Communicate Blog

How a mentor can fast track your career

Bridget Maoko - Friday, January 13, 2017

mentor Throughout your career, you will meet plenty of people you would like to turn to for advice and that’s a natural progression of growth. Athletes, for example have coaches that guide them every step of the way and by being strategic in developing your career you can identifying a good coach or mentor who can help you nurture your career path.

Great mentors or career coaches if you like, can provide intangible resources that mentees do not have due to their lack of experience. They also challenge you to think in way you never imaged before. Studies have shown that most successful people have had a mentor and are more likely to succeed. Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs as his mentor, and Oprah Winfrey had Maya Angelo. If you allow mentors to strengthen their experience with yours, you’ll be able to operate astutely than you would on your own.
Here are reasons why you should get a mentor.

Influencers
Mentors can be an important foundation of your career. A great coach will assist you with your success, aligned with your best interest and focused on helping you be the best you can be. As a mentee you need to cultivate a good relationship between you and your mentor, let the relationship grow organically. Share your goals and major careers decisions with your coach.

Wealth of knowledge
Tapping into a mentor’s wealth of knowledge can speed up your growth process and broaden your spectrum. Assuming you’ll choose someone who has been in the industry munch longer that you have and of course more affluent than you. You can avoid pitfalls and solve problems in a sophisticated manner. Draw from their knowledge and use it to your benefit, after all that’s the purpose of having a mentor.

Constructive criticism  
Take it like a champion. Remember the benefits of getting feedback. Allow them to be honest with you as this is the only way to grow. Express appreciation even if you don’t agree with your coach. Rather ask questions to deconstruct the feedback but always remember  that mentors have been there, right where you are, and have made numerous mistakes that they can now use as a basis for helping you to skip the devastating effects of not knowing.

Stimulate growth
The primary goal of having a mentor is to grow in a sense that you wouldn’t on your own. According to a recent survey 88% of business owners with a mentor say that having one is invaluable. Confirming the importance of mentor. This can have a positive impact on your career as you will not only grow faster but you will also be interested in learning new skills that can lend you a promotion or help you land a new client.

The beauty about having someone as a guide or coach for your career is that most of them are driven by the satisfaction of helping others (you) and expect no monetary rewards from the engagement. Forging a relationship of this magnitude is solely to the benefit of your growth and career development.

A mentor will give you personalized advice which is much better than general career advice you can get on the internet. Consider getting one and observe how they can impact your career in 2017.

Holiday Season Challenges in the office

Sandra Olivier - Monday, December 19, 2016

needle in a haystackWe all know that in South Africa the December holiday season is typically a time when the whole country slows down this is also true in terms of hiring. But, it does offer you the opportunity to take advantage of less competition for available jobs and to spend time on career planning. However if you are only focusing on  surviving the holiday season, navigating holiday office etiquette, or dealing with the stress the holidays can bring, we’ve put together some advice for you:

Reasonable Holiday Gift giving
In some companies people can get so excited about the holiday season that everyone exchanges gifts. In the current economy, this can get way out of hand and cause unnecessary financial burdens. The best way to deal with this is to start a secret Santa or secret gift exchange, where you only have to buy one gift. That way everybody receives a gift without having to break the bank. It will also help to set a specific reasonable price range for the gifts and to stick with it.

What to do with all that food?
This is probable one of the biggest challenges during the holiday season, as it feels like there is just food everywhere. It’s hard not to constantly indulge in these wonderful treats and stick to a balanced diet. It’s a good idea to try and arrange a schedule with co-workers to allow everybody to bring treats but also make sure that it’s on different days. We all know that January can be a very long month so be sure to stick those non-perishable client gifts in the cupboard for next year, everybody will enjoy it so much more!

Avoid those office party blunders
Office parties offer a great opportunity to network with co-workers and get to know people you don’t necessarily see every day. Unfortunately, people also manage to ruin their professional reputation. Parties should be fun but remember that you still have to work with these people afterwards.

So whatever you get up to this holiday season, we hope it’s a stress free time!

Mission: How to be successful in finding a new job

Sandra Olivier - Friday, December 09, 2016

fighter jet“I feel the need – the need for speed” the now famous words of Tom Cruise in my all-time favourite movie Top Gun. It is one of those movies that you can watch over and over again. This film which came out in 1986 really captures the essence of the 80s and who can ever forget leading man Tom Cruise and the ever gorgeous Kelly McGillis. All of a sudden everybody wanted to be a fighter pilot when they grow up. I’ve seen the movie more than a dozen times but only recently realised that, as in the movie, finding a new job requires a sound strategy and level head to ensure you grab the opportunities presented as you navigate your way to the top of the corporate ladder.

Let go of the past
For days after the death of Goose, Maverick was in a mental wasteland. He refused to engage, even though he knew his life and others depended on it. Without letting go of the past, we cannot forge ahead into the future.

The same strategy applies when you are looking for a new job. Hopes are raised and expectations accelerated when we go through several rounds of interviews with a potential employer only to be brought right back to earth when we are told that we have not been selected. The blow is doubly hard if it’s a position that we really fancy. But the best advice is to let go of the past and just move on to the next. You will find your fit.

Practice makes perfect

If there is one thing that Goose and Maverick learn early on, it’s no matter how good they think they will do, the only way to really test their skills and make sure they are prepared for the real thing is to practice.

The biggest oversight in interviewing is not being fully prepared. Understand that interviewing is a skill and preparation can make the difference between getting an offer and getting rejected. It is important to clearly identify your competencies, interests, values, and accomplishments;  these are sure to be topics that will be discussed. When you are trying to work out the suitable answers to the interviewer’s questions, you will also want to practice getting your nerves under control.

Strategy
Before every mission the Top Gun pilots gather for a briefing. During this time the strategy is outlined for how the mission will be approached in order to ensure they are successful. When going for an interview using the same approach can be useful.

In order to reduce unnecessary stress on the day of your interview decide on a strategy beforehand. It’s important to know how long the interview will last; will it be a panel interview or not? What time will the interview take place, do you need to account for traffic? Most important of all make sure you have a solid reason for being out of the office. The worst thing ever is to be called into an unplanned meeting right before you are due to leave for your interview.

 

Maximizing your LinkedIn profile

Bridget Maoko - Friday, November 18, 2016

linkedin logo The rise of social media has made it easy for individuals to connect with professionals around the globe. LinkedIn is no exception. They have 450 million users around the world and 100 million of those access the site on a monthly basis.  If you want to maximize your presence on this platform here are 4 guidelines: 

Make your profile count
It’s the first thing people look at when they visit your profile therefore it’s important to have a well written and compelling LinkedIn summary coupled with a good profile photo.  The easier your profile reads and highlights your accomplishments the better it reflects on you and your capabilities.

You can also export your profile to Word or PDF to use for your career marketing activities. Best of all, you can create your own website from your LinkedIn account. Platforms like branded.me allows you to import and customize your profile to boost your digital visibility.

Custom URL
LinkedIn is not only an excellent way of being found, it is also an excellent way for recruiters or people you may have met before to look you up. LinkedIn has good ranking on Google so customize your URL. Share it on your email signature, business card and websites. Use it as an opportunity to advertise your skills and professional self.

Active profile
Keep an active profile, this will help you create brand presence and present yourself as an expert and thought leader in your field of interest. Let every post be a reminder that you are keeping abreast with industry news.  You can include your awards, presentations and projects that you are currently working on - not to mention photos, videos, links and shared content.

Call to Action
People need to know the next steps in connecting with you, and your LinkedIn profile should offer at least one such next step. Make it simple. Make it impossible to miss. Make it easy to take. Spell out to your network or visitors what you’re looking to accomplish, and what you’d like for them to do next. If you don’t give people a clear call to action, they won’t know what to do with the information, insights or intelligence you have provided or hinted at.

LinkedIn is the ultimate personal branding tool, if used well it can serve more than just as a social networking site, it can boost your career.  So go ahead and improve on your profile, position yourself as an expert and enjoy the opportunities this platform brings.

Ready to take your career to the next level? Then look no further! Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency and we would love to be part of your career development. We have Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Supply Chain jobs and Freight jobs. Follow this direct link to our vacancy page and apply now!

Social Media: Be aware employers are watching

Bridget Maoko - Friday, November 11, 2016

social media reputationThese days, recruiters view potential candidate’s social media and online profile before inviting them for an interview. They want to see if their online presence is credible and resonates with that of a professional in that field.

According to the 2014 Social Media Recruiting Survey on Jobvite.com, 93% of employers will check your social media presence before making a hiring decision. As much as 73% of employers admitted that they have hired people that they found because of social media.

This is important because it has a direct impact on your career. On the other hand, if you are not active or do not have a social media profiles at all, it sends a red flag to recruiters that you might not be as digitally savvy as expected from an average professional. They must be able to Google and find you on at least one or two profiles.

Here are three things to steer away from when you post:

Badmouthing your current or previous employer.
What you say online does not necessarily stay online, for example: if you are having a conversation on WhatsApp with your friend, and you say something inappropriate about your boss, your friend then decides to screenshot the conversation and share it online, you will face repercussions irrespective of the conversation being ‘private’.

The trick is to keep your outburst about your boss or company to yourself! If it’s not worth being put on a billboard on a highway, then don’t post it on social media. Find other means of escalating your queries with your boss other than ranting online.

Don't announce everything on social media
People post about, almost everything! But certain things should be kept off your social profiles like: interviews, raises and new jobs. Recruiters may see this as a red flag and it may imply that you are unprofessional. Only share those plans with people you completely trust.

Always keep in mind how you want to be viewed when publishing online and how it will reflect on your overall image. Position yourself as a knowledgeable person in your field or field of interest. Balance your posts and keep the ratio to 50/50 between professional and personal posts.

Delete old posts
Make it a habit to regularly review your content. This will enable you to get rid of any information that you feel could reflect negatively on you. Change your privacy settings to share content for a particular audience such as family and friends only.

Always remember that potential employers Google candidates and if they find tasteless content about you, you may not get the job or that deserving promotion.

Rule of thumb
Assume that everything you post might be seen by potential employers. You need not completely stay offline but like any other tool, social media has to be used cautiously.

Need help in showcasing your worth to your next potential employer? Our consultants will help you achieve your career goals and manage the entire recruitment process, from interview to offer stage. Connect with us today for top talent and great careers.

Should You Be Job Hopping or Not?

Bridget Maoko - Friday, November 04, 2016

frog on vacationIt’s safe to say that most millennials are job hoppers, but what does that really mean? It means younger workers are likely to change jobs every few years rather than stay in one company for longer periods. 

Job hopping can enhance your career if done right, according to CareerBuilder it actually depends on the industry you are in - some industries have a higher ‘’frequency of job hopping than others’’ For example:

Information Technology – 42% were likely to leave within 1 to 2 years.
Manufacturing – 32% were likely to leave within 1 to 2 years.
Transportation – 37% were likely to leave within 1 to 2 years.
People hop for different reasons; it could be because of a desire for a career change or simply because there are better opportunities elsewhere. 

How Job Hopping Translates in The Eyes of an Employer

According to research, results show that most companies are still skeptical about hiring job hoppers, they fear that they might not get the return on investment in hiring you simply because they value longevity. The longer you stay at your current job the more loyalty you are deemed to be showing to the company. 

On the other hand, (some) employers and recruiters appreciate the wide range of skill and experience that the job hopper is exposed to. ‘You might have the right mix of skills’ 

What You Need to Know About Job Hopping:
Advantages: 
•Pay rise
Job hopping might be the quickest way to increase your earnings. You might find a job that offers a better salary or more interesting benefits than your current position. According to Payscale an average  increase one can get is up to 3% per year whereas alternating between jobs can get you 10% – 20% per year. 

•Skills Development 
Learning new skills in a new role can broaden your knowledge and expertise which will in turn make you more employable in the future. Your skills will be accentuated as you will be exposed to new challenges, different companies/industries and dealing with different clients. This can give you a professional advantage. 

 •Powerful Network 

It can be tricky to grow your network when you work with the same people year after year. The more companies you work in, the larger your network of professionals will become. Networks are important in today’s competitive industry. They can yield better career opportunities. 

Disadvantages: 
• You may seem unreliable 
It may suggest that you are not good at your job or are a quitter? Hiring companies could assume that you get bored easily. If the employer is looking for a loyal employee, they may think twice before offering you a job if you’ve job hopped quite a lot. 

•First in the cutoff line
Job security is an important factor to take into consideration especially in today’s economy. Based on your job record, when a company has to lay off employees you may be the first to get retrenched. Employees who have been serving the company for many years may have an advantage over you. 

•Longevity 
Employees are important in any running business therefore companies can be reluctant in hiring someone who has a pattern of changing jobs frequently. Employee turnover is generally expensive and companies would like to keep it as low as possible. It makes sense to invest money and training in someone who will stay rather than someone who will leave after a few months or years. 

‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ Confucius

So, To Hop or Not?
Always remember your career goals if you are considering another job and ask yourself, what long term impact this will have on your career. 

If you need some advice, Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency with the very best recruiters. Our committed consultants dedicate hours of work to each candidate to understand your value, strengths and skills. We would love to work with you, apply now!


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The challenges of job hunting while you're employed

Sandra Olivier - Friday, October 28, 2016

challenges notebook Let’s face it, most of us will be job hunting while we are currently still working. Looking for a job requires a lot of time and effort on your part and it isn't something you should enter into lightly. When you consider that no job is forever, and the fact that the average employee will have between 10 and 15 jobs in a career, it's wise to take action to positively influence your chances to land a new job, even if you don't think you need one right now. That said, job hunting while you’re still working can present its own set of prickly problems.

So what do you do when you've decided it's time to move on? Most of us have been there at some point in our careers. Do you tell your boss or not? How do you handle interviews and references? We offer some advice:

Need to Know Basis
If you don’t want your boss to know that you’re looking for a new job, don’t talk about it to anyone in the office. Talk about it to your spouse, your best friend or your dog. Don’t talk about it to the receptionist or anybody at work.

Don’t use Company Resources or Time
Conducting your job search on company hours is never a good idea. When you are at your current job, it should be your primary focus. Under performing is surely something that will tip off your boss that something is going on with you. It's unethical and not likely something that will get you a great recommendation from your present boss when the time comes.

Schedule Interviews Strategically
Be honest with potential employers about the need for an interview before or after regular business hours. They’ll appreciate the integrity you show by continuing to take your present employment seriously. If they must interview you mid-day, suggest your lunch hour. If that will not work, take a personal or vacation day.

If Time is Limited, Get Help
Because you have a job, your time is limited, so you must be organized and focused. By contacting recruiters who specialize in your field, you can save time and increase contacts. Working with a specialist recruitment agency will provide you with the added benefit that you will have consultants assist with your career search that understand your industry, the unique trends and have experience and a relationship with potential employers.

Job searching while employed full time can be tough. But it’s not all bad. It offers you the opportunity to negotiate salary and time to consider all option without being tempted to take the first offer that comes along just to make the mortgage payment. Job search ethically and you’ll even be able to turn your current manager into a positive future reference.

Looking for success in your career? We can help you untangle the steps to your next job opportunity. Communicate Personnel has a number of exciting new career opportunities which includes Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Supply Chain jobs and Freight jobs. Visit our website and apply today!

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Personal Branding, how important is that for your career?

Sandra Olivier - Friday, October 21, 2016

branding written chalckboard In the past few years, personal branding has become more and more important. The difference between today and ten years ago, is the rise of social technologies, the instant access to the internet and the blurring of boundaries between work and personal lives. Personal branding has stepped up to be a key consideration within your career and it is essential to invest time and effort in how you choose to present yourself. It could make the difference between you being very successful or not.

You might not think that you have a personal brand but everyone has one. It’s just that most people don’t really know what their personal brand is saying about them, and few invest any time in building it, enhancing it or leveraging it to support their careers.

How do I identify my personal brand?
There are several steps you can take to identify your personal brand. It all starts with self-assessment, what do you want your reputation to be? It’s about bringing together who you are, what you do and how you do it. It’s about making your mark by being yourself—your best self. Think of your personal brand as your unique promise of value. It's what you're known for and how people experience you.

I am not a celebrity, why do I need a brand?
Many people think that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Taylor Swift, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Social media tools have levelled the playing ground and have enabled us to reach incredible heights, at the cost of our time. Employers will Google you before they even invite you to an interview and the reality is your current employer is probably keeping an eye on what you’re doing, too. When you interact with people, both online and offline, they’ll build up an image of who you are over time. You want to be in control of all of those impressions.

What Makes You Unique, Makes You Successful
Personal Branding is about identifying and then communicating what makes you unique and relevant for your employers, so that you can reach your career goals. If you understand your strengths, skills, passions, and values, you can use this information to separate yourself from your competitors and really stand out.

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding.

In the next post, I will discuss tips on how to discover and identify your personal brand. Start thinking differently about yourself. You are not defined by you job title or confined for that matter by your job description. If you want to reach your career goals you need to start think about your brand, the Me.Inc brand.

If you need assistance in getting your brand out there to secure you next career opportunity we can assist. Communicate Personnel is a recruitment agency with consultants specialising in finding individuals Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Freight jobs and Supply Chain jobs. Check out our vacancy page and apply now!

Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by KROMKRATHOG

Safeguard Your Career

Sandra Olivier - Friday, October 14, 2016

paper with words Not too long ago, climbing the corporate ladder assured management professionals of a bigger office, a couple of extra zero’s to their pay cheque and a more secure future. However today, executives are being told not to get too comfortable in that corner office– because your job is just as at risk as everyone else’s. The higher up the ladder you go, the more unstable your position may become.

The world of business is reshuffling itself. Today most senior workers grow disengaged when companies don’t operate like they did 10 years ago.

The ultimate goal of change management is to engage employees and encourage their adoption of a new way of doing their jobs. Whether it is a process, system, job role or organizational structure change a project is only successful if individual employees adapt to the current job market. This is the essence of change management - mobilizing the individual change necessary for an initiative to be successful and to deliver value to the organization.

Safeguard your job with these four simple strategies which may save you from your worst enemy at work, which just so happens to be you.

Visibility. Reliability. Be Valuable. Planning!

Visibility
Familiarity is your powerful collaborator in building relationships. It's always a good idea to talk to your boss periodically about your work, even if you have a formal evaluation process.
If you can't see your boss regularly due to travel or location, stay visible by phone and email. This is not the same as a meeting in person but much better than fading from memory.

You also want to be on the radar of people outside your organization. Update your profile on LinkedIn on a regular basis. Connect with people who have the potential to hire you or recommend you to people who can hire you. Do this even when you’re not in the market for a new job opportunity.

Reliability
Being reliable, is an old-school way to bulletproof yourself. Dependability in the workplace leads to consistency. As a consistent member of the workforce, you begin to build your own niche as an essential element of the larger team. In short, your employer can count on your level of performance because you're reliable and they don’t have to worry about you bringing less than your best effort. People will know they can count on you and that you produce high quality work within the required time frames.

Be Valuable
Just do what is expected from you and more! The bigger the role you play in the important stuff that’s getting done at work, the more indispensable you become to your boss. When you're seen as an expert in your organization, you'll develop a reputation as someone who others can come to for help. This can lead to interesting work projects, as well as speaking and training opportunities, all of which increase your value.

Planning
No job is permanent and everyone should expect to be in perpetual passive job search. Being ready is the biggest favour you can do for yourself during good times or bad. Having an up-to-the minute CV gives you confidence that you're prepared for any possibility. And that confidence makes you seem more capable, more valuable, more of a keeper when layoffs are in the air.

You should also prepare for opportunities by improving your skills, strengthening your weaknesses and learning totally new things.

Are you ready to take the next step in your career?

We have Finance jobs in accounting, auditing, taxation, and corporate finance. A variety of IT jobs ranging from developers to architects, consultants in CRM and ERP, through to project managers, systems engineers BI and BA. Engineering jobs in industries like civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, electronic, engineering sales, production and trade. Supply Chain jobs as well as Freight jobs in procurement, production, logistics, freight as well as warehousing and distribution.

Visit our vacancy page and apply today!

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What qualities are employers looking for?

Sandra Olivier - Friday, October 07, 2016

needle in a haystackThat’s the million dollar question! Job adverts most of the time reflect a long list of bullet points with requirements and responsibilities. Once you get to a job interview, you realise that the job advert very often does not reflect the whole picture. Employers are looking for qualities in new staff that are never really listed in the job ad. The bottom line is that today’s top employers are looking for more than the right training and education. They are seeking employees who are well-rounded, adaptable, committed and a good fit for their organisational culture.

So what qualities are employers really looking for:

Professionalism
Professional is about as basic as career advice gets. But even the most seasoned of CEOs can get tripped up by the basics. Far too many people gets wrapped up with the appearance of professionalism -- a look, an image, something that is superficial. The truth is, you can put on the fanciest, most expensive suit you want but that doesn't make you a professional. What makes you a professional is the seriousness and sincerity with which you approach your job. Professionals do not cut corners. Professionals are thorough, and oftentimes meticulous about their work. Professionals hold themselves to a certain set of standards they always seek to maintain.

Passion and Enthusiasm
The reality is that the pace of life and work are hectic these days. It is therefore no surprise that employers know that today’s employees need to have plenty of energy and enthusiasm and need to be resilient to pressures and stress.

Intellectual curiosity
Being intellectually curious is all about asking questions, not about having answers. It's about believing in the pursuit of knowledge as a value in and of itself. Whether it’s new ideas, new technologies, new methods or new approaches, today’s top candidates need to be intellectual curious. By constantly asking 'can I be doing something that is more crucial to the company?', employees instantly become a much more valuable asset, be it understanding which product to priorities in a pitch, or focusing on team projects that will help the company's overall strategy.

Complex Problem Solving
Even when it isn’t specified in the job description, many employers will look at your problem-solving skills at various different stages of the application process. It means thinking out of the box, challenging the status quo, and being able to come up with innovative solutions that achieve positive results. In today’s business world this is considered a key differentiator.

Are you in the market for a new job? Communicate Personnel is a recruitment specialist with vacancies that includes Finance jobsIT jobsEngineering jobsFreight jobs and Supply Chain jobs. Visit our website and apply, our consultants are waiting to help you.