Frequently Asked Questions

Starting a new role/job

I am starting a new role in 4 weeks, what should I be thinking about?

Many people go into a new role and apart from vaguely wondering what the first day might be like; they do nothing else but arrive.  We recommend you plan for success. This means thinking about it from the perspective of your first 90 days in the role. These first few weeks are very critical. They are a kind of ‘make or break’. The first impression you create is important and is a hard one to reverse if you get it wrong. If you do it well, it will provide a solid foundation for your future success. This means that you need to begin thinking and planning well before you even set foot into your new role. Think about what you want to achieve in the role, think about meeting new staff and how you want to project yourself, what organisational information would be useful to have prior to starting, perhaps contact your new manager and suggest a coffee meeting prior to starting to familiarise yourself more before starting.

Change management

I am embarking on some change within my team and am concerned that members of the team might find this hard. How can I make it easier ?

One thing to think about is that we all handle change differently. How we each handle change depends on the amount of change (or lack of it) we have experienced in our lives, how we cope with change, and also whether there is other change going on in our lives at the same time. Some people thrive on change and embrace it with ease, while others find it very unsettling. Communication is vitally important during change.  In particular, why the change is happening and the potential effects on the team and the individuals. It is a good idea to speak to each individual, listen to their reactions and answer their questions. Discuss how the impact can be minimised and what they can control and influence as result of the change – this will assist them not to feel they are a victim. Continue to communicate at each stage of the process. People will have various reactions from denial through to resistance and then at some point they will start to explore ways to adapt to the change and finally commit to it. This is a process and the time it takes will be different for each person.

CV

What is a good font to use when sending in my CV?

It has been suggested that Georgia is a good font to use. The reason for this is that it is designed to be read on the screen. As a high number of employers are asking for CVs in soft copy, this is a good idea.

I have just completed my CV and am checking over it. What should I be looking to check?

Check your spelling and grammar. If necessary get someone else to look over it with fresh eyes. Check that there is enough white space so that it is easy to read and not too crammed with text. Use fonts that are easy on the eyes. Ensure it is focussed in all sections, and focussed on the role you are applying for. Use ordinary paper and don’t use coloured paper unless you are going for a role in the advertising industry where this would more likely be acceptable. Does your CV have a theme? It is best if it is written so that the reader assimilates a theme – this means your strengths and achievements relate to each other and the role you are going for?

How can I market myself better on my CV?

Take a look at your CV and see if your first page invites the reader to turn the page and look further. We suggest you position your key strengths on the first page and perhaps also work on a summary statement that highlights your uniqueness. It is important to include your achievements in your CV. These show how you have made a difference and support your key strengths.

What is the best way to write my achievements? I have been told this is very important.

Write about what you have done that has enhanced the productivity, improved a situation, and where you have made a difference. Mention what the situation was, what you did to improve it and the outcome. If you can, include numbers, percentages or dollars, to quantify, but remember sometimes achievements aren’t all about these.

How long should my CV be?

You will get a variety of answers to this one depending on who you talk to. We advise our candidates that ideally they should have up to 4 pages. The most important thing is, that your CV is focussed and relevant to the role.  It should be well laid out, and take the reader through it in a logical manner.

Career change

I have been in my role for 5 years. I would like a change. What do I need to do?

We suggest that you take a look at your strengths, your interests, what drives you, and what you might like to do using these factors. Think broadly at the beginning and focus on other relevant factors. These factors might include:

This is a starting point. It may be that it would be useful to talk to an HR specialist or a career coach if you need more help.

I am not sure what my next career step should be. What should I do?

Refer to the answer above.   Also think about what skills you would like to develop and the most likely positions where will be able to do that.

I am in my 50’s, my role has been disestablished, what can I do?

If possible, take some time to reflect on your preferred next step. It may be that you want to stay in the same industry, or alternatively take the opportunity to explore different opportunities. Alternatively, if you have not received redundancy compensation, then it is possible you are in a hurry to get to another role. Either way, start to think about your strengths, interests and drivers.  Look at your achievements, and the aspects of work that you enjoy, and think about the types of role that would appeal. Plan to promote yourself  well, and practice for interviews. Once you are focused on where you want to go, talk with a recruiter, look in the newspapers and on Seek and start to network. It is important to spend a considerable amount of time in these activities. Hopefully your employer will fund you to get some career advice as part of your disestablishment as this will assist you.

Interview strategies

The internal role I am applying for is also being advertised externally. How can I best prepare for this?

Don’t assume that, because you are an internal candidate, you have all of the advantage.  You may have good knowledge of the role, the staff and how the organisation operates, but this won’t be enough. One mistake that internal candidates make is that they can be quite complacent.  When this happens they wrongly assume that they don’t need to do lots of preparation because the interview panel will know them. Meanwhile external candidates, if they are very thorough, will prepare well and assume nothing.

I am very nervous in interviews and I think this affects my performance. What can I do to overcome this?

Firstly it is important to identify your strengths and be able to provide examples of where you have successfully demonstrated these strengths. It is important to know your drivers, what has made you successful in your role(s), why you enjoy your current role. Also why you want the role you are going for and what you have to offer this role. In other words, take time to prepare for your interview well. The more you prepare, the less nervous you will be.

I am applying for jobs but I am not getting interviews. What am I doing wrong?

Take a look at your CV and your cover letter. Is your CV focused and relevant to the role you are applying for?  Have you clearly laid out your relevant strengths, and included your achievements? Have you checked your CV and cover letter for good format, spelling and grammar?  You may wish to have a career coach review your CV to ensure it is structured in the most effective way for you.

Networking

I am told the best way to obtain a new role is to network. How do I do this?

Approximately 70%-80% of jobs are in what is called the ‘hidden’ market, with the remaining 20%-30%  in the ‘visible’ market. The visible market involves newspapers, internet sites and recruiters. Initially think about those contacts you have who may be in areas in which you are interested, and/or may know people in those areas. Continually focus on broadening your range of network opportunities over time, using, for example, websites such as Linked In and industry functions.

Retirement

I am soon to retire. However I am feeling a little scared about what this might look like.

Retirement can be a little scary for some and often this is because our lives are so much revolved around work that when that disappears, there is a considerable hole. The key here is that it is important to prepare well before you leave work. It is useful to think about whether you are leaving work entirely, or are you contemplating a position that is part time/reduced hours. It can be useful to give some thought to leisure interests, potential of voluntary work, return to some learning (hobby or new learning), your family and relationships including your partner and what his/her plans might be.  These considerations are just as important as the financial implications of retirement.  We recommend that, if you haven’t already, you document a retirement plan either by doing it yourself, or seeking the assistance of professionals skilled in this area.

Recruitment

I have been registered with a recruitment agency but I don’t hear from them. What should they be doing for me?

It is a common misconception that once you have spoken to the recruitment consultant, that they will contact you. You need to take a proactive stance.  You need take control and contact the recruiter on a regular basis. Also have a think about your initial interview with the recruiter – were you positive and very clear with respect to what you want ?

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