I was speaking with someone who recently applied for call centre work for NSW Police and they were surprised at how much of the testing performed at the group interviews required data entry and Microsoft Excel skills.
Microsoft Office skills are important to get office support or admin jobs but even more so now that employees are working remotely from home using their computer. If you need help on that front we offer FREE data entry and absolute beginner level skills in Word and Excel.
I had a fantastic conversation with an EzyLearn student during the week. She enrolled into our Xero COMPLETE Training Course Package and love it so much she enrolled into MYOB, QuickBooks, Excel and more.
The course increased her confidence to apply for and get work after years of being out of the workforce and as a bookkeeper she now uses the courses as a resource for aspects of the software she needs to upskill on. The EzyLearn Affiliate Membership is designed for students like her.
It almost seemed like Xero was giving you $27.50 of extra value when they announced their $2 per month increase last week. These effects take effect on 18 March 2020 but not everyone wants Hubdoc and competitors like QuickBooks already offered similar functionality!
Xero has had a love/hate relationship with bookkeepers ever since the days when they promoted their accounting software as so easy that small business owners could use it themselves – without the cost of a bookkeeper – and it looks like they are well on their way with this mission. Continue reading Xero going up a pesky $2 rather than $27.50
I can use Word, it’s easy! How many times have you heard that?
When we performed skills assessments for CRS Australia at our Dee Why training Centre we’d have lots of clients come in and tell us how great they were at using Microsoft Word, until we asked them to show us how to perform some of the Intermediate Word skills.
Looking through Seek for data entry jobs yesterday reminded me of the training courses we offered when we operated our Dee Why training centre. It was the dotcom boom and MYOB Accounts Receivable and Payable courses were our popular weekend courses but most students needed more basic data entry skills.
Data entry skills include typing, editing documents, entering data into spreadsheets, saving files and then opening, editing and saving them again!
More job seekers have data entry skills but there’s so much more to know about basic Word and Excel usage that employers need you to know.
‘Social proof’ is testimonials, reviews and feedback of others, that vouches for the product or service we’re thinking of buying. Social proof backs up the fact that what we’re considering buying is what it says it is.
Come see some social proof about EzyLearn by meeting some students from the past few weeks — you just might have a lot in common with them.
I WAS BROWSING THROUGH my contacts on LinkedIn and found an advertisement by a company that was looking to hire people.
They were in the AI (Artificial Intelligence) space and their headquarters were in Europe.
However, the ad looked like it could be for any company including trades, professional services etc.
Here’s what the ad contained:
Executive Assistant / Office Manager
The Executive Assistant / Office Manager will be primarily responsible for helping to keep everyone (and everything) working at peak performance. We’re a growing company, and there will be new and interesting challenges every day. Ideal candidates are curious and interested in learning more about what we do, and always interested in learning new skills and taking on new challenges.
Manage all aspects of office administration
Coordinate team schedules and events
Manage executive schedules
Handle payment of invoices and associated bookkeeping
Order supplies and equipment
Excellent verbal and written English communication skills
Strong organizational and time management skills
Ability to work with minimum supervision, prioritizing work as needed
Strong knowledge of office applications, including Word, Powerpoint, and Excel
The training you need
Apart from the soft skills like good time management, communications, speaking and writing the software skills you can learn to apply for this job are:
Why I’m sharing this ad is that I reckon it encapsulates “the perfect” administrative or executive assistant, or office manager. What I mean is that anybody possessing all the skills and capabilities listed above would be well qualified for almost any job in this area — for pretty much any type of company.
And they wouldn’t be limited to any particular industry either. Any intelligent person who is a quick learner would be able to pick up the nuances for various different industries and apply their skills as necessary.
Being Jack of All Trades can land you in hot water with BAS
IT’S PERHAPS EASIER TO do your own bookkeeping these days than it used to be; particularly if you’re using a cloud accounting program like MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks, which are among the easiest, yet robust, accounting applications currently on the market.
But even so, there are many aspects of Australian tax that, while accounting software makes it possible to carry them out yourself (like business activity statements, for example), it’s not a good idea unless you really know what you’re doing. Here are the three GST mistakes nearly every business owner makes in their bookkeeping. Continue reading Are You Making these GST Mistakes in Your Bookkeeping?
DO YOU KNOW THERE is no reason to find a job interview nerve wracking, even though so many people do. It’s simple enough to understand why. People put a lot of pressure on themselves to give the best impression and come out as the successful candidate. And look, these things are important, no argument there, but together the pressure to give a good impression AND win the job itself, can conspire to turn you into a “yes man” (or woman).
A job interview is about finding a suitable candidate for a position available at a company. This is not a one way street. As much as you need to give a good impression, so does the company, and if you look at it that way — that you’re interviewing them as much as they are you — it takes the pressure off A LOT.
I don’t just mean at the end when they ask if you have any questions — honestly, you’re probably not likely to have any questions by this point, because if you’ve been paying attention, you should have covered any of questions you had going in.
When you’re asked how you would handle a particular situation or what your approach to something might be, ask for more information if you need or qualify the situation they’re referring. People are often afraid to do this in case they look silly, when actually it makes you look quite smart, and show that you’re not afraid of authority.
Take your time
Don’t rush to answer a question. There’s no real way to prepare for an interviewer’s questions, and they know that. However, your answers should also be rooted in some previous experience you’ve had, so while it may take you a while to wrack your brains for a previous example, you shouldn’t be unable to answer either. If you can’t think of an exact experience, discuss a similar one and how you handled that.
Be yourself and relax
This is so important, because as much as the interviewer may be looking for the most skilled candidate, they’re also looking to make sure you’re not a robot. Show your personality, show you’re a human, establish some rapport with your interviewers. Some of the interview process is confirming you are what you say you are, but mostly it’s finding out if you’re someone they want working for them.
In the IT and engineering industry, interviews aren’t even set up to determine skill sets, but rather personality traits, because many companies today are looking for programmers and engineers who can communicate to stakeholders in plain English, rather than tech talk.
Remember, who you are in the interview should reflect and expand on who you are in your resume and cover letter. You can learn how to use PowerPoint to create a resume in our PowerPoint training courses. For more information, visit our website.
You can also brush up on Word for your resume presentation by enrolling in our Microsoft Word online training courses. You’ll be amazed at the things you can create with a comprehensive understanding of Word.
Gone are the days of excruciatingly dull PowerPoint slide presentations… Nowadays PowerPoint is the hidden gem used to generate animations, videos, movies, advertising and graphics. It’s a great ally to the marketer or social media person in your organisation. This creative program can also be used to conjure up the most beautiful and modern pictorial slides to enhance any presentation or induction.
And the truth about being a freelancer or contractor is that you’ll most likely spend the rest of your working life applying for work. If you don’t like the idea of this, well then maybe being self-employed isn’t for you! Why? Because in order to find the best work; the kind that you’ll love, you need to be always looking for it — or always be closing, if there any fans of Glengarry Glen Ross in the house tonight.
The truth about being a freelancer or contractor is that you’ll most likely spend the rest of your working life applying for work.
Do pay attention to design
I’m choosing to exclude the “grammar, spelling and punctuation” portion of this list, because if you don’t already know that’s important by now, then oh boy, I can’t help you. But formatting and design are important, whether you’re looking for work in a creative industry or not.
The key is to grab attention in less than half a minute. You can use different fonts, for instance, a larger plain font for headings and a smaller (perhaps serif) font for the body text. You can type your resume up in Word or use PowerPoint or some other design tool. But just don’t get ahead of yourself and use something too fancy that you don’t have a proper grasp of and end up with a resume that is hotchpotch and messy.
These days, some recruiters will even upload your resume into their own “system” which “parses” your content and basically re-formats it all into plain text. If this happens, your gorgeous CV will look very different on the screen of the employer. The simpler the design and layout of the original resume, the easier it will be for them to read if they indeed use this system for getting through the applications of hundreds of job applicants. But don’t feel disheartened, there are others ways to get spotted amongst the crowd.
Don’t use jargon
The next hurdle, once you’ve got the recruiter or hiring manager reading your resume or cover letter, is to urge them to call you. Do not, I repeat, do not use jargon of any kind in either your resume or cover letter. The minute someone reads a sentence that starts with or contains “experienced in”, “team player”, “responsible for”, etc, etc, they switch off.
These phrases mean literally nothing. Nothing. Telling someone you’re a team player: redundant. Everyone should be a team player, and there is no one, not a single person ever, who has written on their resume that they’re not one. Instead, tell the employer what you like about working in a team. (On a similar note, also avoid the term “able to work autonomously” by explaining the times you’ve had to and how that’s gone.)
When you go to use the words “experienced in” try to remind yourself that this is something that happens to you — not something you proactively go out and do. Instead refer to your background in terms of achievements. Search “typical jargon to avoid on a resume” for more.
Do show your personality
Remember that employers are people too. Work culture is important to lots of businesses, so they need to know that any potential new hire, freelance or otherwise, will be able to fit in and work with them. And if you can make the person reading your resume laugh, oftentimes you’ll get a call back.
Don’t list silly interests
I should add a qualifier to that, which says that it’s okay to list a really silly interest if you know and make a point of noting that it’s a silly interest. This makes you seem thoughtful, and definitely not as dumb as a person who says they like reading or sports on their resume. Reading what? It implies novels, but it could also mean signposts, Aldi catalogues, Post It Notes. And if you like playing cricket more than once a year on Boxing Day, then for the love of all that is holy (cricket on Boxing Day), say that. Otherwise, put down interests that you actually are interested in — they reveal a lot about the type of person you are, which again, goes to help with the point above.
First off, there are two kinds of audio you can use in a PowerPoint presentation: pre-recorded audio and audio you record yourself. You’ll learn how to record and insert your own audio files into PowerPoint in our PowerPoint Training Course.
When you might use pre-recorded audio
If you’ve ever fiddled around with PowerPoint, you’d notice there are a few audio sounds you can use insert into your slides. They’re mostly generic sound effects, like the sound of waves or a bird chirping. To be honest with you, none of these are ever appropriate in a PowerPoint presentation, except in some really obscure instances. Or less obscure ones, like a training course teaching you how to insert pre-recorded audio into PowerPoint!
You can also add pre-recorded audio that you have on your computer, like a song from your music library. Again, there are few instances when this is necessary, but it’s another option nonetheless.
Adding audio you record yourself
And here is where the answer to using audio in PowerPoint really lies. You can record your own audio, using QuickTime if you’re an Apple user, or Sounds Recorder if you’re using an older version of Windows; otherwise you can also record it on your mobile or digital recorder and import it onto your computer.
You would use this audio if you were going to upload your presentation to your website for a webinar, or for people to watch online afterwards. EzyLearn uses it in some of of online training courses. You could use audio in your induction training courses, too.
Why It Pays to Call the Switchboard When Doing a Reference Check
I recently had a conversation with a colleague who said she’d never once been asked to produce a copy of her university degree or her transcripts, despite stating on her resume that she’d graduated with a high distinction average.
Gee, I thought, not once? Not a single recruiter or employer had ever requested a copy of her degree? I found this fact astonishing, particularly since more professions require, by law, certain qualifications — as BAS agents are, for example. So how people know my friend wasn’t fibbing in her credentials? Fact is, they didn’t.
Check, even if you use a recruiter
I wrote a blog some time ago about recruiting on LinkedIn and why it’s so important to check references for yourself. People often underestimate the importance of checking a person’s credentials, so long as they get a reference from their last employer. Often, though, most people only provide a mobile number for their references, so whether you’re speaking to the candidate’s former employer, a co-worker, or their mum is sometimes anyone’s guess.
I was reminded of how important reference-checking is again, when I was reading a couple of articles on Longreads, and I found myself utterly fascinated by two of the biggest cases of journalistic fraud ever committed (though I admit to having never heard of them before the weekend, despite one occurring more than 30 years ago).
Sometimes people don’t just lie on their resume
In the first instance, a journalist named Janet Cooke fabricated a story for TheWashington Post about an 8-year-old heroin addict. She won a Pulitzer Prize for it in 1981, and then had to give it back when it came out that there was no such 8-year-old. In the second case, Jayson Blair, a journalist for The New York Times, was found to have fabricated or plagiarised 36 out of 73 stories written over a 6-month period, in what turned out to be the biggest scandal in the newspaper’s hundred-plus year history.
What I found most intriguing, though, was that neither Cooke nor Blair had been properly vetted before their employers hired them. In fact, it was Cooke’s falsified resume that was ultimately her undoing when, after receiving the highest honour in the field of writing, a former employer noticed something was amiss with her Pulitzer biography — her education and professional achievements had been grossly overstated. (Rather ironically it was Bob Woodward, of Woodward and Bernstein — the journalists who uncovered the Watergate Scandal — who signed off on hiring Cooke.)
The same would prove true for Blair, who, it turned out, never graduated from university, and had a murky work history with the Times’ sister publication, The Boston Globe, where his superiors had been less than impressed with his less-than-high standard of work.
(Of course, the equally interesting case of Australian author, Helen Demidenko, who won the Miles Franklin Award in the early 1990s, only to later be dubbed by the Sydney Morning Herald as a ‘literary hoax’ also springs to mind.)
Benders-of-truth almost always get caught
Plenty of people lie or embellish on their resumes, and while a good majority of them go unnoticed, others are caught out — sometimes very publicly, and often only after the organisation has been very publicly embarrassed, as in the case of Cooke and Blair.
My advice, then, is to always check the references of new hires meticulously. Rather than calling the mobile numbers or direct lines of the candidate’s references, call the main switchboard and ask to speak to that person’s manager or superior.
And always ensure to ask for a copy of any credentials, like university degrees. If you’re employing someone where, by law, they’re required to hold a certain qualification — as is the case for BAS agents, for instance — it’s imperative you can verify the person’s credentials.
We’ve had several hundred bookkeepers Pre-Qualify for our National Bookkeeping, Bookkeeper Directory and most of them upload a resume demonstrating their qualifications, experience and references but I’m baffled at how bad the formatting is in these resumes!
To help our students do the best job presenting themselves on paper we’re including the Microsoft Word Course for free when you enrol into either the MYOB Courses or Microsoft Excel Courses (when you choose the all courses and 12 months access with Certificate option). That’s a saving of $267!
The problem with making mistakes with your Microsoft Word formatting is that questions could come up in an interview. The Interviewer might throw in a question about software skills, particularly if you’ll be writing some detailed reports or proposals, forecasts etc. in the new job.
Here are some extra tips for Bookkeeper resumes
Most of the Microsoft Word skills you need to write a good resume are covered in our Word Intermediate Courses, but we’re including the entire 9 courses so you can become a power Microsoft Word user! Here are a couple other things to think about when writing you resume:
Include an image – it makes you stand out and brings the reader closer (make it a selfie where you’re smiling 🙂
Include your full name and desired role in the filename (we’re all using files these days! use it to your advantage)
The last one about filenames is a big one because if interviewers are like me they’ll put all the resumes for one role into a folder and I find myself renaming most of them!
FREE Microsoft Word Workbook
We spend a lot of time on marketing so I assume that you know we offer free samples of our training material, but I should mention again that the Microsoft Word sample is actually the entire Word Beginners Course 201 Training Workbook, make sure you get it! Get it now.
Quickbooks Course Update
It’s been a while in the making, but we have the final draft of our Quickbooks Course workbook! Unlike some training companies, we write up a detailed course story based on a real business scenario and use that as the basis for recording our screen videos that demonstrate how to use the software. We’ve had a huge number of Course Alert Registrations and they’ll ALL receive a free copy of the workbook, so if you haven’t already registered do it NOW!
EzyLearn Wholesale Partner Update
I made a brief reference to our new Enrolment Voucher system in a recent post about BAS deadlines and we’ve got an update. The new enrolment voucher system is now in beta testing which means we’ll shortly be inviting EzyLearn students who love our courses to receive a massive wholesale discount on selected courses. Make sure you register your interest.