FEATURED ARTICLES

Safety in Focus: Noise Protection

BY: Tracey Mesken10/11/2014

​Noise in the workplace may be part and parcel of your day-to-day work, however excessive exposure to any noise for a long period of time can cause irreversible damage to your ears. Noise can come from equipment or from people that are working around you. Consistent exposure to loud noise can lead to hypersensitivity in your hearing,  increased blood pressure and heart rate. At worst, if severe noise exposure is repeated over many years, the hair cells in your inner ear become permanently damaged resulting in permanent hearing loss. Loud noise can also create physical and psychological stress, reduce productivity, interfere with communication and concentration, and contribute to workplace accidents and injuries by making it difficult to hear warning signals.Noise may be a problem in your workplace if:You hear ringing or humming in your ears when you leave work.You have to shout to be heard by a coworker an arm's length away.You experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work.What methods can be used to control noise exposure at work?Report any machinery that is not functioning correctly - malfunctions commonly result in excess noise.Use sound dampeners, silencers, noise barriers etc. to limit noise where possible.Operating noisy machines during shifts when fewer people are exposed.Suggest administrative controls (e.g. training and education, job rotation, job redesign or designing rosters) to reduce the number of workers exposed to noise.Ensure you adhere to site requirements in relation to hearing protection AT ALL TIMES.Check that you are wearing all protective gear correctly.If your workplace is a noisy one, make sure to take all the proper precautions to protect your hearing, and don't forget to have your hearing checked annually.

Which type of resume is right for you?

BY: Tracey Mesken03/11/2014

​If you’ve written multiple job applications recently, you’ll have a pretty good idea of the basic do’s and don’ts of resume writing. But you may not be aware that there are actually a few different types of resumes, each of which will suit a slightly different purpose: Chronological, Functional or Targeted.While it is important to make sure your resume has all the nitty gritty covered (spelling, grammar, evidence etc.), you should also look at the bigger picture and consider which of these formats will be best suited to your experience and the kind of job you are looking for.Chronological ResumesChronological resumes list your career history upfront and in reverse chronological order, with detailed information about the companies you’ve worked for and the roles you’ve worked in. These resumes are aimed to place the emphasis on your long and varied work history and show how you have developed within and between roles.Chronological resumes works best for candidates with an impressive work history connected to the target job. It is also perfect for candidates who have had a series of job positions under one same umbrella or industry, and with this they prefer to engage themselves in a career that belongs in the same field.You should consider this style of resume IF:You have had a consistent, stable career with no or few employment gaps;You may not meet all application criteria exactly, but have sufficient experience/ability to learnYou have worked with some key organisations relevant to the industry you are applying to work in and want to highlight this; orYou are applying for a senior or management level role and want to demonstrate your professional growthFunctional ResumesWhat if you don't have a lot of experience to boast or have taken regular career breaks in recent years? Functional resumes allow you to draw attention away from your limited work experience and instead onto what skills and capabilities you can bring to a role. These resumes begin by listing key skills and qualifications upfront, while other aspects such as work history, education are added at the end.Functional resumes are ideal for you IF:You have only recently graduated or received a qualificationYou have changed careers continuously, with different roles in different industriesYou have had little work experience;You are re-entering the workforce after a career break or have gaps in your employment for other reasons;You are applying for a job in an industry you haven’t previously worked inWhether you are joining or re-entering the workforce or you're looking for a career change, a functional resume puts the emphasis on your transferable skills rather than your experience. Targeted ResumesA targeted format combines the chronological and function formats. While every resume you write should be customised to the role you are applying for, a specifically targeted resume is 100% tailored. This kind of resume will often require you to write an entirely new resume, revising your skills, responsibilities, and experience to match the requirements of the job or the company. This eliminates extraneous information about previous jobs that don't relate to the one that you're seeking.A target resume might be the right approach IF:Your skills, qualifications and previous roles are completely aligned with the specific one you’re applying toYou are applying for a high level leadership/executive/managerial roleYou have been invited to apply to the job through someone in the company or have been referred by someone in your networkYou are not responding to a specific announcement of an opening, but rather are looking to create a role for yourself in a company you likeWhile they are a little more time consuming to write than a general resume or a general cover letter, targeted resumes can be well worth the effort, especially if you feel you are perfectly suited to the job.Looking for more resume writing tips and tricks? Read our blog on the essential do's and don'ts of great resume writing.

Safety in focus: Tips for working night shifts

BY: Tracey Mesken09/10/2014

​Whether you are required to work night shift on a regular basis or because your shifts rotate, adjusting to a schedule that requires you to sleep during the day is difficult. Not only is it mentally draining, but continuous disrupted sleep can lead to health problems caused by increased stress and decreased immunity. If however shift work is part and parcel of your job, do not to fear - here are a few simple yet effective strategies that can help your body better adapt to night shift work. However inconsistent your hours may be, maintain three meals a day.Take nutritious snacks to work, manage your fluid and fibre intake – if you don’t your body’s systems can become sluggish and out of rhythmMinimise caffeinated and sports drinks, these can effect sleep patterns.Ensure you get a complete sleep in your downtime.Increase your water intake.Develop alternative methods of increasing your energy levels; vary work activities to avoid fatigue eg. short walks can help.Have a hot shower just before you go to bed; as your body cools from the shower it mimics the body’s natural process of cooling down to help you go to sleep faster.Be aware of fatigue after the shift is over, and avoid driving home if you’re tired.Be proactive in managing your transition to night shifts to avoid long-term mental and physical problems. Focused on Zero Harm The safety of our people is our absolute priority. To report a safety incident or hazard, call us on 1300 967 572 or click here to submit a report.

Getting the most from your performance review

BY: Tracey Mesken29/09/2014

​A workplace performance review shouldn’t be something that leaves you feeling anxious, nor should it be seen as a process you are simply obligated to go through. Take the time to prepare correctly and think about the outcomes you want, and it can be an opportunity to have a constructive conversation with your Manager that positively impacts your satisfaction and success at work.A ‘go with the flow’ attitude is never the right approach. Your input is just as important as your manager’s in ensuring the experience is positive and productive for both of you. So to get the most from your next performance review, consider the following preparation tips.​Do a self-assessment before your reviewBefore your formal review with your manger, do an honest and objective review of your achievements by yourself. A good way to start is by looking at the results of your last evaluation if you’ve had one. What personal and professional goals did you set for yourself, and have they all been met? List out all goals and map out your progress against each, using evidence where you can.If you haven’t quite met all your targets or KPIs, be prepared to discuss exactly where you are in terms of accomplishing them, if you’re encountering any difficulty, and why. A good manager will typically view your review as a way to help you succeed, not a chance to criticize.Prepare a discussion planYour Manager will generally drive the meeting, but the review should be a two-way discussion, so come prepared with a list of everything you want to cover personally. Some topics could be;Any workplace frustrations or barriers that are coming in the way of you doing your jobAreas where you need more support or guidance from your ManagerProfessional development objectives or expectations that aren’t being metYour ideas for how you or your team could deliver more results for your companyBring evidence of your achievementsPromotions and salary increases are directly linked to your performance against targets, so if you feel you are due for either then your review is the best opportunity to bring this up. Give your manager measurable examples of how you have over-delivered on your targets. Gather any positive comments about your performance from clients and colleagues (in emails or testimonials etc.) as supporting evidence. Focus on achievements you know helped the organisation’s bottom line or improved overall efficiency. These results speak volumes about your value as an employee.Expect constructive criticismAt the end of the day it is a review of your performance, so expect that part of the conversation may be about aspects of your job that you need to work on. Use the feedback constructively as its purpose is to help you improve, and in some instances may be an expectation if you want to keep your job. If the comments are overtly negative or you don’t agree with them, avoid the temptation to be defensive or dismissive and instead have an honest discussion with your manager.Think about your long-term goalsA commonly asked question in reviews, and one that rarely gets answered properly is, “Where do you see yourself in the future”. Everything you currently do in your job should be with a longer-term goal in mind, whether it’s a promotion or just new role responsibilities. Use your review to talk to your manager about the skills you want to develop, and what training or projects will help you meet these goals.So be an eager and willing participant in your next performance review, and don’t waste this opportunity; together, you and your manager can use this time to map out the best path for your career advancement.

6 ways to use body language to your benefit in an interview

BY: Tracey Mesken22/09/2014

​The importance of body language during an interview cannot be over-emphasized. While the interview may largely be an opportunity to talk about yourself and your suitability for a role, it is just as much about winning the confidence of your interviewer.From the moment you step into an interview, how you use your voice, expressions and gestures can all contribute to making a positive impression. Here are a few simple but powerful body language techniques that will do wonders for your self-confidence while helping you come across as a strong candidate.​ 1. SmileThe first technique is the easiest. A genuine smile is one of the most powerful ways to create engagement and build a relationship. An interviewer will almost always return a smile, and all the mutual positivity will automatically set the right tone for the interview. 2. Show that you are listeningAvoid the temptation to check your watch, or look around the room too often. Instead, focus on your interviewer by facing them directly and maintain eye contact. Leaning forward, nodding, and tilting your head are other nonverbal ways to show you’re engaged and paying attention. It’s important to hear people and just as important to make sure they know you are listening.3. Remove physical distractionsMove aside anything that blocks your view or forms a barrier between you and the interviewer (your bag, your phone, a glass of water). Physical obstructions can be distracting and will increase your likelihood of fidgeting with them.4. Build rapport by mirroringMirroring (i.e. imitating body language) is a nonverbal way of saying that you agree with someone. It tends to be an automatic reaction when a conversation is going well, but you may be able to influence it a little to help build a connection quickly. Mirroring starts by observing a person’s facial and body gestures and then subtly letting your body take on similar postures eg, smiling, using gestures. Be subtle and try not to overdo it though, or it will start to look like a comedy routine!5. Use gestures to support your wordsHand gestures play an important role in communication, helping you reinforce key points and words while. The science supports this, and says that gesturing as we talk can actually power up our thinking and help us speak more confidently. But again, try to keep your actions smooth, measured and natural. 6. Pause and breatheTake a minute to breathe and pause before answering a question, this gives you time to react in a considered way and it ensures that the interviewer has finished the question. The pitch and tone of your voice are equally important body language tools. When nervous, people often tend to end their sentences with a raised pitch – making every comment sound like a question. Instead state everything as though it is a fact. It will make you sound more authoritative and confident.The key to positive body language in an interview is self-awareness. Become aware of the signals you are sending and learn how to use your body to your advantage.

Safety in focus: Working safely at heights

BY: Tracey Mesken04/09/2014

​A dangerous height in the workplace is classified as one where a fall from one level to another is likely to cause injury to the person involved or to anyone else.  When working at a height, identify, assess and control all potential risks.Identifying & Assessing HazardsAlways inspect your work area to determine whether there is a risk of someone falling, and how likely it is to happen, especially when on a fragile or unstable surfaces, near an unprotected edges or opening and in bad weather conditions.Controlling RiskAll potential risks need to be controlled by either eliminating the hazard entirely (eg. by working on the ground if possible) or minimising it by;substituting a work method with a less hazardous one, e.g. using walkways for access instead of using laddersisolating the hazard, e.g. using a physical barrier or edge protection systemsmodifying the system of work or equipment, e.g. by using a travel restraintadopting  administrative controls so the time or conditions of exposure to the risk is reducedusing personal protective equipment.While employers are primarily accountable for ensuring a safe work environment, always be responsible for your own safety at work.Focused on Zero Harm The safety of our people is our absolute priority. To report a safety incident or hazard, call us on 1300 967 572 or click here to submit a report.

The essential job interview preparation checklist

BY: Tracey Mesken02/09/2014

​The biggest reason for failure in an interview is a lack of sufficient planning. By getting the basic preparation right and checking off of a few important things, you can alleviate a lot of those pre-interview nerves and clear your mind for the task ahead.The following checklist is a good signpost for the practice you should be doing before, and the things you should be taking to, every interview. Follow it carefully and you can be confident that you have the very basics of the interview covered.​Company researchHave you visited the company website?Do you have a clear idea of;- what their key products and/or services are- where they are based- which industries they work in- how big they are (in terms of revenue, employee size etc.)- who their main competitors areDo you know the name, job title and role/responsibilities of the interviewer?Role requirementsHave you read the job ad/description thoroughly?Do you know the key requirements the employer is looking for and can you map. your own experience/skills/qualities to the role?Can you talk about at least 3 key professional achievements relevant to the role?Do you know a ballpark compensation range for the role type? (this requires a little research).Have you prepared a list of 5 questions to ask the interviewer about the company or role?Interview preparationDo you have your 2-minute elevator pitch down pat? This is a quick summary about yourself and your work background.Have you prepared your answers to standard interview questions (eg. your strengths and weaknesses)?Can you answer questions briefly and succinctly?Can you comfortably expand on key points in your resume?Have you practiced your responses out loud? (a mock interview with family/friends is helpful).Things to take with youThe interview time, date, location and directions in writing.A contact number in case you are running late and need to inform the interviewer.An extra resume and a few examples of your work (professionally presented).A pen – you never know when you'll need to fill out a form or take notes.Breath mints and perfume/deodorant.Also remember to…Determine an appropriate outfit beforehand, making sure its appropriate to the company style.Be well groomed – polished shoes, neat nails etc.Preplan your travel to the interview, allowing yourself extra time in case you are delayed.Have a contingency plan in place in case things run over time (transportation, child care etc.).Get a good night’s sleep the day before. The more refreshed you are, the better you’ll feel!This handy interview checklist is a sure way of knowing that you have completed all the essentials to be ready for your job interview. The only thing left to do is to stay focused, put aside any worries and walk into your interview feeling confident.

7 signs your job application is progressing well

BY: Tracey Mesken26/08/2014

​The job application process can be a nerve-wracking time. Once you’ve submitted your resume, days can seem like weeks as you wait for that call for an interview, and if that goes well, a job offer. It’s not unusual for the recruitment process to take time, so be patient and don’t assume that no news is bad news.That said, it’s natural to want to have some idea of whether or not you can expect a call back. While the application-to-job offer cycle is different across different employers, the following signs are generally a good indication that at the very least, your application is progressing in a positive direction.1. The initial callAn initial phone call from a recruiter or employer is the first sign that your resume has made an impression and that you’ve passed the initial screening process. This is their first chance to assess your suitability, and your first opportunity to get a better understanding of the role.2.  An aptitude testEmployers often use cognitive tests, personality tests or written skills tests to shortlist applicants further. These tests might be conducted early on in the process or sometimes even during the interview, and their importance should never be underestimated.3.  A request for examples of workIf an employer decides to take a further interest in your application, they may want to see a portfolio of work you’ve done before. Make sure you provide them with not just your best work, but work that is relevant to the role you are applying for.4.  An interview (followed by a second interview)If you’ve secured an interview then your application has clearly progressed well. The company may conduct several interviews prior to offering the job, so a call back for a second interview is a good gauge that you are moving along the process nicely. Use this second face-to-fate meeting to build on the discussions had in your initial one.5.  A team introductionIf the interview goes well, you may be introduced to members of the team or the department for which you are applying. This is another positive sign, as it is generally a way for an employer to see whether you are a cultural fit for the organisation. Team members’ impressions will count for a lot, so make the effort to build a good rapport.6.  A reference checkMake sure to give your nominated referees enough information about the role you are applying for, so they can give a tailored, relevant reference when called for one. Ask them to let you know if and when they do get a call, as a reference check is usually the last step before an official job offer.7. A letter of offer!If everything goes well, then the final step is a formal offer of employment. Read through the offer carefully and check that the role and employment details are what you expected.While you wait...The above steps could take anything from a few days to a few weeks to happen, so instead of twiddling your thumbs and waiting to hear back, here are some things to be doing in the meantime.- If the employer has mentioned a specific timeframe to get back to you by and fails to do so, then it’s perfectly acceptable for you to get in touch and follow up to see where things are at. You will either get a definitive answer about your progress or an explanation for the delay.- This is a good chance for you to look at the job and company more closely and really evaluate all the pros and cons. Determine if you have any major reservations to taking an offer if you do get one, or any other questions you want clarified by the employer.- Don’t put your job search on hold. Even if you’re feeling good about your progress, its best to continue with applications just in case things don’t work. While you wait for one opportunity to work out, another better one might get overlooked.Stay focused on the positives and be prepared for any outcome.  If you have done your best with your application and interview and you truly are the ideal candidate for the job, the phone will ring. And if not then its important to maintain your job search momentum going to find other suitable opportunities.

Safety in focus: Reporting Near Misses

BY: Tracey Mesken21/08/2014

​We all have a responsibility to ourselves and our co-workers to help make our work environments as safe as possible. The difference between a fatal incident and a near miss may only be a fraction of a second or a centimetre, so speak up!What should you report?ANYTHING that you think has the potential to cause harm to you, your workmate or property. This can even be observations that you make as well as actual incidents.Who should you report it to?Go to your immediate onsite supervisor, or if you work in an office talk to the relevant health and safety representative or Office Manager.When should you report it?It must be reported immediately or as soon as reasonably practicable so that the likelihood of a similar incident being repeated can be limited.Reporting accidents and incidents could not only save you and your work mates from serious injury, but is also your legal obligation as an employee.Focussed on Zero Harm The safety of our people is our absolute priority. To report a safety incident or hazard, call us on 1300 967 572 or click here to submit a report​

Safety in focus: Handling heavy loads

BY: Tracey Mesken07/08/2014

​Close to 40% of all workplace injuries involve the back and are the result of incorrect manual handling of boxes, packages or large objects of any kind. Ask the following questions before doing any lifting.Does the load need to be lifted? If an object has to be moved, consider safer alternatives to lifting it, for example sliding, pulling, pushing or rolling it instead – and get help whenever possible.Can the load be reduced? Consider separating the load to reduce the weight, or minimizing the distance that it needs to be moved. Depending on the size, weight and content, consider using a pallet jacket or a trolley to support the lift.Are you using the correct technique?Ensure that the area of the lift and set down is free of obstructions and any hazardsCheck the load for hazards such as sharp edges and protruding nails and staplesSize up the weight and contents of the load.Place your feet apart and make sure they are stable and the weight can be distributed equally between them.Bend your knees and hold firmly with both hands.Lift the load to your waist slowly by straightening your legs, keeping your elbows close to your body. Use the palms of the hands to minimize the stress on your arms.To put down the load, bend your knees and keep your back straight.Protect your back and avoid serious workplace injuries by planning for lifts and using the correct techniques.Focussed on Zero Harm The safety of our people is our absolute priority. To report a safety incident or hazard, call us on 1300 967 572 or click here to submit a report.