Category Archives: Career Management

Could entrepreneurship be your answer?

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Most of us have been led to believe the path we must take involves going to school to learn knowledge and skills then starting work for someone else. Whether it’s a large company or a small one, typically we are plan to become an employee.

What if there is another path we could be considering? What if the traditional path your mother and father took just isn’t appealing to you? What if you love the idea of working for yourself? Today’s global landscape, and the rise of the internet, has made entrepreneurship more feasible than ever.

Here’s three things we think you could reflect upon to work out whether you’re a good fit for being your own boss.

Personality Fit

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and if your personality is one that is resistant to change and ambiguity, it may cause you to be very unhappy. Consider if you are ok with some risk, if you enjoy working hard and finding solutions, and if you are comfortable working on your own.

While no job is guaranteed and can be outsourced at anytime in today’s market, you are really relying on yourself when you are an entrepreneur. It can put you in some pretty stressful situations, so you need to be honest with yourself about whether or not you are prepared to deal with that.

A business idea

In order to become an entrepreneur, you need to have a focus for the business. No idea yet? Check out these 20 ideas from Australian Anthill for some inspiration.

If you have an idea already, have you thoroughly researched it? What’s happening in the industry? Who are your competitors and how are you different?

How much capital do you need to get your business going? Where will you find that money? Before jumping into working for yourself, make sure you have considered all the different angles. A good idea is to bounce your idea off someone who isn’t close to you. A life coach or a career counselor can be a great third party to ask you the right questions and give you honest feedback on your idea. Then you can take that feedback and adjust your idea accordingly.

Write a Business Plan

If you are seeking investment into your company you will likely need to provide investors with a detailed business plan.

Even if you don’t need additional funds for your business, mapping your plan out in a business plan is a great way to get specific with your idea and plans to make it successful. For a free template, try the Australian Government’s offerings as a starting point.

If you feel like running your own business would be exciting and fulfilling, give it a shot! Once you have a plan, put it into action. Connect with others doing what you’re doing. Consider a Chamber of Commerce or business networking group for support and professional development.

If you are currently working for someone else you could even try it out as a side business before making a full leap. The corporate world will still be an option if you decide entrepreneurship isn’t for you afterall. But the only way to find out for sure is to try.

Career Vitality won the Hills & Districts Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2016 and would be very happy to share the experiences with you on 0400 739 919 or if you’re keen to explore this pathway.

Loving your career? Take stock for the new year.

2017 is coming to an end and it’s a great time for reflection. One of the biggest areas in our lives we review is our careers. Are we happy and fulfilled with where we currently are? Or is it dreadful just thinking about returning after the holidays? To help you take inventory on how you are feeling, try these tips.

Nature of Role

The first thing you should consider is if you like what you are doing. Make a list of everything you like and everything you dislike with your current job. For this step, focus on tasks only. If you find that your dislike column is much longer than your like column, it may be time to contact a career counsellor!

We can get so ingrained with day to day work that we may not even realise that we don’t like what we are doing. Identify what you can do to change this. Maybe it’s that you can look for new projects to get involved in or delegate certain tasks? Other times you may need to look for a change in role to get excited again.


Compensation is extremely important and a big focus are you should look at in your reflection. Are you being compensated fairly for the work you are doing? Unfortunately, if you have been with the same company for a few years, you could be below market value for your role.

Do you feel like you are ready to take the next step in your career to reach the next pay level? Perhaps 2018 is the year you take your salary to the next income level. Decide what is right for you.


Sometimes pay and what you do is great, but you are still unhappy. In this case, consider your work environment. Do you have the autonomy you desire in your role? Are your opinions valued? Do you have a boss you respect and get along with? Environment play a huge factor in overall job satisfaction.

Work life Balance

We spend a ton of time at work, but do you have the ability to work a flexible schedule when needed? Does your boss or company allow the ability work from home from time to time? When unexpected life events come up, do you get support from your company?

Are you expected to answer emails and calls while you are away from the office? We need the ability to turn off our connection to the office from time to time, so having a mismatch on work life balance can really be an issue.

Taking time to think about where you are in your career is helpful to keep you moving in the right direction. Many times people can pinpoint what is wrong, but are not sure how to alter their situation. If you are in need of some expertise in this area, enlist the help of a career coach in Brisbane or by phone or Skype. Plan to make changes in 2018 to get yourself on the track to a career you are excited about!

Spring is here. Time to Spruce up Your Resume

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46781735 – 123RF Loulia Bolchakova

It’s that time of year again – spring cleaning! Love it or hate it, this is a fantastic time to get our lives in a more organised state. We spring clean our homes, but what about our resumes? If you are considering applying to a new job, or just want to be prepared when you are, take some time to refresh your resume.

A resume should be regularly updated to keep it fresh. If you haven’t looked at it in a while, it is likely in need of some changes to reflect your recent achievements. The great news is we have put together some ways to upgrade your current resume and get noticed.


When was the last time you updated your resume format? Using a template you have used for the past five years is likely going to look boring and dated and will be less competitive in the market. Current styles focus on easy to read resumes that highlight important information.

Maximise the impact of the top 30% of your first page. Often readers won’t read your entire resume but instead will scan for keywords. This modern format accounts for that short scan and aids in putting that information in a way that is easy to read. CareerOne offers some great achievement based templates you can download and use for free.

Revise Experience Section

Sometimes we fall short in showcasing our value by using the experience section as a list of job duties. While you want to let potential employers know what you did in your role, flip it to highlight your achievements. The CAR model (challenge, action, results) can help you to construct your bullet point achievements.

Managers want to see the tangible assets you bring to the table. Think about ways you have improved processes or saved the company money. If you are in a revenue generating role, let them know your impact on the bottom line. Anytime you can quantify how you improved the company, the easier it will be for the manager to see what you can potentially do for them.

Optimise Keywords

When you apply for a job there is an increasing chance that it will go into an applicant tracking system (ATS). This is an online recruiting system to help recruiters and hiring managers find the best candidates for their openings. Most ATS’s have software that matches resumes to the posted job description and recommend a match.

In addition, recruiters search places like LinkedIn for candidates with keywords from the job description. To make sure your resume is compatible, research the words that frequently show up in the roles you are interested in.

Revamping your resume is the first step in starting your job search. Get your chance to wow the hiring manager during the interview process and land your dream job! For more help with career guidance, including interview preparation consider hiring a career coach. Donna can help prepare you for your interview and help you feel confident in your answers, giving you the best chance of an offer.

Supercharge Your Development with a Coach

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Are you someone who wants to grow and reach your goals as quickly and efficiently as possible? I know that’s not everyone’s thinking but since I’ve worked out what I want, I know I’m constantly feeding my mind and looking for ways to accelerate the time to get there.

Recently I picked up my seven year old son from school and still had one of my favourite podcasts playing. After a couple of minutes, with me thinking “I hope some of this subliminally sinks in for him”, Matt asked “Mum, why do you listen to this stuff?” I told him that I wanted to be cleverer to which he replied “Mum, you’re already clever”. While, I wish I had recorded those words because I’m sure that’s not what he’ll be saying in another seven years, his comment reminded me of another situation that had come up.

A few months back, I engaged a speaking coach to assist with a new presentation. We met to discuss strategy, the technical aspects of speaking, issues and insights. One of the most valuable parts of our work was my coach observing me presenting and providing me with super helpful feedback, some validating but also some suggestions for improvement. After the presentation a friend who had hung back said to me, “A few of the ladies I spoke to questioned why you engaged a speaking coach when you’re already a great speaker”. While I was a little flattered by their comment I knew without a doubt that the decision to engage a coach was one of my better ones.

So why would you consider a coach? There a just so many reasons but here’s a few to consider:

  1. Expertise. Many coaches have technical and/or coaching skills that will save you from floundering around and falling into every pothole along your path. With someone who has been there guiding you, you will fast track the time it takes you to be getting the results you want.
  2. Goal setting. A coach can help you to establish what it is you want and support you to identify what you will need to do, or who you will need to be, to get there.
  3. Accountability. Sometimes even when we know what we need to do, we don’t do it. Having to report back has a way of motivating and keeping you honest.
  4. Challenge. It is so easy for us to sit in our comfort zone but a coach is all about supporting us to reach our potential. They will challenge your thinking as well as help you to set challenges for growth.
  5. Independent but invested in your success. Often our friends and partners can tire of listening to our stories and frankly they can be just a little too close to the situation. They often see us in a certain light or can bring their own issues to the discussion. A coach can be the perfect sounding board, is objective and wants you to be successful.

So far I’ve found my coaches through my networks and I’d highly recommend that. If it’s purest coaching you’re after you might try the International Coach Federation (ICF). If you want to get the best outcomes possible in your career, definitely consider a career coach. We specialise in coaching for job search, resume, interview, career management and more.

Contact Donna on 0419 120 601 or email to arrange a free 15 minute consultation about your needs and circumstances today.

Simple Ideas for Choosing a Career

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Are you still wondering what you’d like to be when you grow up? Believe me, many people are! As a career coach I am often asked to help adult clients to find the answer to this question, or at least what they want to do next.

This used to be my least favourite type of work but I’ve realised that’s changing with experience and achieving some great outcomes with clients – I’m often now excited about going on a journey with clients to discover more about who they are, what excites them and what next career steps they want to explore.

Usually when working with a career change client we are able to draw out a lot of valuable information through conversation and some questions. We can all get so many valuable insights from our everyday lives. On the weekend I was camping with a friend who is wondering what occupations might suit her. I asked her what she had wanted to be when she was a child? What had been easy for her that others found difficult? What held her attention? When she said she had no recollection, I suggested she speak to those who were around at the time – parents, siblings, friends, etc.

Over the course of the weekend she spoke to a chef friend of ours and talked about her love of food – saying how she ‘gets food’. Her face lit up when she spoke. I asked her what her feelings had been towards cooking when she was young and she replied “OMG that’s it, isn’t it – it’s food”. I think she would have worked it out when she reflected upon her childhood but those moments of inspiration and insight can come at any time and in many different contexts and it’s about recognising them when we see them.

Have you ever experienced a strong pull to a particular activity in either your private or work life? I once went to a story telling event at the Woodford Folk Festival and walked away saying to friends that I needed to tell a story. It was the strongest compulsion and in the next few months I spoke at three story telling events and realised how much public speaking excites and energises me. One of our CareerSmart Mums guest speakers shared her experience of immediately recognising that she wanted to be a Lifeline counsellor when she heard a radio advertisement for them – bounding out of her car to write the number down. While not everyone might experience such moments, I suspect it happens much more than we recognise or act upon. Tune in to your intuition.

If you’re still wondering what to do when you grow up, a good starting point might be:

  • Think about what energises or engages you to the point that you don’t notice time passing
  • Consider what you wanted to be as a child
  • Be open to, and seek out, the clues around you
  • Reflect on what everyone has always said you are good at
  • Seek out new experiences, learn a new skill, be curious

If you need some help or inspiration, contact Donna on 0419 120 601 or Life’s too short to not love what you do.


Getting your superhero on for interviews

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Have you ever suffered from nerves before or during an interview? It’s a very common experience and one that my career coaching clients often raise. Of course it’s usually a sign that you’re interested in the role and that there is a bit at stake in the process. Ideally you do want to keep the nerves at bay as much as possible so that the interviewers get the best opportunity to see the real you and what you can offer.

One of the main anecdotes for nerves is preparation and you’ll find I’ve written a couple of past blogs to assist you with taking a structured and logical approach to your interview preparation. While this style of preparation is essential, here are a few other techniques that I often share with clients to help with nerves.

  1. Prepare to take some notes in with you. It is fine to refer them but often they act as a safety blanket and just knowing you have them is enough.
  2. Do some visualisation in the lead up to your interview. Picture yourself at the interview with everything playing out perfectly. See yourself calm and relaxed. Watch yourself answering all their questions well, observing the interviewers nodding while you speak. Consider playing this video over and over again in your mind as it acts as a great form of practice.
  3. Be present and breathe. Often our minds can be our worst enemy at an interview, worrying or projecting our fears. Get grounded by feeling your feet on the floor and/or bum on the seat and notice your breath coming in and out of your body. Fully being in the room can help to calm you down and focusing on your breath should leave little room for other thoughts that might unravel you.
  4. Think about the interview as a ‘conversation’, one in which you need to share certain information about yourself so that the interviewer(s) realise that you have what is needed to perform well in the role.
  5. Watch Amy Cuddy’s Power Posing Ted Talk ( I have had clients pose in the bathroom before their interview, on the drive there and in their bedroom before their video interview! These clients strongly believe the strategies in Amy’s talk improved their interview performance. I saw power posing used with my son and a group of other children learning how to do a rocking stage entrance at a festival event and am a convert after witnessing him standing on a chair, hand up, wanting to get on stage, behaviour that was completely out of character.

If you experience interview nerves, why not give these tips a go and let us know how it works out. If you think you’d benefit from some interview coaching Career Vitality would love to help you. Call Donna on 0419 120 601 or email

Mentors Matter

Mentoring AdviceAs I sat waiting to catch a plane to my industry association’s national conference recently, I reminded my friend Jo, of our one year anniversary.  It was at last year’s conference that Jo had kindly offered to mentor me during my transition from human resources to the career industry.  Although I had a mentor through a university scheme, I jumped at the offer because Jo had taken a very similar path to the one I was embarking on and I figured the more access I had to skilled people on my journey, the better.  As it turns out, I haven’t exactly been monogamous in my mentoring relationships, having also enjoyed a couple of other very valuable informal relationships last year.

I actually can’t imagine having got to this point without access to these wonderful people (at least without much more pain, many more mistakes and much more time).  So what has come out of these relationships, you might ask?  Collectively, the benefits included work experience through placements, enhancing my technical skills through supervision and case meetings, expanding my network, recommendations for opportunities and actual work, developing a referee in my new industry (which helped me obtain consulting work) and learning about setting up, and running, a small business.

Potential mentors are all around us, whether it be in the workplace or the community.  Ideally the discussion of mentoring would happen when you know, or have developed a relationship with, the potential mentor because this will allow you to assess their suitability and potentially increase their comfort in taking on the role.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of connecting with a very experienced professional in my industry (I sent her an email after seeing her speak at a professional development session a little while back).  As we left the coffee shop, she said that she would be happy to continue to catch up, even in a mentoring capacity.  Although the thought had crossed my mind, it was lovely that it happened quite organically.  I will definitely be adding this person to my network of mentors which will allow me to call on others a little less and give me the opportunity to observe another style and skillset.

Whatever your stage of career, you are likely to find a good mentoring relationship valuable.  It can be a great way to grow into or out of your role, transition roles or industries, expand your network, increase your organisational knowledge, or to be challenged in a supportive context. Do you have a mentor?  What have been the benefits of the relationship?  If you don’t, is it time to consider it?