Thursday, 6 December 2007

A good time to review

I like using the time at the end of the year to reflect on what has happened, workwise and in general in my life. But it is also a good time to start the planning process for the coming year.

One question that is worth considering is "Where do I want to be in 12 months time?" It is actually something that requires a lot of thought. It is easy to list a whole lot of things on a sheet of paper, but are they realistic? Are you really planning to work to achieve these goals, or are you just going to list them, and hope that things will happen.

As an example, I did this sort of exercise about 12 years ago with someone (who will remain nameless) who listed among other things that he (OK, I've given it away - it is a bloke!) wanted to take up painting. Landscape painting to be exact. This is something he REALLY wanted to do he emphasised. It was quite a surprise to me, as I knew him well, and I'd never seen any interest shown in this. No, it REALLY was something important.

Do you know in that time, even though it is something he still claims to want to do, he has done nothing towards it. I don't think he's visited an art gallery, he owns no artists' painting materials, no books on art. Nothing, zilch. If he is just expecting to be an artist by some amazing piece of magic, it is yet to happen. In all this time, I think he still believes that it is his "passion" to do, and I know life gets in the way.

But you actually have to DO SOMETHING. Just listing it and hoping is not a guaranteed way to achieve things.

So when you make your list of items to achieve in 12 months, make your list realistic and DO SOMETHING.

Thursday, 1 November 2007


I seem to have had a run of folk who genuinely want a job, but don't really know what they want to do. It is not unusual, and I often make a joke of it that I am still trying to work out what I want to be when I grow up!

It certainly helps if you can identify what you want to do. Just wanting a job - any job, they say is not enough. I can suggest a lot of jobs and each time, despite "I will do anything" they say "No, that's not what I want" and so it goes.

One thing that might help is to list the things that you like doing e.g. talking with people (customer service?), working with systems (call centre, office administration?), working with food (kitchen, hospitality, food manufacturer?), and so on.

You can find some websites that can help you determine where you would be most suited but it is something that you will need to do yourself as a rule. Of course you can spend some dollars and see a Career Adviser - but though it is becoming more popular to do this, there are many that choose to "wing it."

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Getting that job

In my new job I get to interview folk that come in to apply for a position. We always do a screening interview. It takes about 20 minutes and we try to make a judgement on the jobseeker. We do look at the resume, and we ask them to email it to us, so that we have it on file electronically. We do a lot of emailing of resumes.

Presentation is judged at this point, though it is not just dress. Some of these folk are "drop ins" not expecting to be interviewed, but rather than get them back AGAIN, if we can, we do it then.

We look at their manner. Do they shake hands? Do they look at you when they are speaking? Are they clean? Face, hands, hair? Do they listen? Do they sound convincing? Are they really who their resume says they are? Do they drive? Why have they changed jobs frequently?

We need to send our TOP candidates for a job. Mostly they are I must say, and I love being able to help them.

It is always a thrill to tell them that the prospective employer has asked to interview them.

It's great to tell them that they have the job.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Strange occupation

We had a call for some guys to be "chicken chasers" during the week. Chicken Chasers???? It appears that one of the major chicken producers has sheds with thousands of chickens that need to be rounded up and put in cages to be transported to the abbatoir. Eeek. Not a job for the faint hearted I fear!

Anyway three strapping young men who had few skills jumped at it. Boy, would I love to have seen them all in action, chasing and catching up to 30,000 chickens.

Apparently it is easy to catch them at first - but as the numbers dwindle in the shed there is more space for the chickens to run.

It would be stinky, pooey, dirty - but sounds like fun to me. But I'll pass. It's not for me.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

New Position

After my contract ran out at Community Workforce Solutions I wondered where I'd end up. Still keen to work in the Employment and Training field - but I took off for a visit to my parents in Adelaide.

A day or two after I returned I was offered a part time job at Bayside Recruitment in Wynnum - so I will get to see another side of the industry. I've already worked nearly two days, and enjoy it.

I'm so impressed with the organisation - the systems are awesome!

Monday, 6 August 2007

Upgrading Skills

One of the features that most employers look for is the ability of the prospective employer to learn new skills. To change. For some folk it is not easy. One way to show a prosective employer that you can change is to do some study. Update your current skills. Learn something new.

I've always had the yearn to learn, and am usually doing some sort of training course. Sometimes the courses are more related to my interests (writing, beading, photography etc), but I do upskills my work skills. I know this stands me in good stead.

I remember some time ago, my employer encouraged us to do courses and they would pay us to do courses, or attend workshops or seminars. The deal was this - you sought approval first, to determine if the course would be re-imbursed. If it was approved, we paid to do the course, and on production of the Certificate and receipt, we'd get reimbursed. I've always thought that was a good way.

Many folk expect their employer to pay for their training, but I've always felt that it was MY responsibility to ensure my skills were up to date. Being reimburesed by my employer was a BONUS.

In Australia at the moment, it is possible to have access to WorkSkills Vouchers, which are provided via a Federal Government Program. Essentially it is for Australian's over 25 years of age, who have not completed Year 12, and wish to study some work related subject. The Vouchers are up to $3000 - and one needs to check with Centrelink to determine their eligibility. It could be a TAFE course, or other recognised training course.

People need to be careful with their choice - they only get ONE chance at the WorkSkills voucher, so they need to research the course and the training organisation to ensure they get the best that they can.

It is a wonderful system - so Aussies should take advantage of it!

Read about Work Skills Vouchers

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Dear Sir/Madam

I was in the "classroom" of another training organisation last week and shocked to see on the white board "Dear Sir/Madam" as part of the instructions to create a letter of application for employment.

That is not the way I teach. I remember that being taught 30 years or so ago, but these days I encourage folk to to try to find out who to address the letter to. Phone the company and find out the name of the person to whom the letter is to go.

Then you can address them correctly. And it impresses them.

I have phoned companies on behalf of my students, and had to give their names. Most times when I call they want to take the name, so that they can look out for it when the applications come through. They made a note of those people who went to the trouble of sourcing the name of the person. Already that makes one stand out from the crowd. The crowd of people that often apply for a position.

In the event that it is not possible to find out the name of the person, I'd rather address the letter in a different way.

"Good morning" looks better than Dear Sir/Madam.