On a grassy hillside a small cream brick hall overlooked the driveway. It’s weathered  green eaves and window frames matched with the sprigs of new growth and native trees surrounding the campsite. It looked so picturesque, perched against the forest backdrop but in just a few hours it would become the dormitory for our Cub Scouts. The rain was heavy in the sky again but for now, the sunshine had pushed its way through. Cars started rolling in with bundled up sleeping gear packed high against the windows, squishy kid’s faces pressed against them. Pillows and laughter tumbled from the backseats into what would be our campsite for the weekend.

Many hands

Volunteering for the weekend to help with 20 energetic 9 and 10-year-old was a first for me. But ever since my own wild child had joined, I’d been eager to jump in and help out. A swag of other parents were on hand along with the cub’s leaders who had the weekend laid out with just the right doses of adventure walks, craft time, bush discovery and life-learning, for both us and the kids. The Dads took over the kitchen in a sort of Jamie Oliver free for all; piles of mince, chopped tomatoes and diced onions filled the little kitchen in the food hall, fervidly sloshed into enormous pots. We laughed, us gals on the sideline, thoroughly entertained by the lavish herb tossing. By nightfall the rain had set in and while it might have hampered our campfire efforts, the singalong was in full swing. 

It takes a village

It’s true that every child is different. And because of that, the way we parent kids is also different. Their distinct personalities influence a lot of what works in the uncertain world of parenting. I’ve tried, tested (and tossed) plenty of activities to energise my son and hook him onto his happiness. Some stick and some don’t. Some come with too much competition, some feel elitist, others just don’t hold his interest. That’s why the communal world of Scouts is such a refreshing alternative for kids and families. Run by leaders who are in every sense the salt of the earth, giving of their time with generosity, humility and earnestness. In Scouts everyone has a place, everyone has opportunity, connection and a sense of belonging. 

Be the change

Some days I find primary school overwhelming. There just seems to be so much pressure on kids with after school activities, wide-ranging social issues to contend with and a diversity of subjects that feels like the volume has doubled from my school days. There’s hardly a chance for downtime and not everyone can keep pace. Yet for all the academic, sporting and social expectations on kids, we’ve still overlooked some of the inherant know-how and smarts that kids need to develop into capable, resilient and likeable grown-ups. And this is why Scouts can offer something that nothing else can. Fresh-air, zero screen time, the great outdoors, mixing with kids from all backgrounds, community fundraising, creating something out of nothing and jumping into activities otherwise unexplored.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood

Sunday morning at camp was soggy and grey. The kids scattered into the bush, clambering up the muddy slopes to play hide and seek before packing up. If it wasn’t for the fat leeches squirming inside their wet socks, they might have stayed longer. On the coastal drive back home, the hours quickly filled with stories of friendship and outbursts of laughter. Another early Spring camp marked off the calendar.

As a member of a Sea Scouts group, our summer months are spent canoeing along the river until sunset. I can hardly think of a more uplifting way to spend a weeknight during busy city school life. Everything done is with a sense of relaxed community and as parents, we ebb and flow on the sidelines. There’s a clear tradition upon which Scouts is built, blended with the individual nature of each child. It makes for a collective and unpretentious little neighbourhood, where the door’s always open.

All photographs courtesy of Scouts Australia online images

good resume

There’s plenty of conjecture around what a great resume should look like and people have some pretty strong opinions on the optimum language, style and structure. But like most good writing, it needs to tell a story – your story. Having clicked on thousands of resumes, I know from experience that first impressions really count. Within a few viewing seconds, managers will naturally decide if they want to read on. So, what are the key elements of an impressive resume that will grab attention? Here’s my quick guide to writing a great resume.

To be or not to be

This is where it gets interesting – do I include a photograph or not? Is it necessary to include my address? And what about my date of birth? Well, the short is answer is “no,” none of these tell the story of your ability to do the job and that’s what we are looking for. The question good hiring managers and recruiters are asking themselves as they read through your resume is “how aligned are these candidates’ skills and experience to the vacancy I have?”

Follow a format

A great resume will follow a clear and simple structure that will give the reader a snapshot about who you are. Think of it like the summary on the back of a book you’re interested in reading, or topical headlines. As a guide, your resume will include:

  • Contact details – Phone, City, State, email and other relevant contact details such as your LinkedIn profile (a good tip is to include your contact details on each page)
  • A list of your key strengths and skills
  • A summary of your education qualifications and courses undertaken, including memberships.
  • A list of your technical expertise if this applies to your role
  • A summary of your work experience that outlines your role, responsibilities and achievements
  • Any volunteering work you have done
  • A note about your referees (specifying the name and company is seen by some as a plus)
  • Some people like to include an objective as well personal interests, if you do choose to include these, keep them relevant.

Make a statement

Find ways to make your resume stand out from the crowd. Good font selection, a pop of colour, clear discernible sections will help you achieve this. On the other hand, too much colour, too many icons and colour blocks can be distracting. A great resume will certainly have components of these but try not to over clutter the pages. Clear, concise and engaging is a good checklist to consider when crafting your resume. 

Less is more

One debatable aspect of resume writing is length. I’ve seen resumes that are 2 pages long and include only the last 3 roles of a candidates’ experience and others that are detailing their first job out of school by the time I get to page 10. A great resume will be interesting, insightful and informative so when you’re writing your resume think about balancing the information to keep the reader engaged. As a guide, generally 4 pages reflecting your professional expertise is the right length to hold interest.

Expert eye

Getting some assistance or a professional opinion about your resume is also a good idea. Apart from engaging a professional resume writer, there are a lot of clever templates available online. Or, as you are going through the recruitment process, ask your consultant for feedback on your resume. The upside here is that they will know your market and have seen plenty of resumes applying for similar jobs.

You might want to check out this handy link on skills to include in your resume.

See our other recruitment articles on job hunting and some tips on what recruitment will look like after lockdown.


Navigating our new normal

Yesterday was the first day in a while I’d gone out, other than the oasis of Coles. I did my hair (well, pulled it out from a scruffy top bun) and wore shoes. It was a kids tennis lesson after all. I stopped on the way back at a 7-Eleven and though the line of 3 people spread the entire shop length, I felt the dust fall off my shoulders and smiled awkwardly at a stranger while we pumped furiously at the sanitiser hitched to the wall. It gets me thinking, when the veil of iso is lifted, what will it be like to step back into the real world?

We’re all thought leaders

It’s been astounding to see the out of the box solutions people have found to keep boredom at bay and business thriving. Hardly a service or celebrity hasn’t brushed up to keep pace with the changing times.Yes, necessity has been the driver for all invention. We’ve seen huge amounts of generosity, boundless creative energy and a whole new world of work emerging.

As a recruiter, here’s how I envisage the world of work might change after lockdown and what fellow recruiters might see on the job front.

Our changing world of work

  1. More people looking for a shift to working from home (now that we’ve got used to it, we can see the upsides). Whether full time or one day a week, flexibility is the new job currency.
  2. Agility and adaptability will be key. This crisis has shown us that adapting to new work structures, picking up unfamiliar job functions and being able to take on surprise responsibilities outside our job scopes is the new norm.
  3. Part time jobs may be more in demand as people opt for better balance to pursue their new found creative interests. Along with this may come the longing for flexibility in work structures and working hours.
  4. People may switch gears and embark on following their passions, seeing the end of lockdown as the perfect time to begin something new. 
  5. While there will be a new influx of candidates in the market, some who ride the wave will be loyal to the organisations who supported them through this crisis. This may mean less movement at the senior and niche skilled candidate levels.
  6. We’ve seen an obvious rise in online products and services. Just about the best set of skills you can equip yourself with will be within the digital space. More jobs with a digital focus will be on demand and the talented and digitally savvy candidates will be able to command more.
  7. Face to face interviews might be a thing of the past, at least in the early stages of the selection process. With this, recruiters and hiring managers will need to be flexible and may need to offer greater access to their candidates for online interviews beyond traditional business hours.
  8. If being in the office each day is less mandatory, this opens up a greater candidate market for roles being located remotely or flexibly. Without the limitation of location, a much broader candidate base can be engaged.
  9. As people continue to be concerned about health and well-being, organisations with a good social heart, solid well-being programs and contemporary leave policies may offer more candidate appeal.
  10. Covid-19 has no doubt brought out the very best in us and our empathy for each other. More than ever we’ll need to build genuine relationships, deliver a first rate human service and offer outstanding candidate care.

Read more about the future of work beyond Covid-19 here

It’s day one of remote learning, or what I like to think of as home schooling, mid-west style. I’ll flit from baking, to plucking seasonal herbs to helping with algebra and by 4.00pm we’ll be done, just in time for The Bold.  There we were this morning at the dining room table, my 9 year old and I, eagerly awaiting the remote learning portal to unlock at 9am and for today’s lessons to be shared. Logins successful, welcome video from teacher aptly amusing and first writing task outlined. If only I could get my kid out of pj’s and off that damned device! Probably too early for freddo frogs. By 9.20am I ask him what he’s writing about. He’s staring into space but I choose to think he’s exploring a highly imaginative theme for his persuasive text. Not so. After some time he realises he’s not sure of the topic so decides it’s time for a nap. It’s 9.40. 

We move onto maths, but not before I get asked if tomorrow he could take a day off school. By now I’m picking myself (and the laundry) up off the floor. He thinks this home routine is way too imposing and deserves a break. Quite right. Thankfully for me, today’s maths looks like something I can handle; coordinates. Like most gals, my map reading skills are faultless so I think I’ve got this in the bag. Except I’ve just remembered I have a job too and my email starts pinging. Then, blaring through the apartment speakers, the fire alarm sounds as the building tests their evacuation drills. I’ve never seen anyone close a lap top as quickly as my son and prepare to escape. He’s taking this test very seriously and frightfully disappointed that we’re not going anywhere. And nor is this lesson to locate pineapples on a grid. I want to know if it’s recess yet.

In truth though, I am relishing every moment of watching him read and understand, hesitate and question, stop and start. And because (as anyone who knows me knows) I don’t see anything wrong with leaping into an impromptu dance number, we do that too. He’s asked me for a two hour lunch break. I’ve given him a hug instead and he’s equally thrilled. I’ve secretly always wanted his childhood to slow down a little and maybe this is not far off…because on days like this I get to see more, watch more and share more. And while my fifth grader is navigating his way around his online learning, uploading like a pro and putting my computer skills to shame, I wonder if pressing the reset button on life as we’ve all had to do for the moment, is maybe the best lesson we’ve had in a while. 

All about gratitude

Love in the time of corona

love me

The world still looks so pretty. There’s a broad blue sky, swept with strands of autumn clouds sitting above the harbour. The tree tops are like sprigs of fresh mint from last weeks rain. The air is breezy and fresh. And yet this could have been a photograph, for the way the world has changed. For the first time, in my lifetime at least, I feel I may not live forever. There’s an impending sense of the unknown and though the world may look the same, it’s not as we know it.

I wonder if social media existed at the time of the Great Depression, or the Great Leap Forward, or any of one of human kinds’ greatest tragedies, might it look something like this. Are we living through what history will one day recall, as the greatest global tragedy of our century? Probably. Sadly. I want to say I’m scared, but then we all are.

The collective, social distancing hug we are all giving each other is lifting the vibration into one of hope. And that’s what we must turn to in our moments of fear and anxiousness. We don’t even have to be unwell, or know someone who is, for this insidious sickness to throw our lives into chaos. Everything we have worked towards, wrestled with, fought for may all come to nothing, needing to be built again. For many of us, this feels like the Great leveller. 

What would it be like for the rug to be swept from under our feet? For all those decisions we struggled so hard to make, for that ideal lifestyle we pursued so hard, for the familiarity of routine we centred our lives around, to be trumped in a single moment. This is the fear we feel. Without our health, we have nothing, without our wellbeing we have nothing, without each other we have nothing. 

But here’s what we do have; a sense that we’re not in this alone, a community of aspiration, a collective consciousness that says, thankfully, it’s ok to be scared, the best minds in the world striving for a cure and a humanitarian shift in what the really important stuff in life is. You. Me. We. Us. Everybody. Everywhere. Because when this passes, and it will, nothing else will matter.

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