Australia’s sixth-rate education system… Dos and don’ts for your video resume… Clinching the sale on your website…

SmartCompany /


Australia’s sixth-rate education system

Australia’s is being held back by its education system, according to a global study. The first global talent index (GTI), which surveys 30 countries, places Australia sixth as an attractive place for talent – behind the US, Sweden, Canada, Germany and France.

The study found Australia will move to fifth by 2012 as an attractive place in terms of personal disposable income, growth in employment, gross domestic product and technical skill base.

But the study also reveals that Australia will slip from seventh to eighth place in terms of its compulsory education.

Gerry Davis, managing partner of Heidrick & Struggles in the Asia Pacific, which did the survey with The Economist Intelligence Unit, region, told The Age: “The survey shows one weakness that needs to be addressed: the quality of our education system,” Davis said. “More investment needs to be made to keep us globally competitive.”

As Australia slips, China will rise. China will gain two positions by 2012 and the quality of its environment to nurture talent will improve from 22nd to 14th place by 2012, the study predicts.

Do’s and Don’ts for your video resume

Still applying for jobs with a written resume? You are so last century. The latest thing in the US is the video resume. has come up with 10 do’s and don’ts.

Do keep it short. People’s attention spans are shorter in the online world. Keep your video resume anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes. Be concise and to the point.

Don’t let the word “resume” fool you. The “video resume” is really more like a “video job interview,” so don’t just list what the company can already read on your paper resume. Give them a window into your personality … and why you’d be a good fit for the job.

Don’t wing it. Even if you don’t end up using a script, practice what you’re going to say on camera, and write out some talking points and key phrases.

Don’t just be a talking head. Got a clip from a sales presentation or a training session you led? Include it. How about some killer PowerPoint slides? Edit them in. Mixing in multiple forms of media will keep your video interesting.

Don’t be a windbag. Video favors short, concise sentences. Explanation and long discussion can work well on paper, but they won’t in your video resume. If you use a script, make a final edit to keep your dialogue extra lean.

Do worry about your appearance. For better or for worse, video is a superficial medium. Dress professionally, make sure the room is well-lit, and choose an appropriate backdrop. You’re probably better off sitting in front of a bookcase than the Goodfellas poster on your wall.

Don’t panic. Before you start, take a deep breath, and then just have a relaxed conversation with the camera. It may seem a bit odd at first, but eventually someone will be watching on the other end, and that’s who you’re really talking to. Worst case scenario: you screw up, and start over. This isn’t live TV.

Don’t touch your nose or scratch your face. Notice how television newscasters never seem to blink? You don’t need to go quite that far, but little tics that are ignored when you meet someone in person stand out on video. Be careful what you do with your hands.

Do keep it engaging. Just like an in-person job interview, enthusiasm counts. Speak with vigor and clarity to show the employer that you’ve got plenty of energy.

Do several takes. Shoot your resume several times and use the best take. You probably won’t nail it on the first try, and having several shots takes the pressure off.

Do stay professional. Creativity is great, and you shouldn’t be afraid to go beyond the traditional resume format. But clips of you ballroom dancing, playing tennis, or pumping iron at the gym can wait until after you’ve got the job. (Or forever.)

Clinching the sale on your website

It’s one thing to get the traffic to your website, it’s another to close the sale. has some tips on how to do get customers to buy.

1. Clean house before you have visitors over. Your website should have a clean, professional, easy-to-navigate design.

2. Provide details, details, details. While you don’t want to reprint the dictionary, the more details you can provide your potential customers, the higher the perceived value of your products and the more comfortable your visitors will be making a purchase.

3. Make suggestions. If you have more than one product, cross-promote and up-sell where you can.

4. Create a sense of urgency. If you give visitors the impression that your website and special pricing will be around forever, they might take that long to decide if they want to make a purchase. Boldly announce a sales price that only lasts until midnight, or that you only have 12 items remaining in stock and aren’t sure if you’ll ever have more.

5. Give clear directions. Studies of website visitors have shown that using the phrase “Click here” or “Yes, I want my white paper” instead of a vaguer phrase like “Read more” yields much higher click-through rates. Don’t assume anything.

6. Start high, end low. Another strategy for getting people to make purchases is to start out by offering an expensive item – say, a complete set of 100 motivational DVDs with 1000 hours of video – and then introducing a smaller, more affordable version of the item.

7. Everyone likes something for free. Come up with a bonus to offer for free with each purchase. If you sell an information product, offer a free e-book or newsletter.

8. Give your word and stick to it. Offer a money-back guarantee on whatever products or services you’re selling. This makes it easier for potential buyers to hand over their money. Offering a 60 or 90-day guarantee allows the person to trust you and take action on your offer.

9. Offer testimonials. Inspire trust in your visitors by displaying testimonials from happy customers.

10. Get them to leave something, if not their money. The mere fact that someone arrived at your website in the first place means they’re interested in what you have to offer. There are myriad reasons why they may not purchase right away.

11. Don’t forget to keep working on SEO. Once the traffic starts rolling in, it’s easy to forget how your visitors found you in the first place. Keeping up with your SEO strategies will ensure a steady stream of customers for a long time to come. SEO is a never-ending task.


SmartCompany is the leading online publication in Australia for free news, information and resources catering to Australia’s entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners and business managers.

We Recommend