Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On resume writing, job interviews, entrepreneurship, student experience, learning in career, internet networking. What experts think.

The best of Career Advice.

Well, we think we're finally back in business. We've started the week right (with "job hunting and the concept of marketability"...we'd like to believe), so assuming the absence of distractions, there's a good chance the rest of the days will be as objective. Er...or maybe not? Agree with us on this or not, we're good. Our writing preferences have always been a topic of debate after all. But our critics and their views on our sentimentality aside, if this had been last week, we'd still be sulking about "being all alone in this world". We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those who e-mailed on Linkedin and Facebook, whether the message was concerned or just impatient for objectivity. It's always nice to hear from readers. Now we know, if we need responses, we just have to write senti. There.

Granted, it was an assured effort, considering that we'd like the post to represent our answers to the mails we'd received (we still have a lot to write about and it's pretty hard to get a stint on this blog). But what's important is our tact's back, and today' we're off to prove that.

One of the most enjoyable things about blogging is that you're free to say anything you want (though of course, depending on the writer's beliefs on ethics, there's a form of censorship too). In forums, you're restricted to follow the rules of the administrators. Restrictions are present in internet communities as well. From explaining the difference between "just opinions" and facts when it comes to career articles to correcting ourselves right after discovering we've crossed the (almost) invisible line too, the kind of freedom of expression blogging offers is particularly useful in our pursuits.

There's nothing wrong with mixing opinions and fact together, of course ... it's done even by hard core researchers. It's just that in career building, mistaking an opinion for a tested tip can be dangerous. In the realm of career where opinions and facts are mistaken as the same as often as we get likes on Facebook, reminding must be done all the time to eliminate as much consequence as possible. We don't remind you about this all the time for nothing.

Career experts and professional coaches aren't the only ones that have things to say on the subject of career, so be careful in choosing tips to follow. When in doubt, check on these guidelines. Below are common topics for career and what experts think about them.

Resume writing. The idea is "personalising". Say no to aimless applications. Get to the employer's perspective to make your resume noticeable. Write a specific resume for each application. The experts argue...

"If you don't meet the requirements, wait for a suitable job opening. Aimless applications can frustrate the job seeker as much as recruiters." -- Sandra Sandu-Reeves, author of Getting Ahead in Your Career.

"As someone who doesn't care much for objectives, I'm not annoyed when jobseekers include them (unless they are dreadfully and self-servingly written), and I suspect like-minded employers would feel the same way." -- Katherine Hansen, author.

"Figure out the specific value of your past achievements, in numbers, dollars, percentages (never, ever assume that busy readers will figure out your value)." -- David Perry, co-author of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0.
Job interviews. Preparation is the key -- research about the company and what it does so you can answer well. Don't forget to prepare questions to ask the interviewer as well. The experts believe...
"Asking the right type of questions can definitely leave the interviewer with a great impression about you." -- Jonathan Kwan, Principal at Kwantum Leap.

"The conversation will essentially be about you and the company/role, so take your time, know your resume (and yourself) and know the company." -- Aimee Young, Consultant at Robert Walters.
Entrepreneurship. Two key ideas: guts and passion. If you have these, the venture is a good option for you to seek success. Experts say...
"Don't be afraid of hardship." -- Charles Chen, Managing Director of FoodNet Consultants.

"Having a positive mindset is very important to help them overcome challenges and obstacles in their journey as entrepreneurs." -- Wendy Kwek,founder of Executive Directions Pte Ltd.
Advice for students. Student work experience counts. It'll serve as a great addition to your resume. According to an expert...
"Take up service jobs. This is where you can learn about how to provide good customer service and add value to your job" -- Christie Khoo, Managing Director of Recruit Strategy.
Learning in career. Learning is important in career building. Keep your employee skills up to date and and you'll be on your way to conquering the Singapore jobs market. If you need help on this, Career Events and LearningDB.com are always offering interesting seminars to attend. What the experts say...
"Managing one's own talent and career development is important too, and I think this is especially important for new graduates about to enter the job market." -- Darryl Week, Country Head of ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified accountants).

"In order to stay on top of things, we have to constantly equip ourselves with new knowledge, keep an open mind and be flexible to change so that we can successfully adapt to new environments." -- Annie Yap, founder and Managing Director of AYP Associates.
Office etiquette. It's all about showing respect. Show respect to your boss and coworkers so that they'll appreciate you. An expert believes...
"I believe practicing good etiquette is important for everyone and at every occasion." -- Agnes Koh, Director of Etiquette & Image International.
Internet networking and career. There are both advantages and disadvantages on this. The biggest advantage is that social media websites can be used for networking. The downside is that such websites can be used to spy on you as well. That's why it's important for you to take precautionary measures. Let's hear again from Agnes:
"Facebook and blogs are fine, but you should be aware of the things you write and the photos you upload (avoid work topics), as they could have and adverse effect on your career."
Being specific. Which way do you want to take? Thing is, writings jobs aren't the same as banking jobs. Better to get things all straightened out before testing the waters. Other questions we want you to ponder on: "Is that industry hiring?" "Are the career options rewarding?" From an expert...
"If relevant career options are not identified, the remaining steps become more and more difficult to complete and, when completed, are more likely to result in job dissatisfaction. " -- David Helfand, author and career counselor.
Career Advice has a lot more. We just can't feature them here in one go. We suggest you visit www.jobsdb.com.sg/SG/EN/Resources/JobSeekerIndex for more expert tips. The section has News Watch too in which you can read about the latest goings-on in the Singapore job market.

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