Personal Branding – How a Single Sentence Can Get You a Job

When you see one of those cool Smart Cars, what comes to your mind? Most likely the carmakers cool design, but more often the catchy brand proposition: “Keep it Simple – Reduce to the Max.” Mercedes has changed the way we consume cars and made us think differently about cool concept driving. Do what they do – have a brand promise: a personal brand to get the next cool job. Read more

Fired or lost your Job? 10 Things You NEED To Do NOW!

Tony and Joe are on notice and will lose their jobs pretty soon if they fail to deliver on their new budget promises, according to Dennis Shanahan from the Australian. Of course, that’s no consolation if you‘ve recently lost your own job, or feel like the writing for imminent job loss is on the wall. Read more

Why do so many Startup’s hire only “B” talent?

Many Australian and New Zealand Startup’s search for “B” talent instead of “A” talent simply because the job market has been very tight for a number of years. The common view among Start Ups is they can’t realistically expect to fill their company with “A” talent, and so many Start Ups all over the world bring on the “B” talent and get to work. Read more

Dude, Not Cool: 5 Interview Mistakes You’re Making

So, you’ve managed to land an interview. Well Done! It means you have the employer interested enough to want to spend some time with you. This is a big deal. Hiring managers won’t want to waste their time on rubbish candidates. That means you have to meet and exceed their expectations if you want to land that job. While you can make an educated guess as to what those expectations are, there are some basics which you need to cover as well.

That’s what I am going to talk about today.


While you may already know that you need to be on time, we are always astounded by how many people are late to an interview. We often book coaching packages for people who are consistently and thoroughly late. Not by 5 minutes, but by 20 minutes, sometimes longer. If you show up to a face-to-face interview this late, you will be pushing sh*t uphill for the rest of the appointment. This is such a simple interview mistake that you can easily avoid.

“but I can’t help if there’s traffic or the trains are late”

No you can’t.

But you can always apply Murphy’s Law to an important interview: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. What you can do is plan for things like this by giving yourself plenty of buffer time. I always schedule AT LEAST 30 minutes for delays and getting lost. Using this strategy, I have never been late to an interview. Ever.

It’s possible, but you have to plan ahead.

Remember, first impressions last.

Do you have a phone interview lined up? Be ready at your phone AT LEAST 5 – 10 minutes before the scheduled time. Make sure the place you’re in is quiet, and free from distractions. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is background noise from the person they’re on the phone with. It’s a common interview mistake we hear about very often. Having a distraction free spot also means that you will give better answers in your interview.

Being too casual

When walking into an interview, you might not have any clue as to the company culture but this shouldn’t be because you didn’t try and find out. If you genuinely have no idea about a company culture, the best thing to do is to be formal until it’s apparent something else is acceptable. This means greeting people as Mr or Miss/Ms, conducting yourself in a way that’s appropriate at a posh dinner (or something similar) and shaking hands formally (no fist-bumping or other shenanigans).

If you are invited to be more casual, then adjust your conduct to the level that your interviewer works. What does that mean? Well, it’s hard to describe, as it depends on context. Follow the lead of your interviewer and adjust incrementally. Remember: “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

If your interviewer doesn’t invite you to be a bit more casual, or you’re just not sure, then stick to being formal.

If you are too casual, then you risk as being seen as unprofessional or uninterested in the role. To state the obvious: this is bad. Your chances of getting hired will be much reduced if you come across as too casual.

Language that’s, like, totes unprofesh

This ties in with being too casual. If your language is unprofessional, you’re not doing yourself a favour. Using words such as ‘Like’, ‘Totally’ or ‘Literally’ will be a strike against your name. This is a common interview mistake for young people to make – often because when you’re under pressure, you resort to what feels most comfortable.

When interviewing for someone to fill my job as marketing intern, Uli had the pleasure of hearing a candidate say ‘like’ close to 80 times. He showed me the piece of paper with the tally on it. Needless to say this person was, like, unsuccessful. For an interesting article on what these filler words mean, check out this article.

With this being said, you don’t need to use extremely formal or strict language. What I am saying here is that you shouldn’t overcompensate.

Filler Phrases

What’s a filler phrase? It’s a more sophisticated way of saying ‘um’. This is a less common interview mistake, but I want you to stop using this tactic before you start. You might think you’re being super smooth using these, but you’re not, and your interviewer can see right through these. What’s an example of a filler phrase?

“Well that’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked”

I admit I am guilty of this interview mistake. In my own defence, I had a complicated answer lined up so I thought I would increase the anticipation while I quickly got my thoughts together. But it’s best that you avoid it in the first place.


I know – you have heard this one a million times. I’m going to address this interview mistake just to make sure that we cover everything. DON’T USE YOUR PHONE IN AN INTERVIEW!

The only exception to this rule is if you are expecting an important call or are on standby for a damn good reason. Some good reasons include: a sick family member who you may be waiting on news from, a pregnant partner or anything else that is a big deal in your personal life. It’s really important to let your interview know at the start that you are ‘on call’ for this very (very) good reason. Say something like “I just need to make you aware I have a family member in hospital, so if I get a call from my sister/brother/parent then I will have to quickly take the call. I hope this won’t be an inconvenience”. Most employers should be ok with this.

This does not include waiting to hear from another interview, a call from your current boss or a call from your mates.

As always, remember to Keep It Simple Sunshine

Have you heard any horror stories of people making these sorts of mistakes? Do you think there should be more included here?


How to deal with rejection feedback after job interviews

We all know that job searching sucks, but what really sucks is rejection. No matter when it happens, via the usual communication black hole, or after the first or second interview, rejection sucks. Period! But you know what also really sucks… the ‘feedback’. Read more

When job hunting chews up your mojo (and 8 ways to get motivated)

Let’s be honest, for most job hunters it’s a tough game out there. While many job seekers feel like they’re powerless to change their situation, the feeling of hitting brick walls while looking for that next professional gig doesn’t have to be a drainer on your mojo. Instead, here are some ways how you can recharge your job search “mojo” and reclaim your motivation. Read more

20 Ways you’re wasting time with your job search

Job hunting sucks. We all know that. The usual job search experiences range from seemingly unending rejections to permanent communication black holes from job sites or recruiting firms. The whole experience is definitely no fun, particularly if you are unemployed with bills to pay. Read more

A Uni Students Guide to Job Hunting

This blog post is the first in a new series authored by The Job Search Coach marketing intern Jasha Andrews. Jasha has been invited as a Guest blogger to TJSC to help uni students hunt smarter for a position. If you are a regular reader, this could be the refresher that you need on basic job hunting.

Once upon a time, young people left high school went to university or TAFE and then graduated to start a career in their chosen field. Fast forward to today and young people face an ever competitive market in which to find a job, so they must gain every advantage possible to succeed.

As a ‘mature age’ university student and marketing intern, I have the rare opportunity to view job seeking from both sides of the university graduate fence. Since graduating from high school in 2005, I have seen things change dramatically for young people – and these changes are not for the better.

My first full time job was at a quiche factory as a process worker. The interview went for 5 minutes, and I am pretty sure they hired me because I wore a tie. This would turn out to be the exception, not the rule, when it came to job hunting success. But I digress… Let’s talk about YOU: a uni student or young person who needs to compete against thousands of other applicants during a time when youth unemployment is double the national average.

Young people entering uni for the first time fall into two categories: those with some work experience and those without. This first section is about those who have not yet had a job of any kind. You probably know that you need a few things when searching for a job: A cover letter and resume. We will go through what should be included in each of these and mistakes you can avoid.

A Cover Letter

The cover letter is a document which is read before the resume that should address the selection criteria for a job: that is the skills or values that are important to the employer. A cover letter should include the following items:

  • An introduction
  • Mention the job you are applying for
  • Match your skills and experience with the job ad
  • Encourage the reader to read your resume
  • End with a call to action: e.g a request to meet for an interview.

When you have little or no experience, then you may feel the need to overcomplicate or embellish things. DON’T DO THIS. A general rule in any job application is to K.I.S.S.





It is a good idea to have a generic cover letter on which base your applications. You absolutely must CUSTOMISE YOUR COVER LETTER for each job you apply: if you don’t, your application will be in the bin before you can say “please hire me”. Take a second and just imagine what it would be like to wade through hundreds of pages of generic B.S just to find a few good candidates. Doesn’t sound fun does it? Make your application like a breath of fresh air for the poor guy who has to read all of these – he/she will be secretly appreciative of the effort you put in, and reward you by considering you for an interview.

A resume

This is a document which should sum up your skills and experience. It is the basis on which employers will receive their first impression of you. It is important you are concise and to the point – don’t fill it up with crap. Employers will be reading hundreds of these, so you need to have the courtesy to not waste their time.

Fun fact: a resume and curriculum vitae (also known as a CV) are two different things, even though the terms are used interchangeably. A resume contains work history, skills and achievements while a CV contains academic history and achievements. Most people use a combined resume/CV when applying for jobs.

In your resume you should include:

Basic details like your name and contact details.

While this may seem like common sense for anyone, you would be surprised at how many people stuff this up. You should include your contact number, address and email. And for Pete’s sake, make sure these details work.

Make sure your email address is something simple and professional: A good example is [email protected]. The last thing the employer wants to do is type in an immature email address you made in primary school. It’s annoying for them and makes you look bad.

DO NOT put a photo or date of birth: this gives the unintended consequence inadvertent discrimination, and if they are using an Applicant Tracking System (something for another blog), then you will be discarded because of the photo.

After your basic details, these next four things should form the basis of your resume. You might have other things you want to add, but make sure it is relevant and value adding.

A brief summary of your education

This would include a HSC (or equivalent) and any other officially recognised qualifications. If you are a high scoring student, you could put your ATAR or other achievements (e.g school dux or if you were a school/house captain)

A brief summary of any other achievements

This could be a sporting or community based achievement. Keep it relevant and fairly recent – no one cares about the merit award you received in primary school.

A brief summary of your community activities

This could include Scouts, Cadets, Duke of Edinburgh, or any religious community activities. An employer won’t be looking for a highly skilled candidate at your level. They will be looking for someone who has a good work ethic and will be a good fit for the organisation. If you can tick a few boxes in each of the above categories, you should be putting yourself in good stead.

Now what?

DOUBLE CHECK IT! The last thing you want to do is to send a resume with spelling and grammatical errors: It shows carelessness and a poor attention to detail (something you need for most jobs). Once you have double checked it, get someone else to check it for you – preferably a person with more experience than you. Don’t ask them to look for spelling mistakes – it’s a waste of their time. Instead, ask whether the resume and cover letter address the position you are applying for. A good mentor will be able to guide you in how to improve your application.

Once this is done, you should be ready to start applying for jobs!

So there you have it, a quick primer on the basic things needed for job hunting. If you found something that worked for you, share it in the comments below. We will have more posts in the future explaining what to do next. So stay tuned folks, and no matter what you do remember to Keep It Simple Sunshine.

(Guest Blogger at TheJobSearchCoach)

Jasha Andrews 7098




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Negotiating yourself through a job interview requires preparation and skill, no matter your aim is: a better position, higher pay, a workplace closer to your home… You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.

This cliché is worth repeating, putting up on your wall and tattooing on your forehead. Read more

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You need 10 successful job hunting and job search techniques if you want to secure a job interview. Searching for a job can be a stressful experience fraught with uncertainty. Job seeking and career changing is different for very candidate and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Some people are able to secure a new job in no time, while others seem to struggle just to get one interview. Only dogged determination, positive thinking and smart strategies will take you where want to go. Employers are looking for much more before they even consider you for a position. Some people just seem to have a gift for this sort of thing, while you’re sitting here getting nowhere. Read more