Things to consider when updating your resume

If you’re thinking of breaking into a new career or changing jobs, updating your resume should be one of the first things to do.

The resume you prepared when you graduated might have been useful the first time around but now is definitely the time to update it.

In updating your resume, here are a few things to consider:

Update your resume frequently

Regardless if you’re content at your current job or are currently looking for new opportunities, updating your resume frequently (perhaps once a year) is always a good idea.

Throughout your career, your responsibilities may have changed and so your resume should reflect these changes as well.

Remove information that’s outdated

When applying for a position at a new company, make sure to remove any irrelevant information.

You may have previously included things such as a list of part time jobs during university just to pad your resume but now this list might be irrelevant for your potential employers.

So, if you think that some of the skills listed in your resume does not relate to the new job you’re applying for, maybe you should leave it out. However, you should retain the items in your list if those experiences and skills  are useful for the position you’re looking at.

Highlight the skills you’ve acquired

After a few years of working, no doubt you would have acquired more experience and skills.

So, apart from removing outdated information contained in your earlier resume, your priority now would be to make these new experiences and skills stand out.

This would probably require you to think about all the projects you’ve worked on and how the experience has helped you to grow professionally in your job.

For some of you, this exercise may not be as easy as you think as you really have to consider how your work has translated into useful experience and training.

Give your resume a makeover

Although substance will always be more important than style, it doesn’t hurt to make your resume more attractive or at the very least make it easier for potential employers to read.

Your resume should not be messy, rather it should stay simple and clean.

An easy tip is to choose an appropriate font. The “best” fonts will look good both on paper and on the screen, so make sure to try out several fonts and print out before actually sending your resume.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, November 3, 2018.

Photo by Lukas from Pexels.

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Ensuring your resume reaches more people

(Above) Job recruitment sites, like Sarawak Jobs, are great avenues to submit your resume online.

Thanks to the Internet, you have more ways now to make sure your resume reaches more potential employers.

In fact, applying for jobs online has become commonplace, with more and more people accessing the Internet through their computers or mobile devices for this purpose.

For employers on the other hand, going online is a faster and more cost-effective solution to find potential employees.

As jobseekers, so long as you’ve done the necessary employment and industry research and produced an outstanding resume, putting your resume up on the Internet will help to improve your chances of getting more job interviews.

Indirectly, your ability to utilise online tools to upload and update your resume could also suggest to your future employer that you’re naturally a digital native.

Job recruitment sites

There are quite a number of job recruitment websites in Malaysia, such as JobStreet, myStarjobs and Monster, as well as Sarawak Jobs.

There are also recruitment sites that focus on specific needs, for instance StartUp Jobs – for those who wish to work for start-up companies; and WOBB – for those who want to work in a company culture of their choice.

These sites not only enable you to submit your resume, but also let you browse through various job openings based on your preferred industry or specialisation.

For greater visibility, it is advisable to post your resume in several job sites, and fill in the information required by the sites to make it easier for potential employers to find your resume.

Your target employer

If you have a particular employer in mind, search for vacancies that it has listed in its website or on job sites.

Make sure you know exactly how to submit your job application, customise your resume to suit the position you’re applying for, and abide by the resume submission guidelines.

This would signal to your target employer that you are able to take the initiative, organise your information and follow directions.

Your own resume website

Creating a resume website is especially suitable if you have a portfolio – including work or project examples, testimonials and other work-related materials – to demonstrate your specialisation in a particular field.

With an effective resume website, you have the creative control to show your “personal brand” through your website design while still maintaining professionalism.

It can also be a quicker way to attract potential employers or clients as they can find you through a simple Google search.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

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Jadikan Pekerjaan Pertama Sebagai Batu Loncatan

Di ICE Fair UNIMAS 2015 baru-baru ini, Synthia Ronald telah berkongsi dengan SarawakYES! mengenai kerjayanya yang bermula sebagai seorang juruwang di Pasaraya Emart. Seorang yang tidak mudah malu dan tidak gentar menghadapi cabaran, Synthia kini merupakan seorang Group HR & Admin Senior Executive di Emart Group of Companies dan inilah sesi temuduga bersamanya.

Ikuti temubual bersama beliau ini…

S: Apakah yang dicari/kriteria yang perlu ada pada pekerja yang ideal/sesuai?

J: Kriteria yang paling penting bagi pihak Emart adalah mereka mesti mempunyai nilai integriti yang tinggi, berdedikasi dan tabah.

S: Kenapakah ianya penting untuk seseorang untuk mempunyai kriteria ini untuk berjaya dalam organisasi anda?

J: Sebab dalam bidang peruncitan, kita memerlukan pekerja yang mempunyai ketabahan yang sangat tinggi  untuk menempuhi cabaran yang berbeza setiap hari, jika anda bukan seorang pekerja yang sabar, kemungkinan anda tidak dapat mengatasi setiap cabaran yang bakal hadapi. Ianya disebabkan kita kena bersaing dengan banyak persaingan yang lain.

Integriti adalah nilai yang amat penting apabila pekerjaan kita melibatkan transaksi duit. Kita kena mempunyai integriti yang sangat tinggi barulah kita dapat memastikan organisasi mendapat keuntungan yang tinggi.

S: Apakah tip yang dapat dikongsi kepada sesiapa yang berminat untuk menyertai perniagaan ini?

J: Yang paling penting adalah mereka mesti mempunyai keinginan untuk belajar sesuatu yang baru dan sentiasa berfikiran positif. Janganlah mudah berfikiran negatif. Selain itu, janganlah mudah putus asa apabila menempuhi cabaran.

S: Nyatakan pandangan anda tentang pengalaman bekerja di Sarawak.

J: Saya berasa sangat gembira kerana dapat sumbangkan balik kepada Sarawak walaupun sebelum ini saya pernah belajar di Sabah, saya sentiasa mempunyai keinginan untuk balik ke Sarawak dan menyumbangkan sesuatu ke Sarawak. Sebagai tanah kelahiran, saya anggap Sarawak sebagai sebuah negeri yang sangat penting kepada saya.

S: Selain belajar di kolej/universiti, apakah cara lain bagi lulusan/lepasan kolej/universiti dalam persediaan untuk mengisi tenaga kerja?

J: Yang paling penting adalah jangan memilih kerja. Yang penting adalah menimba pengalaman.

Apa sahaja peluang yang tiba, walaupun sebagai seorang juruwang, khidmat pelanggan, atau pegawai keselamatan; saya menasihati supaya ambil tawaran tersebut dan jangan malu mencuba.

Saya mengatakan demikian keranapada peringkat awal saya bekerja di Emart, saya adalah seorang juruwang sahaja tetapi saya tidak malu walaupun saya mempunyai segulung ijazah. Sebab bagi saya pasaran pekerjaan memerlukan seseorang yang mempunyai pengalaman bekerja dan tahap keyakinan yang tinggi.

S: Sila ceritakan pekerjaan pertama anda dan nyatakan apakah yang anda pelajari dalam pengalaman itu.

J: Pekerjaan pertama saya selepas sekolah menengah adalah bekerja sebagai seorang guru sandaran sahaja. Pengalaman itu amat bermakna kerana saya telah berpeluang belajar mengendalikan pelajar sebab pelajar mempunyai tingkah laku yang berbeza. Jadi, saya perlu tahu selok – belok untuk menarik minat pelajar supaya mereka dapat fokus dalam pelajaran mereka.

Tidak banyak beza dengan kerjaya saya sekarang. Apa yang saya pelajari dan alami semasa menjadi cikgu sandaran saya serapkan dalam kerja saya kerana saya dapati bahawa pelanggan juga adalah sama. Oleh itu, penting untuk kami mengetahui cara – cara untuk menghadapi tekanan dan menarik pelanggan untuk mengunjungi pasaraya kami.

S: Pada pendapat anda, apakah cabaran paling besar yang anda hadapi?

J: Cabaran paling besar pernah saya menghadapi adalah apabila saya perlu bersaing dengan ramai graduan-graduan lain yang mempunyai kemahiran dan pengalaman. Sebagai seorang yang baru bergraduat, saya kena tunjukkan bakat, kebolehan dan kemahiran saya untuk dipilih bekerja di organisasi ini.

S: Pada pendapat Synthia, apakah kesilapan utama yang sering dilakukan oleh sebilangan besar dalam mencari pekerjaan pertama?

J: Kesilapan paling besar adalah untuk berfikir bahawa apabila keluar sahaja daripada universiti, kita akan dapat jawatan yang tinggi contohnya, eksekutif, penolong pengurus, ataupun pengurus dan mesti ada gaji yang sekurang-kurangnya lebih dari RM 3,000, walaupun tanpa sebarang kemahiran ataupun pengalaman. Kita mesti faham bahawa apa yang dipelajari semasa menuntut dan dunia pekerjaan adalah sangat berbeza. Yang penting adalah untuk kita bersaing dengan calon – calon yang lain.

S: Bolehkah anda kongsikan nasihat kepada sesiapa yang hendak mencari pekerjaan?

J: Nasihat saya adalah, jangan memilih. Jadikan pekerjaan pertama anda sebagai batu loncatan untuk pergi ke tahap yang lebih tinggi.

Memang setiap tahap mempunyai cabaran berbeza, kita semestinya tabahkan sendiri untuk merealisasikan impian sendiri. Kita juga harus mempunyai visi dan misi yang tinggi.

Paling penting adalah bertindak, bersikap positif dan sudi untuk belajar walaupun menghadapi pelbagai cabaran. Dengan cara ini barulah kita dapat mengetahui sekiranya diri kita sesuai untuk bidang tersebut.

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How To Write a Cover Letter That Will Grab Attention

By SarawakYES!

http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/09/12/how-to-write-a-cover-letter-that-will-grab-attention/

WHEN you find a job opening you have been hoping for, there’s often an urge to submit an application as fast as possible. Don’t make that mistake.

Instead, a wiser approach would be to take your time and ensure you are presenting yourself in the best way possible. This includes preparing a standout cover lever.

People often think it’s their CV that will grab the attention of a hiring manager, but the cover letter is actually your sales pitch. This is where you get to tell your story and make people sit up and take notice.

Writing a cover letter can be a challenging task, however. If you have been applying for several jobs without success, you may have some standard cover letters lying around. The temptation may be to simply reuse one of these and just make a couple of minor changes, such as updating the company name and position title. Doing this is not only lazy, but hiring managers are normally quick to identify a template cover letter, and most likely will toss it in the rubbish bin.

Rushing your cover letter will likely do you more harm than good. Instead, make sure to tailor your letter for each position you apply for.

Remember to do some research on the company and take the time to write briefly about why you are interested in working for them specifically – make it clear you understand the company.

If you discover that they are facing some challenges, or have specific aims or targets over the next three to five years, address those in your letter with examples of how your experience and knowledge could help them achieve those ambitions.

Also important to keep in mind is that while your education is a major consideration for recruiters, they are more concerned about your work experience. Talk about the work you have done, and how it benefited you employer. If you’re a university graduate, your employment experience will likely be limited, but that doesn’t mean you can’t shine. If you have done volunteer work or an internship, be sure to highlight these – both demonstrate that you have initiative.

Your cover letter should also address the skills that you can bring to the company. Employers can hire any number of candidates, but what they really want is someone who brings added value, someone who can help push the company forward. If you are applying for a specific role, it’s critical that you understand the criteria and address that in your cover letter, showing clearly how your specific talents and experience match their requirements. If you have relevant, prior experience, or anything unique that may make you stand out, then include it.

You need to also use the opportunity to show some of your personality. But be sure to find the right balance between showing your passion and enthusiasm and being too formal – and avoid any over-the-top language.

A couple of additional final tips: don’t simply repeat your CV in your cover letter – each must stand alone; avoid a cover letter that is too long, try and keep it to one page, maximum. And make sure you edit and check the letter several times before submitting it – a tiny spelling or grammatical error could be the difference between being offered an interview and your application being discarded.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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Smart strategic communication can make your cover letter stand out

There are examples of strategic communication everywhere. In fact, one could speculate that since all of communication is intended to have some specific effect, all communication is strategic – it’s mostly a matter of whether it is effectively or poorly planned and executed.

So, what exactly is strategic communication?

A good definition comes from James P. Farwell’s book Persuasion and Power: “Strategic communication (is) the use of words, actions, images, or symbols to influence the attitudes and opinions of target audiences to shape their behavior in order to advance interests or policies, or to achieve objectives.”

This definition more or less guides numerous public relations and communications experts in political, corporate and many other professional spheres worldwide. And for those in pursuit of a new job, smart strategic communication practices need to be incorporated into your cover letters.

The first steps are to identify your objective and target audience.

The objective obviously is to score an interview for the job. However, the target audience can be trickier to identify. Perhaps it’s the head of the department you would like to join who will receive the application directly. Or, maybe, it’s the manager from human resources screening dozens of CVs and cover letters, and filtering out ones she considers irrelevant. If you’re unsure, it’s important to act as though it will go through HR first.

So, let’s assume it is the latter. Now that you’ve identified your target audience (HR + hiring manager) it’s time to develop your messages to create a story and narrative that defines your intent (requesting an interview for the position), drives a cause (your candidacy for the position), and maintains message discipline (the reasons why you are a highly qualified candidate for the position).

Since you know you are going to be potentially writing for two very different targets, it’s important to tailor your messaging accordingly while creating a narrative and weaving a proper story. A sharp and persuasive cover letter must explain who you are, what your cause is, why you are pursuing it, and how your actions help the target audience. Effective cover letters are as much about the target audience as the job seeker.

HR is not likely to be an expert in your field and will only be inspecting your cover letter for keywords and relevant phrases to justify forwarding your application on to the hiring manager. So, ensure your introduction identifies how you fit the required experience and can fulfill the important duties listed in the job description to satisfy busy human resources staff scanning piles of cover letters. After all, keeping a CV and cover letter out of HR’s trash bin and getting it on the hiring manager’s desk can be half of the battle.

The rest of your cover letter is an opportunity to reinforce to the hiring manager your expertise, and why you will be a great fit for this specific position. Decision makers need to be shown that you are interested in working for them for very specific reasons. Additionally, they want to know how you can make their lives easier – that you can deliver from day one and are no amateur. So analyze the job description and make it crystal clear why you can already meet the most important aspects of the role. Tell an interesting story in the process, one that supports the information on your CV as opposed to simply regurgitating it.

And finally, remember it is critical to be honest.

Strategic communication must be taken into consideration and built into any cover letter (or CV), but no amount of clever messaging can obscure an obvious reality. If you do not meet the requirements do not invent skills or experience that you do not possess — focus on your strengths and figure out how to mitigate your weaknesses.

Doing all of this will make your cover letter one that stands out, and will help you land that interview. Good luck!

 

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Covering the cover letter: 5 tips to make the most of it

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By guest blogger Sailee Sarangdhar, Head of Content Marketing at Taskworld.

Most of us have a detailed resume or curriculum vitae saved somewhere on our computers. It’s a document that professionals should make an effort to keep up to date, even if you do have steady employment. If you’re not doing this, it’s probably time to make that long-awaited update.

With the job market being what it is at the moment, just a resume is no longer enough to land you the job. It is just one part of what can now be called the ‘job application email’ that also usually includes a cover letter, a portfolio, and sometimes even a letter of recommendation. Nailing all of these is the first step to making a confident start to the application process.

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What’s the point of a Cover Letter?

Your cover letter essentially explains to prospective employers why they should choose you for this job. It gives you a chance to explain yourself and tell your story. This aspect of storytelling is what you need to master in order to really make the most of what many consider a useless document.

The cover letter is a tricky one and here’s why:

It is the only part of your application that needs to be tailored-made to fit the job you are applying for. But that doesn’t mean that every part of it needs to be re-written from scratch every time. Your story stays the same. Your skills stay the same. You just need to explain to the reader how your story and your skill set are perfect for the job.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Create a Timeline

storyofmylife

Even though your resume will tell the hiring manager what you did when, think of your timeline as the plotline of your career. For example, if you were one of those people who did internships throughout your education, this is your chance to explain to a hiring manager why you did that and what you learned from it. It shows them that you are someone dedicated to exploring your career options and that you have good multi-tasking and time management skills, which is something everyone looks for in a prospective hire.

2. Nail the Tone of Voice

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Do some research on the company you are applying to. Write in a way that acknowledges the company’s personality. For example, if you are applying to a very corporate or large organization, make sure you keep the language professional and to the point. However, if the company has a smaller, cool startup vibe, or you are applying for a creative position, you can go for the jugular and be more upbeat and use your sense of humor.

3. No Humble Pie Here

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No one likes to toot his or her own horn. This is part of what makes writing cover letters so uncomfortable. Telling a faceless person what makes you the perfect candidate can be daunting, but you have to do it to get employment. Don’t be shy about your achievements, highlight them and explain what you learned from them.

4. Say Why You Want It

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Not only do you have to demonstrate to the hiring manager why you are right for the job, but you also have explain why you want it. Make sure that the person reading your cover letter knows what you are planning on getting out of this position you are applying to. Explain your motivation so they understand your expectations. Your ability to walk the fine line between desperation and commitment will be tested here.

5. End It On a Happy Note

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While the Cover Letter may start feeling like an essay as you start to write it, it is essentially, a letter. So make sure that you apply the standard letter format while writing it, starting with a Dear Sir/Madame and ending it with a Kind Regards or a Sincerely. Make sure you add in a line about hoping to hear back from them before your closing remarks to show them that you expect the best result because you are a deserving candidate.

* This blog first appeared at http://blog.taskworld.com.

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