Last month we discussed
Roberta Cava’s book Human Resources Policies and
Procedure Manual. This month we will discuss her information
about: Applying for a jobbased on her book What am I going to do with the rest of my life.
During the last t years many
of you have found drastic changes in how you do your work. Some of you have
become unemployed. Others have been quarantined into their homes. And still
others have worked from home.
Many of you have decided that
you really don’t like the work you have been doing in the past and feel it’s
time to change. This is the ideal time to do so, and I encourage you to do so
rather than spend more time doing work you don’t like.
Men spend approximately 45
years of their adult life in the workforce before retirement. Women spend
anywhere from 35-45 years. So, if you are 40 years of age – just think how many
more years you will be working in a job you don’t like!
APPLYING FOR A JOB
this COVID-19 pandemic there are a large portion of populations unemployed and
many in Australia are registered for JobKeeper and JobSeeker. However, they are
still unemployed and are probably anxious to get back to work. For decades I
was a career counsellor but can’t offer that kind of service now because of the
pandemic. But what I can do is give you some valuable information on
what employers are really looking for. Here are some of the steps I suggest you
take so you are ahead of your competition.
Step 1 –
Write down your transferrable skills. Transferrable skills are those skills you
can take from one occupational field into another. For example: supervisory
skills, interpersonal skills, accounting knowledge, aptitude with figures and
scheduling skills are all transferrable skills. This will allow new horizons to
open for you.
It’s a good idea to ask your
close friends and relatives to help you with this set of questions. They may
see qualities in you – that you’ve overlooked.
One of my clients (who was
presently working as a nursing supervisor) decided that she didn’t want to work
shift work any longer because she had a young family. She felt she couldn’t
find work in any other occupation, so did not seek career counselling until her
family situation became intolerable. We were able to identify her transferrable
skills as follows. She:
how to supervise others (junior nursing staff).
to schedule (complete activities within a set time-frame – arranging for
patients to have medication – get to X-ray or Cat scans etc.).
highly honed interpersonal skills (could deal with all kinds of people, from
callous doctors, impatient technicians, to unhappy patients and their family
keep meticulously detailed reports (of medication, patient’s condition –
calm in an emergency (there are always crisis in a hospital).
physically fit (had to be on her feet most of the day and manipulate heavy
a quick decision-maker (how to handle unexpected or critical situations).
These were talents that could
be useful in many occupations. She just had to find which one she wanted to
work in. She admitted that one of her passions was ladies’ fashion. After
examining her transferrable skills, I advised her that if she got the necessary
retail training, she’d likely have little trouble obtaining a position in a
retail woman’s shop. She admitted that she’d never thought of that as an
alternative, because it wouldn’t pay her enough.
I reminded her of her
ability to supervise others (retail staff).
Knowledge of scheduling (ordering stock).
Highly honed interpersonal skills in dealing
with all kinds of people (snarly clients and suppliers).
An ability to keep meticulously detailed
reports (inventory and sales information).
An ability to remain calm in an emergency (with
both clients and staff).
Physical fitness (stock-room gymnastics to
reach and wrestle with stock).
An ability to decide quickly (special prices
for stock items).
of these made her a good candidate for a management position in the retail
– Apply for the job: Many people don’t feel the need to use a
resume. They fill in an application form and hope it will represent them well.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Usually, the only thing representing you prior to an
interview is your resume (or at worst, a company application form). If your
resume isn’t ‘up to par’ you likely won’t be asked to come for an interview.
Use a resume ‑ a good one that ‘sells’ your unique talents and abilities. This
applies to blue- and pink-collar workers as well as white-collar ones! Watch
for words in their recruitment information – and be sure to let them know why
you think you would fit the position. This is why each resume should identify
the qualities the company are looking for (don’t lie!).
– Attend an interview: If you’re called in for an interview,
remember that you’re there to sell yourself. Don’t let shyness keep you from
‘tooting your own horn.’ Know your strengths and weaknesses and be ready to
discuss them with the interviewer. Have facts clear in your mind, anticipate
the interviewers’ questions and have information handy that they might need
(such as a list of references). If you’re overly nervous, have a friend
rehearse with you doing a mock-up interview where you practice answering
Make sure your physical
appearance is neat and clean and that your apparel suits the position you’re
applying for (even labouring or blue-collar positions). Never, under any
circumstances, wear jeans or corduroys to an interview for an office position.
No runners or trainers. Successful women do not wear cardigans – they wear
jackets to match their outfits. They use suitable makeup and both men and women
have a good haircut. Men wear matching outfits – shirts, slacks, socks, shoes
and jacket if applicable. Wear apparel that is one step up from the level of
position you’re applying for.
Other things that employers
may feel do not make you a good candidate (whether warranted or not) can
Visible piercing (except 2 ear rings). No
eyebrow, nose, tongue, or lip rings.
Can’t express yourself well (take Toastmaster
or speech classes so you can say what you want to say when you want to say it).
Make a plan before attending the interview. Watch for repetitive words or
phrases such as: saying, ’uhm’ before you answer their questions. Saying, ‘You
know’ repeatedly etc.
Other topics covered in my book What
am I going to do with the rest of my life. are:
Entrepreneurship (could you start your own
Overcoming negative experiences
Overcoming your fears
How to change your approach to life.
Roberta Cava has over three decades of Human Resources experience and has been Head of Human Resources for firms in Canada and Australia. She is a best-selling author of non-fiction books. In total she has written 70 books; eight of them fiction and 46 non-fiction. Roberta lives on the Gold Coast of Queensland in Australia.
To order her books:
Go to amazon.com then click ‘Books’ and under ‘search’putRoberta Cava(which will bring up all of her books).
To contact Roberta or Cava Consulting, please send an e-mail to: