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The EzyLearn MYOB Course Community

At EzyLearn we offer a handful of online training courses: Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook), MYOB Accounting, and WordPress website design and blogging. There are many companies who promote courses online and that’s just what they do — promote courses online — but we try to be a little different.

Here’s why:

  • We offer only a handful of courses and we do them very well
  • Our courses come with LIFETIME Membership
  • As a student you receive fresh, new content without paying extra
  • Where possible, we provide real life exercise files so you can work with the software.

Our Online Community

Our experience with thousands of students has taught us that some students need more interaction than just the videos. They also like to bounce off other people to better understand the software they are learning.

That’s why we provide our Student Community and Tutor Support — to provide our students with the ability to communicate with fellow students, as well as ask questions of our experienced community moderators. It’s like having your own tutor that you can ask questions to who can provide quality answers based on their own experience in their relative industries.

Our students range from job seekers to small business owners and existing bookkeepers wanting to learn more, to accountants who may be thinking of leaving the corporate world and setting up a small business for themselves (or even seeking greater work-life balance).

Qualified Moderators

Our student support community is moderated by our MYOB Bookkeeper and Registered BAS agent, giving students the benefit of both communication with other course attendees (to socialise and to learn) as well as obtain answers to specific questions.

Annual Membership

Our Student Community and Tutor Support is provided on a yearly membership basis and you can continue or opt-out as you please each year. The service is available to existing EzyLearn students or new students enrolling into any one of our courses.

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Bumper Content: 10 Training Workbooks Included in our MYOB Courses!

With EzyLearn, in addition to the videos, you get over 200 pages of training information in our workbook.
With EzyLearn, in addition to the videos, you get over 200 pages of training information in our workbook.

When you’re selecting a training course provider, it’s important to consider the training material and resources you will need in order to complete the course.

There are many online institutions that don’t provide any training material beyond the information available in their training videos or learning management system. Continue reading Bumper Content: 10 Training Workbooks Included in our MYOB Courses!

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Your Business Accounting Software: Is it Working Best for You?

Is your business accounting software - and your business bank account - saving you time? It should be!
Is your business accounting software – and your business bank account – saving you time? It should be!

In a previous post we wrote about business bank accounts. Some banks, even though they offer business accounts, aren’t actually all that business friendly, and this can sometimes add hours to your bookkeeping and reconciliation processes.

Not all Business Accounts are Created Equal

If you’re starting a new business and going to open a business account, we recommend you do your research and shop around, because not all accounts are the same.

Some business accounts integrate nicely with your accounting software, while others, like a Bank of Queensland account, for example, does not because they transferred their credit card service to Citibank, preventing integration with the Banklink feature of MYOB.

Other business accounts don’t allow businesses to have a Visa or MasterCard debit card attached to their business account and only allow businesses to make online purchases using their own money.

Business owners can only use a linked credit card to make online purchases or a separate debit card. Either option still results in additional journal entries in your accounting software.

End of Financial Year – Best Time to Get Business Friendly

If you’ve been battling with your current bank, now that we’re approaching the end of the 2013/14 financial year, it might be the time to consider moving your accounts elsewhere so you can start afresh come July 1.

Or perhaps it’s not your bank that’s playing havoc with your bookkeeping – perhaps it’s your bookkeeping software. As we approach a new financial year, it might be a good time to consider switching your account keeping software to MYOB, or something simpler, like Xero (we have written in the past comparing the two).

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At EzyLearn, we provide a range of training courses for a number of different accounting programs from the basic Reach Accounting to the more sophisticated MYOB. For more information on our training courses, visit our website.

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Become a MYOB Training Course Affiliate Marketer

Get paid for promoting our proven course to your friends by becoming an affiliate partner.
Get paid for promoting our courses

Earn Income by Simply Recommending Our Courses

We are looking for anyone who has completed our MYOB training course to become an affiliate marketer and earn money by recommending our training courses to people you know.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work? Continue reading Become a MYOB Training Course Affiliate Marketer

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Feedback from Students About Our Online Training Courses

We value - and need - your feedback about our online training courses.
We value – and need – your feedback about our online training courses.

Over the years, we’ve provided online training to numerous Australian – and international – students, whether via our flagship MYOB training course or one of our Excel or WordPress courses, or our more recent Small Business Management Course. Over the years these students have provided us with valuable feedback.

The feedback we receive from our students helps us to understand what’s working and what isn’t, which is why it’s invaluable to us that you get in touch and let us know what you think.

It was based on the feedback we received from our students that we decided to develop our Reach Accounting and Xero training courses. It is also based on the feedback we received that we changed the way we issued our certificates so that students received them faster and could use them to find work.

Recent Feedback

Here’s just some of the feedback we’ve received from our students recently:

“I found the workbooks the most helpful for giving practical experience.” — Karen Dimitri, Glengowrie SA 5044

“The best part is that you can do it on your own time and pace.” — Juliana van Wyk, Hilton WA 6163

“Short, easily digestable videos. Can fit in easily with a busy lifestyle.” — Korina Power, North Shore, Auckland 0630

“I could learn at my own pace.” — Jackie Smith, Sheidow Park, SA 5158

“Doing the workbooks and watching the videos at my own pace has helped me a lot in pursing the current workforce requirements.” — Merritt Ray, Loganholme QLD 4129

“I was able to finish the whole course in just a couple of weeks.” — YoonOck Lee, Atwell, WA 6164

“By watching videos on one particular topic and doing a test straight after relating to those videos, you don’t become too overwhelmed with too much information.” — Michelle Bankstown, NSW 2200

“I am happy as I could completely the course at my own pace. It was easy n simple to understand. As a mother I felt the course was very time efficient. Looking forward to putting my knowledge into action.” — Kimberline Francis, St James, WA 6102

“This course is best for me because I can access any time from home, I can replay any video provided when I didn’t understand.” — Mika Humphreys, Innisfail, QLD 4860

“Everything within the course itself was great. I liked the most how easy it was to understand and navigate through.” — Katie Davis, Whyalla, SA 5608

“Being able to actually move around the sample company file to get a feeling of how the software is structured, made me have more confident.” — Joy Khoo, Mudgee, NSW 2850

“The best parts of this course is that we get freedom to learn and complete this course in your own suitable time. There is not so much pressure that you have to complete in certain time limit. I would advise and recommend this course from EzyLearn to international students who want to further their career in bookkeeping and accounting. It was a great privilege to be part of your institute.” — Prabin Gurung, Auburn, NSW 2144

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We’d love to hear from you too. Get in touch via our course evaluation page.

 

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MYOB: What is an Induction?

Our MYOB course will help induct you into the role of bookkeeper.
Our MYOB course will help induct you into the role of bookkeeper.

The word ‘induction’ has many uses, which can make it rather subjective. It can refer to the time interval between the cause and the first measurable effect in an experiment; it can refer to stimulating the process of childbirth; it can refer to a rite of passage or ritual event, like a Bar of Bat Mitzvah; even our MYOB training courses act as a kind of quasi induction into the world of bookkeeping.

Exposure to Real-World Scenarios

Even though our MYOB courses are primarily teaching you how to use an accounting software package, we deliberately created training courses that would expose our students to real-world bookkeeping scenarios, so they would properly understand the software.

When you complete the day-to-day transactions module of our MYOB course you’re taught how to receive money and pay bills, record a cash-sale, settle credits and returns, and analyse payable, among other things.

Each module within our MYOB training courses teaches you a fundamental aspect within the whole bookkeeping process, and in that way our courses act like an induction into the role of a bookkeeper.

Inducting You as a Bookkeeper

An induction helps to give a person a basic understanding of what to expect of a particular situation or circumstance. In the instance of our MYOB courses, we’re helping you to understand what is expected of you as a bookkeeper, and what you should expect in turn.

Many organisations provide new employees with induction training to help them understand how the business operates, and to keep their existing staff up-to-date with changing policies and procedures – such as work, health and safety.

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As Australia’s leading provider of online training courses, EzyLearn has recently ventured into providing companies and organisations with the facilities to provide their staff with online induction training.

If you’d like to learn more about the kinds of induction programs you can offer your staff, visit our website or request a quote.

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Discussion Post: How Do You File Your Invoices and Receipts?

How do you file invoices and receipts? Tell us, we want to hear!
How do you file invoices and receipts? We’d very much like to hear!

Whether you’re a bookkeeper or business owner, if there’s one thing we probably all have a shared hatred of — it’s filing. Filing is the little task we always put off, until eventually we can’t find anything through the sea of paper and receipts cluttering our offices. This wouldn’t be so bad if filing wasn’t such an important part of a business.

People File Differently Now

But as cloud computing, internet banking and email have changed the way businesses operate, the way people file their expenses and important business documents has changed as well.

If you’re a business owner — that includes self-employed bookkeepers — and you’re taking one of our MYOB training courses for work, you’d have received our invoice by email. So how will you file this?

What about bills? There are many companies that now offer electronic bills — and some of these companies, like Optus, for example, even allow their bills to be automatically integrated into your internet banking.

Hard Copies?

A lot of bookkeepers would probably defer to tradition and print each invoice, bill or other expense and then file the hard copies — but is this still necessary? With the availability of low-cost cloud-storage software like Dropbox, are there other, more efficient ways to file and store your business records?

On this blog, it’s usually us suggesting new ways of doing things to help make your business more efficient, so we thought we try something different this time: we want you to tell us how you manage your filing in today’s digital age.

How Do You File?

How do you file your expenses? Do you file them alphabetically, by business name or chronologically, by date?

If you have a lunch meeting with a client, how do record these expenses? Do you include an agenda of what transpired in the meeting?

Most invoices from other businesses are emailed; do you print these invoices and file them or do you store them in the cloud?

If you store your invoices and receipts in on your computer or in the cloud, then how do you file them? By date or by client name?

What about those receipts and invoices that are still hardcopies — what do you do with these?

How do you give your bookkeeper or account access to your expenses?

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We want to hear from YOU about your unique or interesting ways of filing and managing your business records, so get in contact with us! Simply leave your answers in the comments below.

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What Kind of Bank Account Do You Need for Your Business?

Carrying out your bank reconciliation without the use of Banklink can be tedious and time consuming.
Carrying out your bank reconciliation without the use of Banklink can be tedious and time consuming.

At EzyLearn, we’re committed to helping students of our MYOB courses gain employment as a MYOB bookkeeper or even start their own bookkeeping businessit’s why we provide you with lifetime access to our MYOB training courses as part of our commitment to continuing professional development.

We recently wrote posts about the service, Banklink, (generally used far and wide except by the Bank of Queensland) and since then we’ve heard back from a couple of our readers, who told us about some of the problems they’ve experienced trying to use BankLink with their bank account.

Banklink and Credit Card Issues

We spoke to one reader, Anton Prinsloo, who owns and operates CSTAY Budget Holiday Accommodation at Magnetic Island, off the Townsville Coast. Anton uses the Bank of Queensland for his business banking, and as part of his business strategy uses his credit card for all of his business purchases.

Anton has found that while the BankLink service “beautifully reconciles my everyday business account, BankLink doesn’t work with my credit card.” Anton later discovered that the reason BankLink doesn’t work with his credit card is because in 2007 the Bank of Queensland transferred its credit card service to Citibank.

According to BOQ Managing director, David Liddy, the decision to transfer BOQ’s credit card service to Citibank was “part of Bank of Queensland’s ongoing strategy to provide its customers with the best in access and customer service, while providing the full range of finance products.”

“Bank of Queensland customers will continue to have the advantages of a BOQ card, but with greater support, better product range, and more extensive national and international systems,” Liddy said of the deal in 2007.

However, as Anton found out, the Citibank-provided BOQ credit card doesn’t offer the same advantages as a BOQ card would have, as it can’t be used with BankLink because it’s a service provided by Citibank.

“I contacted Citibank to see if I could get BankLink from them, but because they don’t hold the account they’re not able to offer this service to me,” Anton told us, adding, “I get the feeling they have no intention to even try to resolve this issue, either.”

For Anton and, we imagine, many other business owners who bank with BOQ, this adds upwards of three hours to his reconciliation process using what he calls “half technology”.

Issues with the NAB

But BOQ isn’t alone. The National Australia Bank requires businesses to have a debit card account that’s separate to their business account, requiring the business owner to make time-consuming journal entries in MYOB each time they transfer money from their business account to the account attached to their debit card.

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For business owners, selecting the right bank account for your business is a decision you should make wisely. Make sure you think about how you intend to use your account and do your research before settling on any particular bank. Be extra certain to find out if your bank offers the Bank Link service and how it will work with your account, so you can save yourself the hassle of journal entries and manual reconciliation.

Thanks again to Anton who shared his story with us. If your have a story you’d like to share with us, please let us know in the comments or get in touch.

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Bookkeepers: Stand Out from the Crowd and Become ICB Certified

You'll stand out by becoming ICB certified and BAS registered.
You’ll stand out by becoming ICB certified and a registered BAS agent.

Many of the students who take our MYOB training course in order to start their own bookkeeping business wish to then become certified with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB).

How to Get ICB Stamp of Approval

Since 2006 the ICB has had a set of requirements bookkeepers must meet before they are permitted the ICB stamp of approval. Among these requirements – which also include possessing a Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping) and personal indemnity insurance – all bookkeepers seeking to become certified with the ICB must possess a minimum of two years’ working experience.

For many bookkeepers starting out, getting that two years experience is a tough hurdle, particularly since the vast majority of bookkeepers in Australia are, according to General Manager of the ICB, Rick van Dyk, “independent sole traders”. “That’s why the ICB holds networking events at 59 locations around the country,” Rick says. “Because the best way to get the experience you need to become an ICB certified bookkeeper is to network with other bookkeepers.”

The ICB also holds online webinars each month, but Rick recommends attending networking events in person, because it provides you with more opportunity to network and get to know other bookkeepers.

Good Ways to Gain New Business

While it may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through in order to obtain membership to an organisation that’s voluntary, being an ICB certified bookkeeper does set you apart from the many other bookkeepers; it’s also a way of gaining new business, as the ICB is often the first port-of-call for many businesses looking for a contract bookkeeper.

But Rick van Dyk says that if your really want to stand out as a contract bookkeeper, become a registered BAS agent. “If you’re a contracting bookkeeper, you can look after a client’s data entry and do their reconciliation, but you’re not allowed to print any of the reports and advise your client on figures and so forth, as that contravenes the Act,”

Rick explains. There are currently about 9000 registered BAS agents in Australia, so there’s plenty of opportunity for bookkeepers to enter into this field by becoming a registered BAS agent with the Tax Practitioners Board.

Rick also offers this last piece of advice to budding bookkeepers-to-be: “Learn to use Excel; Excel still plays a very important part of the bookkeeper’s role, so it’s important bookkeepers know how to use it – fluently.”

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You can find more information about out MYOB course here or our Excel course here. Alternatively, if you’d like more information about becoming certified by the ICB, visit their website.

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Interview with Business Owner: The Benefits of Being “Hands On”

We interview Mark Darling about some of the keys to his hugely successful water business.
We interview Mark Darling about some of the keys to his hugely successful water business.

We recently wrote about the five attributes successful entrepreneurs possess, but one attribute that wasn’t on that list was being hands-on. Our Small Business Management course teaches students all the practical, hands-on skills you need to successfully start and operate a new business, but that hands-on attitude shouldn’t dissipate once your business is up and running.

Why It Pays to Be ‘Hands On’

With that in mind, we recently spoke to Mark Darling, the chief executive officer of Sip Water, a Sydney-based bottled water business, about why business owners should always be hands-on with their businesses. Mark’s history with the bottled water industry has been a long and storied one, but ultimately it’s been about success.

For many years, Mark operated his first bottled water business almost like it was still a small business even though it had grown to become the second largest bottled water company in Australia, behind Neverfail. Even as the large-scale operation that it had become, it was not uncommon for Mark to carry out many of the duties typically not expected of a managing director, like making deliveries to clients.

Eventually Mark’s business caught the attention of another publicly listed company to whom Mark eventually sold it; it was some several years later, that Mark decided to start Sip Water, this time a much smaller operation where Mark still makes water deliveries to his clients to this day.

Why Do What You Can Pay Others to Do?

The reason Mark still makes deliveries: because it makes his business more efficient, and his hands-on approach is something he attributes to the success of all of his businesses. “People often ask me ‘Why don’t you get someone to help you?’” Mark says. “But I always say ‘Well, why would I do that when I don’t need one.’”

Mark says that many business owners often feel they should employ someone to perform work they could really do themselves. “I’m sure it seems unusual for a CEO to make deliveries, but I do it because, this way, I know it’s been done,” Mark explains.

Perhaps this contradicts everything you thought you knew about business, particularly since its often drummed into business owners that in order to prosper they need to delegate; to step away from the smaller things so they can concentrate on the big things.

On this, Mark agrees, but adds: “If I can fit some deliveries into my day without it impacting on the other things I need to do, I will.” The idea is to only hire personnel that are absolutely essential to the running of the business. This keeps your overheads down and your profits up.

Rather than employing an admin person for your business because you feel that as the owner you shouldn’t be doing admin work, ask yourself whether you can conceivably do the admin. If you can, why hire an admin person?

Often people believe that the larger your team, the more professional your business will seem; the more it will seem like a big business. But some big businesses are like icebergs: they appear a certain way on the surface, but it’s what lurks beneath the surface you need to worry about.

In the case of Mark’s original bottled water business, not long after selling it to a well-known, publicly-listed company — or big business — the core company which purchased it went out of business, taking the business Mark had built down with it.

The Moral Is…

The moral of the story, as Mark sees it, is that his attitude towards running his businesses is right: if you’re hands-on with your business and you know what’s happening with it, then you’ll avoid the calamities that often engulf other businesses: closure due to poor management.

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Our Small Business Management Course teaches students everything they need to know about successfully starting and operating a small business, including payroll, financial planning, and the like. To see our full suite of training courses, click here.

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Should Your Final Price Include GST?

The price you charge for goods or services should always include GST.
The price you charge for goods or services should always include GST.

We are regualarly refreshing the content of our MYOB training course so that you can benefit from all the new information that is always coming in about being a bookkeeper, running your own bookkeeping business or doing the books for someone else’s business.

Pricing Your Services for GST Continue reading Should Your Final Price Include GST?

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Bank of Queensland not Using BankLink – and Others?

It appears not every bank is using BankLink.
It appears not every bank is using BankLink.

We wrote a post last year about a service called Bank Link, which we discovered is being used by a large number of accountants to reduce the amount of data entry involved in bookkeeping. Being that one of our most popular training courses is our MYOB training course and that many of our students are bookkeepers, we wondered what the bank link service would mean for the future of bookkeepers.

Bookkeepers Still Vital!

As it happens, we don’t believe that the BankLink service will make the role of the bookkeeper redundant, given that there is so much more to be being a bookkeeper than just data entry. In fact, we found that because BankLink eliminates much of the time-consuming data entry process, BankLink should be used by more bookkeepers.

Since the post on BankLink was published, however, we heard from one of our readers who told us that the Bank of Queensland does not provide credit card transactions data through BankLink. We thought this was unusual, so we decided to look into it a little further.

After doing a little digging, we discovered that BankLink is not available to be used with all banking institutions, and Bank of Queensland happens to be one of those institutions. We tried to contact the Bank of Queensland to find out if the BankLink service would be extended to their customers, however, we were unable to reach anyone able to give us any information as to if, and when, this service would be adopted.

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For bookkeepers, or small business owners, even, who are customers of the Bank of Queensland this means that you will still need to enter your credit card transactions into MYOB manually. If you are aware of any other banking institutions that do not provide credit card data though BankLink, we’d love to hear from you — let us know in the comment section below.

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Redundancy is Not a Dirty Word: The Positives

Waving a job goodbye through a redundancy can often be a positive step for your career.
Waving a job goodbye through a redundancy can often be a positive step for your career.

There was once a time when saying the word “redundancy” in a workplace stirred much the same feelings as saying “Bomb!” in an airport. But today, as workplaces adapt and change to suit an ever-evolving marketplace, redundancies have become much more commonplace.

Adapt or Die.

Adapt or die. It’s true for businesses, and it’s certainly true for workers. That’s why we find many of our students come to EzyLearn to following a redundancy, taking our MYOB courses and Small Business Management courses to add to their knowledge base — and indeed, add an extra accomplishment under the “education” section of their CVs.

For more on CVs, see our post where we interview a recruiter to find out what makes a fabulous CV. Indeed, when we spoke to Fiona Neumann, recruitment specialist and director of Sydney-based recruitment agency, Skills Savvy, she told us that employees today could expect to be made redundant at least once in their career, if not twice. One young job seeker she interviewed for a position had been made redundant three times in almost as many years.

There was a time when to be made redundant reflected poorly on your skills, capabilities and desirability as an employee. Today, however, that’s no longer the case. In fact, there are many positive sides to being made redundant; we’re going to take a look at just some of them here:

1. Firstly, no one makes you redundant: this is an important thing to remember: you weren’t made redundant; your position was. It’s not personal, it’s just business. Accept that and go forth into the world of employment.

2. Why did you leave?: now when you’re asked that question during an interview with a prospective employer, you don’t have to try and romanticize or find the silver lining in the fact that you couldn’t stand working for your former employer a minute longer. Your position was made redundant. The business was restructuring, and there was cutback in your department. It happens. Employers get that.

3. It gives you the opportunity to do something new: it could be a new job, a new experience, or a new business startup, but with a redundancy payout comes the financial opportunity to do something new. In fact, it’s often after a redundancy that many people decide to go into business for themselves, as an article on the Sydney Morning Herald website last year found.

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So if you’ve been made redundant, it’s time to polish up your skill set — and your CV — by taking course with us. You may also be interested in starting a home-based business as an independent contractor so you can work your own hours close to home. And remember: there’s nothing dirty about a redundancy.

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Get THAT Job this Year: The Importance of the Cover Letter

Your covering letter is as important as your CV.
Getting your covering letter right is as important as your CV.

January is when we’re busiest processing enrolments in our MYOB courses, our Small Business Management courses and so on, and we’ve always been happy to be able to provide people with the training they need to make the career change they’ve been dreaming of. This January we also wanted to give you some advice on the two most dreaded aspects of applying for a new job: CVs and cover letters.

In a recent post we spoke to Fiona Neumann, a recruitment specialist and the director of Skills Savvy, a Sydney-based recruitment firm that specialises in helping people to re-enter the workforce following redundancies, raising the kids, or simply because they want to make a career change.

Fiona helped demystify the CV-writing process, which at one time or another has puzzled even the best of us. But in a job market where redundancies are almost commonplace, writing a CV is not just puzzling, it’s very often daunting, particularly for those people starting their career afresh.

Writing a Cover Letter Doesn’t Need to be Daunting!

But here’s the good news: it doesn’t need to be. Getting the job of your dreams has a lot to do with your ability to articulate yourself, which is where the cover letter comes into play.

It’s fair to say that many people see a cover letter as an afterthought; the way people see wrapping paper as the afterthought to a great gift. They spend all their time laboriously writing and fine-tuning their CV, to then put together a slap-dash covering letter just so that Seek will accept their job application.

Mistake. Big one.

Linking Back and Clarifying Your CV

Your cover letter is just as important as your CV. Aside from reinforcing all the information you’ve put into your CV, it shows that you didn’t mean to apply to some other job listed on Gumtree, and importantly, it allows you to show a recruiter or hiring manager why you’re suddenly looking to re-enter the workforce after several years of being out of it.

The key here is to be clear and concise. If you’ve been raising the kids for the last six years, write that. Don’t be vague and allude to something that could be interpreted as raising children or… being in prison.

But also don’t write a flowery vignette of your life. You need to show why you’re applying for the job you are; if it involves are change of field or industry, then explain why; why you’re qualified for the job, but not overqualified—this is important, because people that are overqualified are, to an employer, risky: you could get bored and leave, want more money than they can offer, or have difficulty with authority being that you’ve always been The Authority.

But remember: be clear and concise. And above all: don’t be bland. Recruiters read through hundreds of cover letters; they’re looking for the most qualified, most desirable person for the job. Don’t leave them wondering why you applied for the position you did. For some CV-writing help see this post; for help up-skilling, see the training courses we have on offer here.

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Recruiter Tells: What Will Make Your CV Get Noticed

Find out what a recruiter has to say about how to make your CV stand out from the crowd.
Find out what a recruiter has to say about how to make your CV stand out from the crowd.

If one of your resolutions was to find a new job this year, you’re probably not alone. Job seekers are most active during the early part of a new year, so if you’re planning on taking the next step in your career, you’ve got to stand out from the crowd.

Our Small Business Management and MYOB Training courses are most popular this time of year because training courses up your skill-sets and are a key way of ensuring you’re a cut above the competition. However, that’s only as long as you’ve got your CV in front of the right people.

This makes the role of your CV an extremely important one; a lack lustre CV can often be a deal-breaker for a recruiter at the other end of an email address filling up with enough CVs to blanket Siberia — twice.

What Makes Your CV Stand Out?

So what’s going to make your CV the one recruiters and employers shortlist for an interview? We spoke to recruitment specialist and director of Skills Savvy, Fiona Neumann, to get some insight on design, whether or not everyone embellishes on their CV, and what you should put in the dreaded “special interests” section.

Q: What are some dos and don’ts when it comes to formatting, layout, design, etc? Some people think the more creative the CV, the better chance you’ll have of standing out from the pack – is this necessarily true?

Fiona: There is no rule of thumb on what you should or shouldn’t do. It really depends on the job you’re applying for. For example: If you are applying for a graphic designer role or another artistic role, then the recruiter will definitely be looking for a CV that stands out in a creative way. If it is a sales or service role then some candidates can be a little creative by adding their profile picture to the top of the CV. I personally like this, as long as it is a professional photo. This is a great way to stand out.

Q: Should your CV (and cover letter) show a bit of your personality, or is it safer to save that for the interview?

Fiona: I believe your personality comes through via your cover letter and your CV in subtle ways. When candidates place their photo at the top of their CV, this demonstrates that they are willing to put themselves out there and it shows confidence. The language a person uses also shows their personality. These are subtle ways. If your CV and cover letter is written in a way that articulates why you are the best person for the role then a recruiter will call you. A phone interview and a face-to-face interview is where the recruiter/hiring manager will see your personality.

Q: Embellishing your CV – does everyone really do it? And if so, where does that leave the honest jobseekers?

Fiona: Great question. No I don’t believe that everyone embellishes on their CV. Besides, a great recruiter is able to read between the lines and ask the candidate the right questions. The recruiter can then work out what is fact and what is fiction. A CV is important, but it is only one part of the recruitment process. If a person has written something on their CV then they will need to be able to answer questions during a phone interview or a face-to-face interview to back up their CV — and if they’ve embellished or lied in their CV, they probably won’t be able to answer the recruiter’s questions.

Q: Lastly, does any recruiter/employer really care that your interests include collecting antique teacups and reading crime novels?

Fiona: I personally like it [the special interests section], because you never know what the hiring manager may be looking for. Plus, including your interests does, in a subtle way, demonstrate personality, which helps recruiters and hiring managers determine whether you’d fit with the culture of an organisation. Take these two different examples of special interests: “I enjoy spending weekends with my family, going out for dinner and reading books,” and “I love to party, going to see live bands and watching Formula 1 racing.” There is no right or wrong answer, but you can see you are probably dealing with two completely different personalities, and while I would never discount someone based only on their special interests, it does tell me a little more about the person behind the CV.

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Want to be an Entrepreneur? Five Attributes You Must Have!

Being entrepreneurial involves a lot more than enjoying being your own boss; you must also be very strong minded.
Being entrepreneurial involves a lot more than enjoying being your own boss; you must also be very strong minded.

If you’ve just returned to work after the Christmas break and it’s feeling like a bit of a drag, you’re not alone. This January, enrolments in our Small Business Management and MYOB Training Courses have been at an all time high, and we think we know why.

After spending weeks as your own boss, deciding how you would spend your days and with whom — and liking it — you’re feeling like maybe this is the year to start your own business and be your own boss for good, right?

But liking being able to decide how to spend your spare time, and actually making a business work are two different things. An entrepreneur is a certain breed of people and self-employment is not something for everyone.

Mental Strength and Positivity

To start your own business you need more than just a great idea, or a passion for the thing you do — you need to be mentally strong so you can face the various disappointments that sometimes come with self-employment and come out the other side.

If you’re mentally strong, you should possess the majority of these attributes:

1. You don’t waste time with self-pity: entrepreneurs don’t have the time to waste feeling sorry for themselves when something doesn’t work out the way they hoped — they emerge from trying situations with self-awareness and gratitude and soldier on even after a failure. Indeed, I’ve heard one successful entrepreneur say that in order to attain his successes, he probably first failed more than anyone he knows.

2. You don’t give away your power: entrepreneurs avoid spending time with people who make them feel inferior because they understand they’re in control of their actions and know that their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3. You’re excited by change: entrepreneurs embrace change — and in some cases, even seek it out. In fact, becoming complacent is probably one of their biggest fears and so they seek out new challenges regularly.

4. You don’t make the same mistakes over and over: a good entrepreneur takes full responsibility for past behaviour and is willing to learn from mistakes. They don’t repeat the same actions, hoping for a different result.

5. You know the world doesn’t owe you anything: So the economy is bad — that doesn’t mean anyone owes you anything, least of all a living. Entrepreneurs know this; they know that their success is entirely dependent on their drive, ambition and motivation to do well in their lives and careers.

If you feel you’re mentally strong enough to succeed in business, but need a little more direction of the nitty gritty of running a small business, our Small Business Management Course takes you through every aspect of managing a small business and introduces you to successful entrepreneurs and business people.