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Our career development blog gives you insights and tips that will help you find that right job!

5 Things to Look out for when Searching for a Job

5 Things to Look out for when Searching for a Job

Job hunting can be frustrating and time consuming. Most people go through job hunting a few times in their life. To make the right decisions at this critical period you should be aware of warning signs that come your way. You will need to understand what is behind these warning signs and use this understanding to make the right decisions. Making the right decisions will help you grow and stay positive in your career. What are some things you should look out for? 1. No Job description available or the hiring manager cannot explain the role clearly. Looking at a job description will give you insights about how professional and organised a potential employer is. You can judge if the employer has clarity of thought, proper delegation of responsibilities and accountabilities. You will see that these documents vary in quality. Make sure that you ask the recruiter or hiring manager clarifying questions about responsibilities and accountabilities if you do have a substandard document. You can tell by how they present the role if they understand the responsibilities that come with it. If you do not get a clear idea at this stage of the recruitment process, it is unlikely that things will get better when you are in the job. 2. Understand why the job has become available. It is always interesting to know why a position becomes available. Ask the recruiter or hiring manager this question. Pay attention to the tenure of the previous employee, why the person decided to move along, any reference to restructuring and other explanations which may seem out of the ordinary. Judging by... read more
4 Step Guide to Manage Difficult People

4 Step Guide to Manage Difficult People

Most of us encounter people who have different mindsets, values, personalities or motives in the workplace than ourselves. While in most instances, diversity leads to superior outcomes, in some instances it is difficult to get anything done. These troublesome interactions push our buttons and we struggle to maintain a calm and professional demeanour with these individuals. Learning to deal with difficult people is an art and needs constant practice. There will be times when things do not go according to plan. You will have to adapt your approach to the situations that occur and keep building these skills to be successful in your career. How do you manage difficult people to get optimal results? 1. Spend time to understand the other person’s point of view Put yourself in the other person’s shoes to understand their perspective. This is where your listening skills come forth. You need to listen to truly understand their perspective. You should be in a position to present their point of view to others. Observe their body language to see if they are relaxed in sharing this information with you. If they are not relaxed, they may not be telling you the whole story. Asking insightful questions and showing empathy for their position will help you connect better with them. By connecting with them, you will be able to truly understand their fears and objections. The less said by you at this stage, the better. 2. Work out a “win-win” solution for both parties Work out a solution that addresses their concerns while making sure it also addresses the problem at hand. Your solution should be... read more
6 Tips to help you Engage with Recruiters

6 Tips to help you Engage with Recruiters

Do these sound familiar…? The recruitment agent is very young and does not relate to the depth of knowledge and experience you have gathered over the years. The recruitment agent asks you the number of years of experience you have in different programming languages. He is not interested in what you have done or achieved. You have been working in an industry for the last five years. Recruitment agents prefer to present your resume to clients in the same industry. You would love to get a job that plays to your strengths and don’t want to be restricted by your track record. I am sure that you have come across these situations yourself or would have heard similar stories from others. Recruitment Agents are part of the employment scene in most countries. Finding the right agents to connect and build a strong relationship with will help you access the right jobs. How do you make a great impression with a Recruiter?  Prepare a concise resume and cover letter highlighting your strengths and skills. The examples of what you have achieved and your skills should give the recruiter the confidence that you can impress prospective employers. Make sure you highlight relevant information that satisfies their selection criteria. This way, you are making their life easier and they will be more open to chat with you when you follow up on your application.  Learn to sell yourself Most people like to hear a good story. Recruiters are no exception. Tell your story in such a way that you convince the recruiter you have what it takes to excel at the job,... read more
5 Interview Answers that Irritate Hiring Managers

5 Interview Answers that Irritate Hiring Managers

Looking back at my time as a hiring manager recruiting employees to all levels of the organisation gives me food for thought. Some interactions were memorable while others lingered with me for all the wrong reasons. Reflecting on these memories I know which answers irritated me. I have since checked out the experiences of other hiring managers to see if we have some shared experiences. I have incorporated their views with mine to come up with a list of irritating answers. Avoid these answers and you will engage the hiring manager in a productive conversation. What are the 5 Interview Answers that irritate a Hiring Manager? 1. Vague Answers “We reduced the operating costs of the department. This was received very well by our manager.” Making vague statements like this will not help win credibility. From this statement, the hiring manager does not know what this person actually did, or how big the cost reduction was. It would be better to say, “I analysed the costs for the department and identified that we could renegotiate the photocopy machines onto long leases to reduce the costs by $20K per annum. I outlined this proposal to my manager and got approval. I then worked with another colleague to successfully renegotiate the lease with the supplier”. By giving good examples of what you did and what you achieved you build credibility as a valuable employee. 2. Long Winded Answers Your answers should be crisp and to the point. Going into great detail or not answering the question and talking about something else is not helpful. If you do not understand the question ask... read more
5 Step Guide to Making a Great Impression in Your New Job

5 Step Guide to Making a Great Impression in Your New Job

Do these sound familiar…? “The new lady is great! She did this great presentation about how to improve our processes. She listened to our issues, knew how things got done around here and came up with some great ideas” “I wish the new fellow will stop referring back to how he did things at his past work. I have no interest in that. He really is quite annoying” How many times have you heard such comments? Most individuals start new jobs thinking they will make a great impression. Some are successful, while others either get by or irritate the people around them. Starting a new job is a great opportunity for you to rise and shine. Get these things right to make the most of your new opportunity: How do you make a great impression? 1. Master your job The only reason you are part of an organisation is because of the job. Mastering it is the best way of getting ahead. The first step in mastering your job is to listen and absorb what is involved in the job. Ask clarifying questions to understand the background of the job. Make sure you know how your job fits in with other functions in the organisation. A common trap is that you change things, and that may affect other areas which you did not foresee. You will need to continue to innovate and find ways to do your job effectively. I know all of this sounds a lot of hard work. But the more effort you put into working efficiently and effectively, the better you will be poised to have... read more
6 Tips for Employers to Attract Top Graduate Talent

6 Tips for Employers to Attract Top Graduate Talent

There are many articles on the internet about the changing demographic of the work force. What are young people after as far as their careers are concerned? “Those pesky kids have got it all. We never had this kind of attitude and we worked hard to get ahead. What is the world coming to?” These are some of the comments that one sees all the time from some members of the work force. “I can’t see the point of what I am doing. I am making no impact at all at work. I want to quit!” On the other side, these are some of the sentiments from the younger members of the work force. History repeats itself in each generation. The previous generation complains and the young generation is frustrated. What is different now is that young people these days have a voice and can use it quite strongly on social media. Employers have to embrace this new world order and harness this talent pool.  These youngsters bring in new technology and an innovative mindset. To stay relevant, employers have to create the environment that is attractive to young people. What matters to Young People? 1.Higher purpose In a world where tragic events happen on a regular basis, youngsters want to make a difference. Many  prefer to be attached to organisations which have a positive impact on the world.   Give this some thought. Some of you may find that you can articulate this higher purpose easily. In other instances you have to think hard to link your vision to a higher purpose. 2.Knowing why you do what you... read more
5 Tips to help you Navigate your Career

5 Tips to help you Navigate your Career

Every career is a story that is unique. You are the author of your story.  Many events will occur that will influence how this story plays out.  The trick is not to let these events hijack your story. You will need to develop skills that will help you navigate these events and work towards career success. How do you build your instinct for Career Success? 1. Know your True North What is your “true north”? This is your core values that that keep you grounded through your journey of life.  This is unique to every individual and it takes time to identify them. Thinking about what values guided you through crises is a good way to identify these core values.   Knowing your “true north” will help you make the right choices as you progress in your career.  2. Build on your Strengths It is fun doing things that you are naturally good at, because you know you will always get the best results. It is the same for your career: when choosing your  job or a project to work on, make sure it allows you to make use of your strong points. You have to be smart about the strengths that you pick to build on. Make sure that these strengths stay relevant and can add value to your employer. Check in with your stakeholders and perfect your strengths. E.g. you are good at building complex models to evaluate decisions. But the outputs you give your stakeholders are not easy to understand. You will  need to work on how you present your finding. 3. Minimise your Career Limiting Weaknesses... read more
Top 5 Skills for Success at Work

Top 5 Skills for Success at Work

I read an article on LinkedIn recently talking about the “perfect employee”. The article was trying to find a definition for the “perfect employee”. The definition varies depending on the perspective you take (employers’ vs employees’). “Success” is also hard to define. Its definition varies from individual to individual. While some individuals look for rapid advances on the corporate ladder, there are others who look for safer moves or enjoy doing the job that they love for several years. There are some skills that are fundamental to any career and then there are other advanced skills you need in order to progress, like: Emotional Intelligence, Financial Acumen and Strategic planning. By perfecting these fundamental skills and being consistent in your performance you will be ready for any opportunity that will come your way. The focus of this article is finding ways to perform in your career in order to be noticed by your leaders and respected by your peers. Let’s take a look at these fundamental skills. What are the fundamental skills for being successful at work? 1. Mastering your job Being great at your job is the easiest way to add value to your organization. It also helps you earn the respect and support of your manager and peers. Mastering your job also means understanding how your job fits into the bigger picture of the company. The better you are at this skill the more time you will have to take on projects or study in to grow in your career. 2. Communication skills Communication skills are a requirement for nearly every job you apply for. There are... read more

How to Decide Between Two Job Opportunities

“I love the job and what is involved, but they are expecting me to work after dinner, until late. I cannot do this, with my little one at home.” One of my friends told me this one day. She was so excited to have been asked for a second interview, as the job was what she was dreaming of doing for a while. It was a tough decision for her, but she had to put the interests of her family before her love for the job. “The job excites me, as it involves a new product launch and the people were so passionate. The only hitch: the package that is offered is lower than what I am on now. I simply cannot accept a drop in my salary with all my mortgage commitments and the kids just entering high school.” There was genuine regret in my neighbour’s voice when he told me about his latest job change attempt. Another tough decision, but my neighbour was happy with his decision of not accepting the job. As you can see, there are many reasons why people make the decisions that they do. It all depends on the criteria that will influence you at a given point in your life. How do you decide between two job opportunities or decide to quit your current job for another? It is best to be objective.This way, there is logic and reason backing up your decision. It is less stressful, and it is easier to explain your decision to yourself and to your family. Here’s the process: Write down the criteria that you will use... read more
What to consider when you look for that first real job?

What to consider when you look for that first real job?

Coming out of Tertiary Education and finding your first job is an important milestone for most of you. This lays the foundation for what you will do later in life and how much earning capacity you will have over the years. This is a critical decision. Another important decision you have already had to make is choosing the right course to attend in the university. Both have the power to influence which path your future travels. Taking the time to make these considered decisions will pay over time. Consider the following 6 items before you select those jobs to apply: What does the job actually do? Spend time doing your research. Great to find out “a day in the life of a ……………..” Hunt for people in your network who do these jobs and ask them what they do on a daily basis. Ask the question in professional forums or graduate forums to gain more insights. Gaining knowledge to help you make that informed decision is important. After spending a reasonable time studying you will know which subjects and skills are your strengths. If you are unsure, take your time to self-reflect. Which projects did you enjoy? Which subjects interested you? Which projects or exams gave you the highest marks? Which was the most fun? Once you have answered all these questions, you will have an idea which areas you would like to spend a good part of your future in. Don’t do what I did by falling into a profession because the options were limited. It takes longer to figure out what you want to do in life.... read more