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How to resign from your job

How exciting, you have just been offered and accepted a new Job YAY!  Congratulations!!! Then you remember you now must resign from your current job ugh yuk….

At Optimal Recruitment we believe how you conduct yourself at this stage is very important. We understand you may just want to leave today but you don’t want to burn any bridges. How you act now and during your notice period is very important and is a reflection on you and your work ethic.

  1. Before you start telling the world; ensure you have finalised all the details with your new employer. Have you signed your new letter of offer contract? Have you covered the start date, salary, up-coming holidays you already have pre-booked? Make sure everything is negotiated and in order before you tell your current manager you are leaving.
  2. Clean up your computer – Before you tell your boss you are leaving – delete personal files, personal email messages and get the contact details of anyone you wish to keep in touch with once you have left. While you may wish to see out your notice period your manager may want you to leave that day.
  3. Think about what projects you have on and have a rough idea on some recommendations you could give your manager on how you could transfer these responsibilities and tasks. Even though your leaving and you have more than likely mentally checked out – you don’t want to leave the team inundated with unfinished work or projects not even started that no-one knows about.
  4. Also have a rough plan on how you are going to tell your colleagues why you are leaving the company. Whatever your reasons for leaving your job keep your story consistent and positive. Don’t bad mouth your company, bosses or co-workers these things have a way of getting out.
  5. Write your resignation letter – we have included a sample below to help you on your way. We think you should be positive, thank them for the experience and offer to help do a handover, it may not be taken up, but the gesture will be appreciated. Also don’t forget your letter may be kept on file so don’t include any nasty comments that may come back to ‘bite you later’.
  6. Do not tell anyone else until you have handed in your formal resignation letter to your manager – ask them how they want to handle it as they may want to make the announcement on their terms. Also, what are your thoughts on a counteroffer? If your boss offers you a salary increase would you change your mind?
  7. Check with HR what you are entitled to when you leave? Do you have annual days owing? Any other employee benefits? Also, how much notice do you need to give? Check your current contract – 2 weeks’ notice is generally the standard practice but check your company policy. Try and give your employer as much notice as you can.
  8. Ask your manager for a reference. Also ask if they can be available via phone /email to provide a reference now and in the future. If your manager is happy to give you a review, ask if they could also leave you one on LinkedIn. A LinkedIn recommendation will be visible to anyone, it’s on your profile for ever and could come in handy in the future if you are job hunting again.
  9. Don’t forget to say goodbye to everyone before you leave. Sending an email farewell message to your co-workers letting them know you are leaving the company is fine, don’t forget to include your contact information so they can stay in touch with you.

Leave your job a positive note, rather than negative. You want a good reference and who knows where you may end up, and who you may work with again in the future.

Best of luck

The Optimal Recruitment Team

For additional inspiration, here is a resignation letter template/sample we have put together for you. It is not a one-size-fits-all letter, unfortunately, but should provide you with ideas on format and content.

 

Resignation Letter – Template

Your name

Your job title

Organisation name

Your Address

Your Email

Your Phone Number

 

Today’s date

Recipient’s name

Recipient’s job title

Organisation name

Address

Dear Richard,

Please accept this letter as formal notification that I am resigning from my position as TITLE with COMPANY NAME. My last day will be Friday 6th March 2020.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to work in this position for the past Eight years. I’ve greatly enjoyed and appreciated the opportunities I’ve had at COMPANY NAME and I have enjoyed being part of the team.

Please let me know how I can help during this transitional period. I am happy to help train team members and do a handover during this time.

I wish the company continued success, and I hope to stay in touch in the future. My personal email is YOUR@EMAIL.COM.AU and my personal mobile is YOUR MOBILE NUMBER

Should you require any additional information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Your Signature

Your typed name

So many jobs, so many companies, sooo many choices! Being a newbie in the job market can be a daunting experience. Where do you start when you’ve never had to navigate job applications, interviews and assessments before? Right here! Our recruitment experts have put together five top tips to help you find and land your first job.

Start with You

Take a look at yourself. What are your core strengths? What are your preferred work environments? What would you like to be doing in five years’ time? Before you get your job search underway, decide what type of role you would like to aim for and why. If you’re unsure, chatting to a career’s advisor or recruitment consultant can be a good idea. They can give you an idea of the different jobs that are out there, and help you zoom in on a few suitable and rewarding options.

Create a winning resume and cover letter

Brush up your resume or create one from scratch. If you don’t have heaps of work experience, don’t worry! Hiring managers will be more interested in your potential at this stage, so highlight your key strengths, showcase your achievements and shine a spotlight on your interests. Work on your cover letters too, making sure that each one is carefully targeted to the role you are applying for. It can be a good idea to keep track of your applications (dates, roles, hiring manager names and contact details, etc.) in a dedicated spreadsheet, especially if you’re using multiple platforms. At a glance, you’ll know what you’ve done and when, and who to follow up with.

Consider building a LinkedIn profile. It’s a great platform for developing your professional presence and networking with other professionals.

Get a foot in the door!

There’s so much you can do both online and offline to further your job search. Check out job listings on recruitment agency websites or search engines such as SEEK and Indeed, where you can search for specific roles by area and set up job alerts. Click on a few roles and get a feel for what employers are asking for – and then apply if you think you are a suitable candidate. With a little online research, you’ll also find resume templates, information on what to expect at interview, and heaps more useful resources.

Don’t forget face-to-face opportunities! Careers fairs and recruitment events can be great ways to find out about different jobs and organisations and connect with the people working there. Ask questions, gather brochures and business cards – and follow up! If you’ve had an interesting discussion with a company representative, there’s no harm in sending a brief email to thank them for their time and ask if there are any upcoming internships or job shadow opportunities.

If you’re at uni, tap into your alumni network. Chances are you’ll find former students working in your first-choice organisation or similar companies. While alumni may not hand you a job on a plate, many will be happy to provide you with job-related information and advice. Also look at joining an industry-related group at uni, where you can connect with like-minded peers and potentially access professionals working in the field.

Really prepare for that interview

Before the big day, make sure you’ve researched the role and the organisation in detail. Try to anticipate some of the questions you’ll be asked and prepare responses to them. Go armed with a couple of questions of your own to show you’ve done your homework. Every recruiting manager likes to see preparation and enthusiasm! Oh, and dress appropriately. Look the part and if in doubt, dress up rather than down.

Be persistent

It can take time and effort (and a lot of applications) to land your first job. Keep at it but leave a little time for living too. Persistence pays off and you’ll soon find a role you love and the chance to embark on a rewarding career journey.

Good luck!

At Optimal Recruitment we are experienced in helping candidates navigate the job market. Give us a call today on 02 8416 4181.

Resume Writing Tips

Aaargh! You’ve been putting it off for weeks. Writing that pesky first resume. Don’t despair! Follow our top ten tips below and you’ll be one step closer to securing your dream job.

  1. Keep It Simple

So, you might want to experiment with font and colour. Great if you are a wannabee graphic designer. If not, stick to a readable font, like Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri, throughout. You can still play around with bold and italics to highlight important features.

If your resume runs to more than one page, consider including a header or footer with your name and contact details. Sometimes, recruiters print out resumes and this ensures none of your info goes astray.

  1. Contact Details

Casual voice mail messages, such as “Hey, dude. Surf’s up…etc.” (Yup, we’ve heard them all before) are a big no-no. Record something short and polite. You’re looking for work, not catching your next set. Equally, blasting your caller with on-hold music is not cool.

Check your email message is professional and appropriate. How about keeping shazzarocks@hotmail.com for your personal contacts, and using sharon.rock@hotmail.com in your job search instead?

  1. Education

List your high school name, location, and dates of attendance.

If applicable, also list your university/college name, location, course title, dates of attendance, and qualification level achieved.

Impressive final grades? Make sure you include them too.

  1. School/College/University Achievements

Think about what you achieved at school, college and/or uni. Did you hold a position of special responsibility, e.g. class captain? Did you receive any awards? Were you a member of any school teams, music groups, or associations?

This section shows that you did more than just turn up for class and sit the end-of-year exams.

  1. Personal Attributes

Tell the recruiter what qualities you offer them as an individual. Ask others, such as teachers, university professors, and close family friends, how they would describe you. Or check out your past school reports. Focus on positive descriptions, e.g. motivated, keen to learn, reliable, honest, good team player, and strong communicator. And don’t list too many!

  1. Skills

This section should focus on your proven abilities, e.g.

Intermediate Software: Word, Excel, Outlook, Internet

Basic Software: PowerPoint, Photoshop

Languages: English native speaker, fluent Italian (written and spoken)

Bear in mind that recruitment agencies and potential employers will often test your software skills, especially if they are essential for the role you are applying for.

  1. Work Experience

Demonstrating work experience, whether paid, casual or voluntary, can make or break your resume.

Include details, such as employer name, location, role, and dates of employment. And then show how you made a difference. What were your responsibilities in the role? What did you achieve?

If you worked on the crew at Macca’s, you could talk about working as part of a team, delivering top quality customer service, and the challenges of producing results in short timeframes.

If you helped out in the family business, focus on your contribution. Perhaps you designed a new spreadsheet to capture important information, or assisted customers in-store.

  1. Interests

Along with #5, this is your chance to tell recruiters and potential employers more about you as an individual. Interests should generally fall into three categories:

  • Relevant to the job

If you’re applying for a role at a building consultancy, an interest in modern architecture could be a real plus. Just make sure you can talk about it in some detail.

  • Showcase for your skills

Don’t just list one word, like “Sailing”, and leave it at that. Mention your participation in local regattas, and any good race results; include your role on the yacht club social committee.

  • Plain quirky

Juggling, acrobatics, and collecting paperclips show your originality, and can be useful conversation openers at interview stage.

  1. Referees

Include the full name, job title, organisation, email and telephone number of two referees. Ideally, these should be people you have worked with, such as a shift manager or team leader. If you don’t have much prior work experience, you could always ask someone who knows you well, e.g. a family friend or high school teacher to be a referee.

Ask your referees before providing their details to recruiters and potential employers.

  1. Spellcheck

Run a spellcheck through your resume, then print out a copy and read it from start to finish. Ask a couple of trusted friends or family to look through the final draft. They might just find the one error you’ve overlooked.

Pay Rise

You’ve been in your job for a couple of years and you’re thriving. You’re smashing all your targets, and ticking all the boxes in your performance appraisals, but your success is not reflected in your pay package. Rather than threatening to down tools unless you receive more $$$ on the spot, hang in there and plan ahead. Here is our step-to-step guide to asking for and getting the pay rise you deserve.

BUILD A STRONG CASE
First, check out your job description. Are you meeting and exceeding all the requirements of your role? Have you taken on additional responsibilities that are not mentioned in your job description? Have you made suggestions that have been implemented in the workplace? If yes to any of these questions, then start to build your case. Make a list of your achievements and, if possible, quantify them. Highlight how many benchtops your team have made; specify the total client billings you have generated over the last six months.

Next, look outside your workplace at the wider employment market. Look at job ads for similar roles in the area; study online salary surveys and trends. Find out whether you could potentially earn more elsewhere and note important data. This research will not only help you to justify your request for an increase, it will also help your boss escalate that request to senior management.

BOOK A MEETING WITH YOUR BOSS
Rather than catching your boss on the hop, book a meeting with her and specify that you are wanting to discuss your performance and pay. Timing is crucial here. Fix a day when your boss is not submerged with work; you want her to be open to discussion. Equally, ensure that the current business climate in your workplace is conducive to talk of a pay rise. If the CFO has just quit, or a merger is looming on the horizon, you’d be best to hold off!

BE PREPARED TO SELL YOURSELF
If you don’t ask, you won’t get it! Asking for a pay rise can be a confronting and challenging experience, which is why some employees never get around to it. But you’ve done your homework and you know you’re worth it. So, go into that meeting with courage and confidence. Be upfront about what you bring to your role and the company and support your argument with the research you have carried out. Have a clear idea of the pay package you are after but go in higher so there is room for negotiation. Once you’ve stated your case, ensure you listen to what your boss has to say and respond appropriately. This should not be a battle, but a reasoned discussion between two professionals with a positive outcome for both sides: you receive your pay rise and your boss gets to keep a valued employee on her team.

CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS
All being well, you’ll get the pay rise you are asking for, but what if the response is ‘no’? Don’t lose your cool! First, ask your boss what you can do to achieve that increase in six months’ time. Perhaps there is an aspect of your role where she feels further development is required or perhaps she is privy to company information about future expense cuts and frozen pay. In both instances, consider whether you are best off staying in the role and working your way towards a new pay review or looking around for a new position in another company.

Good luck! We hope you get the pay rise you deserve.

Interview Photo

You’ve screened the resumes and come up with a shortlist of applicants who can all do the job…on paper at least. So, how do you decide which candidate is ‘the one’? Interviews can provide employers with valuable information about an individual’s skills, motivation, achievements and cultural fit. Especially if you ask the right questions and allow candidates to do most of the talking.

Here are ten of our favourite questions to ask candidates at interview:

  1. Why are you interested in this role?

You want to separate out those candidates who have done their homework from the rest. You will find out which aspects of the position have appealed to them. Are these the same aspects that you believe are key to the role and to your company moving forward?

  1. What are the three most important attributes you bring to this role?

Flowing on neatly from #1, you will obtain further insights into candidates’ understanding of the role, and the contribution they could make. You can then assess whether what they offer fits with what you are looking for.

  1. Why are you leaving your current employer?

Candidates’ answers can reveal much about their attitudes, motivation and values at work. Your job is to establish whether their current experience has been a positive one and whether they are leaving for a good reason. If you have doubts, then probe carefully to find out more.

  1. What motivates you most in your current role?

You want to understand what makes candidates tick. They may be enthusiastic about new challenges, for example, or working in a strong team. Will these candidates find similar motivation in the role you are offering and, more broadly, in the culture of your company?

  1. What do you dislike the most about your current role?

Candidates generally find at least one aspect of their current role less enjoyable. It may be a mundane task, such as stuffing envelopes or totting up the petty cash. But it may be something more revealing – such as a candidate for a supervisor role who does not like dealing with conflict.

  1. Tell me about your greatest achievement in your career to date.

Strong candidates are passionate about their accomplishments and will relish the opportunity to talk about them. What they consider to be a great achievement will provide you with insights into their personality, values and working style.

  1. Describe a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted. What did you do?

An alternative to “What’s your greatest weakness?” which most candidates have anticipated and prepared for. Here, you are asking candidates for a concrete example of a difficult situation. Their responses will provide information about their problem-solving skills, ability to own an issue and, potentially, their interaction with others.

  1. How would your colleagues describe you at work?

Some candidates find it difficult to talk about their attributes and achievements, especially at interview. So instead, give them a chance to view themselves through the eyes of their co-workers. You will gain valuable insights into their personality, work ethic, and relationships with others in a team.

  1. Describe the best boss you have reported to.

Bosses vary in the way they supervise, organise, delegate and communicate. And candidates will vary in the way they respond to them. So find out the type of management style that best suits your candidates’ needs and personality. A candidate who is a self-starter, for example, would not be a good match for a micro-manager.

  1. Do you have any questions for me?

Well-prepared candidates will have done their homework, researched the role and company, and drafted a few questions. What candidates ask can provide information about what they consider important. Are they just after basic information, like salary, perks and vacation days? Or are they focused on company vision and opportunities for career progression?

Try incorporating some – or all – of these questions in your candidate interviews. They should help you separate the mismatches and maybes from the high potential candidate(s) who will thrive in your role.

When was the last time you sat down and updated job descriptions in your organisation? For many managers, this activity may not be very high on your priority list, but it should be! Well-written, up-to-date job descriptions (JDs) can be incredibly useful documents for setting and managing expectations in many areas, including:

  • Recruitment: Whether you are hiring internally or externally, a job description provides recruiting managers and candidates with a clear idea of what the role entails and what requirements and qualifications are needed. A JD is also an excellent source of information for writing job ads and briefing agencies.
  • Training: A comprehensive job description gives managers and employees an indication of individual training needs based on role requirements. A suitable training plan can then be drawn up to enable employees to perform their job with confidence and skill.
  • Performance Management: When it comes to that year-end appraisal, reach for those job descriptions. You can evaluate your employees against the expectations you have set out, see where they are succeeding, and establish areas for development.
  • Compensation: A JD should provide an indication of the expected salary range for a particular role. This can help prospective candidates to self-select during the recruitment process. It can also be useful for managers when it comes to discussing salary raises, e.g. providing justification for a lower increase if a job holder is not fully carrying out the responsibilities of the role, or not meeting certain requirements.

So, what should you include in a winning job description?

A comprehensive header: State the formal job title, job type, reporting relationship, division/department, work location, salary range.

Job summary: Provide a brief overview of the job’s purpose, expectations and objectives.

Duties and responsibilities: Start with the duties/responsibilities that take up the most time. Use a bulleted list so that content is easily readable; you can also split the list into categories.

Education & qualifications: Provide information on the education level/type and qualifications that are required for the job.

Knowledge, skills & abilities (KSAs): This should be a list of those KSAs that are required for the job. Note that although skills and abilities are often bundled together, there is a difference! Skills are measurable and observable, and may be acquired through training. Abilities are generally innate (and not learned through training). Here are some examples to get you started:

Knowledge: Knowledge of administrative processes, year-end accounting procedures, operational systems

Skills: Proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite, mechanical repair, accurate data entry,

Abilities: Preparing and maintaining records, working in a team, communicating effectively (written and spoken)

Physical/mental demands: Include any information that is specific to the job, such as heavy lifting, climbing stairs, standing for extended periods of time, public speaking, as well as the work environment (e.g. outdoor work, use of hazardous chemicals).

Tools/equipment used: If applicable, include any specific/specialist tools needed to do the job.

Signature: The employee should sign and date the job description to acknowledge they have read and understood it.

We’ve put together a neat job description template that you are welcome to download and complete for jobs within your organisation. Send us an email and we will share it with you. We hope you find it useful!