to fix for up to 10 years
  • Peace of mind and ability to set a household budget accordingly
  • Ability to ‘lock in’ todays fixed rate at time of application (most lenders charge a fee for this)
  • With some lenders, ability to increase amount you are able to borrow when taking a 5-year fixed rate


  • Depending upon what rate you fix at, what happens to variable rates and how long until the fixed rate expires, there may be a fixed rate break cost on exiting the loan if you need to discharge during the fixed term because of the sale of the property or refinance to another lender (not to be confused with exit penalties, which have been abolished)
  • Limited extra repayments, usually restricted
  • Offset account not offered with fixed rate loans (there is one lender who allows a 100 per cent offset on a fixed rate loan)
  • Mostly fixed rates not offered when taking a construction loan to build a new home
  • No ability to increase or decrease the loan limit during the fixed term

Welcome to the February edition of our Jobs In The Hunter eNews.

As Summer comes to an end, we see the jobs market at one of its busiest times of the year, with lots of opportunities for employers and job seekers alike.  Competition is high, with not only active jobs seekers searching for work, including new-to-the-market school leavers, but also passive candidates receptive to moving on to new roles in this period.

With this in mind, this month’s edition of eNews includes articles for job seekers on interview etiquette and accessing training opportunities to keep your skills offering relevant.  For employers, we look at motivational techniques to help you retain your best staff, and consider the benefits of employing older candidates in your organisation.  We also want to hear your views on how the opening of the new Hunter Expressway will change your travel time.

Our newly introduced “Jobs In The Hunter Extras” service is being well received.  Offering expert support from our specialist HR and recruitment partners the service will ease you through the process of recruitment and hiring.  The Extras service is fully flexible, meaning you can select one, or any number of services, ranging from the writing of position descriptions through to background and pre-employment checks.  For more information follow this link.

I hope you enjoy our latest edition of Jobs In The Hunter eNews.  We love to get feedback so please do let us know if you have anything you’d like to say!  Thank you for your continued support of

Warm regards

Tim O’Brien

Founder and Chairman

Baby Boomers are reshaping the mix of people in the workplace, bringing a challenge to employers who want the experience of an “old head” but on young shoulders.

Two conspicuous issues with older employees is, first, they are not the tech-natives that young people are and can be slow to embrace technological change and expansion.

Second, they have typically been less mobile throughout their career and so tend to have a narrow view of their industry or work sector based on their work history.

On the upside, stability brings certain planning certainty for a business, and experience, especially when combined with some initiative, can be a company’s most valuable asset.

Employees of any age and background are as varied as people in the wider community, but some generalisations are reasonable when it comes to older workers.

Many are in a stable personal and financial position and are therefore not looking over the fence of alternative employers all the time, keen to kick off a bidding war.

That said, pay and conditions might want to take some measure of the value the employee brings through experience and stability. Age should not be a career restricting condition.

Some older workers and staff don’t recognise the value their experience, not least because many have worked in environments where they were not encouraged to think and contributions to improved harmony or productivity were not sought or acknowledged when given.

Teasing out the value and benefit of that experience can be rewarding for a proprietor or manager, and rewards can be tangible.

When it comes to the image a business or company projects when it employs older people, it shows it is inclusive, has depth and stability that is a consequence of experience and it very often has someone who can speak as an equal to experienced customers and others the business deals with.

Someone who has the bruises and scars of past battles is most likely to have the patience and diplomacy to diffuse or manage potential conflict as well as optimize the public relations opportunities.


Managers and proprietors say it all the time: People are our greatest asset.

It must be true because people wouldn’t be employed if they weren’t essential to the business, its purpose and its profits.

So, how do you maintain your investment in an employee’s skills, time and wages so the business can continue to profit?

The first part is to acknowledge that, whether it’s one employee or a thousand, each is different and each has different motivations – because there are many motivations – or at least the spectrum of motivations in different ratios.

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But how does it affect the relationship that each employer has with his or her workers or staff?

First matter to be aware of is that you will favour your “darlings”, those who are productive, convivial and, often, those with whom you have the greatest rapport for both business and personal reasons.

That’s good for the chosen one or ones, but it can leave everyone else out in the cold. Remember to be inclusive of all on your team, and spend a little extra time with those who are down on par.

Coaching, encouragement, time to listen are all likely to build rapport so each has a better understanding of the objectives and abilities of the other.

Your employee is, after all, looking to the boss for leadership.

Equally important, build the team and build the team so it builds itself. Let those who have the capacity step up to leadership functions, especially in team-building exercises where that leadership is coming from a peer.

Give opportunities at whatever level the individual is capable of succeeding, and give the tools for that success, however modest.

This has a consequence – the notion that the employees are contributing in a greater than nuts and bolts kind of way and, in the process, you might identify or unleash true leadership or other creative abilities that weren’t noticed before.

Team building is often associated with “game” to test and display leadership and initiative, but simple workplace team building can be as basic as routine meetings at which people are encouraged and free to express ideas.

Ground rules should always include a primary condition; there are no bad ideas – only ideas that need refinement or whose time has not yet come.

Now try it. See how it works.

And we’ll have another episode in next month’s eNews.

Most people would rather have a day at the dentist than 60 minutes in an interview.

That’s because no one likes to be judged, and essentially that’s what an interview is all about once you’ve shown in your CV that you have the knowledge or the knowledge base for the job at hand.

Telling someone to not be nervous in an interview is as useful as asking a bee to not sting you.

But a strategy will help overcome much of that nervousness and impress the interviewer or panel to boot.

Start the night before. Coach yourself through it, in front of s mirror, if you can. Excruciating, certainly, but you’ll see your body language, which is a large part of the interview assessment. Even video yourself, if you have a camera, then review it for irritating gestures and phrases.

Facial contortions, nose scratching, forehead rubbing, searching the ceiling for inspiration won’t work for you, so work to eliminate them.

Do your homework. Know what you can about the company or employer and any individual on the interview panel. A little corporate history shows you care, so know some.

There’s no excuse for not having at least an outline in the age of the internet.

Ten deep breaths through the nose while in the waiting room will help to relax and get oxygen to the organ you are most going to need in the next few minutes – the brain.

Your portfolio. Will it fall apart as you nervously reach for a handshake? Does it say what it needs to say in five pages or fewer, or is it the condensed version of the Encyclopedia Britannica? Does it have something extra above your application that you might leave with the interviewer?

Your communications skills are on the line here, but not your publishing skills. Condense the document.

Finally, when the time comes for “Any questions?”, have some – at least two.

That might mean preparing about six because some topics will undoubtedly be covered in the interview.

Now, you’re ready. Good luck.


Few people buy a house so often that they know all consumer, legal and investment elements of the transaction.

It’s also an emotional decision – a time when experience counts for a lot.

Buyers and sellers rely on a real estate agent for expertise and guidance for the remainder. The same applies to property management, whether a single unit or a large investment portfolio.

That’s why agents and agency managers have a constant need to consider their professional development and skills – and those entering the business need to be up to speed as soon as possible.

Real Estate Academy, based at East Gosford on the Central Coast, was established to ensure the highest level of professionalism for those entering a real estate career through to the experienced agent in need of a technique refresher and knowledge update.

Operating for almost17 years and serving franchise networks as well as independent agencies across Australia and New Zealand, the Academy conducts about 10 two-day sales courses a year attended by up to 150 agents and managers, as well as leadership conferences, and numerous workshops on particular aspects of the industry.

“Our courses give a real estate agent or salesperson the structure and system to follow, one that has a record of success and can be implemented immediately,” said Robyn McCaughan, Education Manager at the Academy.

With the real estate sector expected to boom in 2014, many agencies will look to recruit extra sales staff and, to meet this demand, the Academy has launched to help plot a path into a real estate career.

“There are thousands of real estate jobs across the country at any one time and this site is designed to help anyone who would like to work in real estate and, if the answer is ‘yes’, how to make a connection in the local area,” Ms McCaughan said.

Expected recruitment in the industry has prompted a business partnership with the website, where hundreds of jobs in the Hunter Region are advertised each week.

The Chairman of, Tim O’Brien, said the relationship with the Academy’s new website was a natural fit.

“Our website is about local jobs and people want to work where they have chosen to live for all of its lifestyle benefits,” he said.

JobsInTheHunter has up to 450 jobs a week on its website, all located within the region.

Ms McCaughan said JobsInTheHunter was a site where many agents from Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and surrounding cities and districts recruited new and replacement staff and she believed the two sites would complement to each other.

131128 Wild Fig #011

Five Central Coast senior high school Business Studies students were rewarded for their business ideas and entrepreneurial potential at the inaugural Wild Fig Young Entrepreneur Support (YES) program.

The top three students were each presented with a cheque for $1,000 while the two runners-up received $200 each. The students were awarded before an audience of local business owners, parents, teachers and special guests Innov8 Central Project Manager, Frank Sammut and Central Coast Innovation Facilitator, Graham Baker.

Winners were:

  • Zoe Friedman from Terrigal High School for ‘Divine Domestics’, a business concept that combines home ware product sales with professional interior designer service and expertise.
  • Shay Goddard from Gorokan High School for ‘Smashing’, a unique and quirky concept that encourages an over 18’s clientele to legally vent their frustration by smashing crockery and other breakable objects in a safe, fun environment.
  • Paige Wilson-Turner from St. Philips Christian College (Gosford Campus) for ‘Aqua Laser Tag’, an eco friendly hybrid laser tag/aquatic centre that combines land and water components.

Runners-up were Henry Hamilton-Burgoyne from Wyong High School for his thoroughly researched real estate business concept ‘Champion Realtors’ and Aaron Stace from St Edwards College, East Gosford for his eco friendly health food and beverage concept, ‘Wellness Kahvila’.

The annually run incentive scheme invites the Coast’s next round of school leavers to consider local business ownership in their future endeavours and reward the best of those students for their entrepreneurial potential. Finalists were selected from a pool of Year 12 students nominated by their schools and judged on a set of predefined criteria including originality, business planning and presentation skills. All five finalists delivered comprehensive, well-structured business plans that demonstrated a solid understanding of the marketing, financial and human resource requirements needed to run a successful small business. Importantly, Each student also demonstrated the passion and innovative thinking needed to set their business concepts apart from others.

Terrigal High School Business Studies teacher, Dale Massie-Brahams said, “I cannot speak highly enough about this wonderful program. The value for students of Business Studies to have the opportunity to develop and pitch their business idea to such high calibre business people in our local area cannot be overstated – both in terms of their personal and their educational development.  I extend a huge thank-you to all at Wild Fig Service Alliance for this invaluable support of our students.”

Wild Fig Executive Member and partner in business acceleration firm CtechBA, Bruce Cottrill has offered each winning student his time to explore the possibility of kick starting their business idea via creative crowd funding website,

“We were so impressed with the calibre of the students’ business plans and the originality and creativity of some of the ideas in particular that I have decided to offer my time to those students who wish to explore taking it to the next level,” said Bruce.

Wild Fig Service Alliance is a not for profit organisation consisting of members representing a broad range of established businesses on the Central Coast. The Wild Fig Young Entrepreneur Support (YES) Program was launched this year as part of the group’s commitment to support local youth and encourage an interest in small business.

Walter Ellem is a web designer who came across when he was thinking of hiring.

His Beresfield-based Web Tech Plus business was looking to expand because of new contracts from as far afield as Papua-New Guinea, so he gave the website a try.

He used JobsInTheHunter and a university noticeboard for his recruitment drive and was delighted with the number and quality of the applicants.

“I culled about 50 per cent, and 50 per cent were suitably qualified (which was) better than the usual ratio of 75 per cent unsuitable and 25 per cent qualified,” he said.

Mr Ellem liked the ease of the site to use and, because it is free to advertise, he rated it highly “budget-friendly”.

“Job advertising can be so expensive,” he said.

He plans to recommend the site to business colleagues.

6. Phil Riches

There is a lot of news at the moment about how housing has become less affordable for first home buyers.

Many young couples and families have been priced out the market as talk increases of a new housing price bubble.

But matters are seldom as grim as the headlines suggest, says Phil Riches, a finance broker from Finance On The Coast at Avoca.

“The value of property is going up and that does make it harder for first home buyers to get into the market,” Mr Riches said.

“But there are often ways that this can be overcome.”

It starts with getting the right advice.

“It’s a common misconception that parents who opt to help as a guarantor do so for the entire debt that their child is taking on.

“They can even help out as a guarantor without the need to offer their property for the guarantee if they have significant savings they are prepared to put on term deposit and offer it as security”

For example, a parent could go guarantor for a child’s first house to the value of 20 per cent, plus transaction and set-up costs.

This provides the deposit but limits the exposure for the parent, while it enables the couple to borrow up to the full purchase price of the home.

The arrangement can be structured so that the guarantee can be dissolved when there is sufficient equity in the purchase, Mr Riches said.

“The key with any arrangement is to get clear legal advice, and we insist on that every time,” he said.

There are benefits and pitfalls with every arrangement, but there are many that can bring a couple or family to the point of being able to buy a home.

“It’s important to get advice on all of the options so the best choice can be made.” Mr Riches said.

Phil Riches can be contacted on 1300 081 522, by email at, or by mail at PO Box 326, Avoca Beach, NSW 2251

Further information is available at

A report on the Australian mining industry predicts production will lift by 40 per cent in the next five years.

But the outlook for jobs is not so rosy, especially in mine construction.

Reports on the BIS Shrapnel predictions say the mining sector will grow from 18.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in five years production continues to gear up.

Mining investment over that time, however, will fall by as much as 40 per cent as companies switch from the construction of new mines to an emphasis on production.

BIS Shrapnel’s head of infrastructure and mining, Adrian Hart, is reported saying there will be tough times ahead for those working in the mine construction sector.

“We’re forecasting a 40 per cent fall in buildings and structures activity over the next five years in mining.

“But on the other hand, if you’re involved on the production, operations, maintenance, facilities management – all of these areas are going to go ahead quite strongly through the next five years.”

Mr Hart said overall employment in the sector would suffer as mining production became more reliant on mining machinery.

This is a trend that has already become apparent in the Upper Hunter Valley mines.

Mines have been under cost and price pressures and have sought to counter this through volume production.

Newcastle is only days away from hosting the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games.

More than 2,500 athletes from 32 countries will compete at the Games from Monday, December 2, until the following Saturday, December 7.

They will compete in nine sports; athletics, cricket, football, badminton, table tennis, aquatics, basketball, bocce and ten pin bowling.

They will be supported by about 6000 relatives, careers and supporters and most will begin arriving before or on November 30.

Spectacular opening and closing ceremonies are planned for the Games’ principal venue, the Hunter Stadium at New Lambton.

Included on the program for the opening performance on Sunday, December 1, are internationally renowned quartet Human Nature, ARIA Award winning singer Anthony Callea, Icehouse front man Iva Davies, Queen of Pop Marcia Hines, country music award winners The McClymonts, rock legend Doug Parkinson, belle of musical theatre Marina Prior, and many more.

Organisers say it will be the biggest line-up of talent in the city since the Earthquake Relief concert in 1990.

Ensuring the smooth operations of the ceremonies and the games will be a troupe of some 4000 volunteers – some of whom were recruited through – and there is an extensive calendar of social events to be rolled out over the week of the games.

Tickets for the ceremonies are available from and details about what’s on where and when is at

Do you want more exposure for your business or would you like more customers?

If the answer is YES, save money today with a substantial discount of 50% off pre-booked advertising for your business brand, products and services on or

There is a limited number of business advertising space available so please hurry and don’t hesitate to take advantage of this offer.  If you want to target a local audience of individuals or businesses across the Hunter and Central Coast, we have some fantastic prices given the size and relevance of our reach. Business advertising rates on this deal start at only $73.50 + GST per month.

Pages viewed on the Jobs In The Hunter and Jobs On The Coast websites have exceeded 85,000 in the last month and our audience is highly engaged, spending an average of 4 minutes and 32 seconds on the site (source: Google analytics). This means your ad is very likely to be seen and noticed.

We also have a large social media following on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ as well as over 10,000 subscribers to our email database.

To find out more or to secure these fantastic value rates, simply send us a quick reply with your name and telephone number. One of our friendly staff will then give you a call to chat through the options and we can process your booking if you wish to proceed … it’s really that easy!

This exclusive 50% discount offer is just available for the next two days and applies only to bookings processed before 5pm this Wednesday (13th November 2013). So contact us today if you would like to take advantage of these amazing deals, and if you know anyone who wants to expose their business brand products or services to a large and local audience, please feel free to forward them this email.

We always welcome any feedback or suggestions you may have so feel free to email or call our office in Newcastle on (02) 4910 4024.

Please note that advertisers are approved at the absolute discretion of  Some advertisements will not be possible due to exclusivity arrangements with current advertisers.  Booking is not confirmed until payment has been processed.  Payment can be made via direct deposit, Visa, MasterCard or PayPal. 

Port Stephens Council has won the prestigious title of Australian Employer of Choice in the Public Sector and NFP category at the Australian HR Awards.

Beating competitors such as Australia Post, the Council was announced the winner at The Westin Hotel in Sydney on September 9 after a rigorous nomination process.

The Council’s General Manager, Peter Gesling, accepted the award and said winning the category was extremely rewarding, given the calibre of finalists.

“Just to be recognised as a finalist among national public sector and NFP organisations was rewarding in itself, but to be named the overall winner is incredible.

“Our organisation works really hard to focus on providing the best possible work environment for our people and we place priority on continually improving employee engagement,” he said.

“This, coupled with our strong Enterprise Agreement, our learning and development programs plus the cohesive culture driven by our leaders and our dedicated HR team are what has led us here tonight.

“I am very proud to be accepting this award,” Mr Gesling said.

The Australian HR Awards celebrate excellence by leaders in the HR profession, recognising individuals, teams and companies for their outstanding achievements in people management.
Edited report from Port Stephens Council

To stand on the threshold of a working life calls for some important and delicate choices.

There are jobs available today that did not exist 10 years ago, and there are jobs we haven’t begun to imagine that will exist a decade from now.

It is possible, however, to take an educated guess at some of the work categories that hold solid promise of a career, even if it’s not for a working lifetime.

Consider this list:

  • Aged care services – an ageing population means there are numbers and demands for services and care well beyond what was required in the past. There are the obvious jobs, such as healthcare, but older folk are more active than they were in past generations, so travel and selected sport and exercise coaching are now among services to the elderly.


  • Social media – Love it or hate it, it isn’t going away. In fact it has an increasing role in commerce as well as its “traditional” one for social communication. Skills in demand for a career in this field would include marketing, written communication skills and as boundless an imagination as you can develop because, no matter how imaginative you are now, social media will inevitably stretch the boundaries.


  • Environmental sustainability – Corporations are edging, either by will or legislation, towards better management of their resources and of the impact the business or productivity has on the environment. It’s a career that will require a lifetime of skills development, but it’s hard to imagine one with a better future.


  • Health care, including medical documentation and records – As the population increases and medical treatment becomes more frequent and complex, there will be the need to manage a mountain of information. Documentation and scheduling will grow exponentially. In direct health care, increasing specialisations will become available as treatments become more niche.


  • Human Resources ­– As corporations grow larger and the process or recruitment is handled by specialists instead of shop-floor supervisors and managers, and as employee management legislation becomes more complex, human resources departments have a strong and assured future.


  • Advertising – Commerce is the cog of business and advertising is its lubricant. There are diverse and challenging new ways to deliver advertising to the market a business seeks these days, so the creative mind and the technical ability have a future in advertising.