Some DON’Ts to remember before exams

The exam weeks are finally here!

Students around the country may either feel anxious to get it over with or embrace it with anticipation because you have been preparing for it for months.

During this tough time, each student may develop their own study techniques and strategies.

However, we felt that we should also remind students of the things they should definitely avoid at this point in time.

DON’T use social media

Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are fun but they can also be distracting, especially when you are trying to focus.

During exam weeks, do avoid them at all cost because, as you know all too well, once you stray there, it’s like entering the social media ‘black hole’.

DON’T follow other people’s study methods

When it comes to studying, everyone is wired differently.

For instance, your friend might prefer to study in a group while you prefer to be alone with your headphones. So, don’t feel pressured to follow others.

It is important that you feel comfortable while studying so that you can be more focused and ready to take on the tests.

DON’T stay up late

If you think studying all night without getting a good night’s sleep will get you high marks, you better think again.

Pulling an all-nighter before taking an exam is not a good idea because the chances of you recalling what you have learned are low.

So, do get a proper night’s sleep because your brain needs a rest too.

DON’T eat junk food

For most, it is easy to turn to food as a way to unwind and destress. However, you might want to keep the stress eating under control by not taking too much junk food while studying.

Instead, opt for healthier options such as fruits and nuts.

And while we are in the subject of food, do try to avoid consuming too much caffeine and energy drinks.

DON’T panic

Last, but definitely not least, do not panic because the more you panic, the more mistakes you will end up making.

If you stumble upon a question that totally stumps you, just move on to the next one and stay confident in your preparations.

So, good luck and all the best!

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, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2OQ1yda

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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.

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How to deal with a new job task?

If you’re a graduate who just joined the workforce, you’ll find that some job tasks are nearly akin to some experience during your internship or activities in your university.

But what if you’re given a task that you’ve never handled before?

Understandably, you’ll get anxious, confused and frustrated at first from receiving a job you’re not familiar with.

However, no matter how daunting this new task might be, at the end of the day you’re given the responsibility by your employer to complete it.

So, instead of looking at it as a problem you can think of handling a new task as a good opportunity to gain new knowledge, skills and experience, especially when it gets you out of your comfort zone.

Here are some ways to deal with a new job task:

Ask around                                
Perhaps the most straightforward thing you can do is to ask.

Go up to your superior for details of the task or to an experienced colleague for suggestions.

You can also ask your family or friends who may have tackled similar work before.

In any case, asking around gives you an idea on how to accomplish the job.

At the very least, it could help you build rapport with your colleagues and superiors.

Do some research
The moment you receive your new task, begin your research immediately.

If your workplace has an archive of past works or manuals that are related to your task, you can study these materials to find out how it is usually done.

Additionally, with access to the World Wide Web, you can search online for relevant tips, tutorials or information to get your task done.

Start small
Once you have a general idea about your task, you can start off with the easy part.

Consider this a warmup to a work process you’re about to put yourself through.

It’s best not to dive into a new task with the difficult part first; otherwise you will stress yourself out and you won’t be able to meet your deadline.

Have faith in yourself
Most importantly, you need to believe in your own capability to do this new task.

As long as you put in a lot of effort and you make yourself open to constructive criticism, handling a new task builds the confidence you need to be better at your work.

And when all’s said and done, look back at the entire process and discover your strengths and weaknesses so that you can perform better the next time you’re given a comparable task.

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, October 27, 2018.

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Overcoming peer pressure

If you’re currently studying in a college or university, there may be times where you find yourself doing something you won’t normally do, in order to fit into a social circle. This experience is commonly described as peer pressure.

Peer pressure is a form of influence coming from your peers that leads you to conform to their standards by changing your behaviour, attitude, or values.

It can be direct (you’re told to do something by your friends), indirect (you notice most of your friends doing certain activities that you will less likely do) or self-motivated (you put pressure on yourself to be part of a group of friends).

Experiencing peer pressure can happen at any time in our lives, but we are more vulnerable to it during our college years.

This is especially true when we’re surrounded by peers from many different backgrounds, and we’re more likely to try new activities as part of the process of understanding our relationship with others and ourselves as individuals.

To handle peer pressure well and navigate through college life better, here are some tips that could help.

Know when to say “no”

Whenever you feel pressured by someone telling you to do something you’d rather not do, say “no” politely and reasonably, even if the person tries to persuade you by saying things like, “Everyone’s doing it” or “You’re no fun.”

Responding in that manner consistently allows you to stand your ground and boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Differentiate between good and bad

Not all forms of peer pressure are negative.

Positive peer pressure helps you confront your insecurities and improve yourself as a person, be it staying healthy, volunteering, or being good to others.

Giving in to positive peer pressure excessively, however, can be detrimental to your wellbeing, so it’s important to do it in moderation.

Choose your friends wisely

Anyone who forces you to do something you dislike is not a true friend, so pick peers from your classes or college activities who hold similar interests, beliefs, or values and allow you to be yourself.

It’s worth noting that you and your friends don’t need to have the same opinion on everything; this enables you to learn different perspectives other than your own.

Be yourself

Always remember that the decision to act (or not to act) upon peer pressure is your choice and responsibility, so always think things through before making the decision and reflect on how your actions will eventually define you.

Also remember that whatever it is that you want to be, don’t do it just for the sake of pleasing others.

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, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2DqHWMo

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When the career path chooses you

For some of you fresh graduates, there is a high chance that you may not be able to land a job that’s related to what you studied in college or university.

It’s actually not uncommon to have a fulfilling career that you didn’t plan for when you were completing your diploma or degree, so don’t stress out if your first job is not what you envisioned.

While some may be lucky enough to land a job that fits perfectly within their field of expertise, others may end up getting hired for a role that is completely different from their expectations.

If you fall into the latter category, here are some of our thoughts on the matter.

Accept the change

First of all, be grateful for the job opportunity offered to you and realise that your employers acknowledge your capabilities enough to trust you to fill a position that is not related to your field of study.

You may not realise it at first, but if you give it your best shot, you may find that the job could suit you better than you imagined.

And even if your field of study is different from the job scope at hand, always remember that having good work ethics, being creative and innovative, and able to be a team player will always be appreciated in any work environment.

Willing to work your way up

As you may have a lot to learn in an industry that you are not familiar with, upon joining you will have to start from the lower rungs of the organisation.

Always keep in mind that you have a lot to learn and also need to gather as much experience as possible to be more competent at your job.

It may take a few years, but if you have the determination and are willing to work hard, your efforts will not go unnoticed by your supervisors.

Leverage on transferable skills

As mentioned above, in any industry you join, if you have good work ethics and can be a team player, you would have an upper hand in most organisations.

Apart from those attributes, in order to make you stand out in an industry that is unrelated to your field of study, you should focus on your transferable skills.

These could include leadership skills, written and verbal communication skills, organisational and time management skills, and also research and analytical skills.

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, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2QwRNmh

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Have a break

It used to be said that those who worked for long hours without any intermission were considered hardworking and productive, but that’s not really the case.

More scientific studies have shown that taking regular breaks from work can help us improve and maintain our focus, motivation, creativity, and overall productivity.

Some of them also revealed that how we take our time out matters too; and while a nap is one of the best ways to spend during our breaks, it isn’t the only one.

Thus, to avoid getting distracted and bored or experience burnout from your work, here are some other methods to consider for taking effective breaks.

Plan your break

To reap the benefits of having a work-break balance, you need to decide how often you should have them.

Some studies suggest having a ‘25/5-minute plan’ (25 minutes of working and a five-minute break, and then a longer break after four cycles), others a ‘50/10-minute plan’, or even a ‘52/17-minute plan’.

Whichever plan you find suits you the most, following it enables you to have greater focus at work, so long as you are disciplined and committed to having time for yourself.

Keep up with your reading

Reading allows you to gain more knowledge and reduce stress, among many other benefits.

Therefore, during your break, read stories that inspire you, articles that you’ve wanted to read, or even something unrelated to your work.

Magazines, books, or newspapers can do you good too, because they let you give your eyes a rest from looking at screens on your computer or mobile devices for too long.

Have a snack

Junk food like crackers or sweets might give you the immediate kick you need to work, but they won’t last long and won’t help flatter your waistline.

Instead, munch on small portions of healthy snacks such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and dark chocolate. They not only help restore your energy and boost your brainpower, but also keep you healthier for the long haul.

Move around

Assuming that your work involves a lot of sitting or staying in one position, doing light exercises during your break allows blood and oxygen to flow in your body continuously and tight muscles to loosen.

Be it basic stretches, walks in or outside your office, or some calisthenics, these movements also help lower the likelihood of having physical aches and pains as you grow older and, most important, make you feel good.

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, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2QiUWX0

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How to discover your passion

‘Do what you’re passionate about’ is perhaps one of the most common pieces of advice people give when it comes to studies and careers, but what if you have no idea what you’re truly interested in?

For those of you who are studying or working in fields that generally guarantee financial stability, finding the ‘ultimate’ passion may sound farfetched, perhaps because the interests you wish to pursue may not provide a good income, or maybe the effort in doing the discovery is time-consuming.

Still, doing something that involves tasks, skills or subject matters that interest you will make your studies or career a lot more enjoyable.

If you want to search for your passion, but aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few tips to guide you through:

Find time for yourself

Your first step in finding your passion is to take a step back and reflect on any clues that you otherwise wouldn’t notice when you’re too preoccupied with your routine.

Breaking away from your daily grind for new experiences can also be a good opportunity to gain or enhance essential life skills, such as creative thinking, decision-making, and resilience.

Build self-awareness

Having time for yourself allows you to do some self-assessment, which means becoming more aware of your interests.

You can do so by recalling childhood or current hobbies that you feel you should take more seriously, listing down tasks you like and dislike, or simply asking yourself whether there are any activities you’ve seen or done that actually fire you up.

Another way of building self-awareness is taking an interest assessment, particularly the comprehensive kind where your assessment results can provide you a list of career options that match your interests.

Meet people with the passion

If there are several fields you want to explore, consider speaking to those who are already working in those areas.

Aside from networking possibilities, meeting experienced individuals allows you to have a better understanding of these fields, be it their day-to-day activities, prerequisites of entering the industry, or expectations of the job.

If the opportunity arises, gain some experience in that particular field before fully committing to it, and if you’re a student you could do this by working part-time or doing an internship or apprenticeship.

Keep trying

Above all, until you’ve found your passion, keep experimenting with various kinds of activities, even if it means getting out of your comfort zone.

The more successes you gain from certain accomplishments, the greater your chances of narrowing down your selection of interests.

Most importantly, don’t rush when searching for your passion, because your journey in finding it is a greater learning experience than your destination.

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, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2E3W91J

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Millennials’ guide to making a good impression in the workplace

According to most articles online, millennials are often perceived as lazy, entitled, and unproductive workers.

While this may not be true, if you’re a young working adult who just got hired for your first job, making a good impression on your co-workers is vital to disprove those stereotypes.

To create a good impression at work, these simple tips may help.

Email etiquette

For a generation that’s used to replying ‘k’ instead of ‘okay’, writing a formal email is a unique challenge.

When writing formal emails, remember that it’s part of your professional brand.

Do greet the email recipient respectfully and be clear, concise, and polite with regard to the content of your email.

Lastly, always end it with ‘thank you’. Also try keeping it professional by creating an email account with your first and last name.

Dress code

Unless you are working in the fashion industry, flashy outfits are definitely not acceptable when working in most offices.

For young adults, who just started working in an office environment, it’s important to find out if your company has a dress code or not.

Some companies may have casual dressing, while others may go for a formal dress code.

Communication etiquette

Different generations may have different styles in communicating.

Do note that when you’re speaking face-to-face, body language plays an important part in conveying your message.

If you’re too casual, you might be perceived as lazy or uninterested. So, do learn the correct manner of speaking to your superiors or your colleagues.

When communicating, keep in mind that you should always be trustworthy, honest, and respectful towards others.

Addressing conflicting ideas

For millennials, typically problems at work for you often arise from differing minds and the different communication styles of colleagues who are not from the same generation as yourself.

This is especially true now that the gap between generations is further widening due to the adoption of new technologies in the workplace and different working patterns.

When facing conflicts, remember that the people you work with are on the same team and have the same purpose as you, so don’t be too quick to judge or make assumptions about why they behave the way they do.

Instead, be obvious about your own motives and ask if you can share your ideas or concerns and always encourage your colleagues to respond or share their perspective on matters.

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, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2DOWHrv

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Study smarter by avoiding time wasters

Now that we’re already a couple of weeks into the New Year, most of us would probably be thinking how time flies, whether we’re having fun or not.

If you’re a student, trying to juggle classes, assignments, extra-curricular activities and a social life can be quite a struggle.

If you’re looking to use your time more efficiently, one of the keys is to eliminate time wasters from your day so that you can strike a better balance between home and study.

Most of us would probably agree that one of the most common time wasters is excessive usage of social media.

While social media may be a good platform for networking and information searching, it’s also a tool that easily distracts you from study-related activities or accomplishing your tasks, as it is often the main source of procrastination.

With social media, you will face a constant stream of distractions from your smartphones or laptops, which will undoubtedly affect your ability to focus.

Apart from social media, a lack of planning or poor scheduling could also be considered a time waster for students.

Planning or making a schedule in advance is the best way to keep track of your activities and is critical if you want to accomplish something as it provides you with a clear direction towards your goal.

Constantly reviewing and assessing your schedule can help you recognise whether you need to make a change in your study pattern and complete your assignments, while at the same time learning to prioritise.

And while it’s good to have a full day planned ahead, another common mistake students often make that could also be considered time wasting is not taking breaks in between long study sessions.

Taking short breaks after about 30 minutes of a study session has been scientifically proven to boost focus and productivity because after a long period of working, the brain uses up oxygen and glucose, which is a form of energy.

By taking breaks, you are able to rejuvenate your mind so that you can refocus on your studies when it is time to resume, thus making it easier for you to digest more information.

Time wasters come in different forms and they might vary from one individual to another so just by eliminating some (if not all) will allow you to reset your priorities, be more productive, and also save more time.

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, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2EHbpxE

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Finding the right ‘problem’ to solve

We are now in the year 2018, and if one of your New Year resolutions happens to be starting your own business, the very first step you must take is finding the right ‘problem’ to solve.

It is the essence of entrepreneurship to create new solutions that satisfy unmet needs. Yet, many businesses fail because they come up with products or services before even identifying the actual problem.

Searching for the right problem to solve could determine the success and longevity of your business venture because this problem will evolve into an idea that defines the bedrock of your establishment.

This means that your business framework, strategies, decisions and implementation will revolve around the issue you intend to tackle – the raison d’être of your entrepreneurial endeavour.

Obviously, this is easier said than done, for it takes patience, diligence and thorough research on the viability of the idea to ensure success in your business.

This crucial market research requires asking yourself whether there is a demand for such idea in the marketplace, if you will be faced with a high level of competition, or whether you have the capability and capital to provide a new solution.

It may be ideal to find a problem related to your passion, but it is much more meaningful when the problem can transform into an idea that leads to a solution that people need in the long run, instead of what they want now.

The question then is where can you find that real, ‘painful’ problem you can actively solve?

First of all, observe your surroundings and see whether there are things people do that upset them, waste their time, money and effort, or even hinder them from accomplishing their tasks.

Your surroundings could be a goldmine of problems that are in dire need of solutions, so stay sharp and watch your environment for potential business ideas.

Experiences can be a source of ideas too, so reflect on them, be it your own or people you have encountered. Not all ideas involve saving the world; instead they can come from minor grievances through our daily lives.

In your conversations with family, friends or anyone, who can be your potential customers, pay attention to their gripes. They might appear as trivial comments, but never discredit those and consider them as problems worth solving.

There is also a possibility that someone else has attempted to tackle a problem similar to yours, so analyse your competitors who have succeeded or failed, including their strengths and weaknesses.

Learning from them could prevent you from committing the same mistakes they’ve made, allowing you to build a competitive advantage that could push your business to greater heights.

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, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2AD6eMH

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