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You have graduated from uni with an excellent GPA. Now, you need to prepare yourself to enter the workforce and land a job in your dream company. Before applying for a job, first you have to ensure that you already have the most important weapon in a job hunt: an attractive resume.

A good resume should be more than just a dull list of your academic achievements and personal information. That being said, to write a resume that will get shortlisted by recruiter is not the same as writing a caption for your Instagram updates. There are things you should consider such as the template, opening statement, and career overview. You must put all the best qualities on a single paper to sell yourself because usually a recruiter only give a brief 10 seconds looking at each resume.

Therefore, you should be smart enough to write only relevant qualifications or else you will lose the opportunity to catch the hiring manager’s interest. If you are a fresh graduate seeking to get that dream job, here is a guide to write your first professional resume:

1. Know the audience

Resume is a marketing tool to sell your ability, experience, and accomplishment in order to snatch a job. You should make sure that its message is targeted to right recipients: employer and recruiter. Therefore, before writing a resume for job application, you should consider:

  • The company: including its history, products, services, culture, and recent developments.
  • The specific requirements: skills and experience.  

2. Choose the right style  

You should choose the best style for your resume. There are 3 styles of resumes in general: chronological, functional, and combination. Chronological resumes focus on work experience and list of professional experience from the most to the least recent. Functional style focuses on skills more. Yet, normally, a combination of both styles will work on your first resume. You can point out your professional experience while still draw attention on your skills.

Moreover, you should not forget to certain format on your resume. Normally, resumes have header, career objectives, statement, skills and abilities, work experience, education, and interest. Don’t forget to always highlight the skills and abilities that are relevant to the job.

3. Start with the basic

Before we move to the more complicated task, let’s start by writing the most basic information that should be written on a resume: name, address, phone number, and email address. Make sure to give a professional email address. An email address like mixblond113@gmail.com will not work and the recruiter might think that you are just joking around. Therefore, you should create a professional email right away if you don’t have any.

4. Personal statemen

Recruiters are not only interested in why you are applying for the position and what you can do. They are also curious in who you are as a person. Therefore, providing a personal professional statement on your resume is always a good start to let them know who you are. You can use these questions as a guide to write your statement:

  • Do you fit the company culture?
  • Is your personality and attitude a good match for the company and team?
  • What makes you believe you will land a job in that company?
  • What is so interesting about your life?

5. Job posting as a guide

The best way to summarise your skill and experience is to tailor it with job description. Many recruiters use applicant tracking system (ATS) to shortlist resume, especially if there are so many jobseekers applying. Therefore, you should be able to keep it simple and make sure to include some ‘keywords’ in your resume so the ATS can scan it. Usually, the keywords recruiters use are: hard skills and soft skills. The more you can match with those skills in the job description, the more chances you can get that job.

6. Keep it one page

The average duration recruiters spend to review a resume is 10 seconds. You should make it concise and lean by getting rid of all the fluff. As your first resume should fit in one page, you can only write relevant information in it. For example, if you are applying for a design graphic programmer but you have worked at a McDonalds for 1 year, it will be better if you don’t include that experience in your resume unless it is relevant.

7. Professional look

To impress the recruiter, you should give it a professional look. Make sure that your resume is easy to read by using: common font styles (cambria, calibri, or helvetica styles), give 12 to 14 font size, use appropriate spacing, no more than six highlight and bullet points, margins 1” all around, and left aligned format. However, if you are a graphic designer, you can impress recruiters by designing your resume as creative and unique as possible.

8. Use action and power words

Recruiters are more interested in reviewing resumes that are really dynamic and impressive in action. In order to give that impression, you should use the right action verbs and powerful words. Few examples of those words are achieved, created, generated, initiated, organized, introduced, identified, improved, resolved, launched.

9. Proofread your resume

Finally, never submitted raw resumes that have not been proofread. Before submitting your resume, make sure to always double check or ask your friend to review it. This process will give you clues whether your resume is A-okay to be read by recruiter or not. Also, you can be aware of the misspelling words that will make your resume look unprofessional.

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

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“Follow your passion when you look up for a job.”

There are two different responses people usually give upon hearing this advice. Jobseekers and fresh graduates with more ideals and less work experiences are more likely to accept and follow the idea. Meanwhile, those who have been in the workforce long enough might be rolling their eyes when hearing the same advice.

Then the question pops up: is following your passion a bad advice? What about working following our skills? Is it better?

Before judging whether it is right or wrong, let’s see what passion and skill actually are:

Passion is something that you love doing or spend time doing it.

Probably you are wondering why your friends can work in a prestigious company with flashy job title and it seems that they really enjoy their jobs, despite the fact that the job does not match their true passion. But believe it or not, there are chances that they might feel restless inside as if something is ‘missing’ from them.

Needless to say, working while following your passion gives you more satisfaction and happiness because you really love what you are doing ‘at that time’. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, believed that passion is the key to satisfaction. He also mentioned that we need to pursue our passion first but never settle. When you find a job you are passionate about, you feel amazing and satisfied but after long months of dealing with the same routine, you might feel tired and want something new.

Another downside of working according to your passion is that it might get you nowhere because it limits your choice. For instance, you are interested in literature, it is easy to think that being a writer will give you a satisfying career, and thus you ignore other options such as being an accountant or teacher. That being said, rather than having a single passion, you can be more than what you expected to be because your interest grows from time to time.

Skill is an ability that you can acquire or learn after lots of practice or hard work.

Focusing on your skill can give you a rewarding career given that skilled talents are highly sought-after. Yet, it might feel like you are lack of happiness when the job does not suit your interests. You can receive fat paycheck for the skills that you contribute to the job, but is that all you want? No satisfaction or happiness in your job?

For example, you are working as a writer because you have great communication and English skills. However, you do not find any meaning or pleasure in your job. In this case, you might consider to choose passion over skill when it comes to finding a job.

All in all, you can see that passion and skill occupy different parts of your life. You can find a professional work according to your skills, but you can also explore your passion freely if it gives you satisfaction in the workforce. Caro F., a team leader for Tech Companies 3YOURMIND and a coach, suggests that instead of giving confusion to yourself whether you should follow your passion or skill, you can answer these questions to help clearing the confusion.

  • What do you want out of job?
  • Do you want financial security to travel the world or maybe you want provide for your family?
  • Do you want a challenge, something that makes you grow? Or something that comes easily to you, routinely and that you can predict?
  • Do you value working environment as a contributing factor for your happiness, working with amazing people? Or do you value own space or progression more?

In conclusion, there is no right or wrong in choosing your career path because it is all up to you. Just the same as when you go to career advisors, they will only give you options and you need to choose one. The best thing you can do now is explore which one is the most suitable for your own career personality and characteristics.

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

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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

 

Where and how should I start to build my career? Should I chase my passion and only find job that fits with it, or should I just be realistic and take on any job to pay the bills? How do I know that this is the right career path for me?

We often ask these questions to find out what our true career goals are and what we can do to improve it and achieve better. You might have sought for copious job-related advices from watching your favourite motivator on YouTube, or reading those stacks of self-improvement books. However, all those theoretical advices will not bring you much significant effects to you if you still find yourself baffled about your own definition of career.

Owing to this reason, first thing you need to do is know the definition of career in itself, and thus jot down your goals and create a career roadmap. Here are 4 tips to know what a career means for you:

What exactly a passion is?

For most individuals, having a job that is in line with their passion must sound like a dream job. The problem is, not every individual can actually describe what passion is for them. Many people are still struggling in finding what they are passionate about and this affects their decision in choosing what kind of career path they should pursue. Therefore, in order to know what passion is for you, you should find something or a job you are most curious about, something that you have huge desire to learn about. Additionally, passion should be something that can fulfil yourself and somehow energise you when doing it.

See career as a jungle gym

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandber said, “Career is not a ladder. It is a jungle gym.” This mean that we should see having a career is not just about how you can get best positions, big salary, or being titled. Instead, every individual should consider a career as an opportunity to learn something new, challenge themselves over and over, do meaningful exploration and experiment, as well as build a sense of belonging in the role. That being said, job is not just a job, but something that helps you grow up, develop your skill, and most importantly, it makes you happy and contented.

Define your level of success

We often define a success with some influences from others, such as how big you company is, how important your position is, how much you earn, or how long it takes to buy that flashy car. You should understand that success is not about how others see your achievement. Instead, the most valuable level of success is what you genuinely want to achieve as an individual. With that kind of mindset, you will have the capability to manage your inner self in order to gain the best results that align with your own level of success.

Measure your ability

By understanding your own quality (both personally and professionally), you will know your best skills and be able to develop them as a strength for you. There are three aspects that you should measure. First, how much you can use your brain to give the best performance in certain fields. Second, what is the best way to upgrade and improve your soft and hard skills. Last, how good you are in communicating, interacting and collaborating with others. When you can figure out where you are best at, it will help you choose what career path you can pursue to reach your best potentials.

Read also : To Work at Full Throttle: How to Find Enjoyment in Your Job

 

Are you thinking of switching career? Do you plan to re-navigate your career path and choose whole new and different profession from your current job? Watch your steps! If you are not careful enough, your next job moves might hurt your established personal brand today.

If there’s anything you need to pay attention to, during a job search is your personal brand. Whether you consciously build it or not, each person carries their own brand. A personal brand is something that will tell who you are and what you do. That being said, a brand does matter because it reflects your persona.

And if you are unable to demonstrate strong and appealing brand value, it might cost you an opportunity to land your dream job. Needless to say, developing a positive individual brand is imperative for everyone who wants to establish their position and enhance their bargaining power in the industry.

The problem, however, lies in the fact that building personal brand can be difficult to maintain. Given that building a personal brand is not something that you can do overnight, it can be difficult to change once it is established. Therefore, it becomes crucial for you to identify whether or not your current brand aligns with your career goals and values.

Sometimes, despite your best intentions, your job moves end up making your personal brand fall apart and lead you to nowhere when you are not vigilant enough. Learn from the following job moves that can hurt your personal brand to avoid making such grave mistakes:

  1.    Being inconsistent

Take a look at the job history on your resume. Have you always been walking on the same career path over years? Or have you been job-hopping from one company to another within short span of time? Be careful. Inconsistency will kill your personal brand.

Your future employers want to know who you are by looking at your track record, such that they know what to expect from you. If you show some inconsistent moves and behaviours, this will kill your job opportunity.

  1.    Stuck in the same position

While severe inconsistency will harm your brand, being stuck in the same position for years is not good for you as well. At some point on your professional journey, you need to step out of your comfort zone and move on. By exploring other opportunities in the industry, you will demonstrate that you are not afraid of challenges and always ready for better change.

  1.    Being too reckless

Think of the consequences before you take any actions. Make sure that before making any decisions that put your career at stake, you have taken everything into account.

You should bear on mind that being too reckless in making job moves will only undermine your personal brand. Therefore, you need to be thoughtful in choosing your words, initiating actions, and noticing the impact they bring.

  1.    Losing focus

Getting distracted easily will weaken the power of your personal brand. Rather than doing many things at once, it will be wiser to stand for one thing and focus yourself on it. You need to represent yourself as a determined individual who knows exactly what he is doing.

However, while you need to focus on one thing, you should never be close minded. Instead of limiting your horizon, you need to always open up to new opportunities and achieve personal growth.

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Gotten laid off recently? Whatever the reasons -corporate reorganisation, restructuring, economic budget constraints- layoffs mostly bring misery and sorrow to employees.

Some of you might be in a panic and scurry to look for possible job opportunities (well, you have to survive and pay all the bills!). However, finding similar jobs with benefits and attractive salary package is not that easy! Today’s workforce are pretty competitive and could hinder you in getting your dream job.

If you haven’t got any opportunities right now, it could be you, yourself causing it. Scroll down and see if the following describes the current you.

  1. Being Negative

It is impossible to change the situation, but keep in mind that it is still POSSIBLE to seek other career opportunities, even the BETTER ones! Don’t let your emotions creep out when doing an interview with your future employers and avoid disfiguring your previous bosses/company.

Instead, focus on your strengths, experiences and capabilities. Be confident so that you are able to convince your future employers your outstanding deliverables if they are to offer you the job.

  1. Blaming Yourself

Blaming yourself is not going to improve the crisis you are facing. It is wise to do a self-reflection of what you have done (mistakes and errors) in the previous company, but don’t chide yourself too badly! Rather, be more focus on your future advancement and improvement. Instead of wallowing in regrets of what you could have done to previous situations, focus on the future that awaits you!

  1. Not Knowing What You Want

Before applying for a job, it is better for you to do a self-assessment about what are the job roles you are really interested in, what roles you are capable at and weaknesses that you want to improve. This assessment will help you to pinpoint jobs that suits you totally.

If you are dissatisfied and unhappy with your previous job, it’s time for you to be selectively in your options of job roles you should be in.

  1. Being Distant

Never keep to yourself or wallow in depression due to the layoff. Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest are great sources of networking you can use to gain much information about job opportunities that matches your skill sets and interests. You can also connect with former colleagues and alumnus pals to get some references about companies currently looking for talents to hire (in your area of capabilities, of course!)

  1. Sending Resumes Blindly

One positive thing you can gain from being laid off is that you have the opportunity to sit down and reflect. Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur and start something on your own? Startups are growing rapidly nowadays, especially if you are passionate enough to make it work, with the right expertises and adequate capital, it could jolly well happen!

Or have you ever thought of a career change or want to do something drastically different from what you have always been doing?

Therefore, just because you lost your job and feeling panic-stricken doesn’t mean you should be throwing your resumes blindly. Sit down and reflect.

Being upset and disappointed is common, as the layoff could be something you had never expected before. However, layoffs can be the turning point for you to build a future you have never imagined before!  

Do not waste time on your emotional response. Rise and continue your life with much courage and optimism!

Next read: How to Avoid Looking Like a Job Hopper on Your Resume