It’s happened again. No response to your job application. You feel frustrated and maybe even a little weary of the process. After all you’ve been firing out loads of resumes. that the problem? Have you taken to applying to every position available without much thought? Have you become lazy with your “job” of finding work? It’s easy to become complacent about it. Resume is done. Cover letter is done. Hit send and off it goes. Here’s the problem with that. Employers see right through it. They spot these very common shortcuts and can interpret them as a sign you have no genuine interest in THEIR particular job.   Form cover letter Hiring managers see hundreds of cover letters and resumes. They know when someone is using the same old form letter over and over. Nothing stands out. Nothing shows interest in meeting their needs. Here’s what they think - you are applying for just any old job and not THEIR job. And the biggest give-away? The letter that is addressed “To whom it may concern” when a contact name has been provided in the job posting. That one slip of laziness alone will see  your resume land in the trash. A cover letter is the opportunity to communicate your unique qualifications and interest in the job. Take the time to make yours genuine and specific to the job opening. Some employers read the letter first. Others read it after the resume, looking for some insight into your personality or communication style. Some won’t read it at all. But why take a chance. Your letter could be the difference in getting an interview. Customize it every time! Need help? Take the Agony Out of Cover Letter Writing   Not following the application instructions Instructions for applying can be very simple or quite extensive. Read and follow them. Common requests are things like how to complete the subject line when applying by email, combining the cover letter and resume in one document, reference requests and addressing the application to someone in particular. Here’s what a hiring manager thinks when you don’t follow their application requests. How badly do you want this job? What type of employee can they expect if you can’t follow simple requests? Are you just applying for any old job and not THIS one in particular? It’s amazing how often application instructions are not followed. Some employers have even taken to indicating in their job posting that those who do not follow instructions will not be considered. Others feel the same but don’t say it. You should not assume the employer won’t notice or care. Follow the application instructions. If you haven't been, it could be a reason you are not hearing back. What a shame over something so simple.   Not obviously qualified for the job If you are qualified for the job based on the description, make certain it is clear right up front in both your resume and cover letter. You have only seconds for the reader to make the connection. This means customizing your resume every time. A hiring manager with dozens of applications to read will not take the time to search through your resume or cover letter looking for some indication that you have the experience they need. Use the words they have used in the job posting where possible so they instantly see the fit. Don’t create a buzzword-filled professional profile that doesn’t give any actual details of your background or experience. Get the critical points up front for each of your past positions. Re-order or change the focus of your accomplishments every time if you have to. Make sure the hiring manager recognizes you have the experience they need. If you feel certain you are qualified for the job despite non-standard type experience it’s up to you to make the hiring manager see it too. They can’t read between the lines and don’t have time to figure out if you might be qualified. Take the time to make the connection obvious. If you are not at all qualified for the position, don’t apply. Hoping the employer will magically think you are right for the job isn’t going to happen and not hearing back will only frustrate you. Your time would be better spent looking for the right opportunity.   You may feel like applying to as many openings as possible and as quickly as possible is the answer to finding a job. And it may feel customizing your documents is a waste of time. But stop with the shortcuts! Aim for quality not quantity. Take the time to make each application count. You’ll have a much better chance of getting to an interview!   Post by Margaret Johnston, With over 25 years of experience, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.        
Have you ever noticed that when you help someone you feel really good? But when you ask for help for yourself you feel like you’ve failed? Why is that? Why are we happy to help others but reluctant to let them reciprocate? I think it’s as simple as give and take. In helping others we are giving. In accepting help we are taking. We like to give. We are uncomfortable to take. But...what if you changed your perspective? What if, in accepting help, you were actually giving? You are! Both to those helping and to yourself. And here’s how:   You are giving others the chance to learn something new. In fact keep it in mind when deciding what someone can help with. What are their strengths and how could they be put to good use with what you need done? Could they do something they haven’t before which expands their skillset or opens their eyes to work they haven’t experienced before? It can be a great way for newer or junior staff members to learn more about the organization or for you too assess their capabilities with additional responsibilities. A colleague might enjoy a change of pace from their everyday tasks and gain a greater understanding of the process.   You give yourself the opportunity to practice your instructional or coaching skills. You’ll likely have to give direction for what has to be done so make good use of the chance to guide your helper and to clearly explain the task at hand. Steer clear of the excuse that it would take longer to explain than to do it yourself. In some cases it might be true but in others is just an excuse not to accept help. Challenge yourself to find a way to make the information clear and concise. Or switch tasks…get them to help with something else allowing you to clear up the more challenging work.   You give yourself the chance to take on something new If you can get help with the task that is taking so much of your time it could leave you open to work on that great new idea you’ve been hoping to implement. What if that new idea meant greater success with your work? Would your boss be more impressed that you took on something new rather than struggling to get the other work done? Expand your thinking beyond the troubling task at hand to the possibilities if you had help. That's a more positive and happier place to be.   You give everyone involved the joy of collaboration. Most people have fun sharing the load and working together to accomplish what one person can’t. As the saying goes…many hands make light work. A few people together will typically have more fun aiming for a common goal than one person slugging it out alone. Suddenly your burden feels a lot lighter and everyone has had fun in the process.   You are giving your helper you a chance to share new ideas. It is not uncommon to have someone new to a task come up with a change in how it’s done…maybe faster or easier. Be open to to ideas. Give them direction on what needs to be done and encourage a different way of doing it. It’s a great opportunity for them to feel like they’ve made a contribution and for you to find a new way of doing things.   You are giving someone else the opportunity to feel good. Remember those feelings of happiness and satisfaction and even gratitude when you were able to help someone? Let someone else experience those same joys when they help you. Suddenly you'll feel happier too.   So you see? A purposeful change of perspective turns taking into giving which in turn changes accepting help into something very positive. For us and for those helping. Give it a try. What could you get help with today?   Post by Margaret Johnston, With over 25 years of experience, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how "power posing" — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don't feel confident — could have an impact on our chances for success. Think of all the situations this could help with - a job interview, a client meeting - maybe even a meeting with your boss? We all need a little confidence boost every now again. Give this simple method a try. It's worth the watch!
We all want success. And we know we need to work for it. Over the course of our careers we seek out professional development opportunities to keep us learning and growing. Special courses and industry designations refine our skills. Practical advice from a boss or mentor is valuable on the job learning. But the greatest impact on our development, and ultimately our success, can come from the most unlikely of sources…those super-annoying people at work! Despite being incredibly annoying, these work colleagues can teach us a great deal and set us up for success as our career grows. We just need to be smart enough and aware enough to find the lessons that each of these annoying types can teach us.   The Arguer While we hate these types, they can be the very best for challenging our way of thinking. “Yes” people do nothing to incite change. And change is key to our growth and development. Learn to look beyond the argument itself to the root of the message. Is there something to be learned…a new way of looking at things? Understanding the benefits of being challenged will encourage you to always surround yourself with people who will question the status quo and keep you moving forward.   The One Who Doesn’t Like You It’s pretty hard to think you can learn from someone who doesn’t like you. But if we are really honest and push past the fact that we are offended, does the person who dislikes us actually have a valid reason? Is there something to be learned? Something we can do differently? Perhaps not. But try looking at the situation honestly. You might uncover something interesting about yourself that could be changed to make you better. Growing in self-awareness is an important part of professional development. Great leaders recognize how their behaviors and actions impact others.   The Terrible Boss If you have aspirations of a leadership role, the terrible boss you have now (or have had in the past) could be the greatest influence on your professional development. While it sounds counter-intuitive, think hard about everything you recognized as detrimental to the work or the people while under the direction of this person. What did you hate most? What behaviors caused no end of stress with getting the job done? What caused you or your co-workers frustration or anger? If you know the answers to those questions then you definitely learned from the experience. Sometimes our greatest learning comes from recognizing what we DON’T like. Chances are when you take on a leadership role you will be more successful for what you learned from that terrible boss.   The Competitive One You know the type. The one who always has to be best or achieve the most? So annoying. Ever find yourself trying to keep up? Truth is that nothing pushes us harder or faster than a little competition. Most of us are wired to win and we will go the extra mile to lead the way. We should be grateful to the competitive person in our circle rather than annoyed. Chances are they have pushed us beyond what we would have otherwise accomplished and inspired us to grow professionally.   The Lazy One While we wish these folks would pull their weight, do they actually do us a favour at times? Do they put us in the position to take on new responsibilities? When a new or special project comes along, you know they won’t jump at the chance. The door is open for you. This gives you the opportunity to add to your toolbox of skills or accomplishments. Instead of being annoyed at their laziness, secretly thank them for leaving the opportunity unchallenged so you can push forward with growing your career.   The “Stuck in The Old Way” One These people can drive you crazy. For whatever reason they will not embrace or even consider new ideas and want to keep doing everything the same old way. If this is your boss it’s an even bigger annoyance and can leave you feeling frustrated and trapped. Don’t let them dampen your enthusiasm for progress. Use the situation as a learning experience on how to most effectively present new ideas. See if you can figure out their reasoning for resistance. Learn what DOES get their attention. Learn to present the idea in a way that engages them. Practice patience without giving up your passion. Learning to effectively introduce and influence others with new ideas is key to so many opportunities in business (and in life for that matter). Your success is worth the time spent on this.   The Boaster Ok so these types can possibly be the most annoying of all. And it’s not like these types are always loud and overt about their many accomplishments. Sometimes it’s just someone who constantly mentions how good they are at something or are so busy patting themselves on the back that they forget to praise others. This is another case of learning “what NOT to do” as you grow in your career and chalk up more and more successes. But is there also a lesson in self-confidence? Does the boasting bother us because we wish we were just a little more able to toot our own horn? Speaking up with confidence about your abilities or successes is important. (Just pick the appropriate time and frequency.) Reminding others of your capabilities may open up new opportunities.   While it’s pretty unlikely that these super-annoying people will…well…stop annoying us, they may just push us to learn and grow. Be the smart one. While everyone else is spending their time being annoyed, jump on the chance to learn from the opportunities they present. A little change in perspective can go a long way toward your success. And make you happier too!     Post by Margaret Johnston, With over 25 years of experience, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.
Event set up day is here. It’s the time all event managers live for. Planning is done and it’s on to execution and delivery. As tired as you are from dealing with the last minute changes and packing up to move on site, you know that the longest of hours are yet to come. Months, sometimes years of preparation give way to a hectic and often marathon-length set up, followed by long days during the event and then load out. But you love it! It’s the time you are at your best. You deftly handle every detail and issue and crazy last minute request…and all with a smile on your face. There is just one minor detail that sometimes gets in the way. You were already tired coming into the set up. And the long hours are just starting. Sometimes, without even realizing it, the fatigue catches up. It can manifest itself in small ways. Maybe you aren’t quite as patient as you normally are. Or as cheerful with others as you’d like to be. Maybe you even feel headachy lack your typical energy. None of these are good. Especially on site at your event when you want to be at your best. Don’t let fatigue ruin your moment or get the better of you. Plan ahead to win the battle against it. Here are a few things to keep in mind. Drink a lot (mostly water) If you want to wage war on fatigue while you are working an event, this is the best and most important strategy. Often when we are feeling tired, it is directly related to dehydration. Drinking water consistently throughout the day (and into the wee small hours) works wonders at helping to keep you alert and strong. Dehydration can cause many symptoms of varying severity including headache, tiredness, dry mouth, lips and eyes, lethargy, weakness and dizziness. All of these can happen without us recognizing dehydration as the cause. Don’t let it get the better of you. If you start experiencing any of these symptoms sit down for a few minutes and drink a good amount of water. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when it kicks in. And then keep drinking. Avoid the temptation to drink too much coffee without also drinking water. We all love our coffee for the energy boost but don’t get lulled into thinking you have had enough to drink just because you’ve had a couple of cups of coffee. You would still benefit greatly from drinking lots of water. Nourish yourself It can be a challenge to eat properly on site; particularly during load-in. Meals may not be readily available and if they are may be of the fast-food variety. In addition, you are probably on a tight schedule and taking time to eat may seem like a “nice idea” that’s never going to happen. That being said, eating something will go a long way to fighting fatigue. Take a few minutes to nourish yourself. There is no prize for starving - and it will probably make you cranky – not what you need on site. Eat small meals or snacks frequently rather than one big meal. This will help keep your energy level consistent. A big meal may make you feel tired. Pack some healthy snacks that you can grab on the go. Fruit, cheese, nuts, protein bars, veggies, yogurt are all great options. (The fruit and veggies will also help with your fluid intake.) A few minutes of planning to have these on hand will pay off in a big way Eat as healthy as possible and for nutrition. Be good to your body. It’s under a lot of stress and needs taking care of. You will be rewarded by feeling and performing at your best. Take brief breaks Running an event is an immersive experience. So much so that our ability to remain calm, objective and quick thinking can be challenged. Just a few brief minutes of quiet time can go a long way to keeping you on an even keel and on top of your game. This is especially important if things are frantic. It sounds counter-intuitive but give it a try. This isn’t about walking away for an hour or even a half an hour. Literally just a few minutes can have a surprising effect on your focus. Put in the earbuds and listen to your favourite tune that inspires, relaxes or gets your energy up. Get some fresh air. Breath deeply for a few minutes. Venues can be dark and the air stale and drying. A quick trip outside can be very restorative. Walk briskly for 2 minutes. Often times there can be a lot of standing around as set up occurs. A quick walk will get the blood flowing and leave you feeling energized. Stretch. It helps relieve stress and tension and relaxes your muscles.   Symptoms of fatigue are not always obvious. Watch for the small signs or better still stay ahead of it by drinking lots, eating well and keeping your frame of mind fresh. You’ll enjoy your time on site so much more. And be an unstoppable event manager in the process!     Post by Margaret Johnston, With over 25 years of experience, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.
Do you ever walk away from a job interview feeling really confident about your chances only to find out you didn’t get the job? Happens to everyone. And the harsh reality is that most of the time you will never know the reason. It can be extremely frustrating. But don’t lose heart. Very often there are factors involved that are out of your control. All you can do is keep a positive outlook and carefully and honestly review everything that IS in your control. First and foremost, you know your resume is working for you. It got you in the door for an interview. Well done. So that just leaves the interview itself. Anything you could change or improve? Having interviewed many event professionals across all levels, I can share with you a few issues that can take even the best candidate out of the running. These could impact a hiring decision for many jobs. They are however particularly important in the events industry . I’ll tell you why and how to fix. Have a look and think honestly if you might have unknowingly made any one of these blunders. The good news is they are rarely done intentionally and easy to correct once you are aware.   You sound like a know-it-all Common advice for an interview is to exude confidence while sharing your accomplishments and experience. It’s good advice. But it can be taken too far. Often times a candidate gets so caught up in conveying their great depth and breadth of experience and are so anxious to come across as confident and extremely knowledgeable that they leave the interviewer wondering… will they take the time to understand and learn about our particular needs? Every hiring manager wants to hear what you have done and to feel confident that you have the right experience. But…they also need to know that you are open and eager to connect with THEIR particular challenges and opportunities. Because every role in events is different. Every event faces a unique set of challenges. Even with very similar events, factors such as the industries they serve, the audience, length of time the event has been running and the geographic location can make a big difference. So while all your past experience is extremely valuable, so too is what you WILL do for this new employer. And THAT is what they care about most. Keep these ideas in mind to let your interviewer know you are open to learning and adapting: As you talk about your past experience, interject what you learned along the way. This can easily be done especially when talking about moving from one position to the next. Example: When I moved from company A to the role at Company B it put me in a position to learn more about sponsorship and how to effectively execute sponsorship plans which I’ve found to be very valuable. Or…When I went to work with Company B it was my first time managing an assistant so I had lots to learn regarding mentoring and delegation but I really enjoyed it. Or you can talk about how you adapted when you faced a particular emergency and what you learned from it. You get the idea. If you acknowledge you had learning to do along the way it signals to your interviewer that you will be willing to learn what it takes to bring them success. Ask questions. Directly ask about challenges and opportunities if they don’t bring it up. Example. What do you see as the greatest opportunity facing your event in the next cycle? Ask questions along the way when discussing the challenges or opportunities to show you have an interest in helping. Digging a little deeper into the issues shows your intent to learn. Show interest in the work, not just in getting hired . Eagerness to show you are the right person to be hired is great. Letting your interviewer know this is genuinely the work you want to do better. Don’t be afraid to let them know what you like about this opportunity. Perhaps it is the industry the event serves or key responsibilities that are right up your alley. The fact is there is that there is always plenty to learn and new circumstances around every corner. This is in part which is what makes this industry so wonderful. Never a dull moment!   You come across as low energy It is no secret that working in the events industry requires a lot of energy. Long hours and hectic schedules are more the rule than the exception even before the event takes place. Physical demands on site are even greater with lots of walking, standing and endless interaction with people. While your interviewer won’t have the opportunity to actually see you in action they can and will draw conclusions during your time together. They need to feel your energy. (Don’t worry I’m not going to suggest you start doing chin-ups on their door frame or dancing around their office.) But you do need to give them the confidence that you are a do-whatever-it-takes kinda person. Here are a few things that signal your energy. A firm handshake. No need to squeeze their hand til it hurts but a firm handshake reads as confident and energetic. Speak in positive terms. Negativity has the effect of lowering the energy of a conversation. Your interviewer may ask during the interview if you are committed to long hours during event set-up or weekend work. Be sure to have examples ready of how you had to put in extra time during past experiences and let them know that you recognize this is part of the job. Better still if you let them know this is part of the reason you love working in events so much. For many…it is! Non-standard hours and a do-what it takes mentality are among the many traits that many event professionals find enticing about working in the industry. Sit up straight and lean slightly forward. Even without your body moving it can signal energy by showing you are present and engaged. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate enthusiasm for either what you have done or the new opportunity at hand. Enthusiasm is infectious. Yes it’s important on initial greeting but keep it in mind throughout the interview. Before you head into an interview, consciously think about being energized. Do whatever gets you pumped and excited about the opportunity. It will make a difference!   You don't engage with your interviewer It is easy to slip into a matter-of-fact demeanor especially if you have been doing a lot of interviews or if you are not certain that this is the position for you. This is a sure-fire way to take yourself out of the running. Engage with your interviewer. Let them know this opportunity matters to you. Even if you are not sure, the only way to find out is to be fully present. Keep in mind they will be imagining you dealing with clients, suppliers and other staff. They will be looking for an open and engaged communication style. When you meet the interviewer, smile as you shake hands and look them right in the eye. A smile is welcoming and signals you are happy to be there. Be sure to make good eye contact throughout the conversation. Not in a creepy way. Just make sure that you are not looking off somewhere else when answering a question or avoiding eye contact altogether. Avoiding eye contact can create doubt and even signal lack of confidence. Just as mentioned in demonstrating energy, sit up straight and lean in a bit to the conversation. Don’t sit slumped or too relaxed in your chair. This can signal disinterest or over confidence. Ask questions of your interviewer particularly when they ask if you have any. Consider not only ask questions about the job but ask questions of them things like how long have they worked there and what do they like best about the company or their job. Make a human connection. Don’t feel obliged to leave all your questions until the end when you are asked. Ask questions along the way. This signals you are focused and engaged. Don’t be afraid to laugh or smile throughout the interview. It’s easy to become so uptight that you come across as robotic. Not a good impression for someone in events. Making a connection and engaging with your interviewer is as important as your resume. Let them picture you in the position at hand. Work as hard at the impression you leave with your interviewer as you do with answering questions about your experience. Starting an interview full of energy, engaging with your interviewer and demonstrating that you are sensitive to learning about their particular challenges and opportunities may not guarantee you the job. But you will certainly know that you did everything possible to make yourself a memorable candidate…for all the right reasons.     Post by Margaret Johnston, With over 25 years of experience, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.
Everyone has an ego. By definition it is “your idea or opinion of yourself, especially your feeling of your own importance and ability”. It’s not a bad thing. It’s about “self awareness” – something we all have and should cultivate. It can be a great motivator as we compare ourselves to our own expectations of ourselves or the ability of others. However our ego can become a problem when we are no longer able to judge rationally or see beyond our own opinions. This is when it can get in the way of our success. Here are some warning signs that your ego might be negatively influencing your thoughts and decision-making: You don’t have a good reason for doing or not doing something other than “you don’t think it should be changed” You are threatened by good ideas coming from others and find reasons to sabotage You can’t accept constructive suggestions or criticism even if coming from a respected source You spend more of your time criticizing than praising You are resentful when someone else gets credit or praise Any of these hit close to home? If yes, you could be sabotaging your success. First and foremost, you are likely missing new opportunities and ideas. Which of those ideas could have helped you or lead to greater achievement? Could you have built on those to make them even better? Secondly, you are missing the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. Continuous learning is a key element of success. You are also losing out on the chance to champion and encourage others. There is enough light for everyone. Casting a shadow over someone else does not shine more light on you. And last but not least you are probably unhappy. A negative mind-set is not a breeding ground for success. Openness to new ideas, finding joy in the success of others and keeping a positive attitude will ultimately benefit not only you, but also those around you. Keep your ego in check. Remain open to continued learning both personally and professionally. And greater success will be yours!     Post by Margaret Johnston, With over 25 years of experience, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.
Thinking of changing jobs this year? Maybe you’re ready to grow your career with additional responsibilities? Perhaps looking for a bigger paycheck or simply unhappy where you are? There are many valid reasons to make a move. But changing jobs without being very clear on what you are really looking for can lead to unhappy results. The last thing you need is to make a change only to find out that the new opportunity wasn’t really what you had in mind. Not only would you have to start the search process all over again but also frequent job changes can raise questions at an interview. It takes only a few minutes and a willingness to be completely honest with yourself to make sure you head in the right direction with your new job. There are two key areas to examine and it is very helpful if you can think of them separately. One is your actual job; this is the work you are doing - the tasks and responsibilities you carry out on a day-to-day basis. The other is your place of employment - this includes the people, culture, location, hours of work etc. Don’t make the leap to a new job without being really certain what is important to you. Here are a few questions and thoughts to help: What are you missing at your current job that makes it more attractive to leave than to stay? What do you like and dislike about your current job based on the actual work you do. What do you like and dislike about your current place of employment. (Not the job itself but rather location, hours of work, company culture etc.) Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to fix what you don’t like? (Be honest.) If the answer to the above question is yes, ask yourself if you could fix the issue, would you stay? Are you willing to try this before looking for something new? What is the skill level or responsibility/experience you are hoping to acquire in a new job? (If more than one, order in priority so you are clear on what is most important to you.) What work you have done that has prepared you to take on the next level of responsibility. (This will also help you prepare your resume with a focus on the right skill sets and accomplishments.) Identify the target salary range you want. Ask yourself how flexible you are regarding anything less. If your search is based mostly on a bigger salary, what is the minimum increase that would motivate you to change jobs? Identify and make a list of your non-negotiables. This is the time to be really honest. These are the things that are most important to you. What concessions are you willing to make (if any)? If you found your absolute perfect job but it came with a long commute or less vacation or a few responsibilities that you didn’t care for would you still want it? Are you really prepared for a change? Starting a new job can be stressful as you learn new work and integrate with a new team. It’s good to think about this ahead of time and be comfortable this is the right time for you.   When you decide to change jobs it can be easy to get caught up in the moment the minute you see something new. It’s also easy to convince yourself that the few little things you don’t like about it won’t matter. But if you’ve thought a job change through ahead of time you can refer to your notes to double check that you aren’t ignoring something important. Few jobs are perfect. And there will always be a chance that you start something new only to find out it isn’t a fit. But a little honest prep work before you begin your job search (or happen across a great opportunity) may save you from a misstep. You owe it to yourself. Happy hunting!   Post by Margaret Johnston, With over 25 years of experience, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.
When we were kids the world was whatever we wanted it to be. Our imaginations set the stage. Reason and responsibility didn’t exist. We played. In our made-up worlds we were astronauts, cowboys and pop stars. A blanket on the living room floor became a dessert island. A cardboard box could be anything from a hat to a rocket ship. When we took to colouring or drawing, the green dog sitting next to the purple tree looked just perfect. We made crazy faces, used pots and pans as musical instruments and spun in circles in the middle of the lawn until we fell down dizzy. We listened to stories that our parents read to us and imagined those magical places over and over again. Then we grew up. And somewhere along the way, we lost our ability to imagine the impossible. We were influenced by the rules and consequences that come with being an adult. It’s a shame really. We were so creative back then. We played. Not for any outcome or purpose. We just played. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to tap into that again? Even for a moment? To find that inner child that is still with us? To open our minds to the creative beings we once were? We can. Research shows that playing like a kid can work wonders for boosting creativity in adults. Dr. Stuart Brown, Author of the book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul writes: “I have gathered and analyzed thousands of case studies that I call play histories. I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being. The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person.” Dr. Stuart Brown, Founder, National Institute for Play Click here for a TED talk by Stuart Brown. Playing helps to spark creativity, revives our energy, relieves stress and opens our minds to a fresh outlook. It encourages problem solving and innovative thinking. It’s a palette cleanse of all the restrictions of our adult life. We have it in our power to feel that freedom of creativity and the joy of play. Want to catch a glimpse of your childhood imagination? You’ll remember doing some of these things. No reason you can’t do them again. Remind yourself that your creativity is alive and well…sometimes it just needs a little encouragement! Lie under a tree and look up through the branches and leaves. Something as simple as a change of perspective opens us up to new ways of looking at the world. Swing on a swing or play on a teeter-totter. Roll down a grassy or snowy hill. Jump rope, Kick a ball around the park for nothing…no rules, no goals. It’s amazing how much fun this can be…movement for the sake of it…going nowhere…for no reason. Run through the sprinkler. Remember the fun of that? Running through the freezing cold water and squealing with laughter. Or how about walking in the rain and purposely sloshing through the puddles? Colour. There are loads of adult colouring books out there. But even kids one will do. Encourage your creativity by having fun with colour. Make that leaf or bird any shade you choose. And don’t worry too much about staying inside the lines! Put on some crazy music and dance…with no one watching. You know the saying….”Dance like no one is watching”. Move however you want to. Let the rhythm take you away… just like you did when you were a kid without a self-conscious bone in your body. Try reading for no purpose other than pure escapism. Maybe a sappy romance? Or how about re-reading a childhood classic or favourite? We sometimes get so caught up in reading what we “should” that the pure joy of an imaginary world is lost. Even better if you can read outside under a tree or stretched out on a blanket. Blow bubbles. Remember trying to make one huge bubble and have it float away without breaking too soon? Or how about some bubble gum? Those were good bubbles too! Walk barefoot in the grass. When was the last time you did that? Concentrate on how the grass feels on your feet. It’s believed this helps de-stress and calm the mind. Daydream. Lay on your back, look up at the sky. Find shapes in the clouds. Try to empty your head of the constant chatter we all live with…the continual loop of everything we “should” or “could” be doing. Just be.   Use your childhood fun to remind yourself how it feels to use your imagination. The idea is to play just for the sake of it. Make a conscious effort to step out of your day-to-day routine and restrictions, even for a few minutes. Change your perspective and open your mind. Remind yourself how it feels. Then find ways to work play into your everyday life. Even though creativity plateaus from time to time, it’s still in you. Sometimes it just needs a little boost!   Post by Margaret Johnston, With over 25 years of experience, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.
Yes, there really is such a thing as too much information! Especially on your resume. It’s tempting to want to tell a prospective employer as much as possible about yourself in an effort to stand out. Maybe you’d seem more interesting with a mention of your political activism? Or if you include a picture with your kids? Don’t do it. It won’t help and it actually may hurt your chances for an interview because… Information of a personal nature on your resume has nothing to do with your ability to do the job. The hiring manger will get to know you a little better once you have an interview. And that’s the key. You need your resume to get you to that interview. By eliminating personal information you remove any opportunity for the reader to become distracted or form an opinion on anything other your work experience and achievements. Stick to your career story and let them see you are right for the job. It’s also worth noting that some employers will immediately discard a resume that contains certain personal details or a photo to avoid possible concerns that you were either hired or rejected based on this information. You don’t want your resume to land in the trash before it’s even read! And speaking of trash. You don’t know how your resume will be shared or discarded so it’s best to keep it free of sensitive information. If you have included or referenced any of the following in your current resume, remove this information before you send out another copy:   Date of birth – There is no reason to reference either your age or your birth date on your resume. Let your experience do the talking and not how young or old you are.   Photo – While some people believe a photo on your resume makes it more personal, it’s best left off. (Exception would be actress or model where headshots may be required.) What if the reader thinks you look too young (or old) or thinks you are too serious because you aren’t smiling or too formal because you are wearing a tie…you get the idea. Let your credentials be the star and they will get you in the door. If that happens they have already determined you are a worthy candidate and whether or not they like your picture won’t matter. If they are serious about you as a candidate they will likely check out Linkedin and will see your picture there…that’s a good thing. It means your resume worked!   Street address – There is no need to include your home address on your resume. Stick to your city or town. Once again it’s about removing any opportunity for judgment i.e. they think you live too far away and wonder if you will be able to make the early morning meetings.   Home phone – Keep it simple and include only your cell phone number. You don’t want the employer to wonder which number to use when it comes time to call you for an interview.   Gender – No need to reference your gender.   Marital status – Don’t make reference to your marital status, family or children. Once again this has nothing to do with your ability to do the job. Keep it all about you as a professional.   Religious beliefs – There are times when this might be relevant to the job but generally any reference to your religious beliefs is unnecessary and best left off.   Salary information – The time to discuss salary will come. Don’t indicate your current or salary history on your resume. This avoids any impact on an offer for the current position or to be passed over if they think you will expect too much. There are some employers who insist on knowing your expected salary range to be considered for the job. If this is the case and you feel it absolutely necessary, you can include a range in your cover letter. But never discuss specifically how much you are being paid.   Ethnicity – No need to reference ethnicity unless for some reason it relates directly to the job. An example of this in the world of events might be for someone to produce or program a cultural or ethnic festival where the unique knowledge and specific understanding would be helpful.   Social insurance number – Don’t ever note your social insurance number. (Not sure why anyone ever would but it happens.) This is information you definitely wouldn’t want floating around if your resume was not properly discarded or shared.   Sexual orientation – This has no relevance to your ability to do the job so do not include.   Political affiliation – Unless there is a connection to the job (i.e. working for a political party) and you felt it was of benefit to mention, there is no reason to note your political views.   Every bit of real estate on your resume should be devoted to positioning you as the ideal candidate for the job. Not only is your personal information just that. Personal. But it can take up valuable space better used to outline your qualifications. Make every line count to highlight your experience and abilities. Delete from your resume any information not related to your ability to do the job. Ensure the reader is not distracted and remains focused on you as a candidate. A candidate they want to interview!   Post by Margaret Johnston, With over 25 years of experience, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.