Career Management Services

Job applicants – take note (please!)

by on Aug.15, 2011, under Career coaching, Career Management Services, Communication skills, CV/Resume creation or renovation

As a former business manager and now recruitment specialist, I am constantly surprised by the total lack of care many job applicants apply to their résumés, CVs and covering letters.

Candidates do not seem to realise that the old adage “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” applies just as much to the written word as it does to your personal appearance.

When posting a job advertisement, I always ask applicants for a covering letter.  Why is that?  The answer is really simple:  to find out what the applicant’s attention to detail is like, and how well they respond to the requirements of the role I am seeking to fill.  You would be amazed that, having asked for one, over 50% of applicants still do not bother to supply one – sorry folks, automatic delete.

These days it is easy to have a résumé or CV created by a professional service provider, putting in all the details of previous employment, education, career highlights and so on.  You would expect, therefore, that that document would be “word perfect.” However a covering letter provides the applicant with an opportunity to provide the reader with details of why they should be considered over and above other applicants, what they can bring to the position, how they might do that and many other “positives” that would make this person worth considering.  In some instances it can be more important than the CV.  In most instances, it also means the applicant has to write it themselves, and that is where many of them come unstuck.

Recently, on behalf of a client, I advertised for an “Administrator/Receptionist.”  Along with other criteria for the role, good attention to detail was listed. I advertised on the most popular job listing website and, as per normal, asked for a covering letter “explaining why this is the right role for you.”  Without identifying anyone, and changing only names where necessary, here are some verbatim examples of what I received either in the covering letter, or in the accompanying email. Also note that I am a stickler for correct spelling and grammar.

  • Hello i seen your ad on seek that you have a receptionist position available. I attatched my resume.
  • Re: Administration Asstiant
  • I would like to apply for a position as junior assistant as …
  • APPLICATION FOR Customer Service Consultant
  • … my job application for the Receptionist/Officer Junior …
  • Attention – Joe Bloggs (name changed)
    Re: Application for Trainee Recruitment Consultant position
    Dear Mr Joe Bloggs (name changed)

Not only were words misspelled, or grammar incorrect, but fonts varied widely in the same letter, or in one case, the same paragraph.  And who can excuse the last example above, the wrong person and wrong company – via the automated system on the job board website.

The reason that I am putting all of this down in writing is that I genuinely would like to see people get the jobs they are looking for, but they have to help themselves, and the first place to start is by creating a good impression and spending quality time on a good written presentation.

If you would like help in this area, please contact me.

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Looking for a new job?

by on Jun.18, 2011, under Career Management Services

How Your Next Job Can Find You

By Lawrence Atkinson and Peter Frankl

Australia’s low unemployment rate is making it challenging for employers to obtain high quality employees. Low unemployment however has not overcome a high degree of uncertainty being felt by employers and employees about the local and overseas economies.

Employees considering a move from a perceived relatively safe working environment to a new job, struggle with the “last in, first out” syndrome hanging over that decision.

In this environment, what job market strategies are available for professionals such as lawyers who are on the path of career advancement?

Should you list yourself with your resume on employment websites and wait for recruitment firms and employers to discover you? What if your current employer found out that you were promoting yourself on a jobs board?

Professionals have been joining one website and listing their career histories and achievements on it. That website is

On 14 April 2011, a senior LinkedIn executive revealed: “We’ve hit 2 million members in Australia, a major milestone.”

It is an interesting conundrum that listing one’s details on a jobs board website has all sorts of negative connotations but listing virtually the same information on the LinkedIn website is widely considered to be the savvy thing to do.

Since its beginning, LinkedIn has advertised itself as providing an opportunity to connect with colleagues and potential clients. The jobs board aspect of the website seemed to be more quietly promoted. This is no longer the case. See the videos below for example.

Cliff Rosenberg, Managing Director for LinkedIn in Australia and New Zealand disclosed “our growth has been driven by Australian professionals”.

According to Mr Rosenberg “LinkedIn opens you to a talent pool of professionals in the market who aren’t looking for jobs, but are open to a discussion.”

LinkedIn is now THE place to be found, if you want to be found.

An increasing number of employers and recruitment firms are using this extremely valuable database to undertake searches for high quality staff.

You may not be actively looking for a new role but there may be people actively looking for someone like you, particularly when the number of respondents to certain job ads are low or in some cases non-existent.

Employers can always advertise a position but what happens when they don’t get a satisfactory response? They have to go searching and LinkedIn is a good place to start.

In putting yourself “out there” however, there are some pitfalls to be avoided, and they go to the honesty and integrity of what you are saying about yourself, and what others are saying about you.

In being so exposed to public scrutiny, you do want to make sure that everything you post (and is posted about you) is true and accurate.  This is not a case of caveat emptor rather caveat venditor.

Until that next job finds you on LinkedIn, you can still take advantage of the website’s many other benefits such as connecting with colleagues, joining groups of people with similar interests and putting yourself in front of potential clients.

23 April 2011

© 2011 Lawrence Atkinson & Peter Frankl


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Finding talent that’s difficult to find.

by on May.28, 2011, under Career Management Services, Practice Management Services

Along with practical practice management advice, I specialise in placing legal professionals in a range of advisory, transactional and litigation practice areas.  I work across the spectrum of career levels, however key areas are in senior placements, executive search and succession planning.

I work with numerous regional, national and international law firms and companies, providing comprehensive attorney searches and recruitment to deliver effective resourcing solutions for my clients.

Key specialty areas include:

  • Business and Commercial
  • Corporate and Securities
  • Intellectual Property – Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys
  • Labour, Employment and Employee Benefits
  • Property
  • Environmental and Land Use
  • Financial Services
  • Complex Litigation
  • Family Law
  • Private Clients
  • Technology
  • Superannuation
  • Tax Advice and Tax Litigation
  • Wills, Trusts and Estates
  • Estate Litigation

Please call me to discuss your needs. My passion is working out a solution to a client’s needs.

I work with talented people.

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Overcoming Objections

by on May.28, 2011, under Relationship Building

Sincere “need” resistance is one of the greatest challenges that face a sales person. Unless the client can be shown there is a need, it is not possible to sell a solution for that need.

Today, both the sales person and the client are likely to negotiate problems from a position of strength.

This course helps to develop the participant’s ability to overcome objections through some simple, well tried and proven techniques that help customers to buy, rather than the sales person to sell.

Once again, good questioning and listening skills are paramount.

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The ART of Negotiation©

by on May.28, 2011, under Relationship Building

Throughout any negotiation it is important that each side builds a level of Appreciation for the other, that discussions can be Robust and that, overall, Trust is the most important ingredient.

In developing a participant’s ability to be an ART-ful negotiator, we draw on some of the skills that have been developed for our sales courses.  Of paramount importance is the ability to finely hone questioning and listening skills.

Negotiation is an everyday occurrence and something we should not fear. This course will enable participants to increase their level of confidence and learn how to develop strategies, provide proper planning and preparation, and create and maintain a positive environment during the meeting.

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Building Better Relationships

by on May.28, 2011, under Relationship Building

Understand and practice the Eight Steps in the Selling Process – from Targeting and Prospecting to Following-up.

This is similar in nature to Creating GREAT Relationships© but with less intensity on Questioning and Listening Skills and more focus on understanding others.

Both courses are designed to enable plenty of skills practice by participants.


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Creating GREAT Relationships

by on May.28, 2011, under Relationship Building

What is GREAT© ?

Clients have many factors to consider, with possible serious consequences, and it can be difficult to make the right decision. And with so many choices, it is prudent to ask for assistance from someone who is both credible and trustworthy.

The professional sales person knows this. That is why they are professional. They do not badger or push clients into making a decision that they are uncomfortable with. Professional sales people help their clients come to the right buying decision where ultimately, the relationship that develops between customer and supplier is GREAT:


The relationship develops over time. Both sides become aware of what motivates, excites, disappoints, enthuses, frustrates and infuriates the other. This is the beginning of the process of “partnering” where decisions are made jointly as the relationship grows. Through genuine and determined giving and receiving, the relationship is empowered to mature.


As in any relationship the parties need to work through the good times and the bad. In seeking to build a robust relationship, the development of a strong, healthy, hardy and vigorous set of beliefs and values is imperative. With both sides working together for a common goal, with a common vision, this will be achieved.


Without enthusiasm for the task at hand there may be a tendency to become complacent. Both parties need to be absorbed in the eager pursuit of their goals, giving and receiving equally and sharing the successes and failures, moving ahead step by step with a common zest for success.


Understanding, recognising and placing a sufficiently high value on the input from both client and service provider during the development of the relationship will strengthen the bonds to ensure continuing improvement, thus building and not destroying the relationship.


Trust is the glue that holds all the pieces together. It is relying on the integrity of the other party; it is about the confident expectation that things will happen as planned; it is the obligation and responsibility that both parties carry to ensure that the confidence placed in them by the other party is well-founded and sincere.

The core of this program is the development of questioning and listening skills, integral in creating great relationships. Communication, or rather the lack of it – is a prime reason relationships fail, and this course aims to increase participants’ ability to communicate, thereby enhancing their relationships with customers and developing building blocks, ensuring that both buyer and seller win.

While this course is one of our main offerings in relationship building, the belief in Creating GREAT Relationships© is at the centre of our desire to build our business with you.

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Something for us all

by on Jan.21, 2011, under Career Management Services

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out:
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far:
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

– Author unkown

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