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

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

In the wake of COVID-19, fresh university graduates have seen tremendous challenges in job search. A survey from gradsingapore showed that nearly 80 percent of respondents think it will be tough to get a good job in 2021, while the other 26 percent intend to launch a start-up after graduation instead of working for an established employer. Job-hunting competition has also become more intense, with fewer than 70 percent of university graduates getting employed full-time in 2020. 

When asked what factors are the most important when choosing employers, survey respondents said that working under a good leader comes as the first important factors, followed by good career progression prospects, equal opportunities, job security, and personal development and growth. Meanwhile, the least important for graduates when choosing employers are status and prestige, attractive office location, attractive products and services, international interaction/opportunities, and driving innovation. 

Among the companies mentioned, the most desirable employer for fresh university graduates mentioned is Microsoft – a consulting, IT and technology firm, followed closely by the Ministry of Education, DBS Bank, Ministry of Health, and Mastercard as the top five on the list. Shopee, Amazon, 3M, Micron Semiconductor Asia, and J.P. Morgan ranks in the top 10 desirable companies to work for in 2021. 

See also: Industries with the Most Job Opportunities in 2021

Microsoft

Microsoft is a global tech company headquartered in Redmond, Washington, United States. In 2020, Microsoft Singapore is partnering with Digital Industry Singapore, Infocomm Media Development Authority, and SkillsFuture Singapore to upskill, place and fill the demand for its tech-enabled jobs. 

As of today, the company employs more than 10000 employees worldwide with revenue of approximately $10+ billion USD, according to Glassdoor. Most of the positive reviews on Glassdoor said that the company offers guidance from experts and talented people. With a great benefits package for employees, 90 percent of reviewers said they would recommend Microsoft Singapore to a friend. 

Ministry of Education 

Glassdoor reviewers rate the job in MOE with 3.7 stars as it provided stable job, competitive pay and bonuses. MOE also provides a great work-life balance; but there is a long working hour during school time and the work-life balance is somehow challenging. Interestingly, more than 50 percent of the reviewers would recommend MOE as a great employer to work for. 

DBS Bank

DBS Bank is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 18 markets, headquartered and listed in Singapore. In 2020, DBS Bank was named as the best bank in the world for financial publication Global Finance and the world’s best for its response to the global pandemic. 

Although DBS Bank got a 3.8-star review on Glassdoor, 71 percent of reviewer cited they would recommend the company as a great place to work. The firm has a positive review of having great work-life balance and a good working environment.  

Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is an innovative and people-centred organisation, committed to medical excellence. MOH works closely with government agencies, and public and private healthcare stakeholders to manage the public healthcare system. 

As of today, the company employs more than 500 to 1000 individuals and gets 3.9-star reviews, according to Glassdoor. “You can have a good work-life balance and all the colleagues are very nice,” wrote one reviewer. MOH also provides a pleasant working environment with long hours of work. 

Mastercard

Mastercard is a tech company focusing on the global payments business. Mastercard has a mission to connect everyone to Priceless possibilities. The company has also acquired several rewards, such as Best Place to Work in 2017, DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity in 2016, Top Companies for Women in 2013 through 2016, and more. 

Mastercard Singapore acquired 4.3-star reviews on Glassdoor. Nearly 90 percent of reviewers would recommend Mastercard to a friend as the firm provides a friendly work environment for personal development and great benefits package and salaries. 

For a full list of Singapore’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers 2021, please click here. 

Read also: 7 Hard Skills That’ll Guarantee You Job 

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? 

12 Industries with the Most Job Opportunities in 2021 

The COVID-19 crisis has made the world come to a halt. The employment sector in particular was hit hard, as companies ceased recruiting and some even laid off employees. At the same time, some brick-and-mortar stores were forced to shift and adapt to e-commerce practices because people were not allowed to leave their homes. Fortunately, after a few tough and challenging months, businesses are managing to bounce back and pivot their models.

According to the Seek report, there are a number of industries that are experiencing job growth in the wake of COVID-19. The period between August 2019 and August 2020 saw job ads decrease by 29.1 percent. However, through April 2020, the employment marketplace is reporting that job demand across all states are recovering at different rates, which some states are already returning to pre-COVID job ad levels. 

See also: 7 Hard Skills That’ll Guarantee You Job 

As per Seek report, there are 3 industries which have experienced the highest job growth, including Information and Communication, Technology, Human Resources and Recruitment, Banking and Finance industries. If you are looking for a new job or career, considering HR job or career in finance might be a good choice during the pandemic. If you want to try other careers, here are 10 industries with the most jobs to consider in 2021 (with job ad percentage change by industry)

  • Advertising, arts and media with job ads grow by 16 percent
  • Consulting and strategy with job ads grow by 13 percent 
  • Human resources and recruitment with job ads grow by 12 percent 
  • Legal with job ads grow by 11 percent 
  • Banking and financial services with job ads grow by 7 percent 
  • Farming, animals, and conservation with job ads grow by 7 percent 
  • Design and architecture with job ads grow by 6 percent 
  • Engineering with job ads grow by 5 percent 
  • Marketing and communications with job ads grow by 5 percent 
  • Government and defence with job ads grow by 5 percent
  • Information and communication technology with job ads grow by 4 percent 
  • Healthcare and medical with job ads grow by 1 percent 

New job opportunities are emerging and demand for certain jobs is rising. Don’t miss your chance because the right time to change is today! If you are looking for assistance in career change or growth, our partner Talentvis is here to help. Talentvis is a team of expert recruiters, helping job seekers navigate their current career landscape and find the perfect job. Talentvis could be the RIGHT partner for talents like you – collaborate today

Read also: Career Decision Making Tips for College Graduates 

Top 5 Careers to Consider for Recent College Graduates 

Hi grads, are you feeling stuck in your journey to find that first “real” job? 

Stepping out of college into the real world has never been easy. Fortunately, many college graduates are now being aided with basic work applications with training, apprenticeship, or internship during their college lives. With strong background and certification, getting into real work of work might become easier. Especially today, the world is in strong hiring mode so there will be a lot of opportunity to try. 

Here are 10 best entry-level jobs for recent college graduates based on a LinkedIn survey. LinkedIn has analysed its data on user-profiles and job openings to present, among other things, the list of the most popular jobs for new grads. 

  1. Healthcare 

Healthcare careers are part of the fastest growing industry for job growth and development in the world. This trend is expected to continue over the next decade, especially due to the current Covid-19 situation. Projections from the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics show that healthcare jobs are expected to increase by 18 percent from 2016 through 2026, meaning that the industry will add about 2.4 million new healthcare jobs. 

The top medical careers in demand include: 

  • physicians, 
  • registered nurses, 
  • physical therapists, 
  • respiratory therapists, 
  • home health aides, 
  • medical assistant, 
  • physician assistant, 
  • healthcare information technologist, and
  • pharmacy technician. 

See also: Job vs. Career: Life-long Adventure after Graduation 

  1. Retail 

While many retailers have been forced to make cuts to their workforce due to temporary or permanent closures caused by the pandemic, other retail companies are hiring thousands of workers to meet increased consumer demand.  According to LinkedIn, there are approximately 170K+ open entry-level jobs and 5K+ open internships in retail industries. 

  1. Software and IT services 

As companies scramble to adapt to a tight IT job market, they are doing whatever they can to attract top tech talent. For some that means getting a head start in filling their most in-demand roles, which range from data-focused to security-related positions. 

  1. Manufacturing 

It’s no secret that the manufacturing sector has a major impact on the world’s economy. For example, some companies and educational institutions opened their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders to highlight modern manufacturing. LinkedIn projected that there are approximately 65K+ open entry-level jobs and 3.5K+ open internships in this industry. 

  1. Education 

iCIMS survey revealed that the overall hiring trends from April to July saw increment by 70 percent. The education sector has picked up over the past several weeks but the number of hires made within that time period is still notably lower than expected. While LinkedIn noted that there are approximately 2K+ open internships positions graduates can apply and 35K+ open entry-level jobs that need to be fulfilled. 

Read also: Here is How Employers Determine a Newcomer’s Salary

Here is How Employers Determine a Newcomer’s Salary 

Did you just pass your first interview and now you are wondering what you should say on your salary negotiation?

First, congratulations on your smooth interview. Second, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll learn how employers offer salary to candidates they’d like to hire.

While most candidates expect a 10 percent to 20 percent salary increase during a job-switch, not every organisation is able to meet that expectation. Besides considering the candidate’s qualification; work experiences, current and expected salary, an organisation has to review their salary structure and internal equity to determine a salary offer.  These are usually not openly discussed, hence most candidates are not aware of such considerations at the back-end.

See also: Negotiating Your Salary The Wrong Ways

Salary Structure

Every established organisation has its own internal salary structure. Salary structure is created based on market data to ensure salary competitiveness within the same industry. This is also known as analyzing external equity.

Some companies might be more transparent than others on sharing their structures to candidates. Basically, each position in an organisation has its own grade or level and a salary range. The salary range will consist of a minimum pay rate and maximum pay rate. For a fully competent candidate, the most ideal and competitive rate will be at the median of the range.

A candidate who is new to a role typically receives a salary which is lower in the range while a very experienced candidate might receive an offer which is above the median.

Companies avoid offering salaries near the maximum pay rate since that would limit the salary growth of a candidate in subsequent years. Once an employee reaches the maximum within the salary range, they will enter the red circle and are no longer eligible for pay increase.

Internal Equity

An organisation also has to consider internal equity when determining the salary for a candidate.  Internal equity refers to reviewing current salaries of existing employees holding the same position and job responsibilities within an organisation. It ensures that employees are rewarded fairly across the organisation.

To illustrate the point of internal equity: there are two accountants – Sarah and Adam working in the organisation. Sarah earns $3000 a month and has a bachelor degree with 3 years of relevant experience; while Adam earns $5000 a month, has a bachelor degree with 5 years of relevant experience. After learning the gap of experience and pay, the hiring manager will likely offer $4000 per month salary for a candidate who has a Bachelor degree and 4 years of relevant experience in her/his previous organisation. This can be predicted based on internal equity where salary is calculated based on the candidate’s experience and education. 

As a job seeker, when receiving an offer whereby the salary is lower than your expectation, you should try to understand their pay philosophy. Companies might not be able to share all the information with you but you can obtain a better understanding of their pay structure if you pay close attention to what they offer during salary negotiation.

You should also consider the entire compensation package. Base salary is only one component so it is important to understand the other benefits or perks offered, such as additional allowances and bonus payout.

Most importantly, you should understand the growth opportunity within the organisation. If an organisation strongly believes in developing their employees, it will still be a worthy consideration over others that only offer a marginally higher salary.

Read also: Where Did All the Money Go? Smart Guide to Manage Your Salary

Networking: How to Make Yourself Memorable

Among the goals of every networking encounter is to leave a lasting positive impression. Not only a positive impression can help networkers to be more marketable, but it can also help establish and cultivate ongoing relationships with professionals in the field. For example, when you are remembered positively by someone, they will likely refer you as “contacts” and tell others about you, keep you updated on job leads, and provide you with valuable information about your field of interest.

The question is, how to make yourself memorable? 

The key to this is to grab the attention of your interlocutors as early as possible before their attention gets into something else. According to BBC Health, a person’s attention span varies depending on tasks, responsibilities, or time they have. Some might have a longer or shorter attention span. However, if you can tell a person the most important information that she/he MUST know about you in a few seconds (commonly 30-second), you’ll likely be remembered better. 

This interaction is known as 30-second pitch or the answer to the question “tell me about yourself”. A 30-second pitch is a brief introduction that tells a contact who you are and offers a few interesting and relevant details about your professional background and interest. It is more useful at public events, such as career expos and mixers, where networking encounters tend to be brief. An extended version of this conversation (your one-minute pitch) can also be used as an introduction in an interview. 

See also: Which One is More Important: Degree Certificate or Skill Certificate?

Your 30-second pitch should include the following elements: 

  • An introduction (give your name and current school/job as appropriate to the situation) 
  • Your relevant professional interests and the relevant aspects of your professional background 
  • The reason that are you interested in speaking with the contact
  • Your interest in having a follow-up conversation (inquire about the best way to get in touch with the contact in the future)

Here are other tips to get your 30-second pitch right and valuable:

  • Ask questions – Your pitch should feel like a natural, albeit succinct, conversation. Do not rattle off a list of your professional experience for 30 consecutive seconds. Instead, allow room for the contact to join the discussion. Feel free to ask a few strategic questions and listen carefully to their comments and respond accordingly. 
  • Be direct – Do not assume that your contact will make the right inferences about you. If you want them to know that you are passionate about healthcare reform, say, ‘‘I am passionate about health care reform.’’ 
  • Practice – While your pitch should never sound rehearsed or robotic, practising in front of a mirror and/or with another person will help you remember important information when you encounter an unexpected networking opportunity. 

Connection through networking is one of the best ways for you to get a job of your interest, thus remember to always use 30-second pitch tips. 

Read also: Informational Interview (Part 2): How to Interview Professionally?

6 Reasons Why Recruiters Avoid Hiring Candidates with Employment Gap 

Are you a dedicated job seeker but have an employment gap in your resume? Here’s what you need to know.

Job candidates with years of employment gap are often perceived as an inadequate candidate by recruiters. Difficulty of job placement is cited to be the number one reason why recruiters avoid employment gaps in resumes. Another reason is that individuals who work freelance or are out of work to pursue their own ventures are often seen as having a lack of responsibility. Here are some other reasons why employers avoid hiring candidates with years of employment gap in the resume. 

  • More training – Recruiters often avoid hiring a person with a gap in resume for a senior-level position because they might require training which could add more work for HR and teams. Higher position needs professionals to do the job, so talents with a gap might have a lower chance of getting hired here. 
  • Employment gap means a hard time to verify employment background and it will be an extra task for a hiring manager. 
  • Recruiters often perceive that when you are out of work, your skills might not be good enough. 
  • If you quit the job to build your own business and fail, a recruiter might think that you are not good enough on your own and it could be a weak point because an organisation would prefer hiring a reliable person. 
  • Hiring qualified talents with a gap in their resume is more costly than hiring freshers. Fresh graduates can be paid less because they have no work experience, while qualified individuals with gaps might demand higher pay.  
  • Recruiters often fear low performance, instability, or unreliability at work if they hire someone with years of an employment gap. 

See also: What To Expect during a Job Interview?

Don’t be discouraged just yet – how to handle employment gap 

There is a way for job seekers to get employed even when they stop working for years. One way to hide employment gaps without lying is to use a Functional Resume. Concentrate on your skills and accomplishments and downplay when and where you did them. However, there are times when employers or headhunters ask you for a chronological resume or a separate work history. If this is the case, jump to trick number two. 

If employers or recruiters ask for work history, the chance for you to showcase your skills on paper might be low. But you can always showcase it in realtime. Thus, make sure you complete a project or certification before applying for the new job. This will help sell your skills again after years of no career advancement in the workplace. But remember, with those years of gap, applying for senior-level might be tricky even when you have completed some of certifications. It will be wiser to apply at a lower level and scale through time when you are employed. 

Once you have addressed the gap and explained what you did during that time but the conversation continues in a direction you are not comfortable with, you have the option of saying, “I’d prefer not to go into more detail. I am very interested in sharing details of my work experience, however.” From there, you can supply another anecdote from your work history that makes you qualified for the position. 

If the conversation continues to make you feel uncomfortable, you might want to consider ending the interview by saying, “I’m not comfortable with where our conversation is headed so this might not be the right fit. Thank you for your time.” This will not only show that you appreciate recruiter’s opportunity given to you for an interview but also show that you respect both of your time and recruiter’s. 

Ending a job interview unilaterally might decrease your chance to be hired. But it is better than explaining yourself in a way that the recruiter could not understand. If you are looking for a job that fits you best, check here and you might find a better employment opportunity than the one you are applying for now. 

Read also: 5 Things Recruiters Know that Job Seekers Don’t 

What To Expect during a Job Interview? 

If it is your first time to come to a job interview, it is normal if you think that interview is nerve-wracking. In such a case, knowing a few best practices can calm your nerves and keep you sharp. The first step is getting familiar with types of questions you’ll be asked, which include:

  • Background questions – These questions help hiring managers get an overview of your experience, goals and why you’re interested in the company. 
  • Behavioural questions – These are designed to uncover your past “behaviours” in different work situations. These questions also help employers decide whether you will fit company culture. 
  • Situational questions – Your answers to these questions should demonstrate your ability to overcome challenging workplace scenarios. 

See also: The Power of Informational Interviews

It will be all about you.

Besides the interview questions above, you can expect that a job interview will be all about you – as a job seeker. Therefore, set aside shyness or reticence and prepare to explain yourself thoroughly. First impressions always count, especially on particular occasions like job interviews. Practice and school yourself on what to do when employers ask illegal questions, such as queries about your marital status, children, or health issues. Understanding what you should disclose and what should be kept as secret will leave a good impression to recruiters. 

If you have an employment gap, explain it.

It is always a good policy to be honest about employment gaps, especially if it is lengthy. Having an employment gap will not decrease your employment chance if you know how to communicate it. Thus, be honest on why you take the gap, is it because you are working to find a new job, volunteering, becoming a parent or caregiver, or travelling? These reasons might be viewed in your favour. When explaining this, remember to emphasise the skills you’ve gained during employment gaps that will put value to the company if they hire you.

Be ready to discuss salary. 

When it comes to salary discussion, don’t disclose exactly what you expected. What you need to do is to prepare yourself by knowing what you are worth based on your qualifications and your salary history. You can also consult authoritative sources, such as Payscale. Once again, don’t feel it is your role to bring up specific numbers, but if you are asked, be prepared with salary ranges, based on your research. 

You are also required to ask questions. 

As the interview is winding up, the hiring manager might turn the table and ask if you have questions for them. When the time comes, make sure you take the chance to dig the company deeper, such as understanding the work hours, company culture, etc. Check here to know what questions you should ask. Nonetheless, it can be totally okay to finish with a non-question grace note, such as expressing that you’ve enjoyed the discussion and look forward to the next step in the hiring process. 

Read also: 3 Reasons Why Showcasing Your Personality during Job Interview is Essential

5 Things Recruiters Know that Job Seekers Don’t 

Do you often find that recruiters and hiring managers are intimidating? Don’t worry, they are not. They simply want to give you the best hiring experience in their own way. What you should pay more attention to is the secret behind their actions, because there are certain things that hiring managers do not want to reveal in front of their candidates. According to Dandan Zhu, Founder and CEO at DG Recruit, here are a few things recruiters and hiring managers know that job seekers don’t. 

#1 – All basic qualifications having been met 

“The smartest people do not actually end up succeeding the most in real life, while the dumbest people also have just as good as a chance to survive, if not thrive.” 

It means that B or C level students might be as good as A+ students in real life.  In other words, when it comes to the workplace, this means that the most talented and technically savvy engineer doesn’t always become the CTO. Most of the time, it is usually the politically admired and personally connected talent who wins and progresses into the C-suite. Basic qualifications are important to be considered as a feasible candidate, but success is dedicated more by one’s ability to influence, actively listen and respond appropriately, level of social etiquette, and general accentedness by their peers and superiors than one’s technical scores. 

See also: Job vs. Career: Life-long Adventure after Graduation

#2 – HR people are not that important in the hiring hierarchy 

“As you become a serious professional, you can utilise LinkedIn to directly approach hiring managers.” 

Most graduates might think that HR people deserve the utmost respect as they were the gateway to their future career prospects. Yet, Zhu emphasised that it is the hiring manager that makes the utmost decision, while HR is the service and administrative function in the process. Hiring manager dictates everything, including who to interview, what price to pay them, who to hire, and which headhunters to utilise. 

#3 – Job applicants can negotiate and leverage other offers to great effect 

“In today’s world, it is all about the etiquette and manner in which you communicate.” 

As a job applicant, you might be scared of upsetting prospective employers about disclosing where else you are going for job interviews and how much money you actually want. Yet, if a high-demand labour market where the supply of jobs outstrips candidates available, you actually hold a lot more power than employers do. 

Therefore, it is vital for you to research your niche and whether the position you are applying for is currently in the high demand labour market or not. Only then, you know your worth to negotiate and be transparent about offers. If handled appropriately, this will increase employers’ desire for you, not penalise you for looking greedy or not interested. Communication is the mother of all success when it comes to negotiation, thus master it. 

#4 – Interview your interviewers harder 

“Don’t be scared to say what’s on your mind. If something important to you does not align with your future employer, things won’t work out anyways, so it is better to know before you take the job to begin with.” 

Commonly, candidates are so scared of losing job offers or being looked at as needy or demanding so they don’t actually say what’s on their mind. This, however, could hurt your success on the job even if you manage to get a great salary and offer. Chances are, you probably agreed to something that you did not fully understand or align with.

That’s why it’s your prerogative to be a strong communicator. Get the answers you truly need during interviews by asking tough questions that are detailed and specific. This is where you’ll be spending your next few years; you better be aggressive in how you get it out!

#5 – Interview even if you don’t need to 

“Go out and interview even if you don’t need to.” 

Due to loyalty, fear, laziness, and/or arrogance, most candidates refuse to proactively learn about what opportunities are available. Don’t be like these most candidates. No matter if you need to look or not, once you hit a certain amount of experience in your role, it is time to take your head out of the sand and start interviewing, even if just for your own education. 

Read also: What to Do When You Hear Nothing from a Job Application?