Friday 28 February 2014

Who Moved My Cheese?

Have you heard about the story of four characters living in a 'Maze' who face unexpected change when they discover their 'Cheese' has disappeared?

That's right! Sniff and Scurry, both of whom are mice, and Hem and Haw, little people in the size of mice, are the four main characters in Dr Spencer's short story 'Who Moved my Cheese?' These four mice try to adapt to their 'Maze' in an individual manner - but some don't manage to adapt at all...

This allegory is so effective in its portrayal of change, and how different people deal with change. In essence, the way we adapt to change is, more often than not, a marker of our identity and - eventually - our success.

Every one of us lives in a 'Maze', which stands for our companies or organizations that we work with, the communities we live in, the families we love places where we look for the things we want in life, 'Cheese'.

We get used to our 'Maze' or our comfort zone so much that we see change as a hindrance to our comfort, and hence, something that will cause us distress. Instead of welcoming and embracing it, we might run away from it, while ending up...eventually, running away from new experiences and exciting opportunities.

Full of modern day insight, the story of Who Moved My Cheese? invites individuals and organizations to enjoy less stress and more success by learning to deal with the inevitable change.

Watch this 13-minute clip, a visual adaptation of Who Moved My Cheese?

Download full text: Who Moved My Cheese?

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Wednesday 26 February 2014

5 Ways to Sell Your Experience

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The following are five tips brought to you by AOL Jobs discussing ways by which you can sell your experience:

1.  Don't cause problems. Solve problems.
'Millions [of people] graduate with vague degrees that only attest to one's ability to read books and take tests, but not necessarily solve problems', Murphy says. 'Industry experience conveys that you can solve problems for an employer right away or with little learning curve. Examine your experience and spell out how you helped solve problems, any problems. Competitors with degrees won't be able to compare.'

2. Always take up new expertise. Be ready to learn or re-learn what you know.
'Many companies have favourable back-to-school plans for their employees. If you're speaking with a prospective employer that places a large emphasis on academics, you might want to indicate a desire to take advantage of their plan', O'Neil says. 'Demonstrating a desire to make up any gaps in your résumé while on the job might just tip the scales in your favor.'

3. When you are selling yourself, achievements are more important than education.
'If you don't have a degree, it's very important for you to shine in every other aspect of your résumé', says Cathy Severson, career counselor and owner of Retirement Life Matters. 'Don't settle for a list of tasks, but really demonstrate how you can do the job better than anyone else can. The best way is to do this is by providing concrete evidence of how you have excelled at similar tasks in the past through accomplishments.'

4. Prepare your success stories.
'For the interview, prepare several stories of success that showcase how you have accomplished tasks similar to others who possess a degree', says Barbara Safani of Career Solvers. If you are a sales professional, for example, focus on how you exceeded your sales targets and have done as well as or better than your colleagues. If you are an accountant, prove how you have uncovered errors and recouped money for the company -- despite the fact that you didn't formally study accounting. If you are a high school graduate competing against a recent college graduate, talk about the experience you have garnered in part-time or summer jobs or full-time jobs you had while others your age were at college, she says.

5. Create a combination résumé.
'The most important task is to market your key skills and accomplishments to the employer by creating a résumé that focuses on your contributions to your previous employers and your experience that is most relevant to the position for which you are applying', says Winifred Winston, certified professional résumé writer. 'By creating a combination résumé that lists your relevant skills and experience first, you are sure to capture the hiring manager's attention. You initially want the employer to be able to fold your document in half and just by reading the top portion they know you are someone they should contact to schedule an interview. Does that top portion list education? Not necessarily.'

Tell us about your experience! Muovo would like to hear from you!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Wednesday 19 February 2014

From Harvard

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The good thing about being sick is...having time to catch up with some good sleep, and watch some good movies...without feeling guilty that you're 'wasting time' or that you should be using your time to do something more 'productive'. 

So...I had gastric for a couple of days...and while I was munching away on crackers, I got lucky enough to come across, and watch, this amazing movie called 'Homeless to Harvard'.

Based on a true story of Liz Murray, a child to drug-addict parents in New York both of whom eventually die of HIV/AIDS, suffers homeless and at the depths of falling down in the darkest hole imaginable...yet, does not lose faith. Her strong will yet enabled her to survive the many 'insurmountable' changes she had to face; had she given up hope and lost faith that things will get better, she would have likely chosen a different path and ended up in a very different place, far away from the inspirational figure she now is. In her own words, '[...] just at change happens to me, I can cause change in my life'.

After her mother passing away, when she was only 15, she realized that it was time to make a huge commitment: high school. Having stopped attending school four years earlier, Liz was more than ready to roll up her sleeves and do her very best at gaining what she had not valued before:

'Before I had this transformation, I always had this illusion I call if-this-then-that. If I find a quiet place, then I'll study. If I get some more cash, then I'll go to school. We do that when there is no real commitment to a goal. We're saying, "I'm committed...unless.' There's a big difference between that and an absolute commitment. Absolute commitment means you'll work in a hallway.'

After earning her diploma, Liz decides to apply for a scholarship with the New York Times which, she successfully achieves. Having been stripped off all forms of comfort one could possibly imagine, Liz learned how to defeat the 'gloom' surrounding her by looking inwards and up for a better 'life', a chance that she knows she will, one day, get. She also started to understand the mechanics of two crucial concepts, namely, attachments and commitment.

If you do get the chance (hopefully not because you are sick!), I highly recommend you to watch this great and inspirational movie. This blog post seems like a movie review - and strictly speaking, it is. The aim is, however, to show us all that whatever 'dire' or 'depressive' situation we seem to be in, perhaps related to your current position (or lack thereof) at work, and in life in general, there is always a way out - which is available to us only if we have faith.

Have a nice day!

The real Liz Murray (born in 1980), subject of the film Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray story (2003)
Watch this 2-minute clip from Liz Murray discussing Homeless to Harvard and introducing her new book, Breaking Night.

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Wednesday 12 February 2014

3 Excellent Examples of the Covering Letter

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We have spoken about the Covering Letter and how to go about writing it in previous blog posts. We can never stress enough the importance that this letter is likely to have on your potential employer. It is, essentially, the first 'impression' that your employer will have of you and will be assessing you as a potential candidate, or not, for the job.

A covering letter should not be seen as something that complements the CV. On the other hand – it's an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and persuade the recruiter to put you through to the next round.

Don't spend hours and hours trying to perfect your CV at the expense of your cover letter. If you need some inspiration on what to include and what format to use, here are some helpful guides offered by The Guardian.

1. Standard, conservative style

1297116872337.jpg (500×219)This is ideal for sectors such as business, law, accountancy and retail.

For more creative sectors, a letter like this might be less appealing, and could work against you.

Dear Mr Black,

Please find enclosed my CV in application for the post advertised in the Guardian on 30 November.

The nature of my degree course has prepared me for this position. It involved a great deal of independent research, requiring initiative, self-motivation and a wide range of skills. For one course, [insert course], an understanding of the [insert sector] industry was essential. I found this subject very stimulating.

I am a fast and accurate writer, with a keen eye for detail and I should be very grateful for the opportunity to progress to market reporting. I am able to take on the responsibility of this position immediately, and have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of it.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours sincerely

2. Standard speculative letter

This may vary according to the nature of the organisation and the industry you're applying to.

Dear Mr Brown,

I am writing to enquire if you have any vacancies in your company. I enclose my CV for your information.

As you can see, I have had extensive vacation work experience in office environments, the retail sector and service industries, giving me varied skills and the ability to work with many different types of people. I believe I could fit easily into your team.

I am a conscientious person who works hard and pays attention to detail. I'm flexible, quick to pick up new skills and eager to learn from others. I also have lots of ideas and enthusiasm. I'm keen to work for a company with a great reputation and high profile like [insert company name].

I have excellent references and would be delighted to discuss any possible vacancy with you at your convenience. In case you do not have any suitable openings at the moment, I would be grateful if you would keep my CV on file for any future possibilities.

Yours sincerely

3. Letter for creative jobs

We've used the example of a copywriter but you can adapt it for your profession. The aim of a creative letter is to be original and show you have imagination, but understand what the job entails. Balance is essential: don't be too wacky, or it will turn off the reader.

Dear Ms Green,

· Confused by commas? 
· Puzzled by parenthesis? 
· Stumped by spelling? 
· Perturbed by punctuation? 
· Annoyed at the apostrophe? (And alliteration?)

Well, you're not alone. It seems that fewer and fewer people can write. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who can read. So they'll spot a gaffe from a mile off. And that means it's a false economy, unless you're 100% sure of yourself, to write your own materials. (Or to let clients do it for themselves.)

To have materials properly copywritten is, when one considers the whole process of publishing materials and the impact that the client wishes to make, a minor expense. Sloppiness loses clients, loses customers.

There is an answer. Me. Firm quotes are free. You can see some of what I do on my multilingual website at [insert web address]. If you'd like, I can get some samples out to you within 24 hours. And, if you use me, you'll have some sort of guarantee that you can sleep soundly as those tens of thousands of copies are rolling off the presses.

Luck shouldn't come into it!

With kindest regards

Remember: Do not copy these templates word for word! Use them instead as guides to writing your own cover letter.

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Wednesday 5 February 2014

You're Probably Brilliant and Don't Even Know It!

This article is adapted from Brazen Life

If you're able to see humour in a dead-end situation, or wherever others cannot see that light at the end of the tunnel, you are highly likely to possess some brilliant traits.

The ability to see light in a moment of doom is not only an admirable quality to have as an individual, but is fundamental at work and crucial in that you can elevate a situation that is close to failure, to success.

Do you possess any of the qualities below? If you do, then you are brilliant!

1. Multi-potentiality
This refers to someone with multiple exceptional skills, any of which could make for a great career. For example, in school, you excelled at art, mathematics and the humanities. You may have also been a great musician!

At first sight, this seems as a blessing (and it is definitely not a curse!). However, you may find yourself at crossroads, not sure which route to take as everything seems equally interesting, and, you excel at!

Make sure that whatever career you decide to be in, use all your skills to your, and your colleagues or clients, benefit.

2. High sensitivity and perceptivity
You process sensory data much more deeply and thoroughly than other people. You pick up on subtleties, like intonation, facial expressions and minor contradictions. You’re highly empathic and intuitive, and you notice things most people never would.

The downside is that you are often seen as too emotional, too nice or introverted, and your skills can be overlooked without a good level of self-awareness and self-advocacy.

3. Insatiable curiosity
You need to know everything. You have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and when you’re into something, you’ll stop at nothing to understand all there is to know about the topic. You have a wide range of interests which tend to vary from month to month.

While your curiosity can be fun, this 'need' for new knowledge can feel like unfulfillment when you’re at a job that can never satisfy your insatiable thirst for knowledge.

4. Perfectionism
You have the highest of standards for nearly everything in your life, and that’s a marker of your brilliance. When you care about something, you have a laser-like attention to detail that ensures what you’re putting out is the best you can offer.

Perfectionism often leads to procrastination and avoidance. When we can’t have it perfect, we don’t do anything at all. The self-aware perfectionist knows how to harness their perfectionism to work for them instead of against them.

5. Entelechy
This is the epitome of your brilliance — perfectionism applied to one’s own self-actualization. It’s the drive to evolve and focus on your highest goals.

There’s no shadow to entelechy, though it does mean you’re not taking the easy path in life. You won’t settle for unfulfilling careers, empty relationships or any kind of stagnation. The drive to shake things up can cause a lot of unrest, and it can be hard for the people around you. But those of us with entelechy can have it no other way.

Do you possess any of these qualities. Have you discovered your brilliance?

Leave us your comments!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Some Strange Interview Questions...!

Some employers might just love to ask crazy brainteaser interviews. Be careful though! The way you answer is likely to influence your employer's decision!

The following are some strange interview questions that are testing an array of skills:

1.  'If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?' 
Take into account the type of job and try to come up with a response that fits. If the position involves style, design and colour, answer by incorporating your interest in and passion for those topics as they relate to cereal.

If you question the value of the inquiry itself by responding, 'Is this related to the job?' you might as well get up and walk out of the interview. (Unless they are looking for a contrary or difficult candidate, which is unlikely.)

Some people do act in this manner when they feel under pressure, such as during an interview. If you are unfortunate enough to have an interviewer that asks you these kind of questions, there is only one thing left to do: play along!

2. If an employer asks, 'If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?' don't reply 'Take the job and shove it' if you want the position!

Keep in mind a few key things if you need to reply to a brain teaser:
It's okay (and highly advisable) to stop and think before you answer, and even to ask for clarification if there are any details you are not sure of.
The interviewer is trying to learn how you would act as an employee. Try to answer the question in a way that showcases the skills you have for the job. For instance, if the position is mathematical, use mathematical skills, and so on.
If you get flustered, or even worse, you feel like giving up mid-way through the interview, you will not get the job. 

Do the best you can and keep a smile on your face. 

Most probably, the aim of the question is for the employer to know what your 'gut feeling' would be like or how capable you are to handle a challenge. It may not be so important as to the type of answer you give, but more of 'how' you handle the question. Remember, your attitude will make you... or break you!

Article adapted from Aol Jobs

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Saturday 1 February 2014

You're selling a product. That product is you!

You are, and always will be, your best product. You will never stop selling. 

If we take a look at..Politicians. How do they get elected? 

Because they have a good propaganda, they mean well and they love the people.

In a utopic political world, that would be true. But, in our world, the answer to how they really get elected is easy: Lots of marketing...and SALES.

Maybe you don't see yourself as a politician or wouldn't like to compare yourself with one.Let's think, instead, of a corporate careerist who manages to move up the career ladder with a long strand of success ahead. 'How did he get himself in this position?', you might wonder...

Again, the answer is not so hard to find out: SALES.

People who manage to move high up in the ladder, know a simple trick that enables them to stay at the top of their game. They know how to market their expertise, skills, and experience - making them an asset not only to the company but to anyone who listens to their advice.

Rule 1: Know your audience
Picture the last time you were at a party. You probably spent the evening initiating conversation with a variety of different folks. You liked some, disliked others and, perhaps, you really connected with a few.

Typically, you connect with people who approach life in a similar manner. What’s true in a recreational context is also true in a business context, because people are people regardless of the environment. You’ll always have a much easier time selling yourself to like-minded individuals.

If innovation and pioneering make you tick, target the innovators. If investing in the long haul and building something sustainable is more your variety, you’ll have no problem selling yourself to those with a similar passion.

Rule 2: You’ll be far more successful at selling yourself if you target the correct audience.
But don’t stop at identification. Research your audience, observe them and try to think as they do. Find the need. What does your target audience need that you have to offer? What do they need that you can find, acquire and offer them? If you don’t know, you can’t sell.

Rule 3: Always play to win (...of course, to a limit)
Forget survival. You’ll survive. Forget “just enough.” The only requirement for being successful is the willingness to lose it all.

What do you need? What do you want? Successful people turn down a promotion at a job they hate to start the business they want. Successful people take a loss this year to build launching pads for exponential growth next year. Successful people know they can afford to fail because they’re convinced the world needs what they have to offer.

Don’t let fear, doubt or inconvenience stand in your way. You’ll get plenty of nos, but don’t be denied. The urge to maintain the status quo is powerful, but choosing convenience will sabotage what you actually want in life.

Article adapted from Brazen Life

Nikita Pisani at Muovo


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