How to Sound and Look Professional in a Phone or Video Interview

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Article shared from Jobscan

How to prep for a video interview.

Job interviews are stressful and only made worse when technology enters the mix. You want to present yourself as professional, knowledgeable, and poised, but that’s easier said than done while battling a noisy environment, spotty wi-fi, or malfunctioning headphones. Technological failures and poor planning are enough to ruin a good candidate’s chances of landing the job.

Phone and video interviews are typically used to screen candidates before bringing them in for an in-person interview. A technical recruiter told Jobscan, “If someone can’t really hold a conversation on the phone, they’re probably not going to move forward in the interview process.”

You should be focused on being engaging and showing off your qualifications. Here’s how to make sure technology doesn’t get in the way of a successful phone or video interview.

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

It’s simple, but the most important thing you can do prior to a phone interview is to make sure your phone battery is sufficiently charged, you have strong reception, and your volume is working properly.

Next, decide ahead of time on a quiet space with minimal echo where you can take the interview. While it might be tempting, do not take a phone interview in your car while driving or while walking around outside. Outside noises can be distracting and will seem unprofessional and rude to the recruiter or hiring manager.

Jobscan Marketing Manager, Christina Everett, remembers interviewing a candidate who whispered throughout the entire interview as not to disturb others in her current place of employment.

If you have to take an interview during the work day and are currently employed, consider renting a time slot at a coworking space or scoping out a quiet coffee shop or private room in a public library.

Since you’ll be using your phone during the interview, be sure to have written notes or a laptop, iPad, or second device on which you can pull up company information and reference the research and questions you’ve prepared ahead of time (which you should do, by the way). The sound of typing on your phone while talking can be distracting and unprofessional to the recruiter. Besides, you’ll feel more prepared having everything you need readily available.

How to Prepare for a Video Interview

First, make sure you have a laptop or desktop with which to take the video interview. Even though you might have used it a thousand times, take a few minutes prior to the interview to make sure the video and audio functionality is working properly.

Just like when preparing for a phone interview, you should scope out a professional space for your video interview ahead of time. The space that you choose should be quiet, have excellent internet connection, and a tidy background. If you have pets or children, be sure they are taken care of and as quiet as possible.

“I had a candidate once interview in what was obviously his basement. There were towels hanging over a door behind him, he was blurry over camera and didn’t look prepared,” said Everett.

Avoid awkward video interview experiences by turning on your camera pre-interview to get a good look at the lighting, background, and camera angle. As a general rule, don’t show off your bed, messy sheets, or inappropriate posters. Prop your camera up so it is level with your face or pointed downward toward your face. A flattering angle will make you feel more confident and prevent fidgeting mid-interview.

When taking an interview over video, you should make sure your appearance is not distracting by dressing professionally and making sure your hair and overall appearance is in order, just as you would for an interview in person. Furthermore, just like an in-person interview, always be prepared with knowledge of the company, job position, and pre-written questions.

Is a video interview just not practical for you? Everett urges job seekers to feel comfortable requesting an alternative interview style if you don’t have the space or freedom during the workday to set up a professional video interview.

While phone and video interviews may feel informal, recruiters and hiring managers take them seriously. You should too. All interviews act as a first impression of your professional self to the company, regardless of format. Take the time to prepare for your phone or video interview with the same dedication you would any interview.

New Year – New Career: 7 challenges to boost your creativity

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Have you ever driven to the office and then, as you get your first cup of coffee for the day, can’t remember driving there? Did you stop at the traffic lights? Which ones? Did you kiss your partner goodbye?

Oops! We all do it! It’s so easy to turn on the ‘autopilot’ and do everyday things without any conscious thought. It’s also dangerous and mind-numbing! But, we all do it at some time or another. And the reason for it is quite simply that we’re stuck in a rut, doing the same boring things over and over again. Did you know a ‘rut’ is just a coffin with the sides knocked out? So here are some things you can do to change your every day activities which will get you out of the ‘thinking rut’ and switch on your brain.

1.       Once or twice a week get out of the other side of the bed.  If you sleep with a partner, swap sides of the bed every now and again. Or, if your bed is against a wall, turn around and sleep with your head at the other end of the bed occasionally. It will seem strange at first, but just try it. When you get out of the same side of the bed every day, you start each day in the same way. It means you’re in a rut and right at the start of the day you’re telling your brain to go onto ‘autopilot’. So, to switch off ‘autopilot’ and launch your day, try getting out of bed  on the opposite side. You’ll be surprise at how this will change your thinking. You’ll switch on your brain and your whole day will be different. Try it a few times…. and see for yourself!

2.      Once or twice a week clean your teeth holding the toothbrush in the other hand. Cleaning your teeth the same way every day means you turn off your brain and go onto ‘autopilot’. You’re making your day exactly the same as the one before … and the one before that. Dare to be different. It doesn’t matter if you brush your nose or your chin – just have some fun and switch on your brain. You’ll probably forget, so write a funny note and tape it to your  bathroom mirror to remind yourself to use your other hand. You’ll notice that colors seem brighter, the air fresher and breakfast will smell fantastic – all because your brain is switched on.

3.      Open your wardrobe and throw out all the stuff you don’t wear. You probably have racks and racks of clothes hanging in your  cupboard that you haven’t even looked at, let alone actually worn, in yonks. You may figure you’re going to lose weight and fit back into them. Yeah! Right! Here’s a newsflash! If you haven’t worn them in the last twelve moths, you probably won’t ever wear them again. And, even if you could fit into them, you wouldn’t wear them because the color, the style, or the length will be wrong. Looking at clothes you don’t wear when you get dressed each day is depressing. It makes you are think of the past, instead of the present and the great things yet to come. Get out of that rut and start packing the clothes into boxes for charity. You’ll feel great when you give them away…and even better when you can find things in your cupboard. It will give you a sense of calmness and control in your life. Go get that box and get packing!

4.      Every now and then, move the furniture around in your bedroom. What do you see when you open your eyes each morning? Is it a plant, a lamp, a picture? Do you even notice? If you see the same thing every morning, your brain will keep on hitting the Z-Z-Zs while you get up and get dressed. Snap your brain into action by giving it a surprise. Change the furniture around to make your room look fresh and interesting. Remember how it feels when you come home from a few weeks’ holiday? You notice the paint that’s peeling on the door, the rug that has a mark on it and the flowers that are blooming in the garden. You have ‘fresh eyes’. So, recreate that feeling of awareness by changing things around every now and then. It will lift your spirits and make your life fun.

5.      Take that stuff you’re keeping ‘just in case’ and dump it. Go through your drawers, cupboards and look under the bed. Look for any written references, performance appraisals, letters from customers, awards, qualifications or anything that is relevant to use in your job application. Place these ‘secret sales tools’ in a safe place because you’ll need them when you write your application. But, throw out all the rubbish that you’ve kept ‘just in case you need it’. You know what I mean – Christmas cards from years ago, menus from  the restaurant that has closed down, pre-used birthday wrapping paper, dozens of free pens that don’t work, artificial flowers covered in dust, cracked photo frames, and so on. Are you getting the picture? Take that drawer or box, and run (don’t walk) to the garbage bin before you are tempted to sneak it back inside. Say goodbye to the things in your life that you’ve been hanging on to and that have been holding you back. Dig your way out of that rut and make way for the exciting new things that are coming!

6.      Take a different route when you go to work or the shops. Most people, still half asleep and waiting for the caffeine to kick in, stumble into their car and drive to the office on autopilot. They are contained in their own little air conditioned world inside the car, probably listening to the news on the radio or a CD and completely oblivious to the scenery, cyclists, pedestrians and anything else they pass. Their brain is working just enough to change stations. So, stop the rot! Drive a different route to get to work, or the shops, or when visiting a friend. Take notice of the houses you drive past, the trees on the side of the road, the people walking on the footpaths, and so on. Come alive! Live in the moment! See how the challenges of navigating a new route, unfamiliar driving conditions and changed surroundings really wake up your brain and shake you out of that rut!

7.      Change what you listen to in the car. Most people start their day listening to the radio with its news of madness, murder and mayhem (since good news doesn’t sell). By the time you get to the office your brain is full of negative thoughts, just like it was yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. Try listening to something different … classical music radio, a motivational CD, an audio cassette novel or maybe, just maybe, the sounds of silence to enable your brain to kick into gear without the distractions of noise.

So there you have it! Seven simple ideas that can change the way you think and, perhaps, revitalize your thinking. Following is some feedback I received after including these ideas in a training course called: ‘Managing Change and Moving Forward’:

  • When I slept on the opposite side of the bed, I had to climb over my wife to get out… and I was an hour late for work.
  •  I woke up in a rush and banged my knee on the bed – I forgot I’d moved the furniture around.
  • I’ve met some great people since changing the way I travel to work … mainly because I keep getting lost and have to ask directions.
  • I feel positive about getting a job and meeting other new challenges after surviving cleaning my teeth with the wrong hand.
  • My partner thinks I’m mad, but at least we’ve had a few laughs.
  • My kids think I’ve gone off the deep end – Here’s a tip! Don’t leave a note on the mirror to remind you which hand to use to clean your teeth! They’ll have you committed!

Good luck with your career change!  DawnRichards

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Study – Age discrimination in the workplace is happening to people as young as 45

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in careers, careers, writing, self-publishing, marketing, Resume Makeovers, writing

old&Young worker

Have you been discriminated against in the workplace? Chances are, if you’re 45 or older, you have been. Following is an article that appeared in Starts at Sixty.

‘Two-thirds of older workers surveyed by The University of South Australia experienced age discrimination.

 Almost a third of Australians perceived some form of age-related discrimination while employed or looking for work in the last 12 months – starting as early as 45 years of age, our study finds.

We conducted a national survey of 2,100 men and women aged 45 years and over, and 100 telephone interviews. The most common form of perceived discrimination was negative assumptions about older workers’ skills, learning abilities or cognition.

Survey participants also reported limited or no opportunities for promotion or training, working in an organisation that undervalued them and difficulty securing work due to age.

Our findings align with previous research from the Australian Human Rights Commission where 27% of Australians aged 50 years and over had recent experience of age-based discrimination in the workplace. In this survey the most common forms were limited employment, promotion or training opportunities and perceptions that older people have outdated skills or are too slow to learn new things.

Older adults in our study described a subtle pressure from their colleagues and management to stop working in order to “make room for the younger generation”. This was regardless of their experience, enduring capabilities or working preferences.

Workers also faced patronising attitudes, where employers or colleagues assumed they would struggle to pick up new technology or work systems quickly, due to their age. Some survey participants felt they were not afforded the same promotional or training opportunities as their younger colleagues.

Experiences differed for men and women in our survey. Men were more likely to suggest discrimination based on assumptions about their physical abilities or working pace, and women reported the organisation they worked for undervaluing older workers as a group.

To avoid discrimination interviewees reported using strategies such as minimising health conditions, concealing their age or maintaining a “youthful” appearance.

Although there has been some research into industry specific experiences of age discrimination, there are limited comparisons in research of prevalence and type of discrimination between industries.

Our data indicates that age related discrimination traverses all industries in worrying proportions. Industries where age discrimination was particularly common included construction, administrative services, education, manufacturing, essential services, information technology and professional service industries.

Hiring and firing of older workers

Over two thirds of retirees in our study, who had experienced age related discrimination, attributed their retirement to involuntary factors such as “having no choice”, redundancy or dismissal. Negative experiences at work (with a colleague, management or client) or dissatisfaction with organisational changes were often the trigger events for retirement.

Older job seekers reported being candidly or surreptitiously rejected through recruitment processes on the basis of age alone. Education, training and a steady working history were not guaranteed to help study participants in their search for employment.

Some interviewees had found it necessary to accept work for which they felt overqualified. Job seeker services in particular were considered ill-equipped to assist older, highly experienced and often well-educated adults.

These findings are in line with similar research in which study participants interpreted suggestions from potential employees that they were over qualified or experienced for a role, to mean they were “too old”.

Our interviewees believed that younger managers can feel intimidated by older workers. This may be based on concerns regarding an older employee’s ability to take instruction from somebody younger, learn new work methods and technologies or readily adopt change.

Why we should fight age discrimination

Beyond the moral and ethical issues of how older adults are treated, the experiences recorded in our study can have tangible implications for individuals and employers.

The government is trying to reduce dependency on the aged care pension by encouraging workers to stay in the workforce longer and accumulate sufficient superannuation (and other assets). Employment in high quality work can support and protect the health of men and women as they age.

But adults who feel devalued in their workplace, or unable to find suitable employment, are more likely to enter retirement earlier than anticipated and less inclined to re-enter the workforce.

Our survey results also suggest that people experiencing work-related ageism tend to report poorer health, lower household incomes and lower total superannuation fund balances, than those who have not had this experience.

Mature aged workers bring with them a range of favourable characteristics such as stability, reliability, loyalty, experience, wisdom and maturity. One way to tackle work related ageism is to firstly address negative perceptions regarding the competency of older workers.

This may be best addressed by employment services and human resource staff who are often on the front line of helping these workers find suitable employment. These workers can be skilled to respond to the needs of mature age job seekers. The introduction or reinforcement of policies supporting diversity in the workplace is another important step to support older worker participation.’

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

This article was written by The Conversation

The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public. Their team of professional editors work with university, CSIRO and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public. We republish The Conversation’s content under Creative Commons License.


Quick & Easy Resume Makeovers

Posted Leave a commentPosted in careers, marketing, Resume Makeovers, Updating your resume, writing

Final Cover_Quick & Easy Resume MakeoversHave you been sending off dozens of job applications… without getting an interview… or even a reply? Then, you need this newly released-book.

The way employers look for candidates has changed dramatically in the last decade with the introduction of technology that reduces hundreds of applications down to just a handful. Ouch!

There are NEW RULES for writing job applications. Your old résumé simply won’t work without the correct formatting and key words.

Most career changers aren’t aware that 80% or more of companies now use Applicant Tracking Systems (sometimes called ‘robots’) to make the huge number of resumes they receive more manageable. They do this by looking for key words that are in the Position Description – if you don’t have these keywords, your application goes in the bin.

In this book, you will learn:

  • THE NEW RULES for getting a job in 2017
  • How to write job applications to get into the ‘yes’ pile
  • How to find and use key words in your application
  • How to format your application to get past the robots
  • How to ‘sell’ your achievements in your application
  • How to ‘tailor’ each application in line with the Position Description
  • How to write a winner cover letter
  • Tips on how to answer selection criteria for government jobs
  • How to write a stand-out LinkedIn Profile to impress employers

If you’re like most career changers, you’ve spotted a great job and you need your résumé makeover … NOW!

No problem. We’ve made it really quick and easy for you to update your résumé and cover letter using templates, where you replace the sample text with your own information. We’ve also provided valuable QUICK GUIDES, CHEAT SHEETS and CHECKLISTS to make sure your application is free of errors that could end your career before it starts.

Dawn Richards has spent the past twenty years as a career coach and professional resume writer, helping job seekers get the jobs of their dreams. She is the author of best-selling career books: Selection Criteria Toolkit, Get That Government Job and From Fired to Hired.


Please note – this book uses templates and examples from Australian and New Zealand applications (Aussie resumes are a little more detailed and longer than US resumes). But, the information is still highly relevant because 90% of companies in the US use applicant tracking systems that require key words and robot-friendly formatting to move your application to the ‘yes’ pile for interviews.

Like to read a sample?

Writing Your Resume: How to Avoid Age Discrimination If You’re Over 45

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in careers, careers, writing, self-publishing, marketing, marketing, Resume Makeovers, Updating your resume

Getting a job at any age is difficult. But, if you’re forty-five or more, it becomes ten times harder because many young recruiters automatically dismiss older applicants as being ‘over the hill’.

There are some simple ways you can avoid age discrimination and sneak under the radar of young recruiters. When writing your resume, be very aware of anything that might show your age. Following are eight tips to help you get to the interview:

  1. Never write your age or date of birth in your résumé. Many people mistakenly believe a résumé is a legal document – it’s not. It’s a ‘sales document’ that ‘sells’ your skills and experience to a prospective employer.
  2. Use the name by which you are known on your résumé. For example, if you are known as “Kate Green’, write ‘Kate Green’, not ‘Katherine Mary Green’ or ‘Katherine M. Green’ on your résumé . Once again, this is not a formal document like a Birth Certificate where you need to write your full name.
  3. Only list jobs and training you’ve had over the last ten years. Don’t fall for the trap of bragging about your ‘twenty-five years’ experience in sales’. It makes you seem ‘old’ to a young recruiter and may affect your chances of being interviewed.
  4. Keep your résumé succinct and punchy by using short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. Don’t tell the story of your life – no one wants to hear about it. Older people are known to ‘waffle’, so make sure you stick to the point and write concisely.
  5. Include an employment summary of the last ten years, so that the reader can see your history at a glance. Start at your most recent position and work backwards. This helps the reader get to know you quickly.
  6. Use a simple layout in 11 point Arial font (for digital applications) and use bullet points to make it easy for the employer to get information quickly and easily. Avoid using a mixture of fonts and never, never use all caps. It looks as if you are shouting.
  7. ‘Sell’ yourself by stating what you’ve achieved in former positions. This includes: increases in sales, market-share or company profits, cost savings, increases in efficiency, developing new systems and processes, etc. The employer uses your past performance as an indication of your future performance.
  8. Choose professional referees (managers, colleagues, suppliers, customers, etc.) who can personally vouch for your work performance and include their mobile numbers and email addresses. Ask their permission to be listed as a referee and keep them in the loop about your application.

Take heart! There are many enlightened organisations that prefer to hire mature aged workers because of their strong work ethic and experience. Remember, you have a great deal to offer the organisation.

Make yourself competitive with younger job applicants by having a positive attitude, keeping your computer skills up-to-date and paying attention to your personal grooming. Good luck!


Guest Post by Mae Chapman: Unemployed? How to Keep Your Sanity Intact

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in careers, marketing, self-publishing, writing

Thank you Mae for your generosity in allowing me to publish this post for my guests.

Unemployment is upsetting for many reasons beyond immediate financial concerns:

Your routine is disrupted. You have become used to waking up every morning at a certain time. You ate lunch at a certain time. You went home at a certain time. You spent around 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, getting ready for work, commuting to work, working, commuting home again, and then unwinding from your day. Now, you have a lot of unstructured time on your hands.

Your social interactions are likely strained. Your friends and former colleagues know you are out of a job. They are well-meaning when they ask (every time they see you), “How’s the job hunt going?” or something similar. Until you do find something, you probably cringe inside every time you answer.

You feel left out. Whether you were fired or otherwise “let go”, you are no longer a member of the “I have a job” club. You are used to having conversations involving your profession and now have very few people to talk to. The LinkedIn groups you belong to are your only connection to the industry you used to work in.

Your role in Society has changed. Your significant other is working so of course, you are doing the housework, chauffeuring the kids to school and extra-curricular activities, and going to the grocery store. If you are a woman, society will accept this without another thought (although you may not be wild about it). If you are a man, not so much. Unemployed men are (probably) sick to death of being referred to as “Mr. Mom” or a “House-Husband”. You are told, “Staying home is great! You are so lucky to be out of the rat-race!” or other similar statements. Inside, you scream.

You have already done this but finding a new position is taking longer than you had hoped. You are hanging in there, but it is getting tough to maintain a happy attitude. You jump every time your mobile rings, hoping it is a Recruiter on the other end of the line. You check your email every 5 minutes. You even check your “Junk” and “Spam” folders just in case an offer was sent there by mistake. “Hope” just isn’t cutting it.

If any or all of the above applies to you, do this:

Structure your time. Get up at the same time you always did when you were working. Spend the morning searching out opportunities, networking, and maintaining your skills. Maybe learn a new one. Have lunch. During the afternoon, catch up on the housework (a messy abode is just plain depressing), and nurture your soul or work on that golf swing. In other words, have some FUN.

I know, some of you are shaking your heads in doubt. After all, you should be “working” 8 hours a day looking for a job, right? Wrong. Because it can take 6 – 8 months to secure a new position, spending every day, all day looking for work will grow old. You will lose your enthusiasm and maybe blow the interview you do get. Another thing: when you get the next job, you won’t be eligible for any vacation time for 6 months to a year.

Make some new friends. You probably don’t know the name of the people living right next door to you, if you are like most folks today. You probably don’t know the name of the person that drops the mail in your box every day, either. Have you ever met the people who spent 8 hours a day with your kids? No, no, and well – no. So go find out. Smile, introduce yourself and shake hands with them.

That doesn’t mean you should abandon the friends you already have; right now you don’t need to be reminded of your situation every time you see them. When they ask, reply, “I am taking my time to find a job I will really enjoy!” smile, and then change the subject.

Volunteer. If you are an accountant offer to help out at your CPA society. They will probably take you up on your offer. You’re an out of work attorney? You can do some pro bono work. Good for your spirit and it will keep you in the game. You’re in IT, an Engineer, or an Architect? Local high schools and community colleges would love for someone like you to help them out. Offer your assistance.

Decide for yourself what your “role “ is. If you live your life according to what “society” dictates, you will be unhappy – working or not. Okay, you used to work as the CEO of ABC, Inc. and were replaced. So what? You used to work as the Vice President of Something and now you are a “domestic goddess”. Again, so what?

You, Dear Reader, are not what you do for a living. (Read that sentence again – humor me.) If you are over the age of 14, you have probably noticed Humanity is rife with people who make stupid and insensitive remarks. You might have also noticed that “society” likes to tell people how they should live their lives. You live your life according to what works for you.

Man or Woman, when you are the one responsible for running a home and taking care of kids all day long, you are doing a (mostly) thankless job. However, it is one worthy of respect. Consider this for a moment: who was taking care of the house so Thomas Edison could be creative all day? While Henry Ford was building his empire working 80 hours a week, who was running the household, taking care of the kids, laundry and so on?

You are not a “house-husband” or a “house-wife”. You are not a loser just because you are in-between jobs. You don’t have to feel bad about yourself because you no longer spend almost half of your life away from the things you enjoy and those that you love.

If you have done the above, you might just realize you don’t want to work for someone else any longer. Maybe you have decided to make your dreams come true rather than someone else’s. So you put a plan together, get some help from some other unemployed people you know, and together, go into business.

Do this and it’s just a matter of time before you will become a business success. According to your definition of “success”. Your dreams, your career, and your life are all what you make of them.

Now, is that time. What are you waiting for?

Do connect with Mae here on LinkedIn and on Twitter @NCMae.


Mae is currently pursuing graduate degrees in accounting (MSA) and business (MBA). She also provides consultation services to small firms and is writing a (somewhat) fictional tale of financial fraud, the murder used to cover it up, and the family torn apart by greed.

Selection Criteria -14 proofreading tips to ensure you nail your application

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Uncategorized


So, you’ve finished your application and you’re keen to hit the ‘Send’ button on your computer or lick the stamp. Don’t do it! Here are 14 essential things to do before you send your application:

1. Take a coffee break before you start
Let your application ‘sit’ for a few hours (or better yet a few days). Allow sometime after you finish writing to help you see your application with ‘fresh eyes’ when you proofread it – you’ll be amazed at the silly errors you’ve made.

2. Print a hard copy of your application for proofreading
It’s easier to identify errors on a printed page than on a computer screen, so always print out a completed hard copy to proofread.

3. Avoid fluorescent lighting when proofreading
The flicker rate of fluoro lights is slower than standard lighting, making it more difficult to pick up errors. Use strong natural light where possible. (If possible, move out of the room where you wrote your application — you’re probably sick of being there anyway — so that you’ll get a fresh perspective.)

4. Edit for content and structure
When editing content, ask yourself who, what, when, where, why, and how? Then, answer the next five questions honestly:
• Have you checked the structure of your application?
• Do the facts flow in a logical sequence?
• Have you used relevant examples that demonstrate your skills and abilities?
• Does your application answer all questions the employer may have about you?
• How would you respond to this application if you were the employer?

5. Run the spell checker and the grammar checker.
This is merely a first check. There are many mistakes that won’t be picked up by the spellchecker or grammar checker.

6. Look for words that sound the same but have different meanings.
Watch out for words that sound the same, but have totally different meanings such as ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’.

7. Double-check titles, names, addresses, phone numbers and VRN for accuracy.
Employers and recruiters get a bit upset if their names are misspelled. Wouldn’t you? Make sure you check that you have used the correct vacancy reference number and that you have the correct phone numbers (triple check mobile numbers), email addresses and postal addresses.

8. Check for padding and eliminate redundant words and phrases. read carefully
Aim to remove 10 to 20 per cent of what you’ve written.

9. Make your language active and dynamic.
In your résumé, you can omit the ‘I’ and start with a ‘power verb’ such as developed, directed, sourced, configured, and so on to give your application a ‘verbal turbo-boost’.

10. Double-check little words: ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘of’, ‘it’, and ‘is’ for typos.
It’s very easy to repeat these little words without meaning to, so read backwards to see if you have doubled up.

11. Check for your weak points.
Most people make a few mistakes on a regular basis. It might be the word ‘manager’ written as ‘manger’ or it might be ‘applicaition’ instead of ‘application’. Another very common error is ‘form’ instead of ‘from’. The spelling checker won’t necessarily see these words as incorrect so make a checklist of your common errors so that you won’t miss them when you are proofreading your application.

12. Proofread for one type of error at a time.
It’s easy to get distracted while proofreading, especially after writing an application that is more exhausting than running a marathon. Read through your application for each of your common errors separately. For example, start with checking spelling and grammar, then check through for incorrect use of homonyms, apostrophes, verb tenses, and so on.

13. Go over your application one last time.
Choose the techniques that work best for you.                                                 dogproofreading
• Read your application silently – ‘Look’ for mistakes.
• Read your application out loud – ‘Listen’ for mistakes.
• Point with your finger to read one word at a time.
• Use a screen (a blank sheet of paper to cover the material not yet proofed).
• Read it backwards to focus on the spelling or repetition of words, such as ‘and and’.

14. Ask a friend with good written skills to proofread your application.
This is one of the best methods of proofreading. When you check your own work, you tend to see what you intended to write, rather than what you actually wrote. A fresh pair of eyes will see what is actually there.

Good luck with your application.
Like to learn more? Check out ‘Get That Government Job: Secrets of winning positions with selection criteria’ or go to for free resources.

How to choose your referees – your personal ‘sales team’

Posted Leave a commentPosted in marketing, self-publishing, writing

magnifying glassYou may have written a brilliant application and been outstanding at the interview, but it’s all for nothing if you choose the wrong referees. Referees can make or break you – they are your ‘personal sales team’ selling the brand of ‘YOU and your skills’. One wrong word (or simply a referee’s implied dissatisfaction with a ‘No comment’) and you’ve lost your chance. So, choose your referees with great care.

1. Choose referees who really know your work.
A referee needs to be able to comment on your work performance, achievements and personal attributes as they relate to the selection criteria, so a good choice would be your manager, supervisor, work colleague, supplier, client or anyone who knows your work.

2. Don’t choose the CEO or MD just because they have an impressive title.
You may be tempted to choose the CEO or MD of an organisation where you’ve been employed, but only do so if they know you well and can comment on your work performance.

3. Don’t choose a referee just because of their position or experience.
Don’t nominate someone just because they are highly experienced in the role for which you are applying. You might be thinking: I’m going for a Travel Consultant position and Jane Jones is the General Manager of Tippy Toe Travel, so she’ll be a good referee, won’t she?’ No! She won’t! Your referee’s qualifications or seniority hs no relevance if that person can’t comment on your work performance. It’s far better to choose people who know you well and who can provide first-hand information about your work.

4. Think carefully about what kind of questions your referee may be asked.

choosing-peopleThe person conducting reference checks usually records referees’ responses on a Referee Check Sheet, which can be completed over the phone, in person or in writing. Although referees’ comments are not weighted or scored for public sector positions, they are used to validate any claims you make in your selection criteria statement. Give your referees a copy of your application to prevent any contradictions about what you did, when you did it and what you achieved.

Remember to thank your referees for the fantastic ‘sales’ job they do when a prospective employer calls for a chat. You won’t get the job without their help so let them know how much you appreciate their support.

Got a question about referees? Leave a comment and we’ll discuss it.



Good news for long term unemployed with Federal Government Jobs Initiative

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good newsFinally, there’s a government helping hand for people who have lost their jobs to help them get back into the workforce. It will also be a huge help for people with a disability to access employment opportunities.

This wage subsidy is available for private sector and social enterprise organisations employing a job seeker who:

  • has been on income support for at least two years
  • is currently participating in Job Services Australia or Disability Employment Services programs
  • has had no or minimal recent paid employment

Here’s how the scheme works. The $95M. ‘Wage Connect Program’, funded by the Federal Government, subsidises employers to hire and retain people who have been out of the workforce for a lengthy period of time.

Research shows that people who have been unemployed for 12 months or more have a 54% chance of being unemployed for a further 12 months. Yikes! That’s enough to destroy anyone’s self confidence.

So, if you’ve been out of the workforce raising a family, caring for a relative, or just plain having a terrible time getting a job after being retrenched, this is for you. Embrace this opportunity and benefit from it. You deserve it!

At any age, it’s difficult to get back into the workforce after a long break due to outdated skills and experience. But, if you’re over 45, it’s even more difficult due to age discrimination. Yes, the ugly beast is still there. But, here’s your chance to get a great job, so don’t be a slowcoach! Check it out today. You can also go to your nearest Centrelink Office to see if you qualify.

Here’s the link for further info

Let me know how you go…I’ll be waiting to hear good news!

Great way to try a new job – lots of fun without the risk

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So, you’ve had a little talk with yourself and decided it’s time to change careers. But, what about the risk? What if you go to all the trouble of writing job applications, attending interviews, resigning form your job… only to find the new job isn’t what you thought it would be?

Now, there’s a more effective way to trial a new job. It’s a bit like work experience where you spend a day or more in a business to see first hand exactly what it’s like. You can try out working with a publicist, a florist, a landscaper…or dozens of other types of businesses. What a brilliant idea!

To find out more, go to and check out the experiences on offer. Who knows – the business you choose to do your work experience in may be your new employer.

Have any of you already had this experience? Please write a comment and tell all the wannabes how it worked for you.