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Automation could destroy millions of jobs in Australia

Millions of jobs could be lost in the next decade as a result of automated technologies, such as machine learning and robotics, a new report warns.

A report by consultancy firm McKinsey Australia released on Monday, revealed an estimated 3.5 million to 6.5 million full-time jobs would be lost to automation by 2030. 

“Without increased employment-transition support, increased job churn could see Australia’s unemployment rate temporarily spike by up to 2.5 per cent during the peak of the transition,” the report said. 

The report also noted that demand would increase for workers in unpredictable and interactive roles including nursing, care giving and sales, but will fall for workers in such areas as radiologists, mechanics and legal research assistants.

‘Jobs will be lost, but more will be created’

McKinsey Australia associate partner Seckin Ungur said automation would only slightly affect the workforce during the transition period. 

“Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will impact our workforce, and there will be many jobs that will be lost. But there will be more jobs that will be created,” Ms Ungur told The New Daily. 

“There will be a transition period as people need to shift from those old jobs to those new jobs and that requires potentially a change in skills and capabilities.”

Driverless cars are already being trialled in Australia. Photo: Getty

She said the banking sector was an example of how automation had transformed the workforce.

“There used to be several more bank tellers 10 years ago than today, but the number of employees in banking hasn’t changed all that much. Some of those bank tellers are now performing advisory roles,” Ms Ungur said.

“The skills they were using before, such as processing data and entering data, performing simple transactions – a lot of that has been automated through ATMs and digital banking.”

‘Bots won’t replace people’

Monash University Professor Ann Nicholson, an expert in computer science and AI, said the motoring industry would be most disrupted by autonomy.

“I expect that automated cars is going to be a big shift, but we’re still going to have humans in the loop in terms of supervision,” Professor Nicholson told The New Daily.

Automation would also benefit industries such as mining, she said.

“There will be big advantages for mining operations as people don’t really want to be doing the two-week fly in and fly out to very remote parts in difficult working conditions,” Professor Nicholson said.

Industries requiring direct care won’t be affected by AI just yet. Photo: Getty

She said industries such as health and aged care were still a long way from using automation.

“In industries that provide direct care, we’re still a really long way from bots replacing people,” Professor Nicholson said.

“But it’s important to note that when it does take effect, automation will free up resources so there can be a better focus on interacting with patients.”

The future of driverless cars in Australia

RACV is currently undertaking automated technology trials including an autonomous vehicle being trialled in Carlton, Melbourne, and the Transurban trial on the Monash-CityLink-Tullamarine corridor.

Dr Kirsten McKillop, manager of legislative policy at the National Transport Commission, said some trials involved autonomous shuttles.

“There’s trialling going on all around Australia with new announcements always being made, which are being done to assess the safety and how humans interact with the technology,” Dr McKillop said.

National Transport Commission spokesman Ron Grasso said the Transport and Infrastructure Council had put forward an aim for autonomous vehicles to be introduced in Australia by 2020.

“Our main aim is all about making sure that when these vehicles do come into the market, that they operate as safely as possible,” Mr Grasso told The New Daily.

 

Sales Resume Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

 

Want to know how to sell yourself for a sales position? Your resume is the most important tool you can use to land an attractive sales job. No matter how experienced you are and what you have accomplished, if your resume falls short on important information, you’re headed for failure. A good sales resume would steer clear of the following common mistakes:

  • Not Including the Percentage of Annual Sales You Achieved

When it comes to sales resumes, recruiters look for numbers on your resume. They want to see some concrete figures of your contribution to the sales of your past employers. Don’t be shy of clearly stating the percentage of contribution you made to your past employers’ sales

  • Listing Achievements at The End of The Resume

If you have listed your achievements at the end of the resume, you have made a big blunder. Achievements are very important in sales job, and they deserve a higher place. Recruiters have hundreds or even thousands of resumes to skim through, and they don’t always have the time to read your resume to the end. Therefore, the most important information must come first.

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  • Using “I” and “My” in Your Resume

You can write your sales resume in the first person, but you should omit “I” and “my.” Instead of writing, “I worked for XYZ Company,” you can say, “Worked for XYZ Company.”

  • Using Paragraphs

Recruiters hate paragraphs. They want to see information listed in bullet format because it is easy to read and saves their time. So, don’t waste your time writing long paragraphs. Instead list down your information in bullet form.

  • Writing a Long Resume

Your sales resume should not be longer than 2 pages. Remember, recruiters just skim through your resume, so it should contain only the most important information. Avoid putting unnecessary information on your sales resume.

Keeping these small pointers in mind will help you make a larger impact. However, also remember that some companies have their specific resume format, so do your research before you apply.


6 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter That Will Get You Hired

a close up of a piece of paper: Job opportunity employment and recruitment concept © Getty Images Job opportunity employment and recruitment concept

Your resume only says so much about your career journey.

Algorithm and AI-driven resume screening may become the trend and could become the norm some day, but at most companies trying to fill critical roles, there is still usually at least one human being spending a few moments deciding whether to put your resume into the follow-up box or the trash can.

And this is why, for all the talk out there about how resumes are no longer needed, writing a good resume actually still matters. But having a resume is, I believe, not enough to tell your story. That's where your cover letter (or email) comes in. Experienced recruiters can learn a lot from a resume, but with your cover letter, you're getting one chance to weave the data points of your career into a coherent and compelling narrative. It's your first shot at delivering your pitch to a potential recruiter.

Well-crafted cover letters give recruiters a lot of valuable information that a resume can't. They show very clearly whether you can communicate well in writing, they give you the chance to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the company and the role you're applying to, and they provide a chance to fill-in the spaces in-between the bullet points on your resume with valuable insight into who you are like as a person.

Here are some tips for writing cover letters that are more likely to be read, and which could increase the chances of your moving into the next stage of the recruiting process.

1. Personalize it.

If you know who the recruiting manager is, or you have the name of the manager who holds the ultimate decision-making power or who wields significant influence in the process, then address it to her. Personalizing the address field in your letter or email is just one more way to connect with the reader of your cover letter. Of course, it may not always be possible to identify the right name, but it's worth the effort to find out. Do some sleuthing on the company's website, or ask the search firm who is helping you.

2. Prove why you're qualified.

Don't let your resume speak for itself. With your cover letter, you now have a few moments to grab the recruiter--virtually, of course--and set him aside to make your pitch. Get straight to the point and let him know why you believe you are qualified for the role, and then give examples from your work experience. Be concise and don't simply repeat what you put on your resume. Boil down your qualifications to the three or four strongest ones, the ones for which you can confidently say you'll be able to start adding value from day one on the job.

3. Show how the position fits your career trajectory and aspirations.

Why are you applying to our company? And why now? Why would you want to leave your current company? What are your longer term career goals and how does this role fit into them? These are just a few of the questions running through a recruiter's mind and are almost certainly going to be part of an interview with you, if you make it to that stage in the process.

Why not offer a clear and compelling answer to these questions in your cover letter? It may not give the recruiter everything they need to understand you, but it will be an important data point they can use to determine whether you are going to be a good fit for the role.

4. Demonstrate excitement.

Yes, recruiters want to know: Are you qualified for the job? Do you have the qualifications and experience necessary to start adding value from day one? But they also want to know, will you enjoy working for them? Will you enjoy the role? Will you stick around?

To answer these questions, demonstrate enthusiasm about the company and the role, and, if you manage to find out who you will be reporting to or working most closely with if you do join the company, show that you're excited about working with them and helping them achieve their goals.

5. Be confident.

Without getting cocky, of course, show that you're confident: Confident about your qualifications and experience, confident that this is the right company and the right role at the right time for you, and confident that you will make a positive contribution to the company.

6. Proofread.

And finally: Proofread your cover letter! Check name spellings of the company, of the role, of the person you're addressing your letter to. Have someone help you read through it for grammar and usage, and for tone.


An ex-Apple HR specialist says a 4-step formula can help you answer any job interview question 'perfectly'

While it can be nerve-wracking to find the right answer to an interview question, there are a few tips and tricks you can use during interviews to impress recruiters.

At least that's what Juan Manuel Ramos says — as Apple Ireland's former HR specialist for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, the expert claims to have a secret formula up his sleeve that will work with any question an interviewer throws at you.

"You can 'perfectly' answer any question during a job interview through using the STAR technique," explained the specialist, now working as HR director at DEKRA. "It stands for 'Situation, Task, Action and Result'."

"Basically, you describe a situation you were in, outline what you had to do about the situation, detail how you executed what was necessary, and explain how the final result was successful," said Ramos.

Read more: These are the 21 best cities to find a job in the world

For example, imagine you've applied for a position related to marketing or sales. If you're asked to talk about an achievement in your previous job, you could lay out your response accordingly:

  • Situation: When I arrived the sales were very low.
  • Task: My job was to make them grow.
  • Action: So I decided to implement a new management contact system.
  • Result: In doing so, I managed to increase conversion sales by 20%

In addition, the manager recommends to prepare — both orally as well as in writing — possible questions and answers that could crop up during the interview.

Read more: Five things you should never do during a phone interview, according to career advisors

"With a simple Google search, candidates can find 80% of the questions they're likely to be asked during a job interview. Even Glassdoor can act as a good point of reference, especially if you're looking for jobs overseas," advised the expert.


Top 6 Job Search Myths Busted

There isn't a shortage of online and offline advice surrounding the job search. Events and online guides abound to help you craft the perfect resume and cover letter, network effectively, prepare for interviews and stand out among other candidates. But when it comes down to it, the myths about the process make it particularly challenging.

To separate fact from hearsay, I consulted with Melanie Tinto, the Chief Human Resources Officer at WEX—a leading financial technology service provider across a wide spectrum of sectors, including, fleet, travel and healthcare. Prior to joining WEX, Melanie served on the executive team of leading companies as Vice President of talent acquisition, talent management and Chief Learning Officer.

Learn about these job search myths to avoid making the same mistakes as everyone else:

MYTH: Limit your resume to one page.

Reality: You can go over the limit if you have extensive, relevant experience that cannot be contained to one page. But you should keep it concise—no need to list all the jobs you've had. Put the emphasis on the most relevant ones, those from which you developed the expertise and set of skills that directly apply to your desired role.

MYTH: Include your objectives 

Reality: You can state and elaborate on this in your cover letter because your objectives will already be implied by you applying to the job. Instead, replace that section with something that will catch a recruiter's eyes (i.e. a section for accomplishments, hobbies, side hustles etc.)

MYTH: Optimize your resume for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) by using as many key words as possible

Reality: Using keywords for the sake of getting through the ATS can sometimes dilute your message and play down your strengths. In describing your different jobs, you will naturally have keywords that will be optimized for this AI-powered system.

While it's important to have a few of them, focus less on that and more on crafting a visually appealing resume that captures a bit of your personality. "You will have a better chance to land your dream job by submitting a resume that targets a person, rather than a computer algorithm," says Melanie.

MYTH: Personal projects are not relevant to employers, so keep them out of your resume

Reality: Employers actually want to hire multi-talented candidates. Your side hustles or hobbies say a lot about you as a potential asset to the team. They're proof that you can handle a growing workload, have a self-directed attitude that can greatly benefit companies. If your side hustle has helped you develop a specialized set of skills, include it in your resume. It will not only get their attention, but it is also a great talking point during interviews. "Experience is experience, no matter where it comes from," says Melanie.

MYTH: Use your cover letter to recap your resume

Reality: You should tell a compelling story about who you are, show your personality and why you are a fit for the job in your cover letter. "We already have the resume to see your experience," says Melanie.  "Use the cover letter to explain things like gaps in your employment history, changes in your career path and/or positions that have lasted a short time." If you don’t have anything to add in the cover letter, in some cases, you’d be better off skipping it rather than restating what’s already on your resume.

MYTH: Your LinkedIn profile can replace your resume

Reality: You should always include your resume as an attachment to your LinkedIn profile, so recruiters can easily download and send it to hiring managers. As Melanie reveals, "Recruiters don’t always want to send your LinkedIn profile to the hiring manager because it would reveal that they've viewed your profile."



Dating Strategies to Apply to Your Job Search

7 Dating Skills That Could Land You Your Dream Job

If you haven’t looked for a job in a while, you might feel like you're out of practice and don’t know the best approach. There are job sites, social media platforms, working with recruiters, new resume styles, video interviews, and a lot of competition from fellow job seekers. So how can you be sure you stand out (in a good way!), and find your best career match?

RELATED: Job Hunting Tips for New Graduates

One idea is to think of your job search the same way you that you approach online dating. From creating the perfect profile to saying the right thing to selecting an ideal mate, online dating and job searching are not all that different. Take a look:

Use the Right Profile Pic

Job recruiters and hiring managers, much like prospective dates, are going to go straight to your online profile pages to try to get a sense of who you are as a person. But first things first, they’re going to check out your profile photo.

“For job seekers, selfies need not apply,” says Ruben Moreno, who heads up the HR executive search practice of Blue Rock Search Group, a member of the Sanford Rose Associates network of offices. So if your current LinkedIn profile photo involves you sitting in your car or a reflection in a bathroom mirror, don’t be surprised if recruiters are “swiping left,” he says.

Instead, invest the time to have a professional headshot taken, something with a non-distracting background. “Remember, this is a first impression pic, not a “let me wow you with my creativity and get the job pic,’” says Moreno.

Customize Your Pickup Lines

You can‘t use the same tired old lines on every prospect. You have to show a potential mate (or prospective employer) that you’re actually interested in them.

“Take the time to tailor your application materials to each role and you’ll be more likely to hear back,” says Luke Stratmann, metro market manager at global staffing firm Robert Half. In other words, don’t just say you want to “hook up.” Describe the value that you will bring to the employer based on the unique role that employer is trying to fill.

RELATED: Ways to Know It’s Time to Find a New Job

Craft a Strong Bio

Just as dating profile summaries can make or break you, it’s also important to come up with a succinct elevator pitch (a version of which can also be used in your resume professional summary or on your LinkedIn page), says Moreno.

“Tell me why I should I call you and/or spend more time talking to you,” he advises. Be sure to include a key accomplishment with tangible results if possible. “It’s the difference between ‘I was a strategic member of the global strategy team’ and ‘As a project team leader of the new business growth team, I helped deliver 25 percent year over year growth in non-organic sales,’” says Moreno.

Don’t Bad-Mouth ‘Exes’

Talking negatively about past employers or bosses can be a big red flag to a hiring manager or recruiter, says Luke, just as dissing your exes would be a turnoff to a potential new flame. “Employers may be left wondering what’s on the other side of your story, and worse, how you’ll talk about them in the future,” says Stratmann.

If past relationships come up in conversation (or during your job interview), try to reframe the more challenging ones in a positive light. Worst case, you can just chalk up a past work breakup to having different values.

Get Matchmaking Help

You want to cast a wide net when you’re hoping to meet your match, which is why there are so many different dating sites. But you might also meet someone by attending an in-person speed dating event, or better yet, be set up by a mutual friend.

The same goes for finding a job. Take advantage of the many tools and platforms available to you, but if you’re not having any luck, seek professional help. Advises Stratmann: “Connect with a specialized staffing professional who can leverage their expansive network to identify positions that complement your skills, experience, and work style.”

Avoid Getting Ghosted

It can be so frustrating to have what you think is a great first date only to never hear from the person again. Job seekers can definitely relate. So what can you do to try to ensure that you get some closure? “If you felt the interview went well but haven’t heard back, be proactive about following up to reiterate your interest,” says Stratmann. You should also ask about the anticipated timeline for the hiring process right from the start so you aren’t left in the dark.

Unfortunately, some unions aren’t meant to be, so don’t get hung up on what could have been if weeks go by with no next steps or offer. Just get right back to your search.

Handle Rejection With Grace

Sometimes the feelings just aren’t mutual, so a prospective partner will let you know that it’s not going to work out. The same is true sometimes after going deep into the interview process. “Getting turned down for a position can feel like a sucker punch, but it’s important to keep your cool,” says Stratmann. Thank the hiring manager for considering you, and let them know you enjoyed learning about the company and team.

You never know; another opportunity may arise or you may cross paths in the future. If so, you’ll be glad that you left the relationship on a positive note.

Just as you (hopefully) wouldn’t showcase a photo of yourself wearing stuck-in-the-’90s parachute pants, you want to make sure your career profile is fresh and features your most “dateable” skills, accomplishments, and accolades. By putting as much effort into your job search as you do for online dating, you’ll be on your way to finding your perfect career match.


Want to Get Hired in 2019? Focus on These Key Skills

Many companies were hiring in 2018, and 2019 still offers plenty of opportunity for job seekers. A good 40% of employers are aiming to hire full-time, permanent employees this year, while 47% want to hire part-time help, according to new findings from CareerBuilder.

But what can a job searcher like you do to increase your chances of landing an offer this year? You might assume that to get hired, you'll need to hone the skills that pertain specifically to the jobs you're applying to. In reality, your best bet might be to focus on your soft skills instead.

Smiling man sitting at his desk in front of a laptop, with a notebook, coffee cup, and plant next to the computer.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are those that apply to any job, and they're generally interpersonal in nature. For example, while you might need an in-depth knowledge of certain software programs to get hired as an IT professional, being organized and good at time management are skills you might need to succeed in any environment.

Soft skills are so important, in fact, that 92% of employers say they'll be a critical factor in deciding whether candidates who apply to open roles this year will, in fact, get hired. Furthermore, 80% of employers say that soft skills are equally or more important than hard skills (those that are job-specific) in the hiring process.

Which soft skills should you focus on?

It pays to work on improving any soft skills that might apply to a job you're interested in, like critical thinking and strong communication. But according to CareerBuilder, the top soft skills that hiring managers are looking for at present are:

  • The ability to be team-oriented
  • Attention to detail
  • Customer service

The tricky thing about soft skills is that developing them is often something that comes with time. You can take a course to learn different computer programming languages or read up on different employment laws and regulations to get hired in a human resources capacity. But it's hard to study teamwork, attention to detail, and customer service.

Your best bet, therefore, might be to observe those around you who seem to excel in those areas and aim to emulate their behavior on the job. For example, if you have a colleague who's great at diffusing tense situations, you might aim to identify what it is they do to get the parties involved to calm down. Is your coworker using specific language? Altering their tone? Pinpointing their secrets will help you get better at customer service.

Similarly, if you have a colleague who's well-regarded as a strong team player, observe how they interact with others. Do they proactively offer up help rather than wait to be asked? Are they open to new ideas? Easily approachable? These are characteristics you're apt to pick up on rather quickly if you make an effort to do so.

Finally, there's attention to detail -- something you probably won't pick up from other people, but rather, will need to work on yourself. To improve there, it might help to build more time into your schedule for key tasks that require added concentration. You might also try an exercise where you walk away from a project or report for a day or two, if you have that luxury, and then revisit it. Doing so might help you identify some of the finer points you might've missed.

Boosting your soft skills will make you a more valuable employee and desirable job candidate both now and in the future. And that's reason enough to put in the effort.


Beyond the Resume: 14 Strategies to Get Hired in 2019


March 7, 2019job interview psychologyRawpixel/Unsplash

A good resume shows hiring managers why you’re qualified for the job, whether you’re applying to be the janitor or the CEO. The best resume sets you apart from the competition and makes the case that you’re the right person to solve the company’s problems.

Your resume has one opportunity to impress. Ideally, your content must evoke awe and wonder, but mostly interest. But in 2019, even an excellent resume isn’t enough.

To get hired, you must have a keen sense of what specific employers want, rather than broad knowledge of what they generally want. Beyond that, you must be persistent, resilient and willing to adapt. Use these strategies to land the job:

1. Follow up the Right Way

You won’t find the right job if you’re playing the role of a passive candidate. Be persistent, as well as patient, but make sure you’re following up with the right person. During the interview, ask who the best person is to follow up with (and when).

2. Solicit Feedback constructive criticismmediaphotos/Getty Images

Good feedback can come from anywhere — your peers, parents or kids. However, the highest ROI feedback will come from knowledgeable professionals in your industry or industry of interest.

If you want to make a lasting impression on someone who can influence a hiring situation, ask for feedback and then show that you implemented their suggestion. It’s up to you to make it comfortable for that person to offer you truth.

3. Apply CPR (Courage, Persistence and Resilience)

These personal attributes are staples in every phase of your job search. They are the intangibles employers recognized in the best candidate not found on any checklist. CPR helps you remain steadfast interviewing with fickle hiring managers.

4. Don’t Be Scared of Artificial Intelligence (AI) robot recruiteriLexx/Getty Images

Machines won’t be taking over completely, but they will play a part in the workforce. Always emphasize the qualities that computers don’t have. There are two things machines can’t show hiring managers or their companies: Personality and plain ol’ humanity.

5. Get Insight From Employees

When researching a potential employer, go beyond the About page on their corporate site. What are former employees saying about the employer? Check LinkedIn and other social networks to find out.  What does the competition say about a potential employer? Scan recent news items to get insight.

4. Interview the Interviewer interview tipsalvarez/Getty Images

The spirit of this strategy is not to assume power during a job interview but to expect real answers from the employer. Mark Babbitt, President of Work IQ and CEO of YouTern, suggests that you ask questions like, “What is it like here? What is keeping you here?” Then, he says, “Look for radical candor from the interviewer. If you don’t get real answers, perhaps it’s not the right fit for you.”

7. Turn Your Multiple Interests Into Real Career Choices

You’ve heard how important it is for you to control your career and that you need to create opportunities to gain experience and skill. Professionals are weaving their interests into their career profiles, giving their hobbies the spotlight along with their job titles. An example would be Engineer/Photographer/Videographer.

8. Take Control of the Narrative social mediaUncalno/Flickr

Changing careers while working is tough. I recommended providing updates consistently through your social networks. For most people, it will be their only way to control the narrative of their career and draw the interest of hiring managers.

9. Create Your User’s Manual

You are the author of your professional user’s manual. By demonstrating and explaining your methods, strategies and plans, you are showing how you’ve invested in work product outcomes. Before a job interview, customize examples to the employer’s needs so that you can demonstrate your effectiveness.

10. Network Your Way to a Referral networkingHelena Lopes/Pexels

You might assume that the best referrals come from people who know you very well, but your strongest leads could come from people who don’t know you very well. Use your network to connect with potential referrers who can link you to the job of your dreams. Creating and demonstrating key skills employers desire through audio or video, or in writing, offers others to point to proof their reasons to hire, refer, or connect with you.

11. Be Patient

Too many people give up early without doing everything possible to change careers or advance in their current industry. It’s a process and there’s no magic pill. Networking will take time, as will demonstrating competency and skill. But it’s well worth the wait.

12. Create Opportunities to Get Noticed in Two Years

For most of us, our articles, podcasts, videos, etc. may not reach their potential in their first year of existence. I search my name weekly, and I often find content I published years ago appear under my name for the first time. Recently, someone connected with me on Linkedin expressing her excitement about an interview I did two years prior.

13. Say No and Walk Away quit rateMichael Rosner Hyman/Unsplash

Gone are the days when you would hang around waiting for one employer to say, “Yes.” You have choices, too. Job seekers approach the job search and interview process differently these days.

Babbitt told me that it’s essential for job candidates to expect radical candor from hiring managers about the company. When you ask questions such as, “What is it like here? What is keeping you here?,” anything less than a frank and honest answer may indicate that the opportunity is not the right fit.

14. Be Persistent to Impress Hiring Managers

“…a reasonable level of persistence and determination are also good attributes,” says Sarah Morgan, a Human Resources Executive and founder of the blog, The Buzz on HR. “The best hire that I ever made was someone who called and emailed after applying to request an interview. She told me all the reasons she thought she’d be a fit for the role and what she hoped to learn. I offered her the position before she left the building and never looked back.”

Most professionals wait for someone to offer an opportunity. In 2019, you make those opportunities yourself. Every chance you get to demonstrate value increases your chances to get hired. You do the PR, marketing and presenting so others will know your value before you walk in the room. Then what you demonstrated becomes the topic of discussion, not your potential to do a job.

Most professionals wait for someone to offer an opportunity. In 2019, you make those opportunities yourself. Click To Tweet Tell Us What You Think

What other tips would you add to this list? We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.



The best time of the year to look for a job in Australia

  • Job postings hit a peak in Spring in Australia.
  • There are more job searches in January than any other time of the year.
  • Indeed data shows December as being the slowest for both job postings and job searches.

The number of job vacancies in Australia is fairly steady for most of the year but there are greater opportunities in certain months.

Analysis by global jobs site Indeed of Australian searches shows there are certain times of the year where you’re more likely to be successful in finding a job.

Indeed, examining the frequency of job postings and job search activity over the last three years, found that Spring is the best time to look for new work as there is a large gap in activity between employers and job hunters.

This chart tells the story:

Job postings are at their highest — meaning there are plenty of opportunities for work – and competition for work is at one of its lowest points for the year.

This is in part driven by the retail and hospitality sectors, which begin hiring for Christmas casuals during this time. The number of job posts for holiday casual roles typically peaks in September.

This peak can also be attributed to timing within the financial year. In the first quarter of the new financial year, hiring managers have more clarity and flexibility around budgets and are more likely to make new hires.

And from a job hunter point of view, many are waiting to see out the end of the year and then look for a new job in January.

Unfortunately everyone else has the same idea while employers are least likely to post their jobs early in the new year in the mistaken belief that everyone is on holidays.

As a result, January is when employers have access to the biggest talent pool.

Job hunting activity is at its highest in January as people are determined to turn a new leaf and finding a new job is among the common pledges made for New Year’s Resolutions.

However, January is also one of the lowest periods for job postings, meaning competition among job seekers is high.

For employers who wait to hire when everyone is back from summer holidays, there is a high chance that they’ve already missed out on great talent by the time job search activity starts dropping off in February.

For both employers and job hunters, taking advantage of these critical times in the year can give you the best possible chance in finding your best match.

How to Actually Get an Interview After Applying For a Job

This article originally appeared on Free in Canada.

Job hunting is a frustrating process.

On your days off from your gruelling, low-paying survival job, you summon the energy to log onto LinkedIn and scroll through dozens postings—hoping that the doors to a career just may be opened by that piece of paper you went into crippling debt for.

Then you spend hours tailoring and spell-checking your resume and cover letter to a posting… or 10, because having to decide between groceries and your phone bill this month is getting exhausting, and your parents won’t get off your ass about getting a “real job.”

This process goes on for weeks, maybe months—applying to dozens of jobs through portals and getting nowhere.

So why doesn’t anybody call you for an interview? You might actually be hindering your already terrible chances of getting to the next step. Here are some things you can do to stop sabotaging your job search.

A lot of applications. And you may not be qualified.

“Many resumes for a role get overlooked,” says Rebecca Laramée, a Toronto-based HR consultant who aides organizations like TEDxToronto. “Recruiters spend as little as 6 to 8 seconds scanning your resume, so job seekers have little time to make a positive impression on a recruiter. Research shows that 98 percent of job seekers are eliminated at the initial resume screening. Only the 2percent of candidates make it to the interview.”

“The competition is fierce, so applying for a job through online portals like LinkedIn, Indeed, Workopolis etc. alone is not sufficient,” Laramée told VICE.

Laramée also cautioned against additional ways applicants sabotage their odds of getting an interview. “People will tell you to apply for jobs that you are not qualified for,” she says. “This is a debatable tactic—but applying for jobs you’re unqualified for can actually hurt your chances at future positions with the company.”

According to Laramée, the biggest problem with applying for irrelevant jobs is that it tends to irritate recruiters. Her research leads her to believe irrelevant applications are the biggest turnoff for 30 percent of recruiters. And of that group, 43 percentsuggest they would ‘blacklist’ those candidates by suppressing their names from even coming up in future resume searches.

According to data provided to VICE by the Vancouver branch of the global human resource firm, Robert Half, an average recruiter only reviews about 34 resumes for a position, in-depth. Of those 34, about 13 are selected for an interview. 57 percent of recruiters said that relevant experience is the top reason employers interview job candidates, followed by assessing soft skills and corporate culture fit (23 percent) and technical skills (21 percent).

Inversely, Robert Half sites that a lack of technical and soft skills are the top reasons new hires don’t work out. Twenty-nine percent of senior managers cited that it’s common for interviewees to not live up to expectations. This may be why recruiters get so irritated by applicants who are not qualified. Not to mention having to sift through the general volume of applications generated by online portals.

Can you game the system?

Possibly. Applying at a certain time of day could help you break through the cavalcade of applications.

“Considering the art and science to the job search alone can increase your odds of getting a job by nearly 40 times,” said Laramée, citing research from Talent Works, “Applying to a job before 10 AM can [significantly] increase your odds of getting an interview.”

According to this research, the best time to apply for a job is between 6 AM and 10 AM. During this time, you have a 13 percent chance of getting an interview—that means your odds are nearly five times better than if you applied to the exact same job during or after work.

“Whatever you do, don’t apply after 4 PM,” Laramée said. “Also, apply to jobs in the first three to four days of a job posting. In combination, just these two optimizations can increase your odds of getting a job by nearly 40 times.”

However, Laramée stressed that, at the end of the day, recruiters don’t hire resumes, as much as they hire human beings.

Employee referrals are the most powerful technique.

According to research by LinkedIn, more than 70 percent of professionals get hired at a company where they have a professional connection. Additionally, “nearly 70 percent of professionals want to use their communities to find jobs for others, but that number falls to 10 percent for people in their community they do not know personally.

Which means forming real human connections is practically a prerequisite to landing a job.

“Candidates who throw themselves into job board arena—especially in this warped economy—are going up against desperate motherfuckers who are packing heavy artillery,” says Hamza Khan, a keynote speaker and author who has dedicated his career to helping students and young job hunters.

” I’m talking about young, hungry recent grads armed to the teeth with technical skills, 10,000 Instagram followers and a failed startup, right through to laid off and/or transitioning industry veterans (sometimes toting PhD’s) with a beginner’s mindset. In that arena, your odds of passing the automated screening gauntlet are slim,” Khan told VICE. “That’s why it’s imperative to bypass the archaic hiring process altogether.”

Khan has some simple tips to get started, for even the most timid and anti-social. “Find the person who has the job you want. Follow them online, get on their radar, and then message them requesting 15 to 30 minutes of their time,” Khan said. “Offer to buy them coffee in exchange for their time, and be sure to bend your calendar to accommodate their schedule.”

He stressed that the goal of meetings like these is to not ask for a job, but instead to ask for advice, so that you may be considered for a job.

“If all goes well (and it usually will), do two things. First, ask to remain in touch. Second, ask for recommendations of other people to connect with,” said Khan. “Compared to sending out hundreds of resumes a week, this approach will leave you with more insight, more connections, and ultimately more of a fighting chance in a hiring landscape.”

Get Organized: 10 Tips for Remote Job Interviews

Working remotely can be a great privilege, but you'll have to make an extra effort to do it successfully. Full-time remote workers are hyper-aware of how they communicate. They have unique etiquette for participation during meetings. They also face different questions and challenges than office-based workers. If you're a candidate for a remote position or just starting your search, knowing some of these details gives you a leg up when it comes to the job interview.

Get Organized Bug Art

I've worked remotely in a few different roles. In one job, I started as a full-time local hire and negotiated a remote position when my partner was accepted to graduate school in the UK. I had another job that was a full-time remote position for a company of all remote employees. Plus, any freelance writing I do is remote. From all these experiences, I've learned what remote organizations pay attention to when interviewing job candidates. These 10 tips will help you schedule, prepare for, and participate in a remote job interview.

Schedulingthe Interview 1. Be Clear, Concise, and Unironic in Writing

When applying to a remote position, you'll probably connect with the team by email first. Be aware that the people reading your application and email responses have heightened sensitivity to written language. It's a hot topic among remote workers who must be extra conscientious of how they express themselves. Leave irony, jokes, and subtlety aside. Be as clear and concise as possible.

In remote work settings, every email and message must be clear in both content and tone. No one wants to read a message and be left wondering, "Is she annoyed at me? Should I do the work over again?" When people are separated by distance and time zones, one obscure message can easily fester into something no one intended.

Start fine-tuning your sensitivity to the team's communication style right away. Do they use exclamation points and emojis to express joy, confusion, or to clarify their tone? Pick up on it, and if you're comfortable with it, mirror it in your replies. The team will notice if you do, and they'll notice if you don't do it too.

2. Don't Respond to Every Email Immediately

Successful remote workers will tell you that finding work-life balance is key to contentment. When a team shows interest in you as a candidate, don't feel pressured into replying to every email the moment it arrives, especially when it's after hours.

How quickly you respond depends on context. If a non-urgent email hits your inbox at 9 p.m., wait until the morning to reply. That said, if you get an email in the evening about coordinating an interview the next day, time is of the essence, and people will be grateful if you respond sooner rather than later. When you reply to emails in a timely way but not obsessively late at night, you prove that you already have an understanding of work-life balance. That's a trait remote companies like to see.

3. Talk About Time Zones

When scheduling an interview for a remote work job, talk about time zones. Mention your time zone using the correct terminology, and note the difference from UTC, GMT, or your counterpart's time zone. Don't be afraid to look it up. Daylight savings time throws a wrench into the equation twice a year.

Let's say your contact is in Denver and you're in Brasilia. Write, "I'm on Brasilia Standard Time (GMT -3). That puts me 4 hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time. Can we have a call at noon MST (4 p.m. BST)?"

Always suggest and confirm times using both your contact's time zone and your own. It eliminates confusion and gives everyone an opportunity to catch a time conversion error.

4. Suggest Multiple Ways to Meet

When your potential employer asks your availability for an interview, suggest multiple ways to meet. Offer a phone number, Skype ID, Google Chat Hangouts name, WhatsApp number, and anything else that makes sense. The team may already have a preferred method for calls, but when you give several options, it shows that you're proactive when it comes to accommodating communication. Again, remote workers are sensitive to this fact and will notice it.

Right Before the Interview 5. Prepare Your Space

Your interview for a remote work job will almost certainly be via video conference call. Take a few minutes to prepare your space. Where will you sit? How close will your face be to the camera? Turn on your camera so that you can position your chair and frame your face. If you're on a laptop, prop it up a few inches so that you appear head-on rather than at an angle. Check the lighting so you're not backlit. Tidy up the space behind you, and silence notifications.

In addition, if you'll be sharing any materials, such as a portfolio or work samples, be sure to send them ahead of time and have copies loaded on your computer. That way, you can easily share your screen if asked to do so.

6. Check Your Appearance, Camera, and Mic

Follow all the same advice you would for a traditional interview in terms of showing up early and dressing appropriately. The good news is you can stay barefoot and in sweatpants if you like, as no one will see your lower half. Dressing up from head to toe, however, might make you feel more professional and confident. Keep it in mind as an option.

Use a headset and external microphone for remote job interviews. They improve the audio quality of call tremendously by eliminating feedback. You don't need anything fancy or expensive. A simple in-ear headphone set with a mic on the cord will do. Make sure your clothing and jewelry don't interfere with your headset.

Do not conduct a remote work job interview on a smartphone. Your potential colleagues expect you to have the capacity to work from home. They want to know you have a dedicated workstation.

7. Do a Test Run

At least 10 minutes before the call, run a test to ensure everything looks and sounds correct. Are you close enough to your Wi-Fi router, or do you need an ethernet cable? How does your mic sound? Some video conferencing services offer an A/V check that you can run yourself, such as Skype call testing service. If you can't check the quality solo, ask a friend to do a quick demo call. It shouldn't take more than a minute. Note that if you've never used the software or service that you'll be using for the interview, this step is critical, and you'll definitely want to do your test run as early as possible.

Duringthe Interview 8. Prove You're Cut Out for Remote Work

The interview gives you a chance to share information about yourself. Talk up your prior accomplishments as you would in any other job interview. Additionally, highlight experiences you've had with remote work. You want to illustrate you've done it before and were successful, rather than simply say you're excited to try it.

If you don't have formal experience in a remote role, you can still use relevant examples. Did you work from home one day a week in your previous job? Did you write an entire Ph.D. thesis from your kitchen table? Even teaching could be relevant if you created lesson plans and graded papers at home. Think about those experiences and mention them.

9. In Groups, Mute Yourself

Remote teams hold a lot of meetings by video. On group calls, the protocol is to mute yourself when you're not talking. Showing that you know the etiquette for virtual meetings is tantamount having good manners. It'll make a positive first impression.

For one-on-one calls, do not mute your mic unless there's unexpected background noise, like a garbage truck idling outside your window. In those situations, explain the reason you'll be intermittently muting. Otherwise, it can come off as fishy.

10. Ask Questions Pertaining to Remote Work

Working remotely has unique challenges and considerations. A serious candidate for a remote work position will have thoughtful questions ready to go about some aspects of working remotely. A few you can ask are:

  • How often does the team communicate, and does it tend to be synchronous or asynchronous?
  • Are there regularly scheduled meetings? Do meeting times rotate to accommodate people in different time zones?
  • What communication and collaboration tools does the team use? If you're not up on the latest collaboration software, be sure brush up on the subject before the call.
  • What's the budget for home office equipment? Are there allowances for co-working space fees?
  • How does the organization handle onboarding of new hires?
  • Is there any travel required, such as for training or team get-togethers, and if so, how often is it?
  • How does the organization determine local holidays for time off (if the team is international)?
  • What's the average number of sick days employees take?
  • What does the organization do to keep employee morale high or develop cohesion among team members?
  • What's security strategy for remote workers? Does the company require the use of a particular VPN service?
Good Luck!

Knowing what makes remote work different and how sensitive remote workers are to these details can help you ace a remote job interview. Of course, all the other advice you've collected over the years about interviewing for a new job also applies. Be courteous and genuine. Prepare by researching the organization and what it does. Come up with questions about the day-to-day work and goals of the position. Make sure that during the interview, you assess whether you want to work for the organization and with the team, too. Finally, be certain that working remotely is right for you. Not everyone thrives when they're in control of their work environment. If it's a good fit, however, then welcome to the club.

Assuming your interview goes well and the job is a good fit, you'll want to really hit the ground running and show your new employers you're capable of being productive while you work remotely. Next week, I'll help you put your best foot forward with a collection of tips for working from home.

How to rebuild trust in a toxic workplace

Toxic workplaces are pervasive–and expensive.

According to 2017 research by the Workplace Bullying Institute, roughly 1 in 5 workers are bullied at work, and 61% of employees are aware of workplace bullying. More than half of tech workers said they believe their workplace is toxic, according to a survey by social networking platform Blind.

And it doesn’t take many toxic employees to accelerate turnover. Even if just one toxic employee is added to a team of 20, good employees are 54% more likely to quit, according to report by cloud-based learning and talent management company Cornerstone on Demand.

If you’re seeing the signs of a toxic culture–employees aren’t performing as well, are complaining, or are even leaving the company–it’s in your organization’s best interest to address it immediately, says career development and mentoring strategist Shavon Lindley, founder of San Dieg0-based Mentoring Method, a leadership development and mentoring technology solution. Once you notice a problem, it’s a process to rebuild trust and restore your workplace to health.

Own it

Admitting the problem and letting employees know you’re aware is the first step to a healthier culture, says Houston-based executive coach Joshua M. Evans, author of Enthusiastic You! Rediscovering Your Passion & Energy: Tools for Success in Your Daily Life. “Because toxicity, when you walk into an office, is apparent. You can taste it, you can feel it,” he says. But employees aren’t always willing to be the first to admit there’s a problem. They want leadership to speak up first, he adds. Communicate to your team that you want to make things better and seek their feedback in doing so.

If it’s possible that the conditions rise to the level of a hostile workplace, it may be a good idea to assemble a team that includes your human resources lead and your legal counsel.

Get data

“Toxic” is a broad term that can be used to cover many forms of bad behavior or conditions. You need to understand the issues that are affecting your culture, says Kavita Avula, PsyD, lead consulting psychologist with KonTerra Group, a Washington, D.C.-based leadership and organizational development firm. Request feedback from your employees. Employee engagement surveys or direct conversations with managers may be useful, depending on the size of the company or the nature of the issues. You may also find clues in feedback from performance reviews.

“Avoid rationalizing, avoid becoming defensive when you hear something you don’t like,” she says. The feedback may not be pleasant, but remaining objective and curious about it will help you evaluate it more effectively and take appropriate action.

Take specific actions

Once you know the issues that your organization is facing, you can take corrective action that will truly matter. For example, if the toxicity is the result of an employee or practice, you can work to retrain or remove the employee or rethink the practice. Lindley likens the process torestoring a human body to health. “The most efficient way to detox and really reestablish harmony is to identify which ‘organ system’ or, in this case, which section of your company needs the most support, and want to change the environment or support the elimination of that toxic load,” she says.

Consider restorative justice

Avula says organizations may find success in rebuilding trust through restorative justice, through which the group works together to determine the best way forward. “It’s an alternative to the disciplinary system in the sense that it brings together people involved in the conflict. And it looks at the needs of each individual involved,” she says.

Restorative justice, which is typically conducted with a trained facilitator, also helps prevent the recurrence of damaging behavior, Avula says. If someone had engaged in misconduct, for example, and they are dismissed, they may just do the same thing at their next job. Restorative practices help them learn to repair the harm done, she says.

Recommit to your values–and communicate them

In addition to identifying problems, organizations must also evaluate and recommit to their values, Lindley says. Think about adding values like transparency or integrity, she says. Then, communicate to your team exactly what those values are, why you’ve recommitted to them, and how they’ll be modeled in your organization. Even better: Share a plan for following through.

“If you’re going to just say, ‘Things are gonna be different,’ people aren’t going to believe you,” Lindley says.

Employees want to know that their well-being is a priority part of the company’s values system as well, says Atlanta-based organizational health and culture consultant Randy Ross, author of Relationomics: Business Powered by Relationships. They want to know that the organization has their best interests at heart. “If I don’t believe that someone has my best interest at heart, it’s very, very difficult for me to trust them, because I feel like they’re always, first and foremost, going to take care of themselves,” he says.

Create a feedback loop

As the organization proceeds to transform itself into a place that fosters trust–which can be a long process–establishing two-way feedback is essential, Ross says. Authentic, transparent communication about the steps the organization is taking will go a long way toward helping employees understand that leaders are serious about change. Similarly, establishing ways for employees to communicate their feelings to leadership will help the organization track progress and identify areas that need attention, he says.

The process will likely require a lot of communication and revisiting various steps along the way, Ross says. However, the advantages make the investment in turning around a toxic environment and restoring trust worth it, he says.