Engineering and IT Jobs

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


When you think of the corporate world, you think of a structured, disciplined and formal environment where doing off-the-wall things is likely to be frowned upon. Procedures are rigid, and documents – including resumes – have to follow a strict format.

But there are certain industries that actually encourage more creativity and departure from norms. Advertising agencies, graphic design studios, bars and restaurants, fashion stores, photography studios, music studios, event management outfits and special interest publications come to mind. If you’re looking to fill up any of the job vacancies in Singapore in any of these more creative industries, you can make an impactful impression with an unconventional resume.

If you’re still in college, and you want to apply for any of the part time jobs for students, this is actually a great opportunity to flex your creative muscles and show some youthful flair for the unexpected.

Of course, the mandatories – name, educational attainment, position desired, etc – should all still be there. It’s just a matter of presenting these in a more interesting way.

A flat envelope is just another letter in the pile on a manager’s desk. Send him a package, and you’re more likely to get noticed.

The CD
One of the most popular 3D resume ideas in the late 1990s and early 2000s was the CD in its case. You can push the idea further by ditching the traditional CD case for a more elegant packaging. Place your name on the front sleeve, and all your biodata on the inside sheet that would comprise the liner notes of a regular CD.

This approach is excellent for those eyeing a job in the music industry, photography, or event management. A word of caution: make sure all the printed material can stand on its own. Don’t assume that the manager will have time to check the contents of the CD.

The T-Shirt
If you or someone you know has the hardware to print on cloth, go ahead and place your resume on a T-shirt or a tank top. Place your headline on the front part of the shirt and the details on the back side.

The sample above is actually quite minimalist. You can play with colors, add boxes, and even emblazon an image of your face on the front side. This resume idea works perfectly for those looking to work in the fashion industry.

The Object Montage
There are visual montages, and there are montages made of objects stuck to a board. Arrange these well, and you have a striking resume that will surely get noticed.

This sample has a coffee cup, a receipt, and a napkin, all neatly stuck to a wooden board. The details are printed on the objects, art directed for easy reading. The choice of the coffee theme was well thought out: creative people need their caffeine fix to get their juices flowing. Take this type of approach if you’re into graphic design.

A resume printed on paper material can still be interesting, if you know how to dress it up properly.

The Brochure
Think of yourself as the product you’re marketing, and make your resume speak to employers in brochure format. Go folder-type, accordion, or even magazine style. Feel free to add graphics and photos to break up the monotony of continuous text. If you’re applying for a job as a photographer, place samples of your best work in the layout.

You can also adapt the brochure look to a menu-style resume, ideal for applying for a job in the restaurant business.

The Interactive Piece
Give the manager something to play with, and he’ll remember you. He may not have time to actually go through the interactive process, but if your piece has said all you need to say and has grabbed his attention, it’s done its job.

Note that the cut-out box sample above employs only one-side printing, so that once it’s cut and folded into a box, all the printed sides are still visible. If you try this approach (which would be ideal for just about any of the earlier-mentioned creative industries), be sure to print this on heavy gauge paper.

This pantone strips resume is a little less interactive, but no less impactful. The resume details are naturally broken up because they’re printed on the individual strips. This gives the manager the chance to go over these one by one. This type of approach works especially well for those in the graphic design and advertising industries.

The One-Page Wonder
A blend of the traditional and the offbeat, these resumes still stand out for their art directed content, with their liberal use of graphics, fancy fonts, and attractive colors.

The above resume is a perfect example of what we call organized clutter. Elements are strewn together with wild abandon, yet the viewer doesn’t get lost in the montage of images. This was created by an advertising copywriter. It was meant to represent the typical writer’s worktable. Cluttered, but chock-full of creative ideas.

The appeal of the second sample lies in the fact that it looks like an oversized business card, with the added element of a cartoon version of the creator. It’s not particularly colorful, but that in fact works to its advantage. It’s neat, and easy to read.

The above one-page wonders can also work as online materials, as long as the page allows uploading of your layouts. This is not a problem if you want to post your resume on a social networking site. Certain job sites, though, give you a template and only certain fonts and colors to work with. Don’t let these limitations deter you. Take on the creative challenge. Make full use of your limited resources. Check these samples.

Note how this sample has no images, just a lot of text. But it’s certainly not boring to look at, because of the skillful use of boxes to organize the elements, with emphasis on testimonials. Colors are also well utilized, with enough variety for visual appeal, but not too much as to make the layout look busy. 

This sample is impressive in its monochrome approach, using only various shades of grayish turquoise. The result is a layout that’s pleasing to the eye. Graphic images are minimal, and the elements flow smoothly because they’re neatly boxed.

These are just a few examples of how you can go off-the-wall with your resume designs. There are numerous other approaches you can try, like a scroll parchment, a Rubik’s cube, a deck of cards, a flip chart, and so much more. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Go ahead, experiment, explore and most of all, express yourself.

Image sources:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Importance of Professionalism

The Importance of Professionalism

In an ideal world, every employee in the workplace would do his job, and the best performers would be rewarded with salary raises and promotions. But the world is not ideal. There are backbiters, gripers, gossipers, and other cancers that resort to devious means to get ahead. Even those who have worked contractual and part time jobs in Singapore will attest to the harsh reality of office politics.

In truth, the ones who really succeed are the ones who practice the highest levels of professionalism. Lies and other deceptions can only get you so far. Be a model employee and you will be rewarded accordingly.

The fundamentals of professionalism are obvious. Be punctual, dress appropriately, leave your bad mood at home, don’t use foul language, do your work well. But dedicating yourself to the highest standards of professionalism involves more than just the basics, and it entails a little more effort on your part. It means being emotionally, mentally, and psychologically mature.

Don’t take professional matters personally. It’s normal for tempers to go out of control every now and then in the workplace. A coworker may raise his voice at you. Your boss may scold you. It could reach that point where you’ll want to walk out and do a job search for a better employer. Calm down. Your best response would be to remain cool and collected amidst the rising tensions. You have to keep such moments in perspective. As long as no personal insults were hurled, you just have to go right back to work and put the incident behind you. Give sufficient time for things to cool down, then the next time you see the person who raised his voice at you, say hello as if nothing happened.

Don’t get caught up in office gossip. When you’re in a group during lunch break or coffee break, and you hear them badmouthing a coworker, it’s best for you not to take part in the conversation. This may be difficult if you in fact agree with them about the person involved. You may find that person difficult, obnoxious, arrogant, or self-centered. But you have to resist the urge to join in the “bashing session.” Just remain quiet. If possible, change the topic. Eventually, people will notice that you’re not the gossiping type, and this will earn you a good deal of respect.

Be critical of things, not people. It’s good to approach your work with a critical mind. Managers usually like having people who offer suggestions on how to improve systems, workflow, and processes. Doing so, however, necessarily means pointing out a weakness or defect that needs to be corrected. Keep your criticisms on the professional level. Don’t bring in personalities. Instead of saying, “The personnel manager doesn’t seem to know what sort of seminars we need,” say instead, “I’d like to make suggestions on what kind of seminars will benefit our team.”

Bring you complaints to the proper forum. In the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” there’s a scene where Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks’ character) tells his squadron of privates, “There’s a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, and so on. I don't gripe to you. I don't gripe in front of you.” Keep this in mind when you have a complaint at the workplace. Bring this to your superior, not your subordinates or peers. Complaining to someone who can’t do anything to help you is a waste of time and energy.

Stay positive. Negativity is a known productivity killer. A negative attitude affects not only your work, but also those around you. No matter how difficult the circumstances, you have to stay positive. Don’t dwell on problems. Always make an effort to see the good in every situation.For more about maintaining a positive attitude click here.

Bear in mind that practicing professionalism requires constant effort. It can be tiring, taxing, and even frustrating. It entails summoning your best diplomacy, communication, coordination, and even project management skills. But the end-result is well worth it. You sharpen your self-control, you become more productive, and you earn the respect of both your peers and your supervisor.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Power of a Positive Attitude

 the power of a positive attitude

Conventional wisdom tells us that a positive attitude produces positive results, both in personal life and at work. But what exactly are the benefits you can get from being a positive thinker, particularly at work?

Before we answer that question, let’s first define what positive attitude means at the workplace. Essentially, positive attitude is composed of the following: approaching your job with enthusiasm, encouraging others, avoiding giving others negative feedback, not taking part in office gossip, and treating others with genuine respect.

If you are tasked to do something difficult, a negative response would be, “I don’t think I can do this.” But if you have a positive attitude, your response would be, “I’ll take on this challenge. I might need help, but I’ll get it done.”

If you’re in a brainstorming session and someone on your team comes up with an idea that’s on strategy but a bit unconventional, a negative response would be, “The client would never approve that.” On the other hand, a positive response would be, “That’s an interesting idea, let’s look into it. Maybe we can tone it down a bit.”

Now, what are the benefits of having this type of attitude? Read on, because some of these aren’t as obvious as you may think.

Staying positive beats stress.  Tight deadlines, unreasonable demands, and long hours of overtime are some of the great destroyers of enthusiasm. If you let these get the better of you, you’ll make a stressful situation even worse. But if you stay positive, your enthusiasm level will stay high, and you’ll get the job done more easily.

A positive attitude is infectious. Being a positive thinking employee makes people want to work with you, and more importantly, makes you a positive influence. Your officemates will see you as a role model. Working relationships become more harmonious. The end result is what all employers want to see: increased productivity.

Positive people earn respect. Managers like to see people who think positive. They see such employees as assets, and this translates to respect. When you have the respect of you boss, you know that you will eventually be rewarded, with a pay raise, and ultimately, a promotion.

A positive attitude ensures job security. One of the hard realities of corporate life is that companies now and then have to cut down on their workforce. When such tough decisions have to be made, employees’ attitudes are a major factor in deciding who will be let go and who will be retained. Maintain your positive attitude, and your job security is greatly increased.

Positive people are happier. Studies reveal that people who maintain a positive outlook are by nature more satisfied in life. When you spend more time trying to correct problems rather than worrying or complaining, when you keep your criticisms constructive, and when you always see something good even in a bad situation, you definitely live a happy life. And a happy employee is a good employee.

One final, important note: staying positive does have its share of challenges. What’s important to remember is, you have the power to overcome these challenges. You are the one who decides to stay positive no matter what the situation. And once you’ve made that decision, there are always rewards that await you. Always. Whatever form these rewards take, you’ll find that the effort is well worth it.