Tuesday 31 July 2012

Make Your Next Telephone Interview A Success

Note to self: The success of a telephone interview starts off with mental preparation and setting the stage with the interviewer.

Telephone interviews are often used as the first stage in a selection process. As a large number of candidates are likely to apply for a particular job post, the telephone interview can help in the preliminary selection (or 'filtering') of the best candidates.

Muovo would like to share the following 12 tips that you should adhere to before answering that phone call - it could be life-changing!

1. Prepare a list matching your achievements to the job description. Specify and quantify your accomplishments, e.g. 'increased sales by 35%' or 'reduced overheads by 27%'. Keep this list in front of you during the interview and refer to it at every opportunity.

2. Find out all you can about the company's products, services, history, and culture. Familiarize yourself with the company's website and be prepared to comment constructively upon it if asked.

3. Ask if you should call the employer if they will be calling you. If they will be calling you, give a phone number where they can reach you without having any interruptions. Preferably, this would be a landline.

4. If you must use a mobile phone however, make sure that it is always charged and within your reach 24/7. You don't want to find a missed call from an unknown private number and not knowing what to do next!

5. Review your CV and highlight any areas that the interviewer is likely to want to address such as gaps in employment and reasons for leaving.

6. Interviewers want to hear about specific challenges or problems you faced in the workplace, the specific actions you took and the measurable results you achieved. Think about giving competency examples around communication skills, analytical skills, teamwork, drive and initiative.

7. Don’t speak too quickly, use slang, interrupt or talk over the recruiter. Matching your speaking rate and pitch to that of the interviewer will help you to establish rapport. Don’t use  a lot of pauses, like 'ummm' and 'err' too much! Your voice is the only sales tool you have (Also avoid saying 'aha' instead of 'yes'. The latter sounds much better!).

8. Use the interviewer’s name regularly throughout the conversation and also use the company name a few times.

9. Be succinct. For most questions a 2-4 minute answer is a good target. Time is an issue with telephone interviews and you're wasting your own time if you stray off the subject.

10. Have a copy of your CV, the job description and your notes to hand, for quick reference. Jot down key points throughout the course of the interview.

11. Try smiling while you are talking. Studies have shown that this has a positive effect on the person who is listening. It is also a good idea to stand during a telephone interview as this makes you sound more confident and helps project a positive and professional image.

12. Have a list of prepared questions available to ask the interviewer once they have asked their questions. This shows an employer that you are serious about the job and have done your homework before the interview.

You can't prepare for every possible question but here are a few which frequently come up: (For job specific questions you might want to consider interview coaching)

Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Why did you apply for this position?
What are the main responsibilities in your current position?
What can you bring to this position?
Why are you leaving your current job?
What is the most important achievement in your career to date?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What do you see yourself doing in five years?
What challenges do you think you will face in this job?
Please tell me about your salary expectations

Adapted from myCV&me

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Sunday 29 July 2012

Networking - A Key To Developing Yourself Professionally

NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!                                                                                                       ( Adam Small )
In older posts, Muovo has already published articles related to job networking and its importance in building and maintaining your professional career. In this article, which was first published by HelpGuide, Muovo would like to share with you 3 vital tips regarding job networking. If you have any comments, feel free to share them with us!

1. Evaluate the quality of your network
If you feel your network is out of date, then it's time to upgrade! As ironic as it might sound, being aware of your own needs will help you connect you with new and more relevant contacts and networks.

Also: Rate your network!
Give yourself 1 point for each question you answer YES.

a) Do you trust your network to give you the truth about the real you?
b) Does your network challenge you as much as it supports you?
c) Does your network feel vibrant and dynamic?
d) Does your network represent your future goals as much as your past?
e) Are the networks connected to your network strong?

What's your score?
5 pts – You can stop reading. Your network is in great shape!
3-4 pts – You need to enhance your network.
0-2 pts – Your network needs a makeover!

2. Take advantage of both “strong” and “weak” ties
Everyone has both “strong” and “weak” ties. Strong ties occupy that inner circle and weak ties are less established. Adding people to networks is time consuming, especially strong ties. It requires an investment of time and energy to have multiple "best friends.” Trying to stay in touch with new acquaintances is just as challenging.

But adding new “weak tie” members gives your network vitality and even more cognitive flexibility—the ability to consider new ideas and options. New relationships invigorate the network by providing a connection to new networks, viewpoints, and opportunities.

Extra Tip!
Tap into your strong ties. Your strong ties will logically and trustingly lead to new weak ties that build a stronger network. Use your existing network to add members and reconnect with people. Start by engaging the people in your trusted inner circle to help you fill in the gaps in your network.

Think about where you want to go. Your network should reflect where you’re going, not just where you’ve been. Adding people to your network who reflect issues, jobs, industries, and areas of interest is essential. If you are a new graduate or a career changer, join the professional associations that represent your desired career path. Attending conferences, reading journals, and keeping up with the lingo of your desired field can prepare you for where you want to go.

Make the process of connecting a priority. Make connecting a habit—part of your lifestyle. Connecting is just as important as your exercise routine. It breathes life into you and gives you confidence. Find out how your network is doing in this environment, what steps they are taking, and how you can help. As you connect, the world will feel smaller and a small world is much easier to manage.

3. Take the time to maintain your network

Maintaining your job network is just as important as building it. Accumulating new contacts can be beneficial, but only if you have the time to nurture the relationships. Avoid the irrational impulse to meet as many new people as possible. The key is quality, rather than quantity. Focus on cultivating and maintaining your existing network. You’re sure to discover an incredible array of information, knowledge, expertise, and opportunities.

Schedule time with your key contacts
List the people that are crucial to your network without regard to your current relations with them—people you know who can and have been very important to you. Invariably, there will be some you have lost touch with. Reconnect and then schedule a regular meeting or phone call. You don't need a reason to get in touch: you connect because you need to and want to. It will always make you feel good and provide you with an insight or two.

Prioritize the rest of your contacts
Keep a running list of people you need to reconnect with both old and new. People whose view of the world you value. People you’d like to get to know better or whose company you enjoy. Prioritize these contacts and then schedule time into your regular routine so you can make your way down the list.

Take notes on the people in your network
Collecting cards and filing them is a start. But maintaining your contacts, new and old, requires updates. Add notes about their families, their jobs, their interests, and their needs. Unless you have a photographic memory, you won’t remember all of this information unless you write it down. Put these updates and notes on the back of their business cards or input them into your contact database.

Find ways to reciprocate
Always remember that successful networking is a two-way street. Your ultimate goal is to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships. That means giving as well as receiving. Send a thank-you note, ask them about their family, email an article you think they might be interested in, and check in periodically to see how they’re doing. By nurturing the relationship through your job search and beyond, you’ll establish a strong network of people you can count on for ideas, advice, feedback, and support.

Do you have any comments? Muovo would be happy to hear from you!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Your Guide to Entering the Workforce

Summer is underway, and another group of “Trophy Kids” (Gen Y) is preparing to leave their jobs at your local coffee shops and retail stores to join the ranks of the professional workforce. Like many other ambitious young adults, eager to kick start their career, they are filled with huge, fantastic plans and high hopes. Alas, like a number of other young graduates can attest, a diploma or a degree does not necessarily guarantee success. Some of us, perhaps, have learned the hard way that there are things that college simply cannot prepare us for.

Muovo would like to share with you the following six tips, originally drafted by Kyle Lagunas, HR Analyst at Software Advice, on what you should do upon entering the workforce.
1. Be calm with recruiters. 
Very often, we fail to realise that recruiters have a lot on their plates and generally can’t satisfy our expectation of rapid, personalised attention during the recruitment process.

There is in fact a fine line between follow-up and harassment. A good rule of thumb is to follow up three times, every seven to ten days, and then stop. Always via email-—never ever via phone (recruiters hate getting unexpected calls from applicants).

2. Pluck up some courage at work.
Is your first job less than glamorous? Were you hoping to run the place from day one? Fact: Many recent graduates are lucky to land even an entry-level position.

Although it is often very frustrating, do not surrender a position just because you simply detest it! Instead, look for ways to do more. Talk to your supervisor about any opportunity to take on new projects, and offer to help your colleagues. You should never simply go in, do your job, and go home.

3. Engage prospective employers.
If you haven't already found a full-time job, you should be doing more than simply applying to all the jobs you see advertised.

Twitter and Linkedin offer unique platforms for building a relationship with a prospective employer. Search for industry forums or targeted Twitter chats, talk with people, ask questions.

Jump in anywhere, even if their company is not currently hiring.

4. Be agile. 
So maybe it is not, and has never really been, your life dream to be an office assistant.

Keep in mind however that you are just setting out on your career path. If you can keep things in perspective, it will add up to something, eventually.

If you can do your job well, show some humility and demonstrate just how agile you can be: you will find it easier to build valuable relationships with your coworkers and impress your supervisors.

And you will likely find your career trajectory much more to your liking.

5. Learn what it means to be professional.

This is especially true in how you interact with your supervisor. If your company has traditional values where business casual is defined as slacks and a button-down, you are not doing yourself any favors by going against the grain. You will land yourself a pink slip in no time.

6. Find a mentor. 
If you think mentorships are old school and not worth your time, think again.

Having a mentor (or several) is a great way to gain the much-needed perspective of someone who has been there, done that, and has something to show for it.

A mentor can provide guardrails for your career path, and let you know when to hit the gas or slam on the brakes.

Several leaders are not asked to be mentors anymore, and unfortunately many companies no longer have formal mentoring programs. Does this mean that you are out of luck? No! It is wholly up to you to find them. But don’t limit your search for a mentor to your company or industry. A mentor should be someone whose decisions and business ethic you respect.

Courtesy of Kyle Lagunas, Software Advice.

Any comments? Muovo would like to hear from you!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Sunday 22 July 2012

Are You Prepared For Your Interview?

Muovo well understands that interviews can range from conversations that last just a couple of minutes, to a number of formal meetings, sometimes with the head of a department and at other times with all the board members.

Interviews are there to demonstrate and prove that YOU are the right candidate for the job. Seeing interviewees on a daily basis, Muovo assures you that you are not the only one if interviews make you nervous.

However, a general truth that we can tell you is that, the better prepared you are, the more comfortable you will be when the more difficult questions start coming your way.

The article below, which was first published in HelpGuide, gives you some tips on how to prepare yourself well for the interview. Here it goes!

Job interview preparation tips

  • Do your research. Gather information about the company and the position available. Try to specifically relate your experience to the duties the job opportunity entails.
  • Practice interviewing. Enlist a friend (better yet, a group of friends and colleagues) to ask you sample questions. Practice making eye contact.
  • Record your practice sessions. Pay attention to body language and verbal presentation. Eliminate extra movements and verbal fillers, like “uh,” and “um.”
  • Handle logistics early. Have your clothes, resume, and directions to the interview site ready ahead of time, to avoid any extra stress.
  • Don’t forget about your references. Don’t let your references be the last to know about your job search, or even worse, get an unexpected call from a potential employer. Many offers are withdrawn over bad references. Why take that chance? Get in touch with your references right away to seek help and to avoid surprises on either side.
  • Anticipate likely questions. To get to the motivations and working style of a potential employee, employers often turn to behavioral interviewing, an interviewing style which consists of a series of probing, incisive questions.

    Sample behavioural interview questions include:
  • Describe a situation in which you didn’t meet your stated goal, how did you handle it?
  • Tell us about a situation in which you encountered resistance from key people, how did you convince the person or people to do what you wanted?
  • Describe a situation in which you took the initiative to change a process or system and make it better, how did you identify the problem? How did you go about instituting change?

Preparing good interview answers
Interviewers will follow up your preliminary answers with further questions about your actions. To prepare for these types of interview questions, the following tips might help:

  • Review your research about the company and the position.
  • Make a list of key attributes for your desired job.
  • Write sample interview questions that are likely to uncover the attributes you identified as important.
  • Create answers to the sample interview questions based on a template such as “Situation – Action – Result” with specific details from your work experience.
  • Practice answering the interview questions and follow-up questions so that you are very familiar with several detailed examples/stories. Rehearse key points.

Ask questions during the interview
Being prepared and asking great questions about the position and the employer shows your interest during the interview. You can't just be an effective responder. You need to assert yourself, too. By the time you reach the interviewing stage, you should be clear about what you want and what you offer to the company.

Try to be thoughtful and self-reflective in both your interview questions and your answers. Show the interviewee you know yourself—your strengths and your weaknesses. Be prepared to talk about which areas would present challenges and how you would address them. Admitting true areas of weakness is much more convincing than claiming: "I have what you need and I can do anything I put my mind to."

Questions to ask potential employers in job interviews
  • The people who do well at your company: what skills and attributes do they usually have?
  • What do you like best about working at _____?
  • What results are expected?
  • What specific problems are you hoping to solve during the first six months?
  • Who are the key internal customers? Any special issues with them?
  • What happened to the person who had this job before?
  • What communication style do you prefer?
  • What is your philosophy regarding on-the-job growth and development?
  • What are your goals for the department?
Would you like to add anything else? Muovo would like to hear from you!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Why You Should Use A Recruiter

One fine day, you are sitting at your desk, or at home watching TV comfortably in your bedroom, when all of a sudden you hear your mobile phone ringing. You might not be exhilarated at first, (especially if you were watching your favourite soap opera!), and when you see that the call comes from an ‘unknown number’, or from a number you do not recognise, you may be rather reluctant to answer the phone (and sometimes, as a lot seem to do, you refrain from answering the call at all!).

But if you were one of those who had plucked some courage and answered that call, on the other end of the line, you would have found your loyal recruiter who has wearily retrieved your contact information from LinkedIn, Facebook, a job site network you may have subscribed to, or, of course, from your application which you might have submitted to the company directly.

Before you hang up the phone, remember that recruiters can hold the keys to the hidden jewels of the job market. Use them and they may just open the door to a new career opportunity. I know this as I had worked for some time as a Marketing/Office Administrator in a recruiting company. From working behind the scenes, I have learned the important role a recruiter can play in a person's career path. Even if you are not currently looking for a job, do not neglect the idea that you may need their help later. Below are the main five reasons why you should use a recruiter.

1. Hidden Job Market.
Your dream job may really just be a recruiter away. Employers will use a recruiting company like Muovo to find them the right candidate. Knowing that the recruiters have the knowledge and expertise in their area, they entrust their time and money to find the right candidate. This means that some jobs will be advertised only on the recruiting company’s website, which is why you should keep yourself updated with Muovo’s site!

2. Connections. Connections. Connections.
Recruiters often have extensive networking skills, establishing connections with hiring managers and senior level executives. When you send your resume to a company directly, you often end up without an answer. By using the services of a recruiter, you know that he or she will utilise your expertise and skills in finding you the job that would be most apt for you, and simultaneously for the client.

3. Expertise.
Recruiters know what salary you should be given, depending on your experience, education, and so on. With their experience and expert knowledge in the area, recruiters can help you find the answers and to ask the right questions that will guide you to the right job, while taking the right steps in order to advance your career. Muovo strives to maintain a solid relationship with its diverse clientele, where, best of all, the information that it offers to its candidates is free, unbiased, and imperative if you are to establish a name and position for your self in today’s highly competitive market.

4. Your Goal is the Recruiter’s Goal!
You and your recruiter have, really, a win-win sitatuon where you both share the same goal. Indeed, recruiters strive to helping you put your best foot forward, making the right connections, and hopefully getting you an ideal role that is a perfect fit for both you and your employer. They are, moreover, on your ‘side’ where the relationship you build between you and your recruiter should be on the long term basis. Indeed, this leads to the last tip.
5. A Long-term Ally.
Although you might be currently very happy with your job and do not even dream of changing what you’ve got with anything else, things may, unfortunately, change. Imagine that in five years’ time your situation at home and or financially has changed, and likewise, your job may not suffice or hold up to what you need. You may then decide that a new job or role might be ideal for you. Keeping in touch with a recruiter (who is still in the industry) will provide heaps of benefit given that their aim is after all to build relationships with both candidates and clients, and making sure both parties are equally satisfied. Therefore, you not only gain a new role, but you also gain an important ally to guide you through your current and future career path.

Moral of the story?

The next time a recruiter calls you, do the right thing - pick up that phone!

Nikita Pisani @ Muovo

Sunday 15 July 2012

90% Of Communication is Non-Verbal

Improve your Non-Verbal Communication And Achieve Better Results at Work!

In the previous article, Muovo studied the need for non-verbal communication to create effective communication. Non-verbal communication is imperative as only a few people can consciously manipulate their non-verbal cues.

More than voice or even words, non-verbal communication cues you in to what is on another person’s mind.

Nonverbal communication ranges from facial expression to body language. Gestures, signs, use of space and pace or information delivery.

At Muovo, we have found some more tips that we would like to share with you. Leave your comments after reading!

Tips for improving how you read non-verbal communication
  • Practice observing people in public places, such as a shopping mall, bus, train, cafĂ©, restaurant, or even on a television chat show with the sound muted. Observing how others use body language can teach you how to better receive and use non-verbal signals when conversing with others. Notice how people act and react to each other. Try to guess what their relationship is, what they’re talking about, and how each feels about what is being said.
  • Be aware of individual differences. People from different countries and cultures tend to use different non-verbal communication gestures, so it’s important to take age, culture, religion, gender, and emotional state into account when reading body language signals. An American teen, a grieving widow, and an Asian businessman, for example, are likely to use nonverbal signals differently.
  • Look at non-verbal communication signals as a group. Don’t read too much into a single gesture or non-verbal cue. Consider all of the nonverbal signals you receive, from eye contact to tone of voice and body language. Anyone can slip up occasionally and let eye contact slip, for example, or briefly cross their arms without meaning to. Consider the signals as a whole to get a better “read” on a person.

Tips for improving how to deliver non-verbal communication
  • Use non-verbal signals that match up with your words. Non-verbal communication should reinforce what is being said, not contradict it. If you say one thing, but your body language says something else, your listener will likely feel you’re being dishonest. For example, you can’t say “yes” while shaking your head no.
  • Adjust your non-verbal signals according to the context. The tone of your voice, for example, should be different when you’re addressing a child than when you’re addressing a group of adults. Similarly, take into account the emotional state and cultural background of the person you’re interacting with.
  • Use body language to convey positive feelings even when you're not actually experiencing them. If you’re nervous about a situation—a job interview, important presentation, or first date, for example—you can use positive body language to signal confidence, even though you’re not feeling it. Instead of tentatively entering a room with your head down, eyes averted, and sliding into a chair, try standing tall with your shoulders back, smiling and maintaining eye contact, and delivering a firm handshake. It will make you feel more self-confident and help to put the other person at ease.

Keep in mind that all this is part of Emotional awareness, the study of which would be Emotional Intelligence (EI). Emotional awareness is not a talent, but a skill that with some time and effort, you can learn very well.

‘How can I become more emotionally aware?’

You can develop emotional awareness by learning how to get in touch with difficult emotions and manage uncomfortable feelings, including anger, sadness, fear, disgust, surprise, and joy. When you know how to do this, you can remain in control of your emotions and behaviour, even in very challenging situations, and communicate more clearly and effectively.

This article was first published in HelpGuide.org

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Saturday 14 July 2012

Non-Verbal Communication Enhances Effective Communication

Improve your communication skills in business and relationships through non-verbal communication.

As you well know, communication is key to our professional and personal development. Whether we are at work, interacting with our colleagues, or our employees, or our employers, our clients, or with our family members and friends at home, we need to be able to impart our ideas and get our message through effectively if we are to build and sustain our relationships with others.

Muovo well understands that as simple as communication  may seem, much of what we try to communicate, and essentially, what others try to communicate to us, gets misunderstood. This can lead to conflict and frustration in our personal and professional relationships.

What do we understand by effective communication?
Nowadays, we live in a digital world, where we have to send, receive, and process information via a huge number of messages every day. Effective communication is yet much more than just exchanging information. It requires you to be able to comprehend the emotion behind the information.

In this way, it can improve relationships at home, at work, and in social situations by deepening our connections to others and improving teamwork, decision-making, caring, and problem solving. It enables us to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust.

Effective communication combines a set of skills, as follows:
a) nonverbal communication
b) attentive listening
c) the ability to handle stress, and
d) the capacity to recognise and understand your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with.

In this article, we will be discussing the need for non-verbal communication and how it could enhance effective communication.

But first, let’s ask: What is non-verbal communication?
Non-verbal communication is an integral part of interpersonal communication is the non-verbal communication, which comprises two dimensions, namely the environmental (relating to space and territory), and the personal (referring to paralanguage, gaze and kinesics).

Non-verbal messages interpret the internal states of others, and are used in pursuit of one’s communication goals. These messages provide a good example to the extent to which communication often operates at low levels of awareness and is yet functional. This relates to the concept of social cognition, which refers to what we think about the people and situations we encounter in our communicative commerce.

Some tips:
a) You can enhance effective communication by using open body language—arms uncrossed, standing with an open stance or sitting on the edge of your seat, and maintaining eye contact with the person you’re talking to.

b) You can also use body language to emphasise or intensify your verbal message—by giving a pat to your friend on the back while complimenting him on his success, for example, or by pounding your fists will emit different messages. The first may show your contentment whilst the second may give the idea that you are jealous of his or her success.

Muovo will be writing more on how to read other people’s non-verbal cues and how to improve your own non-verbal communication in the upcoming posts!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Wednesday 11 July 2012

3 Ways To Achieve Overnight Success

‘What would you like to be when you grow up?’, the teacher asks.

‘I want to be a powerful and famous businessman when I grow up’, answers a 12-year-old schoolboy, determinedly. And he means it.

In this ever changing, fast-paced society we live in, we are becoming eager and perhaps impatient in our need to achieve success, if possible overnight. Muovo knows how many of our candidates would like to know whether this could be true, and if so, what would they need to do.The article below, first published in Stepcase Lifehack, offers a 3-part-formula that can put you in the right direction and help you in achieving the ‘overnight’ success. Happy reading!

1) Know where you’re going
Before you even start thinking of success, you need to know why you are doing what you are doing. Only once you have a clear vision of what your goal is, will you be able to realise the best (and fastest) way to get there.

Although the ‘best’ way to get to your specific goal is something individual, that pertains to you and no-one else, the fastest way to go nowhere is by not having somewhere in mind.

This means that when you have a goal, a destination, you make your ways towards it. Eventually, the process will not be as tiring as when you do not know where you’re heading, given that with each step you make you can see how you’re getting closer and closer to your Goal.

2) Connect with people who can help you get there
When we hear the term “overnight success” we often associate that with someone who has very quickly become an authority or a celebrity in a particular industry or sector. Success however is really about creating connections with authorities and celebrities than it is to become one.

When you connect with them, you automatically set yourself up for rapid success because you now have direct access to someone who can help you get to the top. They know the roadmap because they already walked it. Now all you have to do is ask questions about their success and listen carefully. Read The Benefits of Networking.

3) It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you
It’s easy to think that if you just knew the “right” person or if you just get a recommendation from a key influencer, then the doors would burst open and success would come pouring through. While it is critical to connect with influencers and decision makers (as mentioned in 2 above), the reason why it is so important is because they can show you where to go and what to do. In other words, they do not do it for you, they simply show you how to do it.

Given that, you may be wondering, if success is not about who I know, then what’s the key?

The key is who knows you.

Connection is what gives meaning to our work. If you want to be successful and if you want your work to matter, then connection is the key. Connections are the foundation of any meaningful work. It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are, how groundbreaking your work is, or how useful your discoveries are …if you don’t connect with someone else, then nobody knows about it. And if nobody knows about what you do, then you can’t make a difference or be successful or change the world.

This means that if you’re truly serious about becoming an overnight success (or about achieving any type of success), then you need to commit to learning how to spread your message and your work. In an age where anyone can create content with publishing, writing, videos, podcasts, blogs, social media, and more, it has become critical to develop the skill of capturing attention.

What should I be doing now…?
If you’re ready to be successful, then the time is now. There is no need to wait. Start by getting very clear about why you do what you do. Know the direction and why you’re going that way. Once you know where you want to go, start seeking out people who are already there. The influencers, decision makers, and connectors. Get to know them and they will kindly show you the way to go. Once you know the path, start walking it. As you do so, you will soon realise that your work will only have meaning if others know about it. Become an evangelist for your own goals. No matter what work you do, learn how to share it with others and capture their attention.

This simple path is the fastest way to overnight success.

Related articles to this blog:
The Great Blog Post: How To Become A Great Achiever
4 Useful Job Networking Tips

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Sunday 8 July 2012

Does A Master Degree Make You Stand Out?

After getting your A levels, you have probably headed straight to university, where you have spent a number of years mulling over the library and sulking around the canteen till one day you open your eyes and can’t believe it – it’s Graduation Day!

After all the wonderful celebrations come to an end, (and all the money gifts from family members are spent), the question starts gliding itself seductively and sits idly on the outer left ear lobe, asking us: ‘Well done Jimmy: What are you going to do next?

Some graduates might decide to take on a gap year, and either travel or try out different jobs in order to find the career they would really like to settle in. Employers are taking note of graduates that have completed postgraduate qualifications and taking on internships to up the ante. Currently many graduates are taking on internships to improve their employability skills and gain valuable work experience that employers look for, as competition for jobs is high. Interested in an Internship?

Others however prefer to continue with their studies for another year or two (or maybe three), as they feel that their first degree which they have duly earned is simply not sufficient.

It is often misleading that the value of a master increases a graduate’s chances of obtaining a higher paid graduate job. Many job openings specify the need to be educated to degree level, and the expense and time out of the workplace of obtaining a master degree can be a risky option if they are hoping to recover the cost through potential salary. Although it is essentially an added benefit to both the employer and employee, it is not something that is recognised as a way of increasing remuneration.

I would like to conclude with two graduates' insights on the value of a master’s degree, and whether this helps in making the graduate stand out in a competitive market in the EU. A 27-year-old Italian master graduate in Economics and Finance, Giorgio Manca states:

Having a master degree can make you stand out, but at the same time, there are other factors that are equally important. You should get this certificate when you are still young, because we know that businesses prefer hiring young people, or if you are not so young you should have previous work experiences.

From my experience I can state that a master degree is more difficult than a simple degree and provides you with a really good preparation, but unfortunately, for different reasons (crisis, double crisis and so on) the Italian labour market is stuck. For these reasons it is important to speak good English, as this is the key that can give you the possibility to dodge the crisis the plague your country and to get a good job in some countries abroad where there are opportunities to exploit. Certainly, for many different reasons master degrees should be in English all over the European Union. I can support this opinion with two main considerations:

1) The context of the labour market is becoming more and more international and for certain jobs English is of paramount importance. We must be able to explain our technical knowledge also in English.

2) When the market in your native countries is in a crisis you can take into account the possibility to relocate, otherwise it is impossible.

This is not to say, of course, that employers disregard a master degree. On the whole, employers who recruit master’s holders tend to like their analytical and problem solving skills, subjective specific knowledge, technical skills, and their innovative attitudes towards new ideas. This is why you should ideally weigh all the different options and keep an open eye and mind on what is happening around you.

Ms Galea, a local secondary school teacher who is considering of doing a master degree in the near future, says:

The common trend (at least in Malta) is that a number of employers in the commerce business / IT business / legal positions ask for relevant degrees AND experience. Therefore having a degree is not enough at times since employers look for experience AND the necessary qualification. This does not apply to every job - most posts in teaching require the necessary qualification yet do not ask for experience.

I believe that the scenario changes in a tough market. A tough market brings about competition so I believe that the candidates in possession of a Master's degree AND experience will have a better standing at being chosen. Having said that, in a tough market employers need people who can get the work done; therefore experience and a first degree might at times over-rule a master's degree. So I believe that the candidate who is well-qualified and has experience has the upper-hand in a tough market.

What do you think? Muovo would like to hear from you!

Related articles from this blog:
The Graduate Guide To Getting That Job
Values of University Degrees - What Do Maltese Students Think?

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Thursday 5 July 2012

Do This Job Search Trick!

At Muovo, we have no doubt that most of our candidates know what the job application process entails (yes, the endless search for jobs, the writing of resumes, the application, the interview...). However, there is one part of the process that candidates are constantly missing
none other than following up with your interviewer!

Following up is in fact the most important thing to do in your job search.
A week after you apply, call or e-mail your potential employer. Why is this crucial?
The following are three reasons that should make you turn over a new leaf...and start following up all your interviews!
1. It reminds the hiring manager that you exist. It is easy for your application to be lost in a pile of things to do and following up can help it get found.
2. It shows initiative. It gives the company a taste for how you are as an employee. Someone who follows through and gets things done. Someone they want to hire.
3. It separates you from the pack. A lot of people make the mistake of not following up and this can be the move that clinches the deal.
Some people may worry about being “annoying” or “bothering” the people they want to work for. However, following up is too important to let that concern stop you from following up at all.
Here are five tips on how you should follow up effectively and appropriately:

Stay polite and be brief.
 In professional communications, brevity is crucial. For the follow up not to seem like begging, you’ve got be comfortable holding back from giving the potential employer a lengthy job pitch. A simple “Just wanted to confirm you’d received my application” is generally sufficient as a starting sentence.

Remind the hiring manager why you would bring value to the company and that you are still interested. 
Following up is a chance to show them just a little bit more about you. You didn’t want to overwhelm with information on your resume and cover letter, so here’s your chance to slip in a little something extra. A follow up email can be a little bit friendlier and less formal in tone.
3. If you have already been called in for an interview, when you follow up show what you learned from the process. You want to show them “I heard what your needs are and I am the person to fulfill them.” Reinforce why they called you in for the interview in the first place.
4. Nudge a little. Remind the company that you are in an active search. A great trick is to ask for a specific time frame for a meeting, thereby passively nudging them to give you a response. Something like, “I’ll be in the area on Monday afternoon and would love to meet up for coffee if you are available.”
5. And finally: THE most effective line to use in your follow up is “Please let me know either way”. 
Sure, it’s more polite for the company to let you know either way, but with the amount of applicants and the numbered hours in a day, it’s not as likely that you’re going to get that courtesy call or e-mail unless you specifically ask for it.
Follow up with them to help ensure that they follow up with you.
This article was first published by Simply Hired Blog.

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Change Your Life, Change Your Career

This article, first published in Stepcase Lifehack, gives two useful 'lessons' that you should follow if you are thinking of changing your career. Muovo is well aware that a career change is, really, a life-changing task and it is hence important to make the right move at the right time.

So, what is the first lesson?

Lesson 1    Ironically enough, there is no plan.
Too many of us get stuck because we had it all worked out years ago – college, starter job, pay our dues, a couple of promotions, maybe a move to a bigger company, and, at some point, a comfortable perch in a corner office where the 'good stuff' will start unveiling itself.

It is a good plan, from a project management perspective and perhaps for the building of a professional career. However, this may not sound as easy as it sounds (if it does sound easy at all!). For starters, it assumes that we will remain the same person, with the same drives and the same ambitions, forever. It also assumes that when the time comes, the opportunity will present itself. But as we well know, to assume is to make an 'ass' of 'you' and 'me'!

When The Plan fails to come to fruition, we turn inwards, looking for the things we can fix in ourselves to promote ourselves better, to become perhaps more desirable as a job candidate, and ultimately, to be more well-suited to The Plan. In this way, however, we become entrapped in a never-ending cycle of rooting out weaknesses.

Lesson 2    Think strengths, not weaknesses.
For one reason or another, all of us are better at some things than others – and find more satisfaction in some things than others.

A life spent ignoring our strengths so we can 'better ourselves' by improving in those areas where we’re weakest is no life at all – it’s a one-way ticket to perpetual dissatisfaction with who we are. This being said, it should be in our nature to move forward, improve, and focus on strengthening and honing our skills and qualities that make us stand out. Not sure what your strengths and weakness are? Read this article and find out.

To conclude, two good books that might help you, as they have helped me throughout my changing of careers include the following: 'It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be' by Paul Arden, and 'Escape from Corporate America' by Pamela Skillings.

Buena Suerte!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo


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