Soft Skills: The Key to Landing your next job

Sandra Olivier - Friday, May 22, 2015

facesUntil very recently technical ability and experience were the only things that companies looked for when hiring new people. However, research has shown the importance of soft skills on job performance and more importantly the bottom line. Contrary to popular belief, being an expert in your field does not guarantee you regular employment. Companies are now demanding more than just job expertise, which means you must also fine-tune your soft skills.

Why are soft skills important?
In any company, big or small success depends largely on the ability of staff to collaborate on projects in order to achieve the necessary milestone for reaching objectives. The reality is that as soon as people have to work together there is sure to be a difference of opinion or some form of conflict. This is not necessarily a bad thing as different ideas could help to create better solutions, if these individuals have the necessary soft skills to manage this. If not, it will only result in wasted time, strained work relationships, and ultimately failure of the project.  

Important soft skills to develop:
The focus has shifted for hiring managers to look for more than just competency areas as they’ve realised that culture fit are just as important as the expertise required to succeed at a job. Developing your soft skills could be the key to landing your next job opportunity.

1. Communication skills:
A topic that has been discussed many time and although this seems obvious, the ability to communicate clearly both in written and verbal form is vital for any job. You need to be able to get your message across to a variety of people and to ensure there is a clear understanding of what you require from the other person.

2. Growth mind-set
In order to excel in any career this is an important skill to develop. It will allow you to face difficult situations and challenges as learning opportunities. It is important to continue to grow your experience and people skills as you move upwards in your career.

3. Perceptiveness:
The ability to understand the unspoken cues and underlying nuances of other people’s communication and action is a valuable skill to develop. We often focus so much on our own messages and what we want to communicate to others that we don’t watch and try and understand where other individuals are coming from. If you misinterpret other’s intention, you can easily encounter difficulties dealing with people and not even know why.

4. Cool headedness:
Staying calm in challenging situations especially when it comes to conflict will serve you well in your career. It’s important to keep your emotions in check in any situation and to approach problems with an open mind.

5. Pro-active problem solving:
Any work situation requires a certain amount of problem solving. Being pro-active and offering solutions will win you favour not only with your boss but also with your colleagues.

6. Negotiation skills:
The key to good negotiations is to create a 'win-win' outcome where both sides feel they have gained something positive through the process and both sides feel their point of view has been considered. Negotiation is essential in your career but also in your daily lives.

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 jobsSupply Chain jobs and Freight jobs. Visit our website and apply today!


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Mall of Africa: South Africa’s largest single-phase shopping mall development

Sandra Olivier - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

shopping mallThe Waterfall mixed-use precinct, situated between Johannesburg and Pretoria, is the largest urban concept development in South Africa.  At the initial announcement of the project, many people were skeptical whether this project will be viable. More than five years down the line 22 property developments have been secured thus far, 11 of which are already completed, and the balance scheduled to be completed over the next 20 months.

The Cell C head-office campus was custom-built for the cellular network operator and is the largest property investment already completed at Waterfall in December 2013. The 44,200sqm campus with a value of R770 million features offices and a distribution warehouse.

The Group 5 head-office, valued at R500 million on completion in January 2014, spans 25,500sqm and is the first building in Waterfall to receive a Green Star SA rating from the Green Building Council of SA.

Another feather in the cap is the announcement of the development of the new super-regional Mall of Africa that will be an exciting modern landmark for Johannesburg. Mall of Africa’s sheer scale, distinctive design, exceptional location and top-notch retail mix puts it at the forefront of retail developments. At 120 000 m², this is South Africa’s largest single-phase shopping mall development to date. The R3.5-billion, two-level mall is set to start trading in April 2016.

To date 50,000m³ of concrete have been cast with 7,300 tons of reinforcing. The structure is now very visible from the highway with about 1,200 construction workers and professionals on site working hard to make the project deadlines.

Mall of Africa combines the latest international trends and environmentally sustainable materials and technologies. Its design was informed by the New Urbanism principles of walkable, mixed-use environments to create a truly cutting-edge shopping centre. The main idea was to focus on being uniquely South Africa, which is visible in the use of wood, stone, glass, concrete and other natural materials. The mall’s centre court takes inspiration from the forests of central Africa. Its other four courts reflect the four points of the compass on the African continent: the great lakes in the east, the oil and trade of the west, the sand of the north African desert and the mineral wealth of southern Africa.

Geotechnical challenges
This project offered some interesting geotechnical challenges as the underlying geological profile of the 16,5 hectare footprint of the mall site comprises soft to very hard rock granites with intrusions of diabase in places. Residual soils have developed from the weathering of the granites and diabase bedrock with overlying transported hillwash of varying depths and an abundance of subsoil groundwater was in places. 

This resulted in the upfront profiling of the granite bedrock to minimise the amount of hard rock excavations. The soil conditions proved far more challenging than expected, therefore, the project doubled in size.

Despite the challenges developers are positive that deadlines will be met and that the Mall of Africa will be ready to start trading early next year.

The success so far of this, the biggest private sector property project to date in South Africa, has clearly shown that in terms of design, size and complexity South African Engineers are able to deliver cutting edge, big scale project on time and with sustainable practices in place. 

If you are in need of skilled Engineers in your company, we can assist. We represent a variety of Engineers within the different sectors, which includes, civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, and electronic. Contact us today to assist you with all your staff requirements.

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How recruitment agencies service the contracting industry

Sandra Olivier - Friday, May 15, 2015

keybord job search Contracting employees are experts in their fields, who have decided to work independently, contracting to employers on a short-term basis. IT specialists, experts in project and programme management, financial consultants, strategy experts, or consultants in specific industries are the kinds of employees that companies will hire on a short-term contract.  These skills are required to fill a specific gap or to provide a valuable service that is crucial to the company’s growth or to complete a specific project, but not necessarily required in the long term.

Why companies use recruitment agencies to source contracting staff
If a business needs an IT systems integration specialist, it’s possible that someone in the company “knows someone who knows someone”. While word of mouth is a very common way for contracting individuals to source work opportunities, it’s not always ideal for finding those specialist skills required for project work. 

The benefits of agencies connecting contractors and companies
Firstly, agencies may act as the gatekeepers to a larger company’s recruitment requirements. Their reputation will be built on their ability to quickly find the perfect candidate for their requirements, at the right cost. If the companies deal directly with contracting candidates, they may find that they get bombarded with CVs or proposals from candidates who are not suited to the short-term contract they’re trying to fill. This is a waste of recruitment time and resources. If an agency is in charge of handling recruitment, they will only provide the most suitable CVs to the company, narrowing down the pool and significantly reducing the time the company spends on resourcing.

Secondly, agencies will have a pool of CV’s of contracting candidates from which to source the ideal candidate for their client requirements. These CVs will be from candidates they’ve interviewed and whose references have been checked, significantly reducing the recruitment time to fill a position.

Thirdly, agencies that specialise in resourcing for a specific industry – IT, supply chain, financial services, engineering, etc. – will know the ins and outs of servicing that industry, which provides them with better leverage to negotiate pay, benefits, and contracts for their candidates. They know their clients, they understand the business climate, and they will more directly be able to connect the company with the right contracting candidate.

How contractors benefit from sourcing work through an agency
Contracting candidates that have built up a solid reputation may not be hard-pressed to find work, but as experts in their field, they have earned the right to be selective with the clients they want to work for. They may prefer to work with large corporates or blue chip companies, but arranging a meeting with a strategic person in their preferred employer company might be difficult for them to pull off on their own. However, if they can find out which recruitment agency manages that company’s (or a specific division’s) recruitment process, they’ll have a better chance of obtaining contract work in the company of their choice – if they have the right skills, the agency will put their CV in front of the right hiring person.

Once a candidate has provided their CV to the recruitment agencies they want to work with to source contracting work, their CV will stay in those agencies’ resourcing files, and they may be able to source future opportunities too. Each candidate on the agencies’ files will be able to fulfil more work for contracting employers down the line too – it’s a win-win-win.

Are you in the market for a new contracting job?  Communicate Personnel is a recruitment specialist with vacancies which includes Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Freight jobs and Supply Chain jobs. Visit our website and apply, our consultants are waiting to help you. 


Credit: by Sura Nualpradid

Skills Developers Should Invest In

Mallisa Watson - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

enterEvery minute of the work day is an opportunity for developers to update and develop their skills. During this time, you can make a decision to grow in your craft or choose to lag behind. Rather than getting comfortable with the set of skills you have, ever thought of pushing a bit forward? The IT industry is constantly changing because of advances in technology, keeping your skills sharp and up to date will ensure you work on bigger and more challenging projects and ultimately advance your career.

Below is a list of key skills you as a developer should invest in:

1. Application Development
This is one of the top skills that are in demand. Organizations are more regularly refining their digital customer experience, making user interface and experience design crucial skills in the coming year. From internal systems to front-end apps, software will be everywhere to improve business processes. This year, we started witnessing a huge demand for programmers to upgrade existing computer systems, or for the design and development of new applications. So, if you have strong skills in Java, hardware controllers, web and mobile applications, this is the year for you. Talent with preferred coding skills such as Java, Java EE, JavaFX, .NET, C, Objective-C and UI/UX Design can make the best of the demand.

2. Mobile platforms
2014 was the year when the demand for smartphones and tablets reached record highs. Businesses across the world are adopting mobile application development strategies to meet their business objectives. There are many ways to create mobile applications, from an HTML approach which renders build-in controls from another language. However, all of these have one thing in common: when running on the device, these applications are running on native code. If an organization is going to create and install a mobile application, they will need to use someone who understands the native level, even if the application is built using another technique.

iOS, Android, and Windows Phone are a few good choices to mention here. They all provide platforms with exciting development communities in which you can engage. Just this skill alone will greatly increase your value to your organization as well as your personal marketability as a developer.

 3. Full project life cycle experience 
Bird’s eye view of a project? Yes, clients want developers who see a project from an architectural point of view. Understanding how a project fits together and links into the business is a key skill set and that demand will continue. This is also true for project management. Not every developer should be a project manager, however you need to understand the process. You need to understand how to track progress on tasks and how to work with other developers to get things done.

4. Know a server language
This is an important element. If you are mainly a front-end developer, then you still need to have a brief understanding of how things work on the back-end. Being able to create the entire chain from a front-end application through the application programming interface (API) layer and to the database is an important skill set. In this case, there are a lot of choices. Java, .NET, Python, and PHP are all sustainable options.

5. Know JavaScript
There is no denying that since its inception in the mid 90’s, JavaScript has become one of the most popular Web development languages. Although initially developed as a browser-agnostic scripting language, in recent years, we’ve seen its continued evolution beyond the desktop to areas such as mobility and server-side web applications.

One of the big shifts that has been slowly happening is the ability to use JavaScript as a shared logic layer between native experiences. Almost every computing platform has a browser. So JavaScript programs run virtually everywhere. JavaScript’s ability to meet the demands of rapid development, while at the same time maximizing the user experience, makes it a natural fit for mobile development platforms and crucial skill for any developer.

6. Data visualization
Data keeps multiplying, which means whatever message you hope to communicate online must find increasingly creative ways to break through the noise. That's where data visualization comes in, which involves using a visual representation of the data to discover new information and breakthroughs.

Data visualization is perhaps the most promising of formats with the rise of Big Data.  Stimulating multiple areas of the brain, visual feedback is one of the best ways to understanding something.

Learn to use these tools in a way that benefits you and updates your workflow. Use them on your side-projects, and use them even when you think it might be overload. Learn how to do things which save you time like linking and closing issues with your commit messages. In short, if you are going to use it you need to be good at it.

If you have already brushed up on your skills and ready for a new challenge in your development or IT career, let us help you find a new job!

Communicate Personnel is a specialist IT recruitment company that can help you find your next job opportunity. We have a variety of IT vacancies ranging from Software Development, Website Development, Business Analysts, SQL DBA, Business Systems Manager & more.

Visit our website and apply today!

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Mistakes Your Are Probably Making On LinkedIn

Mallisa Watson - Friday, May 08, 2015

linkedinAs career professionals and business owners, we are quite familiar with the powerful influence LinkedIn has on our brand, as an individual and the company as a whole. Unfortunately, users of the platform often make common mistakes that could have an impact on their career success.

So whether you are in the market for a new job or open to new prospects avoid the following.

An un-professional photo
We are all familiar with the saying “first impressions lasts longer”. So make sure your photo is as professional as it can be. Please leave the cats and dogs out of this picture. You might be in the market for a new career opportunity or looking to connect with other industry professionals, make sure your picture reflects that.

Your summary is not complete
Your summary will determine if someone continues to read your profile. It gives the reader a quick overview of who you are, what you do, what you are looking for and most importantly, what you can do for them.

The summary section is intended to be all about you. It’s where you tell your story and be yourself. Be sure to include key words and vital information for people that are looking to network with you.

Close off with a call to action at the end of your summary that provides easy access to your contact information.

Incomplete job title and history
There is more to you than just a list of job titles. It’s important that you highlight all your accomplishments under each role in a summary statement. Focus more on the projects you worked on and the skills you developed in each role.

You don’t have credible recommendations
A lot of us think that asking for recommendations is some kind of crime. Yes, it might be difficult in the beginning but we should change our mind-set. If you know that you’ve done well on a project, there’s no reason not to ask. The more you ask, the easier it will get. 

It’s great to have a lot of recommendations. It’s not so great when they’re your friends and family just saying that you’re wonderful. Credible recommendations should come from your manager or clients. Ask them to speak about how you work, your attention to detail and how they felt about the process of working with you. Their statement will carry more weight than anything you have listed in your profile.

Not using groups that are relevant to your industry
LinkedIn has become an invaluable part of your job search. Being part of relevant and active groups within your industry will help you:

  1. Find jobs
  2. Get advice
  3. Demonstrate your expertise by giving advice
  4. Grow relationships with like-minded people who have similar interests.

You’re not being an active participant on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a useful tool for every business professional.  However, if you don’t log in on a regular basis, network with connections and take part in discussions you will not experience the full value of this platform.

Because LinkedIn is so popular with professionals, it is important that you be active and visible or you might be missing out on potential career opportunities.

If your current job is not giving you room to grow, maybe it’s time for a change!

Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency with remarkable consultants who will match your skills with the relevant job.  We have career opportunities which include Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Supply Chain jobs and Freight jobs. Visit our website and apply now!  




Previous posts

  1. Soft Skills: The Key to Landing your next job Sandra Olivier 22-May-2015
  2. Mall of Africa: South Africa’s largest single-phase shopping mall development Sandra Olivier 20-May-2015
  3. How recruitment agencies service the contracting industry Sandra Olivier 15-May-2015
  4. Skills Developers Should Invest In Mallisa Watson 12-May-2015
  5. Mistakes Your Are Probably Making On LinkedIn Mallisa Watson 08-May-2015
  6. Changes to Audit Standards, improving shareholders confidence Sandra Olivier 29-Apr-2015
  7. What To Look For In Your Next Hire Mallisa Watson 24-Apr-2015
  8. Saldanha port expansion into oil and gas on the cards Sandra Olivier 21-Apr-2015
  9. How to bounce back from retrenchment Sandra Olivier 17-Apr-2015
  10. Salaries, do you really understand what you earn? Sandra Olivier 14-Apr-2015
  11. The Work Balancing Act: How to get it right? Sandra Olivier 10-Apr-2015
  12. Things You Should Never Do At A Job Interview Mallisa Watson 07-Apr-2015
  13. Can You Develop and Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence? Mallisa Watson 02-Apr-2015
  14. Where Are The South African Water Engineers? Mallisa Watson 31-Mar-2015
  15. Do you have these personalities in your office? Sandra Olivier 27-Mar-2015
  16. Where have all the Developers gone? Sandra Olivier 24-Mar-2015
  17. Does age matter? The benefits and challenges of seasoned employees vs millennials Sandra Olivier 20-Mar-2015
  18. Chartered Accountancy A Changing Profession Mallisa Watson 17-Mar-2015
  19. Fast Track Your Job Search Mallisa Watson 13-Mar-2015
  20. Qualification Fraud: What you need to know Sandra Olivier 10-Mar-2015
  21. Expect the unexpected: Counter offers Sandra Olivier 06-Mar-2015
  22. Steps For Successful Supply Chain Collaboration Mallisa Watson 03-Mar-2015
  23. Benefits South African companies offer and what to look for while job hunting Sandra Olivier 27-Feb-2015
  24. Construction On The New York Of Africa Has Finally Begun Mallisa Watson 24-Feb-2015
  25. Challenges executives face while job hunting Sandra Olivier 20-Feb-2015
  26. Millennials: Reshaping The Workplace Mallisa Watson 17-Feb-2015
  27. How To Successfully Navigate Those Tricky Interview Questions Sandra Olivier 13-Feb-2015
  28. IT trends: Move over BYOD here comes CYOD Sandra Olivier 10-Feb-2015
  29. How To Keep Your Valued Employees Mallisa Watson 06-Feb-2015
  30. Importance of the World Economic Forum for South Africa Sandra Olivier 03-Feb-2015