Tag Archives: personal experience

Job Application, Resume and Interview Tips

Helpful TipsThere are plenty of ‘What To Do’ and ‘What Not To Do’ tips for job applications, resume writing and interview skills out there if you care to look and most will say much the same thing including us at White Now:

  • Be active in your job search and keep a record
  • Network
  • Write a cover letter for EACH job application you make
  • Address the selection criteria in the advertisement
  • Have more than one Resume tailored to each job/industry you are applying for
  • Keep your Resume professional and only include information relevant to your ability to do the job not your date of birth, religious beliefs or hobbies
  • Include achievements on your Resume for each role
  • USE SPELL CHECK!
  • Dress professionally for job interviews
  • Practice your interview responses – BE PREPARED
  • Plan your travel to your interview

Amongst others…..

Most of these are probably ‘common sense’ to most people, but then ‘common sense’ isn’t necessarily ‘common’ to every one!

Some tips will also be quite subjective, whether or not to include your photo on your Resume, for example. Personally, I am not a fan of this, but some will recommend it – personal choice I guess. Please, do make sure it is an appropriate photo that presents you in a professional light and suitable for the job you are applying for.  A photo of you skiing may not be the best representation of you as a professional, committed manager.

So the advice you do get can be conflicting. The thing that is important to remember is that your application letter and resume is likely to be the first impression the recruiter will gain of you and like it or not, FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT! Especially if the recruiter has received 100+ applications and they are looking for a reason to exclude, rather than include an application.

Therefore: make sure you create a great first impression, use spell check, get a trusted person to review your application/resume honestly, check details of the contact person, company and position you are applying to and make sure the documents are presented professionally and that they are easy to read.

Your resume is a marketing tool for YOU, so think about how you want to market yourself to potential employers.

You can get daily tips on ‘What NOT To Do’ from Wiz Whitenow on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/wizwhitenow – there is a new Wiz’s WOT NOT every day to get you thinking and maybe even make you smile! Check it out!

If you would like to chat for some advice please call the White Now Team in the office or check us out on the website at www.whitenow.com.au for lots more information and positions vacant!

What to do When Attacked by ‘Aliens from Planet Hack!’

As many of you may know, www.whitenow.com.au was recently attacked, YES, attacked! – by ‘Aliens from Planet Hack.’  What this means, is the company that hosts our website and emails was externally and deliberately attacked and this effected our website and emails (along with lots of others) for about 6 days.  Not good for a web-based business!

Anyway, we are now back, the Aliens DID NOT win!

As with most experiences some good things did come out of it.  As an employee of White Now, I was really impressed with the response of those managing the company and our IT resources (Jenny White, Toby Kennett and Andrew Bassett-Smith).  There was no time wasted on ‘wringing hands’, feeling sorry for ourselves or laying blame.  Our management team was straight into ‘solution- finding’ mode and minimising the inconvenience for our clients and website users.  As soon as the problem was discovered, they were onto letting people know as best they could (via Facebook,LinkedIn and twitter initially) and setting up a temporary site so at least our current positions vacant could be seen.

It is really refreshing and inspiring to work for a company like White Now that concentrates on being positive, focused and professional and getting the ‘crisis’ resolved.

This is also a management team that regularly acknowledges the work of staff both publicly and privately – we always know we are appreciated, which makes a BIG difference!  So now its my turn to acknowledge them and say ‘you guys ROCK’ and are great to work for!

There is a definite lesson for ‘What to do When attacked by Aliens from Planet Hack’ or any other ‘crisis’ that befalls your business (or life for that matter), stay positive, focused and look for solutions.  That way you retain your power over the situation and leave the blame laying alone,  get on with the job.

Listening to Customers

listening

I recently purchased the NEW Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste that has been advertised widely.  Having sensitive teeth, the ad totally hooked me and the next time I was looking for toothpaste I decided to give it a go!

When I first went to use the product I was unable to open the ‘tamper-proof’ cap, so went to my husband for help.  In the end, we had to take to it with a knife and cut the secure cap off!  Rather extreme for toothpaste!

I thought that this was so dangerous and ridiculous that I decided to contact Colgate and let them know.  If we had this much trouble, how would someone like my 84 year old mother in law, with arthritic hands and living on her own, ever get the cap off?!  I went onto their website and found the ‘contact us’ section and sent them a polite email describing the problems I experienced.  I quickly received back an equally polite email that essentially ‘fobbed’ me off. Oh well, I thought, I won’t be buying that product again, regardless how good the toothpaste maybe, it’s just too hard to get to.

I forgot all about it and returned to another brand of toothpaste with any easy-access cap.  This week I received a parcel in the post from Colgate.  Seems I must not have been the only one to comment on the cap and they have redesigned it and sent me a tube to trial plus a questionnaire to answer.

Well today I tried the new cap which is still ‘tamper-proof’ but I am pleased to say VERY easy to open and access the toothpaste inside!

All of this really impressed on me how important it is to listen AND respond to customers.  I felt great that my comments had been heard and acted on and my further opinion was then sought.  I am sure I was one of many people who made comments about the cap, but if no one had said anything and had just never bought the product again, Colgate would have been left wondering what the problem was – the toothpaste?  the taste? packaging – WHAT?!  By receiving and acting on the feedback they have been able to make a small change and thererfore, hopefully retain customers and gain new customers, when they spread the word.

So, the moral of the story is to firstly let companies/organisations know if you find a problem with their product or service so they can take action – its then up to them.  Secondly, if you are that company/organisation receiving that comment, WELCOME it with open arms and see at as the opportunity that it is to make your service or product even better!  I will now continue to buy Sensitive Pro-Relief Colgate!

Car Stickers!

  

Side View of One of the Social Media-machines!

Just recently we had all of the company cars decked out with our company branding!  The White Now-mobiles got a purple and yellow wizard, whilst the Social Media-machines received the purple and turquoise Social Wizs, along with web addresses etc, etc! 

I personally live in a busy street in the Inner West of Sydney, one that people wander up and down each morning and evening, to/from Victoria Road, to/from bus.  The day after my car had been done, it was parked in the driveway as I diligently worked from home (at least that what I told the MD I was doing) and yet it managed to earn the business some money!  

You see, a lady wandering past my driveway on her way to her part time job in the city noticed my car and something about the little bare-bottomed Wizard (oh, I forgot to mention – Social Wiz and Wiz have dropped their cloaks in the name of promotion) drew her attention to the message plastered ALL OVER my car!  She then proceeded to look us up on the web once she got to work and made contact with us through our “enquiries” email.  The rest, as they say, is history……….she has signed up as a client and we are working hard on designing, developing and delivering a social media strategy and presence for her business. 

I have always been an advocate for NOT plastering a car with stickers (more from an obsessive-compulsive stand point when it comes to my cars), but since Social Wiz and I have started ‘driving around’ town together, he and I have started to gain quite a lot of attention and not due to my poor driving, I might add.  

So, if you happen to see one of the White Now-mobiles or Social Media-machines out and about, give us a wave or let us know where you saw us.  And if you are ever thinking about getting your car covered in naked bottoms or just stickers in general……..I can tell you from experience that it works!!!

Time(warp) with the Grandkids!

Like any doting grandparents, we love spending time with “our boys”, aged four-and-a-bit and sixteen months, but as they live in Sydney and we live in Adelaide it’s usually a few months between visits.  I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I’m always surprised at how they’ve grown up since I last saw them.  This time I just couldn’t believe the grasp that the four-year-old has on technology.

Now, I come from a generation that grew up without much technology.  We didn’t even have television when I was my grandson’s present age.  And even by the time I finished my education and went to work only big companies could afford computers which needed a climate-controlled room with access restricted to authorised technicians wearing white coats.  There was no such thing as a personal computer, let alone a laptop or notebook.  I always had a secretary to do my typing and I would have been well into my forties before I learned, reluctantly initially, to use a computer.  While I was working I kept myself reasonably up-to-date but since I retired five years ago, I’ve got rather left behind.

Kids today of course, like my grandsons, start using technology almost from the day they’re born and there are so many products that just weren’t around even a few years ago.  I’m thinking of things like iPhones, iPods, iPads, XBOXs, Wii, Wi-fi and so on, most of which I don’t have a clue about.  Let’s face it, I even have trouble turning on the television!

But it’s all second nature to my grandson.  He couldn’t wait to show me how to use his Dad’s iPad . He was able to demonstrate all the features like how to view photographs, play music and so on.  He also knows full well how to order and download applications – fortunately, he also understands that he’s not allowed to and that he needs a password which has been withheld from him.

When it comes to games, he’s in his element and has hand-eye coordination that I envy.  He keeps asking me to play with him but he’s so much better than me that I bore him.  So far, I’ve destroyed the Batmobile in Lego Batman, lost Indiana Jone’s treasure and broken both Kung Fu Panda’s legs.  I’ve now been banned before I do any more damage!

Friends of our age sometimes ask what we think of kids and computers.  Well, I’m all in favour.  Properly used with appropriate parental guidance the computer is a marvellous educational tool, while the ability to keep up with and use technology is an absolutely essential skill today.  Goodness knows what the future will bring; the likely advances are beyond my imagination but the kids will have to cope and the best time to start is now.

Guest Blog by Bevis “PA” Kennett

Busy! Busy !! Busy !!!

One of the questions we often get asked is, “how are things going in the land of White Now?”  (or words to that effect), and our response is usually along the lines of:

  • Flat Out
  • Flat Chat
  • Busy, Busy, Busy!
  • Don’t Know if We’re Arthur or Martha
  • Etc, Etc, Etc

What I’ve noticed though is that each and every time the above is clarified with something like:

  • But I’m not complaining, or
  • Which is FANTASTIC, or
  • I’d rather be flat out as at least we know we can pay ourselves this week, or
  • We never take our good fortune for granted

It got me to thinking just how “lucky” we are!  And when I say “lucky” it is not because of a fluke or being in the right place at the right time.  It comes down to a lot of BLOODY HARD WORK!!!  But the bottom line is that we all genuinely enjoy it and on a personal level, I am not sure what I would do with myself if I was sitting around twiddling my thumbs!

The past fortnight has seen a significant part of the team away on annual leave and whilst some in our office might suggest that the people in question do very little ‘real’ work, the fact of the matter is that they (well, at least one of them) do/does contribute to the overall productivity of the team!!! :)  ……office humour!

What never ceases to amaze, please, excite and drive me personally is the continual influx of business and the fantastic range of services that we get asked if we can provide or assist with.  Not a week goes by without the phone ringing or an email pinging that asks us to step outside our core business/services and look at opportunity from a different angle.

I was wondering why this might be the case.  And I think the answer is our………………INTEGRITY.  I firmly believe that the business is founded on such strong principles and that each of the team live up to those values on a daily basis so that our customers form a trusted bond with us which means that they are comfortable asking us for things that might not be on our ‘list’ of what we do.

So, in summary I would like to say that I believe we are so incredibly fortunate to wake up each day and be surrounded by opportunity, questions, ideas, laughter, integrity, honesty, support, open communication, etc, etc and that I pinch myself regularly and do a stop…….check…… every couple of days to make sure I recognise the reality of that fortune and never, ever take it for granted.

To everyone that supports “us” in the myriad of ways that we are so fortunate……….THANK YOU!!!  You are our reason for continual improvement and integral to our overall success.

The Road to Recovery

I received a phone call over 2 weeks from a mate that I have known for over 20 years, in fact he was the first person that I made friends with at my footy club when we moved over to Australia!  He called me to confirm that I would be attending his 4oth birthday on the weekend of 27th March and we agreed that we would spend the day with one eye on the tv watching the Formula 1 highlights and the other chatting to various people!  We laughed about it and that was that.

Then, Wednesday last week he rang me back.  There was the usual banter and a brief chat about the first round of the F1.  This was then followed up with “Hey mate, you know how my party was locked in for the 27th?”.  “Yes”.  “Well, we are going to have to postpone it for a later date”.  “Oh!  Ok.  Is everything alright?”.

What followed was him informing me that he had been feeling a bit crook in the last week and so he had been to the Doc’s on the Monday and after a couple of tests that day, then a HEAP of tests on the Tuesday, they had decided to rush him in for an emergency procedure to remove a cancerous tumour from his right kidney.  They would need to break a couple of ribs to do so, make an incision about 30cm+ long and he would be under for 4 hours or so!

He was (as always) pretty philosophical about the whole thing and said that it was great that they had found it and that the surgery was the cure and that in 95% of cases, that is the end of it!

So, last week he went in to hospital and had the operation and I spoke with his wife on the Thursday and then with him on the Sunday.  He said that he was in massive pain, but that the op had gone really well and that they were talking about releasing him “soon”.  The VERY NEXT day, I got a text from him to say that he was in the car on his way home!  I was shocked, but told him that I would be over to visit the next day (yesterday)!

I was even more shocked when I saw the state of him yesterday when I got to his place!  He could hardly move he was in so much pain and the poor bloke looked a lot older than his (almost) 40 years!  I said to him, “What the hell are you doing back at home in this state?” (the terminology has been cleaned up for the purposes of the blog)!!!  His response was along the lines of the hospital needed the bed and they offered to give him some strong medication to handle the pain and as he was ‘young and fit’ (young – defintely.  fit – not so sure!!!) he should recover well .

Now, I am obviously NOT a Doctor, but there is no way my  mate should have been let out of the hospital.  I won’t go in to the gory details, but let me just say that he had not even cleared his system since the operation so they should have at least have kept him until that milestone had been successfully achieved!  It should also be noted that he was released against the protestations of both his wife and sister AND that he was paying TOP DOLLAR in a private hostpital with a VERY good name!!!

I am gob-smacked that anyone would be released after such major surgery!  And to let someone go home where there was not going to be any care for the first two days that he was back there is beyond me and quite frankly bordering on culpable in my limited opinion!!!

However, from all of this there have been some real positives:

  • Primarily that my friend is better and should be fine from here!
  • It has woken him up to his unhealthy lifestyle
  • And has woken myself and a couple of our other close friends up to theirs (unhealthy lifestyles).  We have all agreed to getting a bit fitter and being healthier and to making some wiser decisions when it comes to our lifestyles (work vs play vs late nights vs parties vs etc, etc)!

Life is so precious, particularly when we all have kids involved!  We should therefore hold on tight to it and take the time to look at what is important us and make the decisions required to ensure that we are around and about to enjoy each and every moment that we have to spend with those that we love and cherish as ultimately we are all mortal, which for (relatively) young Australian blokes to admit is a MAJOR milestone!!!  :)

Good Peoples (intentional typo) !

Isn’t it funny how “Good Peoples” attract “Good Peoples” ???

What a treat !

I can quite honestly say that I work in a truly great organisation and am surrounded by a whole load of genuinely “Good Peoples” both professionally and personally.  And sometimes things happen that reaffirm this, such as yesterday (a work day):

My fantastic MD arranged through one of her contacts for me to be taken for a drive in a BMW M3……………………..something that I have always wanted to do.  (I openly admit to be a Revhead, but promise to do my best not to make this a car story as such !).

I was instructed to be at a certain location at a certain time and as my Dad (a fellow Car Tragic) was visiting from SA, he was also invited along for the ride.  Upon our arrival we were greeted by the owner of the aforementioned M3 who saw my Dad was using a walking stick and so very kindly told us to wait there whilst he collected the car and brought it out the front.  As this gorgeous charcoal-silver M3 pulled up to the collection point, Dad and I prepared to load ourselves in to the passenger seats, but the owner had another offer – one that quite frankly blew me away.  He wandered over to me and handed me the keys to his VERY powerful and VERY expensive ‘pride and joy’ and told me that I would be driving.

Mouth agape and in a mouse-like voice I tried to decline but he insisted and so I climbed in to the driver’s seat and got myself comfortable.

I won’t bore you with the details of the drive as I know cars are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I will just comment that it was everything and more than I had imagined.  I came back quite literally shaking with excitement, nervousness and awe.  The car’s owner had happily let me have a pretty serious “go” and was quite obviously chuffed at my enthusiasm and enjoyment.

Upon returning to where we had set off from, we all went out for lunch where we shared a fantastic meal and some amazing company.  Dad and I spent nearly three hours with a person that we had never met before and he had managed to clear his very, very busy schedule to make time for us !  Dad had a ball !!!  He has been retired for a few years now and so rarely has the opportunity to mix in “business” circles which afford a level of intellectual conversation.  I had the opportunity to spend some quality time almost one on one with a highly intelligent and very successful businessman and in doing so discovered a person of great integrity and passion – a person that enjoyed the opportunity to give with absolutely no expectation of anything in return.  A truly “Good People” !

Yesterday was indeed a VERY special day !  I not only got to drive one of the cars of my dreams, but I had the opportunity to witness my Dad be genuinely happy (not that this is uncommon, but it is something that you never grow tired of) and I also got to broaden my network of “Good Peoples”.

To everyone involved (you know who you are)………………….THANK YOU !  THANK YOU !!  THANK YOU !!!  I wake up on a daily basis and thank my lucky stars for all of the wonderful things around me and yesterday was yet another moment to be thankful for !

You guys ROCK !

It’s All About the Coffee

I’m sharing this experience with you for what it was worth to me personally !  The experience was pretty

Smell the Coffee

 normal in many ways, but the process of blogging it was where the benefit arose.  You see by thinking about what to write and then drafting the story below, it has forced me to revisit our business to make sure that we are “making good coffee”.  Read on and hopefully it will all make sense………….

My three year old was due back to Daycare this week, so my wife and I promised him a brekky outing on the weekend as he had been “requesting” pancakes on an almost daily basis of late…………there are afterall priorities in a little boy’s life and pancakes just so happens to be one of them !  :)

We set-off to a well-known Pancake House in town and my wife and I ordered a cup of coffee each.  Now whilst I have been criticised by friends for being a bit of a coffee snob (I refuse to drink instant), having spent years in hospitality I am partial to a good cuppa.  And so, I waited patiently for my coffee to appear and when it did I just knew it wasn’t going to be a good experience.  Firstly, I had ordered a mug only to be delivered a cup.   There was this tiny bit of tatty floating white stuff amongst what looked like very dirty dishwater and smelt like burnt coffee.  Lifting the cup to my lips, I could feel the heat of the beverage and was prepared for the fact that I was going to blister my tongue and unfortunately I was right, the milk had been burnt so the coffee was dangerously hot !

It’s funny because the rest of the meal was quite passable – nothing fantastic, but certainly nothing terrible either.  The service was satisfactory through the meal process and became good at the end when we were asked if everything was to our liking and I commented that the coffees were not at all good and explained very politely why.  The waiter apologised and whisked the full cups away asking if we would like another, which we declined.  He then came back to our table and informed us that he had removed the items from our bill, which I thanked him for and we went to pay the bill.

In the car on the way home my wife and I commented to each other that we would likely not rush back in main due to the coffee, which got me to thinking about the number of establishments that I visit where the coffee is poor and how I usually make a mental note not to go back unless something else about the visit is particularly special.  What it means is that everything/everyone else has to work that much harder to win my custom as they couldn’t get the little thing (making the coffee) right in the first place.

Am I being a bit harsh ?

Possibly !  But I don’t think that I would be alone in thinking this way.  I am not for a moment suggesting that I cannot be won over simply because of a bad cup of coffee.  There are certainly places that we frequent where the coffee is only just passable, but everything else is brilliant !  But it is JUST THAT point that I am making……..everything else has to be way above par, when in reality all they needed to do was get the small stuff right. 

We are spoilt for choice here in Australia and in general we are well informed about the way food & beverages should be served, not to mention how a venue should present; the cleanliness of toilets and food facilties and a myriad of other “small” things that add up in the “big scheme” of things !!!  So, metaphorically speaking it made me think about the “quality of OUR coffee” and made me retrace some of our practices with the view to considering if any of our services are working harder to make up for some of the others…………….

……….when was the last time you checked on your coffee ???