Engineering and IT Jobs

Friday, May 31, 2013


In the list of tasks that most managers would rather not do but have to, it’s a safe bet that resolving conflicts ranks quite high. After all, the manager’s primary task is to see to it that his team remains productive, and fights between team members are the last thing he would want to manage. 

But conflicts are for the most part inevitable. When you have a group of diverse personalities working together, there are bound to be clashes. This is especially true in departments where team members have to work closely together, such as those in marketing, event management, finance, and project management jobs

When such conflicts arise within your team, you have to accept the fact that the fixing job is yours, not the HR Manager’s and certainly not the admin assistant’s. Your have to try to get the involved parties to reconcile their differences, or, at the very least, see to it that the conflict won’t affect the team’s productivity. It’s a matter of taking the right steps. 

1. Get both sides. 
Your first order of business is to talk to the concerned employees separately. You want to get to the root of the problem, and part of that process is hearing both versions. Make mental notes of what each has to say. Your purpose here is not to decide which employee is right and which one is wrong, but simply to hear them out. They’ll both appreciate your taking time to listen to them. 

2. Step back. 
Assess the situation. You need to determine if the conflict is personal or professional. This can be quite tricky, because it’s not unusual for the personal and the professional to overlap in the workplace. Recall the points that each employee made, and base your decision on these. Once you’ve made the determination, you’re left with two options: leave it to them, or mediate. 

3. Leave it up to them. 
If you find out that the conflict is of a personal nature – meaning that the two simply don’t like each other – it would be best for you to stay out of it. You’re a manager, not a parent-figure. You should, however, talk to them separately and make it clear to them that even though they don’t get along, they have to respect each other, be professional and work together. Also, let them know that you won’t tolerate factionalizing. It’s bad enough when there are two in conflict within the team. If each of them tries to get others to take his side, this would only worsen what’s already a bad situation. 

4. Mediate. 
This is the route you take when you find out that the conflict is purely professional. You have to sit down with the two, and try to come up with a resolution. What’s important here is that both see the importance of good teamwork. 

Throughout the entire process, ensure that you remain objective, cool, and respectful to both parties. You have to set a good example. Taking sides, losing your temper, and not showing the proper respect will only drag you into the same problem – conflict – which you’re trying to fix in the first place. 

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Friday, May 24, 2013


You’ve come to that point where you’re not happy anymore in your present company. The job doesn’t offer enough challenges. You’ve grown tired of the routine, the sight of your desk, and even the office’s interior design. You decide to check out the job vacancies in Singapore, and you find what you think is the position that’s better suited to your career objective. You apply, and you get accepted. So the time has come for you to part ways with your employer.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to pack your bags and go, you owe it to yourself to make sure you leave on good terms. No bad blood, no ill will, only a good legacy. Here are a few tips to help you make your exit a graceful one.

Tell your boss face-to-face.
This is the first thing you should do as soon as you’ve made up your mind that you’re resigning. Don’t tell anyone else within the company. Your boss should be the first to know, and he should hear it from you. Do not print out your resignation letter and hand it to him, or tell him by email or text. This will come across as an FYI that will deny him the opportunity to ask you about your plans. Ask for a few minutes of his time, then go direct to the point and tell him about your intention to leave. Timing is of the essence here. You have to ask to see him when he’s not harassed or stressed. A good time would be the end of the day, when things have slowed down a bit in the office. 

Maintain your professionalism.
If you’re leaving the company because you have certain grievances – about your boss, your coworkers, or the way things are run – it would be best for you to keep these to yourself. Just keep your focus on your present job and go about your business quietly. Continue putting in an honest day’s work each day. Work overtime if you have to, and don’t grumble. Ensure a smooth transition by properly turning over your projects. Finish everything you have to before you make your exit.

Refrain from talking about your new job.
You’ll likely be excited about what’s waiting for you at the company you’ll be moving to – the higher salary you’ll be getting, the new responsibilities you’ll be taking on, the perks that will come with your new job, etc. But being excited is not a good reason to go telling everyone in sight about it. Your colleagues want to see you working, not bragging. Talk about your new job only to your family and close friends outside the company.

Don’t betray your employer’s trust.
If your new employer competes directly with your present employer, you have to make it clear to your new boss that you will not compromise your professional ethics. Whatever company secrets your present employer has entrusted to you, you must honor that trust. When you make this clear to your new boss, you will earn his respect. If he knows someone in your present company, he might even give him a call and put in some words of praise for your professionalism.

At the end of the day (your last day at the office, to be specific), you have to be able to leave with your reputation intact. Shake hands with each of your coworkers, wish them well, and they’ll do the same for you. Forget about whatever grievances you may have had, move on graciously, and you’ll be remembered in a positive light.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


In the world of business, good salesmanship isn’t the exclusive domain of sales professionals. Employees of various departments and specialists in numerous industries routinely have to do selling jobs of their own. The finance analyst has to sell budget plans to management. The marketing consultant has to sell marketing/PR/advertising plans to his clients. The recruitment consultant has to sell his talents to companies.

Whether within the company or outside of it, effective selling requires solid presentation skills, because no matter how well thought out your material is, whether it’s an advertising/PR campaign, an interior design plan, a budget proposal, or a sales initiative, you still have to do a good job of selling it. The following tips will help you make a good, impactful presentation.

Rehearse your pitch.
A good presenter knows exactly what he’s going to say without memorizing. It’s important that you know the main points of your presentation and present them convincingly. If you memorize your pitch like a script, it will show in your delivery. You have to come across as someone who knows what he’s talking about, and can talk about it spontaneously.

Check the venue beforehand.
If you’re going to make your presentation at a venue outside your office, ask if it’s possible to see the room about 30 minutes before the presentation. Get a good feel of the place. If you’re going to use PowerPoint, note the position of the screen, and where you’ll stand. If you’re going to use a flip chart, find the spot where it will get maximum visibility. Define the area you’ll be working with and plan your movements accordingly.

Give a clear intro spiel.
When it’s time for your presentation, start by stating your purpose. In doing so, state the overall immediate benefit that’s relevant to your audience. Be concise and straight to the point.

Speak with confidence.
As you make your presentation, speak slowly enough that your audience can absorb what you’re saying, but continuously enough that you project confidence. Pause only occasionally to emphasize important points.

Maintain eye contact.
Let your eyes travel to every person in the room as you speak. Don’t favour any particular individual. You have to let your audience know that each of them is important to you. Don’t make the mistake of looking at the wall behind the audience.

Tell stories to illustrate your points.
It always helps to share anecdotes to get your point across. Stories based on actual experience help concretize the theoretical, and make your presentation more interesting.
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Emphasize the benefits.
Every time you highlight a feature of the product or service you’re selling, be sure to follow this with its corresponding benefit. Remember, your audience will want to know what’s in it for them. Don’t be too product-centric.

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Answer all questions to the best of your ability.
When it’s time for the question-and-answer session, continue speaking with confidence. If you’re able to answer questions without hesitation, your audience will see you as one who knows what he’s talking about. As you gain more experience with presentation, you’ll be able to put together an FAQ list that will help keep you prepared.

Some additional tips:
When you’re at the supermarket or department store, observe the product demonstrators as they make their pitch. Be critical. Make mental notes of what works and what doesn’t.
Watch PowerPoint presentations on YouTube. The late Steve Jobs was a master presenter. He was one of the few who understood that his presentation software was meant to aid, and not be the focal point, of his presentation.

Understand that there are different types of audiences. The way you conduct yourself in front of a group of clients would be different from the way you present to your peers in the office. Know when you have to be formal, when you can be more laid back and casual, and even when you can spice up your presentation with a few jokes here and there.

Learn from your seasoned colleagues. Every office has its share of good presenters. Watch them in action, and see what makes their presentations click.

Never stop looking for new ways to make your presentation interesting. This is especially relevant if your job requires you to do a lot of presenting. Try not to establish a predictable “style.” Come up with something new each time. The element of surprise can be a powerful tool in salesmanship.

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Monday, May 6, 2013



There’s no doubt that conducting your job search online is faster, easier, and more convenient than the old, conventional methods. Unfortunately, cyberspace dealings have a drawback: job offer scammers are out there, waiting for you to fall into their carefully laid out traps and mess up your career objective. Scammers create bogus job vacancies in Singapore, all designed to separate you from your money. Some scams are so obvious that they’re not likely to succeed in fooling you. Others, though, are more subtle, and you would do well to be wary of these. Don’t fall victim to online swindlers. Put these practical safety tips into practice. Don’t submit personal and account information. No legitimate employer would require applicants to submit information like bank account number, social security number, and taxpayer’s identification number online. Information of this nature is normally asked only after you’ve gotten the job. When an ad asks you to provide these at the application stage, it’s almost sure to be a scam. Also, when you see a job ad that requires you to download software to fill up a form, don’t click on the link. This is likely to be malware that will give the scammer access to sensitive information stored in your computer’s hard drive. 

Don’t entertain job offers that require you to pay a fee. Some job scammers require applicants to pay what they call an “application processing fee.” They typically instruct the applicant to pay via money transfer, online credit card payment, or bank deposit. When you see this requirement, let this serve as a warning. There’s no such thing as an application processing fee. 

Don’t entertain companies that require you to buy products or avail of services beforehand. This type of requirement can be legitimate for companies in sales, merchandising, or franchising, but not during the job application process. If you’re asked to shell out money for products or services as a prerequisite for employment, stop right there. Don’t proceed with your application.

Don’t accept a job that’s given to you without so much as an interview. Any legitimate employer will tell you that the interview is a vital step in the hiring process. If a company expresses interest in employing you with unusual haste, skipping this very basic step, there’s good reason to be suspicious. 

Many of these bogus job ads come with very enticing offers, like high salaries, unusually generous commission packages, and get-rich-quick schemes. The cardinal rule in avoiding being scammed is, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your better judgment. Stay vigilant, keep your guard up, and no scammer will be able to take advantage of you.

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Friday, May 3, 2013


Any good manager likes an employee who speaks his mind. Having the courage to say things that need to be said is generally considered a good quality. But what to say and how to say it are two very different things. You need to practice good diplomacy. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a full timer with a clearly defined long-term career objective or a part-timer in one of those temporary jobs in Singapore. You have to know how to say what you need to say without offending your boss. 

To maintain a good working relationship with your boss, here’s a list of the things you should never, ever tell him.

“I can’t do that; it’s not possible.” No manager likes being told “no.” When you tell him that what he’s asking for isn’t possible, you are in effect rejecting the job he’s assigning to you. Don’t do that. Find a way. Of course, there will be times when what you’re being tasked to do is really not humanly possible. For example: you work in an event management, and your boss wants you to have 200 invitations ready for mailing in five days, If you’re convinced you can’t possibly deliver on this, don’t say it can’t be done. First, discuss the possible alternatives with your boss. Ask him if he can move the deadline a few days. If he says no, ask him if it’s all right to email the invitations instead of sending out hard copies. If this isn’t feasible either, discuss with him the possibility of getting help from other members of the team, and even other departments, to get the job done. Get all the help you need. Whatever you do, don’t tell your boss it’s not possible.

“That’s not my job.” When your boss asks you to do something that’s not in your job description, understand first of all that he already knows all about your job description. After all, he is your boss. But it’s not unusual for managers to now and then ask their people to take on certain tasks that go beyond their job descriptions. It may be that the department that’s better able to do the job is overloaded or understaffed at the moment. Also, keep in mind that your boss wouldn’t ask you to do something outside your job description if he didn’t think you were capable. Show your boss that you’re willing to go that extra mile. Stay positive, and do what has to be done.

“I’ll try.” This implies that there’s the possibility of failure. You can dress up the statement all you like, saying things like “I’ll give it my best shot,” or “I’ll do what I can,” but your boss will see right through the disguise. These “I’ll try” responses are actually an admission that the task at hand is a daunting one, and you don’t want to make any commitments. In other words, “I’ll try” is too safe. Your boss doesn’t want to hear any non-committal, safe answers. What he wants to hear is, “I’ll do it,” and he wants to hear this said with conviction. Think of it this way: taking on challenges not only puts you in a good light with your boss, it also helps you grow professionally.

“I stayed up late working on this.” Here’s a simple rule to keep in mind: you do NOT talk about how passionate you are about your job, or how hard you work. You show it. Your boss doesn’t want to hear you rambling on about how much effort you put into this project or that requirement. He just wants to see the results. Other statements that fall under this category: “I sacrificed my weekend to finish this job on time.” “I worked at home, using my own computer, to meet the deadline.” These proclamations are a double-edged sword: they come across as a combination of bragging and griping. Your boss’s immediate reaction (spoken or unspoken): Spare me. And you know what? He’s right. You have to let your actions, not your words, speak for you.

“I don’t agree with you.” These are words no manager wants to hear from a subordinate. It’s not only tactless, it’s downright disrespectful. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking one-on-one or in a group meeting (though the latter would certainly be worse). You just don’t say this. Your view may once in a while differ from that of your boss, but you don’t have to be so blunt about it. While he may welcome a different perspective, there’s a proper way to express your view. When you find yourself disagreeing with your boss, say instead, “The way I see it…” or “My thinking is…” Note that there is no word in these phrases that indicates disagreement. What is indicated is an expression of opinion, which any good manager welcomes.

Remember, if your words won’t achieve anything, don’t speak. But if you must speak, choose your words wisely. In both your work and your personal life, diplomacy goes a long way towards building good relationships.

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