It’s More ‘Show’ Than Tell: Why Infographic Resumes Are The Future

There’s plenty of advice out there on what you should and shouldn’t write in your resume and what you should and shouldn’t say in a job interview, but what if you’ve done all the right things and you’re still not getting any call backs? For many of us, it’s not the lack of experience, skills or training, it’s the fact that you’re not presenting yourselves properly. It’s your story that isn’t making the connection.

You may have all the skills the employer is looking for but have you made enough of a connection to actually get noticed? For recruiters and hiring managers who are knee deep in applications, they’re looking for that something ‘special’. Something that sets you apart and gets them interested and intrigued. If 10 applicants are a perfect fit for the role, how will you be the one that turns heads? Like a good story, you need to create intrigue so that your audience wants more.

Infographic resumes

It’s a well-known fact that icons and graphics tell a story by synthesizing data, creating perspective and communicating meaning all at a glance. Infographics tell a compelling story that’s interesting, easy to understand, and universal. Good infographics are visually appealing and can be a combination of charts, photos, illustrations, graphs and videos and are designed to tell the most important parts of your story in a way that’s colourful and succinct. This is why ‘showing’ your career story in your resume is more important than telling it. Your message risks getting lost in all those words.

So how can you turn your dull old-fashioned resume into something that sets you apart from everyone else? If you’re a creative type, this could be quite simple but for the majority of us, you’ll need some guidance and tools to create something that really gets noticed (for all the right reasons!) And this is why I have developed Trumpet Page – an Australian-first visual resume creator to help you easily create an engaging infographic or visual resume. There’s nothing like it on the market and we’re the only site that incorporates both infographics and built-in writing support to ensure you create a resume that is simple, easy to understand, showcases your unique skills and presents you at your brilliant best. It’s the ideal mix of text and infographics. It’s not only visually appealing, but it still has all of the essential resume information that recruiters and hiring managers are looking for.

We’re launching out website soon in Australia, so go to http://www.trumpetpage.com.au and register for updates.

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Posted in freelance, freelance employment, freelancers, freelancing, infographic resumes, infographics, Job Seeking, jobs, multimedia resumes, resume writing, resume writing tips, visual resumes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are you a super-connector or super-taker? How to be ‘real’ on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the main network that us professional folks use to make contacts with people we think will benefit us. We use LinkedIn to connect with people of influence, we use it to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in our circle, we use it to find people and we use it to advertise ourselves for future collaborations, partnerships, work and business. It’s the world’s largest professional network.

LinkedIn connections

Did you know that one of the first things a recruiter or HR Manager will do before they decide to contact you for an interview is to check out your LinkedIn profile? They’ll not only confirm that the information on your resume matches your profile, but quite often, they’ll be looking to read your recommendations, see what connections you have and groups you belong to. In the corporate world, it really matters what you do on sites like LinkedIn so it makes sense to be ‘real’. And what I mean by ‘real’ is – are you making strategic connections that will benefit you or are you just connecting with anyone to look more connected?

Have you often wondered if all those 500+ connections that some people have are truly genuine? In many cases they are and it has taken years for these professionals to build up their networks but there are still plenty who regularly connect with random people for no reason at all. These people are called the ‘super-takers’. They’re in it just for the numbers. If these people can’t benefit you in any way, then what’s the point? Have you forgotten WIIFM – what’s in it for me?

LinkedIn-puzzle

It’s easy to build a genuine professional network but don’t expect to make 500 connections overnight. LinkedIn groups are a great way to find people who have similar professional interests so join as many relevant ones as you can and comment on discussions within the group.

Pretty soon you’ll start to get noticed and connection requests will start rolling in. Equally important is the way you make your connections with others. Don’t just send off the standard generic request because it’s too impersonal. Send each request with a personal message to show that person you have taken the time to find out more about them. Be genuine and tell them exactly why you want to connect. Don’t be shy. Everyone’s in it to make the right contacts. If you want to make a ‘real’ impression, take the time to pick up the phone and give some of your connections a call. You’ll be surprised at how much that small little gesture will impress someone.

So, keep your circle tight and keep it ‘real’ because developing genuine interactions with people will only bring rewards for you in the future. It’s just good karma.

 

 

Posted in career, careers, freelance, job hunting, Job Seeking, Linkedin, networks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Tips for Quoting Freelance Projects

One of the more challenging aspects of freelancing is working out how much your time is worth and getting paid for the job on time. We’ve all had bad experiences when we’ve under-quoted a project or just didn’t get paid at all. So, to avoid this happening to you in the future, follow these 5 tips to help you to improve your quoting.

Piggy-Bank-w-Blackboard

1.       The proposal

Spend time creating a formal proposal. This means talking to the client and discovering exactly what they need and what they expect you to deliver. If you can, try to find out what the client’s budget is. Many won’t tell you though because they’re trying to get the job done as cheaply as possible. Be very thorough with the proposal and make sure you cover things like your responsibilities (and the client’s), expectations, requirements, payment terms, and terms for changes outside the proposal etc. Nutting all this out at the start will save you significant $$ later on.

2.       Charge by the hour

Instead of quoting a fixed price for the project, protect yourself by quoting by the hour. This will eliminate misquoting. In your proposal, provide the client with an estimated hourly rate and time frame to complete the project (e.g. $85.00 + gst/hour based on 40 hours). This makes quoting much easier and the client understands they are buying a block of your time that you think will be enough to finish the project. Any additional time spent on the project can then be charged as extra at an agreed rate. If you had quoted a fixed price and spent another 20 hours on the job, that’s 20 hours of your costs down the drain.

3.       Up your costs by 10-20%

Always add between 10-20% to every job just to cover you for any unexpected situations – for instance, when the client pays you 3 weeks late!  If you’re just starting out, don’t fall into the trap of quoting too cheaply just to get the job. This extra on top will cover all the behind-the-scenes stuff like administration, phone calls and bookkeeping. If you think this will take 2 hours, then add this time to the quote. Remember – you’re not working for free. You’re in it to make money.

4.       Collect up-front

No matter how small the project, make sure you collect 40-50% of the costs upfront. This is common practice and your clients will expect to do this. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask your clients to pay an initial starting payment. It protects you from getting ripped off. Don’t start on the next stage of the project until the previous stage has been paid for and be very strict on this. As soon as you relax these rules, someone will take advantage of you. I know it sounds a bit harsh, but I have learnt this from my own experience.

5.       Set a payment schedule

Sticking to a payment schedule is important so that you always get paid for the work you’ve done. Set the payment terms out clearly in your proposal so your clients are very clear on what you expect from them. If you aren’t exact and business-like about your payment schedule, clients will ride their debt as long as they can and as a small business owner, you can’t afford to let that happen. No money = no business.

Posted in contract employment, freelance, freelancing, small business tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Freelancers: How to become a morning person

One of the many perks of working as a freelancer is the luxury of choosing the hours you work. But have you become one of those people who work all hours of the night and struggle to get up with the sun? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that and I know plenty of freelancers who prefer working without the daylight distractions but you may be missing out on the most productive part of your day.

morning person

The facts . . .

  • People who wake up earlier tend to feel more proactive, optimistic, healthier and less stressed.
  • When your body is sleep deprived, your blood pressure rises, you eat more and your reaction times slow down.
  • According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-8 hours of sleep a night to feel refreshed and alert for the day. People who get less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours of sleep a day, significantly increase their health risks.

Let’s start with sleep

The obvious solution to getting up earlier is getting enough sleep. This means preparing yourself for a good night’s rest well before you finally hit the pillow. Avoid spicy foods, chocolate, fruit or caffeine before bed and opt for a nice cup of herbal tea or glass of water instead. Remove any work-related electronic devices from the bedroom and stop using your laptop, mobile phone, tablet etc. at least an hour before you retire. This will help you to switch off and relax. If you kick back with a good book before bedtime, this will tire out your eyes and make you feel nice and drowsy. Taking a warm shower before bed and listening to some soft nature sounds will also help you drift off into a peaceful slumber.

Keep it regular

The best way to become a morning person is to start going to bed and waking up at the same time every day so your body will naturally start to get used to feeling sleepy and awake at those times. Set your alarm tone to something soothing, rather than a nasty blaring ‘beeper’ that will you shock you out of your sleep. Avoid lazy around in bed and get up and moving as soon as you can. A few stretches or 1 minute of light jogging on the spot will make the body feel more energetic. Follow this routine with a morning shower and healthy breakfast and after a while, this will all just happen mechanically.

Sleepyhead

Clear the mind

Nothing livens up the body and mind more than exercise. All it takes is a brisk walk after breakfast to clear the mind and focus on the day ahead. A good night’s sleep and regular exercise will not only put you in a better mood but it will improve your life, help you to work more effectively and give you more energy.

By following these very simple tips, those who can work their own hours will have more free time; feel a lot more energised and focused and that much closer to achieving their ideal work/life balance. And isn’t that what freelancing is all about?

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Psychometric Testing – Is It Measuring Madness?

Psychometric testing is used primarily by recruiters as a very broad brush approach to measuring a candidate’s relevant strengths and weaknesses. The results are then used to assess the candidate’s employment suitability and company-candidate fit. These tests are widely used but can we rely on these predictions?

psychometric testing

What if the candidate is a perfect fit for the job because the test says they have the right level of skill and personality to suit the demands of the position but in reality, the candidate’s true interests and values don’t align? This is when we have people who are perfect on paper, they have the skills to do the job, but it’s not what they would really do best. What people do best is working in jobs that they love, where they are inspired, challenged and feel valued. Unfortunately, most of our career decisions are based on which company we should work in, rather than what career we should follow.

Psychometric testing shouldn’t be taken as gospel. Human beings are complicated. Our interests change, our priorities change and what we look for in a job changes – constantly. As you can guess, I’m not a big fan of these tests but they can be useful in certain situations. They can help a recruiter determine if the candidate has the right level of skill and they can also give job seekers a general sense of career direction. Where they fall down is that they give job seekers little information about their skills and career needs and don’t give the recruiters a whole picture of the candidate.

The best assessments available are the Myers Briggs Indicator and Kolbe Instinct Test which consider learning styles, personality types and a person’s natural instincts. Surely tapping into this information would give recruiters a better indication on how a person would perform on the job, rather than relying on the fact that they have the skills to do the job? For instance, you may have the skills to lead a team, but do you enjoy doing it and does it come naturally to you?

In saying this, at some stage, you’ll probably have to sit for one of these tests if you’re going through a recruitment agency so here are a few tips to help you prepare:

  • Although I can’t be 100% sure what tests you’ll be given, it’s likely you’ll be doing a combination of ability and personality tests to determine if you’re the right candidate. Employers want a behavioural profile of you which will be a combination of your skills, intelligence, personality and cultural perspective.
  • Recruiters will let you know in advance what tests you will be taking during the initial screening process. Before you take the test, read through the job description and contact the recruiter directly to talk about the role and to find clues about what attributes the right candidate is expected to have. You can also find some free online psychometric tests to practice on before the big day.
  • Be true to yourself. Don’t answer the questions in the way you think they want them to be answered. You’re only cheating yourself in the long run.

Recruiters – what do you hope to achieve from these tests and how do the questions you ask result in the conclusions the test will reach. I would love for someone to clear this up for me. Job seekers – what good/bad experiences have you had with psychometric testing? I’d love to hear about them.

Posted in career, career change, careers, freelance, job hunting, job interviews, Job Seeking, jobs | 7 Comments

Career SOS: I hate my job but have no idea what I want to do!

Let’s face it, making decisions about your career is never easy and it can be one of the most important decisions you make in your life, alongside choosing a long term partner and buying a house. When I left school nearly 24 years ago, whatever career we decided to pursue was what we all thought we would do until we retired. Many people born before 1960 have stayed in the same career their whole working lives, just moving up the ladder until they retired. And this is how it was for a long time.

career change

But how things have changed. We’ve moved away from the idea that the job you fell into after you left school was your job for life. Workers want to be motivated, inspired and enjoy the job they do and if the job doesn’t deliver, then it’s time to move on. People are also looking for jobs that are more flexible and support people with families. Technology has also opened up so many more opportunities for people to learn new skills which mean people can be learning at any stage of their lives. These days, I can go back to university as a 44 year old student and get qualifications in pretty much anything I want. Online learning has made this possible.

Stability used to be what was most important in a job. Now it’s money, better work/life balance and better opportunities to grow and learn. According to Forbes magazine, Millennials (Gen Y) are very restless and “. . . expect to stay in a job for less than three years.” This means that Gen Y can expect to have 15-20 jobs over the course of their lifetime.  Many see this serial job-hopping as a negative on a resume but job hopping can also lead to greater job fulfilment, which is more important to Gen Y workers than it was to any previous generation.

Looking for a change?

Are you one of those people who are looking for something more? Has it become a real struggle to drag yourself into the office each day because the job is just so mind-numbingly boring? Have you been out of work for a while and want to get back into it, but don’t really know what you can do? If this sounds like you then you may need a change in career.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”

The secret to finding a job you love is to work out what you really love doing. Really have a good hard think about it. Forget about what it is you do now. Start fresh and write down the answers to these 4 very simple questions:

  1. What favourite things do you do in your spare time that you really enjoy? It could be reading, catching up with friends, playing sport, writing, building things, renovating, yoga, cooking, volunteering etc.
  2. If you had all the money in the world, what would be your dream job and why?
  3. What do you hate most about your current job?
  4. What do you wish there was more of in your current job?

dream job

Do the answers fit in with the job you do now, or when you last worked? If not, then this is evidence that you’re not doing something that you love. To go into much more detail, take one of the many free online career tests to find out the types of jobs that may suit you based on your personality and interests such as http://www.lifestylecareers.com.au/resources/free-career-assessment

Once you have a clearer idea of the type of job you would like to do, get started on finding out what skills you need. No doubt you’ll have plenty of transferable skills that would suit the job but you may need to get cracking with some extra training. Speak to anyone you may know in the industry to get some more insight into the job and exactly what it involves and start volunteering or working casual/part-time on the side to get the hands-on experience you’ll need.

As humans, we’re really bad at predicting what will make us happy and as life revolves around us, our priorities change. So the only way for us to find true career happiness is through trial and error.

Posted in career, career change, careers, Gen Y, Job Seeking, jobs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Career Change: How I went from behind the bar to cleaning mine equipment earning a $100K salary

For many 17 year olds like me growing up in Townsville, the first job you landed after you left school was either an apprenticeship (preferably with the Defence Force) or a job working in hospitality or retail. When I left school in 2007, I had no idea what I wanted to do so I drifted in and out of casual labouring and general trades assistant jobs hoping that something would just fall into my lap. After 12 months of irregular work, my Mum was really starting to get on my case about finding a full-time job, in anything. Luckily, a mate heard about a barman’s position opening at a nightclub in the centre of town so I thought I’d better give it a shot. So I rocked up with my resume and can-do smile and surprisingly, got the job. It wasn’t so bad – the hours were good, I could sleep during the day and it was regular work. Happy days.

truck driver

For the next 3 years, I learnt everything about running a bar and eventually worked my way up to become the Venue Manager with 15 staff reporting to me. The pay was pretty good and I was challenged every day but I just didn’t seem to be enjoying it as much anymore. I don’t know if it was the hours or the job but I started to think about what else I wanted to do in my life. Other than my RSA and School Certificate, I didn’t have any real skills (or so I thought) so I was just as clueless as I was 4 years before about which direction to take. It was nearing to Christmas anyway, so it probably wasn’t the best time to start looking for a new job but for the first time ever, I was really looking for something more.

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”
– George Bernard Shaw

Well things just happen for a reason, don’t they? I was celebrating New Year’s Eve at a friend’s place down the road and bumped into mate who had been working over in WA. I hadn’t seen him since we left school and we spent most of the night reminiscing about old school times and his job working on an oil rig. I’d heard those guys make some serious money but had never considered it something that I could do. My mate Darren assured me that I could break into mining if I was willing to work hard and start right at the bottom just to get my foot in the door. Heh, I was single, 22 years old and looking for something different and maybe this was it.

He told me that I’d have a better chance at getting a mining job in WA if I could relocate interstate. Mining companies looking for FIFO workers need reliable people who can turn up for work when they are scheduled to. If you’re trying to catch a flight from the east coast to WA, chances are you’ll get delayed at some stage. With this in mind, I quit my job in Townsville and moved to Perth. Darren had a spare room which was all I really needed and thankfully, I had a bit of money behind me so I was able to spend some time getting qualified and ready for an opportunity.

I spoke to and registered with some mining groups/recruiters like Workpac, Mining People, Monadelphous and United Group etc. and they suggested that to increase my chances of getting an entry-level mining job with no experience, I should get my HR licence, EWP, Basic Rigging, Dogman, First Aid Certificate, Forklift, Blue/White Card, Working at Heights and Confined Space Ticket. Once I had all the basic qualifications I began applying for every Trades Assistant/Truck Driver job in mining that I could. It was tough work just getting a look in and I was knocked back on over 65 jobs that I applied for all because of course, I had no mine site experience. Whilst this was happening, I was working 2 casual bar jobs but I didn’t give up. Even though I hadn’t had the job offer I wanted, I was making some useful contacts along the way.

Then one day I got my golden ticket! I landed a 3 month labouring contract as a Confined Space Sentry out at Rockingham. Decent pay ($27.35/hour), long hours and my foot in the door, finally. Following that was a 6 month stint as a Trades Assistant in the Pilbara, leading to my current job in a prep plant hosing and cleaning equipment for $103K a year. Yes, you read it right – $103K a year! It took me over 17 months to get there, but I got there – eventually. So you too can break into the mining industry if you want it badly enough. The work is hard and dirty and not for everyone but if it’s decent money you want, then there are jobs or the taking.

Posted in Australian jobs, career, careers, contract employment, job hunting, jobs, Mining jobs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment