Is it better to position yourself as a generalist or a specialist?

IS IT BETTER TO POSITION YOURSELF AS A GENERALIST OR A SPECIALIST_

When considering whether it’s best to position yourself as a generalist or a specialist, surprisingly, the answer may depend on the specific job for which you’re applying. If the job is one that requires skills that most people in that industry should have, then it’s probably best you stick to outlining your experience in a generalist way. However, if the job advertisement calls for particular skills, then it’s better to specifically demonstrate how you possess those exact skills.

Generalists

Generalists usually have a broad range of skills and experience and are willing to get involved in a broad scope of work. They have a solid set of transferable skills and can hit the ground running in many environments.

Specialists

Specialists have usually spent a number of years focusing on one particular area of their career. They have often spent time and money on study, qualifications and gaining particular work experience that will enable them to collect the necessary skills to become a specialist in that area.

Future demand

In the past, many people received career advice that being a generalist may not meet the needs of employers in the future. That being a generalist meant they wouldn’t have the right skills at the right time and that they’d therefore miss opportunities for work. Generalists were considered to know a little about a lot, which was sometimes not enough to excel in many roles.

Today, specialists are often warned about becoming too specific. A high level of competition in the market combined with limited job opportunities and rapidly shrinking company budgets has created new demand for the generalist worker. Workers are expected to do more with less. Instead of hiring two plumbers, one with specialist knowledge in sewage systems and the other in storm water drains for example, companies are now tending towards hiring one generalist who can work across both niches.

There are of course some fields in which specialists will always be incredibly necessary. Computer programming is one of these examples, where the future of our technology depends on dedicated specialists who know particular programming codes and the like.

There will always be a place for generalists and specialists but it’s just a case of determining how to pitch yourself for each job. Sometimes having two resume templates is the best way around this, so you’re ready to apply for a job no matter if it specifies a generalist or a specialist.

If you’d like assistance in designing a new resume or in refreshing an existing one, we’re here to help. Please make an appointment today and we look forward to assisting you with your job search.

How to use statistics to make your resume pop

HOW TO USE STATISTICS TO MAKE YOUR RESUME POP

Describing your skills on your resume is easily done, but you should also include supporting evidence of your work achievements. Rather than simply writing in text that you reached a certain goal or finished a certain piece of work, why not better emphasise it by including statistics? For ex-ample, instead of “Completed XYZ within agreed 6 month period”, why not say “Completed XYZ and attained a ranking of top 97%”. This demonstrates to the reader that you’ve not only reached the set goal, but you’ve exceeded the minimum expectations and blitzed it!

Using numbers in your resume

Use numbers in your resume to support your achievements and provide solid evidence that you’ve exceeded expectations. There’s no need to scatter numbers throughout your resume if they aren’t relevant but where you have a point to make that you can better prove by including a statistic, go for it!

Including statistics in your resume grabs the readers attention and quickly spells out your accomplishments. A reader’s eye will be drawn to text on the page that appears different to the rest and they’ll immediately see where you have included statistics. It’ll also help you to cap the length of your resume at two pages. As well as including numbers provide a brief explanation of how you achieved them. Using this method, you can also showcase some of your other skills at the same time.

Think money and time

Money and time are some of the biggest things employers are thinking about when it comes to hiring new employees. They want to know that the candidates they select understand the importance of working effectively and will save the company time and money. Include statistics in your resume that support the fact you’ve saved previous companies time and money and the employer will consider that you’ll no doubt do the same for them in the future too.

Growth

Depending on the nature of your work, you should also include figures that demonstrate how you grew revenue, calls or clients during your employment. Generally speaking, work isn’t just about showing up every day, but it’s also about making progress for the company for which you work. This includes such things as increasing your share of customers or making more sales or covering a larger territory. Prove that you are on an upwards trajectory in your career and make employers want to hire you!

If you’d like some help to transform your resume and would also like to learn how to include some glowing statistics, why not contact us today? We’re here to help and we would love to design a standout resume that’s specifically tailored for you.

Stay at home parents returning to the workforce – how to design your resume

Working at home as a stay at home parent can be tricky to explain on your resume. The biggest challenge you’ll face with returning to the workforce is how to sell yourself to prospective employers.  Should you mention your ‘Stay At Home Parent’ status or should you leave a gap in your resume?

Skills, skills and more skills!

Believe it or not, you’ve probably got even more to offer than a childless employee. You’ve now gained a multitude of life experience under your belt and have spent the past year or possibly longer fine-tuning your ability to multi-task, prioritise, communicate and no doubt you’ve also developed an incredible ability to stay organised. Why? Because you had to! You’ve likely also honed your exposure to logistical arrangements, your ability to run on time to a clockwork routine and your ability to work within a specific budget.

No gaps

A good resume should always be gap-less regardless of the scenario and it’s good practice to label your time raising your children as ‘parental leave’ regardless of whether you were paid or not. It’s also wise to label your time off as parental leave no matter if you were employed during that time or not. Rather than listing all the tasks of a stay at home parent on your resume, simply list ‘Parental Leave’, include the dates, and leave it at that.

Demonstrate currency

Pair your period of parental leave with relevant study in your field.  Clearly highlight on your resume how you’ve kept your skills up to date and the ways in which you’ve remained abreast of changes in technology or legislation that are likely to affect your work.  Study can include a lengthy qualification but also any variety of short course so long as it was run by an accredited training provider. Also include any voluntary or part-time work you completed during your time off.  Don’t disregard this experience simply because you weren’t paid or weren’t working in an office for example.

Use your squad!

Another trick is to network, network, network!  Leverage people in your network to source leads on positions. Some positions are never formally advertised. Others may be advertised but you may not get a look-in unless someone is able to put in a good word. Competition is high but employers may be keen to meet you if they hear about your brilliant work experience from a colleague or another person within your network.

Last but not least, celebrate! Landing the perfect position when making your return isn’t easy and it can take time. But just like for every other parent who’s been there before you, it will happen. So give your resume and job search the time and energy it deserves, and enjoy your success when the time comes.

Resume tips for stay at home parents returning to work

Six signs you’ve stayed in your job too long

Staying in a job too long can cause you to become stale and stagnant and can also impact your health. If you find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning or dragging your feet to work, it may be time to consider making a change.

1. Progressing your career

Sticking around too long in one job can hinder your ability to eventually move on. You could become complacent and find yourself thinking it’s easier to stay than face a new crowd and learn new skills. If you reach this point, it’s definitely time to move on before you get stuck in a career rut. Even if you make the switch to a new employer but undertake the same job, life will be different for the better. Mix it up, and you’ll find it easier to stay motivated over the long term.

2. Financial Gain

We all work for money, and many of us love the money more than the work itself! But…sticking around in a job purely for financial gain will eventually find you resenting your employer and you’ll become lethargic in your work. This could mean you miss out on opportunities for promotion or a pay-rise in the short term. It’s much better to stay engaged and in-line for promotion than simply working to maintain the same salary.

3. Passion is gone

Just like any relationship, if the passion is gone it may be time to consider your next steps. If you resent spending time in the office or can’t stand looking at your colleagues, this is not the environment for you. A good work environment should have you feeling positive at the end of each day and enthusiastic as to what the next day will bring.

4. Isolation

If you find yourself preferring to work on your own, take your lunch break solo or crossing your fingers that your manager is away each morning, there’s definitely better prospects to be had elsewhere. Negative feelings at work can directly impact your health and can contribute to anxiety and depression.

5. Lack of inclusion

You may notice that you’re no longer invited to the same meetings or asked to present at team meetings. If you’re not included as often as you previously were by your colleagues, they may have noticed a deterioration in your enthusiasm and may think that you’re not interested in attending.

5. Technology

Sometimes, if you stick around in a job long enough, you may find that technology races ahead and that computers are implemented to do the job you’ve always done. If you see this coming and are not prepared, you may become disheartened. Now is the time to consider up-skilling and retraining before technology gets the better of you.

If you’d like to discuss retraining options, or would simply like to update your resume in order to apply for a new position, please contact us today.

six signs you've stayed in your job too long

New graduates – are you enjoying your choice of career?

Young adults are forced to make career choices during the final years at high school. This is before many have even had the chance to hold down a job, let alone choose the type of job they want to do for the rest of their lives. What if you’ve finished a University Degree and have landed a so-called “good” job, but hate every minute of it? This is not an uncommon situation, so don’t stress!

Early career choices

Perhaps you chose your career based on the type of job your parents worked or perhaps you chose something that sounded glamorous or well paid. Whatever the reasons, once you start working in that career you may actually find that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, or that it’s simply not what you were expecting. Lucky for you, in this day and age you have the opportunity to easily change your mind! It may come at some financial expense but what’s money when we’re talking about your long term happiness here?

Transferring your skills

The education and skills you’ve gained to date will hold you in great stead to transfer to another career. You can build upon your existing skills by moving from a generalist field into a more specialised one within your existing career selection or alternatively you might prefer to choose something completely different. To explain it more simply, maybe you undertook a management degree but you’d now like to specialise in accounting. Or perhaps you completed an apprenticeship but have since decided you’d like to pursue a completely different trade. Whatever you want to do is perfectly acceptable and perfectly possible! Simply keep the education and skills you’ve already gained, and work at building upon them.

Give your choice a chance

If you’ve only recently completed your qualification and are already wondering if you’ve chosen the right career, why not give it a shot before you make your final decision? You may be pleasantly surprised and find you actually enjoy the work. Perhaps it’s just the study that you don’t enjoy! Stick it out for a period of time, for example one year, before deciding to change careers or focus on a different niche. You might end up changing your mind over time because sometimes when people become more familiar with things they find they also become more comfortable and confident in doing them.

Surrounded by modern technology however, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t change careers or pursue further study in a different field. There’s never before been as many avenues for education and employment opportunities, so definitely spend time working out what’s right for you. Most importantly it’s important to work out what is going to bring you happiness over the longer term because that’s the stuff that’s going to change your life!

New-graduates---are-you-enjoying-your-choice-of-career

Why people stay in bad jobs – don’t make the same mistake!

There’s a multitude of reasons why people stick around longer than they should, working jobs they don’t enjoy. There’s also nothing worse than heading off to work in the morning, dragging your feet and purposely dilly-dallying to ensure you arrive at the very last minute. Considering the workplace is somewhere that you spend the majority of your waking hours, it pays to enjoy what you do, or in the very least, where you do it.

The devil you know

Why people stay in bad jobsSometimes it’s easier to keep doing what you’re doing, in the same old routine year after year. Familiarity has a certain comfort factor, and knowing your colleagues inside out as well as all the in’s and out’s specific to your particular workplace, can be easier than branching out and venturing on to something new. Some people get anxious just thinking about having to meet new people and having to become familiar with a new workplace. Just like with anything in life, it’s the fear of the “unknown”.

The downside of this is that the unknown may in reality be far more enjoyable than your current “known’ surroundings! Staying in a job for too long can make people stale or can cause feelings of boredom and a lack of excitement because nothing new or different ever happens. Does this resonate with you? If so, it’s definitely time for a change.

Transferring your skills

Perhaps you’ve just received a great promotion and have taken on some new and increased responsibilities. You may wonder if you’ll be able to translate this level of responsibility and pay rate to another job. If you’ve been recognised in your current workplace for your hard work and have received a promotion, there’s no reason why another employer won’t recognise your potential also.

Perhaps your boss is making you miserable on a daily basis but you’re worried you might end up in a workplace where another boss may make you even more miserable?! If you notice that you’ve transformed from a happy-go-lucky hard working employee, to a clock watching staff member who can’t get out of the car-park fast enough at the end of the day, then it’s time to go! Consider all the benefits there are to moving on, even write yourself a list. If the benefits outweigh the negatives, then it’s time to get cracking on updating your resume, and make a career action plan on what to do next.

If you need assistance in getting your resume updated or would like to participate in some career coaching, we’re here to help. Please contact our office to make an appointment with one of our helpful staff.

Overcoming a negative internal monologue when job seeking

Job Seeking isn’t always quite as simple as wanting a new job, then going out and getting one. It can take hours of searching, submission of applications and you might even receive lots of rejection letters before you’re ever asked to attend an interview. Then one day, finally, you make it to an interview! Unfortunately the job search doesn’t necessarily end there, and as you can see, job hunting can be a tough game.

Get back on the horse

It’s this feeling of the unknown and possibly receiving multiple rejection letters that can leave you feeling down in the dumps and can really kick a dent in one’s confidence. Consider this: for each one job, there’s a large number of applicants, and only one can actually be successful. This leaves a whole bunch of job seekers left to continue their job hunt. It’s natural to feel rejected and like you’ve wasted your time but it’s also critical to push through this barrier and keep your focus on your end goal of finding the right job.

Stick to a routine

If you’re job hunting at home, try to stick to a routine. Get up and out of bed at the same time each day. Don’t oversleep or you’ll be left feeling sluggish and with a lack of motivation to get things done. Job hunting is a time when you need to be on top of your game and ready to impress a prospective employer at any given time, either on the phone or in person. So get up, get dressed, and even squeeze in some exercise if you can. Just ten minutes of moderate exercise will get your endorphins moving and leave you feeling more energised and ready to face another day.

Your future is bright

OvercomingnegativemonologueSometimes the voice inside your head might tell you that all this hard work really isn’t worth the bother. This type of self-talk can become harmful if not addressed. Job hunting is a challenging time, but it should also be exciting as new opportunities await. Your next job will shape the future direction of your career, so it should be exciting from that perspective. It’s definitely somewhat of a waiting game however, and as time passes this can become stressful. It’s important to manage your expectations when it comes to the length of time it will take to find your next job.

Although not necessarily best practice, some companies are no longer sending replies to let candidates know they’ve been unsuccessful. As a job seeker this can feel disheartening but with increased pressure placed on hiring staff, some companies aren’t placing priority on notifying unsuccessful applicants. It’s important not to take this personally, and to continue pushing ahead with your job hunt regardless. The right opportunity will present itself sooner or later, and you want to make sure you’re ready to grab it by the horns when it comes!

Using LinkedIn to build your brand

Professional networking is now easier than ever before, with the likes of social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Keeping in touch with past colleagues and acquaintances as well as networking to meet new people is now just as easy. When using LinkedIn as a job search tool, what are some of the best ways to build your brand and attract the right kind of attention?

Relevancy and authenticity

UsingLinkedInEnsuring your profile is up to date is without a doubt the best thing you can do to ensure your profile remains continuously relevant. But there’s also a lot more to it than simply adding your recent employment history each time you’re looking for a new job.

Build an authentic profile that reflects the real you. Upload samples of your best work and always display an attractive and enthusiastic profile picture. Nobody wants to work with a sad sack, so make sure your photo is accompanied by a warm and genuine smile. You also won’t stay hired for long if you market a version of yourself that isn’t real. Ensure your profile sells the real you and demonstrates your full suite of skills, as well as all your unique selling points. What have you got going for you that others may not?

LinkedIn allows you to include a headline with your profile, so make this count. Use it to attract the right audience and design a catchy and interesting one, without being cheesy. It’s easy to take a cookie cutter approach to your profile and use buzzword language, the type that’s on everyone’s lips. Unfortunately this won’t help you stand out from the crowd so prove your originality by using descriptive words that are as individual as you are.

Visibility

As well as creating a well written profile and keeping it up to date, it’s also important to remain visible. It’s easy for your profile to become lost amongst the other thousands. The best way to increase your visibility is to engage in conversation about the posts that people publish, or to upload and comment on work of your own. Your brand is all about what you do, so prove that you know your stuff by being actively engaged in forums, networks and with people who are influential in your industry.

Being active on the platform is a great way to build recognition of your personal brand. As you help others connect, help people in your network with job recommendations or help respond to queries online, people will start to notice you and recognise what you stand for. In turn, this raises your profile in a positive way and will leverage you towards job hunting success.

If you’d like some help in building a professional LinkedIn profile that will differentiate you from your competition, contact us to make an appointment with one of our LinkedIn specialist team members.

Will your employment history ever effect your future career?

Have you ever wondered if the jobs you’ve worked in the past have any influence on where your career is headed? Or what about how you can use your employment history to create some great opportunities for yourself in the future?
How you present the jobs listed on your resume enables you to gain or lose earning capacity and seniority. A well written resume creates strategic links between the various jobs that you’ve held, meaning it can be emphasised that you have a certain amount of experience, skills or seniority.

Will your Employment History Ever Effect Your Future Career

Focus on your best assets and experience

Blend your past experience to highlight the amount of talent you have in a particular area. For example, if in the past you’ve worked as a receptionist on a high volume switchboard but have recently started in a call centre job, these two roles will both provide you with excellent experience when it comes to handling customer service matters on the telephone. Both jobs require strong problem solving ability and both require you to stay calm under pressure. Use the experience you’ve gained during your time in various jobs in order to develop a stronger case for promotion, acceleration, or to gain access to training opportunities. The key is to use the skills you’ve already got to your advantage!

Overcoming gaps and redundancy

As well as the skills and experience you’ve gained over the years, you also need to consider how your job history could be perceived by prospective employers. If you’ve had unexplainable gaps or too many jobs in a short period of time (a.k.a. job hopping), you may not be the first candidate that springs to mind when a new opportunity pops up. Employers often feel that job hoppers won’t stick around so there’s not much point in bothering to invest time or money into training them, let alone hiring them in the first place.

If you’ve ever been made redundant, the way to address this on your resume is to clearly state the reasons for the redundancy. For example: “Made redundant due to merger of the ABC department with the XYZ department, resulting in a redundancy of ten staff”. This indicates that you weren’t cherry picked and there was a genuine need for the business to make you redundant. In addition, you should offer to provide a verbal reference from your former manager if this topic is raised during an interview process.

So here we see there are a broad range of ways your employment history can, and certainly will, affect your future. Even if you’ve made decisions that in hindsight could have been better or even if your employer has unfortunately made them for you, it’s always possible to get back on your feet and use your employment history to your benefit. It’s just a matter of deciding how to put your best foot forward and that’s certainly something we can help you with.

Is it ever okay to have gaps in your employment history?

Gone are the days of staying in one job forever. It’s now quite common for people to have a wide variety of jobs listed on their resume. As well as the extra experience you gain from working a higher number of jobs, you’ll also need to explain this movement to prospective employers because they may consider it to be a phenomenon called job hopping. Perhaps you also have gaps on your resume where you were unemployed. What’s the best way to explain these gaps?

It It Ever Okay to Have Gaps in your Employment History

Positive reasons for gaps

Gaps can occur for positive reasons such as time out of employment to finish further study, to travel the world or to raise a family for example. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having time out, it’s just that you need to be able to explain it and ensure that any reader can understand the reasons why it was necessary.

Having too many gaps can trigger employers to question your stability. When it comes to hiring staff, many employers use history as a basis to predict the future. You can check for gaps in your resume by listing your job history by date order, also known as chronological order.

Prospective employers want to see that you’ve held your jobs for a good amount of time, haven’t changed careers often and that you don’t have gaps. If you’ve zoomed through a lot of jobs, an employer may consider there’s a high chance you’ll do so again. For this reason, they might not want to risk investing time and money into training because they worry you’re unlikely to stick around.

Including information about your gaps

Include the period of time on your resume as well as a note explaining your movements at the time. So long as you include the gap and have a reasonable explanation, most employers will be fine. If you had a period where you quit one job and were finding it difficult to secure another, instead of listing ‘unemployed’ for that period perhaps you can think of something a little more creative.

If the reason may be perceived as negative, it’s advisable to put your creative thinking cap on. You could include reasons such as study or travel instead of unemployment and explain them similarly to the following. “Travelled to XYZ to broaden my travel experience and gain cultural exposure and invaluable life experience”. Even if you were unemployed, work on adopting a positive approach to the explanation you provide.

So when it comes to gaps and your resume, what are the critical things to remember? In a nutshell, it’s okay to take some time away from your career to focus on other things. Everybody needs a break once in a while and employers understand that sometimes things don’t necessarily go as planned. The important thing to note is that they want to see gaps mentioned and explained with genuine reasoning. Unexplained gaps are also unhelpful when culling software known as ATS is used because it does not understand gaps and generally will treat the resume negatively.

Contact us today for assistance with designing a resume that will ensure you put your best foot forward.

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