No matter if you’re an executive searching for the next greener pasture or a fresh graduate looking to land your first job, navigating the right career path can be a little disconcerting. If you feel a little rusty or unsure of what employers are looking for right now, we speak to Eric Bryan Amaladas, the Director of CareerSense at Help University for some answers.
1) Hi Eric! What are three things do a potential employer want to see or read from a résumé? – and how to make sure you get noticed?
Set it right. Think of yourself as a brand. And your brand has got a variety of characteristics, so your résumé is an opportunity to tell everyone what these brand characteristics are. Such as:
Your résumé should be a listing of your employability skills. Employers are looking at what skills you can bring into their workplaces. Be it in communication skills, critical thinking skills, entrepreneurial skills, etc – your résumé should list these skills and evidence to support. Meaning, you will need to briefly describe how you obtained these skills or how it was developed.
You should also list out any work or volunteer experiences. Each description of your work history and volunteer experience should be clear and concise, yet descriptive. After reading your description, a prospective employer should know exactly what your responsibilities were, what skills you have developed from these experiences, where your strengths lie, and what you have achieved.
- Track record
Your academic track record as well as your extra-curricular activities gives potential employers a glimpse of who you are. Substantiate your track record with evidence and be able to share how you achieved these track record. Be mindful that your brand only stands out if you have proven track record.
2) Can you give us some examples on how to make a good impression at an interview?
Simple – be a gift to the employers. Some things to take note of include:
We all know that first impressions are important. Taking time to look good tells your future employers that you are paying attention to the details and that this interview is important enough for you to put in the effort to look good. It is however, not your time to make a fashion statement, so avoid tight clothing, limit your jewellery and go easy on fragrances. The interview is your opportunity to show the potential employers how talented you are, and maintaining proper appearance will ensure they focus on your abilities rather than your attire.
Interact with the employers with a sense of confidence. While admittedly, interviews can be nerve wrecking, just remind yourself of the bigger purpose of why you are there at the interview. Practise with family or friends and ask feedback as to how well you answered the questions. Practice builds confidence and the more confidence allows you to express yourself more freely and without hesitation.
There are 2 elements to staying focus:
The first is staying focused during the interview and answering the questions posed directly. Avoid stories that are not relevant to the questions.
The second is about focusing on what you want, meaning having a positive mindset about the interview. Have a right focus for yourself. You are there to impress, therefore go into the interview with the intention of impressing.
- Time conscious
Be time conscious i.e – be punctual. Remember that the interviewers are busy people. People who come in late can sometimes irritate the interviewers and you would have made a “good” first impression.
3) Good point! Do you think social media play a role in helping/preventing someone from getting a job these days?
I think social media is fast becoming a tool to help people get jobs. More and more companies and recruiters are looking at tools like LinkedIn to get a better picture of the candidate’s career history. Recruiters are checking out the candidate’s Twitter and Facebook before or sometimes even during the interview to get a sense of what the candidate’s online behaviour is like.
Research shows that people tend to be more honest online than they are on their résumés. Hence, how you interact on social media gives the future employers a perspective of the candidate that is beyond the résumé.
4) What can a student do now to ensure he/she gets a good job upon graduation?
Think BIG and follow these steps:
Build for your résumé
It is always good to write your resume regardless of whether you are in your first year of university or last. Your first résumé is a good indicator of whether you have the appropriate skills for the career you are looking for. If for example, you are lacking in leadership skills, then you should be looking for opportunities to develop your leadership skills during your years in university. Either join a Club or Society, or just by leading in class discussions, you are now able to say that you had leadership roles in the university.
Invest in internships
Spend your semester breaks (especially the long ones) interning at a company. This gives you the exposure to the world of work. Internships give you a reality check about what work is like and it also helps you to gauge if that area of work is best suited for you.
While lots have been said about skills and attitude, getting a good job also relies on your academic grades. Your grades are a reflection that you are hardworking and disciplined. While your presentation skills and grooming helps you get the job, it’s your grades that helps you get that interview.
5) If someone is thinking of a career change, what is the first step he/she needs to take to get the next career or job move?
Evaluate your current job role
It is good to evaluate the reasons why you are thinking of leaving your current role. Determine what is it in your current role that you are not satisfied with. An honest reflection is needed to determine the factors that has pushed you to this position. Are your dissatisfactions related to the content of your work, your company culture or the people with whom you work? Understanding the reasons why you are wanting to move helps you identify what is it that you want from your new role.
Research the job market to identify what roles you may be interested in. Whether you’re looking for a role within the same industry or something outside your industry – research the job market to see what potential roles would suit you.
Identify your skills set
Identify what your current skill-sets are and determine if you have the right kind of skills for the new career that you are embarking on. You may have some transferable skills that can be utilised but never be afraid to learn new skills that will help you perform better in your new role.
Career counselling or coaching
Speak to a career counsellor who will be a sounding board and to provide some perspectives on your career move. Speaking to someone will help you chart your career move better.
6) Through your job as a career counsellor, what personal attributes do you think are essential for success?
Personal drive – People who have an internal motivation to want to succeed in life. They have a clear goal and a willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Having a personal drive allows you to be more confident because you know what you want and you are ready to get it.
Responsibility – They don’t shirk responsibility. They take charge of their own learning and growth as well as responsibility in getting the job done. There is no ‘wait and see’ mentality.
Integrity – People who walk the talk. It shows that you are able to commit and see through what you had promised. Integrity creates character and defines who we are.
Determination – People who are determined to get the job done without procrastinating or slacking off. When one door closes, they are determined to find another way out and not give up. These are people who are solution-focused and who do not play victim to life’s challenges.
Energy – People who are generally positive and bring into the work place a positive energy. Their excitement and positive energy allows them to be optimistic and resilient. Developing a career is challenging and daunting but having the right energy helps you ride the many storms that you will experience.
7) And what are some personality traits that can limit a person’s career advancement?
The opposite of all that was stated above (Laughs) Additionally:
A negative attitude towards change – we are living in an ever changing world and we need to be able to adapt to the changes and demands of the workplace. We cannot grow as a person if we choose to stay in our comfort zones.
People who tend to do only what is required. They don’t go the extra mile to get other things done that are beyond their job description. They may have a ‘9 to 5’ mentality without putting in any extra effort.
|SHARE THE STORY|