Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Job hunting and career building made easy. Tips for safe career transactions on the internet.

Today, we live in a world so attached to the internet and its conveniences that it can be difficult to remember this: once upon a time, job applications were done by foot and career planning was all about reading career books. Building a career was expensive, to say the least, with career books and newspapers serving as the main sources of bits to succeed. But at least, the grounds were safer, with lesser risks for frauds and scams.

Not that we're condemning the very thing that makes our existence possible (thanks to the internet, we're able to display public service as we know it), but really, the internet has made it difficult to spot which job ads are safe to apply for and which career tips are okay to follow. With the internet being free for all -- no money is needed to act out as a career expert online -- the watch line of precaution is close to being invincible. While has everything from Singapore jobs to career advice, there's just no stopping its followers and members to seek for more resources that they can use for their pursuits, probably to make things faster. The rush is there to feed and we can only give so much.

What do we suggest career professionals and job hunters to do to brace this challenge? We've been asked to comment on this a million times, and today we're answering. Especially in sensitive affairs such as Singapore job search, salary increase, job offer considerations, and such, decision making can be as tricky as urban legends.

We've long recognised this problem, of course. Browse our 2009 publishings and you'll spot a certain post of ours about job hunting and career building using the internet as tool, which albeit short, still holds relevance up to this date. And that's why we've thought of following it up today, only, this edition is going to be more thorough. We're giving more space for career building get things straight for once. This is so that, the next time our followers browse for career tips on the internet, they'll know how and what to filter.

First stop, safety tips for job hunters. According to career expert, Teena Rose, phishing -- an attempt to extract personal information through what appears to be authentic emails/ads -- is the one thing that job seekers must always be concerned about whenever they're browsing for jobs to apply for online. "Knowing what to look for and how to spot fraud (or potential areas for abuse) can be the best deterrent to ensuring you have a safe experience while conducting your job search", says Teena in her 5 Tips for a Safe Online Job-Search article at The tips? Here they are, summarised for your easy reference:

Tips to make safe online job applications:

  1. Be leery of submission invitations. "Always proceed with caution when you receive a cold-contact email from someone", says Teena. It's better that you do the cold calling. If the email does look authentic, call the recruiting agency in the email or visit their website before you respond.
  2. Avoid responding to requests for personal information, such as a social security or credit card number. Often, reputable companies call when they need such information, not email.
  3. When purchasing from a resume writing or resume submission service, for example, ensure information is encrypted upon hitting submit. Two signs of encryption: URL that starts with https rather than http and/or a padlock in the bottom right corner of your screen.
  4. Read and understand the privacy policy of sites you patron. Websites have privacy policies for you to read them. Here's how Singapore works for instance:
  5. Tell! If it smells fishy, report it. So that other people will know too.
Working professionals are less likely to get caught in a scam than job hunters, but it's always good to be knowledgeable of precautionary tips when browsing for career tips online. Gut feeling plays an important role in the filtering, but please consider these reminders from us as well, as inspired by the thoughts of the career experts that our editors have featured on Career Advice.

Career building made easy:
  • How to negotiate for a salary increase. Do it with proper research. Learn about the latest salary levels in your industry and use your findings to discuss your past performance appraisals. That should do the trick. Of course, the presentation calls for good communication skills. And negotiation skills.
  • How to request for training opportunities. Your boss will appreciate the suggestions. If you come across career workshops and skills seminars that you think can benefit you and your colleagues a lot, don't hesitate to pass them to your boss for consideration.
  • Good office etiquette? Don't gossip and before you do things, be conscious of your colleagues. Before you let out a comment, think: will it offend someone?
  • How important is EQ in career building? In today's team-based work environments, it's important that you know how to deal with different kinds of people. It's a skill that can take you to career success when you use it properly.
  • What's a good way to manage tasks? Divide your tasks into two: priority and lesser priority. Focus on your priority list, finish all the entries there, before you look into the other group. This is for organisation and time management.
  • Is it time to make a career change? Is it your only option? Before you resign, make sure you've considered all your options or at least, already have a new job waiting for you.

Related articles that you might want to read:

Planning a career change? Find out if you're ready for such a big move

How to Get that Pay Raise

5 Golden Rules of Good Office Etiquette

How to excel in your career


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