“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

Does this quote sound familiar to you? While most of us fancy the idea of making money doing what we love doing the most. After all, who does not want to get paid for being a professional gamer? Or earn your living for travelling across destinations as a part of your job role? However, the core of the problem lies in, how do you find a job that aligns with your inner passion, innate skills, and most importantly personality type?

Upon graduating from college or university, fresh grads are required to prepare themselves to meet requirements of the professional world. While they might have qualified with specific majors that showcase their interests, it does not necessarily determine their future career pathway.

You probably might have heard about Rowan Atkinson, renowned British comedian who acted as comical Mr. Bean. With his humorous character and lengthy career in the comedy industry, some people were amazed to find out that he holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering.

Everyone wants a job that makes them happy. A job that does not just pay the bills at the end of the month, but also a job that gives them purposeful meaning for life. People tend to find more enjoyment when they work for something that suits their personality type. For example, a shy introvert individual might not make for a great customer service officer, but he could be a great writer. On the contrary, a social individual could fail as being behind-the-desk employee, but they could be a great marketing person.

When people are happy and satisfied with their job, they will always seek to deliver better performance and achieve their goals. This, in turn, will result in increased productivity and higher engagement. While this might sound like a great idea, choosing the right career pathway that fits with your character is not an easy feat.

You do not want to end up choosing a wrong career that costs your serenity. And yet, you do not want to get stuck in high-paying job that contradicts with your nature, too. Whether you are a newbie in job hunting or an experienced professional who seeks to switch careers, below are five questions that will help you find your ideal job:

  1.    What do you really want to do?

Be specific about both your career and personal goals. Before stepping further to build on your career, it is crucial to find out what you really want from life and how you want to achieve it. What means a lot to you? Figuring out your passion can be the first step towards discovering what you really want to realise in life.

  1.    How much do you know yourself?

Take some time to write down and enlist your key strengths and weaknesses. Evaluate your best and worst characters that might elevate or ruin your chances of landing your dream job. How do you define yourself?

When you acknowledge your own personality, you can determine what kind of job is suitable for you. And then, you should assess whether your qualifications (education, skills, and experience) are adequate to meet the desired requirements for the job role.

  1.    What are you good at?

Find out what makes you unique and distinctive from your counterparts. Do you have any particular skills that differentiate you from other candidates? Is there anything that you can do better than anyone else? By knowing your own qualities, you can highlight them to ‘sell’ yourself to the potential employer.

  1.    What do people think about you?

Take advice from people around you. Ask for their opinion about your personality, and what kind of occupation they think will suit you best. However, you should bear in mind that you do not have the obligation to follow all of their advices. Asking advice from others is a great way to discover your true self, but only if you take control and not blindly take whatever they suggest to you.

  1.    Are you willing to take risks?

Keep your options open to new opportunities that lie ahead. Sometimes, it is okay to step out of your comfort zone, try new things, and take the risk. Rather than locking up yourself in one particular job role, you should take time to explore your interests.

Good luck with your job search!

Next read: Landing a Job in a Fast-Growing Start-up

How far have you put in efforts to get noticed and land a job? Sending out resumes, attending interviews, and visiting job fairs could be the most common answers given by job seekers. Have you ever thought, that beyond all these means of reaching out to your future employers, there are some unconventional (and even unique) ways that will bring you to your dream job?

While the way people conduct hiring process has changed dramatically in the recent few years. However, the principle and process of job hunting hasn’t changed through time. The traditional formula is to search for job openings, apply for them, get interviewed, and if you meet the requirements, you will eventually secure the job.

Nevertheless, more and more people are realising that a stable job which pays off their bills at the end of the month is not enough. More than this, it is crucial to have a fulfilling career that will keep you engaged and committed for personal growth.

In today’s highly competitive era, job seekers are required to employ their creativity in order to stand out from the crowd. Even for the most optimistic individuals, days, weeks, and even months of job hunting to no avail can seem as an intimidating experience. Sometimes, all you need to do is open your mind and think outside the box.

Rather than letting yourself feeling frustrated and discouraged, it is time for you to plan a better job hunting strategy. If you want to land the job of your dreams, here are a few unconventional ideas for you:

  1. Advertise yourself

Advertising yourself in mass media is a great way to let potential employers know about your existence. You will need to demonstrate that you are a highly qualified individual who is keen on pursuing their dream job. You can print out your name, skills, and contact in public ad spaces such as local newspaper, billboard, poster, or online portals.

  1. Don’t trust your resume

You might possess all the competencies required for your dream job. The problem is, dozens of other applicants offer the same thing too. It is true that a resume will be your first weapon to set out on the company’s door. However, relying on your resume in itself is not enough to convince them your qualities.

Creating a portfolio will be helpful to showcase your capabilities as well as describe what you have achieved in the past.

  1. Apply for unlisted jobs

Have you ever found ‘candy taster job’ advertisement? While everyone will fancy the idea of getting paid for tasting delicious candies every day, chances are, such job ads can be hardly found. If you want to land on cool and extra-ordinary job like this, you should start applying for unlisted jobs. Remember, not all type of jobs are publicly advertised. Hence, it is time to be proactive.

  1. Go blogging

If you think that writing a blog is a great way to pass time, then perhaps you should re-think the idea. Going blogging is not only a great way to invest your spare time, but also can help you connect with your future employer.

To keep engaged with the blog, you should write on something that you like. When you have set up a blog, avoid radio silent and keep it updated. You might never know who will show up with a prospective job offer.

  1. Make a video resume

Amidst the competition for job, a written resume is no longer enough. To get noticed by top organisations, you need to get creative. Creating a personalised video resume can help you realise this goal. You don’t have to make it complicated. Instead, you can create a brief but attractive video resume that enlists your key strengths and previous experiences.

  1. Volunteer yourself

Volunteering yourself to work for free on projects could be an unconventional approach that will help you to eventually land the job of your dreams. To prove yourself to potential employers, you can participate actively in voluntary or freelance project that is related to your field of expertise.

Don’t focus primarily on how to make money out of the job. Rather, you should focus on how the experience will enrich your soul. Not to mention, volunteering is an effective way to build networking.

Everyone else might have equal skills and qualifications that you possess. However, unless you have something distinctive to offer, sending out resumes and cover letters will not guarantee you your dream job. Therefore, a dash of creativity is the key to grab employer’s attention. Let your creativity shine and soon you will fetch a dream offer your way, by treading the unconventional route to success. Sometimes looking beyond is the key to tap into bright future prospects.

Next read: Tips to Transform Your Hobbies to a Winning Career for Life

Are you active on social media platforms? How do you manage your social media accounts? How often do you monitor your postings and home page? When was the last time you updated your information? Chances are, most fresh graduates today have at least one social media account online.

Be careful on the path to harnessing social media reach and networking with new people. Use of social media has its share of downsides as well. Social media today, is no longer merely used to connect with the world at large. If you are not vigilant enough in filtering through your social media posts, it could perhaps cost you a missed job opportunity.

Candidate’s social media ‘cleanness’ increasingly becomes one of the major consideration for employers as well. Jobvite survey notes that 92 percent employers use social media as a part of their hiring strategy.

Based on the latest Careerbuilder survey in 2016, 60 percent employers use social networking sites to research whether the candidates are professionally fit for the job role or not. Meanwhile, previous Careerbuilder survey in 2013 found 43 percent hiring managers stated that they do not hire a candidate due to the information they found on the candidate’s social media account.

As pointed out by the survey, there are several social media channels that might cost your candidacy, such as provocative or inappropriate photos (50 percent), drinking or using drugs (48 percent), and bad-mouthed previous employer (33 percent).

On the other hand, social media might improve your candidacy as well, as long as you convey a professional image (57 percent), showcase good personality (50 percent), and demonstrate a wide range of interests (50 percent). If you are a fresh graduate seeking to improve employment opportunity during the job search, you should pay attention to these social media dos and don’ts:

Dos

Google your name. Type your name on the search engine and see what it gives you. If the results give you negative pieces of content that originate from social media accounts, you should trace down the roots and fix them right away. This way, you can keep your personal brand clean and appealing.

Be consistent. Consistency is crucial for your personal brand. Your online information on social media should be in line with the ones you write in your resume. So, you have to double check if you have provided consistent name, education, work experience, and other personal information.

Clean up your profile. Make sure that your profile picture represents your professional side, especially on LinkedIn. If you intend to create a good impression for future employers, you should change your physically-flaunting pictures with more proper and casual ones. Not only your current posts, should you also take down all tactless posts from the past.

Pay attention to details. Your friends or followers might not make a big deal when you mistakenly spell ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. However, your future employer will. Therefore, make sure that you pay attention to details and avoid ambiguity in your posts.

Be social. It is social media, after all. You should make your online presence counted by joining and actively participating in groups related to your fields of expertise. Interact with people from the same network, you will gain deeper insights about the professional world and perhaps even find a new job opportunity.

DON’T

Be offensive. Refrain your emotions from publishing offensive comments or status updates on your social media accounts. When you want to get ahead in your career, it is important to keep your professionalism by circumventing such profanity.

Complain about previous employers. Not only unethical, complaining and bad-mouthing your previous employers will only leave negative impression about you.

Spread negative issues. Hoax and provocative news are easily spread over the internet. Don’t sacrifice your integrity by sharing such news on your social media accounts. Before posting and sharing sensitive issues, do research to find out the truth first.

Post inappropriate photos and videos. Think twice before you post anything online. Because once posted, you never know the effects they could bring in the future. Hence, never post questionable photos and inappropriate videos that can ruin your credibility.

Tell lies. This might be obvious, but many fresh grads fall for this mistake nonetheless. While it is important to keep your profile attractive with relevant qualification mentions, do not over exaggerate your achievements as you will only end up telling lies.

When it comes to social media, there are always two sides to the same coin. While social media can help boost your employment opportunity, if you let your guard down, then social media could impact your personal branding to affect any incoming job offers in the near and long term as well.

Next read: Top 10 User-Friendly Job Search Apps Every Jobseeker Should Possess

Perhaps you have been in the same job for a long time and are satisfied with it. However, staying up-to-date with the current job market is essential, even when you are happy with your current job. Either you are coming out as a fresh-graduate or as an experienced professional, it is imperative to always stay up-to-date with the latest job market developments.

One of the most important reason on why you should stay up-to-date with the job market is to prepared for the worst case scenario. For example, no matter how much you excel in your job role and love your current position, unfortunately company’s financial situation could face an unexpected downturn that can force you to leave.

If such a case happens all out of a sudden, you will be left unsettled as you have no idea what lies ahead on your career path. Sometimes, reality bites. That is why you should always be prepared for uncertain times, this could mean stepping out of your comfort zone. Do not limit your efforts towards learning new knowledge and upgrading information, just because you have settled in a particular job.

Another good reason to always stay updated with the job market is due to job transition. Younger talents with unique competencies out of grad schools are joining the workforce, to raise the competition bar even higher. So, if you continue to stay stagnated in your job role without feeling the willingness to move forward, then you will be left behind those new talents. Hence, you should keep growing your competencies and upgrading skills to meet future business requirements and change in job role demands.

Here are three powerful tips to stay up-to-date with the current job market:

Subscribe for a website related to your expertise

In any profession, staying abreast of the latest information and broadcasts is a must. Nowadays, there are myriad websites on the internet dedicated for various fields and expertise. From food, fashion, photography, technology, to human resources, all you can find easily at the tip of your finger.

One of the easy yet effective way to stay updated with the industry is by subscribing to newsletters and mailing lists from websites related to your expertise. Register your email for the website’s regular bulletin and you can get access to a great amount of statistics and data in the industry. These will be beneficial to enrich your knowledge to remain competitive in the business.

Learn new skills

Personal growth and development is not only crucial for staying updated with the job market, but also vital to stay competitive amidst newer and younger professionals. In this globalised era, there is nothing like a ‘secured job.’ If you do not update your skillsets to meet the latest trend, chances are, your manager will update their human capital requirements by replacing you with younger talents instead. Hence, upgrading your proficiency is highly imperative.

There are various methods you can learn new skills without interrupting your productive working hours. For instance, you can join a training course conducted during weekends, or register for a webinar on the topics you are interested in. While you might need to invest some money into it, this will impact your productivity and efficiency at work.

Join networking groups

Networking is the key to success in any industry. For a start, you should find and join local networking groups related to your expertise. By attending these groups, you will stay up-to-date with prospective opportunities within the industry.

Being involved in a networking group also gives you greater insight, on what is going on in the business and how you should respond to the situation. Make good friends with people who work for the same industry in different job roles. This will help you when a problem arises, as they will provide advice and lend helping hand to resolve the issue.

Next read: How to Keep Personal and Professional Life Separate?

Do's and Dont's for Creating Catchy Resume

Every recruiter reads a pile of resumes. How could you be so sure that your resume is memorable enough to catch their attention? We heard that recruiters don’t fall for fancy formatting. Plus, they only take less than 25 seconds to skim through your resume.

Really, what should you do? Here are several tips for you, according to professional recruiters.

 

Do’s:

  • Mention URLs of your online presence

You might think it is not necessary, but recruiters prefer this kind of information than, say, your weight and height. However, it could be more than just your personal social media accounts. There are many websites to showcase your expertise, concern, and interest. Such as blog for writers, Dribbble for designers, and GitHub for developers.

When a recruiter check the URLs, your chance to stand out is bigger than ever. Yes, they spend some time to check your online presence. Thus, demonstrate your expertise to open-source repositories, and don’t forget to include it on your resume.

  • Show some personality into your resume

It is not always putting a ‘boring’ statement on your resume, such as, hard-worker or passionate. Are you a friendly and funny person in real life? Try inserting something on your resume to prove that! Most resumes are very formal. When you write something out of the norm, recruiters will pay more attention to your resume.

Really, there are ways to make your resume more fun.

  • List your important personal projects

Office hours normally only take 8 hours of your 24-hour day. What do you do for the rest of your day? Some people have personal side projects, and it could be a plus in eyes of the recruiter. If your projects are related to the industry, do not take those for granted. It could be a strong reason to hire you.

 

Dont’s:

  • Create old-fashioned, paper resume

Are you using MS Word’s resume templates? Please don’t. Also, you should not list an objective at the top of the resume like people do in the 90s.

Things are not going great as well for people who keep mailing, faxing, or hand-delivering paper resumes. Most recruiters are busy and tech-y. They would most likely prefer digital resumes, since they can find keywords more easily.

  • Write badly and long-winded

Pay more attention on how you write your resume. Is it free of grammatical errors? What kind of writing style did you chose: first person or third person? Whatever it is, make sure you are consistent. Also, recruiters think a resume with a ridiculous number of pages is obnoxious. No need to exaggerate your experiences, responsibilities, and achievements. Do them a favour! Simplify it.

  • Send it to the CEO

Some job seekers think that they have to send resume addressed to the CEO. While in fact, it makes their resume go unnoticed. CEOs don’t often read resumes. Find the correct person you should send your resume to!

What to Do After Networking Can't Help You Land a Job

Everyone knows that networking is crucial when you are searching for a new job. However, you might be a bit unlucky on networking. Say, your circles can’t really help you to get your dream job. Or, you are simply not that good at networking.

Unfortunately, you need to land a job as soon as possible. Yet, branching out to new people takes a lot of time. The only thing you can do is leverage the people you already know. Here are a few things to do:

  1. Give some help

Yes, you’re the one who needs help. But let’s be honest, nobody will ever help you if you never did a favour before. Most people will ignore your demanding email, and left you feel that they are not being helpful. However, it’s normal for them not to help you, because you always there when you need something.

Be the person who is always open to help anyone. People will remember you little help, and most likely help you back in the future.

If you urgently need their help, you can at least not to be too straightforward. Ask them about something before you ask for their favour. Remember, offer to help them after they did a favour. A “thank you” is just not enough.

  1. Explore social media

In this digital era, you don’t have to be that clueless anymore. You can easily know if your friends and acquaintances knew someone important. LinkedIn pops on your mind when we’re talking about networking. The site is probably still the best online resource for job search and professional networking, but don’t forget the others.

Facebook can be supremely helpful too. Go search for people at the company you’re applying to, and you might find their mutual friend is your friend. This friend could link you with your future colleagues. Or, if it sounds too stalk-ish, you can just shoot a status update to tell your Facebook friends that you are looking for a contact at a company of interest.

  1. Drop a networking email

People can’t simply read your mind, or your status update (if they are too busy at work). Drop him/her an email is the easiest way. Tell them that you are actively searching for a job with your skills, experiences, and expertise. If you have clear position and company, it will be better for them. They can tell you right away if they can help you or not.

job search

Are you unemployed for the past few months? Or are you unhappy with your current position and (secretly) looking for a new job? If your answer is “Yes” to either one, it’s time to kickstart your job search! It will be even more crucial for fresh graduates.

Don’t think job search as too easy. You have to be ready, since you have unlimited competitors. Here are several tips to kickstart your job search:

1. Networking all over again

 

Yes, you are part of the industry already. You knew some important people who you can contact anytime. You might want to find an appropriate way to connect with them to get back on track of employment. However, keep meeting someone new and make friends. Don’t only go to the same conferences and places. Think outside the box. Try any social opportunities like volunteering and parties.

Remember, a good recommendation from people is the best bet for getting a job. Let people in your network know your ability and your dream job, then ask them for leads. Seriously, you need someone who tells your next employer on why you are perfect for the job. Otherwise, it will be much harder to get a job.

2. Create job search plan

Not only business, job search also requires a plan. You have so many things to do. Ranging from making the magnificent resume, arrange for references, to review your online presence and reputation. Make a timeline of priorities to get those tasks done.

Also, you need a lot of time to research the companies you are about to apply for. You are the one who first decide whether the company will be a good fit for you. If you like the company so much, then you should craft the best resume and cover letter for them. Plus, looking for someone who can give you a recommendation to land a position there.

3. Stay optimist

Even though you are on the hard times on your life, make sure to take care of yourself (mentally, physically, and emotionally). Do some positive routines that you always want to do, such as workout, eating healthily, and spending more time with family and friends.

The good habits will keep you more balanced. At the end of the day, you will stay optimist to get the perfect position on your dream company.

 

Good luck on your job search! When is the next job interview will be held?

job search

It is almost impossible to organize a job search without the use of technology – the Internet provides a wealth of networking and career search opportunities like never seen before. To make things even better, albeit more confusing, a new application for productivity and organization pops up about once every week or so, seducing you with promises of making your search ineffably neat and efficient.

 Unfortunately, more is not necessarily better (nor faster). If you’re a perfectionist like me, you would no doubt want to exhaust every single avenue for the best jobs possible. The information and knowledge to be found online can become overwhelming, to say the least.

 

Here are three ways to make your job search less mind-bending.

[more…]

 1. Narrow down your desired job choices

It is extremely tempting, especially as a brand new graduate, to want to try out for every and any job that seems interesting or simply doable. Unfortunately, this means the list of job possibilities would be too wide and too long to make any sense of.

Focus on a certain industry or job type that you are keen on pursuing in the long run. For example, don’t just stop at “I want to be a marketing executive” – step two should be narrowing that down to the industries that you would like to do marketing in, such as being a marketing executive in a F&B company, and so on.

 

Read also: Top 5 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get a Call After Applying For a Job

 

2. Go low tech, reach out to your circles

Forget about all those productivity apps and monster job aggregation websites – most jobs aren’t posted. For a start, all you need is a simple word document, and your social networks. Once you have narrowed down your desired job choices, look through your contact list and see if any of your friends, relatives, or even acquaintances are currently working or know someone who is working in the particular industry – better still if they are working in the very company you want to join.

Don’t be shy. An employer will very much prefer to get referrals than having to spend those few hundreds posting job advertisements when their trusted colleague has a friend with skills that they are looking for. Send your resumes to your “network” which can include people from your school, relatives, former co-workers – people who can vouch for your character.

In fact, statistics show that employers are increasingly relying on internal referrals to find job prospects. Larry Nash, director of experienced and executive recruiting at Ernst & Young, claims that “a referral puts them in the express lane”. Indeed, your social network is your best bet for nailing the job of your dreams.

If you simply must use some application to aid your job search, I recommend using Dropbox to keep all your documents in a single, highly accessible location.

 

Read also: 3 Steps to Discerning Your Career

 

  3. Develop a job hunt system

If you don’t feel secure leaving your job chances to your social network, job search sites are your next best bet. However, don’t randomly dive head-first into the amalgamation of job descriptions. Create a routine for going through these sites.

Many of these job search sites, such as JobStreet.com.sg or JobCentral.com.sg, allow you to search for specific job titles and industries to quickly eliminate other job listings that you are not interested in. Bookmark the specific search pages that contain the jobs that you desire, and systematically run through them daily so that you can grab job postings as soon as they come up.

Additionally, certain job sites, such as Indeed.com.sg, even offer automated email updates for the specified keywords that you are looking for. Google Alerts also provides automatic alerts if there are any mentions of positions are looking to apply for online, which are sent straight to your email inbox. Such automated systems are extremely time-efficient, and can shave off several hours from your job search process. Utilize these to your advantage.

The job search process can be downright exhausting or even depressing. Do not let it get to that stage – keep it simple and sweet, and avoid over-cluttering yourself at any costs.