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Hari Raya Holiday: Use It, Don't Lose It.

by Mark Ellwood

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Hari Raya Aidilfitri just a couple of days away. A time of great festivities, ‘balik kampung’ and family bonding after the fasting and self-reflection of Ramadan, it’s a holiday that many wait for with great anticipation.

 

While this is naturally an activity down-time for businesses and the focus shifts to family and friends, if you can make time, it’s actually a great opportunity for individuals to prepare for their post-Raya job hunt. Even if you’re not looking to move jobs yet, this is still a good time to get things in order. So, with that in mind, here’s out Top-5 tips for getting your employment ducks in a row:

 

1. Do your research

If you have some free time now, why not do that job research that gets put off at other times of the year?  Comprehensive research for job hunting should include:

  • The types of firms you are interested in – check their websites and latest press releases to gain a deeper understanding of their structure, work and culture.  Look at profiles on Glassdoor and other employer review portals. Gather detailed information you might need for that frequent interview opener; “What do you know about us?”

  • Skills that will help you progress in your career. Are you armed with the required skills for your job progression, or do you need to brush up? Consider online learning resources, there are now a plethora of these and many offer university-accredited and certified courses

  • What salary does your job command?  Again, there are a few online comparison tools available now and you should be able to gain an idea of whether your role is currently in-demand and therefore more open to salary negotiation

  • What kinds of interviews can you expect?  Are your prospective future employers going to interview you twice?  Or is there a competency-based application form or some kind of assessment involved? If so, you may need to practice – see point #4

 

2. Get your CV in order

Again, there’s a range of online guides for this and expectations of how a CV should be presented do vary country-by-country. However, overall, you should:

  • Make sure it’s up to date with your latest role, skills and experience. We would recommend the reverse chronological order format (so your most recent role listed first – the same as you get on LinkedIn’s default format)

  • Check very carefully for any spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. If you are unsure, Google it. Really, there are zero excuses these days for having these types of mistakes in CVs. If your job involves detailed checking work, this is even more essential

  • Remember the job-overview-achievements format.  Rather than simply copying a list of required tasks off your current role’s job description, a future employer is interested in what you achieved in the role and how you ‘made it your own’. So, make sure you include those achievements – which could be anything from completely revamping your firm’s audit processes to as seemingly small as saving a bit of time by streamlining your unit’s reporting through more efficient admin.  It all counts

  • You can also check our online guide for CV writing here

 

3. Get your online profiles in order

We live in the digital age where we put our lives online for everyone to see and rest assured that HR teams do track down your digital footprints and scrutinise them as part of their due diligence.  Make sure your online profiles are clean, tidy and employer friendly. And of course, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and reflective of your hard copy CV

 

4. Prepare for interviews

As part of your research (point #1), you should look at the hiring processes of prospective employers.  This information isn’t always available online and is another area where recruitment firms such as Ellwood Consulting add value to the candidate experience. We know our clients inside out and can guide you through their interview processes. Two major things to prepare for are competency-based questions and psychometric assessments:

 

Competency questions

Any employer is likely to offer competency-based interview questions. It can be a very useful exercise to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. This can often flag up the gaps in your CV that you wouldn’t otherwise have noticed.

If you've interviewed people before - this should be fairly easy. Sit down with your CV and pretend it belongs to someone else that you are going to interview.  Then make a list of all the possible questions you would ask if you saw your CV land on your desk.  Then, back in your own shoes, make sure you have thought about answers to all these questions where you can readily give examples of situations you have previously encountered and how you influenced/impacted them. If there are questions that could be answered simply by tweaking the CV - then make sure you change those details now. 

If you've not interviewed anyone before, you can do the same exercise, but take a look at our guide to conducting an interview. Remember: competency questions require an example as part of your answer – a time when you demonstrated the competency in question

 

Psychometrics 

Increasingly, firms are using psychometric assessments as part of their hiring process – either at the first stage to filter applicants, or at later stages to distinguish between shortlisted candidates. This is especially true of the global multi-nationals.

There are two types of assessments – personality profiles and ability tests.  Personality profiles are not tests. Rather, they look for key behaviours that you demonstrate as part of your work. Even though there are no right or wrong answers per se with these assessments, it is worth practising them to get used to the types of questions they ask.

Ability assessments are tests and they will be given a score.  English languages skills, numeracy, verbal reasoning, logical reasoning can all be tested for and these tests should be practiced as you will improve by doing them. They are usually timed so the quicker you get, the better.

 

5. Craft your applications

Applications vary by employer. Some will require you to submit a lengthy written document, others just a cover note.  Now is a good time to prepare some material for these. If you have a ‘bank’ of written material you can call on and adapt for different applications, you’ll save yourself a bit of time and effort.  A couple of versions of cover notes would be good, and a set of competency-based examples if you think your job application might involve these – either written or as part of a verbal assessment.

 

So, enjoy Raya everybody, have a great holiday, but remember to use the time you have.