Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Start of something new. For your job hunting and career building.

There went the Halloween. It doesn't have any thing to do with career (we're well aware of that), but we think honoring its passing by is in order.

Kidding aside, the keepers of this blog see every event as important. If you've been following our activities since a long time ago, you must have noticed this strange penchant already. Not that recognising every holiday will do anything good for our followers and their careers, really, but it just seems inevitable for people who think of their calendars as gods. Us.

What makes Halloween a little bit more reasonable to mention on this blog for us than the 4th of July, perhaps, is the fact that it marks the beginning of another month. Beginnings signal the time to retrospect. It gives us creativity favors in terms of asking about how you've been with regards to your job hunting or career building. You know very well we don't like being too straight to the point in expressing questions... It makes us sound scary, one reader has pointed out, so yes, an opportunity for humor like this is very much celebrated in our writing vocabulary.

We suppose we've been clear. And don't have to elaborate further on what we want you to contemplate on for today. How did you fare last month in terms of your job hunting pursuit or career development? In a scale of 1-5, with 5 as the highest, how would you rate your performance?

Are you still trapped in a career rut involving work stress, despite our many tributes to it last October? Still having difficulties looking for Singapore jobs though we've been consistent with giving job alerts every Friday of last month? What have you been doing anyway? Well, as much as we want to, we're not qualified enough to give you a lecture, so we might as well vent the frustration by offering you further help.

Today's going to be another career help day and we'll be answering some of the questions our followers have sent to us through mail. Good timing as Career Advice has just been updated with a good number of articles from career experts. Get your pens and notepads out as this is going to be informative. So are you ready to hear our resolutions? We mean, suggestions to get your November right? Because really, sometimes, pressing the reset button is the only way.

Based on what we can read in our mailbox, it seems that the concern of the majority of job hunters today is that they can't get interview invites. It may be due to competition -- the Singapore job market's still on recovery mode and though there has been a big increase in jobs since the start of the year, these jobs aren't enough to accommodate the needs of both the fresh graduates and those seeking rebound -- but we're not saying they don't have something to do with this misfortune. If you're currently having this job hunt problem, allow us to ask you two questions:

  • How do you send your resume to top employers?
  • Do you include a cover letter when you apply?

Though it may not seem so, the way you present your resume to recruitment agencies and top employers matters. One thing we've learned from the resume writing experts at Career Advice: be specific. The resolution we're eying is to drop the generic approach and go to the specific path. For each of the job ads you're interested in, edit your resume to suit their demands. Hard work, but worth it. Doing this will make your resume stand out: needless to say, you'll have a higher probability of getting called out for a job interview.

Give a great deal in personalising your resume for success, but don't forget to follow the basics. What basics? How recruiters expect you to present your credentials: something that abides by the conventions of resume presentation and doesn't have errors. Here are five basic tips to prevent errors in your resume, according to Adecco Singapore:

  • Consider the font used -- no smaller than 10pts.
  • Words with a message -- use action words that will grab attention like ‘develop’, ‘manage’ and ‘execute’ in describing your accomplishments.
  • Stick to the basics -- plain paper is much preferred.
  • Haste is fatal -- no one's racing with you. If your resume's worth the attention, it'll get picked despite its lateness.
  • Stay on track -- give the employer a favor. only include relevant information. information overload can be detrimental to your application.

Are your credentials built from temping experience? It's possible that you'll be viewed as someone who can't handle a permanent job. Aside from what we've shared above, it's a good idea for you to take note of this temping resume advice from career expert Katherine Hansen: "Many career counselors say you should acknowledge the role of the temp or staffing agency, but list as your main employers the companies for whom you actually did the work. "

Now, for career professionals. Many of the complaints are about dealing with stress and avoiding the so called 'autopilot syndrome'. Our reply? Two things: time and task management. If you manage your tasks, you'll eliminate the need to do overtimes and get more time to rest at home. Start by classifying your tasks in two: priority and secondary. Priority tasks should always come first. Not only will you be able to avoid stress (with the smooth flowing of things and all) but also, make your boss happy. What career experts say:

Begin focusing on what you want instead of how much you want to escape. When you find yourself sharing the latest horror story, stop in mid-sentence and say, "What I want to have is..." -- Cathy Goodwin, career coach.

Time Management is not doing the wrong things quicker. That just gets us nowhere faster. Time Management is doing the right things. -- Donald Wetmore, professional speaker.

The more "Crucial" things we do, the more productivity and success we enjoy. -- Donald Wetmore, professional speaker.

How to keep the challenge alive? Our idea of avoiding the autopilot syndrome is enjoying your job for what it is. List down everything that you like about your job to stay reminded. Career writer, Jody Urquhart also has these tips:

  • Do the tasks faster.
  • Do them with a certain intention in mind. For your writing skills? People skills?
  • Talk with others in the office and decide how they add challenge to specific tasks.
  • Reframe your perspective. As a civil engineer, for instance, you don't just build buildings, you shape the society for the better.
  • Act as if every task you do, big or small, is really important.
  • What are you most passionate about in your job? How can you find ways to do more of this?
  • How can you have a child-like curiosity about your work?

It's the start of something new! Hopefully, when we get back on you next month, we'll receive something worth a smile. Not that we're pressuring you, but well, you get the drift. =)

BTW, you can read the full versions of the articles we've cited in this post here:

Avoiding the Autopilot Syndrome

How to build a temping resume

Resume Errors Can Damage Your Employment Prospects

10 Tips to Moving Towards Career Freedom Singapore
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