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Insights from practitioners in Information Management

Issue 35 – Job advertisements and close closing dates

Welcome to this month’s edition of IEA’s registrant resources e-zine “Information Overload”. Thank you for forwarding this edition onto friends and colleagues, your consideration is most appreciated. Of course if there are any other topics you would like to see us cover we would love to hear from you. Don’t forget that all back issues of this edition, and our main newsletter can be read and/or downloaded from our web site – www.iea.com.au.

This month’s issue takes a look at job advertisements and closing dates, what you can do to ensure you are ahead of the competition when it comes to applying for that all important job and we try and explain the philosophy behind IEA’s latest publication – F is for filing. As always we hope you find the information of interest and use, and of course any suggestions for future topics, or comments can be sent to me at training@iea.com.au.

Lorraine Bradshaw
Marketing & Training Coordinator

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In this issue we will look at:

• F is for filing: Hot off the presses
• Job advertisements and closing dates
• Being prepared
• A Thought to ponder

F is for Filing: Hot off the presses

Yes they are finally here. When Shirley Cowcher and Gail E Murphy first looked at the concept of a simple “how to” filing guide for individuals and small businesses, several concepts and ideas were discussed, research was conducted and finally the writing was undertaken. Several years after the first ideas were thrown into the IEA’s future planning strategies, the finished product is finally available, which just goes to show, small measured steps really can lead you to your goals and dreams. Whilst the finished product bears no physical relation to the first concept, the end result is far better than we had ever envisaged.  But because we had an idea of what we wanted, the rest became “do-able”. 

First of all we would like to thank those people who have been kind enough to help us and offer feedback and constructive criticism, and we would also like to thank those people who have already bought a copy. In the few days of publication, we have sent copies to New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore, as well as to every state and territory in Australia. Of course it goes without saying, if you would like more information – please email lorraine at training@iea.com.au or visit our web site – www.iea.com.au.

Never be afraid to dream big things, but its worthwhile knowing it’s the little things that you can do today that can ultimately get you to where you are going, that goals are never set in concrete, and if the first concept you tried didn’t work, why not try something else. So my question to you is this – what are you going to do today, that will ultimately make a difference to where you will be at the end of the day, the week, this month and this year?

Job Advertisements and Closing Dates
How many times have you read the paper and found the job of your dreams always has an impossibly short closing date? To make matters worse, you’re already booked solid between now and then and you just don’t have time to do justice to your application. Do you give up before you start, assuming that someone must already be doing the job and they are just going through the motions of advertising the job, hoping that they won’t get any applicants? Or do you rush the process in the vain hope that the organisation has unrealistic expectations of how long it takes to put a decent application together, and everyone is in exactly the same situation that you are?

First things first, find the advertisement and ask yourself a simple question – is this job important to me. If the answer is yes, then go the section where it advises on the next steps to take. Is there a phone number of a person to contact for further information? Found it – good. One of the quickest ways to determine if it is worth your time and effort applying for something, is to ask the question – “is someone currently “acting” in the position or is it a new role?”

But isn’t that cheeky?

Actually it isn’t, the number is there for exactly those reasons. Bear in mind, there will be a number of reasons why a job may have a close closing date – the first being, that the organisation/person has unrealistic expectations about how long it takes to complete a job application. The key member of staff may be going on holiday and wants to sort out the situation before they leave. It may be that someone has resigned suddenly and they need someone to fill in as soon as possible, it may be that a change of direction of the company has left a gaping hole that needs to be filled, it may also have been re-advertised and you didn’t notice the job the first time around. You will only find out, if you ask the question.

Being prepared

Of course if the job of your dreams does happen to be in the paper, the question is, are you in a position to respond and respond quickly should the need arise?

Is your CV as up to date as it should be?
Do you have a short, snappy resume as well as your CV? Not sure what the difference is between the two?

A Curriculum Vitae or CV as it is more commonly called is taken from the Latin – meaning the course of one’s life.  And is a summary of one’s education, professional history, and job qualifications, for a prospective employer.

A Resume – French, from past participle of résumer, to summarize, from Old French resumer, to resume and means – a brief account of one’s professional or work experience and qualifications, often submitted with an employment application.

A resume should be no more than 2 or 3 pages long. A CV on the other hand can be as long as it needs to be, without being too verbose of course.

When was the last time you had a good look at your CV? What new skills have you gained? Have you taken on extra duties, learned new skills or pieces of software, changed address, telephone number or email address? You may be surprised at the changes you can make when you start to look.

Even if you are not currently looking for a new job at the moment, it is worth taking a moment to have a look at your current CV – we all forget what we have done, what courses we have attended, so treat your CV as a working document, rather than something that is set in concrete. Every piece of written communication can always benefit from having a fresh set of eyes look at it (including your own). If you haven’t looked at your CV in the last month I can almost guarantee you will find some error in it. The reason is because if we read something too often we overlook glaring mistakes, things that a few days down the track are as obvious as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but you can almost guarantee you will miss if you try and edit on the same day that you write. If you don’t trust yourself to proof read your own CV then ask a friend or member of your family. (Remember to choose someone whom you trust will give you an honest critique of your skills – but make sure you are clear what you are asking them to do. If you only want them to check for spelling and grammar, then say so!).

Of course there are lots of online resources (including IEA’s own) that can help you put together a CV or Resume should you get really stuck.

So what else can you do to ensure that you are prepared should the perfect job opportunity present itself?

Well that depends on you, and what skills you feel that you are lacking. A good way to determine if you have the correct skill set is to have a good look at the jobs that are currently on offer. Most application/information packs are available on the Internet, so it is possible to download the information to see what it is they are looking for in their perfect candidate.

Are you able to answer all the Essential selection criteria, or are you lacking skills or knowledge in one or more areas? What steps do you need to take in order to rectify this deficiency? Can you make up for the lack of qualifications with experience? Can you pick out some significant achievements in your CV that you can use as the basis for your answer? A word of advice – if you are unable to meet all the essential selection criteria, then it is very unlikely that you will be asked to attend an interview. Those people who are short-listed will be selected from those people deemed to have answered all the essential selection criteria and most (if not all) of the desirable selection criteria as well.

If you are looking to move into a new area, this is an excellent way to determine which areas of study you need to pursue, and roughly how long it will be before you do meet the current selection criteria. However, it should be noted that some skills are transferable from one area to another – good communication skills, team work, ability to work under pressure and to tight timelines, project management and so on can all be transferred – this is extremely important if you are relatively new to the workforce as you can utilise the skills and knowledge gained during studying to give credence to your answers.

What about your presentation skills? When was the last time you had to stand up and speak in front of a group of people? How nervous were you? This can be an area where we let ourselves down. Few of us do get a chance to speak to groups of people on a regular basis; therefore, interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience.

One good way to overcome this perceived problem is to practice speaking out loud. Reading out loud is a great way to get used to hearing your own voice – most of us only hear our own voices when we are having a conversation – in an interview there is usually silence whilst you are speaking, therefore it can be very off-putting if you are not used to it. Reading your CV out loud as well as the answers to the selection criteria is a great way to tighten your writing, and to make sure that your writing makes sense. If you regularly “stumble” when you are reading, it probably means that your prose lacks direction or needs some grammatical checking.  Of course there are any number of courses that can take you through the interview process as well as public speaking courses that can help you overcome your fear of speaking in public. The only sure way that I know of overcoming this issue is to practice. Know your material extremely well (ie., you, your CV and your reasons for wanting the job – once you have those issues sorted out, the confidence will be obvious.

To your success.

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A Thought to Ponder
“When the time is right, the answers will come”
P.K. Shaw
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