A few years ago I got a tattoo saying ‘be here now’ to act as a reminder for myself as I often fall into the trap of constantly looking ahead rather than being totally present where I am and appreciating what I have right now. I’ve noticed on my travels falling into a similar trap now and again. Having had a shoulder injury preventing me from surfing as I had planned, I started fantasising about the future state when I was healed where I could do everything again that I wanted to do and this led me to getting more and more excited about going home and being somewhere else to where I am right now. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s pretty normal to want your friends and support system around you when you are going through a tough time but I realise I was constantly living in that future state in my mind and suddenly my present didn’t seem so great and then I started feeling depressed.

What I don’t want to do is look back at this time and feel like I wasted the opportunity I had in front of me to make the most of travelling. So how can I stay more present and stop getting lured into my imagination of a future life that doesn’t even exist yet and might not be anything like my creative mind has constructed it to be? Some great tips have really helped me out and I want to share some of them with you:

  • Single task things, and not just your work

When you’re having a chat on the phone, don’t get distracted by your internet browser. Or when you are talking to someone stop what you are doing, focus on them and concentrate your whole attention. I have noticed so often I am doing different things at the same time and this results in me losing focus on one and not doing it to the best of my ability. Try starting the day like this and go from there, just doing one thing at a time!

  • Slow it down

Have you ever noticed that when you’re agitated and are telling yourself to be quick because you’re rushed that you often end up taking longer to complete the task anyway? I have. Instead, if you approach tasks calmly in a relaxed manner you will see focus, decrease your stress and even find more enjoyment in it!

  • Concentrate on your senses

A friend of mine passed on a nugget of advice which I loved. When I realised my mind was running away from me or I had gone into auto drive on a task or activity, take a moment to concentrate on your 5 senses in your current situation. This would be what can you hear, taste, see, touch, smell. By doing this, you can’t help but bring yourself back to where you are now and be more present. We too often get into a mode of familiarity with things around us so you stop paying attention to them and lose awareness. Suddenly you hear the wind, feel the temperature in the air, notice the ambient noises around you, pay attention to those you are passing. It’s all positive.

  • Gratitude journalling

You can’t help but realise what you have now if you practice gratitude. By focusing on the relationships you have right now and what you are grateful for rather than what may or may not lie in the future, you become more present. I write down three things each day I am grateful for, but even if you just take the time to think about them it is super positive. It can be relationships you have but also just about anything you are grateful for. Throughout my injury, I have still come back each day to being grateful for my body and it’s strength, which is surprising sometimes but it’s made me realise how resilient I am, how strong I was and how strong I still am and this is helping my recovery.

  • Change up your routine

Go a different way to work, reverse the order of your morning routine, eat some new and different food. This also ties in with our ability to go into autopilot and not pay attention to our current state because it’s become such a routine. Mix it up and take in your new surroundings, or pay a bit more attention to the taste of your breakfast in the morning, or the beauty around you on your way to work.

  • Have a chat with yourself and BREATH

When you notice your mind wandering too much into the future or past, take a deep breath and say something to yourself to bring you out of it. For me, it’s as simple as saying ‘stop’ in my head, taking a big deep breath and then drawing myself back into the present moment.

  • Meditation

This is also a great way to create some stillness and being present. Calm and Headspace are two great apps if you need some guided meditation, but even if its as simple as taking 5 minutes to breath in for 4 and out for 8 and regulate your breathing, you will feel the difference.

How do I decide what I should be offering as a salary?

I know a lot of my clients have found this a tricky question at various times so I wanted to share some thoughts on it. There are different factors that influence this and you need to be aware of them to begin with:

  1. What can you afford as a business?
  2. What is that prospective employee worth to your business?
  3. What does the market say they are worth?
  4. What are they are asking for/want?

Once you have decided you are going to need to hire someone, the best starting point is the job description – this allows you to map out and realise what your expectations are of this role and what the responsibilities are. It will allow you to paint a picture as to what sort of calibre of individual you are going to need, and also give a sense of how tricky the role is, how hard or easy it is to find people that are capable, and who would want to do the job. Don’t just rely on generic and used job descriptions if the reality is this role requires something slightly different. Not only does it not help you deciding the salary but also can be off-putting to a candidate when they read an ad then they get into the interview and it seems to be something entirely different. Or worse, they go through the process, get to offer stage, ask to look at the JD in the offer and it’s also entirely different.

What does the market say they are worth?

Having a look at the market in NZ is going to help. To do this you need some accurate and reliable data. Now, from my experience – not every recruitment company that offers a salary survey is giving you access to reliable data. I believe Potentia’s renumeration report is one of the best in market if you are going to use a recruitment agencies, as they actually use not only their own reliable data from the thousands of placements they have made, but also send out surveys and use data from Trademe to create a detailed vision of the market, as well as learning candidates drivers for a new job in the current climate. This was impressive given I had previously noticed companies that don’t use any real data and just ask their employees to venture what they think the salaries should be. So please tread with caution around those!

Other reliable sources of data would be Payscale, Careers, and Trademe.

Furthermore, talk to others in your industry – ask around! Speaking to others directly is a great way of hearing first hand market rates.

And lastly on this point – CHECK WHAT’S LEGAL. There are legal requirements around pay for both permanent and contract resources, so make sure you understand what those obligations are!

What is the candidate asking for/want?

Ok so this part of the conversation is largely where we come in as recruiters and make life a bit easier. Some of these are tough/awkward questions to ask and so we do it for you and can communicate what the candidate’s expectations are and why.

In essence what you want to know is:

  1. What they have been on AND/OR what they want to be earning in their next role.
  2. What benefits do they get within their package – i.e. flexibility, perks, working from home etc.
  3. Why do they want to work for you – is it purely financially driven, is it about gaining more responsibility, a more senior title, or is it your companies brand that they are excited about?

THEN…What can you actually afford?

All the previous information is great but can you afford it as a business/team? Questions you can ask yourself are – how much will this person save you in time each year, how much will they generate in revenue (ROI), where does this role sit in relation to others in the business and how might this affect the offer you can make (sensitivity to how this might affect others expectations if they were to know), where can you go from there? – what if they want a salary review after a year – could you afford it? It’s also helpful to contemplate how much money you might want to reinvest into your business that year and whether or not this will eat into it.


Just remember what this candidates drivers were and reflect this in the offer. If they are motivated by reward and goal setting it might be a more affordable option to offer a whole package that includes a bonus linked to performance targets as well as a straight salary. Or if they are looking for a senior role where they can truly buy into the company, offering them the ability to literally buy in (shares) as a part of the package, could be more alluring than just a higher salary. Maybe they are also interested in the attention given to employee wellbeing – more and more companies are offering attention to wellbeing for their employees. Look at our service, Hvnter Wellbeing – a service that brings physical and mental wellbeing into the office so that it’s one less thing for your employees to think about themselves. Plus Hvnter Wellbeing can bring in value workshops and talks that educate to make life a bit easier for them!

A big one I see time and time these days is flexibility – people are searching for a work environment that promotes work life balance through flexibility to work some days from home, or maybe have a 4 day week, or be part time, or getting extra holiday instead to enable study or more family time.

MOST IMPORTANTLY – make a serious and competitive offer! I have seen it happen time and time again where we have explained and advised candidates motivations and ambitions, their other interview process and offers on the table and still clients have come back with a below market offer, or something entirely different from what they want and expect, or just too late. We are still in a candidate short market, especially in the technology sector. You don’t want to go through an entire recruitment process only for it to fall over at the last hurdle. Think about how valuable your time is, and let’s work together to get it right first time!

If you’d like to discuss any of the content, or reach out for some assistance in your own recruitment process, just shoot me a message on LinkedIn.

Let’s judge a little less…

“We can never judge the lives of others because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”

Paulo Coelho

I met someone on my travels that I connected with around our journey towards self love and discovery (a journey I am still on). One of the many things I took from her was future self journalling, which I highly recommend to anyone. For a kickstart go to but in short, the basic premise is picking something you want to change about yourself and concentrating on this for a month, writing down the answers to some specific questions that will start to embed in your mind the person you want to become and why and help you become it.

So, my first one was my trait of being too judgemental. It’s a hard one for me I think because in my job I have to make judgements. I have to decide pretty quickly if someone is suitable from a skill and culture fit level for my clients. I also have to make judgements about my clients and the company’s they work in to enable me to find the candidates. I have to judge whether or not I can trust what I am being told. So, day in day out, I am making judgements and of course sometimes I get it wrong but also I have grown to largely trust my instincts and learn how to ask the right questions and do the best I can to get it right and I think I’m pretty good at it.

But, this has crept into my personal life at times and I have noticed my ability to make judgements a little too soon on new people that I meet and found it hard to change my mind after I have made that call. This can be detrimental. Through paying attention to this trait of mine and unpacking it and trying to work out where it’s come from so that I can change it, I have noticed how, naturally, we all make judgements based on our own personal set of morals and values that have been shaped by many things, largely our upbringing and environment earlier on in life and then these have become engrained over time.

I grew up in a pretty standard upper middle class English family, with parents who hadn’t gone to university and so really wanted me to get the best education possible. That meant being privately schooled all the way to 18 and then going to University to give me the best chance of finding a successful career. Its funny looking back on it as none of this stuff was presented as a choice. As a result I always assumed that this was the best way of doing things and subconsciously equated finding this elusive ‘successful’ career as finding happiness. Furthermore, the people that shared those same ideals were the people I surrounded myself by so those ideas and concepts were only reinforced by my environment. Now don’t get me wrong – I am extremely grateful for my education and start in life. It has helped me in many ways, one of which being it has enabled me to be able to communicate effectively. I know how to speak and write well, talk to people, and go after what I want because I was given the confidence to feel empowered enough to chase my dream. This has been at times invaluable, it’s just I realise now that for a while I was chasing someone else’s.

Through travel and living abroad and meeting different types of people from all walks of life, my eyes have been opened to different ways of living and different concepts of success. I started to meet people that I realised I connected with more than the sorts of people I had been surrounded by most of my life.

I have always felt a little nagging at the corners of my world and when I was beginning my career in an office in Perth, dominated largely by men that held little respect or regard for females in the workplace, the nagging grew. Did I want to be a part of this, is this bringing me happiness, do I fit in to this world? I have asked myself those questions so many times over the last 5 years.

At times I could see them struggle with me. I wasn’t a girly girl, I had an opinion, I didn’t want to wear short skirts. I wore trousers and flat shoes, and tried to be barefoot in the office as much as possible (I genuinely hate wearing shoes as my feet feel claustrophobic). I was only complimented on my appearance when I wore more makeup. I didn’t need to make myself the centre of attention whenever I walked into the room like many of them, in fact quite the opposite. They all took great joy in making me feel uncomfortable when they pinpointed my efforts as I was known to go bright red, sweat a lot and be at a loss for words. I think there was some misguided thought that maybe the more they did it, the more I would get used to it but I think in fact it made it worse. I now am riddled with anxiety if I am in a room where I think I might be spoken about and if anyone pays me a personal compliment or draws attention to me I tend to heat up, turn the colour of a beetroot, sweat profusely and just shut down to the point where speaking becomes nearly impossible.

Anyway, I digress. The point I am trying to make is that I got the job I thought I wanted. I had strived for it to make it happen and I finally did.

Was I happy? No.

I look back at it now and feel like I was somewhat living someone else’s life. I was dreading going to work each day. I found working in a corporate office didn’t suit my personality one bit, I needed fresh air and freedom to move, I needed trust from my employer rather than rules and KPI’s that felt restrictive and unhelpful. I was really self motivated by doing a good job and found it surprising that the company was constructed in a way that seemed to presume no one would do a good job unless they were incentivised by competition with each other or money. I found people loved distracting other people in an office to allow themselves to procrastinate but then they felt a need to work crazy long hours. I was doing it too – I equated doing a good job as being the first one in last one out. I earned ok money and often used this as an inner justification. But I also started to realise living your life aiming towards the ability to afford material things, led to a significant amount of emptiness when you finally purchase whatever it is you thought you couldn’t live without.

So I had this nagging feeling for a while and although things vastly improved in New Zealand it was still there. So I took myself on a little journey of trying to work out what wasn’t right and what I needed to change. This has led me on a hugely different path to what I could have anticipated. I know now I definitely don’t want to be driven by financial gain first. I want that to be a natural byproduct of valuing the work I do and doing a good job but never as my primary driver. I want to work for myself and set my own targets and benchmarks and stop constantly comparing myself to others, which doesn’t help your self esteem one bit. I want to give back in some way to the planet and try to make a difference rather than talking about making a difference. I love health and fitness and want to inspire others to try it and enjoy it rather than see it as a chore.

And, the big one right now, I want to stop judging others for having a different dream to mine. And I really hope that others can do the same. This is my dream and idea of success and it’s ok that its not yours. It’s ok to view living in a van as absolutely awful as long as you don’t try and bring me down in the process. It’s ok that you might enjoy working in an office and get your satisfaction from that. I am not saying it isn’t a worthy life choice, as long as you’re doing it because it really does bring you joy. Don’t be afraid to live your truest life even if it doesn’t fall in to the social norms even if you might lose people in your life as a result. Unfortunately not everyone is going to understand you but you deserve people around you that support and lift you up, not bring you down.

The only person that is going to have regret at the end of your life by not doing it, is going to be you. I think one of the most attractive things in someone is being themselves. I am still working to make that a full reality, I know I have a journey ahead. But I also know it’s going to make me the happiest I have been when I do.

“The self-righteous scream judgments against others to hide the noise of skeletons dancing in their own closets.” 

John Mark Green

4 Reasons why using a recruiter is beneficial:

  • Advocacy

A lot of the benefit of using a recruiter is down to us being in direct contact with the hiring manager that you will be interviewing with. If you decide to make an application online then often you only have your resume to influence HR or a hiring manager considering you. When you use a recruiter, we have built a relationship where we also often act as a trusted advisor to our clients and when we present your resume we are highlighting to our clients our own reasons why we think you’re a great candidate and if there is hesitation at that point we can advocate on your behalf.

  • We know our clients

If you are working with an effective recruiter they have spent the time getting to know their client so understand what they are looking for, what is important to them and that will be why they want to present you because they can see an alignment. Hopefully they have also spent some time getting to know you and your drivers and have seen that potential match up. A recruiter is then able to help you prepare adequately for an interview so that you know what you need to concentrate on showcasing from your experience, keeping it relevant and helping to ease your nerves. Plus, if you have questions in the lead up, or just want someone to debrief with afterwards you have someone on hand that can actually give you the answers. We always try out best to get personalised feedback from our clients after an interview to give you that insight, whether it’s positive or negative which you don’t always get when you have applied directly.

  • Access

The biggest one is just having access where you do not. Often we work with clients that don’t want to directly advertise themselves so if you weren’t working with a recruiter you would never hear about them. Moreover it allows you access to a hiring manager more directly rather than just administrators or HR teams. We work closely with those people too but often in partnership with the managers so this gives us insight not only into the bigger picture of the organisation and its values/culture but then more deeply into the specific team you would be working in and the manager you would be directly reporting into on a daily basis.

  • Saves you time

A lot of candidates are holding down a full time job, juggling family commitments and trying to have a personal life and when you add finding a job into the mix it can be stressful. Our service, which is free for candidates, takes a lot of the difficulty out of it – if you keep to just one or two recruiters (I personally think 3 would be maximum before you just get duplication) then it allows one or two people to organise all your interviews, keep processes running smoothly and know when to advise clients to move things along, if it’s slowing down and other interviews are accelerating. Streamlining that is hugely helpful to you so things don’t get confusing.

Van Life

People that know me know how much natural energy I have. When you add excitement and passion to that I go through the roof. It’s been a somewhat surprising journey so far with travelling and setting up my future business and contemplating returning to New Zealand and really noticing how I feel about each element of it and moreover, how things fall into place as they should.

I have struggled as an immigrant to find a place where I truly feel like I belong. There have been glimpses along the way of greatness but always with something alluding me and not being able to put my finger on it. Being completely truthful I have often at times questioned living in New Zealand, and often my biggest enemy was comparison. I kept comparing things to Australia, or people to those I had met on my travels, or that were back in the UK even. Comparison and the dangers that come with doing it too much could be a whole other post but in short, at the start of this year I stopped comparing. I started taking in the beauty around me, learnt through having my own personal struggles that I actually have an incredible support network around me and that I just needed to be reminded of it. So, New Zealand started to feel more and more like home. Then I decided to have this trip. This trip wasn’t about running away, it was about taking some time to really evaluate my life and where I have got to and start to make some decisions that will set me up for the future I want, whatever that may be. I think removing yourself from the craziness of life can be such an invaluable tool to gain perspective and clarity and even within the first two months I have gained incredible insight.

So the big one was creating my business Hvnter that I approached with a certain amount of trepidation as well as excitement. I have learnt a lot about myself and what motivates me. Being my own boss and setting the standards at which I want to work with and what I need to see myself as successful is extremely liberating. Recruiters and anyone in sales can perhaps empathise with the feeling that sometimes you are left feeling it’s never enough. You hit your targets, your targets go up, you have a great month, then you’re onto the next and that previous month is forgotten. The companies you work within tend to constantly incentivise you through financial gain (as if that’s the only way to get you to do the right thing), and if you are susceptible to influence, all too soon you could see yourself falling into the trap of being driven solely by financial gain and losing sight of your other values and moral judgement. I have been wary of this my entire career, and shied away from it and on the whole feel good about my decisions and way that I have worked with clients and candidates. But, the allure of financial success of course remains there somewhat. By working for myself I can set myself clear parameters on how much I need to be stable and facilitate the lifestyle I want without going above that. As a result, the quality of my service remains high and I am able to pursue projects like Hvnter Wellbeing and Hvnter Environment on top of recruitment to make an impact beyond myself and the individual.

Which leads me to my other passion and excitement. I truly believe in living minimally and simply. Consumerism shoves it down our throat that we need this and we need that and unfortunately most of us fall into that trap, I know I certainly have at different points in my life. This can also create a lifestyle that you need to maintain and can result in your making poor decisions that don’t create happiness but enable you to afford the big house you bought, or the fast car that gets caught up in all that Auckland traffic and you rev loudly now and again to let people know you exist. Part of my dream has been to live in a way where I take as little as possible from the environment, create as little waste as I can, and leave myself open to really enjoying what is around me that’s free and natural and looking after myself in the same way. This ties into my desire to help others mental and physical wellbeing through Hvnter Wellbeing and also the wider community through Hvnter Environment.

So – with tension mounting – yes – I bought a van to live in when I return. Some might be surprised, some might be appalled (I know my mother was) but some, I hope, share the same level of thrill I do. Plus this is no ordinary van – this has been created with love by an incredibly gorgeous instagram couple @mitchcox and @cleocohen. They made it their home and now I am going to be making it mine. It’s self contained, utilises solar and has everything I could need. Plus it’s diesel and a 4WD so I can wake up on the beach in New Zealand, start my day soaked in nature, and work from wherever feels good, coming into the city life whenever I need to.

I know van life isn’t for everyone, and hey, it might not even be for me forever either, but for now it’s the perfect lifestyle for living true to my values and whats important to me at this stage in my life. I want to be able to work with clients and candidates all over New Zealand and not be restricted by location. I want to work with awesome companies making a difference to our social wellbeing and our planet and companies that care about the wellbeing of their employees and practice what I preach. I know that every little helps. Even if it’s one less daily commuter on the roads, or one less household member draining tonnes of water and electricity I think that’s awesome. Plus look at her – she’s beautiful! I am really proud to call New Zealand home – the whole of her and not just one part.

Effects of guilt on our health and weight loss goals

I am one of the many females that have had some serious negative self talk about their weight and and correlated it with self worth which has often led to feelings of guilt from eating. I beat myself up because I think I know what I need to do so I set some tight restrictions and then when I fail I am full of guilt, shame and self hate. I have tried many a fad diet and had many an internal chat about tomorrow being a new day, or tomorrow’s the day when I make it happen, but here I am, at the same weight I’ve pretty much always been at for the last 10 years.

I work out often, I eat pretty healthy, I sleep around 7 hours consistently a night, don’t smoke or drink alcohol – why am I am not honed to perfection then?

Let’s be honest, there will be loads of factors affecting an individuals ability to lose or put on weight and I can’t go into them all, but I think guilt and it’s effect is an important one to discuss.

Guilt is fuelled by negative thinking. There have been numerous studies conducted that illustrate the affects of positive and negative thinking on how our bodies operate. An article from the Institute of Psychology for Eating has found that how you respond to food impacts how your body digests it. When you see a food you are about to eat and associate it with guilt, this sends messages to the brain and in turn sends signals to the digestive system that create an inhibitory response. So, whatever it is you are eating doesn’t get fully metabolised. It can then remain in your digestive system longer, and this diminishes the amount of good gut bacteria and increases unhealthy toxins being moved into the blood stream. Not only this, but the guilt can also cause an increase in insulin and cortisol production which in turn causes more of the food to be stored as fat. Plus increases in cortisol and adrenaline can increase heart rate, blood pressure and inflammation through the body.

Adding weight to this are further studies. In the Netherlands a study showed those that felt guilty after eating dessert foods were at more risk of eating more junk good and larger serving sizes as well as snacking more on junk food throughout the day.

Another study that monitored women participating in a weight loss program saw correlation between shame, self-criticism and and social comparison having a negative impact on their self regulation with weight loss. It caused an increase in disinhibition and susceptibility to hunger. It also saw that positive self assurance and social comparisons had a positive impact on their weight loss prior to the survey.

So, on the flip side of all that guilt as you can imagine, treating that same meal with a positive mentality can completely change how the body deals with it as you eat.

I know how negative those diets I put myself through were, when I look back now. All of these rules – do this, don’t do that create lots of restrictions. As a result you are setting yourself up for failure. As soon as you eat a banned food you feel guilty. Whereas positive association and reward are more effective. When you delight in the meal you are consuming your body sends signals to the brain and then the digestive system that stimulate your digestive organs. So, your food gets broken down properly and the calories get burned more effectively.

I want this article to reinforce our need to be kinder to ourselves in the society we live in where constant shallow comparisons based largely on aesthetics have been made too easy.

Try paying attention to that inner voice and begin with a 3 day ban on internal and/or external negative self talk. Then extend it out from there to a week, 2 weeks, etc. and just keep going. When you have a moment of guilt/negativity about yourself just try and silence it and think of a positive statement to counteract it’s power.

5 small steps you can take to overcome stress:

  • Eat right

Stress has a big impact on our blood flow and blood pressure. There are certain foods that contain nutrients that aid the blood flow around the body so can be great for times of stress. These include Omega 3s, vitamin E and polyphenols. Foods that contain these nutrients include blueberries and dark chocolate. Omega 3’s are found in oily fish as well as sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and avocado. To find those polyphenols you can look to consume your green leafy vegetables including kale and red peppers! Gut health is another one to pay attention to – there have been studies showing a link between gut health and brain function so think about consuming foods like beans, vegetables and cereals which are high in fibre.

  • Meditate

Just 10 minutes a day is all you need to put aside for some meditation and it’s a great one for stress reduction as well as reducing anxiety, improving your cardiovascular health and allowing some relaxation time in your busy day. A simple starting point is apps such which can guide you through some meditation. Alternatively speak to your employer about our service Hvnter Wellbeing – we can offer meditation sessions in your workplace alongside yoga and fitness, or just as a stand alone.

  • Minimise social media for as long as possible

Try and delay checking your social media when you first wake up and for as long as possible. There have been multlple studies showing checking emails first thing can increase stress. Often checking social media apps tricks your mind into concentrating on thinking about all the things you have missed out on since you went to sleep. Plus it can also cause you to ruminate on the future rather than remaining in your present which often triggers stress.

Great ways to avoid this habit are:

  1. Deleting your social media apps before you go to bed each night then reinstalling them later in the day
  2. Charging your phone overnight on the opposite side of the room or a different room altogether – and if you say you need it for your alarm – go out and buy an alarm clock!
  3. Turning off push notifications so you don’t receive alerts from posts
  • Reduce caffeine intake

This is not just limited to coffee but also fizzy drinks, and energy drinks. Yes caffeine can make you feel more alert in small doses but too much can add to your stress. Our bodies naturally release cortisol when we are stressed to combat it. When you add coffee into the mix as well you are increasing the amount of cortisol in the body as coffee causes more cortisol production. Cortisol increases the sugar production in your body and over time excess sugar causes insulin to be released and this can lead to inflammation which can then pave the wave for chronic disease. Furthermore coffee inhibits the body’s absorption of the calming amino acid Adenosine – this amino acid tells the brain when we need to sleep and lower our energy levels, hence the sleepless nights!

  • Find your 15 minutes

Make some time for yourself – it can be just 15 minutes, screen free, to enjoy something that brings you joy and relaxes you. It can be meditation but it can be other things as well – going for a run, reading a book, cooking etc. Even with a busy family life, you need to make time for yourself and this can be a great aid to stress reduction.

5 ways to make your resume more effective

Keep it brief

From my experience, both recruiters and hiring managers are short on time, and receiving numerous resumes from various sources. They want to have a resume that summarises your relevant experience succinctly and eloquently. Keep it to 2 pages maximum and know that you can elaborate in an interview. Old and irrelevant information first will just minimise your chances so make sure that first page is demonstrating your aptitude for the specific job you have applied to and is up to date.

Keep it simple

You don’t need fancy resumes with crazy drawings and unnecessary fluff to get a hiring managers attention and sometimes it can do the exact opposite. Keeping it clear and punchy will be far more affective than dramatic colours and pictures. Readable font is key, keep your margins around 1.15 to 1.5, and if you choose to use a template, make sure you get rid of sections if they just aren’t relevant to you.


Make sure you can back up your claims with real life experiences. If you say you have a skill, show evidence of it. It’s easy to say you can handle million dollar projects, but tell us where and what you have done to substantiate that claim. Employers are more responsive to measurable proven value!

Sing out your achievements

Sometimes people find it hard writing about their own success but it’s really important to highlight relevant achievements to the job you are applying for. This can be tough deadlines reached on time, awards, delivering projects under budget etc. I often find it effective to have an achievements section under each relevant position you have held, but even a separate section dedicated to career achievements can be an effective way to document this, especially if you have had an extensive career.

Proof read and edit

This is often your first impression on a a potential employer. I know countless clients that have discounted candidates based on misspelling and confused resumes because they see it as a reflection of your level of care amongst other things. Get a friend or a trusted mentor to re read it if you are unsure, as sometimes a set of fresh eyes makes all the difference.


By Tania Graham-Brown

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

Shel Silverstein

I was thinking about what to write on my first ever blog post and a few things came to mind but a theme that I have been coming back to again and again when interacting with others recently has been that of hope.

I am currently holed up on a beautiful island on the far eastern side of Indonesia, basking in sunshine and turquoise waters, whilst trying to tame the waves, grow my confidence, quieten my fears, build my own business, whilst learning and absorbing as much as I can from others and myself as I go.

Not a small feat by any means when I think about it 🙂

On the whole I have been extremely fortunate enough to meet people that have an innate ability to see the best in things and others, and remain hopeful about the world we live in and the possibility for positive change and a better way. Every now and again I do meet those that have lost their hope, sometimes painting themselves as being a ‘realist’, and that negative energy, if you’re not careful, can be as contagious as its antithesis.

I feel somewhat lucky that on the whole, bar one or two brief interludes, I have always maintained the mindset that there is hope. I also feel strongly that every small gesture, word, action, good intent, makes a difference and that difference is of great value. We all know firsthand how it can take one comment, one smile, one gesture, to completely transform your outlook, mood, and whole day (even week/month).

So as I enter into the coming months of travel and then the life I am creating in front of me back in my home of New Zealand, I am bringing that hope with me into my interactions.

If I turn to surfing – a sport I have been grappling with for the last 3-4 years, it acts a great example. I didn’t grow up in the water as a child and only found it in my mid to late 20’s. How many times have I inwardly berated my parents for not taking me for surf lessons as a kid holidaying in Cornwall when I had little to no fear. Yet here I am 4 years later, still trying and still seeing hope in one day feeling like I have cracked it. In all the moments I have got frustrated, shamed, upset, angry at myself for falling, not taking the wave that I could have made, chickening out on going out at all, there have been those where I have gone out and I have given it a go, I did make the wave and OH THAT FEELING. This might sound cliche but I know surfers definitely do empathise, that feeling is worth a million tumbles, a million hold downs (kind of), and a million moments of frustration. The weightlessness, the pure elation, there is nothing quite like it. That is what gives me hope, that is what brings me back each time I lose my way with it and that’s enough.

Now I turn in my mind to this business I am creating. I have definitely had moments of doubt. Am I good enough to do this on my own, have I bitten off more than I can chew, is anyone going to take me seriously, am I trying to do too much? These questions have rolled over in the chasm of my mind more than once and probably will continue to do so for a while longer but that’s ok. I think it’s healthy to question yourself and this can help keep your values and motivations at the forefront of your mind and stay on track with your purpose. For all those moments of doubt I have come into contact with individuals who I tell my story to, alongside my vision for my business and time and time again they reinforce for me that I am doing the right thing and that I can make an impact, that there is hope.

I love connecting with people and working in recruitment has allowed me to connect with people AND connect people. How lucky am I?! In this next phase of my journey I can not only continue to do that but also utilise those connections to make a difference – on people’s health and on the environment. I LOVE health and wellbeing. I have felt the impact on my own mental and physical health of good exercise, eating nourishing whole foods (and the impact of the not so nourishing), mindfulness and getting outside and connecting with nature.

Hvnter Wellness

It’s so easy to get absorbed into your working life and the craziness of having a family and friends to support that you forget to look after yourself properly. I have met so many clients who tell me that they get the bus or drive to work, work through their lunch, get the bus/drive home, complete their home chores/make dinner and go to bed. They eat quick and convenient food, rather than concentrating on the most nourishing and rarely move – and this is in New Zealand where there is beauty in nature all around us and an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. I want to help individuals prioritise their health and make small positive steps to being healthier – both in mind and body. You can change at any point, it’s never too late and there is always hope – you just need the right support network and knowledge, plus sometimes a little kick up the butt 🙂 and you’ll be amazed by the impact.

Hvnter Environment

Furthermore, we are so lucky to live in a country like New Zealand and travelling is a great way to really appreciate that. Looking at our infrastructure in comparison to countries in Indonesia for example, help me to realise that we have no excuse not to be doing more to keep our environment clean and lessen our negative impact. The more time you spend in nature the more you want to nurture it and so for me it was a no brainer adding a service to my business that allows me to work with companies to DO BETTER.

It would be easy to get caught up in it all and say there isn’t hope any more, so why bother? Let’s silence that voice and turn up the volume of hope.

A recent article wrote in the New York Times wrote ”The world is getting hotter faster, the World Meteorological Organization concluded in its latest report Sunday, with the five-year period between 2014 and 2019 the warmest on record. Emissions of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming when it is pumped into the atmosphere, are at record highs. The seas are rising rapidly. The average global temperature is 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than what it was in the mid-19th century, and at the current pace, average global temperatures will be 3 degrees Celsius higher by the end of this century.

“I will not be there, but my granddaughters will, and your grandchildren, too,” the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said in his opening remarks. “I refuse to be an accomplice in the destruction of their one and only home.”

We can make a difference to these issues – we can reduce cars on the road, we can lessen our consumption of products that we don’t need that are guzzling up damaging fuels and causing absurd amounts of green house gas emissions, lower our water consumption, recycle more effectively and MORE. Let’s focus on what we can do, rather than what we can’t!

I hope that I can make a difference with Hvnter but even if it all were to fail I am content with knowing I tried and approached it with the best of intentions. I also know that no matter what, the amount I have learnt about myself (and others) along the way make it a worthy setback on my own personal journey.

When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

Paul Coelho – The Alchemist