Why avocado toast has divided Australia?

A row has broken out in Australia following a column which appeared at the weekend in “The Australian” newspaper. In it, columnist Bernard Salt asked why young people seemed more keen on fancy breakfasts than saving for a house.

He said: “I have seen young people order smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five grain toasted bread at AUD $22 and more. I can afford to eat this for lunch because I am middle-aged and have raised my family. But how can young people afford to live like this? Shouldn’t they be economising by eating at home? How often are they eating out? Twenty dollars several times a week could go towards a deposit on a house?

Salt’s assertion that young people should save for a house rather than enjoying the same luxuries as him has met with much scorn in a country where house prices have soared in recent years. Critics have pointed out you could forgo your weekly brunch for a hundred years and still not be able to afford the deposit on an average house.

Comedians have weighed in as well, with Deirdre Fidge sharing her “life story”, “I stopped eating smashed avocado and now I open a castle”. Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald called for smashed avo toast to be made Australia’s national dish.

More serious critics have argued that millennials and other young people are not going to brunch instead of buying houses; they are buying brunch because they cannot afford to buy a house.

Perhaps the final word belongs to Australian food magazine, Broadsheet, which has collaborated with several cafes this week to launch “home saver” special menus this week – at about AUD $11 each.

Source: BBC News

Graduate CVs? Stand out from the crowd

For many people, the first CV they write is prepared just before, or just after, they graduate from college. Writing such a CV can be tricky if you are looking for a professional position. In most cases your work experience to date will be limited and may not seem very relevant to the job for which you are applying. So what should you be highlighting and how to increase your chances of landing that job you want?

Education should generally be the focus of a Graduate CV, with the most recent event – usually your degree – coming first, and then with other qualifications e.g. A Levels/High School Diplomas/Certificates of Education listed in reverse chronological order. The degree classification and other higher education grades should be listed but there is generally no need to provide this for other qualifications obtained lower in school.

If your degree has included course modules relevant to any role or scheme for which you are applying, this should be mentioned.

Having a degree, even a first class one, is not, in itself, enough to make a CV stand out. While you may not have much work history, or have worked in jobs you feel are not relevant for the role for which you are applying, there will always be some skills you have learned which should be highlighted. These may include such soft skills as the ability to work without supervision, teamwork, or decision-making.  And where specific skills have been learned – such as the ability to write software code or use Advanced Excel – then this should be mentioned.

The order of the CV is important. It should always start with a Personal Statement briefly outlining who you are, your achievements and accomplishments, and your immediate employment goals. This should then be followed by your education and work experience, and then details of any extra-curricular activities that shows you in a favourable light – such as charitable work, and volunteering.

A Hobbies and Interest section should only be included if they will help you get a job. An employer might be interested, for example, if you are taking foreign language courses in your spare time – because this a skill they could potentially use – but less so if you like socialising with friends or following your favourite sports team.

Apart from that, the usual rules for CV formats apply. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are important (always use a spell checker before submitting any document to another party). Write ion the third person. Make sure that typefaces are the same, sizes and spaces consistent and formatting aligned.

Your CV is your calling card. Make sure it is as professional as it should be. It represents who you are and how you want to be regarded by a potential employer.

The Spy who came in from the cold & struggled to find a job

Tom Marcus (not his real name) was heavily featured in the UK media this week following the publication of his memoir “Soldier, Spy” recounting the 8 years that he spent as an MI5 agent, tracking Islamic militants and Irish terrorists. However, despite a distinguished career, including foiling a plot, on one occasion, to blow up 2 coaches of schoolchildren returning from a trip to France, Tom found himself struggling to get a job when he left the service. He ended up working in a burger bar and a call centre because his CV was full of unexplained gaps.

In need of a professional CV? Then use a professional CV writing service!

Tom, who enlisted in the army at the age of 16 and then joined MI5 has a large gap in his CV because of the anonymity required by the security services. “It’s been hugely difficult to get a job, he says. “Working as an MI5 surveillance officer is seen as a job for life – so when you come out its very difficult to figure out what job you can do”.

“You can’t answer the question properly about what you’ve been doing for the past 10 to 15 years in a job because you’d be breaking the Official Secrets Act”.

Tom’s case is perhaps the most extreme example where a functional CV could be more appropriate than the more commonly accepted chronological CV. For individuals with little practical experience, like students, people who have had a variety of short-term jobs, and also those with career gaps – like Tom, or women going back into the workplace after raising children.

A functional CV lists your experience under different functional areas, such as Customer Services or Marketing, and focuses on specific skills rather than a full career history. It will include a Key Skills section and Career Summary, rather than a full Career history.

Tom himself now has a career as a full-time writer. Not as glamorous as his former life, no doubt – but probably safer.

Exam failure? It’s not the End of the World

With A level results due out today, many students the length and breadth of the country will be looking forward with a mixture of excitement and dread to finally finding out their grades and whether they will get into the university of their choice. But for those who don’t get the grades they want or fail their exams, this is by no means the end of the road. History is littered with examples of people who all failed exams but went on to achieve world renown.

Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Winston Churchill are but four examples.

As a child Einstein was dyslexic and showed little scholastic ability, leaving school at 15 with no diploma and poor grades in history, geography and languages. The following year he applied to the Polytechnic Institute in Zurich and failed the entrance exam.

Newton graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge without honours or distinction, whilst Darwin was such a poor student that his father took him out of school saying “You are good for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat catching. You will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family”.

Meanwhile Churchill failed not once, but twice, the entrance exam for the Royal Military College.

More contemporary examples include Simon Cowell Sir Alan Sugar and Sir Richard Branson who all left school when they were 16, or Russell Brand who failed all his A levels.

So, if you don’t get the results you want today, or you failed an exam, it’s not the end of the world. Whilst it may be raising expectations too high that you will grow up to become the father of theoretical physics, establish the science of biology, become a world statesman, pop mogul or multi-billionaire businessman, it doesn’t mean you won’t have a long and successful career.

Will People Never Learn? Don’t Lie On Your CV

When writing your CV, you should always try to put a positive spin on it so that you sell yourself effectively to recruiters. But positive spin is one thing… outright lies are quite another and should be avoided at all costs.

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But as quoted in The CV Book, “Surveys show that between 20 per cent and 35 per cent of candidates ‘lie’ to one degree or another when it comes to writing their CV.”

Most recently, City lawyer Michael McCooe lost his consultancy job with the London office of a leading international law firm as a direct result of inaccurate claims on his CV. Not only did he claim to have achieved an LLM in Competition Law from King’s College, he also stated that he completed a PhD in International Competition and Trade at the University of Zurich and a doctorate in International Competition Law from Trinity College. Pretty impressive stuff! In actual fact, McCooe just has a Postgraduate Diploma in EC Law from King’s.

Somehow, McCooe got past the interview stage without his credentials being checked but some people aren’t so lucky. One candidate claimed to be fluent in French on his CV and then got quite a shock when he came up against a half-French/half- English interviewer who consequently thought it quite reasonable to conduct the interview in French!

It should be pointed out that lying and not including certain information on your CV are two different things. For example, if a graduate achieved a third class degree, they may want to remove the classification from their CV as they may be up against candidates who have a 2:1 or a first.

That sort of omission is fine – they still have a degree after all. But the moral of the story… keep it real! Recruiters WILL find out about your lies and, once they have, all of your truths become questionable.