Choosing The Best Path

Beach Sunset PathwayHave you been faced with a choice and not sure which direction to take? This happens to all of us at some point, and to varying degrees. Indecision can be stressful, especially when something’s riding on it, such as getting a job.  I’ve seen people struggle with decisions relating to their job search and career, when they’ve needed a sounding board to work things through. Some scenarios include:

  • Choosing to study one course over another
  • Whether to attend the interview or to withdraw the application
  • Deciding on the right time to return to work after an extended break

Often it boils down to having confidence about which path is best for you. A part of you knows what the right choice is, but your inner voice may be saying something different. These doubts may stem from the fear of stuffing up or rejection, letting someone down or missing out on something better.  Or there could be other reasons.

Symptoms of indecision may be:

  • Taking the easy option and regretting it (or wondering “what if”)
  • Sabotaging the idea or opportunity
  • Procrastinating (or doing nothing at all)

Here’s some practical decision-making tips:

Write a pros and cons list. This is a quick and easy way to analyse a decision.  You can even create a weighted pros and cons list to indicate the importance of each factor in the list. Just as recruiters have set criteria for the ideal candidate, draw up your own “must haves” for your ideal role or company.

Do your research. Being informed helps minimize the risk in making a wrong choice. If job location is important to you and the workplace is a 40 km drive away, drive there in peak hour to see how long it takes. Sometimes the job advertisement doesn’t give much detail about the organisation so do a Google search to see what information you can find. Speak to people you know who work there and always ask questions at interview.

Talk it through with a trusted advisor. Go over your concerns with a career coach or mentor. Your friends and family are also good for support, but they may bring their opinions and vested interests, so bear this in mind with their offers of advice. Sometimes just speaking it through with someone who is objective and has experience in this area can help give clarity or confirm your initial thoughts.

Go with your gut instinct. We don’t have a crystal ball to tell us how things will turn out, but we can still assess situations based on the information presented to us. Have trust that the rest will fall into place and be flexible when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Often your first instinct can be right, but taking the time to weigh up your options can help with making your choice confidently. And what a relief this can be!

Have you had a time where you weren’t sure about the best path to take? 

Phone Interviews – Don’t Get Caught Out

iPhoneHave you been in a situation where you’ve sent off a couple of applications and the recruiter calls you up just as you’re stepping onto a train?  Unexpectedly, you’re about to have a phone interview and probably not in the best setting to concentrate.

A level of professionalism needs to be given to a phone interview and your aim for this call will be to be invited to the next stage – a face to face interview.

So, how do you impress the person on the other end of the line?

We’ll start with understanding the reason why recruiters will call you:

  • They may be screening resumes for a particular job and want to clarify a few things in your application, such as technical skills, specialist knowledge or level of experience in certain areas;
  • It’s part of a structured process where a number of people are interviewed via telephone before moving to the “next round”;
  • Another purpose of this call is to gauge your motivation for this role and check salary expectations. They want to see if you’re on the same page so that there’s no big surprises at the face to face interview.

Here’s five tips to make sure you manage the telephone interview successfully.

  1. Prepare a cheat sheet of prepared questions and responses that you can keep on hand. List each of the roles and companies you have applied to, so you’re not confused about who is ringing.  Think about what the caller might ask and bullet point some cues on what you could say.  No need to write a novel – this cheat sheet is a prompt to give you confidence.
  2. Minimise distractions. If it’s not a convenient time to talk, let the recruiter know.  It’s reasonable to say, “I’m in a meeting; at an airport; in a shopping centre….can I call you back in 30 minutes or make a time a bit later on?”  However, if you ARE in a quiet space and can take the call then by all means do so.  This will be making their job easier by not having to follow up later.
  3. Be proactive. Sometimes a phone interview can come out of the blue in the situation where you are calling them up.  It’s a good idea to make a courtesy follow up call to see how your application is progressing, so be ready for any on-the-spot questions.  Better still, have some questions prepared for them!
  4. Stand up and project your voice. The recruiter won’t have any body language cues from you, so they are relying on the sound of your voice.  Be mindful to project extra energy and enthusiasm, and speak up if you’re usually quiet.  For more tips on speaking clearly in telephone interviews check out this 30 minute interview by Career Practitioner, Karalyn Brown and Speech Therapist, Esther Bruhl.
  5. Next steps. Always remember to thank the caller for their time, tell them you’re keen and that you look forward to hearing more about this exciting opportunity.

Having insight into why the recruiter is calling, understanding the role and company, plus preparing interview responses will help prevent being caught off guard when the phone rings.

A Job Seeker’s Sonnet

Originally posted on Work in Progress:


To whom it may concern

I am in search of employment

From what I can discern

It may help with my mortgage payment

Your vibrant workplace culture

Conjures up thoughts of a monthly brief

Where in place of monotonous torture

We’d be led in song by non other than the chief

A focus on sustainability

I can say we match there too

I’d like to sustain a livability

That affords the occasional Jimmy Choo

To close I’ll leave you with a blurb containing an adjective or three

A hard working, expert, team playing professional, you’d do well to hire me.

I had fun with this and learnt a little about poetry and rhyme schemes. The subject was inspired by This Post where poet Robert Okaji is interviewed and mentions his foray into editing and proof reading resumes and cover letters. No high heels were worn in writing this poem or…

View original 7 more words

An Attitude of Gratitude

thank you

When someone has done you a favour, helped you out or given their time, I assume it comes naturally to most people to say “thank you”. I was raised to write thank you cards to long distant family members when receiving presents, so for me its second nature.

In our busy lives, sending a note of thanks can often be overlooked and that’s ok. However, if you DO make this gesture it can have a positive impact in a number of ways: Continue reading

The People You Meet When You Volunteer

Volunteer HappinessThis week is National Volunteers Week in Australia where the theme is Give Happy, Live Happy. This message is about volunteers making a difference to other people’s lives, but also the effect of volunteering on their own well being, by lifting mood and happiness. I volunteer my time with a local group – Harcourt Progress Association, by coordinating the advertising for their monthly newspaper – The Core. This newsletter didn’t exist two years ago and I really enjoy working with the Editor and being part of its growth. The Core is now at 24 pages and features interesting articles, event information, a crossword, local stories & much more. Continue reading

How to Add a Right Hand Tab

My last blog post focused on Footers and Page Numbers. Now I’m going to show you how to format your resume with Right Hand Tabs (or plainly Right Tabs). Before we start, I recommend turning on the Paragraph Symbol which can show the paragraph marks and other hidden symbols (such as tab arrows and space bar dots) more clearly. Continue reading

How To Put a Footer Into Your Resume

One of the first things I look at when reviewing someone’s resume is the formatting. How does it present? Is it eye catching? Learning a few technical tips in Microsoft Word can save you time plus help the reader navigate their way through the information more readily. This post will show you how to add a Footer, plus how to add a Page Number within the Footer. My screen shots are taken from Microsoft Word 2007 but they follow the same method in later versions. Continue reading