How could a four-day week change your life? [Infographic]

Posted on April 20, 2015 by

Many of us talk of working a 4-day week, but thinking, or could it truly be a reality one day? Countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark are the closest to achieving this dream, so what is the possibility of other countries including the Australia following suit?

Citrix GoToMeeting has put together a detailed infographic which builds out the case for a four-day week, highlighting the pros and cons.

4-Day Work Week1

Best entry level jobs

Posted on March 30, 2015 by


Starting at the bottom is an unavoidable step for most. There are, however, a number of ways to get your foot in the door without having to break your neck in the process.

For some roles, particularly skilled trades including carpentry, plumbing and hairdressing, an apprenticeship is the most common and direct way in.

Apprenticeships require you to study as well as work, so it’s an excellent combination of on the job training and educational reinforcement. You’re nurtured in a way that is fitting to your needs as a beginner and taken through systematically step by step.

Similar to an apprenticeship but more in line with office or corporate work is the internship.

Internships are temporary and are sometimes, but not always, paid – though often at low rates. The overall duration and the daily hours and workload are usually negotiable or at least variable, and interns are generally taken on shortly after, during, or as part of, university studies.

Interning can be a great way to gain valuable work experience while learning and developing new skills. Moreover, it is an excellent way to make contacts, and as such, interns are commonly hired as full time employees following their tenure, making it the perfect opportunity not only to learn, but to prove oneself and make an impression.

Targeting the job market directly at an entry level will usually require you to begin with assistant jobs, or those base level roles as part of a bigger team governed by a team leader.

Many positions offer on the job training, particularly sectors like retail, administration, customer service and call centre operations. Such roles can lead to internal promotion and also give you the experience needed to transition upwards elsewhere.

Alternatively, the option of volunteering should never be overlooked. If you’re financially able to begin as such, volunteering can quickly lead to employment, particularly if you demonstrate the necessary attributes required.

Many organisations will gladly accept the offer of help in exchange for practical learning, and you’re immediately on your way to meeting the right people and hearing first about upcoming opportunities.

The Big Picture: Clear & Concise Business Writing

Posted on March 25, 2015 by


Business people expect to be able to read, without difficulty, any document they’re given. They don’t want to have to spend time reading it again and again in order to understand the message. Regardless of how grammatically correct a piece of writing is, they will condemn it as badly written if they can’t understand its message easily.

This means that if we want to be considered good business writers, we need to think about more than simply getting the grammar right.

If our documents are to be useful to people as they go about their daily work, those documents must be concise and accurate, and they must offer something helpful. In business-speak, they need to add value. Unfortunately, this is where many modern business documents fall down.

What do business readers want? What to they often get?
Opinions, advice, conclusions, solutions, insights Too much information, long lists of findings, lengthy essays
Questions answered quickly and clearly Answers buried in indigestible text
Concise, unambiguous language Garbled sentences; vague, abstract language

The purpose of business writing

‘If you have nothing to say, there is no point in saying it.’

­­–RW Jepson

First of all, let’s consider why we write.

In business, we’re usually writing for one of three reasons: to explain, to inform or to persuade. This is in contrast to other areas, where documents can be written for quite different reasons: to amuse, to educate, to entertain, to pass an exam, to win a literary prize, and so on.

Here are some examples of business documents that either explain, inform or persuade (or do all three):

  • an email to a manager requesting a new computer
  • an auditor’s annual report to a company’s board of directors
  • a market research report to a politician on the results of a telephone survey
  • a company-wide memo from the CEO explaining the new flexible work hours policy
  • a healthcare adviser’s report to a government depart- ment on the options for an integrated health services program
  • a local council’s policy on resident parking.

Although the reason for writing may be obvious in theory, in practice many writers are so busy recounting the detailed background, or how they arrived at their conclusion, that their purpose for writing is obscured or lost altogether. Too often the result is a document that is unclear to everyone but its writer.

Why do we get it wrong so often?

One reason is our education. We’ve absorbed certain writing habits from an early age. For example, at primary school we’re encouraged to be creative in our use of words, then at high school and university we’re expected to demonstrate excellence in thinking. When we make the transition into business, not only do we need to support our conclusions, we’ve also been conditioned to believe it’s essential to write as much and as elaborately as possible.

Another reason is the pressure most of us are under at work. Submissions, reports, business cases and other docu- ments often have to be written on the run, with little time for drafting or rewriting. Deadlines are usually non-negotiable, and project plans rarely include a realistic amount of time for writing and editing a report.

Finally, we all want to be respected in the workplace – to be seen as experienced and professional – and sometimes we misguidedly believe this will happen if we use complicated, overly formal language. We therefore risk confusing style

with substance, by focusing on the language rather than the document’s structure or message.

So what does a ‘good’ document look like?

‘Good’ documents, as well as being grammatically correct and written in straightforward language, present their messages in such a way that their intended readers can understand them quickly and easily. Writers of these documents do this by considering the document’s overall readability.

Readability has three components

We can think of readability as having three equally important elements:

  • structure: the material is organised based on the reader’s point of view, not the writer’s
  • layout: the material is designed and presented in a way that allows for quick and easy reading and understanding
  • language: the style is clear, concise, uncluttered and to the point.

This book deals primarily with the third element, language, but it’s important to be aware of the other two as well if you want to create truly readable documents.

 TIP: Documents that are intellectually and empirically sound but difficult to read and understand do not help the writer’s professional reputation.

How to do it

First, confirm your reader and purpose

Before you do anything else, you need to confirm two things: who your reader is, and the purpose of your document (in other words, what you hope your document will achieve).

It’s easy to define our reader as ‘the board of directors’ or ‘the project management team’ or ‘all staff’ or ‘business unit heads’. But a generic definition doesn’t work in practice. You need to be more specific.

Answering the following questions will help:

  1. Who is the reader? Can you name him or her? If there’s more than one . . .
  • can they be grouped? How? (ie into what categories?)
  • who is the primary reader? On what basis? (ie who pays the bill? makes the go/no decision? has influence over the other readers?)
  1. What are you writing about? Can you say it in one sentence? Why are you writing about this? Can you say it in one sentence?
  2. Is the reader familiar with the topic?
  • How much do they already know about it? (ie how much background do you honestly need to provide? Don’t tell them what they already know.)
  1. What is their main question?
  • Can you answer it?
  • Where in your document will you place the answer?
  1. What is their probable frame of mind:
  • towards you? (receptive? interested? cynical? wary?)
  • towards the document and its message? (enthusi- astic? uninterested? hostile?)
  1. What do you hope they will do after reading this document?
  2. How can you make sure they see this document as value-adding?

Think carefully about the answers to these questions, as they will influence how you structure and present your information.

Get the ‘story’ right

If you’re struggling to clarify your ideas and key messages, the best approach is to plan the big picture before you start writing. Here is an easy way to do it:

  1. Do a storyboard or linear plan before you start writing.
  • List all your main topics or themes, with each one accompanied by a one-sentence explanation. This will show you at a glance how your ‘story’ stacks up.
  1. Include key messages, not just chapter or topic headings.
  • Rather than simply listing your chapter and section headings, you’ll find it much more helpful if you include a sentence after each one, stating the main conclusion or principal message of that section.
  1. Keep your reader and your purpose in mind.
  • After writing each topic, heading or key sentence, ask yourself whether they will make sense and be valuable to the reader.
  1. Include only information that is directly relevant to this topic and purpose.
  • Do not include history, background or ‘nice to know’ facts unless you are sure they are relevant to or important for the topic/purpose.
  • Use the ‘So what?’ test to help you stay on track
One size does not fit all

How a business document is structured should depend on its reader and purpose, which means that a one-size-fits-all template is unlikely to be successful. Templates are more effective if they are flexible, to allow for the document’s specific context. If you are obliged to use a standard template that permits no variations, you should do your best to tailor the information so that it addresses the reader’s concerns and interests.

In addition, different readers may have different require- ments of a document, as well as different levels of knowledge of the topic. Some will only want a quick overview of the main points, and won’t be interested in the detail. Others will want to know the detail of every point. Others again might have only one question: ‘What does this mean for me?’

As it’s not possible for a document to cover all these variables successfully, you will need to think laterally about how to structure your writing.

For example, a large, complex report with numerous recommendations, plus instructions for how to implement them, can be more effective if it’s constructed as three stand- alone documents, each with its own reader and purpose:

  1. an executive summary (main points, overview only)
  2. the body of the report, containing the context for the work, the findings, conclusions and recommendations (the substantive content)
  3. appendices, containing the detailed implementation plan, plus any background material not essential to under- standing the main report.

These three sections can be bound together, or they can be bound separately if the report is extremely long.

Some tools to help you

Once you’re clear about who you’re writing for and why, you can think about how best to organise and present your material to make sure it’s truly ‘readable’.

The following powerful tips will help you do this.

To create a good document… How?
Use a top-down structure Reverse the traditional structure and place your conclusions first.
Highlight the key messages Present the principal messages early and in summary form. Then, within the main body of the document, make them easy to find.
Make layout your secret weapon Consider non-text elements, such as page layout, legibility, highlighting and graphics.

This is an edited extract from Clear & Concise  by Susan McKerihan, published by Black Inc. Books and available now in print and eBook.

Tips For A Better Work-Life Balance

Posted on March 16, 2015 by

Longer working hours, lower staff levels and increasing pressure and demands have meant that, for many, work has become excessively exhausting and stressful, leaving little time or energy for a life outside the office.

If you are finding the balance is not in your favour, it might be time to examine certain areas of your life with the aim of boosting your resilience and stamina. After all, if these things are being compromised, your work will surely suffer.

Quality sleep is by far the most vital component in preparing your body and mind for work demands. Sleep deprivation can cause anxiety, depression, memory loss, weight gain as well as weakening your immune system, leaving you susceptible to illness.

If work stress and anxious thoughts of the day are leaving you restless at night, there are plenty of options to assist. Exercise is one of the most beneficial practices you can do for not only combating stress and fatigue, but also promoting sleep.

Additionally, relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing not only assist with sleep but also general well being, advocating positive mental health and clearer focus. There are also many herbal teas and vitamins which promote sleep and have other benefits as well.

If you’re the type of person who takes work home with you or continues to receive work calls once you’ve left the premises, it’s extremely critical to set boundaries and strictly limit this kind of behaviour.

It’s often a case of setting cut off times and learning to switch your phone off at the same hour each day. Having self discipline where these factors are concerned will not decrease your productivity, as you might think, but will increase it, as you’ll be better rested and can input more energy during working hours.

For some, the opposite situation is the issue. For example, frequent lateness and never arriving to work early or finishing prematurely and allowing themselves to fall behind their workload.

It could be that social or home life are not only being put first, but are prioritised to the detriment of work and achieving goals. This is, however, where the same techniques such as exercise and relaxation will assist in positive ways.

Looking after your body and mind will improve motivation and energy levels, leading to earlier starts and more focussed drive and commitment at work.

A balanced diet, limiting caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake, will enhance mood and drive, so you’re able to organise your schedule and workload better and boast more effective outcomes.

Some of these practices may take a little while to perfect, but once you’re on a roll with your new work life balance, chances are you will never look back.

Why A Career In The Care Sector Could Be Just What You’re Looking For

Posted on March 11, 2015 by


Every career comes with a new set of challenges – and no one knows that better than employees in the care sector.                                                                                    

When you embark on a career in the care sector, you’re not just taking on new responsibilities for yourself. In many care sector careers, the work you do has a direct impact on the lives and lifestyles of your clients.

For this reason, starting out in the care sector can be daunting! But it’s also one of the most rewarding careers out there. Here’s what to expect when starting a career in the care sector.

Getting the right start in a rewarding career

While some jobs can lack a sense of purpose, when you begin a career in the care sector, you have the advantage of knowing that the work you do has a real, tangible impact. You will often experience this during the course of your day.

Whether in an aged care, disability support or community services role, you will be in one of the most rewarding and fastest-growing industries in Australia. The care sector supports its workers not just with meaningful work, but with a healthy work/life balance, flexible working conditions and a positive career path.

What the care sector has to offer

The care sector has a range of other benefits to offer its employees, including:

  • Qualifications – Many care sector employers support their employees to pursue further qualifications, making them a greater asset to the sector.
  • Flexible working hours – If you are still studying, or perhaps undertake a new course while working, the care sector can provide you with flexible work that fits around your studies.
  • Many locations – The care sector needs employees all around Australia, not just in the city! This makes it much easier to find community service jobs close to home.
  • No experience necessary – There are roles available from entry level right through to senior management, so you can start your career at whichever level is most suitable for you.

Is the care sector for you?

The care sector has some of the most varied workplaces around! People who succeed in the sector include:

  • School leavers, students and graduates – whether you’re looking for part-time work while you study, or are ready to start a full time career in the sector.
  • Career changers – people seeking a change in their day job.
  • Parents – returning to work after a career break and seeking flexible working hours.
  • Mature employees – Retired or semi-retired workers looking for work that fits their lifestyle.

But it doesn’t really matter what your working background is – the care sector is home to people from all walks of life! It’s far more important that you’re empathetic, open-minded and a “people-person.”

Finding work that aligns with your values

If you want to find work where helping people is part of the day-to-day process, the care sector is the place for you. By finding a disability or aged care job that aligns with your values, you’ll set yourself up for a career that will be rewarding day in and day out.

Many people work for years in a particular sector before finding meaningful work. People in a community service job experience it on a daily basis.

Disability, aged care or community services – which is right for you?

There are a number of different roles within the sector – ranging from disability, aged care and community service jobs. The trick is finding which one is right for you.

Disability support and aged care both have extensive frontline support roles available. So if you’re looking for a hands-on role to dive straight into, a disability support or aged care job could be just what you’re looking for.

Whichever part of the sector you choose, there are roles ranging across frontline, transport, administration, corporate and management and more! is Australia’s leading care sector employment service, offering care career tips and advice, as well as an extensive job board.

They also provide a Care Careers Quiz to help you discover which role will best suit you within the care sector.

Best Practices For Career Growth

Posted on March 3, 2015 by

career growth

Walking the line between best and worst practice in terms of career growth is a very fine one. Some people try too hard while others don’t try hard enough. Here are some tips on getting the balance right.

When it comes to the workplace, good relationships are often as important as being good at what you do. It’s not uncommon for some to become so involved in excelling and surpassing, they fail to realise they’re neglecting the human element which exists in all industries.

Some may deny it, but it’s largely true that being liked as a person has significant relevance to your success as an employee. Put it this way, if you are disliked because you’re anti-social, unhelpful, rude or perhaps cocky or arrogant, people will very quickly know about it.

You might be brilliant at your job and smarter than all your colleagues put together, but if the questionable reputation of your personality precedes you, you don’t stand a chance.

However, before you head out and start trying to become besties with the boss, remember the keyword balance.

First of all, it’s important to be liked for the right reasons such as warm greetings, a friendly smile, occasional banter and willingness to help, and learn from, your colleagues. Baking the boss his or her favourite treats, brown nosing and boasting every chance you get are a sure fire way to get on others’ nerves and an indication you’ve gone overboard.

Of course, vital to the recipe of ‘please like me’ is being a decent employee. Popularity will actually get you nowhere if you don’t have your work ethic also in check.

Some employees become so caught up in the social aspect of the workplace they start neglecting their positions, taking liberties and becoming lazy and careless.

So again, that keyword is balance. In addition to being great at what you do, you’ll need diligence, punctuality and a strong work ethic.

If you can combine these things with maintaining healthy public relations, you are well on the way to career growth. Just remember not to go too far in any given direction.

4 Habits of Unsuccessful Event Managers

Posted on February 24, 2015 by


Everyone has bad habits; it’s part of being human. If you’ve been working in the events industry for a while then you’ve probably developed some bad habits you find yourself repeating at every event you run.

If you are looking to make 2015 your best year yet then why not consider cutting some of the bad habits out of your work life?

It can help to make you more efficient at work and your events more successful. Here are 4 common habits of unsuccessful event managers to kick out for the New Year:

1.      Forgetting about first impressions

There are so many components that go into running a successful event that it is too easy to get caught up in the small granular details of the event, in the meantime forgetting to make sure people are totally sold on buying tickets to your event.

Whether you are organising a music festival, gala dinner or charity fundraiser – selling enough tickets is the no. 1 show stopper (pun intended) in measuring success for your event.

Enhance the look and reputation of your event by using online event management software. A professional online ticketing solution will deliver you an attractive event webpage (which you can use in your social media & marketing) that will support your brand, and make it super easy for your customers to buy their tickets 24/7 from their phone or computer.

It will also save you time (e.g. no more rushing around to be at the kiosk/desk to sell tickets at the allotted time) and also money (e.g. no more base ticket stocks to have to have printed up). While always knowing exactly how many tickets you have sold will not only help you sleep at night in the knowledge people are coming, but it will empower you to be able focus you marketing messages in the lead up to your event.

2.      Not taking the time to create an emergency communication plan

You’re hosting a music festival, people are travelling for hours to experience the event you’ve spent most of this year planning and then you find out your worst nightmare has come true – one of the main acts has been delayed and isn’t going to make it in time.

Sometimes things go wrong, acts cancel at the last minute, there are delays to opening the doors, or you find out you have to change the event venue at the last minute.

As an event manager how often do you take the time out to put together a clear emergency communication plan?

Sure, it’s another thing to add to your to do list and it’s extra paperwork (that fingers crossed you won’t need to look at again) but don’t take a short cut on this task – it’s important.

Take the time to work out how you would get in touch with everyone who is attending your event as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are some things to consider:

  1. If you have sold your tickets online, do you have easy access to the list of attendees and their contact details?
  2. What key information would you need to include in an email when notifying people of event changes?
  3. What social media channels would you use to communicate the changes?

If something does go wrong and you are working under pressure it can be helpful to refer to a pre-written checklist.

3.      Not embracing event technology

Technology has evolved at a rapid pace. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, social media and wearable technology the relationship between technology and events is becoming ever more important. Technology provides event managers with the opportunity to connect with their customers and make their events more efficient.

  • Are you embracing online ticket sales or do you still find yourself ordering expensive base tickets stubs to sell in person?
  • Are you still checking in guests by hand or have you switched to using online ticketing software that streamlines the process of checking guests in?
  • Is Wi-Fi a mandatory component at all of the events you run or just something that is nice to have if you can get it?

Dependent on how you answer these questions – is it time for you to update your approach to event technology?

4.      Not using social media to your full advantage

Social media has been a game changer for event managers. If you think social media is just about creating a Facebook event page or sending out a couple of tweets to promote your event, then think again. Social media has changed the way event managers engage with event attendees.

Social media for your event should be frequently updated and regularly monitored. When used correctly it can be a useful customer service tool. Put your social media channels to work at every event and use them to:

  • Create buzz before the event with teasers
  • Engage directly with your attendees,
  • Gather all important event feedback (during and after the event).

If you are interested in learning more about how an online event booking system can help you to work more efficiently and help with the success of your next event, then get in touch with the team at Ticketebo today.

How To Handle Job Rejection

Posted on February 17, 2015 by
Man handling job rejection

Getty Images

There are very few people who aren’t faced with job rejection at some point in their careers.

Whether it be a missed promotion, an application brush-off or a succession of non-starters, job rejection can be painful and disappointing.

However, the way you deal with rejection can change it’s impact. You can be productive and make it work to your advantage or you can sulk in the corner wasting time. The choice is yours.

Whether you’ve been knocked back from the outset or made it to a final round of interviews, you are still within your rights to ask why you weren’t picked to go further and request to receive feedback which may be of subsequent use to you.

If you weren’t chosen for interview on the basis of your resume and application letter, why not ask to know why these documents fell short or what specifically this organisation was looking for. You will find that, more often than not, recruiters are only too willing to give post applicant feedback.

If you scored one or more interviews you can ask the same questions in relation to the responses you gave, your general manner or other information relating to how you presented yourself and discover if perhaps you were considered to be too casual or you didn’t focus on the right areas, for example.

This process also shows the employer you were serious about working for them and they are more likely to remember you when future positions arise.

It’s all in the name of improving with experience, building your confidence and learning from mistakes. However, you need to be prepared to hear constructive criticism and more importantly, to apply it.

Some people are so busy being deflated or defeated when on the receiving end of job rejection they forget that they’re not perfect and everyone has room for improvements.

Some employers will always promote internally and other jobs receive unthinkable amounts of applications, so it’s always worth remembering that certain positions are occasionally out of most people’s reach.

However, this should only fuel you further to apply for as many opportunities as you can so as to gain more and more practice, which will eventually lead you to the perfect role. Just as long as you keep requesting that feedback and apply it where possible rather than spending too much time dwelling on your losses. There’s work to be done!

How to Make Your CV Stand Out from the Rest

Posted on February 9, 2015 by

Picture Source: Shutterstock

The first rule of thumb which should never be overlooked is that there are different approaches depending on the job or industry being targeted.

For example, it is not uncommon for a graphic designer or film animator to create a visually arresting and unconventional looking resume using artistic fonts and colours.

However, this approach would most certainly not be well received in more corporate environments. It, therefore, comes down to knowing your audience.

Perhaps there are times when a touch of colour might work for a retail position or even something customer service related, as long as you keep it looking professional and don’t go overboard.

In any case, however, you must ensure your CV is adaptable. Do not ever use the same blanket resume for every position you apply for. Every job and organisation has slightly or possibly dramatically different expectations and you must tailor your CV to suit each advertised role.

By directly relating your content to the specifications of the job description, you will instantly help your resume to stand out.

Remember also that many employers nowadays run your CV through a keyword check prior to even considering it. If yours fails to mention the appropriate words, it will go completely overlooked.

Common buzzwords might include the likes of strategic, proactive and innovative. However, the real clue to knowing which words to incorporate is generally in the job description, so be sure to examine it thoroughly, as it is your ultimate guide to what each employer is looking for.

Confidence is essential when creating your CV. Self promotion has never been more appropriate or essential when it comes to marketing yourself for a job.

Be sure to use strong, confident language which is direct and professional if you want the recruiter’s attention. Try not to over embellish and definitely do not tell lies. However, erring on the side of positivity and strengths rather than weaknesses is the way to go.

Being specific rather than general will also help your CV to stand out. Anyone can say they are good at something, but giving an example of particular events or quantifying results which highlight the strengths you are claiming to possess will back up your words and make you far more memorable.

Add to this a brief career summary and strive to avoid cliched phrases throughout and you are well on the way to a stand out, cutting edge CV.

RCSA member offer

Posted on February 9, 2015 by


1 Month FREE Trial

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What’s on offer:

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  • A joint venture with Fairfax Media – access the passive job-seeker audience across the Fairfax network

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Terms and conditions for this offer:

  • This offer does not apply to existing Adzuna customers under contract
  • Offer applies to first 50 respondents only
  • To be eligible you need to be registered as a recruitment company in Australia and an RCSA corporate member
  • Supplying a feed of jobs in an acceptable XML format or through an e-recruit system is the recruitment companies responsibility