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Upskilling has never been so important. With the digital transformation of the economy, job duties and requirements are changing at a faster pace than in the past. If you want to stay current with the latest market trends and increase your value, upskilling is mandatory. Thanks to the ease in remote learning and thousands of free online courses available, there is barely any excuse to start training. To save from the headache of rummaging through the Internet, Jobiness handpicks these 5 free online courses from Coursera you can enroll to upskill yourself in 2021. 

 

What is Coursera?

Coursera is an online learning platform that provides courses from world-renowned universities. It has a very active portfolio of 6,000+ web-based courses and is best known as a MOOC (massive open online courses) provider with over 76 million students worldwide. All Coursera courses feature pre-recorded learning material that you can watch anytime, anywhere at your convenience. While there are classes that require you to pay a certain amount of money to enroll and obtain a certificate, some courses are free and the quality is no less excellent.

 

1 . Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success

Growth starts from the mind and if you know how to maximize your mindset with creative thinking, success is just one step closer. Being able to think creatively and innovatively is a crucial quality in today’s ever-changing environment. This course will provide you with an introduction to a variety of behaviors and approaches that will enhance your natural creativity. Four skills to obtain after this course are useful for your career advancements, such as Creative Thinking, Problem Solving, Creativity, and Brainstorming.

 

With a 7 week syllabus, the approximate time to finish this course is 20 hours, divided into mini videos, reading and quizzes. Out of 185,043 course participants, 15% started a new career after completing it and 22% got a tangible career benefit from it.  By the end of this course, you should be able to choose a kind of brainstorming that you believe would be beneficial for a challenge, utilize the TRIZ contradiction matrix, and use SCAMPER to solve problems. 

 

If you are interested, you can enroll here.

 

2 . Job Success: Get Hired or Promoted in 3 Steps

This course will help you stand out in a competitive talent pool and be hired or promoted. The materials are written by industry specialists and relied on potential employers’ and recruiters’ recommendations. They drew on the creator’s own experiences as professionals who have sought for and recruited great individuals, as well as informal research on best practices. This course will provide you with an improved social media presence, a visually appealing infographic résumé, and a professional pitch that showcases your strengths and talents in three steps. The four skills to gain from this course include Infographics, Professional Development, Elevator Pitch, and Social Media.

 

The course has a 3-week syllabus, with each week with short video lessons and quiz in every step or week. These three steps for each week are: Upgrading Your Social Media Profile, Create an Infographic Resume, and Your Professional Pitch. If you have very little time, but a very great desire to learn and upskill, this course is very suitable for you, as it can be completed in approximately 5 hours. 

 

You can enroll in this free course here.

 

3 . Brand Management: Aligning Business, Brand, and Behaviour

If you are new to brand management, this free course on brand management will help you improve your knowledge faster. Brands are more than just an external commitment to customers; they are also a method of executing business strategy through internal brand-led behavior and culture change. The main objective of this course is to shift the perception of brands from being a company’s visual identity and image to an experience given by people throughout the whole company along the customer journey. It will help you get a better knowledge of the developing concept of brand management, which goes beyond what is currently performed in most businesses. The four skills to obtain from this course include Corporate Branding, Brand Marketing, Brand Management, and Brand Identity. 

 

You can enroll here.

 

4 . Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

This course will teach you how the brain employs two distinct learning modes and how it wraps or chunks information. You can alter your thinking and improve your life by using the lessons from this course, regardless of your skill levels in the areas you want to master. If you are already an expert, it will give you advanced suggestions to boost effective learning, including counter-intuitive test-taking strategies and insights that will help you make the most of your time. There are four main skills you can enhance through this course, which are Test preparation, Learning To Learn, Pomodoro Technique, and Meta Learning.

 

This course has a 4 weeks syllabus that can be completed for approximately 15 hours. The format of the lesson is short videos, less than 10 minutes each, with reading and quizzes for every weekly syllabus. This is suitable for learners who find it hard to focus on lengthy videos or those who have limited time and can only learn bit by bit. With a total of 3,006,018 people who have enrolled, 10% of students began a new career following completion of this course. 

 

You can enroll in this course here.

 

5 . Introduction to Personal Branding

Personal branding steadily gains prominence among top talents. Though the notion of personal branding is not new, there are concerns regarding what it means to sustain personal branding. Participants in this free course will learn how to establish oneself on at least three social media networks and build a personal brand mission statement. The four skills to learn from this course are Personal Branding, Social Media, Management, and Brand Management.

 

It takes approximately 7 hours to finish and is divided into 5 weeks’ worth of syllabus. The outcomes of this free course are excellent: 31% got a tangible career benefit and 27% started a new career after completing it. 

 

If this course piques your interest, you can enroll here.

 

Upskilling is not entirely about hard skills; there are plenty of soft skills that will improve your quality, either as a candidate or employee. These 5 free online courses can help you advance in your career while not taking up too much time for you to work on something else. Taking this kind of course surely takes time to complete, but is it worth it? Absolutely.

 

Read Also: How to Write a Thank-You Email After a Job Interview

 

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Think you have done well in your recent job interview? Great! But you’re not done yet. Acing a job interview is one thing, but to actually make a good lasting impression on the hiring managers is quite another. So, how can you make sure that you stand out from the rest? The answer lies in your thank-you email.

Why It Matters

It may look menial, but a thank-you email sent after an interview can give you a better shot at landing your dream job. A study by Robert Half suggested that thank-you emails are important to 80 % of HR managers in making a final hiring decision. Unfortunately, however, a CareerBuilder survey showed that after an interview, 57% of job applicants do not write thank-you emails. Although it is not an official requirement, a thank-you email can give you a plus point in the eye of recruiters, as proven by the aforementioned research.

 

Writing a Thank-You Email

What you say and how you say it can make or break your interview follow-up email. Here are a few essential parts to consider: subject line, personalized introduction, appreciation remark, experience summary, and your readiness for the next step.

 

Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing people see in their email inbox. You should utilize this to communicate the message’s meaning. You can get readers to click on your subject line in a variety of ways. Make it personal by using the interviewer’s name instead of a broader term like “hiring manager”. Here are some examples of good subject lines you can use:

  • Thank you, [Interviewer’s Name]!
  • I enjoyed learning more about [Company Name]
  • Thanks for the interview yesterday

 

Read Also: Which One is More Important: Degree Certificate or Skill Certificate?

 

Begin with Personal Introduction

You may already be familiar with an introduction as a part of an email, but this one for a thank you email may differ a bit. Do not go into the body of your email right away. Begin with a brief greeting, keeping it as warm or formal as the interview. Again, remember to use the interviewer’s name instead of referring to their position. This simple act indicates that you paid attention to the interview and how the interviewer introduced themselves. 

 

Show Gratitude

Since it is a thank you email, your aim is to show gratitude. Something along the lines of, “Thank you for the opportunity and your time earlier. It was nice to discuss the position of <job title> with you directly”, would be nice. If possible, double-check this part and make sure you do not give off a self-centered vibe. If you think you use too much “I”, then you may want to rephrase it.

Reminder on Your Experience

Recap what makes you so qualified for the position within your thank-you email. This may be a few sentences that summarize what you discussed in the interview, or it could be a link to some samples of work that support your experience. Describe what appeals to you most about the role and explain why. This way, your email following an interview will feel more personalized. Refer to your talents and experience and demonstrate how you will utilize them to help your potential employer achieve their goals.

 

Willingness to Follow the Next Step

One last crucial step to close a thank you email is showing your willingness to follow the next step, regardless of the final decision. In fact, this can actually be a factor worth considering by hiring managers, since you demonstrate an eagerness. Show the hiring manager that you are available for further discussion and that you are eager to start working soon. If you have a notice period at your current job, it may be worth mentioning that as well. 

 

If You Change Your Mind

There are cases where you may change your mind about the job after an interview that you become hesitant to proceed further. Instead of ghosting the hiring manager, you can talk about it in a thank-you email. If the interview made you think that the position does not suit you, express this explicitly in your email. Other than saving them time to exclude you in the final decision-making, doing this will show honesty and genuine appreciation.

 

When Should You Hit Send?

Sending a thank-you note while you are still fresh in the interviewer’s memory is ideal. You need to send the email within 24 hours following the interview. This might take place on the same day as the interview or the next day. If the interview is on Friday, send a thank-you email that afternoon or plan it for Monday morning. Formal emails sent on the weekend can be a turn-off and an early sign of not appreciating day offs. 

 

Make sure your email comes across as genuine. Even a formal thank-you email following an interview should sound like it is written by a real person rather than a template. Hopefully, these tips can be of help. Best of luck!

 

Read Also: Useful Tips for Writing a Counteroffer

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The youngest generation entering the workforce is Generation Z or Gen Z, who was born between 1997 and 2012. Born as digital natives, Gen Z comes with distinctive characteristics and mindset that makes them unique compared to the older generations. With the influx of Gen Z workers into many industries, new trends will evolve into lasting impacts on the future of work. Here are several aspects you need to know about working with Gen Z.

 

Perspective Adjustment

Edward Wageni, Global Head of the HeForShe Initiative, in an interview with HR in Asia said that managers should anticipate and be prepared to do business in a different way when Gen Z enters the workforce. What may have worked in previous generations will have to be readjusted when working with Gen Z. Managers must be aware of what they value and what motivates them. Moreover, managers need to be ready to accept and appreciate the new viewpoints Gen Z employees will bring to the workplace. It is essential to recognize that they were born at a period of social and economic instability. As a result, their risk perception and how it affects their future must be taken into account when determining an offer of employment.

 

Purposes of Business Conduct

Gen Z wants to work for companies that are socially and environmentally responsible, rather than solely for financial gain. According to Dell’s research, 58 % of Gen Z in Singapore prefer employment that has meaning and purpose beyond just being compensated. 4 out of 10 respondents stated they want to work in places that are socially or environmentally responsible. It is advised for companies to create a work environment that gives more than just a financial purpose to attract the finest talents among the Gen Z workforce. According to Edward Wageni, companies may also be required to demonstrate the principles relevant to Generation Z are incorporated in the company’s culture. This can be done by promoting values related to global concerns such as climate change, racial justice, gender equality, and many more. More than just for image, companies need to really live up to these principles they represent.

 

Read Also: Student-to-Employee Transition: What Can You Learn from an Internship? 

 

Proficiency in Technology

Standardization is becoming more essential as technology advances. For Gen-Z, who are already well-versed in technology, this presents a new job option in a shorter span of time than years of formal education. Another report by HR in Asia suggested that Gen Z is reliant on technology. When asked what they enjoy best about the virtual job search process, 48.7 % Gen Z respondents claimed they feel less nervous meeting with prospective employers and 42% of them feel more prepared for interviews. Gen Z has grown up with technology, so equipping them with technology to do their jobs can be an aspect worth considering. 

As they are educated in a more tech-focused and collaborative environment, conventional training practices may need to be adjusted. Companies should think of ways to leverage Gen Z’s enthusiasm in their technological abilities. Reverse mentorship can be an excellent approach to do this. Companies may provide both younger and older workers the opportunity to mentor one other by matching them together. This can also provide opportunities for them to share their technical expertise with the rest of the team.

 

In a few years to come, Gen Z along with Millennials will make up the biggest generations in the employment field and their professional involvement will affect how businesses operate. To best manage these generations, adjustments are needed because there are differences in terms of perspective, purpose, and proficiency in technology. 

 

Read Also:  What Kind of Potential Do Employers Look For in Fresh Graduates

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At a certain point of one’s career journey or work tenure, there may come a time where they deserve a promotion. While some people are aware of their worth and may come forward themselves to ask for a promotion, some others are clueless about it. As a leader, it is part of your responsibility to facilitate employees’ growth, including giving them a raise. So, how to tell that your employee is ready for a promotion? 

 

A promotion should be done at the right time, to the right person. If you promote employees too quickly, they might have to perform duties above their current level of expertise, which can lead to frustration and even resignation. But if you wait too long, bright employees will feel that they’re stuck and end up moving on to another company to improve their career. That being said, the right timing and the right criteria should be fulfilled prior to a promotion. 

 

Besides those points, here are several considerations to help you decide if your employee is ready for a promotion.

 

Readiness for more challenges

When an employee continues to work hard, exceeds expectations, and delivers consistent results, it could be a tell-tale sign that they are ready for a promotion. If they can perform their current duties well, yet still manage to do more tasks hassle-free, it suggests that they are self-motivated to perform better at a higher position. This means they are naturally capable of taking in and giving out more. When it comes to management level employees, one of the best indicators to promote a staff is when they are excellent in managing their tasks without the need for supervision from senior employees. When they cease relying on your guidance and start working on their own, you may consider giving them more duties as a reward – in the form of a promotion.

 

Great crisis management

Even the finest businesses experience crises, be it customer complaints, technical issues, or even public relations scandals. This is why a business needs adaptable and flexible employees to thrive in all circumstances. While some employees may become excessively concerned and depend solely on their senior’s instructions, others may come with the initiative to adjust themselves and assist others when needed. The latter employees prove that they can handle a crisis successfully. Those who are resilient and able to adjust swiftly to different situations are great assets that you can retain in the long term.

 

Openness to feedback and proactive attitude

Top players value feedback, both positive and negative ones. They can take criticism and actually make positive improvements about it. Employees who have initiative to seek feedback and are more engaged during evaluations are worth considering for promotion. Other than openness to feedback, employees that proactively strive to enhance their skill set are worth considering. This is because they are truly interested in staying up to date with the business, indicating that they are proactive learners. Additionally, pay attention to employees who frequently assist others with their job, as this may be a sign that they are ready to be a leader.

 

Internal promotion improves a company from within, resulting in long-term employees who feel valued and respected. You should actively be on the lookout for potential in your employees, identifying those who are willing to step up so that a promotion may happen once available for those who are qualified for it.

 

Read Also: Learn to Love: How to Get the Most Out of Your Job

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The world is going digital at an unrelenting speed. Digitization has reached almost all industries wishing to modernize their processes. This trend contributes to the rising demand for IT-related professionals, including those with coding skills. In the IT sector, coding skill is required to create computer and software commands in programming languages. If you have exceptional coding abilities, here are 8 jobs you can land with your skills.

 

Web developer

In order to become a web developer, you need to obtain an associate’s degree with background knowledge in Java, JavaScript, and HTML5. Web developers generally work on the appearance of a website and how users interface with it. This career choice requires you to work one-on-one with individual clients and interpret what they need. Sounds interesting?

 

Ruby developer

Ruby developer is another term for a backend software developer. If you choose this as a career, you are responsible for writing server-side website applications and creating databases and libraries which users will not see directly. Ruby developers utilize Ruby on Rails to run and write code, along with other programming languages such as Java. 

 

Front end developer

As a front end developer, you will be responsible to ensure website accessibility across many different platforms while maintaining a consistent appearance. This position requires a bachelor’s degree and experience in writing website code using the programming languages HTML5, Java, and JavaScript. A basic understanding of other popular programming languages will be a great addition as well. 

 

Full stack developer

If you are proficient in both front end and back end coding, then settle for being a full stack developer and take full responsibilities of everything within a website or software program. Other than that, this career choice also demands you to acquire a bachelor’s degree, knowledge of popular computer languages, and supported soft skills such as problem-solving and vigilance. 

 

API engineer

API is a short for Application Program Interface. For this position, a bachelor’s degree is required along with the ability to create and apply computer languages such as Java, JavaScript, and HTML5. On top of that, you need to be able to design, apply, and monitor APIs using Representation State Technology (REST). 

 

Remote intermediate programmer

If you prefer to work alone and obtain the ultimate freedom in utilizing your coding expertise, you can consider a career as a remote intermediate programmer. This job requires you to analyze then fix defects, improve software features, and test changes. Other than a bachelor’s degree, a thorough understanding of Java, JavaScript, and Python is mandatory. A basic knowledge base of other programming languages 

 

IT security specialist

If you favor a role as a safeguard, consider a career as an IT security specialist. This job requires you to take charge in ensuring the safety of network systems. Specifically, you will build, install, and upgrade security software such as antivirus protection, as well as respond to privacy and security breaches in order to retain protection. In pursuing a career as an IT security specialist, you need to be proficient in public key infrastructure (PKI) and cryptographic protocols to secure systems. 

 

Database administrator

Although the term ‘database administrator’ might sound simple, a career in this job requires more than just administering databases. To become one, you need to be experienced in utilizing Java, Python, and Oracle PL/SQL programming languages. The general responsibility for this role is to troubleshoot storage issues and analyze to recover information

 

In a world defined by ongoing digital transformation, learning and mastering coding skills can open up many opportunities. Knowing your qualifications, as well as your personal preferences and abilities, will help determine your career choice. Happy coding!


Read Also: 3 Tips to Get Hired by Big Tech Companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.

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Early birds get the worm, the old adage said. But what about birds who just started learning how to fly? This metaphor can illustrate how experienced candidates and fresh graduates conduct their job search. Surely, these two are no equal comparison, as experienced candidates are more familiar with the industry compared to fresh graduates. Therefore, what does it take for you, as fellow fresh graduates, to land a job with little to no experience in the desired industry?

 

The answer is simple, yet very broad in meaning: potential.

 

Employers are well aware that fresh graduates cannot be compared to those who have graduated earlier and have more experience for a certain position. Thus, one thing worth looking for among fresh graduates is their potential for the long run. It is true that newbie candidates have a potential inside them. What makes some of them stand out among the others is the kind of potential they showcase: which one of them will grow the fastest? Which one of them will reach the highest peak of their abilities? 

 

As a newly graduate, one attitude you can live by and put into use to maximize your potential is the aptness for improvement. You need to understand where you are at, which is in the starting point towards more journeys ahead. Therefore, remember to tone down your ego and get rid of the thought that you already know it all, as this mindset will keep you from the willingness to learn. Fresh graduates are hired because of their openness towards growth, so remember to keep an open mind towards suggestions as this will help you improve better every day. 

 

Also read: Student-to-Employee Transition: What Can You Learn from an Internship? 

 

The next thing worth possessing as a fresh graduate is a zeal. Defined as an eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something, a zeal is one thing that can make you stand out as a fresh graduate. In showcasing this spirit, you need to master the skill of problem-solving. This means that you always know what to do in certain situations to solve problems that do not necessarily require an expertise in something or a certification. 

 

The ability to put the term “fresh” in fresh graduates into use by coming up with a groundbreaking problem-solving is one quality employers will surely favor. This also relates to the fact that a zeal can get fresh graduates to change the norms in a way that is beneficial to employers. As fresh graduates are not conditioned to certain behaviour or pattern, their ability to challenge the norms can get the company to keep up with the latest niche, thus leading to innovations and even efficiency gains. 

 

Having these said, fresh graduates are favored by employers when they are able to make use of the potential they have. In this ever-changing world, fresh graduates are expected to keep up with it for the sake of their employers. Stand out among other fresh graduates by showcasing your skill of problem-solving at any given time and strive to always improve for the better.

 

Also read: Students & Fresh Graduates’ Best Employers to Work for in 2021

Learn to Love How to Get the Most Out of Your Job

Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. In fact, working a job we love makes us content and everyone longs to find that perfect, meaningful job that is in line with our greatest passion. Having such work makes us spring out of bed every morning positively raring to go. Considering that we spend the majority of our lives at our jobs, it is crucial to find work opportunities that create personal fulfilment for ourselves.

But let’s reflect and ask this question: does following passion really make you live a fulfilling life? 

For some, following passion might do good, while for others, it might not be the case. Former Forbes contributor and entrepreneur Michal Bohanes wrote that ‘following your passion’ is dead. He said that “urging people to find their passion might lead them to find their eggs in one basket then to drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry”, meaning that following your passion equals following a fixed mindset. And fixed-minded people are much more likely to give up when an obstacle arises, thus hindering them to achieve greater success. 

Silicon Valley investor Ben Horowitz also mentioned that following a passion will not necessarily lead to happiness and success. Our interests can change over time and we can find meaning in so many ways. When we glorify a passionate calling, it leaves too many people out because of responsibilities that might outweigh their absolute freedom to choose something else. Hence, those people who glorify passion likely fail to live up to their potential because they are choosing to prioritise the other things that matter in their life. 

See also: 6 Practical Ways to Find Hidden Job Opportunities

These opinions are not to say that passion does not matter. The key takeaway is that you should not blindly follow your zeal wherever it leads, nor should you necessarily make career moves based on things you love the most. 

Learn to love the job you have…

As Steve Jobs advised, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” When you love your work, this will affect productivity and performance. When enjoying what you do, you are more likely to be optimistic, motivated, learn faster, make fewer mistakes, and make better business decisions. 

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi believed that being able to enjoy one’s work is the main factor in getting into a state of flow. If you can create a passion for the work, you will be energised, giving you more fuel to put towards success. The trick is figuring out how to make yourself love your work – even the most tedious of tasks. 

Some simple yet practical things you should do to ensure you enjoy your job include: 

  • Work with your supervisor to set goals. Work can feel like a real bore if you do not feel like you have something to strive for. 
  • Make a list of things you want to improve because you cannot begin solving a problem until you define it. 
  • Figure out what makes you choose that job in the first place, ensure you have a growth mindset when putting in this thought, such as for development over money. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for support. If you feel overwhelmed, swamped with work or are struggling with a particular aspect of your job, do not be afraid to consult a trusted co-worker. 
  • Expand your network to help you build a support system that you can consult or simply commiserate with when times get tougher. 
  • Don’t waste the benefits your employer gives you. For example, if there is gym membership, enrol yourself because a fit body means better focus. If your employer covers self-care practices, make sure you join one or a few of them.
  • Create a vibe that will make you productive, such as if you are easily distracted, you can put away a pile of paper or your toy under the table. 

…and build a mission for better success and life fulfilment. 

Developing useful skills, making a meaningful impact through your work, producing something of value, understanding and shaping your place in society – none of this might sound glamorous as chasing your innermost interests. However, these less attractive things lead to a far better quality of life. You can be really good at what you do and derive satisfaction in that – even if you do not absolutely adore it. Don’t let yourself be controlled by the glamour of “following passion” and be satisfied where you are at now. 

Read also: Industries with the Most Job Opportunities in 2021

Your Personal Brand Matters - Here’s How to Build It  

In a world of fast passing fads, quickly evolving trends, and short attention spans, aspiring leaders should care more in building up and strengthening personal brand to help them stand out from the noise. A personal brand is an extension of who you are and what makes you different from others. It is what makes you memorable and unique – something that will likely stick in people’s mind after you leave the room.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos 

Why does personal branding matter?

Some people might correlate personal branding as a person’s identity as it is within an individual, encompassing one’s passions, strength, and purpose in the world. Numerous experts believe that developing personal brand is essential for the advancement of career and development as a leader. In today’s competitive world, having a unique personal brand can get you hired for your next job or help boost your own business projects. 

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43 percent use social media to check on current employees. The survey also cited that personal branding is beneficial from the employer’s perspective. Thus, employers often prefer to hire candidates who have a strong personal brand. 

See also: Passion vs. Paycheck: Which One Should You Pursue?

The growing gig economy also contributes as one of the reasons why personal brands are valuable. Diane Mulcahy told the Washington Post that the gig economy is big and getting bigger. Companies will do just about anything to avoid hiring full-time employees. Add to that the fact that there is no job security anymore, workers are increasingly aware that they need to work differently if they want to create any sort of stability for themselves. For example, strengthening their own brand so that they can progress in a competitive world of gig economy. 

So, how does one build a personal brand that stands out? 

Personal branding is an ongoing process of establishing an image in the mind of others. It can be done online and/or offline, for example via social media, networking, forum, etc. Here are tangible ways to build up and strengthen your personal brand: 

  1. If you are new to the world of work, you should develop a bio statement. Make it appealing by using positive words arrangements. If you are an expert in one area, it will be great if you have a slogan to brand yourself. But remember, personal branding is not a resume. Your personal statement gives a snapshot of who you are, what you do, and what value you bring to others. Personal brand statements are usually three to four sentences long and clearly communicate the vision of your personal brand. 
  1. You do not need to be an active social media influencer but be present on social media. It is the 21st century where there is no reason to not subscribe to social media channels. You can, for example, follow someone or a group of your choice to get a better look at how professionals do their job. It will be great if you reach out to your chosen influencers on social media and build a professional relationship with them. You can both expand your network and get free lessons from experienced people. 
  1. Be an attention grabber, talk about what makes you interesting. You might think that networking topics in business are around projects, professionalism, and things that are associated with work. But that is not necessarily true. Great networking also talks about passion, hobbies, personality traits and other things that will make you look interesting in the eyes of others. 
  1. Identify your core values and put them into action. For example, if you care about social causes, find opportunities to volunteer at a local organisation that supports and advocates for these causes. Actively looking for platforms that match your passions and traits will help you connect more with like-minded people. 
  1. Attend industry events - obviously because attending an event expands your networks for professional development. The more you expand your network, the more you position yourself for opportunities. 

Whether you are a job seeker actively looking for a job, an employee who looks for promotion, or an entrepreneur who wants to expand your business, you should always be mindful to have a good, authentic personal brand. Personal branding is more important now than ever because first impressions matter, be it in the professional worlds or personal life. 

Read also: 3 Tips to Get Hired by Big Tech Companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.

Passion vs. Paycheck Which One Should You Pursue 

When you were young, what was your ambition? It must be something simple. We as children can do anything we are interested in, no need to worry about food and school tuitions. But as we grew older, things changed. We need to buy our own food, pay our own university tuitions, pay bills, etc. Money becomes important because everything comes with a tag price. Some of us might no longer be supported financially by our family. And as we become an adult and bear more responsibilities, we might encounter more dilemmas – should we work for passion or paycheck?

It is an eternal struggle for almost everyone out there. You will always see someone who earns more, someone who loves their job more, or someone who is happier than you. And that is when you question yourself – why do you work?

Passion

It is a very noble reason to be working for passion, because it hearkens back to a more idealistic time of your life, when a career means doing something you loved. But passion does not always equate to success, materialistically or otherwise. That is because the reason for work is altruistic – you do your job because you want to. And because of that, so much of yourself is invested in your work that success is so much sweeter, but failures will sting harder and closer to the heart than if you did your job for a paycheck.

We all have to pay our dues, and when failures accumulate, it is natural to look on the other side of the fence. See all our peers who work purely for income. And realise that their salaries are so much higher than your own. There will come a time in your life when you equate your self worth to your net worth – and you will ask yourself: Is this worth it?

See also: Key Skills Needed to Survive the 21st Century

Paycheck

Working for cold, hard cash is the answer, then. It is a practical, respectable reason for work. Our parents had only one rationale for employment, to support themselves and their families. Indirectly or directly, they passed that mentality to us. Working for money is good, moral, a Confucian ethic.

However, as you work for money, you slowly realise that money has a cost. Your time. You are using the time to pay for your money. Time that could be used to pursue your interests or to spend time with loved ones. Most importantly, time could be used to develop yourself as a person.

It is nice to have this nest egg. But one day you will look at your bank account, and you will wonder if it is all worth it when other people seem to be happier doing what they are passionate about, for so much less.

Is it passion or paycheck you should care about during young adulthood?

The reasons for work are not so binary. Other people stay on in their companies because they love their colleagues and the environment. Some stay in their jobs simply because they do not know what else to do. Many stay and work because the company offers them a good work-life balance.

But all happy people have one thing in common. They know what is important to them and pursue them. You see, no two people are alike. Money might be important to some individuals, but interest might be more important to some others. Having time to spend with family might be important to one, but good colleagues might be more important to another.

So, what’s important to you?

Different people value different things in life. Sports, friends, family, religion, money, passion, power, prestige – the list goes on. It is identifying what is important to you that is the key to happiness. The question is not whether to work for passion or paycheck, but whether you are working to fulfil the goals that make you happy.

Ask yourself what is important to you. If you do not know, try. It is completely OK to make mistakes, to try every possible reason to work, and to not have all the answers. That is what life is about. But once you know what is important to you, everything will fall in place. And then you will not just be working for passion or paycheck. You will be working for your own happiness.

Read also: How to Tell: Are You in the Wrong Career, or Just Lazy? 

What Should You Do and Say in Virtual Career Fairs 

Career fairs, also known as job or recruitment fairs, are usually organised by universities in a large hall where potential employers can set up booths to attract – and probably hire – potential graduates. If you attend a career fair, you are free to ask any questions to prospective employers, take notes, and take any promotional materials employers offer. These are sources you can use to find a job and get hired in your dream company. But if you do not find your dream company in the career fairs, don’t lose heart. You can always apply to other potential employers as a stepping stone.

Since it is difficult for universities to hold a job fair in today’s pandemic situation, they are switching their physical job fairs to virtual ones. You can search these virtuals job fairs on platforms like eventbrite.com, indeed.com, jobfairsin.com, jobfairx.com, and many more. 

Is attending physical job fairs different from virtual ones? 

The only difference is that you should prepare a stable internet connection and be ready with some questions. At physical job fairs you can directly ask employers any questions and see demonstrations from them. At virtual job fairs, you can do pretty much the same. Employers will meet job seekers and discuss employment opportunities – but in order to not lose a chance, you need to prepare a stable internet connection. 

Virtual job fairs will be like attending a webinar or online discussion posts. After logging in, you can “enter” various rooms within the virtual career fair website. Each room houses different employers participating in the job fairs. When you enter a room, employers will receive a notification and greet you via a chat function. If there are others in the virtual room, you are welcomed to join the chime or opt to chat privately with an employer. Employers might even want to video chat with you face to face if they find you are a potential candidate. 

See also: 3 Tips to Get Hired by Big Tech Companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.

So the basics are similar, but what should you prepare before the career fairs? 

Before attending a virtual career fair, you should be prepared like you are going to attend a job interview. Here is the list: 

  • Update your resume or cv. It will be better if you have a web-based portfolio so employers can check directly during one-on-one sessions. 
  • Update your LinkedIn profile. Most employers might refer to the LinkedIn platform for professional references. 
  • Register ahead of time and find information about the organisations that participate in the career fairs. Deepen your knowledge of the organisation(s) that interests you the most. 
  • Practice your pitch. How will you introduce yourself? Why are you interested in the company? What types of positions are you seeking? How is your work experience? What do you plan on asking the representatives at the virtual events? 
  • Make sure you have a stable connection and reliable tools, such as a speaker/headphones and camera. 

You’ve prepared everything and are ready to join the crowd

What Should You Do and Say in Career Fairs 

Once you log in, you should know how to stand out from the crowd. A job fair is like a competition between you and other candidates. If you are not giving it the best, you will be set aside. Here’s some advice: 

  • Wear a professional outfit – just like how you will attend a job interview in a company. Virtual presence is no difference. 
  • Attend from a distraction-free environment. A quiet location is ideal and camera capabilities mean that you want to ensure it is distraction-free for employers. This could also tell employers, “I am ready”. 
  • Be ready to put yourself out there. Introduce yourself once an employer engages you in a chat. Ask questions about the organisation and open positions. As an attendee, you must present yourself to employers and feel confident doing so. But don’t be overconfident as it might make you look arrogant. 
  • Use clear, professional business communication. Grammar matters and fluency matters. 
  • Demonstrate strong body language to present yourself as a confident and competent job seeker. 
  • Ask for the next steps and contact information at the end of a conversation. 

What kind of questions should you ask? 

As mentioned earlier, “you are free to ask any questions to a prospective employer”. However, ‘any’ does not mean all the things you have in mind. You should not ask about the employer’s personal life. Asking general questions such as “what open position do you have right now?” shows that you are unprepared. Instead, you can start off by asking these questions as proposed by some experts

  • I noticed the job description for (open role) listed (some vague items) in the responsibilities. What do you mean by that? 
  • I don’t have a traditional background in (field or function) but have worked on (something relevant). Would that be a good fit for the position? 
  • Is the (open role) you currently have listed more focused on (some functions) or (some function) 
  • What does the hiring process for (open role) look like? 
  • How long have you been at the company? 
  • What are some of the challenges you have faced in your role or at the company? 
  • What do growth and development look like at (name of the company)?
  • How does (name of the company) work to upskill and reskill its employees? 
  • What kind of person is most successful at (name of the company)? 
  • Do people hang out outside of work on a regular basis? 
  • What kind of culture is there around feedback at (name of the company)? How do people like to give and receive feedback? 
  • What is the best way to stay in touch with you? 
  • Who can I follow up with about (open role)? 

Be enthusiastic and don’t forget to say thank you. If interested, soon you should apply for the position you discussed and notify the company representative you met with at the fair that you have done so. Include a headshot with your email to the representative to increase your chance of getting hired. 

What Should You Do and Say in Career Fairs 

Read also: Student-to-Employee Transition: What Can You Learn from an Internship?