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Upon graduating from college or university, you might think that excellent grades and academic achievements will help make your job search easier. However, not as easy as it sounds, job hunting is always challenging. You have to compete with hundreds, if not thousands, candidates before actually get the job you want.

Looking for a job is not an exact mathematical science that is as simple as 1 + 1 = 2, but there are more factors that come into play. Those factors will determine whether you are the best candidate who can fill the position or not. A survey conducted by Future Workplace shows that there is a gap between job hunter’s perception of recruiting process and the company’s human resources department’s expectations. This means that sometimes, you can only wonder what hiring managers want and go through with the hiring process without knowing exactly what they are looking for from a candidate.

Here are seven important things you should do before starting your search:

Clean your social media presence – Recruiters are increasingly using social media to ‘stalk’ potential candidates’ personality and determine whether they will be culturally fit the existing company culture. That being said, it is better to spring clean your social media profiles from any sensitive or embarrassing posts and unnecessary information. If potential employers find something that they think negative such as posts containing bad words or controversial issues, it might lessen your chances of getting the job offer.

Find referrals – Most HR professionals would agree that employee referrals can be the best method for finding top candidates. It was said that applicants that are hired form referral start their work faster that those who apply via job boards or career sites. So, before landing a job, it will be better if you get in touch with someone who has been working in the company or other professionals in your expertise who can give you recommendation.

Learn technical skills – According to U.S. News, a quarter of employers rank technical skills as the most skills they are looking for in their candidates because nowadays. By learning technical skills, it will greater your chance to land a job in a position you want. Moreover, developing skills you are lack will boost your self-confidence and candidacy.

Find out the most wanted skills and highlight it – If technical skill is crucial, then so are other skills such as communication, adaptability, or result-driven. These are soft-skills that a hiring manager seek in their candidates. Other top skills company usually look for are leadership and teamwork. Therefore, you better highlight one of those skills so your resume can grab employer’s interest.

Highlight your internship, not GPA – If you are a recent graduate, you probably think that good grades are what employers seek most in candidates’ resume. The truth is, employers are more interested in applicants working experience such as internships and social achievements like volunteering. So, do not just highlight in what you have achieved because experience wins most attention.

Prepare yourself for a sudden test – In some interviews, the hiring manager might want to give you a sudden test because they want to see how prepared you are. Therefore, you should always be ready and prepare yourself for it. As best as possible, try to find out what the test will be about.

Learn the company’s background and history – This is the very last and crucial thing you should always keep in mind before pressing the ‘Apply’ button. Lack of information can cost you your job application. Recruiter might think that you are not serious with the application or you just want to test yourself. So better to prepare rather than regret later.

Read also: Maximize Your Job Search with Matrix Decision

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Finishing your study and graduating from university can be both exciting and daunting. Now that you have gained necessary skills and knowledge at school, it is time to implement the theories into practices in the workforce. During your study, you might have good GPA, actively participate in student organisations, and achieve recognition from the university for your contribution. However, the working world is different from school. With the burgeoning talent pools, you might find it more competitive and fiercer to land a job.

What should you do, then?

One of the easiest way to help you get out of the overwhelming job hunting is to keep moving and change your strategy. Searching for jobs via job platform or ads on newspapers is effective, but it might drain up your energy as you need to scroll through so many jobs and companies. Not to mention, not everything you find is the one you are actually looking for. However, a method called “matrix decision” can help you simplify your job search while still receiving the best result.

Using matrix isn’t something new. It is a decision making process people often use when making other decisions, such as deciding where school to go or evaluating which car to buy. It’s not a rocket science but doing what comes natural in a rigorous way can improve your career assessments. Matrix decision is useful when you have several choices of jobs and it can actually give a satisfactory result. There are more advantages you can get by using matrix, such as identifying new job opportunities faster while helping you think clearly and use time efficiently.

Without further ado, here are 3 easy steps you can do to create your own matrix decision.

Mainly, you should set objectives. Objectives will help you determine how successful your matrix will be. For example, you graduated with a BA degree in literature. After knowing your qualification, you should decide which objectives are the most important. There are five factors of objectives you should consider in your future career: field you want to take, role you want in the workplace, impact on your future such as salary or job status, personal growth, and what kind of organisation you want to work in.

Secondly, you decide from the most important to the less ones. At this point, you should be able to rate your decision either as high, low, or medium. To make your choice obvious, you can rate it from 1 to 5. To help you in making better decision, you can ask your friends or family members to share their thoughts and give suggestions to your career matrix because sometimes, close family or friends can see your quality better.

Remember, when rating your objectives, you should also be able to evaluate alternative against objectives. Your objectives are the primary concern in this decision. Therefore, judge how each alternative meets each category and think how it might affect your future. Also, consider what you might do if things do not work out. If possible, jot down the reasons of picking up certain job in each relevant box of matrix.

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Lastly, you can interpret the result. Your matrix structure is a stepping rock to lead you for a brighter career, but it is not the final answer. You must understand and figure out what it tells you. Matrix decision is as good as you want it to be and by using it, you’ll likely to know what job would be better and know what questions to ask in future career.

It is hard to decide what’s best for your future. But by assessing your career objectives and defining which are most important, you can make decisions with confidence as structured plan such as matrix decision can help you ease all your doubt in one place.

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

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At some point in a career journey, there are times when an employee feel exhausted with overload tasks given to them and start to think that they deserve better jobs. Some others find a bitter fact that they do not have any chance to achieve career growth and personal development in their current company. If you find yourself trapped in similar situation, this could be the early sign that you should move on and pursue a new career.

Seeking new job while you are still employed is just like gambling. If you are lucky enough, you can find new employer within a short time. However, sometimes reality bites and the job search could take a really long time. People say that the best time to change job is when you already find a new one. Therefore, rather than letting go your job whereas you have not land a new one, it is better to hold onto your current job on until you are accepted elsewhere.

Then the question remains: how to do job search while you still has contract with your current employer? When your boss knows that you intend to leave the company, there are chances that he would feel betrayed and disappointed about your plan. This will ruin the well-built relationship between you and him even before you really move on to the new job. So, you need to do the job search silently to avoid negative comments people around you.

You should know what to do and what not in conducting the job search while you are still employed. Follow the tips below:

Dos:

Let the prospective employer knows you are still employed

Some people believe that letting prospective company know that you already have a job is important, as being employed means that you have certain proven qualities and skills. While such belief is not necessarily true, putting your current employment status on your application and resume is crucial, such that hiring managers can manage the right time to arrange an interview and tests for you.

Schedule the interview around lunch hour

Despite conducting active job search, you should remember that you are still employed. It means that you still have the responsibility to perform well and get your tasks done at your current job. When prospective recruiter invites you for an interview, you should find the best time to do it. For example, you can ask to schedule an interview during lunch hour, such that it will not disturb your main job.

Mind your outfit

Your current office culture might let you dress casually, but in order to come for an interview, you often have to wear formal dress. It will seem suspicious when you suddenly dress formally while you used to wear casual one in the office. To avoid such suspicion, you have to make a plan. For example, you can come to the office wearing T-shirt as usual, but keep the formal shirt in your bag and wear it once you get outside before coming to the interview.

Don’ts:

Don’t tell your coworker

You cannot simply believe that your coworkers are going to keep silence when they know about your job search plan and leaving the team. Even it is someone whom you trust so much, you cannot risk the possibility of him telling about your plan to the others. If rumours spread out, it will be uncomfortable for you to stay. Until you seal the deal and sign an employment contract with new employer, you should consider the job search as a kind of secret mission that no one in your office should know.

Don’t do the search during work hours

This could be obvious, but it will be awkward when you are opening a job portal with your PC at work then suddenly your boss walks by and sees it. Even when no one knows about your job search activity, you should keep in mind that your employer might track your browsing history if you use office facility during work hours. Therefore, do the job search in the evening at home. You should also ensure that the email address you use to send job application is your private email and not the one you use to exchange emails with clients. Additionally, you need to be careful with incoming calls from recruiters. Given that they usually call during work hours, make sure that you talk with him away from the place where your coworkers can hear the conversation.

Don’t ask for recommendation from your current employer

When applying for particular job, you should ensure that the prospective company does not have any cooperation or close relationship with your current company. As you need to do it in silence, it will be a problem if your future employer asks for recommendation about your performance to your current employer. Therefore, you can ask for reference or recommendation from anyone but those who work at your company.

Read also: Improve Your Chances of Getting Hired: Jobseeker Tips for Attending Career Fairs

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Congratulations on your new job! After going through numerous tests and interview invitations, finally you land the job of your dream. While getting employed is an exciting news, you should not be carried away with this because your career journey is about to begin. Sooner or later, you might feel like the busiest person in the world as you have to deal with never-ending stack of tasks.

During the first or second week of your job, your boss or coworkers might be okay with the fact that you work rather slowly than others because you have not used to do the tasks. However, as time pass by, your team will begin complaining about your work speed and productivity if you are unable to show any improvement. When this happens, it means that they expect you to be fully-adapted with your work and finish the tasks faster.

Mastering the art of working faster and better might not be an easy task to do, because it also depends on an employee’s skill and experience in the related job. However, you can improve your productivity by having a good time management. Here, we share guides for new employee to manage their time at work:

List the tasks based on priority

First thing to do in the morning before getting into your tasks is to make a list of daily task. This will help
you manage your time and ensure that there is no task forgotten to be done. You should write the list based on the task priority and urgency. For example, you can put the task with the nearest deadline as the first priority.

However, when all your tasks have the same deadline, you can make the list based on the importance. The most important task should be done first then followed by the less one. Then again, if some tasks have the same level of importance, you should choose the easiest one to do first.

Set the target

Setting the target or goal for every task is very important for your daily time management as it will
encourage you to work faster. For example, if you estimate one report can be finished in two hours, then you should check at the first half an hour that at least you have done 25 percent of it. You should estimate how long it takes for a task to finish, including those simple errands that only need ten minutes to be done. The total estimated hours should not be more than your working hours in a day.

Additionally, you should leave some alternative time in your time table. The alternative time can be used when there is urgent task or emergency conditions, such as trouble with your computer or other unpredictable things which hamper your work. You can put one or two hours in the alternative time.

Work smart, not hard

The key to better productivity is to work smarter instead of harder. When you observe the way your senior finishes their tasks, you will learn that succeeding in a project does not only require skills in the related subject, but also certain strategies. For example, you should learn more about how to get your report done faster with the method of typing with ten fingers, memorising the basic Excel formulas, and many more.

Besides those technical skills, you also need to prepare everything that will help you work faster, such as
like putting notes and pen beside the telephone, attaching post-it notes near your computer, and arranging the documents based on certain category.

Anticipate any disruption

Telling your coworkers that you are in a very tight deadline is important so they will not disturb you for
trivial things. It is also important to refrain yourself from watching YouTube videos, chatting, or checking your smartphone too much as this will easily distract you. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you cannot take a break at all. For once in a while, you can refresh your minds by talking a walk around the officer grabbing a cup of coffee from the pantry.

Read also: Most Common Mistakes Fresh Graduates Do when Picking Their First Job

 

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When you hear ‘remote working’, what comes to mind? Flexibility, increased work happiness level, a work-life balance and your favorite haunts to work at are things that might interest most people to be remote workers, including you.

Many companies are now more open to telecommuting work, and people are more keen to work right from their homes (you’re not alone!).

The idea gives more benefits for both parties. Companies can hire talents across the globe and these talents can do professional work without dampening the joy of having a work-life balance.

However, before applying for a position that gives you the flexibility of remote working, consider these questions first:

Does working from home ‘alone’ make you happy?

One issue about remote working is that, most of the time, you are alone. You can still chat with your team through messaging platforms or Skype but replies might not be immediate, especially when you are running against time, this could be a problem for you.

Thus, be ready to accept the ‘loneliness’ else it will be difficult for you to work remotely.

Where is the best location for remote working?

If you enjoy comfortable silence, library and your private bedroom can be great options. Conversely, if you enjoy working where the city buzz is, then the city’s parks and cafes might be more preferable.

Be sure that your working location is both affordable and easy to access, as you will spend most of your time there. Observe and experiment will be the ways, as you look for the ideal workplace.

Have you prepared adequate tools to support your job?

As a remote worker, you will need tools to support your job such as a laptop and reliable internet connection.Take inventory of the equipment needed so that you can work at your best.

How can you manage your time?

Good time management is a key factor that drives your success at work, regardless where you work. Remote working frees you up from any strict supervisory and managerial watch. Therefore, you have to best manage your time to accomplish your daily tasks, even setting strict deadlines to keep your work process running smoothly.

Do a daily reflection of your routine and make changes where necessary to better manage.

Better preparation leads to better results. With adequate preparations and tactics, you will be more ready to take on remote working.

Next read: Negotiating Your Salary The Wrong Ways