pexels-photo-210661

Just like a resume, a cover letter is a weapon to “sell yourself” to the hiring managers. What differs between the two are the format and content. Resume is a brief description of your cover letter. In cover letter, you should write in detail about personal information and professional quality in order to attract recruiters to shortlist your job application.

Tim Windhof, an executive resume writer at Windhof Career Services in Columbus, Ohio, advices that your cover letter should address the following: how you learn about the opportunity, how your qualifications match the job requirements, your possible availability in the area and how you can be contacted. In brief, your cover letter must describe “why it should be you and not others”.

Take a look at the following tips on how to write an appealing cover letter for successful job search:

01 Choose wording that mirror the ad language  

Before writing a cover letter, you should review the job ads carefully and underline the main points. If your cover letter will be read by hiring managers, they are more likely to skim brief at first to see whether you are a good fit or not. You can increase your chance of getting shortlisted when your cover letter matches most requirements listed in the job ads.

Don’t embellish your qualifications if you don’t really meet the requirements. Only write down real information and present yourself in the best manner by describing as many qualities as you can. You never know which qualifications employers value most.

02 Pay attention to readability

This is important as a cover letter written in readable format will likely to win employer’s heart. In a cover letter, you should only use business letter format. This will make the recruiter to only focus on your content rather than on the writing style. Business letter format usually comes along with 1” – 1.5” margins, 12-point font, professional font, uniform alignment (justify).

03 Address it to specific person

Do your homework and find out who will be responsible to receive and check your job application. Calling or sending email to the contact person provided in the job ads can be an effective way to get such information. You can also ask questions or confirm certain information related to the job opportunity to the right source instead of wondering around.

If you are sending the cover letter via post mail, make sure to write both the employer’s and your address. It usually contains first and last name, street address, city, state zip, and postal code, phone and email for applicant.

Example:

Your Name

Address

City, State, ZIP code

Your phone number

Your email address

 

Date

 

Name of Hiring Manager

Name of Company or Organization

Street Address

City, State, Zip Code

On the other hand, if you send the cover letter via email, you can simply start by writing the hiring manager’s name. This is much better than writing with to whom it may concern. Yet, in a situation where you can’t find the name of the hiring manager or head of HRD, you can address your letter to “Dear Hiring Manager.” It’s a better choice than starting with Dear Sir/Madam.

04 Brief introduction

In this part, you should start with when and where you find the job opening. Make sure to specify job position that you want to apply, especially when the company post multiple job positions. Make it into a paragraph that contains two to four sentences.

05 Compelling content

To grab the hiring manager’s attention, you should start by writing your educational background, followed by your achievements such as related training or internships you have completed and work experiences. However, if you are a fresh graduate with no job or internship experience, you can emphasise other skills such as organisational, leadership, or even time management skill, etc.

You can write it in two to three paragraphs for the content. However, you should not be wordy or  spill too much information. Sometimes, giving too much information can hinder you from getting the job offer.

06 A-Okay closing

Always finish your cover letter by asking for an interview and reiterating how much you want to proceed to the next step of hiring process. Also, do not forget to always provide your phone number so the recruiter can contact you with ease.

07 Signature

Always give signature to either written or email cover letter. Use complimentary closing sentence such as best regards, regards, sincerely, yours respectfully, etc. In a written letter, just simply write your full name. Meanwhile in an email, always type your name followed by contact information.

Example:

Sincerely,

(your signature)

Your full name

Mobile: (66) 987-98787

Email: andie@andiejone.com

08 Proofread, proofread, and proofread

Lastly, you should give the right amount of time to proofread your work – in this case, your cover letter, maybe two or three times proofreading. Find out spelling or grammar errors that might lessen your chance from getting shortlisted. Again and again, cut out the flowery words as too much description or information will make your cover letter look unprofessional. As best as possible, keep your cover letter only in one page.

Read also: Passion versus Skill: What Comes First in a Job Search?

beautiful-colleagues-facial-expression-1430367

Finding yourself trapped in a toxic work environment can be a stressful experience. You cannot even fake a smile as you need to struggle and survive when working under negative atmosphere at work. As stifling as it might be, leaving the job is not an option as well, given that you might be working with certain contract system that makes you unable to leave any time or you find it difficult to land a new job in today’s tough economic conditions. At the end of the day, you have no choice but to brace yourself and stay in the company until you can find better solution .

Maintaining professionalism in the toxic workplace is a challenge. Cheri Torres, a business leadership coach and an author, says that employees cannot work at their best in a distasteful workplace, while their mental health and wellbeing is at risk as well. So how to minimise such risk and stay productive in a toxic work environment?

Here are some tips to help you cope with a stressful life at the workplace:

01 Set boundaries

Limit yourself when interacting with the toxic people or environment around you. You might not realise it but if you still find yourself hanging around in an environment with negative vibes, eventually you will turn to be one of them as the environment you are living in can shape your personality and behaviour.

Of course, you don’t want to change who you truly are, let alone becoming one of those toxic employees. In this case, you should surround yourself with positive energy and if possible, stay far away from or limit your interaction with negative environment as well as the people who create it.

02 Don’t expect people to be nice

You cannot control what people say or do to you. You can, however, control how you react to such action. You should find a way out of that situation by accepting people’s behaviour around you. The sooner you accept that, then the better you can adapt and know where you should stand within the setting. This realisation will help empower you to improve your wellbeing at work. The point is, if you cannot control people, then learn how to control yourself because anger cannot solve anything, it will only give you regret.

03 Self-talk to yourself

Have you ever tried to talk to yourself?

Well, many people already did this and the impact is amazing. Self-talk can be either good or bad for your mental health because the source of this talk is yourself. Doing a self-talk can increase your mental well-being as you can try to spend few hours motivating yourself and let the positive attitudes come in your way. You can also take a walk around the office space and observe the good things by yourself; this will regain the positive energy in your mind. Besides, this simple practice can affect your daily life and can be your mood booster at work.

04 Reach out for help

Another thing you can do when stuck in a toxic work environment is to reach out for help. You might feel embarrassed to admit that but by asking for other’s opinion, you can find another way out from someone else’s perspective. It is good to talk to trusted colleague or friends even though they aren’t working in the same company as you. You can either get solutions for your problem or at least get someone to listen to your problems.

05 Take it as a lesson  

See your current condition as a part of learning experience. If you cannot deal with the toxic environment anymore, you can take it as a good learning experience. People say “the struggle you are in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow”, meaning that personal strength can be built from difficult situations. Pay close attention to the situation, for instance you can learn from the bad management that you never want to do twice or your leader’s behaviour that you don’t want to imitate when you become a leader someday. Take as much necessary as the lesson you can and utilise it to achieve your own self-growth.

Next read: Got an Interview? Get Rid of These 9 Behaviours

1816-min

Finally, you get the opportunity to take one step closer to your dream job: an interview. Coming to the company building with all confidence you could muster, suddenly you find your palms producing excessive sweat while your breathing gets heavier. You get anxious as you study the questions and answers you have prepared last night, over and over again. To calm down, you try to convince yourself by whispering these sentences, I have prepared everything, I know everything about this company, I am qualified for this job, and My resume is good enough.

You finally overcome your anxiety, but is that enough to get you ready for the interview?

Maybe, because the fact that the hiring manager invites you for an interview means that your resume has caught his interest. However, more than good resume and excellent hard skills on paper, you need to demonstrate great soft skills too. In that case, you should get rid of these 9 behaviours in order to get accepted in the job you have always wanted:

 

  • Come late

It goes without saying that arriving late to a job interview can lessen your points in front of your employer’s eyes. Therefore, if you realise that you have a morning interview scheduled in the next day, you should prepare yourself by setting the alarm, waking up early, and getting ready for it.

Also, it is so important to not skip your breakfast. Why? Because, Lisa De Fazio, a healthy-lifestyle expert, said that breakfast is an important meal of the day. When you skip your breakfast, your blood-sugar level will go lower and it will affect your attention span which later will lessen your focus. As consequent, you cannot do your best during the interview.

 

  • Ignore the body language

During a job interview, putting your hands on the table is okay but not recommended; as it is better to put your hands on your lap to look more professionals. You should also mind other body language such as eye contact, heads, facial expressions, body postures, and handshakes. Poor body language can reduce your chance of getting the job as the interviewers pay attention to all your moves.

Aside from that, according to Gillett in Business Insider, among the biggest mistake people do during an interview is that they tend to “wishing that the job interview will end soon.” That being said, frequently checking your watch or looking at the clock will make it seem like you are eager to leave the interview room soon.

 

  • Poor word choices

Don’t use foul language! You might be excited because getting a job interview for the position you always want is a rare opportunity and you blurt out saying some foul words. Accidentally saying swearing words can indicate that you are a careless person and unable to calmly and thoughtfully deal with a situation. Therefore, you should be careful when you speak.

 

  • Showing boredom

Waiting for your name to be called and interviewed is boring. Everybody can relate to this. So how will you overcome the boredom while waiting? Checking your phone? Play online game? Or texting?

Most people will do the things mentioned above. Why? Because those activities help them overcome their boredom and pass the time. However, doing those things above will only make you look unprofessional and the recruiter might think that it is a good idea to remove you from their candidates’ list.

What else can you do, then? Show that you are genuinely interested to work for the company by reading the magazine or brochure commonly provided in the waiting room.

 

  • Being too informal

Let’s talk about the dress-code. You should not choose a “too formal” or “too informal” dress because your attire will tell a lot about whether you want to be taken seriously or not.

Dressing too informal will tell the recruiter that you have less interest in the company. On the other hand, wearing too formal clothes tells the employer that you do not research the company’s custom well enough so you might not be a good fit for the job.

 

  • Bringing too much stuffs

Bring only what the recruiter asks you to bring, most will only ask you to carry a copy of your resume and portfolio. Bringing too much stuff in your hands to the room can tell the recruiter that you are an unorganized person. So, leave everything else such as your water bottle or handphone in the car so you can be free to shake hands with potential employers.

 

  • Speaking too much

Stop being over confident! Naturally, people tend to talk more than needed because they want to impress the recruiters that they have certain skills and talent. Well, that is not a good thing to do as the interviewer might see you as long-winded candidate. Owing to which, it is crucial to always think before you speak, just keep it simple, give the interviewer an opportunity to ask you questions and only answer with relevant responses.

 

  • Being too grueling

Asking questions during an interview is important as it will show that you are interested in actually landing the job. However, only ask certain questions that will help you increase your employment opportunity such as, “How do you measure success in this company?” For that reason, you can list questions based on the job position you are applying before attending the interview.

 

  • Being shy

Lastly, you should swipe away your shyness. Being nervous 15 minutes before interview is normal. However, you should not show that shyness during the interview. Shyness can indicate that you are insecure and incompetence. A Harvard Business School professor, Amy Cuddy, suggested that if you are a shy person, you can use that to take your time before answering. She said “slowing down and pausing signals indicate that you feel comfortable, that you are deserve to be there, that you respect this interaction, that you are engaged, and that you are interested.”

Read also: Reality Bites: What to Do When Things Don’t Go as Planned

 

 

 

26264-min

As Albert Einstein once said, “Failure is success in progress.” How many times have you faced failure in your life? Be it in your personal or professional life, there are times when failure is something you cannot avoid. As painful as it might be, you keep trying and doing it all over again. However, at the end of the day, you cannot help feeling tired of doing the same things to no avail. Finally you choose to stop trying, forget the goals, and create a new target. But alas, the luck is not on your side. What should you do, then?

People with whom you share this story might respond and say, “Do not give up” or “Learn from your past mistake.” They might not understand your struggle but at least it can cheer you up. However, you remain feeling stuck and do not know whether you should continue or take a break from your career. When everything do not go as planned, you can relax for a bit and apply this simple plan to keep you going:

Plan A: Take a deep breath

This is the very first yet simple plan you should always have on top of your list. To always breathe everything out, you should have relaxed and peaceful mind before starting everything. By doing so, you will be able to think more clearly, such that it can help you come up with a better career plan and find the way out of all the failed plans that you have done.

Plan B: Stop being such a procrastinator

Let’s be frank. If you are an acute procrastinator and unwilling to leave your comfort zone, you better stop reading BUT if you do want to change, now is the time. While people procrastinate from time to time, you should know that turning procrastination into a permanent habit is not a good thing for your productivity. While you are lazily lying down, people are busy chasing their dreams. Time waits for none, so start your move NOW.

Plan C: Stop being Sluggish

If you want to work things out but you do not want to work towards it, your plans will fail EVERY TIME. Here is the golden principle: when you plan to change a behaviour, you should do it on repeat for 2 weeks or a month. During those times, you will get used to the new custom and it will grow to be a habit. It goes the same as when you want to reach certain goals, you should persistently work on but you should be flexible regarding how to achieve it.

Plan D: Be flexible

Being flexible means you should be able to adapt and adjust yourself in every situation. If you have set certain target in your career journey, you should prepare more than two plans to achieve it. For example, when you apply for your dream job but receives no calls or notification emails for weeks, should you just apply to different company? Maybe. But what if the same things happen again? Will you just wait and do nothing, or should you change the strategy?

Well, the key is to be flexible. Find any potential gap that fails you, such as maybe your CV is not appealing or your skills do not match with the position you are applying apply. Here, you should either learn a new skill in order to achieve your dream role or change your career destination altogether.

Plan E: Stop expecting too much

There is a phrase saying, “Stop expecting, expectation always hurts.” Well, this could be true. Here is an example, your boss asks you to give a presentation about a new product. Feeling anxious about the responsibility, you tell your trusted workmates what you feel but instead of giving words of support, you hear them talking about how incompetent you are and that you do not deserve to be in your position now. As consequences, now you feel worse because the one you trust betrays you.

In this case, you should not always expect too much. Yet, from this experience you gain good lesson regarding your coworker’s personality and learn that you can not depend on anyone but yourself. The only thing that you can do is that you should stop being emotional about the unexpected situation and be responsible of the decision that you make. Also, you should always think positively and do not let negativity consumes you.

Plan F: Write more plans  

As mentioned earlier, you should have more than one plan in order to achieve your goals. In this case, you should sit quietly, think clearly, and write everything in your mind. Do not spend too much thinking whether A is possible or B is impossible. Then, you will need to sort out your plans from easy to difficult or vice versa so you can manage your next step wisely and adjust yourself with it.

Towards the end, the most important advice is that you should DO your plans. Best of luck.

Read also: Brainstorm Your Way to Your Destination Dream Job

 

Thanks God It’s Friday! After buckling down on an important project for the whole week, weekend finally comes and it should be the time to rejuvenate yourself after all the hectic weekdays. However, instead of relaxing, you cannot stop thinking about your unfinished project and getting worried about the upcoming deadline. Without realising it, your mind has always been occupied with work-related matters that makes you unable to enjoy your time-off. Even worse, you might end up using your holiday to get back to your tasks.

While you want to be a professional with astounding loyalty and commitment towards your job, it does not necessarily mean you should sacrifice all your lifetime for work. Taking work stress home will not only ruin your mental health as it overwhelms your mind and makes you restless, but also damage your body as it steals your sleeping hours that will lead to sleep deprivation. What should you do, then?

Every now and then, you should leave work matters at work and maintain good work-life balance. Here’s how you can achieve a peace of mind during your day-off:

Create a to-do list

Most people start to worry about their incomplete tasks right before the end of the day. When the clock shows the time is 5 pm, they have just realised that there are still a lot to do. This is most likely to happen when an employee does not have good time management. To deal with it, you can jot down a brief list of what you have to do for the next morning in your notebook. This way, you will be less bothered about the job matters as you have prepared for tomorrow’s schedule. Close the note and make sure you don’t open it again until the next morning. Besides task-related list, you should also create a list about what you will do exactly after you exit the office door. You can write any meaningful activities such as having exercise, making dinner, doing your hobby or other activity to fill your spare time.

Make another project

To divert your attention and stress about work, you can busy yourself to do other meaningful activities that will make you feel happy and refreshed. For example, you might want to change your room layout, have the wall repainted, take care of your garden, learn a new language, or anything else which needs your focus. However, you should keep in mind that this other project will not add up a new burden for you.

Don’t be alone

When people are alone, it is easier to have their minds wandering around and thinking about a lot of things, including their incomplete assignments. When it happens, you should find other person to talk to. You should go out of your room and have a quality time with your family. Or, you can call your friends and hang out with them. Talking about your job matters for minutes is okay to reduce your burden, but you cannot ruin your quality time with your beloved ones by lamenting the matters all the time.

Stay away from your working devices

There is a common pattern: you receive an email notification, then you open it and accidently you see other emails related to work. After that, you feel disturbed by the fact that you have not finished the report requested by a client two days ago. As a result, you cannot enjoy your holiday and choose to open your laptop and work on that report. To prevent this from happening, it is important to stay away from your working devices such office laptop or mobile phone. When you have an office account on your own mobile phone, you can turn the notification off until the next day you go back to work.

Article first appeared in HR in Asia.

Next read: 5 Questions to Consider Before Making Career Changes

man-walking-on-a-road_1134-488

You might be thinking about switching careers when the door of opportunity opens and offers you something better than your current position. Not to mention, lately you come to a bitter realisation that your current career offers you neither room for improvement nor path to grow. When trapped in a situation with no-no solution, there are good chances that you would be more than excited to move on soon and leave your company for good. But then again, you cannot neglect the fact that there are some unavoidable risks if you choose to change careers and you start to rethink the decision.

At some point in life, people will eventually make a career switch. In fact, it is rare to find someone who instantly fits into one job and makes it their career for life. Most people change their career for a couple of times before settling down with a job. However, it cannot be denied that making a career change is a big decision that comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. When it is done without careful consideration, this can result in you going to have the same career stagnation in the new job. Even worse, you can end up being jobless when you are unable to handle the new role well.

To anticipate those risks, there are a few questions you should consider before making a career change:

What was the reason you choose this job?

When you realise that your current job could be a wrong choice, you should remember the reasons why you pick this job at the first place. When you can find the answer for this question and reflect what has gone wrong, you can avoid making the same mistake so you will have better prospective career in your next move. For example, if you realise that the only reason you stay in your current job is only due to its paycheck or compensation, then maybe you should not use the same reason to choose the next job.

What makes you want to leave this job?

Before you really leave your current job, you should observe the reason that makes you want to leave. You should make it clear whether it is internal factors such as you have unbelievable boss, impossible job roles, excessive workload, toxic coworkers and unhealthy working environment, or external factors such as you have new career interests or even bored with your current career. When you have found exact reason that makes you want to move on, you can review whether or not the reason can be fixed. For example if your reason is just boredom, there is big possibility that you still need to stay in your current career. However, you should make sure that you will not find the same issue in the next job.

What do you expect from your next job?

Most people who plan to pursue a new job only see the good sides of it. While everyone expects to have a better career journey ahead where everything runs smoothly, it is no less important to consider about the new challenges you will face as well. While you always wish the best for you to happen, you cannot fully rely on your expectation. You should always get ready to face unwanted circumstances so you will not be easy to get down when something unpredictable comes to you.

What prevents you from moving on?

Sometimes, your plan to switch careers will just stuck as ‘a plan’ as you find some aspects are preventing you from making it into reality. To deal with this, you should write a list of things that might block your step and solve it one by one. For a start, you can begin from the easiest one. However, when you find that all obstacles make it impossible for you to move on, you should set up another tangible plan.

What is your plan B?

Failure is never wanted but it might happen to everyone. There is possibility that you are not accepted in the new job or fired on the first week, you don’t get what you expect in the new job, and other bad events you never expected to happen. At this point, you should prepare an alternative plan for those possibilities. Do not let your career change ruin your life just because you do not prepare it well.

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

top-view-portrait-of-woman-lying-at-desk-near-the-laptop_1163-2127

Are you currently seeing yourself losing motivation and lagging behind your coworkers at work? Or, do you begin to hate your job and think about seeking for new career? If you find yourself trapped in similar situation, there are two possibilities to explain your condition: either you are in the wrong job, or just lazy.

There is difference between being stuck in a job and simply being sluggish. While those two conditions have similar symptoms, they have totally different impact to one’s career life. As they have different impact, you should also prepare different actions to deal with the condition. You should switch jobs if you are sure that you have been choosing the wrong career. But, you just need to find the right way to motivate yourself if you are just lazy.

Here’s how you can tell whether you have been working on the wrong field or just having hard times at work:

It is a wrong career:

If you fail to improve your skills despite your hard-work

When you have good intention and make real efforts to improve yourself at work but you always find failure, it could be a tell-tale sign that the job is not destined for you. Despite having worked hard to hone your skills in certain field, you feel that you are going nowhere while your coworker is getting a promotion already. Possible reason for this condition could be owing to your lack of passion for the job. Some skills do not only need theory and practice to develop, but also passion. When this happens, it will be better to figure out your true passion and change career.

If the work ruins your life balance

The wrong job might get you work too hard until you cannot maintain your life balance. While you want to be a professional who love challenges and have dedication for work, sacrificing your private life for work is not the right way to start a career. It is not good to work overtime for the whole week or keep thinking about your task in the weekend, such that you have no time for yourself and your loved ones. Moreover, when you work burden makes you sick and you still think about it, it could be the right time to set up your moving steps.

If you find other interest that makes you more enthusiastic

When the first time you entered the job, you might have no idea about passion. You just picked the job as you believed that the job had good prospect and offered both financial security and stability. As time goes by, you learn that you can no longer find the reason why you should get up in the morning and go to work. Instead, you are more enthusiastic to learn about other things rather than your job. Before ruining your image because you are unable to focus on your job, you should plan resignation and move to the right career choice and follow your interest.

You are just lazy:

If you keep procrastinating

When you have some tasks which you know you can do it well but you choose to do it later while you actually are free, you might have fallen back on lazy habits. Instead of working on the stack of tasks and getting them done quickly, you choose to busy yourself doing something else to divert your boredom such as scrolling pointlessly on your social media, browsing unnecessary videos for fun, playing games and so on. When you find yourself in this phase, you should motivate yourself to get back to work and remind yourself the negative consequences of procrastination.

If you pretend to be sick to avoid pressure

If you are a lethargic individual, once you face a pressure, you tend to act like you are weak and clueless in getting the task done. At some point, you pretend to be sick while actually you are fine just because you do not want to go to the office and meet your boss. However, escaping from responsibility is not a habit that a professional does. Therefore, you should change this attitude or your career will never grow.

If you hate feedback

Whenever your boss complain about your performance, you will talk in your mind something like, “Yeah, I have already known about that”, as you actually know how to fix the problem. This demonstrates that basically you have no problem with the work, but rather your own attitude. The only problem lies in your own willingness to improve yourself.

Read also: 3 Important Tips to Ask a Job without Asking for a Job

business-conversation-design_1133-88

How is your job search going? When you are tired of the fact that your job hunting is yet to bear fruitful results, you must be thinking hard if there is another way to land a job. Fortunately, more than just sending your job applications to company and simply waiting for the interview invitation, there is one thing you can do to get one step closer to your dream career: build a network.

Many successful people have proved that having a wide network is not only beneficial for your social beings but also professional life. When you meet a successful friend in a school reunion or get to know prominent recruiter, you believe that it is a gold chance to ask them about an employment opportunity. The problem is, using question such as “Do you have any information about jobs suitable for me?” might sound the same as “Please find me a job”. Or another expression, “Are you hiring?” might sound more like “Please hire me”.

While it is true that you might really need a new job badly right now, you should not make it sound so desperate that then people hire you out of pity instead of seeing your skills and ability. Then how do you ask about job without asking for it? Check the following tips:

Research your network you will ask a job

The truth is, you cannot ask a job to all of networks or friends you have. Having network with many recruiters doesn’t guarantee that your job search will be easier either. Asking for a job vacancy to each of them will only waste your time, moreover if in the end, the recruiters who offer you a job are from the company you are not interested in. Therefore, it will be better if you know detailed information about the scope or business field of the person you network with. Choosing one or two person who are in the same interest with you will be more effective rather than asking jobs to many random people.

Define the job you are passionate about

The biggest mistake jobseekers commonly do when asking a job to their networks is they tend to say something like, “Tell me if you have a job, anything will do”. While you are jobless, you should not act like you will be suitable in any job. It will be better to let your network knows what you are passionate about. When asking a job, you can tell specific description, title, and department of the job you want. It is also good idea to talk about your experiences, skills and field you are interested in to open the conversation instead of abruptly asking a job.

Reject the job you don’t want without killing the conversation

If you directly reject a job offered by your friend or colleague in the middle of conversation, the next thing that will happen is that the conversation will end right away. When this happens, this creates an awkward atmosphere that might affect your relationship with them afterward. Therefore, to save the conversation, you should set up your rejection statement by expressing your gratitude and saying that the job will be in your alternative’s list. You can also ask about the completed information about the job, just in case your other friend needs it.

Read also: 4 Most Common Interview Questions about Your Previous Job

business-job-interview-concept_1421-77

After sending your job application to your dream company and waiting for days, finally a recruiter calls to invite you for an interview. With mixed feelings of both enthusiasm and anticipation, you are preparing yourself physically and mentally to face the interview session. Most interview tips found on the internet merely talking about how you should demonstrate eagerness  to join the company, the reasons why you apply for the jobs, as well as what makes you the best fit candidate for the position.

However, it is duly noted that while the hiring managers want to see your passion and potentials for the future job role, they might want to dig up your past employment, too.

There is no doubt that having a good track record in your employment history is beneficial for candidates. Recruiters often throw several questions regarding the candidate’s previous career to assess their suitability with the job offered. From the candidate’s answers, hiring managers can learn about their past behaviour and commitment towards the job, as well as predict their attitude and response towards particular circumstances if accepted.

Some people leave their jobs peacefully as they are simply encouraged to seek for better opportunity in other company. Some others might leave in less good smooth process due to a conflict or issue with their previous employer. Meanwhile, an interview is the time where you should emit positive energy instead of the negative ones. No matter how much you resent your previous job, you should not let such negativity stay on your mind. Telling bad things about your past employer will not make you look any better. Instead, your future managers will think that you are being disrespectful to your old boss. And thus, this will affect how they see your candidacy.

To prepare the right answer when asked about your past experiences, check the following list of most common questions related to previous job:

Why do you leave your job?

This question is meant to gauge your commitment at work. While the truth might say that you leave your job because you hate your demanding boss or toxic environment or even that you are fired for some reasons, you should not express it bluntly. Avoid using negative tones and choose more neutral words to share your reasons. For example, you can say that while actually you love the job, you believe that you will have better opportunity to make use your knowledge and skills in this company. You can say that all you expect to find better career path which you might not get in the previous job.

What do you learn from your previous job?

Recruiters want to see how candidates grab the opportunity to achieve personal development as well as their willingness to learn through this question. By knowing the interviewee’s capabilities, this question will help hiring managers see the candidates’ future potentials when offered the job at the company. To tackle this query, you can mention about both technical and soft skills you have gained from the previous job, while emphasising how those experiences have shaped your character.

Tell me the challenge and conflict you have faced in the previous job

This question aims to reveal your ‘survival’ skills at work, such as your attitude towards challenge, your mentality when dealing with problems and challenges, as well as how you handle pressure in a job. At this point, you do not need to exaggerate the answer to make it sound great or dramatic. The most important thing is that you just have to explain the actual problem, how it affects you, then how you solve and learn from it to do better.

How did your previous boss and your coworkers describe you?

The recruiter needs to know how you manage good relationship at work and adapt with the working environment. While actually you might not know exactly how your previous boss and coworkers see you as an individual, you can try to deter this question by praising your colleagues instead. For example, you can tell the hiring manager that they have solid teamwork and you are able to form good relationship with them. In the end you can say how you appreciate them and you believe that they appreciate you the same way.

Read also: Competing with a Friend: What to Do When You and Coworker Aim for the Same Promotion

two-men-pulling-on-a-rape_1112-380

Here’s the case: you have good chances of getting promoted by the higher-ups. Given that such opportunity does not come around often, you are determined to give your all and do the best. However, this might not be a smooth and easy fight, as you know that your close friend at work aims for the same spot. In such situation, which one will you choose? Ditch your friendship to snatch better career, or just forget the promotion opportunity to save the relationship?

At some cases, the unhealthy competition for a promotion becomes the source of team clash or conflicts among coworkers. The tension during such competition could ruin the friendship that has been built for years among employees. Not to mention, team members often find an awkward atmosphere when dealing with such circumstance. If not addressed well, this will influence the team’s performance in the future.

The key to deal in a case where you have to compete with your close friend is to sincerely keep a square and fair competition. Here are some tips to maintain the friendship during and after the promotion:

Have a candid talk

Typically, when two good friends are competing for the same promotion, they tend to be hesitant in telling each other that they aim for the position. The truth is, such silence is where conflict could rise. Therefore, all you need to do is to sit with your friend and have a candid talk about the matter. You can invite him to have a coffee together and discuss the issue. You should let him know that the competition should be held in fair way. Convince him that the final decision will not ruin the friendship nor the teamwork.

Put away your pride

In order to get a career promotion, candidates will do their best to obtain higher position. While you need to go the extra miles, it does not mean that you can behave arrogantly by showing off your skills and competences too much. Otherwise, appreciating your competitor’s achievement is a better way to show your good image. Only when you can respect, support, and help each other, the friendship and teamwork will remain solid no matter who will win the promotion. It is also important to note that dirty-playing will never be tolerated. Revealing your friend’s weakness to everyone can ruin both your friendship and your promotion efforts at the same time.

Respect the final decision

When the final decision is made, the competition might have been finished but both your coworker and you might still be awkward to each other. The winner could be torn between feeling happy as he can achieve his goal and sad as he has to his friend lose at the same time. On the other hand, while the one who loses tries to congratulate the winner, he might hide his disappointment about the result. Be it the winner or loser, you should not let yourself be swept in such mood for a long time.

To be the winner you should focus on how you manage the team while supporting your friend. Meanwhile, if the opportunity does not go to you now, you can support your friend’s leadership by being a good team member, as you also learn how to perform better for the next opportunity.

Read also: The Dos and Don’ts in Job Searching When You Are Still Employed