Flip the script on your next performance review

By definition, a performance review is about getting feedback on your work throughout the year.

But as an employee, it’s important to think about the process as a two-way street – an opportunity for both parties to, well, come to the party and talk about their future aspirations, both for themselves and the future of the organisation they represent.

Talking about what’s working and what’s not working will help you become a better professional and your boss a stronger leader. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to show how committed and enthusiastic you are about the part you play in the wider success of the organisation.

Here’s some food for thought when gearing up for your next performance review:

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Sure, you’ll talk about your performance, your progress and opportunities to improve, but during the review you should also discuss what makes you happy in your job. Are there any tasks you absolutely dread, while others you are only too willing to do? Use your performance review as an opportunity to voice these opinions – it might lead to doing more of what you love and less of what you loathe.

How can you grow and develop?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; the workforce is a competitive gig. Employers love employees who are constantly striving for professional growth. After all, a more skilled team leads to a better company. Use your performance review to talk about the ways in which you can grow and progress, whether in your current role or moving into a new area.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

A favourite at job interviews, this question is also relevant during performance reviews. Ambitious people are always asking themselves where they want to be in the future, and taking strategic steps to get there. A performance review presents an ideal opportunity to talk about your goals, your future and the state of the company itself. If you consider your boss a mentor as well as a leader, they may be able to give you good advice on how to reach your future ambitions.

How can your team improve?

As previously mentioned, a performance review should be viewed as a two-way, full and frank discussion between employee and manager. For the most part, your review will largely be about receiving feedback, but you shouldn’t be afraid to dish out some of your own! If there are any improvements you think could improve the performance of your team or company, raise them now.

After your review: Take-home messages

Once your performance review is over, first things first – breathe a sigh of relief! Regardless of the results of your performance review, think of it as a learning opportunity. You should be able to take away key information, whether about yourself, the reviewer or your organisation. If you received negative feedback, take it as constructive criticism and figure out how to make improvements over the next year.

 

Calm your farm! How to overcome interview nerves

Ever heard rap god Eminem’s Lose Yourself?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the hit 2002 song, the opener goes like this: “If you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?”

While Eminem was rhyming about his rise to fame, the same can be said about fronting an interview for the job of your dreams; it’s your one opportunity to tell your potential employers why they simply must hire you. But if you let your nerves get the better of you, forget it!

Unless you’re an alien, most candidates will get nervous in the hot seat. You know the score; sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, etcetera.

When we perceive the stakes are high, our body can’t distinguish the high stakes of a job interview from the high stakes of running from a bull in Spain.

The body reacts the same way, sending out the fight-or-flight response which would make complete sense if we were running from a raging bull, not sitting opposite a panel of four.

This fight-or-flight response makes it difficult to think clearly because our focus is on hiding our anxiety, therefore our attention is divided. When this happens, people’s thoughts move faster so they feel they need to rush into an answer without thinking it through, while others just draw blanks.

Whether you are nervous by nature or nonchalant, it’s imperative to remain cool, calm and collected during the interview process. After all, it’s your one shot to shine!

Here are our top three tips for keeping it together during an interview:

Tip 1: Be prepared

The more time you spend preparing for your interview, the more confident you’ll be. Candidates who have done their homework and can articulate how their skills and qualifications align with the position will be better prepared. Rehearsing what you'd like to say in advance can help you recall important information when anxiety strikes. When preparing for the interview, it also pays to plan your outfit in advance so you don’t feel frazzled before you even get there.

Tip 2: Get a head start

In the case of a job interview, there’s no such thing as fashionably late. Feeling rushed when you arrive at the interview by not allowing enough time to get there, or by getting lost or not finding a park, can all increase nervousness, not calm us down. Bottom line – map out your route prior to the interview and leave home with plenty of time to negotiate the traffic and find a park. You might even want to do a dress rehearsal in the days leading up to the interview so you’re super prepared.

Tip 3: Change your mindset

With a panel of four people sitting opposite you, firing away questions, it can begin to feel like an interrogation. But it’s important to remember you’re also interviewing the employer to see if what they’re offering is a good fit for you. If you think of a job interview as an exam or a test you’ll only become more nervous. Instead, try to imagine the interview as a knowledge exchange between two people who are getting to know each other. This will alleviate the sense of pressure and help you feel less nervous before and during the interview.

At the end of the day, if you let nerves get the better of you, you won’t come off as a confident contender. Employers want to hire the best and brightest, so if they see someone who perceivably lacks confidence, they will question your ability to do the job, which means you might miss out.

Category: 
Interview, Job Search

Be your own brand

The talent market is more competitive than ever. When you interview for a job, you’re essentially selling something – brand you!

As you prepare for interviews, consider the messages you want to promote to potential employees, along with your values, mission and goals. It’s important to be able to quickly and clearly articulate who you are and what you have to offer as a personal brand.

Just like company brands, your personal brand is what sets you apart from the pack – it’s the collective group of values and objectives that differentiate you from competitors in your field.

Defining and promoting a strong personal brand that sets you apart will help raise your profile and make you more marketable. Even if you’re not looking for work, having a personal brand is a great way to build contacts and enhance your career prospects for the future.

Here’s our top four tips for building your own brand:

Tip 1: Understand your offer

Before you can build your brand, you have to identify the primary “product” (services, resources, special ability) that you’re selling. Personal branding requires a comprehensive understanding of your strengths, skills, passions and values, along with the ability to harness this information to stand out from the crowd. Start by identifying what makes you unique then put together a key statement about yourself – this is your brand positioning.

Tip 2: Develop a vision, values and mission

Without establishing a clear vision, your career is unlikely to grow and prosper. Think hard about where you want to go career-wise, and reflect on your aspirations for the future, as this will form part of your vision. Like all big brands, you should consider your personal values and mission. Do you admire honest and integrity? Are you reliable? Consider your core values in developing your own personal mission statement, which will bring focus and purpose to your professional life.

Tip 3: Audit your presence

Your personal brand is only a click away from being viewed by recruiters, managers and potential employers. Always think of yourself as a brand and maintain consistent messaging through all your marketing channels – this includes your CV and social media profiles. A personal blog or website are great ways to strengthen your brand by helping your target market understand what you offer, highlight what you’re good at and showcase what you’ve achieved in the space.

Tip 4: Maintain momentum

Now that you have a personal brand, you want to do your best to validate and promote it. Large corporations work hard to maintain the look and feel of their brand, and as an individual, you should do the same. Every interaction or piece of information shared should reinforce your brand positioning – just be sure to remain consistent and true to your words at all times. 

Category: 
Interview, Job Search

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About Us

The Institute of Careers is a leading career development and advisory support service, equipping Australian job-seekers and employees with the know-how to supercharge their careers. We offer a wide range of resources, including cheat sheets, FAQs and customisable templates, covering all aspects of professional development – from writing a cracking cover letter, searching for a job and selling yourself in an interview, to landing a promotion and becoming a great manager.