3 Things You Should Do to Clinch that Job Interview

Becoming Auncle

3 Things You Should Do to Clinch That Job Interview

Applied to hundreds of job postings, only to miss out on the roles that you’ve always wanted? Maybe this article could be what changes your game.

by your friendly neighbourhood

Uncle Liang

I am here to teach you the ways of the uncle.

You’re qualified for that job you’ve applied for. Every single line in the CV that you have painstakingly made is exactly what is written in that job description. Feeling hopeful, you send an application in, and wait for a response… That never comes.

It’s super frustrating, and I know exactly how you feel. Uncle Liang was interviewing for more than 6 months starting from November 2019, up to July 2020! In between, I sent over 600 applications to various positions both within and outside of my comfort zone. But after 6 months? Only some random offers that didn’t even match what I wanted!

So Uncle Liang did a lot of thinking, and asked around his recruiter friends etc. for advice. What you are about to read is the crystallization of those 6 months of blood, sweat, tears and frustration… and the eventual moment of light that comes from actually having learnt something useful from the grueling unemployment experience.

Don’t give up – you’ll get there! I really hope that these tips will help in your job search!

Tip 1: Make (and use!) your connections

A lot of people talk about the value of networking (including our own Uncle Teo – read his amazingly useful commentary here)!

I won’t say too much about networking here, but let’s just say that your connections could be one of the most valuable factors in determining whether or not you could land that next role. Especially if you’ve been around – making connections in the industry not only helps you get a referral into the role you want (not to mention referral incentives for your contact), but it could also be the edge you need to get to the top of the list for highly competitive roles or popular job listings.

An added perk is that having industry connections would mean that you might be able to get intel about less-publicized roles, or maybe even submitting your application in way before other qualified candidates catch wind of the role.

I have friends who – when looking for a role – literally just comb LinkedIn for their University alumni in prominent positions, and then send them InMail or even connection requests, indicating that they are seeking career advice. For a more targeted approach, find online communities that focus on your industry, and then begin to network from there. Of course, the best way would be to start from the networks that you (should) already have!

Even your ex-classmates might be able to introduce you to a relevant role – never underestimate the power of human connections!

Tip 2: Create a Bespoke Resume

You’ve done all the layouts, cleaned up your resume, and your resume is all ready for battle. But is it?

Imagine you’re a recruiter who has just received 200 resumes for the same Marketing Manager role – most of them are formatted in a similar way, and mention generic achievements that have not been tailored to the role. How would your resume break through to the recruiter?

1. Design

Canva has a good collection of resume templates, and I would recommend the ones here. I mean look at these minimalist beauties:

2. Customization

Now that you have your recruiter’s attention, the next step would be to impress them with something customized to the role they’re looking for.

I don’t think I need to say much here – if you’re looking to hire a digital marketing person, just imagine the difference between receiving a resume that says:

I handled an account base of digital marketing clients, and ran campaigns for the business.

VS

I handled an account base of 25 clients and increased it to 45 within 6 months, generating average of $200,000 revenue per month through digital marketing.

3. Cover Letter

Needless to say, always submitting a cover letter could be the difference between going 1 month without an interview, and actually getting 5 interviews in a month. Make sure to customize the cover letter’s comments to each role, and what you think they’re looking for!

Please note that this much customization means that you will end up with what others would call “wasted” resumes and cover letters. It’s true, because often the job listings that you see are just for show (e.g. they already have a candidate in mind and were just trying to hit an interview quota). Don’t give up and believe that it will all be worth it!

Tip 3: Make sure you are applying to the right jobs!

It might be quite an obvious tip from us, but I personally feel that the importance of aiming for the right role is often overlooked in the job search. Whether it is your dream job, or something to aspire to, you need to aim for something that is ‘within your reach’ – and by that I mean a role that you can do well in, with fair remuneration. 

I have applied to so many roles where it seemed like a perfect fit from the JD, only to find that I never get called up to interview. Of course this might be a factor of the job’s popularity and the number of resumes received by the recruiter (I have heard of recruiters who, when they receive too many CVs, cuts the stack in half and throws the rest away). Expect this to happen, and often. Just make sure that you’ve done all that you can do to catch their attention, and don’t get yourself down.

However there are also situations where you are overqualified for the role. My experience is that if you are overqualified, recruiters would often put you through but the hiring managers would be unlikely to hire you under fair terms, leading to a ‘wasted’ interview. I know, because I have had many of these interviews. They either end with, “keep in touch! We’ll need somebody like you down the line” or “We’re pleased to offer you $X” (where X is exactly half of your previous salary). Unless you are going into a new industry/role altogether, or if you are absolutely destitute and need the cash… Never rank yourself downwards!

Passion's important. but don't forget that getting paid is important too. You've gotta take care of you!

And that’s that for now! I wish you luck in your job search and I hope these helped!

Please tell us what you think in the comments below – our resident uncles would love to respond to your comments!

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The Importance of Looking Inward

Adulting in Singapore

The Importance of Looking Inward

By Uncle Anonymous

Before we proceed, I want to tell you something very serious.

You don’t really know much about yourself, and what you believe about yourself might be completely wrong.

“That’s not right”, you might say, “I’ve lived with myself for so long – of course I know!”

Say no more.

The case study of a "very stable genius"

I mean obviously this is an extreme case study of what I think to be a severe lack of internal self-awareness, but I sure hope it drove to point home. 

How can we not know about ourselves? That’s who we’re living with all this time! How am I supposed to know myself if I haven’t been able to all these years?

Before going to any of that, let’s set the foundation with a few definitions.

Self-Awareness

Based on There are actually two types of self-awareness – internal self-awareness and external self-awareness. It’s all summarized beautifully by Dr. Tasha Eurich:

Do you see where you are on this table? Which archetype do you belong to?

Dr. Tasha Eurich herself actually has a quiz published that could help you to identify your archetype, so definitely give it a try here.

In general, however, people generally don’t know enough about themselves, or how other people see them.

Regarding internal self-awareness, a Harvard Business Review study found that most people believe that they are self-aware, but only 10-15% of the people studied actually fit the criteria. The gap in what we think, versus reality, is bigger than we think.

For external self-awareness, sixteen rigorous studies of thousands of people in the workplace have shown that your coworkers are more likely to be better than you are at recognizing how your personality will affect your job performance. Your own ratings of your personality traits only correlate at around .40 with the impressions of other people (who know you well).

In short, how you see yourself and how other people see you are not very strongly correlated. 

While both types of self-awareness are important and need to be addressed, this article will focus on how to cultivate internal self-awareness. External self-awareness is addressed here!

Here are a few ways you can begin to look inwards, and hopefully find yourself!

Most people believe that they are self-aware, but only 10-15% of the people studied actually fit the criteria for self-awareness.

Harvard business review

1: Check out your VITALS

A handy overview can be found here, but this is definitely a mnemonic worth remembering. Try asking yourself some of the questions that we have prepared below. Please be honest to yourself and be open to whatever answers you might find!

Values

What are my values?
What do I believe is worth fighting for?

Interests

What do I pay attention to?
What am I curious about?

Temperament

Am I logical or emotional?
Do I plan? Or do I go with the flow?

Activities

Am I a morning or a night person?
What habits make me feel good?

Life goals

What have been the most meaningful events of your life?

Strengths

What am I truly good at?
Which are my best character traits?

It would be helpful to write all of this down, even if you already know the answers by heart!

Also, other things such as Life goals could be difficult to pinpoint at this moment. That’s fine. At least from now on you’ll be keeping it in mind, and that’s all that matters.

Remember, the journey to find yourself is a long one, and there are no hard and fast answers so do not worry if you’re unable to answer a couple of questions. 

You’ll find them eventually!

 

2: Journal

We all have kept a diary or a journal at some point in our lives. I found my secondary school journal recently and it was such an enlightening (and embarrassing) experience seeing the world from the perspective of the 14-year old me!

It isn’t just interesting though – the reason you feel that you’re reading someone else’s writing (even though it’s your own) is because that’s exactly it. You’ve changed and are now a different person! The biggest thing I realized from reading my old diary was just how different I was from 14-year old me, and it led me to think back and reflect on the steps that I have taken, big or small, to get to where I am today.

Keeping a gratitude journal could work wonders for your life

Most importantly, by making journaling a habit and if you write (or draw, whatever works!) in your journal often, self-reflection becomes a default! Over time, you will start to learn more about yourself and your underlying needs and wants. Keep it going and you will be more attuned to your inner voice, and understand yourself more in this world where millions of voices compete for your attention.

3: Question your automatic thoughts

Not just your thoughts, but also your reactions to things and situations that happen around you.

Many of us have a tendency to react to situations with pessimistic, self-undermining and irrational thoughts. If you still don’t know yourself very well, there is a possibility that you end up believing in these negative thoughts and end up making them come true! Even if these things don’t come true, you’d probably end up feeling horrible about yourself.

Learn to “catch” these negative thoughts as they appear, and redirect your mind to more realistic thoughts. Never shortchange yourself! You should always give yourself credit where it’s due. Mistakes are to be expected in life, so also be wary of over-punishing yourself – especially for little things!

Whenever you notice yourself making negative assumptions or discounting positive feedback, “catch” yourself! Take a breath and challenge these thoughts.

I think you’ll find that over time, many of the flaws that you thought to be true was actually just in your imagination! 

Most Important: Be kind to yourself!

Everything starts from knowing yourself and being self-aware! While you learn to grow your internal self-awareness, don’t forget to be kind to yourself, just as you would be kind to others. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made, and congratulate yourself for every little success.

Before long, you will find that you are very much in tune with yourself, and I believe that at this point, you would change for the better.

Michael Jackson definitely made a point with “Man in the Mirror” – 

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

Sorry, wrong generation. But ya I made my point. I mean, MJ made me help him make his point.

 

Stay awesome auncles!

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