Thursday 29 May 2014

4 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Telecommuting

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Although it may sound like an ideal situation, the notion of working from home may not be feasible for everyone. Many workers choose not to work from home to avoid distractions, boredom, and possibly over-eating! Other workers may value team-work and the sharing of information and contact with others.

Muovo would like to share with you the following 4 pitfalls that you, as a telecommuter, should avoid:

1. Isolation
Either by circumstance or design, many telecommuters work in physical isolation. Even if they are surrounded by children, spouses and/or pets at home, the detachment from work colleagues can cause teleworkers to feel distant or out of the loop.

2. Personal distractions
Although the home can be regarded by many as a safe haven, it is also the place where all sorts of distractions about. When working from home, work and personal lives converge, which means that you can easily become distracted by that pile of laundry, by an online website browsing for clothes or parts for your car. What about taking your dog out for a walk?

If possible, remove personal distractions, such as piles of laundry or grocery lists, to keep your home office all business. Try to make a routine for yourself and your family, including your pet (by taking for example your dog out for a walk first thing in the morning).

3. Work-life imbalance
It should be easier to achieve work-life balance when working at home, right? Not necessarily. Telecommuters tend to work an average of six to seven hours longer each week than their office-bound counterparts. The comfort of working from home, coupled with around-the-clock connectivity, can cause telecommuters to work long past business hours.

Remember though that work shouldn’t overtake life, and life shouldn’t overtake work.

4. Lack of face time
Telecommuters risk the danger of becoming out of sight, out of mind. Whether intentional or not, a study by MIT Sloan Management Review shows that managers often promote workers who show presenteeism. Because teleworkers are passively present via emails, IMs and conference calls, they often get lower performance reviews, smaller raises and fewer promotions.

Achieving an equitable balance of family, career and personal time can be a real challenge for people working at home. But with the right strategies in place, you can find a balance between the telecommuting pros and cons to attain true work-life balance. Impossible is nothing!

Article taken from Brazen Life

Sunday 25 May 2014

Didn't get the promotion? Here's why!

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Muovo would like to share with you Brazen Life's article below:

You have been waiting for that promotion for years! You were almost sure that you were going to get it this time...only to find out that a newer colleague got it instead of you. He has joined the company two years ago. You, on the other hand, have just celebrated your fifth anniversary at your workplace yesterday. How is that fair?

Although it may come naturally to blame your boss for his 'unfairness' or 'favouritism' towards the other employee, below are 9 reasons which you may have overlooked.

1. You lack strong leadership skills.
Not everyone is a born leader, but it is possible to possess traits of a strong leader. When it comes to awarding promotions, the top quality employers look for is the ability to lead. Those who aspire to be leaders in their company are the ones who are most likely to receive the promotions. However, the goal isn’t enough—you must understand what it takes to be an effective leader.

To be a strong leader, you need to inspire people to accomplish goals, have effective communication skills, and understand the bigger picture. If you can develop these three qualities, you’ll have a better chance of landing a promotion. Good leaders are never stuck in their jobs. They’re always moving forward and finding new ways to improve and succeed.

2. Working hard isn’t enough.
If you think working hard is going to get you promoted, you might want to think again. You can spend countless hours in the office and be the most efficient worker, but this doesn’t mean you’ll be a candidate for a promotion. Employees often  think that working harder will bring them more results. But what if your hard work doesn’t achieve results? What if your character or attitude is preventing you from being successful?

When you’re trying to receive a promotion, you need to look at the bigger picture. The best employees are the complete package. Not only are they dedicated and hard working, but also they have the compassion, positive attitude, and leadership skills needed to be successful.

3. You attitude, well, leaves much to be desired!
No one wants to promote a Negative Nancy or a Betty Brown-noser. If you continuously complain about your workload, coworkers, or the company itself, chances are you won’t be a candidate for a promotion. Employees who receive promotions are typically those who have positive attitudes, work well in a team, and are all around kind and considerate people.

If you don’t think of others or the needs of your employer before yourself, you’re probably not going to receive a promotion. You need to have an attitude that makes work a great place to be and gets work done.

4. Your soft skills aren’t up to par.
When it comes down to receiving a promotion, your soft skills will be the difference between you and the other candidate. Sixty-nine percent of employers look at soft skills when making a hiring decision. To make sure you are worthy of a promotion, make sure your soft skills are some of your strongest skills.

You need to be an effective communicator, strong team player, reliable, and have motivation. Sure, while you might be an expert in your field, you can’t always depend on your hard skills to take you further. You need to have a balance between your hard and soft skills that will make you the perfect candidate for a promotion.

5. Your initiative took a hike.
Job promotions don’t magically fall into your lap by sitting and waiting. You need to have initiative and motivation if you plan on getting ahead in your career. If you sit at your desk all day pushing papers without a care in the world, you’re definitely not a candidate worthy of a promotion. Promotions are awarded to those who push themselves outside of their comfort zones to accomplish the goals for their company.

You have to be willing to take some risks and try new things in order to be noticed by your employer. Drive is huge when it comes to being successful, and if it took a hike a year ago when you first started your job, it’s definitely not going to get you further up the ladder.

6. You don’t think like a boss.
Employers don’t give promotions to people they don’t see as future leaders.

Going the extra mile in your position without seeking reward is what will get you noticed by your employer. You need to be driven, creative, and willing to do anything to bring success to your company. When you think like a boss, you’re able to develop the leadership mindset needed to manage and inspire others. This will help your employer see you are serious about making a difference in the company, thus making them more likely to see you has a candidate for a promotion.

7. You haven’t brought any results to the table.
Results, results, results! This is the key to success for every company.

Employers want employees who genuinely care about their company’s goals. If you want to stop feeling stuck in your current position, you need to find new ways you can bring results to the table.

8. You’re lacking passion for your job.
Inspiring leaders are incredibly passionate. When you have passion for your work, you put all your energy and time into your projects. Passionate employees also embody the vision and mission of their companies and will go to the ends of the earth to make success happen. This type of passion is exactly what management is looking for when promoting an employee.

9. You have high hopes.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been with the same company for six months or five years. If you don’t have the qualities your employer desires when looking to promote someone, you’re not going to receive the promotion. Just because you were a loyal employee doesn’t mean you were the best employee. For all we know, you could have sat at your desk for five years allowing minutes to pass you by. People who receive promotions deserve it because of their drive, results, and passion.

If you strongly desire a promotion, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and see how you can improve from there. This will guide you in the right direction for receiving a promotion.

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Monday 19 May 2014

Use These 4 Online Educational Tools and Learn New Skills

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Do you feel that you need to spruce up your skill set lately?

Below is a list of free educational tools that cover many topics, including programming, entrepreneurship, entertainment and the sciences.

1. TED Talks

You may have heard of TED talks, with their inspiring slogan, Ideas worth spreading. The conference gathers great minds of science, philosophy,poetry, journalism and creative professions which emanate knowledge on technology, entertainment and design. The talks are available online. It's one of the best places to learn about the hottest new ideas and world truth, and is hence one of the most valuable learning tools around.

TED is an easy way to gain knowledge on stuff that interests you, or perhaps, stuff that you wouldn't have really read about before. It therefore serves as a gateway to new knowledge.

2. Khan Academy

Bill Gates had a vision of educational bliss when he was introduced to Salman Khan's project in 2006. The Khan Academy began when the MIT and Harvard Business school graduate was tutoring his grade school cousin, Nadia, in basic mathematics. Khan couldn't always teach her in person, so he began filming YouTube videos.

The format was a simple lecture on an electronic blackboard paired with friendly and straightforward instructions and easy-to-understand drawings.

With thousands of lectures to choose from, anyone can pick up skills such as high mathematics, finance, accounting and computer programming. Khan Academy has also partnered with other renowned universities and museums to teach even more higher education topics. Exercise your cerebellum for yourself here: KhanAcademy

3. Coursera

Coursera is another educational effort to offer free education online to the world. It features some of the most prestigious universities and brilliant minds on the planet. Coursera is most notable for its courses on computer programming skills and having featured lessons with Google executives.

Coursera is taught by professors from world-renowned universities sch as Princeton, Stanford and Columbia. Who knew Ivy League education could be a Wi-Fi connection away?

Courses last six to eight weeks and many include actual certificates of completion from the universities involved. They're taught in dozens of languages by schools from around the world.

4. SkillShare

SkillShare is another hip way to learn skills online, especially with topics like DIY Audio Mixing from an actual DJ master, Young Guru, who has worked with much of the top talent in the music industry including Beyonce and Jay-Z.

SkillShare is unique in that the videos are mainly focused on modern and practical skills, such as entrepreneurship courses like Launch Your Startup Idea for Less than 1K. This course helps students define a minimum viable product to start their own company affordably.

Adapted from Aol Jobs

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Wednesday 14 May 2014

My Colleague is a Chatterbox! How can I work?

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Don't boil yourself down with frustration! Follow these three easy steps and don't let your productivity at work go down because of an annoying colleague who won't stop blabbering about anything that crosses his or her mind!

Follow these three easy steps to 'politely' rid yourself of that chatterbox!

1. Say something in the moment.
Rather than letting your co-worker rambling on, with you staring at her eyes and lips and gazing at the window, hoping that she will realise that you are actually very busy and would like to move on with work, simple say so: 'I'm sorry to cut you short, but I have a really tight deadline', or 'Sorry, I'll be with you soon - I need to send some emails', or even, 'I'm actually in the middle of something'. Of course, your co-worker should get the message and probably won't wait for you till you finish whatever you're doing.

2. Address the pattern.
When the problem is less about lengthy social conversations and more about multiple small interruptions, say: "It's hard for me to get my focus pulled away. What if we instead scheduled one or two meetings a week to talk about whatever items we need to discuss? That way you'd get the responses you need from me, but it would help keep me from breaking my concentration."

Or can give a more lengthy description:
"Jane, I've noticed you like to drop by and chat! I enjoy talking with you, but it's hard for me to do much of that during the work day. I usually need to get back to work pretty quickly." If you do genuinely enjoy your co-worker's company, you could add something like, "I'd love to get coffee with you sometime, but I've got to do a better job of not letting us get into longer conversations when I should be working."

3. Decide if it's really getting out of hand, and you might need to speak to the manager.
If trying to avoid your colleague, or being up-front about it, where you tell her that she or he is impeding your work, you might consider to take a more 'serious' step and put your preoccupations forward to your (or your co-worker's) manager. Many managers would appreciate a heads-up and will (most often) try to help in sorting the situation out. 

So...Good Luck!

All in all, what's most important is that if something is bothering you, try to resolve it in one way or another. Don't stay frustrated and let a colleague hindering your productivity at work in the meantime!

Article adapted from Aol

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Pay More Attention. Be More Successful.

In these two clips below, best-selling author of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence (2013), Daniel Goleman, studies how focus and cognitive control are the main factors that contribute to our success.

Goleman puts forward an innovative stance at this rather overlooked if not underestimated asset; in reality, however, Goleman realises and stresses the importance of focus and attention on the way we feel, and most importantly, succeed, in life.

The short clip (4:55)

If you feel like watching a longer clip (1:18:17)

As Michael Jordan pointed out:

          "The game has its ups and downs, but you can never lose focus of your individual goals and you can't let yourself be beat because of lack of effort."

Focus. And never give up on your goals. For you will succeed.

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

Monday 5 May 2014

Not Enough Experience? Try an Apprenticeship or Internship!

Apprenticeships and internships can be useful in helping you gain the required work experience that will set you out for the job industry. They also serve as excellent grounding tools in general and sector-specific skills.

Apprenticeships are made available in various sectors. These include but are not limited to: engineering, construction, skilled manual crafts, and yet also, the performing arts, teaching, social care, law, and advisory organisations.

Apprenticeships are mainly targeted towards young adults, ranging from 16 to 25. However, the age range is always expanding since they offer a wide range of benefits to those who undertake them. Apprenticeships could offer you a useful route especially if you are trying to re-train for a different career.

Apprenticeships are not free positions. The apprentice is usually either given a full salary, as a non-apprentice worker would earn, or a reduced salary. This depends on the company providing the apprenticeships. It usually lasts to at least 6 months or up to 3 years. The best apprenticeships will offer you some form of qualification or accredation, either through training on the job or through partnerships with local colleges or training organisations. Sometimes, a combination of both is available.

Internships, on the other hand, are usually aimed at graduates eager to gain experience in a specialised field, for instance: politics, law, media, and the arts, to mention but a few. An internship generally lasts for between 3 and 6 months. You will generally be expected to have basic work skills: the internship is to give you a working insight into your chosen sector. This could be through working alongside an experience member of staff, executing a project, or working on a rotational basis with a number of departments.

If you have questions, kindly send us an email on [email protected].

Taken from Leigh, J. (2013). How to Write: Successful CVs and Job Applications (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Saturday 3 May 2014

I don't have much work experience to put on my CV. What do I do?

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Don't let a lack of work experience put you off from applying for that job you've been so longing for!

Make the most of your skills or qualification, and use the knowledge that you have gained from courses that you have followed to your advantage.

MUOVO would like to share with you the following tips, which have been adapted from TheGuardian. Let us know what you think!

1. Identify what qualifies you for the role.

Who said that the only valuable experience is that which is paid? Voluntary or community involvement, work placements, coursework, personal projects and extracurricular activities can all be highlighted to show your suitability. Think from the employer's perspective – decide on the most interesting factors, where you have used relevant skills, and then make these prominent on your CV.

2. Make yourself irresistible to an employer.

A CV doesn't really manage to convey your key and desirable personality traits. Stating that you're a hard-working, enthusiastic and highly motivated worker is likely going to raise much eyebrows. A lot of other CVs have these skills listed as well.

What you can do differently, however, is using examples to highlight your skills.

Holding down a job to help family finances or pay your way through college can reveal humility and a strong work ethic: "Consistent work record: held variety of part-time roles since the age of 16 to contribute to educational costs."

Learning about a role or sector through online communities, upskilling through tutorials or conducting your own projects all show enthusiasm – it could fit into the education, training or skills section of your CV.

Graduate employers like applicants who can demonstrate these personality traits, as well as attributes such as numeracy and commercial awareness, which you could show through retail, marketing or sales work.

3. Speak the same language.

This is especially the case for career changers, but all applicants should aim to use language that an employer would expect to see from an ideal candidate. Include keywords throughout your CV, in job titles, skills, and in how you describe your work experience. In this example, the course modules (international finance, risk management, and so on) are keywords in their own right, and are included in the skills section, titled "specialised knowledge".

4. Experiment with layout.

You don't need to always use a strict chronological work history format or have the same section order. Put the most important information first – relevant project work can come before less relevant employment, while voluntary projects bridging your move into a new career could come before current, paid work.

Remember to keep your CV short: 2 to 3 pages maximum. Consider putting a summary of stand-out points at the beginning of your CV. Put your name and contact details at the top of the page, then use the job title itself as a heading. Under this, summarise key details such as years' experience in a particular skill, project experience or summer placements at that company, or a short branding statement highlighting your strengths and attributes. A couple of lines in note or bullet-point format (rather than entire sentences) can work well. Include a brief cover letter explaining your reasons for applying, and interest in the company.

And as it goes: 'Where there's a will, there's a way'!

Good luck!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo


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