Monday, September 24, 2007

Defining Strengths and achievements.

Writing a life document such as a CV not an easy task. Looking back on the years of experience and accumulated resourceful strengths and skills is difficult. You sometimes look at the white screen staring back at you.

Defining your strengths and achievements especially if you are a Senior Executive can be a daunting task, there could be too many to choose from, or you just do not know what your achievements are.

I found out one of the easiest way in doing this, everyone can try this regardless of your age and your years of experience, and this can bring back memories as well as some good laughs - good times. Thought i'd share it.

Take out a piece of A4 size paper, or a mahjong paper or better if you have a white board that you could write on.

List down all the achievements that you remember from start, ever since the first day you won your 100 meter dash or climbed up Mount Kinabalu. You will be surprised of what sort of achievements which you remember. It can start from school right up to obtaining your MBA or your first 1 million sales deal or your Cisco Certified Network Administrator certification/PMI and so on.

Your own personal achievements sometimes speak louder than your professional certifications in determining good attitudes, mental challenges and our of work activities. Interviewers/employers would like to see what you could bring in to the company besides your experience and skills. I can find a CCNA professional anywhere, but not a CCNA professional who has climbed Mount Kinabalu, cycled up Genting Highlands or been on the Asia 4*4 challenge. Having made known of your achievements, the blank paper has now activities which you a proud to share and to show. Your sheer determination in competing or the love of your hobby.

Once you have written it down chronologically which will take you back in time and giving yourself a chance to relook at your achievements and goals, you can handpicked those you would like to list down in your CV.

Extra Co-curicullar activities (Achievements)

  • Climbed up the Mount Kinabalu Expedition
    Competed in the Melaka International Triathlon.
    Consistently an active primary to high school athelete.(400 metres)
    Won the Art's VS Science Debate in University (Interstate level)
    CCNA, MCSE, MCP or PMI certified.
    Active in christian fellowship groups.
    Leader of the ........................ group.

List down all the achievements that you are proud of, from when you were young till today. Be proud of what you have done, as it made you what you are today. Do not be afraid to show it, your achievements are something no one can take away from you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I believe in a personal touch.

Ever wondered why successful restaurants remain successful? I believe it is because of the nature of its personal touch of the owners. Each decor and its set-up itself has a personal touch. A good restaurant owner is always there cooking, serving, running the restaurant hence making a living, living his or her dream in owning a restaurant. If you look at the Prestige Top 40 below 40 magazine, I see a lot of restaurant owners. Their recipe for success is their personal touch and feel. Each restaurant has a personality. Restaurants such as, Las Carretas, Le Bouchon, La Bodega or big restaurants like Souled Out and Ninja Jones have their character and feel to it. It is definitely the hard work on being different and special. It is doing it your style and your way, it sets the tone and trend. We now all frequent these places due to its own nature. It is the owners perseverance and persistence in believing their vision or dream. Seeing it come true is always something nice, especially when it evolves to be a dining experience. I love dining out.

A restaurant is very much like an organization, SME or a large corporate Org. The staff are well-trained and groomed, there are set protocols and procedures, mentors and the owner like a CEO, engraining their culture with their staff.

I like doing what I do my way. I like to be personal and intimate professionally.

Passive Job Seekers:

Passive job seekers are people who are not actively looking for a job, however will deliberately listen receptively to a good opportunity. We do not find passive job-seekers through databases; we find them from referrals and active social networking. We approach them, though it can be difficult sometimes.

How do we find referrals? - Through being personal and intimate with our candidate’s especially passive job seekers. I am personal and intimate with my candidates. I also do not forget that passive job seekers are open to opportunities too 'someday'. Sometimes as some people have commented here; Headhunters will call them only when there is an opportunity hence if one does not fit the bill, it is like 'wham bam thank you ma'am'. You do not hear from the headhunter anymore. I believe that is wrong and it makes matters worst when I approach others. It is building a whole new foundation. Well I like that building new foundations anyway. Having a strong foundation always has its strenghts ie; a long-term professional relationship.

Being Personal:

In any industry, job or line of work, to a certain extend, being personal is a key relationship builder and a stronghold foundation to a long-term relationship and success. It is disheartening to know that a candidate will not fit a certain Job Description but who knows when an opportunity might come by?

Through this relationship that we've gained we get to learn all aspects of the job, the people, the industry, peoples lives and relevant point of views. These information is crucial to me in becoming better and more receptive and getting a better perspective in the global sphere on industry and people.

We are in the people business, selling knowledge, advice and experience. A hard days works is a new relationship built and a better days work is sealing a deal, getting another person a step-up, a new job, a new experience and a new life.
I like telling my candidates, ‘do not go in to an interview looking in getting a job, go in to the interview looking and learning in how you are able to get the job done.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Some thoughts..

I just visited MATRADE Global SME's tradeshow on Saturday. It was really productive. I met alot of people, professionals and entrepreneurs, learnt new businesses and technology. The enterprise market for sales has pretty much been saturated given political connections and lack of spending in the private sector. With regard to Technology the only forward for a lot of our local successful IT companies is targeting are now uncharted territories such as Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Cambodia where technology and IT Infrastructure can be improved. It is a new economic move for the financial healthiness for our local IT companies.

It was really interesting. What I could not understand is ‘why do companies with potential pay pretty faces to market their product at the event’, not having a proper supervisor or good sales support. I had a lot of questions with regard to their products, as it is both a learning curve and a knowledge gain for me. We not only go to fairs to get contacts, we also help market a business to a certain extend. WE SELL KNOWLEDGE. It is sad that I could see people loosing their attention and patients, getting frustrated about the incompetence of part-time daily paid unenthusiastic employees. What I am trying to say here is potential loss of business and inaccurate information. I believe companies at fairs should reward their staff more and get them to represent you.

For instance head-hunters network a lot as a part of business and contacts. We develop alot of contacts and when we identify a particular business need for a customer/friend or a potential business partner, we will recommend you. It works both ways, we could sell your business and also work for you with regard for recruitment.

A friend recently asked me, 'Do you know of any Mobile Marketing Companies for our SMS blast campaigns?' So i recommended her a company which I have spoken their to account manager before, true enough she is using their product now. Another friend from a rather medium-sized business asked for some Office Automation products and I recommended him my clients products and recommended the Sales Specialist which I have positioned for that company. It works both ways for us headhunters, know the company know the product! That way we are able to promote our clients and other businesses.

Just recently about two months ago, I worked on rather two junior positions. Both of them were for a Software Engineer post. After interviews, salary negotiations and coming to signing the offer letter, to my suprise both my candidates asked me, 'So what are my charges which I need to pay you for getting me a job'? I actually laughed in astonishment. They both have about 3-4 years of experience. That was when I gathered that, headhunting or recruitment in junior positions has not been spoilt. If I provided a good service, chances of them coming back to me are high and I will be referred to others.

Well I was happy that I was able to provide them with new opportunities. Although I do not normally do very junior positions, I was generally satisfied and happy. It was not as stressful as middle management positions but something in me told me to give these two potential candidates an opportunity.
It is all about building a relationship. In any businesses at all, relationship is very important. Its not about sucking up its merely maintaining a professional touch and a personal feel to little things that usually goes a long way. It’s the little effort you do for your candidates and the added personal value you have with your clients and their BRAND.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Looking for a job? (CV)

I believe one of the important elements in looking for a job, is not just applying.

Its far more deeper than that.

Looking for a job involves alot of research, time, fine-tuning, networking and persistence.


You could apply for any jobs listen in jobstreet or jobs-db or replying to newspaper advertisements. You would either get dissappointed not having an interview or not getting any replies at all.

First - What do you want and what are you good at?

Being where you are in a company and depending on the position you hold and the salary you draw you, got to be tactical in choosing your applications. You got to identify areas which you are good in, areas where you can add-value to a company. Some companies might need the certifications you have and some companies might need the characteristics or years of experience you have. You do not necessarily want to apply for a Account Executive job when you have four years of experience knowing that you could be applying for an Account Manager job right? Well, you got to identify your key areas which you are good at. Knowing your key strenghts you are able to sell yourself better to the company and setting yourself different than the average candidate who is applying for a job.


I recently read a book and it says: 'we should be spending about 5 hours a day looking for a job that we really want'. This makes sense. Sometimes when you are reading about a vacancy or a Job Description you need to fine tune your CV based on the job specification. It is not a good practise having the same CV being sent out to a few companies. Each company is has its different set of expectations and requirements. Candidates should take sometime and learn the job specifications and tailor their CV's to the said Job Description which is listed on the advertisement. That way your CV stands out more and the inteviewer will spend more time reading your CV knowing that you have the desired skillset that they are looking for.


Realise how alot of things you do looks better than you have spend more time on it looking at every single detail? Yup, fine tuning your CV is very related to TIME. You should fine-tune your CV to job descriptions or fine-tune your CV outlining your strenghts and experience. Spend a little time looking at how you word your experience, introduction and your cover letter. The interviewer at anytime has only 30 seconds to read your document before it goes into the KIV file and big chances are, it will not be read again. These 5 hours a day looking for a job entails fine-tuning and research.


Cocktail parties, job fairs, PC Fairs or seminars are good ways of networking. Alot of times i find alot of good potential candidates and employers during these social networking events. Potential employers can be found there. Knowing that you have met either a HR Manager, CEO or CFO or a VP of Sales, it is easier for your CV to be read. You have the introduction sorted out and what comes next will be the persistence in telling yourself 'i got to follow up on the chat, i will email them my CV today'. The next day, your email will be read knowing that you are still fresh in their headspace. In good faith, they wil cal you in for an interview. Networking always has its upside.


You have already given up when you do not try and when you do not attempt. Job hunting can be very frustrating waiting for answers. Ive known alot of people who have given up job hunting because of the lack of perseverance and persistance. At the end of the day all it takes is a little follow up and before you know it only a matter of minutes is gone. A kind phone call or an email sometimes is the trick to letting potential employers know that you are keen for the placement and that you WANT to join their company. It is all persistance. It is the can do attitude which always wins.

A CV is a marketing tool. It outlines who you are, what you are compared to others and it defines you - yourself. It is like a HP Proliant Box brochure, it has its specs, price, colour, strenghts, competitive advantage and its value add. A CV is very much like that brochure.