Thursday 31 October 2013

10 Job Search Mistakes That You Are Probably Making

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You have heard of many mistakes that have been witnessed by hiring managers! Don't turn up late for the interview, don't send the same resume letter and CV to 100 companies, send a thank-you note or email to follow up after the interview...and so on. Yet, hundreds of job seekers still carry on making the same common job search mistakes.

Here are yet another 10 common job search mistakes to avoid - some of which may actually disturb you!

1. Your thank-you note is not up to standard
Send a four to eight-sentence thank you note to show your interviewer that you have taken the interview, and thus your potential future job, seriously.

2. You don't check your references
Make sure that your references are previous employers with whom you have had a good relationship, or ended your employment on good terms. An occasional colleague is fine, but friends and family members (unless they were your employer), don't really carry much weight in helping you land a position.

3. Your business acumen is poor
Sometimes managers take their interviewees on a lunch interview. They want to see the 'real' you, so make sure you're on your best behaviour.

4. Your briefcase is like an erupted volcano
As is expected, an organised briefcase refers to someone who is organised, diligent and hardworking. Similarly, a messy briefcase gives off the impression that the person is not really serious about his or her job.

5. You think temporary positions will only waste your time
If it's a temporary position, it does not mean that you cannot gain good experience, or end up by landing yourself a permanent position, possibly with the same company. Employers who see that interviewees are not much excited upon the prospect of taking up a temporary position might also think that these candidates are not really dedicated to working hard, and getting the job.

6. You have, in general, a bad attitude
Be careful on how you answer the phone and reply to emails. Every little thing counts. Really.

7. You include too much work history
If you had a good long working history, it would be better - and wise - of you to refrain from listing all the jobs, temporary or permanent, that you had. Instead list those jobs that are directly related to the job that you are applying of.

8. You use your work email address on your résumé
Do not use your previous employers' email address on your application. This might send a negative message to potential employers that the job seekers will not hesitate to use their equipment for personal use.

9. No, 'No' is not the final answer!
If you have been rejected for a job, it doesn't mean that you should lose all hope from ever getting a job at that company. You might be considered for other posts, or you might be on the waiting list for future vacancies of the job you originally replied for. Send a thank-you note to your interviewer and be optimistic for any future possibilities.

10. It's not really about you
It might hurt, but it's true. Remember that the job interview is not just about you. Your prospective employer is evaluating you as a possible candidate, and hence you have to meet their need to run a successful business and generate more profits.

This article is courtesy of Career Builder

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Sunday 27 October 2013

Common Errors When Writing an Application Form

Application forms are deceptive: they can, at first glance, look easy to complete and therefore encourage you to be careless. However, keep the following points in mind and avoid the most common errors:
  • failing to complete the form completely: easily done if you complete half the form and then put it aside for a while. Read the form through again before sealing it in the envelope. Make sure you answers all the questions properly.

  • not checking the spelling: spelling mistakes - especially very simple ones - occur more frequently if you write black and white in block capitals. Again, take the time to check and re-edit your work. It would be a good idea to print the application form, check it for any spelling and other mechanical errors, before sending it off.

  • do not use texting language: your writing should be formal. Avoid contractions (don't, can't) and abbreviations like LOL, GR8, and so on.

  • putting the wrong company name or job title in: this can happen if you word process answers and stick them on to your application form. Avoid this error by CHECKING your work well.

  • being too literal or too honest in your replies: Look at the following selection of answers:
        • Last employer: Julie, the floor manager
        • Reason for leaving: I was dismissed
        • Reason for leaving: Caught my hand in the toaster
        • Reason for applying: My lecturer gave me the form
Summary of main points:
1. Remember the two key rules: read the question, answer the question.

2. Read the whole form before you start filling it in. Draft your answers first and take some time to check what you have written.

3. Be guided by the space allocated to each question. This should give you a rough idea of the type of answer you are expected to give. Do not be afraid to go beyond that space.

4. Spend time thinking and answering the question: Why do you want the job? Think about how your skills, experience and personal interests matches the role you are applying for.

5. Concentrate on the work aspects of the role not the higher salary, better increments or perks.

6. If your reasons for wanting the job flow onto an additional sheet, always put your name and the post for which you are applying at the top of the sheet.

7. Check. Check. And Check again your spelling!

8. Check that you have completed the whole form.

9. Give your application form to a friend or family member and ask them what they think about it.

10. Keep a copy of the application form for referral in case you are selected for an interview, or to save as a copy for future reference if you responded well to one (or more) of the questions.

       Adapted from How to Write a CV, Judith Leigh (2013)
Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Tuesday 22 October 2013

How to Avoid Burnout—or a Breakdown

A friend of mine once said: 'I wish I could have an accident, a car crash...nothing really serious. Just to spend some days in hospital, away from everything'. At first, I laughed it off but soon realised that this thought did, at times and perhaps not to my great delight, pass my mind from time to time.
The following are some tips that we should follow if are to avoid, and overcome, this social breakdown:
1. Get enough rest. Ok...we know that you don’t have time to sleep. Or you think you are the exception to the rule—you don’t need the seven-to-nine hours of sleep that doctors and experts prescribe. Maybe you wish you could get more sleep, but you just can’t find a way to put sleep above your other priorities.
Ask yourself: What are your other priorities? Your health? Your happiness? Productivity and success at work? Raising happy and healthy children? Here’s the truth: You will not fulfill your potential in any of these realms unless you get the sleep your body, brain, and spirit needs.
But that’s not all: We also need to rest during the day . We are not computers, able to run continuously. This means that we need to rest between periods of productivity. After about 90 to 120 minutes of high output, we need a period of recovery—or stress and exhaustion start to build, and productivity starts to decline. Rest periods do not have to be long (10-15 minutes will do) if you truly take a break: Go for a walk outside, read an article that really interests you (but is not on your task list), chat with a co-worker or neighbour, eat your lunch outside or near a sunny window. 
2. Do only one thing at a time. Multi-tasking talent is nothing to brag about. If we just focused on one task at a time, we’d actually be more productive in the long run, and we'd be less exhausted at the end of the day. This is because multi-tasking exhausts more energy and time than single-tasking does. Take it from productivity experts Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy:
Distractions are costly: A temporary shift in attention from one task to another—stopping to answer an email or take a phone call, for instance—increased the amount of time necessary to finish the primary task by as much as 25 percent, a phenomenon known as “switching time.”

3. Reduce the amount of 'junk stimulus' that you need to deal with.
 We are bombarded, day and night, with loads of, pardon my language, CRAP. TV ads (or even news!) we aren't interested in that we watch anyway, making us anxious. A mailbox full of advertising and other 'dead tree marketing'. Emails upon emails, mingling with Facebook posts and Tweets and texts. 
Left unchecked, all this junk stimulus will bleed us dry. It is exhausting even as it is sometimes entertaining. This week, take notice of all the clutter in your life.
Muovo has shared with you this article courtesy of Greater Good.
Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Sunday 20 October 2013

Why Do You Want the Job?

'Why do you want the job?' is a question that is most likely to crop up on an application form.

Be careful though! It may be given under other descriptions, such as the following:
  • Reasons for this Application
  • Supporting Statement
  • Suitability for this Position
This is the key question on any application form and one that you should really spend some time to evaluate and think through. 

1) Always take the time to write a proper response to this question: never just write, 'I've read the job description and I have all the skills'. 

2) Remember that this question is often used by employers to assess not only how your experience and hard work skills make you suitable for the post, but also your ability to think through and write a clear answer. 

Therefore, this question is also demonstrating your competences in problem solving and written English. 

3) Read how the question is phrased to give you an overall idea of  how you should go about your answer. Some questions for instance will be amplified by saying, 'Give reasons for your suitability for this  position, drawing on your experience and skills'. 

Imagine that Jake is applying for the post of call centre superivsor. First, he would need to examine the job description which came with the application form and spot the matches with his own career.

Job description
Jake’s matches
Fully understand the product policy for which cover is provided by the team

knowledge of products: 'this company was a direct competitor to the company I used to work at'
 supervise team of 4 call centre operatives

 supervised team of 6 in my last job
 monitor performance of operatives
 did this in the last post

 complete daily reports to management team
'this was done electronically in my last post, but did give verbal  monthly report'
 (from Judith Leigh's, How to Write: Successful CVs and Job Applications, Oxfrod: Oxford UP, 2013)

Jake could now write in his supporting statement:
Having read the job description, I consider I have the right skills for this post as I have sound experience of similar products to those sold by the company. As you can see from my career history, my last post was with Macromaster, which provided customer care for this range of fridges. 
I am used to supervising a small team, including their motivation, monitoring and providing necessary training. Macromaster had an electronic reporting system which I checked on a daily basis and discussed monthly with the Sales Management team. 

Quick Tip!
You should never include wanting a better salary as a justifiable reason for leaving your current job. If you're considering of leaving your job in want of other benefits, the only one that is acceptable would be that of flexitime or moving to part-time work if your personal circumstances require a change in your work patter.

If you need help or more information, send us an email on [email protected]

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Thursday 17 October 2013

Feel Fulfilled at Work

A lot of people go to work from day to day feeling weary, dreading to wake up in the morning. Don't be one of them!

Muovo has found the article below of great interest, first published by Brazen Life.

1. Finding your flow
To truly find your flow at work you need to understand the key characteristics to what is meant by 'flow':

  (a) You need to have a clear objective.
  (b) You’re properly motivated; the task is within your capabilities, yet not too simple.
  (c) You’re completely focused and engaged.
  (d) You have a direct influence on the outcome.
  (e) You find the task rewarding or completing the task is a reward in and of itself.

How does flow impact your career?
We generally associate office life with pitchers of coffee and people who type too loudly — not a mind-melting state of euphoria. But if flow manifests itself in your workplace, you’re more likely to develop your skills, improve at your job and find fulfillment in what you do.

Compare your work responsibilities to the activities that truly engage you. Ideally, your everyday tasks — writing, programming, managing projects, serving food to customers — put you in flow. At the very least, your job should involve your best skills, like problem-solving or decision-making.

If your workday and flow are at odds, it may be time to search the job boards. We tend to judge career satisfaction based on money and stress levels instead of how our work simply makes us feel. A boring job can leave you feeling empty, unfulfilled and unsure of your career path. Meanwhile, a challenging job that gets you thinking and moving about, can seem stressful at first, and therefore, not very ideal, but in the long run it can provide benefits or open up new pathways that could direct us towards the career that is most suitable for us.

But you will be eager to punch into work if your job inspires you. In fact, you won’t even look at your schedule in terms of “punching in”; your work and life will blend together, and your job will become an extension of you rather than an eight-hour chore.

After all, the world’s most successful people are great at their jobs not because they’re forced to work, but because they love what they do.

This is not to say that if you do manage to find your 'flow' at work, you will not have any stress in your life, but it does make a great deal of difference.

There’s no guarantee that finding your flow state will lead to complete clarity and a high-paying job. It might not correlate to any job whatsoever. But being in tune with your flow will help you become more confident, competent and productive — both in the workplace and outside of it.

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Saturday 12 October 2013

Be Positive About Your Job Prospects!

Career confidence has definitely increased. But, if you're still not very sure about the future of your career, boost up your professional life with the following tips.

1. Be flexible and adaptable.
Organisations are always growing and evolving. This means that you would need to take up new skills and probably assume tasks and roles that you would have never considered of doing before. If you have never gave any of these roles or tasks a go, and therefore you don't really know whether you'd be able to do it effectively or no, give it a go. Who knows? You could find a totally new strength that you were completely unaware of. If, however, if did try doing this task and you feel that it didn't work out, or that you're not confident to do it again, then feel free to discuss this with your boss. But make sure that you show that you're willing to take on new challenges.

2. Stay updated with new qualifications and training.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a famous keyword today, which recognizes the need for workers to stay in touch with the world outside, in relation to their field or areas of specialization. If you feel that you would like to move into a new area, then you would highly benefit from getting some form of professional training in the new area that you would like to start working in.

3. Be positive. And proactive. 
Positiveness is good not only to your success, but to building a good environment and positive relations with your colleagues and employers. Search for new opportunities and you might find something that you really love and are good at. If you never try, you would never know!

4. Build your strengths.
Everybody has his or her own set of strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledge both your strengths and weaknesses and don't be afraid to admit them out loud. While you shouldn't ignore your weaknesses, but seek to work on them and change them for the better, try to work harder on your strengths. Look at your everyday tasks and ask yourself: Why am I good at my job? Why do people trust me? How can I manage to handle all my tasks effectively?

5. Challenge yourself.
Someone who is truly happy at work is not afraid to go that extra length and take on a project or task that seems to be out of his or her 'comfort zone'. By keeping yourself constantly on your toes, you would feel a sense of pride and achievement on seeing yourself transforming into a better, more professional, highly skilful and confident worker.

Start working on yourself now. Make a commitment to change. And keep it.

Adapted from The Guardian

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Thursday 10 October 2013

Get the Most Out of Your Performance Appraisal

Many professionals feel that performance reviews are boring, and perhaps, rather unhelpful. However, they can really help you to reflect upon both your past and your future career. Read the 5 tips below to ensure that your appraisals are top-notch!

1. Acknowledge that it's necessary
If you want to know whether you're improving or not, you need to get some feedback. Don't lose confidence however if you feel that you're 'stuck' with a past negative feedback - acknowledge that you might have changed your behaviour and hence now require a positive form of appraisal.

2. Context is key!
For starters, you should really think about how good your boss is at this type of process. How are performance appraisals conducted in your organisation? Is it a dull, routine activity that people shy away from or is it more vibrant? Even though the organisation may say that performance appraisals are important, how seriously does it really take them?

They are an opportunity for you to explore where you want to go, alongside understanding what the options may be. Gather evidence about your past performance and think about what you want in the future.

3. Assess your attitude towards your job
Don't go through your appraisal just for the sake of it. Consider what the value of the process is to you. Is it something that you look forward to or is it the complete opposite? An appraisal gives you many opportunities to plan what you want to do next in your work, so grasp those opportunities with both hands. If you're serious about this job, you need to go for it. If not, then it's a good time to consider whether the role is right for you.

4. Consider your future
After your appraisal, set out a plan and get it signed off by your boss. Map out your future at the organisation – even if your manager isn't actively involved in this.

Keep your manager in the loop, though. For example, you could tell your boss that following discussions in your appraisal, you plan on doing certain aspects of your work differently, or taking on new responsibilities, and will report back with the results.

5. Be persistent
If your boss doesn't stick to promises made during the appraisal, you may well need to follow up with them again. Your manager is busy and you are but one of many going through this process so you need to take responsibility and make sure you get what you need. If you are worried that your boss is not giving you any support or is treating you unfairly, raise the issue again and let them know that you will go and speak to HR. Managers are often busy, but good managers always find time for their people and for their career development.

Courtesy of Guardian Careers

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Sunday 6 October 2013

How to Ruin a Potentially Successful Interview

Mistake No. 1. I couldn't describe myself.
Although we are fully aware that this is one of the most basic interview questions, and that 99% of the time, it is likely to come up, you still hear  people saying that they 'froze' or just babbled away some futile comments about their personal live...not leaving the interviewees very impressed.

Try to write something before you go for your interview about your professional curriculum, your hobbies and something about you as a human being. Take a look at the examples below:

"For the past 15 years, I was a supervisor at ABC Manufacturing. You might wonder why I want to move into sales at this stage in my career, but much of my time has been spent negotiating with vendors and meeting with CEOs. Although the industries might be different, the skills are the same."

"I just received my B.A. in marketing with a 3.9 GPA. My courses in account management give me a strong foundation to begin my career with XYZ company, and I'm excited to learn from the industry leaders here." (Examples from CNN.)

Don't talk about your current job or your husband. Instead, tell a clear, compelling story that highlights significant experiences in your life that led you to the moment when you're sitting in front of the interviewer answering this question. If you can creatively incorporate some personal history and humor, all the better.

Mistake No. 2: I did the hard prep, but not the easy prep
When it comes to interview preparation, start small and build up. Play around on the company website. Test out their products (if applicable) and talk about the pros and cons of the company with a close friend. Prepare a small summary about what the company does and who their primary market is-and then get some experience with that primary market by role-playing as a customer.

Mistake No. 3: I wasn't a smooth player
Hopefully you've gotten beyond feeling super-nervous midway through the interview. But even if you are comfortable, there's still an ultimate interviewee level known as the 'smooth player'.

You don't have to bring baked goods to the interview (and no, you shouldn't, really). Smooth players are confident and put-together interview candidates who ask game-changing questions like, 'If you were forced to say yes or no to hiring me right now, what would be your biggest hesitation in offering me this position?' and 'Can you offer me a tour of the office?'

Smooth players do not awkwardly shake hands and thank the interviewer for their time.

When the end of the interview approaches, assess how you think you did. If you feel strongly that you're still the prime candidate, ask any one of the following analytical questions (or more, if appropriate) to be seen as a slick character:
  • 'May I have a tour of the office?'
  • 'If you were forced to say yes or no to hiring me right now, what would be your biggest hesitation in offering me this position?'
  • 'May I ask why you are interested in me for this position?'
  • 'What are the most important characteristics you are looking for in the person you plan to hire for this position?'

And if you need more ideas about questions to ask, don't forget the basics like 'What would a typical work day look like for someone in this position?'

This article is courtesy of Aol Jobs.

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Wednesday 2 October 2013

3 Smart Ways To Be Truly Successful At Your New Job

You finally got that job you've been dreaming about for years. Congratulations!

Now that the celebrations are over, with the excitement and the feelings of accomplishment having subsided - perhaps replaced by that trickle of panic or accelerated heart beat - it's  time to roll your sleeves up and show your employer and new colleagues what you're worth of!

The following are 10 things that you should follow to make sure you're doing things right...given that you want to excel:

1. Behave as if you’re still being interviewed.
Having passed through that tedious recruiting process...for which you have been successful (Well done again)...keep in mind that the race has not finished yet. Having been selected means that your employers have seen your potential  or your great ability and (are hoping) that would be able to carry out your job effectively.

This does not mean however, that you can take the back seat and relax. You still need to prove to your employer that you really were and are the best candidate for this job. So act as if this is an extended interview. Dress and act smartly and in a professional demeanor, work harder...and don't take anything for granted. In no time, you'll prove your belonging.

2. See your manager as a person you help, not a person who tells you what to do.
Although your manager is the person who will be giving you the work, and assigning tasks on a daily basis - a lot of employers appreciate having part of the workload off their shoulders if they see an employer like you taking the initiative from time to time. See your job as helping rather than to get the job done. The more you help your company achieve their goals, the more valuable your presence becomes.

3. Build relationships based on performance, not conversation.
Great companies with great culture welcome employees to their field. Other employees will get out of their way to meet and get to know you, even to help you out where needed.

This is great, but do keep in mind that relationships need to be based on respect and trust, which are in turn based on performance and action - not just words.

Prove yourself. Pitch in and help out. Follow through your plans. Meet every commitment. Earn the respect of your colleagues and you will build truly great professional relationships...and possibly friendships too.

This article was adapted from LinkedIn

Nikita Pisani at Muovo


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