Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Volunteering can help you find a job and advance your career

As we approach Thanksgiving, many people are wondering how to get involved in volunteering, with good reason: Now is the perfect time to commit energy to help others, get involved with something you feel passionate about, and often meet new people.

But volunteering can bring other benefits, too—one being a great boost for your career. Here’s how volunteering can help you thrive.

You expand your personal and professional networks

People already working in your target field are great sources of information about job openings, affinity organizations, and people you should meet. And if you have a good experience volunteering, your supervisor might serve as a reference when you’re applying to jobs.

You learn new and transferable skills

Volunteering will help you develop new job skills as well as apply current skills in new ways. For example, a mid-career professional who has worked in concert promotions could use her marketing skills to help an organization with their fundraising or other mission-based events. A college student accustomed to doing research for school assignments could volunteer to research an issue or demographic for a nonprofit.

It’s an opportunity for career exploration

Volunteering allows you to try on different organizations, roles, issues, etc., without job-hopping. Of course, volunteering isn’t the same as being on staff, but it can expose you to the work of an organization in a deeper way than becoming a member, following it on Twitter, or even conducting an informational interview with an employee.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why You Should Revise Your Resume Regularly

When was the last time you updated your resume? If you are like most of us, it was the time you were applying for the job you are currently in. Right now, it is probably collecting virtual dust in your hard drive. However, it is always useful to keep your resume up to date because you never know when you will need it, or when an exciting job opportunity comes along.

We often think of our resume as the document that you send to your potential employers as a screenshot of your employment history. In fact, the resume can be more useful for you than your employer. Let me tell you why:

1. Always Ready For The Next Opportunity
Remember those nasty pop quizzes you had in school that always caught you off guard? And right after them you would wish you were more prepared? Now imagine that these are not pop quizzes, but actually surprise job offers!

Opportunities may come knocking at your door at the least expected moment, such as at a friend’s dinner party or at a corporate event for your company. Your potential employer or professional contact may tell you to “send me your resume tomorrow and I will refer you to Mr X.” In that case, wouldn’t you want to make sure that you are ready to dash out those resumes?

Trying to piece together a resume in a hurry is never a good idea, as with anything done hastily. Trying to write a resume after you lost your job can be even more stressful and you may risk leaving out several important points that best represent you.

Set aside time regularly to update your resume, such as every quarter or every month. Write down the successes and lessons learnt during that period and rephrase them into skills or attributes in your resume. It is best to start updating when you are still employed and in the best frame of mind.

2. Being An Expert About You
I know, we hate updating our resumes as much as we dread examinations. We procrastinate, we grumble about them, and we only get down to them a week before the deadline. Therefore, it is totally understandable why anyone would hate updating their resumes.

Well, think of updating your resume as revising your knowledge about you! We all know how we may claim to know a lot about our subject right before the exam, but after the exam, we forget everything! Now imagine forgetting half the skills and achievements you have gained in your job! It would be a great injustice to ourselves to leave out all that hard work that we put in right?
So start updating that resume! Have your latest achievements at your fingertips, so that you will always know what to pitch to your listeners when they ask about you.

3. It’s Like a Regular Check-Up, But For Your Career
Revising your resume is like going to the doctor for a check-up. What you do not want is to realise at the end of the year that you have not spent your time developing yourself either professionally or personally, or worse that you are doing things that are not useful to your career prospects.

Therefore, even if you are not actively looking for a job, your resume works like a career health report card for yourself to check if you are staying relevant. The process of evaluating your employment history lets you know whether you are on the right path and getting good results. More importantly, it will help you see if you are focusing your time and effort on matters that are important to both your career and you.

4. Stay Relevant And Concise
So perhaps you are the diligent type, and have always been keeping track of your career achievements. Good on you!

However, it is always good to do some “spring cleaning” on your resume once in a while. Every achievement may be important, but which ones are most relevant to your dream job and which ones demonstrate your capabilities best?

For example, saying that you were a medic in the army may be impressive and may click well with employers who appreciate employees with first aid skills, but this should not be included in your employment history if you have other more outstanding achievements.

To help you along, you can refer to recommended resumes online by resume writing services, or request for informational interviews from people in the industry that you would like to work in, preferably those working in HR. Seek advice on what are the trends in the industry and how you can improve your resume.

5. Keywords Are Key
An often neglected portion of writing resumes is the keywords you use. As much as we want to flaunt our vocabulary skills, the truth is that people are generally straightforward when it comes to searching for things online.

Therefore, insert searchable keywords into your resume so that employers can find you easily. Glance through the latest job descriptions to find what are some commonly used terms and tailor your resume accordingly.


The above is a guest post from Loy Xingqi of ResumeWriter.SG, Singapore’s leading résumé writing firm. Since 2009, they’ve assisted thousands of jobseekers get their dream jobs. Visit them on their website if you want to know how they can craft the best resumes for you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What is your job actually doing to you?

You know that little voice in your head that says your job is killing you? It might be right: New research has found that workplace stress can be as toxic to your body as second-hand smoke.

There’s a particularly cold prickle of fear that pops up when work leaves you feeling overtired, overwhelmed and under siege. It might seep in during a meeting, when your left eyeball starts to throb, or it might hit you later, when it takes far too long to realize your work pass will not open the door to your house. It lurks in the back of your mind when you’re wondering where exactly your short-term memory went, and it most definitely trickles in during the loneliest moment of your third consecutive night of insomnia.

With this nagging sense of dread comes a question you don’t want to answer: What is your job actually doing to you? Most likely, you brush it off and get back to work. But as new research suggests, concerns that the modern workplace may be harmful to our health are well-founded. As dramatic as it may sound, work and the chronic stress that can come with it may be slowly killing us.

What do you think?