Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top 10 Skills Demanded By Employers

Do I have the skills to make the cut?
This is a question every job seeker should ask when hunting for a job. Otherwise, how would you know whether you have what it takes to be hired or not?
Now this list is not catered to specific careers. Obviously if you are an engineer, you should expect the technical know-how of an engineer to form part of your essential skills.
Here, the skills are more general and cater to all types of professional careers.
You may be surprised to find out that with today’s IT domination in every facet of our lives, some skills can never be replaced even with the best technology.

1.Communications Skills
You would notice that every job advertisement would not be short of this requirement: Possess good communication skills.
2.Analytical/Research Skills
Deals with your ability to assess a situation, seek multiple perspectives, gather more information and etc. Resourcefulness is a well sought after trait!
3.Computer/Technical Literacy
Almost all jobs now require some basic understanding of computer hardware and software whether it is in word processing, spreadsheets, email and surfing the net.
4.Flexibility/Adaptability/Managing Multiple Priorities
Deals with your ability to manage multiple assignments and tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments. The business landscape is changing all the time and employees must be able to adapt to changes quickly.
5.Interpersonal Abilities
The ability to relate to your co-workers, inspire others to participate, and mitigate conflict with co-workers is essential since everybody’s work is inter-related nowadays.
6.Leadership/Management Skills
When an employer makes a statement that a candidate has great potential, more often than not, it refers to the personal leadership ability. Ability to take charge and managing others effectively is a scarce trait.
Deals with your ability to design, plan, organize, and implement projects and tasks within an allotted time frame.
Involves the ability to find solutions to problems using your creativity, reasoning, and past experiences along with the available information and resources.
9.Ability to work in a team
Because so many jobs involve working in one or more work-groups, you must have the ability to work with others in a professional manner while attempting to achieve a common goal.
10.Multicultural Sensitivity & Awareness
As the world is getting smaller and as more opportunities to work with people of different nationalities, culture and background presenting itself to us, job seekers are required to embrace diversity and possess a stronger awareness of what it takes to work in a global community.
Obtaining these skills is not a one-off affair but rather they are to be learned and sharpened each and every day. The learning experience never ends.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Jokes In The Office?

Some people believe joking at the work place is no good. The office is a working place, not a playground. But Chris Robert, the Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of Business whose findings have been published as a chapter in an edition of the journal in Personnel and Human Resources Management, disagreed. He said joking around on the job can actually have a positive effect on productivity and employee retention.
Personally, I don’t enjoy working with people that wear a serious face. When you try to make a small joke, they simply do not get amused. Rather, you may get that look that makes you guilty of what you had just said. If you have a superior like that in a work place, I bet you do not enjoy spending time more than it should be. However, if a work place consists of managers that encourage light humor and fun poking of one another, the whole atmosphere can change dramatically. And I bet people do not mind hanging around in the office a while longer.
Does humor has an impact on the work productivity?

Chris Robert has this to say,
Humor isn’t incompatible with goals of the workplace. It’s not incompatible with the organization’s desire to be competitive. In fact, we argue that humor is pretty important. It’s not just clowning around and having fun; it has meaningful impact on cohesiveness in the workplace and communication quality among workers. The ability to appreciate humor, the ability to laugh and make other people laugh actually has physiological effects on the body that cause people to become more bonded.”
I have to agree on what he said. From experience, we connect better with people that do not take themselves too seriously and that usually has a positive effect on the emotions that result in improved performance. 
However, not all humor is good. Anything that is sexist, racist, ageist and crude are not only unsuitable in a work place environment, it may lead to sexual harassment charges, lawsuits or termination. So, joke all you can but watch your boundaries.
Sometimes the best humor is not on poking fun of your peers but you can lighten up the whole place by sharing a funny story, picture or a saying that you heard or seen.

So since a few LOL moments will do us some good, please feel free to share your one-liner/jokes with us. :) Thank you :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Jobsmart - Your Talent Sourcing Partner

Hi readers, this is an advertisement for Jobsmart Malaysia. Check out the benefits for Employers/Hiring Managers below.

At Jobsmart we understand the need for tailored recruitment methodologies and employment solutions to meet the individual needs of Employer-client’s business. Our specialization is in placement services for executive full time positions to blue-chip multinational corporations, public listed companies, SMIs and SMEs.
Suitable candidates, possessing the appropriate technical, cultural and professional qualities will be recommended according to the individual job specifications. Candidates are sourced through Jobsmart’s database, and a combination of social networking and commercial advertising.
How can we help?
Costs saving
Employers-Clients may spend thousands of ringgit on job advertising in print media or online job portals but they may not guarantee success. Jobsmart only charge upon successful hire and besides, we provide replacement for candidates that resigned or found unsuitable during the guarantee period.
Time saving
We save Employers-Clients’ time by recommending candidates that had been prescreened by our experienced Talent Search Consultants. We put great emphasis on quality and only recommend candidates that meet the criteria of Employers-Clients.
Experienced Talent Search Consultants
Our Consultants are well-trained and experienced. They are mature and possess years of experience in the recruitment industry before they are assigned to service any Employer-Client account. Besides knowing the necessary interview techniques, they are able to analyze objectively personality and other tests given to candidates, thus provide the right professional and cultural fit.
Personal approach
As part of our commitment to quality, our Consultants communicate with our Employers-Clients regularly to ensure we understand the requirements well.
It is our vision to be a trusted talent sourcing partner to our Employers-Clients and our mission is to provide personalised service, accurate and timely talent match to them.
Besides priding ourselves as a talent search consultancy, Jobsmart via this website also provides a place whereby freelancers can take the opportunity to advertise their services free of charge. Employers-Clients can contact them directly, a service that is commission-free.
For further enquiry, you are welcome to email us at recruit@jobsmart.com.my. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

5 Biggest Career Mistakes You Can Make

There are certainly a lot of advice out there on the career mistakes we can make and some of them are pretty sound. A good piece of advice came from Deepak Chopra, here. So I’m going to list down his three points plus two more from my own.

1. Setting low expectations 

While some people are gifted with “roaring self-confidence,” most are insecure and uncertain, he explains. “They want to feel safe, and they think that by lowering their expectations, a sense of security will come to them. It isn’t true.” He says setting your expectations too low may keep you trapped in a job that has a low possibility of turning into anything worthwhile. “For every copy boy who becomes editor of the newspaper, every tour guide in Hollywood who sells a blockbuster script, there are hundreds more who remain stuck in those jobs,” Chopra says. “It’s not really the job that keeps anyone stuck; it’s the psychological limitation of setting your expectations too low.”

2. The certainty trap 

“Life is uncertain, and the vast majority of people feel so uneasy about this that they seize on certainty when they shouldn’t,” he says. Especially when it comes to our careers, so many people are inclined to take the easiest and most comfortable path — they pursue a job that others expect them to pursue, base their decisions on others’ opinions, and avoid risk-taking at all costs. “Yet real success is built upon making peace with uncertainty, turning the unknown into a field of creative possibilities,” Chopra explains. “Personal uncertainty is hard, undoubtedly. It takes a conscious effort to place yourself in a position where things are open-ended. But if you don’t, the other alternative is being in a position that’s closed off.”

3. Not seeing how much you will grow 

When a professional applies for a job, they typically try to prove to the employer that they can handle the role and its responsibilities. But this isn’t necessarily the best approach. “This ritual is empty, a piece of drama that’s supposed to show confidence,” Chopra says. “In reality, great careers are built on growth.” Instead of showing that you already know how to handle the job, you should strive to prove that you have the skills and experience necessary to succeed, but point out that it’ll require some learning and growth on your end. Then make it clear that you’re ready for this type of challenge. “Seeing your own potential to grow isn’t easy, especially when you are young. But it’s a mistake not to see that you will grow, meaning that your future self, although out of reach, has an enormous amount to offer,” Chopra says.

4. Jumping from industry to industry, too often 

Do you know how much time is needed to learn and get yourself familiar with an industry? Well, it varies from industry to industry but one thing is certain, it takes time. Very often, I hear remarks from Sales Professionals along this line, “The industry doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that I have good selling skills and hence, give me anything to sell, I can do it.” As much as I like that confidence, to be able to perform well in an industry means you must know it well enough – knowledge gives you confidence! But more importantly, your contacts and network! If you change industry, most often than not, you can’t leverage on your past contacts anymore. I will say, what a pity! It means starting all over again. The contacts in this context are more valuable than the skills you possess. So plan your career move carefully.

5. Thinking too much about the money 

Money is and should be one of the factors to consider when making a career move. However, if that’s the only thing to consider, then that’s a huge career mistake. I recall a remark by my friend with a business/accounts degree some time back. Upon his graduation, if he had joined an audit/tax consultancy, his starting salary would be a mere RM700 whereas joining a bank, the starting pay was RM1400. He had chosen the latter, solely because of higher pay. No offence to those that are working in the bank but many years later, my friend regretted he had joined the bank as he felt stuck - his 10-15 years of experience in the hire-purchase department somehow is not demanded in any other organization apart from the same industry, while his other course mate that started out as a Tax or Audit Trainee is now Chief Financial Officer in a big corporation and has the flexibility of moving from one company to another if wished to. The point is NOT about not working in banks but to give priority to the type of work you would enjoy doing or good at, rather than the money alone.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Make Learning Your Passion

Management expert Philip B. Crosby once said, "There is a theory of human behaviour that says people subconsciously retard their own intellectual growth. They come to rely on cliches and habits. Once they reach the age of their own personal comfort with the world, they stop learning and their mind runs on idle for the rest of their days. They may progress organisationally, they may be ambitious and eager, and they may even work night and day. But they learn no more."

I think what he said is so true especially if one had secured or reached the position they dreamt of. They may be thinking, "since I had reached my destination, I can then relaxed." That's when one is in a comfort zone without realising it. And that's when you don't allow yourself to learn anymore.

A lot of us who has been working for a while might also be at that stage. Say, holding the same position in a comfortably secured company, you felt you are in the best place, do whatever that's required day in day out, don't get into conflict with anyone and wished you hold onto your job till the retirement day. That's when you won't see the need to upgrade your skills or learn new things.

It's important to realise early that when you are stagnant, you are actually regressing. We have no choice but to move forward. Even when the job scope might still be the same, we have to find new ways to do things differently or creatively.

Personally, I discover one of the ways to cultivate that learning habit is to try it out in your own life. Don't wait for the management to pass you something to pick up. Start picking up a new interest or hobby so that your mind is trained to absorb new knowledge and skills at all times.

I recall picking up golfing some time back. It was a tough sports for me but in the process of picking up the game, I train my mind to learn all the tricks of golfing and it keeps my mind alert and get me to observe things that I might not have noticed previously. It helps in my job. Later on, I picked up photography and it has been one of the most rewarding learning experiences for me. And of late, I began to dabble on baking. Mind you, the process of learning is tough. I failed twice before I made my first successful loaf of bread and gone through bouts of frustration when I can't get a cake rise properly but hey, I do have a lot of fun throughout the whole process. And one of the greatest rewards is when you got it, the feeling is immeasurable, that sense of achievement will boost your confidence to try other things too.

I'm going to keep desiring learning, no matter what my new endeavour might be. I hope you feel the same too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Booming Industries For Job Seekers To Take Note

A while ago, Forbes.com released the latest list of the richest men/women in Malaysia. We like to look at the list and be in awe of them. 

But lets not just look at the names and stop there. For job seekers that are looking to be part of a successful and hopefully an enduring career, the businesses that they represent might provide some hints on where you want to send your next job application.

The type of business/industry they represent:-
  1. Palm Oil
  2. Shipping
  3. Property
  4. Telecommunication
  5. Casinos
  6. Banking
  7. Real Estate
  8. Construction
  9. Power
  10. Oil & Gas
  11. Automobile
  12. IT Software
  13. Chemicals
  14. Manufacturing - Synthetic Gloves, Food
  15. Ports
  16. Airlines
  17. Timber
  18. Retail
  19. Insurance
  20. Lotteries

It’s interesting to note that 17 out of the 50 names are involved in property or real estate business. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What Is The Best Career Advice?

Mashable.com run an article on the above subject recently. They are not industry-specific but applicable across the industry whether you are in the finance, IT, engineering or media. I suppose the examples given are by people who had already been in the working world for a while and they had been proven useful over time.
I would like to add two more principles that I think are particularly helpful from my observation.
Be credible – people like to deal with people that are reliable. Be the “go-to” person. Build your reputation based on that. You might have skills or talent but if you lack credibility, no one wants to have anything to do with you in the long run.

Be helpful – this seems to be so easy but trust me, some people underestimated the power of lending a hand to help someone who is in need. “I owe you one, mate” – you would not know the meaning or power of your act until you desperately needed a favor yourself. But if you do not start sowing when you can, you won’t be able to reap it in the future.