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The Career section contains a source of valuable articles and guides on issues pertinent to both the job search and work life in general. Here is some information about the writing a CV, how to approach your first job search, how to interview successfully, how to handle a promotion to management or a plethora of other work-related issues, you will find important tips here.



How to find a suitable job ?

Jobs for life may be a luxury of yesteryear but with new opportunities opening up in new sectors and more employers increasingly looking for, or at least accepting professionals with unconventional and rather unrelated cvs, the environment is rife for individuals to explore the topic of career satisfaction in a serious and creative and original manner. But how do you find that ideal job or analyze if your current job is in fact the right job for you? How do you find out for sure what it really is you want to make your life easy?


Below is the general structure for just that from the careers experts at merocvs.com:-


Every job has its ups and downs, its good days and days you wish you stayed in bed; so don’t expect continuous excitement; but if you are in your element you will know it. When you love your job it will feel like an extension of your identity. You will on most days wake up welcoming the tasks ahead of you and take the challenges as they come, with calmness and humor. Work satisfaction does exist and it takes all sorts of forms and shapes and guises, lots of people love their jobs and love their careers.


Determining what really matters to you early on, will save you a lot of pain and sorrow later on. Put everything on the table here and you can start by asking yourself what truly matters to you most and ranking the important matter to you. You may find on that list items as varied as a home in the country, a beach house, a short commute, time with family, an approachable boss, a great team, family insurance, a company brand i am proud of, ongoing training and development, job security, a cause i am passionate about etc.

By exploring interests you can also ask yourself what do you like. What do you do when you can do anything at all? What do you really look forward to? Do you look forward to weekends just so you can practice your English language skills at the restaurant or take visitors on a tour of the town? Perhaps you always wanted to be a language scholar or tour guide or travel agent or traveler. Whatever it is you love to do, don’t consider it minor; and if you don’t think you do it too well because you haven’t studied it, remember most people excel most at those things they love to do, and it’s never too late to learn. Don’t be scared to dream big and to think outside the box as you plan your happiness and aspirations to possible careers. May be you have some highly developed skills and some you consider yourself low on, on the excellence scale, but come to terms with all of them as in today’s career market it’s all about manageable skills rather than exact fit pedigrees. Paradigm career shifts are becoming as common as narrow linear career moves but you need to know what your skills are, to package them for where you want to go. That will serve you well soft skills and your ability to lead and inspire and motivate and engage with people.

Retraining need not take you away from the workplace for any extended period of time unless you want it to; you can pursue a learning program while you work. Whatever gaps you identified between your skill-sets and interests can be filled with a very diligent program of study, be it self-learning or a course or an all-out new degree.


6. Research: this can involve a lot of reading about industries and companies you are targeting as well as actual job roles and career paths but it needn’t stop there. Talk to people who work in your field of interest and get a feel for what a day in their life looks like and how the role resonates with your skills and interests and values. Ask for an informational interview to visit the company you are eyeing and get a feel for it and after the interview ask for a tour of the office. Speak to people who work there and people who used to. Find out what people like most and least about the job role, the career and the company as you plan your own shift. Make sure that the job sits well with your life goals and interests and does not disagree with any of your core values; ideally the more you learn about it the more excited you should feel.


But what about if you are in a job already that you don’t really hate and don’t want to leave but feel rather lukewarm and stressed out about? Well that’s very common and there are ways to take your role from good to great on the satisfaction barometer.



Once you have addressed where it is your job is failing to meet your professional and/or personal needs and expectations, take to the drawing board and formulate a plan to address these head on. For some people just neatly compartmentalizing all the realizations that come with this self exploration exercise is enough of a mental release and they will actively and happily choose to change their attitudes towards the job rather than any major thing about the job itself. The self-realization and choice to be positive may be all they need to get rid of that daily sinking feeling and those butterflies in the stomach. Whatever your self-analysis shows you, you are fully empowered to take the steps you need to try to bridge the gaps. Remember if you lack the know-how or assertiveness you need to tackle the issue you can get training and help and support on that from a capable friend or peer you trust or teacher or professional advisor. The most important thing to realize is that you are in control of your career and that those gaps you have identified will not trip you, because you know they are there, understand their dimensions and have consciously chosen to smile at them indifferently, or deal with them head on.



Some reasons you weren’t hired


Your cv was prepared by a professional, you did all the necessary groundwork before the interview and you thought the interview went extremely smoothly. So why aren't you celebrating an offer letter yet? Below the top ten reasons candidates often fail to secure the job of their dreams.

1. Your cv missed the mark

Many jobseekers make the mistake of using the same common nonspecific cv to apply for very different positions in different industries. Your cv should to the extent possible be modified to the specific job you are targeting and should show in a very direct manner skills, qualifications and experiences that directly come to bear on the given job. If you are targeting a number of different jobs, have different cvs for each job type so that your cv can be customized to the unique requirements of each industry. Find out what skills and qualifications to showcase in each cv by looking at the job description, researching the position and industry and talking to people in the industry, then highlight the skills and expertise that make you a perfect match. Employers want to hire people who are specifically interested in their industry and company, so having a generic unclear cv with a very vague objective statement and skills inventory will fail to capture the employer's attention or convince them that you are the best fit for the job.

2. You omitted a cover letter

Every cv should be accompany by a cover letter to personalize your cv and communicate in a precise, specific manner your objectives and the specific value-added you will bring to the job. The cover letter should be short and specific and should leave the employer in no doubt as to your interest in the company and industry and your unique qualifications for the job you are targeting. Cover letters, like the cv, should be tailored to the company and industry and should communicate in no uncertain terms the suitability of the experiences and qualifications listed on your cv to the job at hand as well as your enthusiasm to work for the specific company. A cv sent without a cover letter will lack the 'personal touch' and will likely be lost in the fray.


3. Poor follow up on cv

The average employer is inundated with cvs on an ongoing basis and is more likely than not to add your cv to the pile, pending possible future follow-up. To ensure your cv is acted on and does not get buried with the rest, you must follow up in a careful manner. Remember, the purpose of the cv and cover letter is to get an interview so call each employer shortly after you send the cv and communicate you are calling to follow up, ensure receipt and arrange for a face-to-face interview. Prepare a very short 'soft sell' for the phone conversation to 'educate' the employer as to who you are and why you are uniquely matched to the job and 'excite' him to want to meet you in person in an interview situation to talk further details.

4. Lack of preparation for the interview

Many candidates make it to the interview stage and disappoint the employer with their obvious lack of preparation for the meeting. Poor preparation includes slovenliness in researching the company, not being up-to-date on industry news, not understanding what the job requirements are and not having answers to common interview questions. You must enter the interview armed with the maximum knowledge about the company, industry and specific job so you can then tailor your answers specifically and position your skills and past experience in a manner that demonstrates your unique suitability for the position in question and the valuable contributions you can make to the company.

5. Unprofessional dress for interview

First impression is last impression and you may be hard-pressed undoing the damage if you send out a wrong message with your interview attire. Dressing too casually or completely incorrectly for the interview may communicate a lack of respect for professional norms of conduct as well as an unprofessional non-conformist attitude overall.

6. Unprofessional behavior during interview

The interviewer is screening you during the course of the interview for suitability to the job at hand and is assessing you in terms of your ability to conform in a professional way to the requirements of the job and the company culture; any unprofessional conduct will reflect negatively on you and is likely to immediately take you out of the running. This includes any behavior that shows a lack of respect for the interviewer and professional norms of conduct such as arriving late, arriving unprepared, aggressive or unprofessional body language, talking at length about your personal life and problems, treating the interviewer in a condescending or overly familiar manner, being unfamiliar with your cv, and/or obvious exaggerations or outright lies about your work history. It is very helpful to read some literature about body language and interview skills if you are relatively new to the interviewing scene and unfamiliar with the basics.

7. Lack of attention in the company


It is surprising how many jobseekers will make it to the interview stage and then express a total ambivalence and lack of interest in the company not to mention an obvious failure to research it in detail. Employers want to hire people who will be enthusiastic members of the team and will carry the company banner with pride; the last thing they want are disgruntled employees who are less than enthusiastic about the company's products and bottom line and will negatively impact the company culture. You must show a familiarity with an interest in the company and ask intelligent, relevant questions, prepared beforehand, that demonstrate you have done your homework and are very excited about joining the team. Any reluctance you have about joining the company should be kept to yourself at this early stage of the process; concentrate your efforts during your interviews on securing the position.

8. Unclear about value-added to company

If you are unconvinced about your value-added to the company, it is less than likely that you will be able to convince the employer. Make sure as you sit in the interview seat that you are closely aware of the requirements of the position and can directly relate your past work history, aptitudes, qualifications and skills to the requirements of the position. Imagine yourself already on the job and communicate to the employer how you will contribute significantly and in record time to the company's bottom line and how you will excel in performance and exceed targets and expectations. Make sure to include every skill set and past success in bringing to bear how you will positively impact the company's performance. If you already see yourself on the job and can mentally apply your past successes and skills inventory to achieving your new targets you are more likely to convince the employer across the table from you of your unique and undisputed suitability for the position.

9. Poor follow up after interview

Many candidates make the mistake of assuming the ball is outside their court following the interview stage and fail to follow-up, thereby losing what was a viable job opportunity. You must follow up! Oftentimes the interviewer has had to travel following an interview, is bogged down with a heavy workload and tight deadlines or is simply waiting for you to follow-up to determine your proclivity, energy level and interest in the job. Immediately after an interview while the questions and answers are fresh in your mind write a thank you letter to the employer which leaves him in no uncertain terms as to your interest in the company and your unique suitability for the job. Reiterate the qualifications and past successes that are immediately applicable to the position and emphasize any points that support your case and add gravitas to your application. If you would like to make up for any important facts that were missed out during the interview process or if you feel there are specific strengths you want to highlight following what your learned during the interview,. Then follow up on the thank you letter with a phone conversation reiterating your interest in the position and enquiring what the next steps should be.



The dos and don’ts of salary negotiation

Salary negotiation is a tough art; if you master it you can get a sneak peek into what your employer’s “reservation price” is and use it to your advantage. Below a simple code of salary negotiation that is easy to follow, should the situation arise.


Do your homework: many people are at a loss of words when they are asked about their salary expectations. It’s better to do your research about what the market rate for your prospective position is rather than concoct an unprepared answer. You can get in touch with recruiters and approach people in your network of friends and colleagues who would be willing to share salary information with you. Using all that salary intelligence as a baseline, you can tweak it according to your own experience and qualifications and come up with a narrower range that you can confidently pitch to the potential employer.


Don’t say yes too soon: accepting the offer put forward right away is inadvisable. Usually fresh graduates and job-seekers, who are from different geographical location make this mistake. Weighing the salary offered against your actual worth is important. Do not say yes unless you feel that the offer is reflective of the value you will offer to the firm. Not speaking up might lead you to feel underpaid, and receive lower increments and a slower salary growth as you move up the career ladder leaving you stressed and demotivated.


Do consider other benefits: to look at salary alone and ignore other benefits is also a common error while negotiating salaries. Other factors should be considered like insurance coverage, the option to have flexible work timings, maternity and paternity leave, paid vacation days etc. These factors have monetary value attached to them and should be grossed up with the salary figure to measure the value of your package.


Don’t make unreasonable comparisons: salaries may differ from one industry to another. Comparisons should be avoided in such cases and salary negotiations should be based on research conducted for the particular industry in question.

Do wait for the right time to bring up the salary topic: talking about the salary too early in an interview is not sensible. Market yourself as a valuable candidate and if the interviewer is fully interested in hiring you, they will bring up the topic themselves at a later stage of the interview. Take the cue from there and quote your range. If you have previous work experience, a good rule of thumb is to ask for a 20% increment over your last salary figure as the minimum expected salary.



How to answer salary questions in interview?


In answering a question about your salary expectation, don’t make an irreversible mistake by quoting a number without knowing what the interviewer has in mind.


What is your salary expectation?”


 Although a great opportunity and valuable experience is what a true professional looks for, a fair compensation is a must. Try to give a diplomatic answer and throw the ball back into the interviewer’s court by saying that you would like to know more about the job responsibilities and the type of benefits that the company usually offers to a person with the same career and educational profile as yours.


 if the interviewer is still persistent on extracting a salary range from you then answer in the form of a salary range based on what you were previously earning, what people in that job position generally receive.


What was your salary in your previous job?


 Try not to give a quick answer on this one. Try to argue that it is not fair to make a comparison of what you were previously making to what your expectation is because the salary structure in your previous company was very different and the position that you have applied for entails job functions that you did not handle in your previous job role. Try to make the interviewer drop hints about the package they are offering.



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