Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Season...Can't Concentrate At Work

I like this time of the year. There are a lot of glitter, colors, and beautiful carols at the background wherever I go.

And most of the time, I felt a sense of “winter” (the song white christmas and decor in shopping malls kinda persuaded my mind to think so) and I can’t help but imagine myself being transported to another place, skiing and playing with snow.

But wait a minute, I’m in the office.

I should be working instead of day-dreaming.

This season dubbed as the holiday season makes concentration on work difficult. I'm sure I'm not alone.

So, are we less productive during this period? Should employers be concerned?

Surprise! A new survey from Accountemps said the week right before a holiday break can actually mean greater productivity at work!

One-third (34 percent) of senior managers surveyed recently by Accountemps said their employees are less productive the week before a major holiday. This compares to 44 percent of executives who cited pre-holiday productivity declines in a similar survey five years ago.

It seems the trend has changed for the better - that people are more productive than before!

Kathryn Bolt, an Accountemps executive, attributed this to many people working better under pressure.

“Although the results may seem surprising at first, it is evident that the need to stay focused and get as much work done as possible before [a holiday] break is a priority amongst many employees,” Bolt said in a statement. “To enjoy the season’s company parties, family festivities and other activities, it becomes greatly beneficial to put in that added effort during the work hours leading up to the break.”

Phew…that’s a great relief to employers!

Anyway, if you are in the retail industry, this is a joke! Who has time to think about holiday? The best time to earn big bucks is now...:)

Check out who’s hiring during the holidays? Click here

Friday, December 10, 2010

So You Think You Want To Be Self-employed?

It was some time ago now that I chucked my job and became self-employed. Why do I become self-employed? Is it for better money? Is it because I wanted to escape the stress of climbing the corporate ladder? Well, it’s certainly not because of the money for many who are employed earn much better. I often say it’s because I hated to be told what to do by someone else...:)

You probably have a good reason why you wanted to consider self-employment. But like any career move, it’s good to take the time to think deep and wide for this one. Unlike employment in which you can give up by handing a resignation letter, the stakes are higher when running your own business.

Well, besides having to slog it out during the initial period (ranges from months to even years) learning and doing things that perhaps not your strengths such as handling financial figures and going out making contacts with strangers, I felt there are some primary stuff that you need to consider before you take the plunge - stuff that will determine whether you have the package to make it or not.

1. What is the world you want to create? It simply means a vision and without a clear picture of what you want to achieve, you won’t last very long. When things did not turn out as expected, you would simply give up. Well, not everyone wants to make a million and going into self-employment may simply means you get to do what you love. Yet, you still need to visualize the world you wish to create.

2. Do you have some reserves? You can plan and budget well but sometimes things just don’t fit nicely according to your schedule. A hint: most of the times they don’t anyway. So, do you have enough reserves that you can rely on? Are you ready to go without pay for a few months?

3. Can you handle uncertainties well? In other words, do you have the mental strength? The uncertainties can be daunting. The market is changing all the time and you need to change and adjust that includes getting your hands dirty, charting into unfamiliar territory and taking risks. When the money is not coming in, what do you do? Sit and sulk? Mental strength is so crucial for there might be a lot of naysayers telling you that you won’t make it.

How do you stay positive and focused all the time? Speaking from experience, it’s easy said than done. I certainly experienced times when I have my doubts and to tell you that I can always perk myself up is a lie. I felt one of the things that had helped me is to surround myself with positive people. You need that as it takes a lot to stay motivated so that in turn, you can motivate and inspire your team. In this case, I’m thankful to my spouse. The fact he is also running his own business helps much. His empathy, support and encouragement during the tough times mean a lot.

Laughter, humor and other positive elements such as an inspiring book help too. You need to learn to stop and think, evaluate and restrategize and above all, not to take yourself too seriously. When things failed, you can basically say, "ok, it's a mistake. Learn from it and let's move on..." I must say experiencing failure is part and parcel of the whole deal and it's not a bad thing anyway. You get the opportunity to stretch your creativity and to know you are capable of doing so can be a very fulfilling experience.

I cannot stress enough the uncertainties you might face. So, if you are employed and happened to rank stability as one of the most important things in career or life, I can tell you right way that self-employment is not cut for you. I have friends that started with much excitement but the unpredictability stressed them out so much that they have to call it quits within a short span of time.

If you are unsure whether self-employment is your thing but seriously thinking about it, perhaps going part-time may help you to test the water. Guess what, some businesses continue to stay as part-time businesses and that might be the better option and probably what you are looking for.

Popular Part-time Jobs In Malaysia

7 Most Popular Freelance Jobs

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jobs On The Decline

As technology advances, more work can be automated and slowly some jobs that we used to see today will be disappearing soon. What are some of these dying occupations?

1. Typist – I think they are already dead. But mind you, typists were in huge demand not very long time ago.

2. Petrol Pump Assistant – only found in rural areas but they will disappear anytime soon.

3. Stenographer – what's that?

4. Filing Clerk – what do they file when the office is going paperless?

5. Cashier – slowly replaced by automatic scanners.

6. Travel agent - who needs them anymore when air-tickets and holiday packages can be purchased online?

7. Real Estate Broker – again, blame it on internet.

8. Stock Broker – yes, the culprit is the internet.

9. Assembly Line Worker – replaced by robots.

10. Toll Booth Operator – I can’t figure out why there are still people refusing to use the Smart Tag. But I’m sure this will change pretty soon.

11. Telephone Operator – already been replaced by voice machines.

12. Store Assistant – when physical stores are slowly taken over by online stores.

13. Mail Sorter/postal service – who still send snail mails in ten years time?

14. Newspaper Man – blame it on online news portal!

What other jobs are in danger of dying? Is your job affected? If yes, get ready to learn new skills before it's too late.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note new position titles appearing in recent years – SEO Specialist, Blogger, Social Media Executive, Chief Greening Officer – who would have imagined that ten years ago?

Top 10 Hot Jobs And In Demand

Monday, November 22, 2010

Inspiring Poem

I can't remember when was the last time I read a poem. So when I stumbled this, it was absolutely refreshing.

In a world of work madness, we need a poem like this to remind again what's important. Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did...:)

A CREED TO LIVE BY

Don't undermine your worth by comparing
yourself with others.
It is because we are different that each of us is special.
Don't set your goals by what other people
deem important.

Only you know what is best for you.
Don't take for granted the things closest to your heart.
Cling to them as you would your life, for without them
life is meaningless.

Don't let your life slip through your fingers
by living in the past or for the future.
By living your life one day at a time,
you live all the days of your life.

Don't give up when you still have something to give.
Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
Don't be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect.
It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other.
Don't be afraid to encounter risks.

It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
Don't shut love out of your life by saying it's impossible to find.
The quickest way to receive love is to give love.
The fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly;
and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
Don't dismiss your dreams.

To be without dreams is to be without hope;
to be without hope is to be without purpose.
Don't run through life so fast that you forget
not only where you've been, but also where you're going.
Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored
each step of the way.

- Nancye Sims -

Monday, November 15, 2010

Google Did Not Get Their Pay Strategy Right

Moving to staunch the defection of staff to competitors, Google Inc. is giving a 10 percent raise to all of its 23,000 employees…

Chief Executive Eric Schmidt disclosed the raise in an email to employees, saying the company wants to lift morale. "We want to make sure that you feel rewarded for your hard work," Schmidt wrote. "We want to continue to attract the best people to Google."


To read more….

At first glance, this seems to be good news to all Google staff. Applause to the management for their generosity, for showing appreciation to their staff and for taking an important step to prevent exodus of staff to other rival companies (rumor has it that many are joining Facebook).

But a closer look reveals something else – if the 10% raise is to apply to all staff regardless of their performance, this strategy might breed more harm than good.

To Abby who has been worried about not meeting her yearly KPI, this news naturally come as a reprieve, perhaps too good to be true. So, it’s okay not to meet my KPI after all? Yippie...back to my Farmville...

To David who has been working hard throughout the past year exceeding his yearly KPI, this news is an insult to him. Ya mean, all my late nights amount to nothing? I certainly deserve a higher raise than that tiny 10%?

You see the problem. A good HR practitioner will point out right away that this pay strategy is a lousy one. The right message is not being sent out.

Watch out, Google. You better get this sorted out fast. Otherwise, without having to put up a fight, Facebook will be winning all the talent over in no time.

How to attract and retain talent?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Busy Or Playing Busy?

The boss is looking my way now. My fingers automatically found the keyboard and started typing away. And I started to frown, my eyes on the computer screen...deep in thoughts.

So, have you finished?

Without lifting my head, "Yup, working on it... "

Really...ok.
He walked away.

Phew...

Faking busy at work is a skill that no one has to teach us. We just picked up along the way. Some are more competent than the others. And some improve along the way and it turn out to be their main job scope after a while. A Pro in the making but not enough to land themselves in Hollywood!

Why the fake? I can think of several reasons but the most common one is that people do not find the joy or meaning of doing real work anymore. They need the pay and the only way to ensure the pay keeps coming is to stick around - by "keeping busy". They don't question their reason for turning up to work except to get paid.

The second common reason is simply because they do not know how to plan their work well. Being busy does not equate being effective. We probably heard this one before but our lazy minds sometimes conveniently shut down and told to leave the thinking job to someone else.

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing -- Thomas Alva Edison

Take a real good look at our job now. Are we busy accomplishing something meaningful or are we playing busy, blowing precious time away?

Click to view Comics about Work

Friday, October 22, 2010

Questions You Should Not Ask

There are some things that you should not ask on your first or initial interview with an employer. Not in the 21st century when information can be obtained through a mere click on the internet. If you asked these questions, it reflects on your lackadaisical attitude and it just go to show you are not the most resourceful person around.

So, before you go for any interview, you should do your homework and find out these:

1. What are its products or services?
2. Is the company listed?
3. How long has the company been established?
4. Who are their main customers?
5. Who are their major competitors?
6. What is its position or ranking in the industry?
7. Are they growing or shrinking?

The only exception is when the employer is a start-up company.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cut Down The Noise

Noise comes in many shapes and sizes. They are noise when they interrupt our focus, taking our attention, time and energy away from what matters.

But most of us didn't know they are noise and we unconsciously entertain them.

We make commitments that we cannot keep.

We sign-up for engagements that we do not enjoy.

We buy the latest gadgets that we do not need.

We read and listen to every latest news.

We say we need to stay on top of things. Otherwise, we won't make it.

And we go through this cycle of illusion that to be busy and to be seen doing lots of things, we will be on the path to success, that we are the next real thing.

But our body tell us something else. We get sick.

Our minds felt overwhelmed - we ended up burned out, discouraged or even disillusioned.

Things that we do that do not give us a sense of fulfilment, that do not enhance value to our lives or the lives of others are noise. They are stress in disguise that cripple us eventually. Cut them down!

But wait a minute...

What about things like sweeping a dirty floor, washing the toilet, taking out the garbage, relieving a sick colleague and etc. These tasks are obligations and you can't avoid them!

Yes, I said cut them down for it's not possible to completely cut them off.

Yet, we can turn the mundane to meaningful task if we understand the consequences of our acts. By relieving a sick colleague, I'm saying to her that we are a team and we should watch out for one another, besides I might just learn something new from her work. To arrive to such a perspective and attitude takes a renewed mind - that your every act means something, has a purpose after all.

Yet again, it's in the silence away from the noise pollution that one is able to get to that perspective.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Are You A Moral Hazard? (inspired from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps)

If you watched Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, you will not miss these words: moral hazard. Well, I actually thought "moral hazard" made a more appropriate title than money never sleeps. What is moral hazard? “It means they can steal your money and no one is responsible.” Well, that's in accordance to Gordon Gekko.

So, we have a new buzz word in town! Ok, probably it's just me.

Anyway, I decided to read up more about it.

Interestingly, “moral hazard” originally comes from the insurance industry. It arises because a party does not take full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to hold some responsibility for the consequences of those actions. This leads to personal acts that by definition are moral hazards. For example, if you buy fire insurance for your house, you may not care less about smoking in bed as you know the insurance company will pay for the repair of the damages.

Guess what? Moral hazards occurred in employment context too especially in regards to relationships between the business owners and their management staff. As working relationships at that level are largely based on trust, business owners may not be able to observe and scrutinize every action and decision-making of their managers. Moral hazard can happen when the managers are protected from the consequences of poor decision making. Bear in mind, the managers are essentially not dealing with their own personal money and therefore likely to be less vigilant or worse still, completely with a full conscious mind, squander away company’s money for self-interest. Sounds familiar?

Wikipedia explore it further by quoting some examples of such situations:

• When a manager has a secure position from which he or she cannot be readily removed.

• When a manager is protected by someone higher in the corporate structure, such as in cases of nepotism or pet projects.

• When funding and/or managerial status for a project is independent of the project's success.

• When the failure of the project is of minimal overall consequence to the firm, regardless of the local impact on the managed division.

• When a manager may readily lay blame on an innocent subordinate.

• When there is no clear means of determining who is accountable for a given project.

So, are you a moral hazard in your company? ....:D

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Part-timers or Freelancers?

A new clause in the Employment Act 1955 is introduced in Malaysia that will take effect from Oct 1, 2010 in which part-time workers’ benefits and rights are protected. They will be entitled to EPF contributions, Socso coverage and medical entitlements based on a pro-rata basis. (Read more here)

I applaud the initiative in giving protection to part-time workers but I’m not too convinced on its ability to lessen the country’s dependence on foreign workers by increasing the participation of the latent workforce that amounts to about 6.5 million people mainly consists of housewives, disabled citizens, students and undergraduates.

If we are to ask any of the 6.5 million people who had decided not to work part-time, I fear the majority answer is not because they do not get the benefits like EPF and Socso. That probably had never even crossed their minds.

The reality is that most do not get into part-time jobs because they either simply do not need the extra income or they have other priorities that are more important in their lives at this juncture, i.e., family with young kids or studies. Using benefits to lure them to work may not be the right tool to use.

And this regulation may not augur well with employers. It simply costs too much to hire a part-time staff now.

I agree 6.5 million untapped talents are a waste but there is a better way of getting them to be involved in being part of nation building. Take housewives, for example. Their priority is their school-going children through spending time at home, cooking, building relationships and chauffeuring them to schools and places. They may have some free time in between these activities and they can be put to good use by earning some extra cash. The best work option has to be home-based, work that probably can be done via a laptop and an internet connection.



And this is the new trend and companies see the benefit of outsourcing work to freelancers – pay per job arrangements. Their freelancers are their contractors and not employees and therefore not subject to the Employment Act regulations. Now, if you are an employer, which option would you prefer?

It’s food for thought , don’t you think so?

Click here to find freelancers in Malaysia

Getting Freelancers - The Pros and The Cons

Monday, September 27, 2010

Freelancers Advertise Service For Free - Allyhunt.com

Freelancing has fast becoming a trend in the market place nowadays. Besides counting on current clients or friends for jobs, where else can a freelancer make his or her service known?

Allyhunt.com, launched in July 2007 and now one of the fastest growing job sites in Malaysia has a unique feature not available in other conventional job sites. They have a “Freelancers” section that allows job seekers the option to advertise their services as freelancers. The service is provided free. There are 8 skill groups, i.e., design, editorial, education and training, financial and business services, health and grooming, IT, media and entertainment, and sales and telemarketing for freelancers to choose their area of expertise. Freelancers have the option to put a link to their websites, besides the opportunity to upload their work samples into their profiles to vouch for their credibility. They can also name their price, i.e., displaying their hourly rate.
Employers or anyone for that matter who are interested in outsourcing a piece of work to a freelancer can scan through Allyhunt pool of freelancers that are in the hundreds now. The contact details of the freelancers, either in the form of an email address or hand phone number is displayed prominently at the top of each freelancer profile, making the connection with the respective freelancers easy and convenient. Besides, this is a FREE service extended to employers, with no commission charged.

Freelancing is getting more popular nowadays. With more work that can be carried out with a mere lap top and an internet connection, employers see the benefit of outsourcing some project work to freelancers instead of hiring additional full-time staff. With the employment landscape changing according to times, it is important for Allyhunt to precisely serve the various needs of employers and job seekers.

And should the employers be interested in advertising a freelancing job, they can do so through purchasing a job posting package via Allyhunt. Good news to employers who are scouting for “value for money” package as Allyhunt is offering a package of one year unlimited job postings at a special rate of RM500 only that also comes with FREE resume database search of their 50000 job seekers and growing. Employers can post their full-time, contract, part-time or freelancing jobs with this package.

Allyhunt can be accessed at www.allyhunt.com

Monday, September 20, 2010

The #1 Reason People Leave Their Jobs

"Why are you looking out?" - one of the most common questions asked in a job interview setting.

Guess what is the most common reply?

I don't feel appreciated.

The need to be appreciated is a strong emotional need. But the problem with many employers or managers today is this: "If they are doing what they are paid to do, why should they expect any word of appreciation?"

I read a very interesting story about the Korean War in which this war produced the worst Prisoner of War (POW) stories of any war in U.S. history. The death rate of American POWs was alarmingly high, depression rates were high, and suicides were high. But the war camp conditions were not cruel and physical torture was minor. What's wrong? Dr. William E. Mayer did a study and discovered why. The prisoners were dying because they simply lost the will to live. The North Koreans had discovered the ultimate weapon of war: withholding all emotional support from others. No word of encouragement was ever spoken. Not only did the prisoners stop caring for one another, they stopped to even care for themselves. How sad.

We thrive on compliments, whether we are leaders or subordinates. "I've told him in the past that he's good in his event management. Do I have to affirm him every time he did a good job?" Well, the answer is yes. Just because you praised someone in the past doesn't mean they're motivated for life. People need to know they are valued right now.

Words of affirmation is very powerful. It encourages the recipients to repeat the same behavior in the future. It was said, "Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul." Besides, you don't lose anything by encouraging others. Instead, it makes you feel good too. "Those who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" - a proverb saying.

If only employers and managers would leverage on this tool and apply them more frequently at the work place, there will not be so many unhappy people leaving their jobs today.

Some tips on giving affirmation or compliments:

Be sincere
Be specific

Be personal

Make them public, if possible


Further reading:
10 Things The Best Bosses Have In Common

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are We Having Too Many Holidays?

Tomorrow is a public holiday for Malaysia. Again? For the first time in the history of Malaysia, we are celebrating Malaysia day. For those that had enjoyed an off day on Monday and on a five-day working week, they only need to clock in 3 days this week.

I did a bit of counting and noticed I am enjoying a whopping 18 public holidays this year!

Are we having too many vacation days? I did a google search immediately and guess what, Malaysia is not at the top of the list, not even close.

According to a survey from Mercer Consulting which was published in CNBC.com, the two countries that had the most overall holidays are Brazil and Lithuania. Brazil enjoys a statutory minimum of 30 days for vacation and 11 days for public holidays. And Lithuania has a statutory annual minimum of 28 days off and 13 days in public holidays. Some of the countries and their vacation days are listed below.

Austria has a statutory mimimum of 25 days for vacation and 13 days off for public holidays.

United States doesn't have a mandatory requirement for vacation days, but typically gives 15, according to Mercer. The US has 10 public holidays.

France has a statutory minimum of 30 days for vacation and 10 days of public days off.

India only has 12 days as its minimum, but has a high amount of public holidays with 16.

Russia has a statutory minimum of 28 days leave, plus 12 days for public holidays.

United Kingdom has a statutory minimum of 28 days off, but only 8 public holidays.

Poland has a statutory miminum of 26 vacation days and 10 days for public holidays.

Greece has a statutory minimum of 25 days for workers to take time off.

Singapore has 14 days off as a minimum and 11 public days.

Finland has a statutory minimum of 30 days for vacation, plus 10 days of public holidays.

Denmark has a statutory minimum of 25 days for vacation and 9 days for public holidays.

The statutory minimum number of vacation days in Switzerland is 20, but the alpine state also has 9 public holidays.

New Zealand has 20 days vacation as its statutory minimum, but 11 days off as public holiday.

South Korea has 19 minimum vacation days, but enjoys 15 days in public holidays.

Taiwan only has 15 days as its statutory minimum, but has 13 public holidays.

Hong Kong has 14 days mandatory vacation, plus twelve days off as public holidays.

Canada has the least number of overall days off with only 10 as its statutory minimum and 9 in public holidays.

China matches Canada with the lowest number of vacation days at 10, but has 11 public holiday days.

In Malaysia, employees typically enjoy an average of 14-18 days of annual leave (vacation days) and about 15-18 days of public holidays (depending on the state you are working and may I also add, the company you are attached with as not all companies observe all the gazetted holidays).

Are we having too many holidays? Nay... Ask any employee - no one will send a note to complain they are sick of the long holidays ahead…:)

Well, to all Malaysians, Happy Malaysia Day!

Take the Friday off and you can enjoy another "4 days 3 nights" vacation somewhere... (life is good, eh)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How To Get Better In Job Interviews?

To be better in anything, you read up, you ask the experts and you practise. So are job interviews.

Read up

Grab any book that contains the magic words "job interviews". You won't go any wrong. The reason is simple: the Do's and Don't's of job interviews had remained pretty unchanged over the years. The medium or tools used in applying a job or getting your talent noticed may have changed but the things to look out for by an interviewer to qualify a candidate did not change very much.

10 Things I look For When I Interview Candidates

Ask the experts

People used to complain the trouble of getting an expert advice. It's not as accessible in the past. But today, it's totally a different story. The advance of technology and the recent upsurge of social networking sites allow you to access almost anyone on this planet. And to top it all, these so-called experts are only too pleased to share their tips and ideas with you. Blogs sprouting everywhere is a testimony of how generous and willing people are in sharing their expertise.

Practise

Nothing beats the real thing albeit role-play with a friend (get a HR friend, if possible). Not everyone agrees that you should attend an interview merely for the sake of practising but if you are short listed for one that you are not sure why you've applied in the first place, what the heck, go for it anyway!

Want more tips? Read on...

12 Practical Tips To Ace The Job Interview


Click for active jobs based in Kuala Lumpur City Centre

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Don't Interrupt Or Finish Others Sentences

When I was young, I used to be reprimanded for cutting into any adults' conversations. It's absolutely rude! - that's what my parents would said. Thank God for good parents. For I know without their reprimand, my behavior would have turned to be a habit...and needless to say, it's a bad habit.

This tendency to finish off others' sentences can also make everyone in the conversation very stressful. Are you implying the other person is not speaking fast enough? (Well, perhaps not up to your speed standard)

In a job interview setting, whether you are the interviewer or the candidate, such behavior is not only annoying but it prevents you from "real" listening. How can you really listen to what someone is saying when you are speaking for that person?

No doubt this is an innocent habit but the quicker you realize it, the better it is. For the interviewer, this is to prevent from falling into the trap of leading the candidate into the answers you want. As for candidates, it only reflects your impatience and inconsideration and it would not fare well at the end.

Embrace the adage, "quick to listen and slow to speak", and you won't go wrong..:)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hire Gardeners To Be Your Managers

I’ve been doing a bit of gardening lately and I discovered some interesting facts.

There are a few ingredients that make up a good garden. Choosing the right kind of plants or flowers is one of them. The other is to provide the right kind of environment for the plant to grow healthily.



Interestingly, these are the traits of a good manager. Identifying the right kind of plant is like hiring the right kind of people to work with you. A good gardener will tell you some type of flowers that are suitable in a temperate climate will not survive long in a tropical weather, unless you are ready to build a green house.



After getting the right kind of plants, a good gardener will need to provide a conducive environment in terms of soil, water, sunshine and fertilizers to make them thrive. Different plant needs different treatment. For example, flowers like Gailladria (below) do best when grown in full sun and light, and well drained soil. Anything short of that, they will wither easily.



Good managers will see themselves as mentors, the focus is to build people by creating environments for them to be their best and achieve the objectives of the organization.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 Things That Mark A Good Sales Person

Selling involves persuading, convincing and influencing others to our ideas, ways, products and services. In a way, all of us are doing some kind of selling every day. However, some have made it as their professional career. So, what marks a good sales person?

1. A strong belief in what he is selling characterized by his strong knowledge of the product or service represented. He knows he can’t sell something if he doesn’t believe in it. Someone said the best sales people are the preachers because of their strong sense of belief in their faith. If you buy in something thoroughly, you don’t need external rewards to push you to sell.

2. Love people and good in connecting with them. He has no problem talking to strangers. He possesses a strong desire to help and provides solutions.

3. It’s a myth that a good salesperson must be a good talker. Rather, good listening is key to success. Otherwise, how can he understand the needs of his clients well?

4. Able to express his thoughts clearly.

5. Flexible and always open to change.

6. Sanguine temperament with its high tendency to influence. Selling needs a lot of optimism especially during tough times. A sanguine temperament with an attitude of easy enthusiasm will get him going.

7. Perseverance – being rejected is part and parcel of the job. But, a good sales person does not give up easily.

8. Upgrade knowledge and skills continually – people can turn to him for advice in his particular industry. A good sales person is eventually the expert in his industry.

9. Accountable and trustworthy characterized by good follow through. These traits are the foundation of building any long-term relationships.

10. And he knows who Zig Ziglar is and had read one of his books…:)

Of course, the list is not exhaustive but armed with the above would give you a good head start.

Click here for The Best Sales Jobs

Monday, August 23, 2010

Silence Speaks Louder Than Words

In an interview setting:
A question was asked. You answered the best you could. You stopped. You believe you’ve finished what you are supposed to say. But the interviewer did not say a word. Few seconds passed. Silence. A few more seconds more. You can almost hear your heart beat now. What should you do next?

Most people under such circumstances will tend to continue speaking as waiting out the silence until someone speaks up can be quite unnerving.

Candidates may think the interviewer does not have a follow-up question ready.

What they didn’t know was that the silent treatment is an intentional strategy employed by interviewers to get candidates to answer questions more fully. By doing so, the interviewer will get more than the standard reply. The interviewer understood the power of silence - employed rightly, it is louder than words. Under an uncomfortable silence, candidates may let off their guard and blurt out information that they are not supposed to reveal. Ouch!

When you understand it’s an intentional strategy, you should not be afraid of the silence. If you believe you had given your best answer, leave it at that. Alternatively, ask a relevant question yourself.

Do not fall into the silent treatment ploy and give information more than you should.

Related readings:

Listen With Your Eyes

Stress Job Interviews

Questions To Ask The Interviewer

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Comfort Zone Is Not That Comfortable

We have our best days, average (aka so-so) days and bad days. Best days are days when you think you can conquer the world. Bad days are when everything sucks. These are the days that even the best comedian cannot pull off a good line. And mothers wish they are not moms. So, having off days is absolutely normal.

The danger is the so-so days – neither exciting nor boring. We do our stuff and drift along. And we are in this mode - day in, day out. That’s when we are in our little comfort zone. Everyone has a place we called our comfort zone. For example, a couch right in front of your TV for you to stretch your legs can be your comfort zone.

At work place, it can be a routine that we had fallen into. We show up. Check some emails. Make some calls. Meet some people. One year passed, then three years and without realizing it, ten years had slipped by. Time wait for no man.

Bosses shout, "We need to change, think and do things differently!" Change management - a phrase that was coined over and over again. Staff hates it because it’s a management ploy to make them work harder.

But don't hate them. Let me tell you why.

Change is inevitable. If you do not change, they will change you as in replacing you. Your comfort zone will no longer be that comfortable.

When change is embraced, we say yes to new ideas, new technology and new way of doing things. We need to keep our eyes, ears and minds wide open. All senses are up one notch - our comfort zone is no more. We move to a "challenging" zone.

"Challenging" to some smells trouble. But others, it smells opportunity.

Of course, no one is advocating that we step out in blind faith. Count the costs. But one thing is certain when we moved to a challenging zone: there will be learning and growth, even in failures.

So, shall we get our feet up from the couch and dip them in the pond?

Note: I’m not the best person to talk about change. I’m probably writing this to convince one audience – myself.

At a cross cross, read this:
Tips for Choosing The Right Career

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sorry, Boss…I’m NOT Adding You As My Facebook Friend!

That little box with the grey color text, “What’s in your mind?” at the top of your Facebook page can be the most dangerous box if you are not careful. I know some of us take the text literally and obediently type out whatever that cross their minds. Nothing wrong with that - after all, it depends on what is on your mind.

But wait a minute, do you realize your message will be published to all your Facebook friends? Probably you had figured that out by now. But do you keep track of who makes up the list of your Facebook friends? The chances are we do not, especially if you have more than 100 friends and those that you have added but never posted anything. But not posting anything doesn’t equal to them being inactive. They can be “passively active” – actively snooping into the postings of others. Who are they? Beware…they can be your boss and for a moment there, you might have forgotten all about that.

I rip the following image from this site.



Is this a warning not to be “friend” with your boss on Facebook?

Related posts:

If you're an active jobseeker, clean up your Facebook page

When jobseekers invade LinkedIn and Facebook

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why Am I Still Not Getting A Promotion?

It’s totally normal if you start to ask this question when you are in the same job for more than five years or more. “What’s going on?” “Is there anything wrong with me?” Of course, the best place to find out is to ask your boss directly. Seriously, I think that’s the right way rather than going into a guessing game. But perhaps you like to do that and below is a list of possible reasons:

1. You are already at the top (especially in smaller set-ups) unless you want to buy over the company?

2. You are just not qualified to take on the bigger responsibilities.

3. There is no one to take over your present responsibilities.

4. Your manager/management simply have no idea what you are capable of doing.

5. Your company’s business is growing stagnant. It’s not expanding, no one is leaving – there is simply no opening for you.

6. You’re no good in the game of promotional politics. Shocking to hear this? Don’t be. Too bad, who you know and not what you know does matter after all.

If you are not qualified, the solution is simple – find out what it takes to be in the position and work towards attaining the necessary required qualification, skills and experience. Sooner or later, you’ll get there.

As for no one taking over your responsibilities, you can start training up other people/juniors to take over your current responsibilities. If it doesn’t work, talking to your superior directly is the best. “Threatening” to leave (if you are confident you are an asset in your company) may work wonders sometimes.

Click here for more comics on job interviews and careers

As for reaching the ceiling and being in a stagnant business, there are only two options: either you help to boost up the business or leave.

But if it’s something to do with getting yourself noticed by the right people, you need to plan the right moves. First off, work to please the person that you work for, because no one has more power to affect your career advancement than your supervisor. You may say this is not your style. The choice is yours but bear in mind, your supervisor is human after all - who would want to promote someone that he dislikes? Secondly, seize the opportunity to "blow your own trumpet" albeit in a subtle way. In a pool of talents with everyone having the same agenda, the boss will only notice the guy that stands out!

Friday, August 6, 2010

There She Goes Again, Complaining Non-stop

We complain when we received bad service. We complain when the boss did not remember our birthdays. We complain when our colleague got a raise and we did not.

The list goes on. Complaining is part of being human but some of us more than the others like to gripe almost about everything, that it becomes a normalcy to them. When I am writing this, I have an image of someone that fits this description. I bet you do the same too. But wait a minute, can this be me?

In a work place where everyone is trying their best to get along with everyone, they will not tell you on the face that you gripe too much and you are annoying.

Let’s do a test. Scan through the statements below - are these responses from your listeners becoming common in your conversations? If yes, you probably have been complaining too much.

1. Since you don’t like your boss so much, have you ever tried to talk to him directly? You really should since it’s affecting you quite a bit…

2. I think these complaints are not going to help much unless you do something about the situation.

3. Ya know, I really gotta run. I’m really late… (after you've poured out your "thoughts")

Oh, there she goes again, why can’t she just quit? This is the reaction in the hearts of your listeners. It affects them without you realizing it.

Complaining too much is a bad habit. And you know the thing about habits - it’s going to take effort to break it. Break it, you must because it’s not only affecting your relationships with your colleagues, it’s also going to hurt your career.

No one likes to work with people that complain too much. It affects your chances of being promoted. It also affects your future career prospects when prospective employers conduct reference checks with people that worked with you before.

Learn to accept that people will let you down and being disappointed is part and parcel of working life (or life, for that matter). Stop the griping and don’t let this bad habit hurt your career!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Need To Be Understood

Have you heard of the Indian Talking Stick story? I picked it up in Dr Tim Elmore’s book, Habitutes.

It’s about two tribes in disagreement. A council assembly was called in which the two chiefs were facing each other in a circle. Several moments of silence…then, in a burst of emotion, the group erupts with angry shouts and accusations. No one is listening…until the visiting chief steps forward and raises the Talking Stick.

The Talking Stick is passed around from person to person, but the only one holding it is allowed to speak. It remains in the speaker’s possession until he/she feels completely understood by everyone in the group. The only exception is when the speaker might lend it to someone who is seeking to clarify their point. Once the point is clarified, the stick returns to the speaker until they believe they are fully understood. Only then is it passed to the next individual.

It’s a simple concept but the end result is amazing. As the tribal members pass the stick around, they slowly become less combative and more cohesive. Relationships are restored. All because the focus is on understanding, not just being understood.

Without question, the greatest emotional need of people today is the need to be understood.

In any relationship especially when two or more people are working together, conflicts usually occur because of this.

You don’t understand what I’m saying

Eh, this is not what I meant

You didn’t get it
. You misunderstood me. You’re not listening

Sounds familiar? Listening takes effort and patience. Some even said it’s a skill. It’s not hearing for dogs hear too. No wonder, it’s tough.

In fact, listening involves every senses. Have you heard, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” (Read more here)

Looks like a stick has just found itself another purpose..:)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Career Blogs I Visit Most Often

Career blogs are plentiful nowadays and most of the good ones are from US. Below are the ones that I visit often. All of them are experts in their own fields and have been around in the blogosphere and their respective industry for some time. So, pay them a visit and hope you can find what you are looking for. I have also listed them in my blogroll for your convenience.

1. Penelope Trunk Brazen Careerist
Penelope is the founder of 3 startups. Her career advice appears in more than 200 newspapers. In a review of this blog, Business Week called Penelope's writing "poetic." Her blog is very honest. Thus far, her blog has attracted more than 50,000 subscribers!

2. Personal Branding
Their tagline, “Navigating you to future success” says it all. It’s a blog that teaches you how to create your career and command your future, using the personal branding process. You will learn how to position yourself for success so that you become known for your passion and expertise. The content on this blog includes video podcasts, interviews with experts, insightful articles, research reports, games and much more. They have more than 10 contributors on board, all of them are experts in what they share.

3. Work Coach Café
Ronnie Ann owns this blog. For more than 10 years, she has been an organizational consultant specializing in business process improvement and project management, as well as some workplace and private coaching. Her advice is based on things she has learned first hand.

4. Evil HR Lady
Suzanne Lucas is based in Switzerland. What I like about this blog is that you are encouraged to send your HR questions and if they are interesting enough, I suppose they may be posted up in her blog with her answers. So, do you have a question? You may want to visit Evil HR Lady. What a name!

5. Fistful of Talent
Good sharing of experience and ideas from HR Consultants, Recruiters and etc. They have more than 10 contributors on board.

6. Skorcareer
Want some Malaysian flavor? Zul is the principal blogger and his aim is to provide quality career information for its visitors in casual yet enlightening ways. It also covers other areas such as business and entrepreneurship, motivation and inspiration and etc. Recently, Zul had invited other bloggers to contribute. I’m one of them…:)

7. Ally Blog
More Malaysian flavor? This is my other blog about careers, specifically on tips sharing from attending interviews to picking the right talent, relevant to both job seekers and employers. I included my own blog in this list cos' I’m not ashamed to say I visit my own blog more often than any other career blogs. Can't help it. Any blogger will agree with me…:)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Should I Or Should I Not Thank The Employer

I had gone for an interview and I realized I am not that interested in the job. Should I or should I not thank the employer?

It’s only polite to say thank you after every interview, for the time spent by the interviewer/hiring manager.

The industry can be small, depending on how you look at it. Keep every bridges you build. You may not know when you need to cross one of these. You can always word your email that includes a line like: “After some contemplation, I concluded that the position is not a good fit for me. But, I appreciate the time you spent interviewing me.”


The truth is you won’t lose anything by saying thank you. But most people would think it’s too much trouble. Instead, they choose to completely ignore this basic courtesy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oh God! It’s Official. We’re Having An Affair!

It’s a line I picked up from the movie, “It’s Complicated”. Having affairs is of course complicated, whether it is with your ex-husband or otherwise.

You've heard it before: The workplace is a hotbed of extramarital affairs. Why is it so? Is it because more women are in the work place? Or the long working hours spent with our colleagues on a project? Or the cologne we wear at work?

Last week, I met up with my ex-colleague.

Hey, do you know that both William and Henry had divorced their wives of less than five years of marriage? And guess what, William married his new subordinate that joined a year ago and Henry married one of the company’s suppliers. William was having the affair for more than a year before his wife found out. Worse still, everyone in the office knew about it as it happened right under their nose.

How to prevent affairs in the office? Nina Chen has some suggestions.

Should employers care?

Can we? Our HR policy does not say it’s illegal for two married employees to have a relationship. It’s a personal matter, anyway.

Think again. It won’t be that personal anymore if things go awry and the drama twisted into sexual harassment. Or putting other employees at risk when one of the spouses that were being cheated storm into the office in a rage?

Related reading:
Office Romance - Bliss or Stress

Friday, July 23, 2010

Career Change Is Not Job Change

A career change involves a significant shift in jobs that includes a change in skills, knowledge or a totally different job specialization. If you change industry but your skills and knowledge in your next job remain the same, it is a mere job change.

For example, when an accounts executive leaves a trading company and join a retail company in the same position, he is making a job change. However, if he leaves the accounting field of a trading business to become a Make-up Artist in an entertainment industry, he is making a career change to a different job specialization and different industry.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Top 10 Online Job Sites in Malaysia (2010)

Mid of last year, I listed down the top 10 online job sites in Malaysia. One year has passed and it’s time to update the list. Who's in and who's out? Instead of referring to Jobzing now, this list is based on Alexa traffic ranking.

Alexa provides information about traffic to a website, denoting its popularity. The lower the ranking number, the better it is in terms of its traffic. However, it is not entirely accurate as information is derived from browsers that have Alexa toolbar installed. But until a better website ranking system is invented, we shall take Alexa’s information to compare the sites.

(Note: The figure next to the job site is traffic rank in Malaysia)

1. Jobstreet.com.my (No. 44)

2. Jobsmalaysia.gov.my (No. 295)

3. Jenjobs.com (No. 579)

4. Asiaparttime.com (No. 691)

5. Monster.com.my (No. 822)

6. Jobsdb.com.my (No. 1037)

7. Allyhunt.com (No. 1722)

8. Star-jobs.com (No. 1838)

9. Bestjobs.com.my (No. 2166)

10. Jobscentral.com.my (No. 2490)

Of course, I'm darn happy to see Allyhunt.com faring so well in the past one year.

But a fair statement should be made from the recruiter's point of view and that is I had found job sites no. 1, 3, 5, and 7(Allyhunt.com) most effective in getting the talents I want.

Friday, June 18, 2010

World Cup = Lower Productivity

“The World Cup is causing human resource managers a headache as late nights and anxiety over match outcomes take their toll on employee productivity.”

The World Cup has to be the most watched sports event in the whole world. It does not only capture footfall fans but people from all walks of life like me who get crazy about football once every four years only. OK, I may be exaggerating but it’s true, people do caught up with the hype or fever. News about the world cup is everywhere. Your office colleagues talk about them. Now with the Facebook and Twitter community, the wall posts and tweets about this event are everywhere. How can you possibly avoid the excitement surrounding the world cup?

If you are a hard-core fan, you’ll be spending time watching three matches a day. That’s at least 4.5 hours! Not only that, the 2:30am live match in Malaysia can be a real “inconvenience” because it’s going to affect your work the next day. And who and what suffer the most? The employers and your work productivity! Complaints such as high absenteeism, MCs, lack of concentration due to lack of sleep, potential work place accidents and the like contribute to one outcome: lower productivity! Of course, the employers cannot issue a memo to stop employees from following the games. You can’t install CCTVs in their houses, can you?

Worst still, betting. Though there may be celebrations if the whole company is siding a winning team but if the employees divided among themselves and pit against one another, unwarranted exchanges, anxiety and conflicts may be the result. Again, what does this leads to? Lower productivity!

So, is world cup good for business? Perhaps not. But as for most employers that are as crazy about world cup as anyone else, who cares? It only happens once in four years. Everyone including bosses are making adjustments and planning their appointments around their favorite team matches schedules.

I will be the first to admit I did just that. I was supposed to have an appointment at 6pm last evening. But I realized I may miss the 7:30 pm match between Argentina and South Korea. I quickly checked if I can move the appointment to 4pm instead. Asked why I have to reschedule, without sounding like a world cup freak, I briefly mentioned, “I’m just not available after 6:30pm.”

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Unemployment - How Scary Can It Be?

I just read in FinChannel.Com that the situation on the job market in Europe remains the greatest concern. Compared with the previous year, the degree of concern has even risen slightly.

Greece is already in a crisis. Spain seems to be the next in line. Not surprising considering its unemployment rate at 18%. I was in Turkey last week and apparently they have the second highest unemployment rate in Europe, at 14%. In short, it is a bad time in Euro Area. I wonder how the unemployed cope.



How scary can unemployment be? I talked about it with my Malaysian friends. I had blogged about it. But honestly, I do not truly appreciate the magnitude of its effect because I had never experienced it myself. Whew, lucky me? Or shall I say, lucky Malaysians?

Latest unemployment rate - 2010

The recent global financial crisis did not hit Malaysia as much as it does to Europe and US. However, many had caution bad times ahead. How will we tackle the situation? How will I face it - I mean, no job for six months, one year or even more? Will I fall apart? Will I be crying every night?

Our job forms such an important aspect of our life. It is not just a matter of livelihood but it entirely defines our identity whether we like it or not. A job loss equates to a loss in identity. As simple as that.

Job Loss = Temporary Identity Loss

Of course, a job loss would change our lifestyle. We certainly need to cut spending and probably do some downgrading exercise. But the impact of losing a job and the inability to find one soon will land us in a state of hopelessness and that’s what the government and society at large fear most. A group of hopeless people can turn violent and hence, contribute to social ills. It doesn't take a genius to know high unemployment will always leads to higher crime rate.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the unemployment rate in Malaysia will remain status quo, if not lower.

No, I don't wish to have the experience of being out of work to blog about it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Is The Best Time To Hunt For A Job?

I was asked this question many times.

I agree job opportunities somehow are a tad more during the non-holiday season, i.e., from March (usually after the Chinese New Year) right up to October. One of the main reasons is that employees that wanted to make a move would usually throw in their towel after obtaining their yearly bonus. And most companies pay out their bonuses at the end of the year or right before Chinese New Year. Thus, attrition rate is lower between November and February. No resignation, no opening. Well, at least in most cases.

But seriously if you are hunting for a new job, there is really no perfect timing. Openings happen whole year round and even during hard times. Bear in mind, the opening must be something relevant to you. Hence, there may not be that many openings, say during a holiday season but the job that is right for you happened to be available then. And probably the chances of you getting the job are higher during holiday season as less people are competing with you since many people cannot bear the thought of losing their bonuses (even when it’s not contractual and not knowing whether there is any bonus or not).

One thing to remember is that job hunt is not just about sending out your resume and hope for the best of an interview. The process should begin with you knowing what you really want and how you are going to get there, and keeping your networking going and alerting the head-hunters. Having a plan is crucial, mainly to reduce the mistake of applying and ended up in the wrong job.

So if you are waiting for the right time to hunt for the job, don’t wait. Start right away. The perfect timing is NOW.

Good luck!

Suggestion: You can start your job search here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hiring Mistake – The Top Five Reasons

A job vacancy has been filled. You breathed a sigh of relief. But wait a minute…

One week passed

Two weeks came and gone

One month and then two months…

He’s been here for two months now. But he does not seem to be performing. We obviously got in the wrong guy.

Doubts surfaced.

Have I made the mistake of hiring him? He seems to be so right for the job. What went wrong?


The top five common mistakes:-

1. Did not do any reference check on candidates. An easy step but often overlooked by hiring managers. (Referencing checking on Potential Employees)

2. Job opening is an urgent one. Out of desperation, the hire was made to any candidate that can start work immediately. Other candidates may be more suitable but they have to give at least one month’s notice. We can’t wait that long!

3. Candidate was a “smooth” talker. The “excellent” verbal communication skills and the charm of the candidate had “blinded” your judgment. Instead of considering the most qualified candidate that matches the requirements of the job, you were wowed by the “great” personality demonstrated by the candidate.

4. Candidate was recommended by someone within the organization, probably somebody in higher authority. Candidate did not go through a proper interview process, hence, no one really knows whether there is a match or not.

5. Hiring manager is not well-trained. As simple as that. We hate to admit it but if you are not trained, you tend to hire people that you like and able to connect with, rather than the most suitable person.

These are the common reasons and they should warn us to take the necessary precautions to avoid such pitfalls.

But let’s be honest, hiring mistakes happened, even to the shrewdest among us.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hiring Tip: It’s NOT About What The Candidate Lacks

Recruiters and Hiring Managers sometimes fall into the trap of hiring by elimination.

Candidate does not meet the years of experience – into the “Rejected” folder

Candidate does not have a particular skill-set – into the “Rejected” folder

Candidate does not have a Degree – into the “Rejected” folder

“No. We can’t short list this candidate because we need someone with at least 5 years of experience. He only has four.”

Sounds familiar?

By using the elimination method, we may miss out a good candidate.

I sometimes spent a fair amount of time convincing an employer-client of why a candidate is worth a chance by drawing his attention to the candidate’s overall suitability that meets the job needs and not on what he/she lacks. Years of experience and education level seem to be the two most common criteria.

The right method is to hire the candidate for what he or she has. But before you could do that, you need to know what the job needs. Once that’s established, find the candidate that has what you need. Look through the candidate’s resume – check his strengths, skills, knowledge, accomplishments and other hints of abilities (as a whole package) and benchmark that with the specific requirements of your job vacancy.

A good tip to remember:
Focus not on what the candidate lacks but what the job NEEDS.

Friday, April 23, 2010

3 Things I learnt From My Dad and Mom About Work

My dad and mom were involved in a small food business. They were fish-ball makers. Work then is not about doing what you are passionate about. With five mouths to feed at home, work is all about getting food on the table. The business was home-based and hence, everyone in the household was involved in the business one way or another. You can say I started my working life rather early in life.

Due to the amount of time spent with dad and mom, I learned a lot from them. It’s not so much from the advice that they gave but more so, from the way they handled their work and people.

1. There is no short cut to success

Keys to success – two words: Work hard! It means sweat, discipline, self-driven and dedication to the work at hand. I remember when my dad attempted to save cost by using another type of fish to make fish balls, he tried many methods and failed many times before he finally conquered. He would spend many hours deliberating and working with his hands. And my mom by his side would contribute, gave her best ideas and never once ridiculed my dad. She knew what it takes to be successful. It’s hard work and you got to work hard to achieve it!

2. Do not sell your integrity for that extra penny

Food business is cash business. Customers came to our house to collect their fish-balls and they in turn distribute to restaurants, shops, hawkers and etc. It’s a normal sight to see cash changing hands and in the nights, my dad would be busy counting money and balancing his accounts. There were times when he realized somebody had paid more by mistake. The extra were always returned. As children, we were taught never to take what that do not belong to us. Honesty is always the best policy.

3. Sharing is giving

We are not that wealthy but dad and mom had never failed to give to relatives or friends that were in need. My mom believes we can still be generous even when we don’t have much. And it’s not just about money alone. My dad was approached by people that wanted to learn the secret of making fish-balls. He had more than once took in “disciples” and train them without any fee. He had even written his recipe down and sent it to newspapers for publication. He doesn’t believe in keeping what he knew as a secret. To him, good things should always be shared.

They are now happily retired. Their principles on work are the best legacy they had passed on to me and my siblings. Precious gifts indeed, superseding any material wealth.

A big THANK YOU, dad and mom! I love you guys!

Related article:-
A Day's Work For A Day's Pay

Friday, April 16, 2010

Your Handwriting Can Get Or Kick You Out Of A Job

Somebody left a remark in this article: 10 Most Common Reasons You Didn't Get The Job saying his ex-employer analyzed applicants’ handwriting in determining whether the candidate is in or out in the selection exercise.

Now, some of us may be very skeptical about such a tool. But a research on the net will tell you that many people including employers believe hand writing analysis is more objective than a face-to-face interview. Wow!

It was said handwriting analysis cannot determine the person’s age, race, religion, appearance or even gender but it’s completely accurate in measuring the personality of the applicant.

So,the next time you are invited to fill up an application form before a job interview, you may want to pay that slight bit of attention to your hand writing. But seriously, if you have been writing in a certain way, you can't really change it, can you? Hence, to a certain extent, it's true that your handwriting does tell something about your personality.

What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?

Read the whole article here but for the following, I extracted the top 12 items to look for and what it means:

1. Writing slants to the left -- introspective, guarded personality.

2. Slant to the right -- subjective personality.

3. Straight up & down -- objective personality.

4. Large letters -- confidence. If letters seem too large, the person may be seeking attention.

5. Small letters -- introverted. If a person usually writes small, but has a large signature, it means they are truly an introvert, but present themselves as an extrovert.

6. Loopy letters -- caring, thoughtful, kind.

7. Angular letters -- quick, smart.

8. Upswing at the end of a letter or word -- connected to others. This represents reaching out or looking forward. Someone who is very direct will usually simply end the letter, not follow through with an upswing.

9. Combination of printing and cursive - high intelligence. The brain says to go faster and the hand just can't keep up. This is known as "printscript."

10. Heavy, thick strokes -- passion, energy.

11. Strong, high cross on T's -- high goals, strong energy and enthusiasm.

12. Steady, structured baseline on letters -- comprehensive, likes routine.

Interesting, eh?

Now, this is a sample of my hand writing.



Any expert out there can dare to give me an analysis?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Do I Like You?

Based on many recruiters’ experience, 40% of the hiring decision is based on this question, “Do I like you?”

Surprise?

You shouldn’t be. People don’t hire someone they don’t like. It’s just that simple!

The truth is hiring people is like buying things. We simply know how to justify everything when our minds are made up to like something.

Are you saying that skills and qualification, and the ability to do the job is not important?

It is important but statistics tell us that it only account for 20%. In other words, emotions win over logic and common sense most of the time.

Therefore, smart candidates should learn to answer well questions that give impact to:-

1. Will the candidate be able to fit us and our organization’s culture?

2. Can the candidate work well with people?

The sorts of questions to be expected are as follows:-

1. What do people like about you?
2. What are your greatest strengths?

3. What would your boss or colleagues describe you?

4. What makes you angry?

5. What kind of people do you hang out with?

6. What makes you better than other candidates?
7. Have you experience any personal hardships? If yes, can you describe the circumstances?

8. Who is your greatest mentor?
9. How do you deal with people whom you don’t like?
10. Describe a conflict you have recently? How do you resolve it?

11. Describe a time your boss or customer tried your patience.
12. What are some of the hobbies or outside interests you have?

What are some tough job interview questions and how best to handle them? (click and read)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Offering Me A Lower Salary And Expect Me To Say YES?

Recently, I worked on a Business Development Manager position for a new client/employer. I was advised that the post is a full-time/permanent basis.

During the interview, it was a different story altogether.

The position is on a 6-month contract and will only be converted to permanent basis if performance is satisfactory (I wonder what happened to probationary period?). Not only that. Since it’s a contract job, the “employee” will not be entitled to EPF and SOCSO.

So, there is a variation of terms between what was told and what the actual is. Candidate is upset. I’m obviously not very happy with the client for not being honest. In my mind, “blacklist” this employer.

Two weeks passed.

A phone call.

Hey, your candidate got the job!

Oh, really!

But this is the deal. We can’t offer her at what she’s asking. She will be given this $$ and the rest, she just need to work hard to earn the commission to make up for it.

The offer figure was 30% lower than what the candidate is currently earning.

Thank you ...but no thanks.

I wanted to laugh so much…ya know, the kind that is not happy but cynical and disgusted laugh.

Seriously… why employers do such a thing? There are a number of things that employers annoy job seekers and this is definitely one of the worst.

Want to know what else upset job seekers? Click here to read and see whether it rings any truth or not.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Age Does Matter

A candidate sent me a resume for the post of Project Manager. I let out a chuckle when I read this…

Age: 48 (but looks younger in person, more like 38)

And the word 38 was highlighted bold.

In reality, we do face with some form of age discrimination. So, it would be naïve to think that age doesn’t matter.

If you are writing a resume, it’s good not to put your personal particulars right on page one. For some sample resumes, check out Allyhunt’s FREE sample resumes. It is in hybrid format which is very popular among recruiters and HR professionals.

FREE Sample Resumes

Instead, focus on your profile summary. Your strengths should be prominently highlighted.

If you are able to demonstrate your flexibility, eagerness to learn new things and familiarity with the latest technology that relates to your career path, you may still stand a good chance.

Not all employers discriminate. But most may have second thoughts of offering you on permanent basis. If you have the skills and expertise they are looking for, contract or freelance terms may be offered. In that regard, play a smart game by stating that in your resume to show your flexibility and openness to explore other types of employment.

I’ve a good friend who wrote about what to do after retirement. She has a very positive outlook of life and recently, she even took up a Master’s program. If you are in that age category, read it to be inspired.

Retirement - What Next?

Friday, March 19, 2010

But It's A Sales Job

Most people I know avoid sales jobs. When fresh graduates complained they can’t get a job, I suggested to them to try out sales jobs. The reply, “But, it’s a sales job!”

Sales job is avoided, is being frowned at, and is despised. The rationale is: I don’t study 3 years to end up in sales. Fair enough.

But check this out...

Warren Buffet’s first career was selling chewing gum from door-to-door.

Seth Godin was selling Biorhythms at the age of 14 and later involved in media sales.

Sam Walton sold magazine subscriptions when he was young.

Why sales job should not be shunned?

The best platform to meet new people and new opportunities.

With commission or incentive as part of the remuneration package, the sky is the limit in terms of earning power.

Your network of friends enlarged in no time.

A good starting point for any business venture later. Running a business well by definition is about putting your best selling skills forward.

Search for sales jobs in Malaysia

Ok, I got it. Sales job is not that bad after all. But....I am really scared talking to people, what more strangers..

You are right! It was said cold calling ranks up there together with public speaking and death in terms of fear. But if you are able to conquer it, you can almost overcome anything. Think about that.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this article. A good read.

Fight the fear: How to make a success of cold calling

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mediocrity Is Celebrated

My mom used to tell me when I was young, “Hey girl, whatever you do, make sure you don’t get too proud.” It was a mantra used not by the old folks to young people, afraid they may forget their roots(with good intentions) but even by peers during school days. When someone did well, we assumed the person has now become proud. “Dah jadi bongkak, orang tu.”

With that drumming into our young minds, we seldom flaunt our talents or gifts, afraid people may label us as “proud” people. Instead, we embrace average results and settled with mediocrity. We are programmed to reply, “No, I’m not that good lah” And we repeat that a hundred times! Until it had become part of us – self-fulfilled prophecy! Oh, how we celebrate mediocrity! Cos we are afraid if we come across as too good, we may be called “proud” or trying to show off.

And we brought this mentality to the workplace. We become like everyone else. We dare not perform too well less we’ll be labeled “si bodek”. So, we hide in a corner, give 70% of our effort and never our 100%. Again, mediocrity is to be celebrated.

Yes, blame it on our parents, on our school system, on our Asian culture.

By the time you realize you are a mediocre, surrounded by mediocres and hidden in a mediocre organization, you probably be hitting the 50 mark, and who gives a d**n then?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Keywords In Resumes

Keywords and keyword phrases are an important element in every resume of the 21st century. Today, the emergence of job portals that allow electronic skills search makes the exercise of putting the right keywords an almost a necessity.

Pause and take a minute to jot down your skills set and rephrase if necessary to reflect the common use in your respective field. For example, if you have done some in-house training on how to sharpen your staff selling skills, the proper keywords to put would probably be “Sales Training”.

So, go and get to know your keywords of your job specialization and industry.

As a guide, I am listing down the top 10 common keywords and keyword phrases for the sales, marketing and customer service.

1. Product development
2. Brand development

3. Corporate communications

4. Channel sales

5. Competitive market intelligence
6. Contract negotiations

7. Key account management
8. Customer relationship management

9. Sales presentations

10. Media affairs and press relations


Read further on resumes:-

Simple Truths About Resume Writing

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What To Do After Your Handbag Is Snatched?

Obviously, what I’m about to blog is not about work. My friends heard about my little unpleasant encounter and suggested that I list down the things to do especially on documents replacement so that others can benefit if ever such unfortunate incident should happened to anyone. My prayer is that you won’t and you don’t have to refer to this check list.

Anyway, here goes…

1. Get to the nearest phone. Call all my banks to cancel and bar my ATM cards and credit cards. Call my telephone operator, in my case was Maxis, to temporarily suspend my number until I apply for new SIM card.

2. Go to the nearest police station and make a report. Check the details of your report before you leave. Do not assume all data were keyed-in correctly. In my case, my name and birth dates were typed incorrectly and they have to make amendments. Well, don't ask me further on what I think of our police force.

3. Since my incident happened in the mid-morning, I’ve ample time to go to the nearest Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara to report and apply for new MyKad. With the police report, no fee is charged. I took the opportunity to also change other details, like my house address. I was given a temporary MyKad and I will only be getting my real one three weeks from then. I can either call or check from their portal: www.jpn.gov.my on when my card is ready for collection.

4. Next, I went to Maxis Centre to apply for my new SIM card. It costs RM25 for a new sim card plus RM10 activation fee. Too bad they won’t allow exception for snatched phones. It took about 2 hours to get myself connected after.

5. The next destination was the Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan to get my new driving license. I was told any photo would do but it’s wrong information. They only want colour photograph and no black and white. I went to the same place twice in a day because of this misinformation. Again, with the police report, no fee or penalty incurred. You can even take the opportunity to further renew your expiry date. By the way, all the driving details are stored in the MyKad including the temporary one.

6. My credit cards replacement are said to be on their way. It's been slightly more than a week now. What shall I say?

7. And as for my ATM card, different banks may vary slightly in their policies but most hold the view that you need to have your MyKad before you can apply for your new ATM card. If you need to get some fast cash, I was told by a Maybank Officer that I can present my police report and my temporary MyKad at the counter of any branch to get cash. I have yet to verify this step.

After all these, I can then begin to really mourn for my loss but count myself blessed for being alive to share my story. Someone told me, “If you have never been mugged or met with a car accident in your lifetime, you’ve not started to live…” Err…was I supposed to be comforted? He must be joking.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Unemployment And Crime

On Feb 20th, it was reported that the government is targeting to reduce street crimes by 20% by year-end. It’s good that they recognize the crime rate is getting higher and the streets in Malaysia are not as safe. I would not bother much with this piece of news until I became the latest victim of snatch theft.

It happened on last Thursday, Feb 25th at Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam. I got into my car after a quick grab of a pie from Secret Recipe. Before I started the engine, a man opened my passenger seat and grab my handbag from the foot of the seat. Another man was waiting right behind my car in a motorbike ready to speed off or to attack if things did not go as planned. Looking back, I breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn’t injured physically though it’s a great hassle to replace all my documents, phone and other belongings.

That sets me to do a bit of reading on recent spate of street crimes and sad to say, some of them had tragic endings. Why is it on the rise? Is it due to unemployment?

As we all would admit, unemployment is always an important reason why people resort to crime. For those who are unemployed and in desperate need of cash, they would resort to do anything. The correlation between these two is indisputable but sadly, the trend shows worrying increase.

But then, Malaysia unemployment is not as bad as compared to other countries. Beginning of last year, people had been predicting that Malaysia’s unemployment rate would rise to 4.5% but it did not happened. In fact, it has been quite stable throughout, resting at 3.6% as of 3rd quarter of last year.

But let’s not forget that unemployment of other countries play an important factor too. Comparatively, Malaysia seems to be doing better and that causes an influx of foreign workers, and the bad news is that not all enter the county legally. In 2008, it was reported that the crime caused by illegal immigrants was about 20%. Now, that’s something that we should really be concerned with.

Having said that, the scenario can be much worse if our unemployment rate is higher than predicted. Let’s continue to hope the employment outlook ahead will be better and not worse. We do not want to see too many desperate men on the streets, do we?