When hiring, many organizations take time creating job descriptions internally or through a recruiter. It is not just for the sake of it. This process helps them get the ideal profile they are looking for clear. The JD also acts as their guiding document during screening and making hiring decisions. Their ideal candidate could be you. However, many times, professionals fail to internalize the nitty-gritty of the job description and thus end up positioning themselves in a less compelling manner.
Which is why we advocate for job seekers to take the time needed to decipher said job descriptions to determine how their experiences and skills align with what the employer is looking for, prior to submitting their applications. We outline three things you should ALWAYS pay attention to when interpreting job descriptions. Get this right, and you might increase your chances of scoring yourself a job!
1. Match responsibilities with your skills & experiences – Don’t just go off by the title of the position; different titles mean different things in different industries. Avoid mere skimming through the document or posting and assuming it is similar to what you already know. Ask yourself –From the responsibilities shared; what can you do with your eyes half-closed? Which areas may you need more support in if hired? Use this information to review your CV and see how laid out responsibilities measure up to your past and/or present role. Ideally, you should be able to carry out at least 70% of the responsibilities. Whereas certain organizations are willing to hire people less qualified and invest in their development, they’ll usually have this stated in the job description. Now, if you find yourself having more questions than answers about your understanding of the role’s responsibilities that may either indicate you are unfamiliar with the role or that the language is not clear for you. Should it be the latter, then it’s worth trying to reach out to the respective organization to understand the role a little bit further. Finally, always have a lookout for job descriptions that are fake! Here’s a guiding article on how.
2. Align the requirements with your qualifications – Organizations often list the qualifications as a must-have and preferred. For instance, if they require expertise in a certain skill or specialized qualifications such as a particular degree or certification or language, they will have that listed. ALWAYS pay attention to keywords when reading the qualifications – you should use this information to customize your CV and cover letter to clearly and precisely show how you are aligned to the role. Keep in mind that your application also goes through the Applicant Tracking System, which filters out certain keywords before a recruiter/hiring manager looks at your application. Learn more about customizing your application to beat the ATS here.
3. Gather information about the organization – Most job descriptions provide background information about the organization. This should be your starting point to conduct more research about the organization prior to any application. Go to their website, their social media pages, see if there are any articles or YouTube videos about the organization that can help you see what kind of place it is to work in, the kind of culture they have, their vision and goals, the values they hold, etc. You can also check out Glassdoor to see if they have reviews from past employees to see how they treat their staff. If an organization has not included an ”Äbout us” section on the job description, use other means of research as indicated above to learn more about them. Here’s an article we wrote about the importance of assessing an organization’s culture when job hunting.
For further reading; wondering why you always make the shortlist but don’t get hired? This may be why.
With many people now working from home, a new challenge presents itself; how does one establish boundaries to prevent work-life from seeping too much into their personal life? Understandably, this is not an easy thing to navigate as it comes with worries of being seen as if you are not contributing fully to the team’s success.
However, not setting boundaries may risk exacerbating other unrelated stressful situations one may have such as achieving your current work goals, managing your household and family, studying among others. For employers, we’re witnessing a paradigm shift that accelerates outcome-based work cultures, flexibility on working hours, and approaches to collaboration and communication.
As an employee, taking the responsibility to ensure you are creating adequate time to detox, reenergize, and get back your BEST state is necessary if you wish to maintain a highly productive and successful work life.
So what are some of the ways you can establish boundaries that will help ease your life today and in the long-term?
1. Communicate – Now more than ever, it’s critical that you communicate to your boss and colleagues your working hours, when you may not be available for whatever reason, any additional resources and/or support you may need to successfully accomplish your work, and so forth. For instance, if you happen to require flexibility around your working hours because you have to take care of priorities such as schooling your child, or if you’re unable to respond to emails/work calls at a certain time, it’s important that those you work with are aware of this information to avoid any misunderstanding or delays with your colleagues.
2. Learn to say NO – We know, it sounds scary, but here’s the thing, when you allow continuous violation of your boundaries, you’re telling those you work with that it’s acceptable. Ultimately, you’re bound to be stuck in a bubble of regrets for failing to ask for what you need and are now in a cycle you dislike. If you’ve already let those you work with your working preferences and schedule and still continue to receive requests during your off-peak hours, point it out with the respective individuals. Often, a polite reminder may be all you need. Of course, there’ll be occasional emergencies, but let the distinction be clear.
3. Fit your work within your boundaries – As often as you can, structure and prioritize your work within your own boundaries. In addition, inform your team of your day’s schedule and when you have created time to support and collaborate with them. By learning to respect and stick to your own plan, you can positively influence others to respect your boundaries as well.
Reflecting on how you currently organize your workdays, in which areas do you feel you need to create boundaries to ensure you are taking time to rejuvenate and fulfill other personal responsibilities?
Connect and share with us at email@example.com
Succeeding in our career paths is a dream many of us have and the journey towards that success is different for everyone. Self-awareness, however, is a common factor that plays into this success. What is self -awareness?
“Self Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self Awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude, and your responses to them at the moment.” (Pathway To Happiness)
Our career development journeys are fueled by how best we understand ourselves; what we’re good at, what we aren’t, how we react to different situations, how we form relationships and engage with others along the way, etc. We outline below three ways you can further, develop your self-awareness and how it plays into career success.
1. Personality tests as a foundation – Personality tests help you get a head start to learn more about yourself and how your preferences and talents might influence work results. They help you further understand your personality, your interests, strengths, what excites you, what gives, and what drains your energy. All this information is valuable in deciding what career paths to choose and what jobs offers to take or reject. The more we experience life, the more we evolve, thus we encourage you to take these tests at different levels in your career as with each new experience you become an even better version of yourself. Some of the most popular personality tests you can try are 16 personalities and the MBTI test.
2. Regularly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses – Self-assessment and reflection is a key element of developing self-awareness. This is why it’s important to keep track of your progress; the skills you have learned, your achievements, impact created as a result. This also includes being bluntly honest about your areas of weaknesses and making deliberate steps to improve on them, or, pursuing jobs or careers that align mostly to your strengths.
3. Ask for feedback – A part of understanding your strengths and weaknesses is also asking for feedback. Sometimes, we can be blind to our own weaknesses, therefore, asking people we trust who are interested in our own growth and success (colleagues, bosses, mentors, friends, family) can provide us with additional insights to learn more about ourselves. This is especially useful in uncovering our blind spots where more of our talents and strengths may be hidden.
How else do you improve your self-awareness? Learn more here and share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find similar content on our Career Happiness Center.
The world has dramatically changed in the last few months. Many of us have experienced a significant shift in our worlds of work; an increase in remote working, flexibility of working hours, and a focus on the outcomes rather than time spent working, virtual meetings have become the norm, a thin line between work and life has been created and so on. On the negative side, we have also seen many job losses and massive income slashes which have undoubtedly caused many of us emotional and mental distress. And yet, we know little about the future. It is thus crucial that now more than ever, we enhance our emotional fitness as this will be a key asset in overcoming many of the current and unforeseen future challenges in our careers and lives in general.
What is emotional resilience? Simply, “it refers to one’s ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises ”(verywell mind).” Closely related to emotional intelligence; (we highlight in this video several ways you can bring Emotional Intelligence into your everyday work interactions into your everyday work), emotional resilience helps you control how your thoughts, actions, and behaviors adapt to difficult situations, and this can help prevent you from losing your ability to be productive, collaborative, intentionally going after your career goals and so much more.
We outline below, 3 ways developing emotional resilience can boost your career development:
1. Adaptability – Emotional resilience allows us to cope with changes such as organizational restructuring, a redefinition of our jobs, different organizational cultures when we switch jobs, our approaches to how we do our work based on the changing needs of the organization, and so forth. Every moment of change is an opportunity for growth and learning. Emotional resilience allows us to be clear-headed which helps us generate solutions and move gracefully with the flow of the changes taking place. Thus, we are able to make better decisions that solve our most immediate challenges and prepare us to succeed in the future
2. Developing your confidence – The more you’re able to overcome difficult situations, the more confidence you develop in yourself and the ability to thrive under difficult circumstances. Confidence is a muscle. The more you practice and experience it, the stronger it grows. In difficult fast-changing situations, one needs to be confident to trust themselves, their decisions, and the solutions they come up with. Whether you’re transitioning to a new field, succeeding in your new restructured role, or finally becoming an entrepreneur after a job loss, confidence will get you halfway there!
3. Developing empathy – Emotional resilience not only allows you to develop empathy for others, but also self-compassion for yourself. And right now, we need to be more gentle and kind to ourselves. Empathy will help us take the blows without blaming ourselves. Empathy will remind us that we did the best we could under the given circumstances. Empathy will help us communicate our needs more effectively to our colleagues, bosses, and other stakeholders while keeping in mind that everyone is going through different challenges right now thus creating space for understanding and supporting each other in our unfolding career journeys.
How can some of the ideas shared today support you in becoming a more resilient individual?
Feel free to share with us at email@example.com. Looking for more similar content? Visit our Career Happiness Center and learn more about how to succeed in your career!
Technology has made our ability to connect to people much easier. Gone are the days where the main method of applying for jobs was sending hardcopy job applications through the post office and not know whether they were received or not. Today, within a significantly short amount of time, you can gain adequate information about an organization’s work, its whole management team and if lucky, who is leading the hiring process by simply conducting a few customized google searches.
Access to recruiters and company official emails and social media pages makes it pretty easy to reach out, inquire, and share our thoughts about open roles. When sending out these emails/messages, the question is;
How can we professionally and clearly articulate our thoughts in a way that builds a strong virtual rapport with the person who eventually receives our message?
We outline three mistakes we have seen many professionals/job-seekers make when reaching out to us, to help you avoid falling into these traps;
1. No subject line – Because of the influx of emails we receive daily, subject lines are useful because they have the capability to draw in one’s attention and increase the opening rate, especially if the request is already indicated. When your email lacks a subject line, it makes it very easy for the receiver not to notice it, and/or, it may fall through the cracks. Think of an email subject line like you would when making a presentation, you have to highlight what you’ll be talking about first, right?
2. Grammar and spelling mistakes – Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to hire or recommend candidates who show effort. Proofreading your email not only shows you put in the effort to be intentional but also reveals the level of your attention to detail, a skill that is a prerequisite for many organizations. Needless to say, written communication is just as important when job hunting. If you’re able to, we encourage you to download Grammarly, an app that proofreads your emails before you click send.
3. Lack of a clear call for action – So you have a great subject line and an error-free email, and maybe attachments, but what happens if your call to action is vague or absent? For instance, just attaching your CV with a blank email (another common mistake) may suggest that you’re job hunting, but it may also mean that you’d like the organization to update you with new opportunities in the future. It’s very important to not leave room for assumptions as this may limit your chances of getting a response. Before sending out that email, ask yourself; what do I want the receiver to do for me after they read my email? Based on my message, what immediate action can they take, that will help me get a little closer to what I want to achieve?
Find email templates here that you can use, depending on need. Have you been a culprit of any of the above? Wondering what other mistakes you could be making? Check out our Career Happiness Center for similar content and career resources.
As recruiters, we’re always rooting for candidates we get to interview for our client’s roles. However, as the interviewee, you have a critical role to play in showcasing why you should be considered for the position you’re being assessed for. To help you avoid making mistakes that may make recruiters/hiring managers not consider you, we’re sharing with you three ways we have seen candidates fail when answering interview questions in hopes that you’ll avoid making similar mistakes.
1. Not being direct – Simply put, this refers to the inability to be concise. Sometimes, candidates use a long-winded approach when answering questions in interviews. While providing context is important, it’s always good to ask yourself if the context being provided is relevant to that particular question(s). And if it is, how can you pick the most important parts of it to make sure you’re tying it to the position you’re being interviewed for? For example, when asked; tell us about a time you solved a conflict at work, the context relevant would be about what caused the conflict to begin with, why you had to step in to solve it, and what the outcomes were. As always, we encourage you to adhere to the STAR technique when answering questions. It’ll save you from making this blunder.
2. Rushing to answer before thinking it through – Admittedly, you won’t always be prepared to answer ALL interview questions. However, this does not mean that you cannot think through your responses during the interview. In certain instances, you can even ask to be given more time to think about a question if you’re unsure or feel like you need more time to have a concrete answer. How candidates answer questions, and how well thought their answers are, bear a lot of weight in the recruiter’s the decision-making process about whether or not they will be shortlisted, so always make sure you’re taking time to think through your responses before giving them to make your train of thought clear to the interviewer.
3. Providing vague responses – Unless you’re being interviewed for an internship position or a role that requires no past experience, interviews are meant to provide recruiters and hiring managers with information about how your past experiences have shaped you to succeed in the position you’re being interviewed for. Therefore, as a candidate, you should try and tie these experiences to said position as much as you can. For instance, saying you’re able to successfully achieve work results with minimal supervision without providing a concrete example of a similar situation in the past where this has been the case is very generic. Which is why we insist that you always prepare for interviews. It’ll help you anticipate questions and therefore, prepare accordingly.
Find much more similar content about succeeding in job hunting on our Career Happiness Center.