To succeed at life and feel happy, it’s essential that we connect with our true purpose: our potential in life. This is different for everybody, and from a personal or career perspective, when you live up to your potential, you will see your life change and transform. Suddenly the things you wanted move closer and the negative feelings of frustration begin to melt away.


But how do we know if we are really living up to our potential? What does success look like? Below are a series of questions to ask yourself, to help you to identify what it is that you should be focusing on, what you need to change and the next steps to take on your personal journey.

Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”
If you want to reach your own level of personal excellence, ask yourself the 7 questions below and aim to unlock your true potential.


Do you wake up excited about the day?

When you get out of bed in the morning, what is the first thing you feel? Are you excited about the possibilities that lie ahead or are you filled with dread or apathy? If you persistently wake up with a nagging feeling that “all is not well” then this is a sure sign that you may not be living up to your full potential.

Even though this may feel like a negative realisation, it’s feeling like this that can ultimately lead us to our full potential. You are human, and therefore you will have good and bad days, successes and failures, joys and tragedies. However, if you always seem to have to drag yourself out of bed and into the day – this could be a sure sign that your life could benefit from some reshaping.

Are you surrounded by inspiring people?

Those you work with, your family and your friends will, in part, shape who you are and what your life will be like. Aim to limit your time with those that bring you down, those that snuff out your inner candle, those that criticise, blame or harass you.

Actively spend time with people that inspire you, that raise you up. Make time to connect with people from different age groups and cultures; spend time with children and older people. If you find that those around you are a source of inspiration and motivation, then this is a sign that you are living up to your full potential.

Have you got lots of energy?

How do you feel inside? Do you constantly feel sluggish, worn down, run down and tired? Do you struggle to wake up in the morning and have trouble falling asleep at night? Are you stressed out, overweight and unhealthy? These could be signs that your body is giving you that you are not living up to your full potential.
Change is possible. Start small and focus on treating yourself well. Don’t deny yourself anything – if you have a problem with overeating, smoking or drinking too much, then treat yourself gently and eliminate bad habits gradually over time. When your body is running on all cylinders, it’s a sign that things are on track.

Do you trust people?

To a certain extent, you need to be able to rely on the people in your life. If you feel that you can’t, won’t or don’t, then this could be a sign that you are not reaching your full potential. Aim to repair the relationships you have with others and address your own personal issues of trust.
American moral and social philosopher, Eric Hoffer has said, “Someone who thinks the world is always cheating him is right. He is missing that wonderful feeling of trust in someone or something.” If this describes you and your attitude to the world, then you need to readdress your priorities and bring them closer in line with your day-to-day activities.


Are you living up to your core values?


What really matters to you, what are you most passionate about? In your working life, are your morals and ethics compromised? Do you feel that you have to constantly live up to the expectations of others? Our core values shape who we are and what we become.
Have you forgotten the values that you placed importance on as a teenager or younger person? Sometimes, when we drift into a career we can forget what lights the fire under us and makes us passionate. If your job compromises your morals then it may be time to reassess your career as a matter of urgency.


Do you have goals?


Goals are important when living up to your full potential. You should have a variety of goals, from the small (I’d like to visit Tasmania) to the large (I’d like to start my own business). Keep a constant check on how you’re tracking with your goals. Write a list and keep it somewhere you’ll see it often.
Setting a timeframe can be a good tactic to help you achieve your goals. Give yourself a reasonable deadline, but make sure you aren’t wishy-washy when it comes to setting goals. Give yourself a firm date and plan to get there, no matter what.

Do you feel positive about the future?

When we feel positive about our future, it’s a sure sign that we are living up to our potential. Even if you don’t know exactly what the future will bring, if you’re overpowered by an impending sense of doom, it’s a sign that you need to re-evaluate your priorities.
When you’re living up to your full potential, your future will seem bright and your goals will seem achievable. Try to welcome more positivity into your life and actively aim to think good thoughts and act out good deeds, however small they are. To truly succeed at life and feel happy, it’s essential that you feel a sense of positivity about the future. Remember that tomorrow is a new day, and each day brings with it the opportunity to change, grow and develop as an employee and person.

TWEETS


Are you truly living up to your potential? Here’s how to tell #1: Do you wake up excited about the day?
Are you truly living up to your potential? Here’s how to tell #2: Are you surrounded by inspiring people?
Are you truly living up to your potential? Here’s how to tell #3: Have you got lots of energy?
Are you truly living up to your potential? Here’s how to tell #4: Do you trust people, or not? Trust is important for growth.
Are you truly living up to your potential? Here’s how to tell #5: Are you living up to your core values at work and at home?
Are you truly living up to your potential? Here’s how to tell #6: Do you set and keep your goals? Make sure you track them.
Are you truly living up to your potential? Here’s how to tell #7: Do you feel positive about the future, when you don’t know what it holds?

Job seeking is usually not an enjoyable process, it can be stressful and challenging. A staggering 91% of people aged under 35 believe that they will stay in any job less than three years. A recent study called Multiple Generations @ Work surveyed nearly 1200 workers and found that most believed that they would have between 15 - 20 “serious” jobs in their lifetimes. That represents lot of job seeking opportunities.
With this in mind, looking for a new job may come about because of necessity or choice, either way, you’ll need to have the skills to impress potential employers.

Has your job search stalled? Are you sending off resumes and not getting any interviews? Perhaps it’s not your resume that’s the problem. There are plenty of reasons why your job search might stall. Are you guilty of any of the following points?

Habit #1: You have become lazy in your search

At first you scanned the job pages for hours a day, you committed to applying for a certain number of jobs each week and you re-wrote every cover letter and tweaked your resume to reflect each potential employer’s needs. Now, you’re simply sending off rote resumes, half-heartedly, and wondering why you’re not getting anywhere.
The solution? Try something different to reinvigorate yourself. Take a part time job or some freelance or intern work to get yourself out of the house and back into the working mindset.

Habit #2: You polarise people at interviews

How are your “soft” or “interpersonal skills?” Many people say that even though qualifications are important, it’s the attitude of the candidate that gets them across the line. “Culture fit” is now something that organisations pay special attention to and if you’re not personable from the get-go, this could be harming your prospects.
The solution? Take extra time and care to connect genuinely with people. And not just the people in charge either. When you’re at an interview, make eye contact, don’t fidget, be on time and look presentable. These small things can make a big difference.

Habit #3: You fail to connect

Maybe you are a personable individual, but you’re still not the type of person who’s getting ahead and being promoted. Perhaps you are simply failing to connect, or listen to people. This is particularly imperative in the job-seeking process where you may only have a short time to make your influence felt.
The solution: Forbes magazine give 6 “new” rules of connecting with people. They suggest: Be genuine and provide help. Pay attention and connect with people close to you. Be persistent, as persistence wins most battles. Make real friends and remain unforgettable. “All of the above are simple, ways of standing out,” they say.


Habit #4: You aren’t thinking “outside the box”


Are you simply applying for job after job in a vacuum? Have you decided on the type of role you’re aiming for – and are now stuck on it? It might be time to “think outside the box” and do some re-evaluating. Grab a piece of paper or an Excel spreadsheet – whatever works best for you - and write down your top 10 core skills. Assess whether (when broken down like this) that there may be additional avenues to use these skills, aside from the types of job roles you’ve been aiming for.
The solution: People need to constantly reassess their skills and career path to lead happy working lives. If your job search has stalled, it might be time to tweak it slightly and try something new. Be brave and sensible and decide on a different plan of action. It can’t hurt to try something new. You can always go back.


Habit #5: You’ve stopped really trying


Often when we’ve been job seeking for a lengthy period of time, say, over 6 months, our attentions flag and our enthusiasm wanes. The Atlantic recently wrote about a study that sent out thousands of fictitious resumes for positions. It found that when the candidate had been out of work for more than 6 months, this became a disincentive to hire them.


The solution: Don’t become discouraged. Avoid staying out of work too long by taking on freelance gigs or intern work when you’re out of a job. Don’t stop trying, and remain engaged in the job seeking process. Know that if you keep trying, you will eventually become successful.


Habit #6: You don’t have the right qualifications


If you’ve attended to all the points above, it might be time to have a look at your qualifications. These need to be updated constantly, particularly if you work in a corporate or digital environment. Spend some time researching the programs and tools that are in use in your current industry and get yourself trained up on those. Or head to online study as a way of brushing up your employable skills.
The solution: There are now a million ways to get the education you need, often for a low or reasonable cost. If you prefer, you could do adult work experience and offer your services for free, in exchange for gaining some learnings that might lead to a job role down the line.


Habit #7: You fail to follow up


One of the most important parts about job seeking is being persistent. If your job search has stalled, it may be because you simply aren’t placing enough focus on the follow up process as you should be. This can often be the “make or break” when it comes to securing an in-demand job role.


The solution: Business Insider says, “That afternoon or the next morning, send a short, concise email to your interviewer to let them know you value their time and are still interested in the position.” They also suggest to “start with a quick thank you, then mention a specific moment from the interview,” as a way of trying to make a genuine connection.
A final word on your job search


The job market is always in flux and poor conditions one month can lead to better conditions the next. If you’ve been trying to find the right position for a while now, don’t lose hope. The correct job role is out there and the more work you do on yourself and pitching your talents to potential employers while making those genuine connections – the better off you will be.
Tomorrow is a new day. Make the most of it.

TWEETS


Are these 7 habits killing your job hunting prospects? Habit #1: You’ve become lazy. The solution? Try something different.
Are these 7 habits killing your job hunting prospects? Habit #2: You polarise people. The solution? Take extra time & care to connect.
Are these 7 habits killing your job hunting prospects? Habit #3: You fail to connect. The solution: Make time for people close to you.
Are these 7 habits killing your job hunting prospects? Habit #4: Think outside the box & tweak your job hunting slightly.
Are these 7 habits killing your job hunting prospects? Habit #5: You’ve stopped really trying. The solution: Don’t become discouraged.
Are these 7 habits killing your job hunting prospects? Habit #6: You don’t have the right qualifications. The solution: do work experience.
Are these 7 habits killing your job hunting prospects? Habit #7: You fail to follow up. The solution: start with a quick thank you.

 

More often than not in most industries, when applying for a job you’ll be asked to send in a cover letter. These should be tailored to each position you apply for – you shouldn’t (as a rule) send the exact same letter to each and every hiring manager.
A cover letter is a place for you to sell you skills – all the things you cannot cover in your resume. It’s also a chance for you to “tell a story” and to connect with the person in HR who will put you forward for the job. The cover letter is your chance to really shine. But how do you write an effective cover letter and how have they changed? JOB PEDAL has 7 great tips for you.


#1: Length

How long should a cover letter be? Well, the jury’s still out! According to the Victorian Government, “A cover letter shouldn't be more than one page. It's only meant to be a summary of the information you put in your resume, so remember to keep things short.” However, not everyone agrees.
In some cases a longer cover letter may be appropriate. “When the letter escorts a resume, it should be one page in length, with one to six paragraphs,” agrees Cover Letters For Dummies. “When your letter substitutes for a resume, two to three pages is the max,” they say.

#2: Format

Stick to the basics for your cover letter, in most cases – unless you’re going for a job in a creative field such as graphic design. In most cases a basic Word cover letter is best, or consider PDFing the information if you have lots to contain.
“It always looks more professional to send as PDF,” says a top-rated respondent on Yahoo answers, “especially as these days there are different versions of Office on the market and using PDF ensures everyone can open and, it is not editable.” However, another point raised is that it’s important to follow any instructions in the job ad.


#3: Introduction

Telling a story that’s not apparent by simply looking at your resume could be a good technique. Pay attention to the first 2 or 3 sentences especially, as these will need to capture the reader’s attention.
Forbes says, “As humans, we love stories far more than we love data sheets. So, what’s your story? What brings you to this company?” Spend a little time thinking not just about “who” you are – but your “why”. Why is it that you have come to apply for the job and what’s next on your agenda? Don’t be “too creative” or left-of-centre, but make sure you’re engaging and direct.


#4: Make sure you include

Apart from accurate contact details and relevant information there is one other thing you must research and put some thought into. That’s why you want to work there.
Abby Kohut, president and staffing consultant at Staffing Symphony, says, “Make sure that you really mean what you say,” she said. “Recruiters have a way of sensing when you are being less than truthful. Our goal is to hire people who sincerely want to work at our company — it's the job of your cover letter to convince us.” Tell a great story and make a convincing argument and you may find yourself at the head of the pack.


#5: Make sure you don’t include

So what are some of the “don’ts” you should be aware of? Here’s a quick check-list.

  • Naming the skills you’re missing
  • Getting the company name wrong
  • Lying about experience you have
  • Badmouthing past jobs or managers
  • Underselling yourself
  • Attaching a photo (although some experts differ on this in the digital age)
  • Read the full list of what not to do on your cover letter in this great Business Insider article

#6: Things to check and double check

Contemporary Verse says, “Do a good proofread of the work you would like to submit for publication. Check for typos, misspelled or wrong words. If you don’t trust yourself to get it right, give it to someone else to look over. It is truly amazing what a computer spell check will miss.”
Often when we write something ourselves, our eyes “see” what we think is there, or what we mean, rather than what is really on the page. Ask a friend or trusted mentor to check it over for you, or even consider using an online proofreading service – but check testimonials as some of these sites can be unreliable.


#7: Some final tips for submitting your cover letter

  • Make sure that your name, email and phone number appears on each page of the cover letter
  • Include a brief bio written in the third person
  • Be patient. Don’t expect a response right away
  • Make sure the attachments you send are in the correct file format. PDF or Word is most standard
  • Include your current address and phone number (double check!)

TWEETS:

Cover letter tips #1: A cover letter shouldn't be more than 1-2 pages. It's meant to be a summary of your information.
Cover letter tips #2: In most cases a basic Word cover letter is best, or consider a PDF if you have lots information to relate.
Cover letter tips #3: Pay attention to the first 2 or 3 sentences especially, as these will need to capture the reader’s attention.

Cover letter tips #4: Apart from accurate contact details & relevant information put some thought into why you want to work there.
Cover letter tips #5: Do a good proofread of the work you would like to submit for publication. Check for typos, misspelled or wrong words.
Cover letter tips #6: Don’t name the skills you’re missing, get the company name wrong or lie about experience you have!
Cover letter tips #7: Make sure that your name, email and phone number appears on each page & be patient. Don’t expect a response right away.

If you have a job interview coming up, it’s important that you look your best. But what does “looking your best” really mean? Should you always plan to wear a suit, even if you feel itchy, uncomfortable and “not like yourself” when you wear one? Are there other options out there?


Of course, dressing for the role you are planning on taking is imperative. Working as a retail assistant on a busy shop floor will require a different look to a corporate role where you will be meeting with business clients face-to-face. However, no matter the role you’re going for, there are a few hard and fast rules that apply when going for your interview.
Here Employers Connect spoke with 5 experts on the topic to identify exactly what you should and shouldn’t wear to your job interview.


Nicole Williams is a Career Expert from social corporate networking site, LinkedIn. She is also a bestselling author of Girl on Top

According to Nicole, “at a job interview, your attire makes a statement about yourself before you even open your mouth, so a scuffed shoe, a messy bag, or a low cut shirt can speak volumes.” She suggests that you need to wear what she calls your “power outfit”.
We all have these little gems in our closets, whether we are male or female. They’re the clothes that instantly make you feel good about yourself. “Do you have a favourite skirt that always makes you feel great when you wear it? Why not pair that with a blazer?”
Nicole insists that “it’s okay to show off your personality, as long as you aren’t wearing a lime green mini skirt. Stick to business-professional looks.” Showing a bit of your personality can be a good thing, just make sure you do this in moderation, say, by including a unique piece of jewellery, cool watch or accessory.


Chris Smith is Chief Executive Officer at corporate website MyJobMatcher.com.

In his time as CEO and before, Chris says that he has seen quite a few mistakes from both men and women who show up for their first interviews. “Women have the choice of trousers or skirt,” he points out and suggests that ladies can't go wrong with black. “Navy, brown and, in the summer, a lighter plain colour are also perfectly fine. Patterns should be avoided,” he suggests.
But what about men? Chris says, “Men should wear dark, sober colours and cotton wins over linen, even in the summer.” And he also points out that they should not skip on the little details, such as footwear. “Shoes should be brown or black. Avoid mixing black and brown and always go for leather, not suede.”
By sticking to a few simple rules, he says, you’ll allow the interviewer to focus on you and your skills, not being distracted by a patterned shirt or a really scuffed pair of shoes and dirty fingernails. It’s sometimes the little details that count.

Andy Teach is the author of From Graduation to Corporation. He also hosts YouTube’s FromGradToCorp.

Andy is a bit younger that the rest of our experts and he specifically advises school and college/university leavers to really think about their appearance and image to get ahead in the corporate sector.
“If you watch old television shows and movies from the 1950s, men wore suits and ties and women wore nice dresses pretty much everywhere,” he points out. So is he suggesting a return to the past?
“Over the years, our society has become less conservative when it comes to dress code,” he says, so there is no need to look as formal as people did in times past. “Certain industries still require dressing conservatively,” he points out, “but others have a more collegiate atmosphere and it’s not unusual to find employees wearing shorts, T-shirts, and thongs to work.”
So what should people wear to an interview where they are being scrutinised for the first time? Andy says that male or female, you can probably get away with not wearing a suit these days. “You probably don’t need to wear a suit and tie to a job interview at a laid back company, but that doesn’t mean you should dress too casually, either.” Go for something that is comfortable, but still formal enough to look polished.

Diane Gottsman is an etiquette and modern manners expert. She also owns and runs The Protocol School.

Coming from a very different background, this expert has a more classical approach to dressing for success. “A dark, two-piece, grey, navy or black suit is your best option when interviewing with a conservative company,” she says. But what if you’re going for a role somewhere more casual such as a tech company, start-up or hospitality job?
“If the company or industry is known for its casual work environment, such as a laid back tech company, you may choose to tailor down your look without looking unkempt,” Diane says. However, make sure that your look is always neat and tidy, and that you look like you have made a bit of special effort to present as your “best” self.
Like our other experts, Diane mentions that the little details make a huge difference. “Shoes (are important). A mid heel, closed-toe pump is a safe choice,” for women she says. “Regardless of the current shoe trends, your shoe selection for a job interview should be professional and understated.” This also applies to men.

Lisa Johnson Mandell work with AOL Jobs, a career advice website.

Providing a new take on a classic subject, Lisa suggests that the colours you choose to wear to your interview can make a big impact. So what colour does this career expert recommend?
According to a recent study by CareerBuilder, blue was the most highly suggested colour recommended by professionals who were in hiring roles. 23 per cent of people responded that they actually preferred blue to any other colour. “Shades of blue send the message that you’re credible and trustworthy” according to the CareerBuilder experts.
Lisa says that, “Studies show that navy blue is the best colour for a suit to wear to a job interview, because it inspires confidence,” so stock up on this shade whether you’re a man or woman. “You are more likely to get the job when you wear navy blue to an interview than any other colour,” this expert says.


TWEETS

What to wear to a job interview tip #1: Consider the details too. A scuffed shoe, a messy bag, or a badly cut shirt can speak volumes.
What to wear to a job interview tip #2: Men and women should wear dark colours. Cotton wins over linen, even in the summer.
What to wear to a job interview tip #3: Shoes should be brown or black. Avoid mixing black and brown, always go for leather, not suede.
What to wear to a job interview tip #4: Shades of blue send the message that you’re credible and trustworthy.
What to wear to a job interview tip #5: If the company is known for its casual work environment, such as tech, choose to tailor down your look.
What to wear to a job interview tip #6: Make sure that your look is always neat and tidy, that you have made a bit of special effort.
What to wear to a job interview tip #7: A dark grey, navy or black suit is the best option for interviewing at a conservative company.

 

A video resume offers a job applicant the ability to be creative, personable, and eloquent. If anything, it will presumably obtain the attention of a hiring manager as it’s both unique and refreshing. Rather than prepare a dry, bland resume, constructing a video resume makes the hiring process a whole other ball game. However, it’s imperative to stick to a few guidelines in order to ensure a successful outcome - priorities for a video resume include, but aren’t limited to, keeping it short, wearing proper attire, speaking lucidly, revealing one’s personality without going over the top, and literally setting the stage. Please read the following tips in order to prevent glaring mistakes.

1) Keep it Short

For a video resume, it should be succinct. Failure to do so may bore a hiring manager or over complicate a resume. Typically, a resume should be read in around thirty seconds, but, in the case of a video resume - if it includes a cover letter - it should be between 60-90 seconds. So, it’s crucial to time yourself, or have a friend time it so it doesn’t extend too long.

2) Wear Proper Attire

Please don’t wear crocs or JNCO jeans - a video resume is a bit different from bingo night. This is an instance whereby studying company culture is a must. This means it’s necessary to hop online and research the mission statement, company culture, and the general workplace environment. Is the company a new age tech startup? Or, is it a high-level position on Wall Street? Don’t be lazy and conduct the requisite research.

3) Enunciate, Enunciate, and Enunciate

There is nothing more frustrating for a hiring manager not being able understand the video resume presenter. It’s quite simple really: don’t speak too fast, properly pronounce words, and find an appropriate volume. You don’t want to scream, nor do you want to speak akin to a librarian. In order to ensure clarity, make sure to perform the video resume in front of a friend, and moreover, watch the video prior to submission.

4) Show Who You Are

Your personality plays an enormous part in the hiring process. Show yourself off! Now, this doesn’t mean singing a Beyonce song or performing a card trick. What it means is to show how your particular personality will ultimately benefit the said employer. Show why your personality would mesh well in the job environment - the hiring manager wants to know whether or not your personality will function in a positive manner within the parameters of the work environment. And why not show off some gregarious gestures? Smile, sit straight, and show interest!

5) Provide an Aesthetically Pleasing Background

First off, don’t sit in front of a plain white background as it’s objectively unappealing. In addition, don’t leave undesirable or questionable items in front of the camera. You wouldn't want the hiring manager to see your 5 foot mega bong right? Unless you enjoy remaining unemployed and see yourself living under a freeway overpass for life. Why not record it with some artwork in the background? Or in a respectfully decorated room? Remember to make the setting compelling.

Incidentally, a video resume separates oneself from the herd as it’s technologically sleek and engaging. Recording a respectful, clear, and mentally stimulating video is far preferable than a written resume. Most important, a video resume gives an applicant an upper hand because it shows an overall effort to impress the hiring manager. It’s much easier to construct a prototypical written resume template when compared to creating a video resume. Visual resumes require an element of creativity and an ability to be comfortable in front of a camera. Furthermore, employers, especially in the tech sector, appreciate video resumes because it demonstrates the capacity to work with computer editing and graphics. All the positives of a video resume are clear, so why not change up the routine. You surely don’t want to be caught behind the times in an age whereby yesterday has become closer to yesteryear.

 

 

 

Let me first start off by saying: congrats on getting to this step in life, whether you're still enrolled in college or on the job hunt. This step can best be described by the Twitter hashtag entitled “#Adulting,” which means, for all us youngins’ out there that it’s time for Mom and Dad to cut up the college credit card, i.e., “OH NO! No more late night calls to Pizza Hut.” And what’s most important in this digital age is to be flexible - the prototypical in-person interview is becoming less of a normality. In this tech oriented era, conducting an interview on Skype, or creating a video resume, is something that quite a few employers are accustomed to. This newage resume is fundamentally similar to the concept of a paper/digital resume, but is starkly different in regards to presenting oneself. It’s far from usual to attach a photo to a resume, so think a video resume as a streaming, photo attachment. Anyway, let’s proceed to some basics so you don’t end up creating “Numa Numa” Youtube Video.

You’re looking for work and you’re pumped about getting some great work done over summer. January can actually be a fantastic month to get ahead if you plan properly! If you have big plans and goals, honing the way you conduct your job search can be a great way to enhance your resume, your confidence and your future job prospects.

Traditionally, the months of December and January are when Australians like to relax. Most Aussies can be found on the beach, at the barbeque or in their backyards playing cricket. However, some of the more industrious of us like to use these months to invest in ourselves and our future.

If you’re a job seeker or careerist you will have heard the term “personal brand” lately but what is it and how can it help you gain the job of your dreams? 

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, says “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”. In today’s day and age, you only have a few minutes, or sometimes even a few seconds, to capture someone’s attention – whether that’s a potential recruiter, a manager that might get you a promotion, or a colleague who could assist you with a task. Nailing your personal brand will give you the best shot at gaining their attention.

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