How many words should my responses be to the key selection criteria? By Matthew Coppola


So, as part of your application you need to address a set of key selection criteria. How long should your responses be?

Firstly, my suggestion is to find out if the employer/recruiter has asked for a certain number of words per response or how many pages your application should be. Will help you determine the length and size of your answers.

However, as a rule of thumb, my suggestion is to stay around 300-350 words per criteria. Or best to stay less than half a page long, with multiple paragraphs rather than a couple of long paragraphs that may be a little difficult to read.


Would you like a new and tailored resume and cover letter that helps to highlight the valuable skills and experience you have gained in your career to date? Would you like assistance addressing key selection criteria?

Why not contact the team at Client Centric Executive Employment Solutions. They would be happy to help.

www.clientcentric.com.au

 

What should I do with older experience on my resume? By Matthew Coppola


As your career progresses, you will most likely find that some of your experience is past ten years, and although it is valuable and vital to how you have developed as a professional, you may feel that it was quite a long time ago. You may feel you need to condense your resume, but if you take it out, then they may not consider you as someone who has extensive industry experience.

So what do you do?

An excellent option to deal with this situation is to summarise your experience in a table format. Include only a summary about your role, any key accomplishments (Maybe three or four) as well as the employer’s name, role title and duration.

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Would you like to have your resume professionally revamped to help apply for a new job?

Client Centric Executive Employment Solutions is an Australian based business that provides interview skills coaching, assists with CV/Resume writingaddressing key selection criteria and covering letters to help you with giving your best foot forward to an employer. Please feel free to visit their website: www.clientcentric.com.au

 

Is it necessary to include colour in my resume? By Matthew Coppola


It is entirely up to you.

A good question to ask though is whether or not having colour in the resume makes that much of a difference in persuading/motivating/encouraging the employer or recruiter to shortlist you in for an interview.

Can colour make a difference?

That’s for you to decide.

Personally, I prefer not to.

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Would you like to have your resume professionally revamped to help apply for a new job?

Client Centric Executive Employment Solutions is an Australian based business that provides interview skills coaching, assists with CV/Resume writingaddressing key selection criteria and covering letters to help you with giving your best foot forward to an employer. Please feel free to visit their website: www.clientcentric.com.au

How far should I go back to in my resume? By Matthew Coppola


Although every candidate’s application and background will vary in determining how far you’re your resume should go, in general terms usually the past ten to fifteen years is a reasonable time frame to go back. Any time before that can list as an outline.

The main point to be aware of is not to make the resume too long and lengthy. Generally speaking, a reasonable length of a resume maximum 4-6 pages long depends on the complexity and scope of the candidate’s background.

The main point to take away from this is to be mindful of the person who is reading your application and their time.

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Are you interested in having your resume and cover letter professionally revamped and written? 

Client Centric Executive Employment Solutions is an Australian based business that assists with CV/Resume writing, addressing key selection criteria and covering letters to help you with giving your best foot forward to an employer. Please feel free to visit their website: www.clientcentric.com.au

Why should you research the employer before being interviewed?


Matthew Coppola is an Australian Careers Advisor, Employment Specialist and Resume Writing Expert. If you are interested in having him as a speaker or utilising any of his services, please contact him by clicking here.

Going for an interview is like going out on a date with someone.  Now both are similar for many reasons, but generally speaking, if you went out on a date with someone and it wasn’t a blind date, you would be more prepared and confident if you knew a bit about the person with whom you were about have dinner or a drink with.

That kind of research might entail conversations with friends among other things. What if your friends told you that she was no good, she would hurt you and she is untrustworthy. And this is from multiple sources including  Facebook page where you see her photos and posts with are in line with the reputation your friends gave her.

Armed with this information and research, how do you now feel about this date? Well not only would you be uncertain about her but you would be more prepared with what kind of questions you want to ask her and you would not let her pretty looks cloud any of your judgement! So research is key to being prepared and confident!

Same with having an interview with an employer.

It’s always best to find out everything you can about the companies you want to work for including: their product lines, competitors, prices, growth prospects, organisational structure, employment policies, key staff and overseas trends and developments which may affect local operations.

You can find this information in places like:

  • annual reports;
  • customer newsletters;
  • trade magazines;
  • product brochures and catalogues;
  • sales representatives.

The best way to approach this is speaking in person to someone who works there or knows someone who does. This is where your personal contact list will be important and this can be found through online sources like LinkedIn, a professional networking website where you can connect and message professionals in your industry.

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Author: Matthew Coppola

Matthew Coppola – Employment Advisor

BComm(Econs), GradCert (CE&D)

Matthew Coppola has more than 6 years’ experience in the recruitment, staffing and training industries with a focus on employment services, specifically Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Services.  He has experience in business development, marketing, sales and training.

Common Interview Questions – A Brief Overview


Matthew Coppola is an Australian Careers Advisor, Employment Specialist and Resume Writing Expert. If you are interested in having him as a speaker or utilising any of his services, please contact him by clicking here.

Common Interviewing Questions

1 – Tell me about yourself.
This seems to be an innocent enough question. But be aware that Interviewers often ask this as an invitation for you to share your life story or personal information. Interviewers often want to know personal details like your age and marital status. So this question often elicits background information such as when you graduated high school or college, your marital status, number of children, etc. When you hear the tell-me-about-yourself question, think of how you can answer with details about your prior work experience, abilities and professional accomplishments that will fit this job.

2 – What else should I know about you?
If the “tell-me-about-yourself” question doesn’t prompt you to reveal personal statements, later in the interview (when you have been lulled into complacency), the interviewer often asks this question. Reiterate why you are the best fit for the job. No personal info is required. It’s up to you what private details you reveal.

3 – Why should we hire you?
Talk about a job where you used skills you believe will be necessary in this job. Point out how your skills or experience meet the needs of the organization.

You can say, “Because I am the best candidate for the job,” as long as you add the reasons that make you the best candidate. Be confident and enthusiastic and emphasize several reasons why you should be hired. “I’ve got extensive experience in (whatever) with the specific skills you are looking for. I’m a fast learner who has learned to adapt quickly to change …” Give examples to back up your statements that demonstrate your unique qualifications.

4 – What are your weaknesses?
One/ of the secrets to answering this question is being honest about a weakness, but at the same time, demonstrating how you have turned it into a strength. For example, if you had a problem organizing your work in the past, demonstrate the steps you took to more effectively keep yourself on track. This will show that you have the ability to recognize aspects of yourself that need improvement, and the initiative to improve.

Do not say, “I don’t have any weaknesses,” or “I am a bit of a perfectionist.” Those answers will turn off interviewers. They know the first is probably untrue and the second is impossible. Being a little bit of a perfectionist is like being a little bit of a liar. Better to use a weakness that is really something you are trying to learn like a foreign language or a new software program. Make sure that any weakness you talk about is not a key element of the position.

5 – What is your greatest strength?
This is your opportunity to highlight your best skills. Focus on your top three or four. Examples would be: “my leadership skills, problem-solving ability, team-building skills, interpersonal skills, ability to work under pressure, professional expertise, ability to resolve conflict” and so on. Be prepared to offer examples for each skill you mention.

9 – Where do you see yourself five years from now?
If you say, “In your job,” you have shot yourself in the foot. Interviewers ask this question because they want to hire people who are focused on specific professional goals. Vague works best. “In five years I expect to have more responsibility and new, exciting challenges.”

Do not indicate that you hope to start your own business, change careers, or go back to school. Such responses indicate a lack of long-term interest in the organization. Keep in mind that throughout the interview, the interviewer is trying to discover if you are a good fit and can make a positive contribution in the job.

10 – Why do you want to work here?
“Because you have a job,” won’t win any points for you. Instead, use this question to talk about what you know about the company, and how your background and experience relate to issues they may have. This shows the interviewer that you have done your homework and at the same time, gives you another opportunity to show how your qualifications and experience match the job. “What I can bring to this job is six years experience and knowledge of the industry, plus my ability to build and sustain patient relationships …”

11 – Why did you leave your last job?
If you lost your last job because of downsizing, restructuring, the company closing, etc., say: “I didn’t leave my last job. My job left me.”

If you left on your own accord, do not say anything negative about your former company, boss, or co-workers. You might say: “There were many aspects of my job that were rewarding but I believe this new position will give me the opportunity to contribute even more.”

12 – What did you dislike most about your last job?
If you loved your last job, say: “What I dislike most is that it ended.” If you didn’t love your last job, do not say anything negative. Instead, use a variation of the statement: “There were many aspects of my job that were rewarding.”

13 – What is a weakness you still have?
A negative question again. Repeat a “weakness” you may have used earlier that indicates how you are working to learn something new.

18 – What salary are you looking for?
Negotiating salary can be a minefield if you aren’t prepared. This strategy is an excerpt: “Do not disclose your salary history or the salary you are seeking. Instead, ask: ‘What is the range for this position?’ You focus continuously on asking for the range, not the salary. When you disclose, you lose the power of negotiation.”

Behavioral Interviewing Questions

Behavioral interviewing focuses on the candidate’s actions and behaviors and therefore minimizes the personal impressions that can affect hiring choices. This style of interviewing is based on the premise that the best, most effective way to predict your future behavior is to determine your past behavior.

These questions ask about what you have done in previous jobs, not what you would do. You will know it is a behavioral question when the past tense is used. “What did you do … Tell me about how you handled … Describe a time when …”

19 – Describe a problem situation and how you solved it.
If you had responsibility in your previous jobs, you can describe a work situation where you were responsible for turning it around. If you do not have professional experience, describe something like prioritizing your schedule and making to-do lists to give you enough time to study. Regardless of the issue involved, you demonstrate that you can think critically and develop a solution.

20 – Describe how you handled a stressful situation in the past.
Give an example of how you used your problem-solving or decision-making skills to reduce stress. An example might be that you learned the value of a time-out for both yourself and your staff. Or if it’s true, how you actually seem to work better under pressure and deadlines.

21 – Tell me what has been your greatest work-related accomplishment?
Choose an example that was important to you and also helped your company. Give specific details about what you did, how you did it, and what the results were. Talk about an accomplishment that relates to the position you are seeking. Interviewers like to hear about accomplishments that reduced expenses, raised revenue, solved problems or enhanced a company’s reputation.

22 – How did you keep current and informed about your job/industry?
The interviewer is concerned that once you get the job will you continue to learn and grow? You could say, “I stay on top of what is happening in my industry by reading newspapers, magazines and journals. I am a member of several professional organizations and continually network with colleagues at the meetings. Whenever possible I take classes and attend seminars that offer new information or technology.”

Question and Answer on Email Etiquette


Emailing, Email Etiquette1. What is the biggest mistake people make when sending business emails?

The biggest mistake would have to be sending emails with too many subjects.

If you are sending an email, make sure that it is on one subject alone, not many. Because when people receive emails with too many subjects, the email respondents end up forgetting to reply to most of the different matters.

So I suggest when sending emails, make sure they are on one subject, and if you have a number of matters that need dealt with, keep them as separate emails.

2. What is a common mistake people make without realising they are making a mistake?

Bad grammar – forgetting to spell check is a common mistake people make that they don’t realize.

When sending emails throughout the day, we may become busy and so will rush through an email, and sending it without double checking our grammar and punctuation.

Make sure spell check is always turned on. However, spell check misses mistakes like this:

“I this due by Tuesday”

Spell check would say that is correct. When really it isn’t and should be:

“I need this due by Tuesday”

So it is always good to double check our emails before sending.

Ways you can quickly check for typo mistakes:

Read through the email but only concentrate on the words and their structure, not what the email is reading. This way you will be able to find mistakes easier without getting caught up in the email

3. How should an email be properly constructed?

–         Specific subject

Eg.

BAD:  Next Tuesday’s appointment

GOOD: Appointment for Tuesday the 20th of August 2010 with John Smith

–         Introduction

An email should start off with a good introduction which captures your reader’s attention and helps them to follow on through the email:

Eg.

Hello John,

Hope you had a good weekend OR

Thank you for your time today to discuss the matter with you.

–         Body

This is the base of the email.

Key information for the reader is in this part of the email. Whatever you need to ask or say put it in here.

–         Conclusion

Always end an email off in a positive note or to recap your email.

Eg.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information

Kind regards,

OR

I look forward to seeing you next week and discussing the proposition with you.

Kind regards,

4. How important is good email etiquette?

Very important.

A good email shows professionalism so sending a well written email will impress your client or customer

5. What are the possible ramifications of bad email etiquette?

–          Perception by the email respondent as unprofessionalism and lack of care in the way your conducting business

–          The email respondent may disregard the email and forget about it

–          The email may be passed on as junk mail if the subject line is too general or small.

–         The use of emoticons and acronyms like BTW (by the way) are way too informal. Not everybody knows what they mean. Readers could even get the wrong impression of your email writing skills.