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Your guide to a great career April 2013

7th Edition







Featured Career



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7th Edition: Hibernation

Welcome For some, autumn is quiet season; for others it ís the busiest time of the year. Whatever your situation, this edition of CareerSeek guarantees to capture your attention as we tackle some workplace and money matters with the experts and have some office fun with architect Kerry Palmer, who takes us through a typical day in her shoes!

Get advice from the experts on how to manage your money until retirement and prepare for a new job. What’s more, draw inspiration from funky workplace décor ideas; office work-outs and more.

Happy reading! The CareerJunction Team

Here’s what you have to look forward to: CareerSeek 8th Edition “Me Time”

email us with your suggestions or your story.

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CONTENTS featured articles


what’s inside... 10

Cute Clothes at Jay Jays


10 Cool Office Spaces


Q&A With Career Coach Kerry Dawkins


Winning Ways to Prepare for a Job Interview


Career Corner



Drawing Inspiration In The‘Career’ Zone with Kerry Palmer


How to Get Your Foot in the Employment Door

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Must Read!

20 How to Manage Your Money from Now Until Retirement

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4 1 Self-Employment on the Up

10 Ways to Work Out at Work

The Real Secret to Career Success: Confidence





Featured Career

Being an architect might seem glamorous but there’s a lot more to this profession than meets the eye. We chat to Cape Town architect Kerry Palmer of KJP Architecture and interiors about her career and why consuming copious amount of coffee is conducive to a great and productive working day.

DRAWING INSPIRATION Source: Junction Link:

Q: City/Town you live in (or call home). A: Cape Town. Q: Your official Job Title. A: Architect and interior designer. Q: What’s your company’s name? A: KJP Architecture & interiors. Q: Describe what your job is all about. A: We appraise the clients’ property in terms of their requirements and any applicable site restrictions. We then develop a brief which outlines their requirements – accommodation, spatial relationships, general aesthetic from which we create a concept. This conceptual design is then developed through a process of testing it against restrictions and opportunities, spatial relationships, functionality, practicality, services, budget and aesthetic appeal. We walk the local authority through the proposal to



obtain permissions from the various departments and finally obtain approval to build. We liaise with consultants and work up each detail and junction, material selection, texture and colour. We compile detailed drawings and a specification of works to be issued for tender. Once a successful tender has been appointed and the building contract is signed, we conduct site inspections throughout construction and (generally) act as principle agent of the building contract until final completion has been reached. In the process we have (hopefully) produced a piece of architecture/design that enhances its surroundings, the built environment, and most importantly the client’s enjoyment of the end result. Q: Describe a day in the life of an Architect! A: 6am Coffee and emailing, 8am following up on plan progress with local authorities,

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In Featured the CareerZone Career

assessing progress on various projects with technicians, 10am site and technical meetings with builders and/consultants, coffee, 1pm meet with suppliers regarding new materials and finishes, reviewing technicians progress and red-penning plans, coffee, meeting with a client regarding design developments, coffee, 4pm compiling meeting minutes and responding to emails, 8pm actually getting to design! Wine.

Wow Kerry, you certainly deserve that wine at the end of the day! Q: What characteristics should you possess in your line of work? A: Passion (without it there is just no point in putting yourself through it), creativity, attention to detail, you should be innovative, organised and have vast amounts of energy (and patience, as you will be dealing with builders on an almost daily basis), a tolerance for large quantities of caffeine.

*Giggle* Q: What qualifications do you need to become an Architect? A: Bachelor of Architectural Studies (3-year degree) and a post grad Bachelor of Architecture (1 year practical and 2 years of study) – now called a Masters in Architecture. Q: Any fundamental differences working for yourself than for a big firm? A: Flexibility in terms of time management (which often means working late into the night), working that much harder because you don’t get to delegate as much as you might like! Not necessarily receiving a fixed income at the end of each month. You take on all the responsibility but you also get to enjoy all the rewards. Q: Apart from architecture, what other services do you offer your clients? A: Interior design and decorating (soft furnishings and designing bespoke items), as well as ‘accounting’, ‘legal advice’, ‘couples therapist’.

Q: What was your dream job as a kid? A: To be a Navy Seal. Q: If you could make a career change right now, what would it be? A: Animation with Pixar (or pretty much anything for the Ferrari F1 Team). Q: What has been the most funny/embarrassing/ scary thing that’s happened to you in your line of work? A: Slipping in carpet glue during a site meeting and trying to conduct the rest of the meeting in a professional manner whilst covered from head to toe in glue!

LOL, what an experience! Q: Which other architects in South Africa are doing amazing work? A: So many: SAOTA, Greg Wright Architects and VDMMA. Q: Who/what inspires you to get up every morning and go to work? A: Passion (and my debit orders at end of the month). Q: What is your favourite social media tool/ addiction? A: Pinterest. Q: If there were one thing you could change in SA today, what would that be? A: South Africa’s appalling stats on rape and child abuse.

Agreed. Q: Any words of wisdom for people out there that would like to do what you do? A: It’s a demanding and often all-consuming career, but if you love what you do, it is also one of the most rewarding. (Don’t expect to become wealthy working as an architect – generally the ratio between effort and remuneration is not favourable!)

Thank you Kerry, your passion and ambition is truly inspirational.


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Author: Krista Goral Source: Brazen Life Link: Brazen Careerist



THE REAL SECRET TO SUCCESS IS ONE FOLKS RARELY TALK ABOUT, EITHER BECAUSE THEY DON’T THINK THEY HAVE TO POINT IT OUT OR THEY DON’T REALIZE IT’S THE FIRST REAL STEP. THE FIRST THING TO WORRY ABOUT, THE THING THAT MATTERS FIRST, BEFORE ALL OTHERS? YOUR CONFIDENCE. If you’re not confident, “networking” and “baby steps” won’t take you very far. You’ll go to events and flail about. As you interact with people, you’ll convey your own self-doubt. Your words may say one thing, but your body language will say, “I don’t believe in myself, and neither should you.”

If you first build your confidence—and do it in a way that is both sincere and natural (a way that works for you, not someone else)—then you can take just about any step you want. If you exude confidence, people will be drawn to you—not the other way around. And when you put yourself out there with confidence, each of your efforts is multitudes more effective,



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Featured Career because your aura says, “Hey, I’m worth something. I mean business here. I’m worth listening to. And you should.”

Failing to emphasize the importance of confidence does a real disservice to up-and-comers Some people feel ineffective doing what they need to do to succeed. They’ll attend networking events without much success, and we just tell them to go to more. “Just get yourself out there,” we say. “The more people you meet, the more comfortable you’ll feel.” But if you’re uncomfortable in these situations, forcing yourself to attend networking events will exacerbate the problem. You’ll stand in the room with an aura of insecurity, and your presence will have a limited effect on those around you. Your confidence at events may improve over time, but it’s a slow-going and largely ineffective approach. Instead, take the time to build your confidence beforehand.

How? Here are three ways that work for me. You don’t need to pursue all three; you can focus your energies on one, and you’ll still likely benefit. Build all three, and you have a winning combination.

1. Think yourself into a positive attitude Uh, yeah, I mean mantras. Dismiss them if you want, but at least hear me out. If you say only uplifting things to yourself, uplifting things are eventually what you’ll believe. It protects you from the self-doubt and self-hate that sometimes creeps into your psyche. If you busy yourself thinking one thing, there’s no room for weeds to take root. For a good starting place, try Napoleon Hill’s selfconfidence formula. Or, if Hill isn’t your style, use whatever works for you. Make up your own mantras. The point is: you are what you think and believe. If your thoughts aren’t constructive and exuberant, you won’t be, either.

2. Take baby steps Just make sure to pursue baby steps that make you feel awesome. Here are two approaches: Pursue what comes naturally, even if it doesn’t seem related to your goal. If you’re a talented illustrator, draw for 20 minutes. If you’re a crossword puzzle whiz, do one. Do whatever you’re good at for 15-20 minutes prior to something scary as a confidence booster. And after you rock out at it, remind yourself, “Damn, I am good.” Hold on to that emotion as you transition to whatever it is that scares you.

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I use writing as my confidence booster because I write quickly. Every morning, I write for 30 minutes. I also write whenever I need a boost so I can work through any emotions that are holding me back. Feeling myself move through words helps build my certainty. This is actually how the article you’re reading originally started. I was building myself up to write documentation for work. And though both are writing, you can see this is definitely not documentation. The baby steps do not have to be in the direction of what you’re actually trying to accomplish. Your steps just have to make you feel good and re-establish your belief in yourself. Or tackle something scary. Getting my wisdom teeth pulled terrified me. I put the appointment off for years. This was during a time when I worked a job I hated and knew I needed to quit, but I was scared to do that, too. Months later than I should have, I finally put in my notice, and since my health insurance was expiring, I also had to have the teeth removed. I scheduled the appointment for the last day of work and, as I drove there, high on the realization I was leaving the office for the last time, it dawned on me: after finally quitting, the wisdom teeth felt like a joke. Tackle one fear, and other things feel suddenly easier.

3. Once you tackle something successfully, hold onto that little surge of confidence A body in motion stays in motion! Dwell on the selfesteem and energy boost that you feel and quickly find something else to apply yourself to. If you can find something either a little scarier or a little more in line with your real goal (e.g., the networking event or the job application), then do it. Keep at the little things to keep building confidence. I write every day, waiting for other opportunities, just so that I can preserve the momentum I’ve built with this habit. Do whatever you need to keep this momentum. Don’t let it dwindle at any cost. Get into a silly routine if you have to. Persevere and try to build on the boost by applying yourself to more and more challenging tasks. Because the real step one, before you can be effective at taking any of the other steps toward success, is to build up your confidence. Confidence is everything. About the author: Krista Goral is an IT consultant by day and doubles down as a writer, blogger, philosopher/doer by night. She explores the everyday human experience on her two blogs, Response Crafting and Moments in Notes.




Featured Career




What comes first, the work or the experience? Like the chicken-and-egg conundrum, you cannot get work without experience, but you cannot get experience without work. The best way young graduates or recent matriculants can deal with this is to take the job they are offered. Even if your dream is to be the CEO, most people need to start at the bottom and work their way to the top. Errol Freeman, managing director of Lulaway, a bulk recruitment company, says many young people are reluctant to take what they regard as menial jobs. But, he says, getting a job is about being both willing and able to do what is required. Mr Freeman has this advice for young people: Recognise where a job could take you. You might start out in a very junior position, such as a cleaner, but if you are working at a hotel, this might be the beginning of a career in hospitality that could see you being the manager of a fabulous holiday resort one day; Companies like to promote from within their organisation. If you are working for a company, you have an advantage over other people when it comes to filling vacancies;



You will need to be patient. You will have to put in plenty of hours to build up some valuable experience that you can then put on your CV; Just like in show business, where there are no small parts, only small actors, in the working world you can impress your boss by showing him or her that you will always do your best, even if it involves making a great cup of coffee. Your willingness to help will take you much further than a “this job is beneath me” attitude; and Take the time to develop some vital workplace skills: 1) Be on time – whether it is getting to work in the morning or attending a meeting; 2)  Get used to the culture of being a working person – which means you need to be there every day, not just on the days you feel like it; and 3)  Brush up on your written and spoken communications skills. At some point in your job you will need to write an e-mail or some other form of communication, so don’t let yourself down by being unable to express yourself clearly.

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Featured Career

Copyright Š1997-2013 CareerJunction, all rights reserved.



Featured Career


WORKOUT AT WORK Author: Unknown Source: Sowetan Live Link: Sowetan Live

The human body is made to move, not sit for hours a day in an office chair, health experts urge (and they’ve got the mounting scientific evidence to prove it). For desk jockeys who can’t find time to hit the gym, here are a few mini-workouts you can actually do at work. Any amount of exercise helps, even 60-second to 10-minute bursts, experts urge, and the benefits are cumulative. And while your boss may prefer you glued to your office chair, moving around throughout the day can increase productivity by keeping your body and brain fresh, reports WebMD. 1. Check your screen: First order of business is to avoid bad posture by ensuring that your screen is high enough so you’re not looking down, which can put strain on your head and neck, advises SpaFinder. A good rule of thumb: the centre of your screen should be at eye height. 2. Take the stairs, two at a time, at least five or seven times a day, WebMD recommends. 3. Make getting to work a workout: Park in the farthest part of the lot, or walk or bike. 4. Combat computer slouch: Strengthen your rhomboid muscles (the ones that squeeze your shoulder blades together) to avoid wrecking your posture from long hours at the computer. SpaFinder recommends this: While seated at your desk, reach your arms out straight from your sides. Rotate your hands so your thumbs are pointing behind you. Then squeeze your shoulder blades together by trying to move your hands further behind you. 12


5. Move around, go outside: Get up, walk outside, for as much as 15 minutes for every 45 minutes of work, recommends Lifehacker. Chances are you’re productive for shorter bursts of time, and frequent, small breaks help to keep you energised throughout the day. Suggest “walking meetings” and get up from your desk to see a colleague rather than email. 6. Shadow box: Use a vacant conference room or office and shadow box for a few minutes, suggests WebMD. Or simply walk around the room as fast as you can. 7. Office chair core workout: Sit in your chair with your legs crossed and your feet on the seat, recommends Forbes. Then place your hands on the armrests, tighten your stomach muscles and raise yourself a few c entimetres above the seat, using your belly, muscles and hands. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat five times. 8. Office chair leg workout: While seated in your chair, extend one leg out straight in front of you, Forbes advises. Hold for two seconds. Then raise it up as high as you can, and hold it again for two seconds. Repeat with each leg 15 times. 9. Push-up and squats: Every time you take a bathroom or coffee break, commit to doing 10 push-ups and 10 squats, advises Lifehacker. 10. Get a standing desk: While your boss may not want to fork out the cash for a hydraulic-powered standing desk, Livehacker recommends jerryrigging your own. Search for “standing desk” ideas.

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SELF-EMPLOYMENT ON THE UP Author: TJ Strydom Source: Times Live



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Link: Junction

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The number of self-employed South Africans is on the increase again... Absa’s latest SME index shows that more than 1.25 million people now work for themselves, about 10% of all employed adults. Self-employment is now at its highest since the second quarter of 2009, according to Mike Schussler, of Schussler, who compiles the index in conjunction with Absa, said that self-employment grew by 1.1% during the last quarter and is now 2% higher than a year ago. But the number of people working for themselves was close to 2million a decade ago . “With nine of the last 10 quarters indicating growth in selfemployment, it is likely that the longer term trend will be upwards,” Schussler said. The growth in self-employment is occurring as many employers shed jobs or go under. According to the latest data, the number of employers declined by about 2,000 in the fourth quarter of last year. This, Schussler said, was not an alarming dip but “the South African economy was struggling to create

small and medium enterprises last year”. He cited uncertainty caused by widespread illegal strikes in the mining sector, and rising input costs generally as among the factors that restrained small and medium enterprises. “Certainly some employers have felt the strain of the wildcat strikes over the past year, which resulted in some closures or mergers. But of major concern is the fact that the number of employers is still 10% less than the high when the global recession hit South Africa. This is borne out by tax statistics for March 2012,” he said. Tax receipts are an indication of the declining profitability of many small companies. In March 2008, the average tax income from businesses was R260,000 but by March 2012 it had dipped to R207,000. “Things are not that easy out there ; businesses are feeling some strain, ” Schussler said. Going it alone does not necessarily create jobs. The index shows that the average company employs about 13 people, including the owner. Schussler said it could take a selfemployed person as long as 10 years to start employing others.



Author: Serisha Singh Featured Career

Source: All4Women




First published on

This gorgeous high-low dress, R199 is fab with leggings and boots for colder days. Add a soft touch to dreary days with this mint top, R129.

I STEPPED INTO MY NEAREST STORE AND COULDN’T GET ENOUGH OF THE CUTE CLOTHES AT JAY JAYS. .. Known for their edgy style, Australian clothing brand Jay Jays has some awesome and affordable items in-store. Check out these cute clothes at Jay Jays. If you’re looking for something trendy but unique Jay Jays is definitely worth visiting. Featuring

For something a little brighter go for this coral shirt R229 or this turquoise striped top, R129.

Take advantage of their denim deal - R200 for two pairs or grab this high-low detail sweater, R129.

an array of items in all shapes, shades and styles Jay Jays has variety covered.

These stunning gloves for winter, R89,90 (super cute!) or this belt (part of a two-pack) R89,90.



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Copyright Š1997-2013 CareerJunction, all rights reserved.



Featured Career

Featured Career

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CareerSeek 19

Featured Career

Plan your finances in such a way that you own your life: here’s how...



from now until retirement Author: Boitumelo Mothoaga Source: All4Women Link:

Most people go through life reacting to their financial needs rather than planning for them. This means they are always playing catch-up and in most instances find that they have to go into debt just to get by. By having a financial plan that adapts with your needs you will remain in control of your money and your destiny.

You can start with the minimum amounts necessary for retirement and investment planning. If you start planning at the age of 23 that gives you at least 32 years of retirement planning and time to save for your own place or to buy a car for cash, this means you benefit from the power of compound interest.

The plan for your 20s

For example, if you save R1 000 a month in a growth unit trust, by the time you are 30 you would have R135 000 to put down as a deposit on your first home.

Pay off debt

Protect your income

Chances are you have just finished higher education and have just started working. You may even have to start paying back your study loans.

Once you start earning you need to protect your greatest asset – your future income. If you earn R10 000 per month, never get a promotion and only ever receive an inflation related salary increase you would still earn over R9 million during your working life. You need to protect that income by taking out insurance should you not be able to work.

Make arrangements with the institution that financed you on the amount that you can start paying off. The earlier you start and the more you pay, the sooner you settle your debt and the less you pay over time. Don’t leave home too soon At this stage you may move out of your parent’s home, start renting a place of your own, buy a car and buy clothes for work. If you can stay with your parents at this stage and put off incurring these costs until you have some money saved up, this will give you far more financial freedom in later years. Start saving Do not blow all your extra money on fun, clubs and going out. Now is the time you can really maximise savings as you do not have any dependants. 20


Protect your health Make sure you have decent medical aid cover a well as dread disease cover. Most companies will offer these as a benefit for their employees, but if you company does not; get one on your own. Ask your financial adviser for help. Remember you must cover yourself for most eventualities. Should you have dependants and debt, then it is also a good idea to have life cover. The plan for your 30s This is the decade many people get married and start a family. Copyright ©1997-2013 CareerJunction, all rights reserved.

First published on

Featured Career

Replenish your savings

The plan for your 50s

At this stage you may have used some of your savings to buy a house, furniture, a car or pay for the wedding. Try and replenish the savings after each event. One should have at least three months of expenses as emergency savings. In this way an emergency will not put you into debt.

By now your children are going to university, and you are closer to retirement. Retirement review Review your retirement savings and start topping up if you find that you are under saving.

Protect your dependants Focus on getting rid of debt One of the most important things to do at this stage is to review your insurance to protect yourself, your partner or your children. You do not want your family to have to downscale their lifestyle because you or your partner is no longer able to earn an income or has passed away. Plan your estate Review your will, and make sure you have made provision for your children including setting up a testamentary trust and choosing guardians should both parents die. Save for education As soon as your children are born, start saving for their education. This will ensure that you can send them to the school of your choice, not the one you can afford. Have a review after every life changing event to ensure that your financial plan is still relevant for you. The plan for your 40s All the planning in your earlier years should be paying off and putting you in a stronger financial position to adapt to your changing needs. Stick with the plan Expenses start increasing as your children start school and you may possibly buy a bigger home for your growing family. At the same time your salary may increase significantly as you experience promotions. Avoid the temptation to squander your additional income on a flashy lifestyle.

By this stage, you should have paid off most debt like your bond and car and accumulated other assets in addition to your retirement savings. If not, start making arrangements to do so. The last thing you need is to retire while still in debt, or worse have to continue working because you are in debt and your savings are not enough for you to live on. Review impact of life changes If you divorce or your spouse/partner dies, this may cause a setback in your financial planning. The plan for your 60s By now your children have left home and you are now retired, or close to it. Remember that your retirement savings may have to sustain you for a very long time, in some cases longer that your working years. If you retire at age 55 and live until 100, you need to fund 45 years of retirement! It is imperative that you ensure that you have enough money saved so you do not need to downscale your lifestyle. Post-retirement planning Invest your retirement savings in such a way that it continues to grow and that your income grows with inflation. Review your lifestyle You may downscale your home if you no longer have your children living with you in order to free up some of your money.

Plan to be mortgage free Before you buy the bigger house, make sure you can afford to pay it off by the time you are 55. You do not want to enter retirement with debt.

At each stage of your life, review your financial plan and make sure that you are fully insured and saving optimally. It is easier to own your life, if you start planning early. Have an accredited financial adviser assist you with your life plan.

The lifestyle you choose to live in your 40s will have a significant impact on your retirement years. Copyright Š1997-2013 CareerJunction, all rights reserved.



Featured Career

L O O 10 C Glassdoor wn Source: uthor: Unkno Link: www.ju


s e c a p S e c fi f O While beige office walls may help keep some focus d on the work at hand, for others it’s often seen as a blank canvas for fostering creativity. Whether it’s halls decorated like the New York City subway system or a floor-toceiling spiralling slide, these 10 companies show how to use and design office space in a whole new way. See which photos employees

1. Epic, headquartered in Verona, Wis., has designed an office hallway to look like the New York subway. More Epic Photos

2. Google keeps some fun in mind at one of their offices as employees can literally slide from one floor down to the next. More Google Photo’s

3. Microsoft employees pull up a seat around this large touchscreen tablet table. More Microsoft Photo’s

have shared on Glassdoor that make up our list of 10 offices you wished you worked in:



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Featured Career 4. Infosys brings games to one of their offices by adding in a bowling alley. More Infosys Photo’s

5. Box, headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., has a playful take on seating arrangements as they added swings to their office. More Box Photos

8. Edelman, a multinational public relations company headquartered in Chicago, Ill., also adds bright colours and modern design elements. More Edelman Photo’s

9. Autodesk employees collaborate in architecturally interesting spaces. More Autodesk Photo’s

6. Facebook employees can take advantage of a video game room. More Facebook Photos 10. HUMAN Healthy Vending adds comfy chairs that line its reception space. More HUMAN Healthy Vending Photo’s

7. Groupon breaks away from traditional office norms by adding colour and modern design to their office. More Groupon Photo’s

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CareerSeek 23



Question from the Lecture Hall I’ll be graduating at the end of the year, and am now starting to consider my job options a lot more carefully. How will I know that I’m choosing the right one? Kerry is the founder of Potential At Work, a consultancy specialising in engagement and development solutions. As part of her role in the business, she has created and implemented a mentoring system that, on an ongoing basis, provides support and guidance to young South Africans. Current mentees include graduates as they enter the workforce in large South African corporates, key talent as they move upwards in a corporate, employment equity candidates and the benefactors of Foundations including the Oprah Winfrey Foundation and Shanduka Foundation. You can follow her on Junction, Facebook – Kerry DawkinsPatwork and on Twitter @KerryDawkins.



Choosing a job or a career can be difficult. Many career advisors will tell you to choose something that you love, something for which you have a passion. And that’s good advice because there’s lots of evidence in the business world that people who love what they do are happier and perform better. So how do you know what’s going to make you happy, especially if you’ve never done that kind of job before? People are actually not very good at predicting how happy they are going to be. Dan Gilbert says that our assumptions about what will make us happy are often wrong, and that we use the wrong ‘cognitive maps’ in our pursuit of happiness. We focus too often on the external world, associating happiness with money and success (of which we can never have enough!). Looking internally then, it seems that long-term happiness depends on the way your brain processes the world, on how you perceive and interpret things. Being happy depends on your level of optimism, on your approach to problems (seeing them as exciting

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Q&A with Kerry Dawkins

challenges instead of nightmarish stress) and support from your social network. It also depends on being positive and being present. In other words, if you can focus on your current situation and stop worrying about the past or the future, your brain works better, and when you think better, you can work harder, faster and more intelligently. As a result, you get better results, and that often leads to better recognition and/or rewards. Research confirms that we can all experience pleasure and job satisfaction every single day, in all kinds of activities. It’s called ‘flow’. And it’s all about a balance between knowledge/skills and the challenge of the task you have to do. When you get the balance right, you’ll feel so absorbed in the task that you feel energised and happy. There are many options to adjust that balance: you can get help, give yourself more or less time to complete it, set different goals, try some relaxation techniques if it’s too hard, or find creative ways to be more effective or more efficient if your job is not challenging enough. Looking at your responsibilities with a different lens can also help you find more meaning in what you’re doing (e.g. menial tasks are actually stepping stones). Of course, you can also consider job-shadowing, working with a mentor or volunteer work to gain more knowledge and skills or keep up to date.

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So to answer your question, don’t stress about finding the single, perfect job that’s going to be right for you until you retire. It’s not out there somewhere. It’s inside you. And also up to you! In other words, with a positive disposition and flexible approach, you can craft your work experience such that you make the most of your strengths and motives wherever you are, little by little. For further entertaining and insightful information on this topic, you may like to watch these talks on the TED: Ideas worth spreading site ( • Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness • Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

CareerSeek 25

Featured Career

Winning ways to prepare

First published on

for a job interview

Going for a job interview can be daunting, whether you’ve graduated from college or university or already obtained some work experience..... Author: Tasneem Mohamed Source: Landelahni

Link: www.all4women.

However, being invited for an interview means you’ve passed the first hurdle, and your CV has risen to the top of the pile. Now it’s over to you to draw on your past experience to make a positive impression.

A decision will be made in the first 90 seconds Bear in mind that one third of employers will make a hiring decision in the first 90 seconds. Research shows that a positive, upbeat attitude when walking through the door accounts for 55% of the impact you make in a job interview, while confident communication accounts for 38%. The critical factors you need to take into account in planning for your interview are: Personal branding + Preparation + Effective communication = Interview success.



1. Personal branding Personal branding is the way in which you present and market yourself as a prospective employee. To display your skills and abilities to their best advantage, you need to understand your strengths, abilities and areas for development. Most importantly, you need to know what value you bring to a prospective employer.  This self-knowledge is reflected in your personal brand, which includes the way you dress, the way you communicate, and the ‘tools’ you use to reenforce your brand.  Career branding tools include a well-structured CV that sells your core competencies, a professional

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appearance, a portfolio of work and social network pages which position you favourably with potential employers.

2. Preparation Pre-interview preparation is critical. Interviewers design their questions to find out whether you will make a good employee and are a good fit with the company. The questions they are most likely to ask include:

Preparation is key Effective interview communication once again requires preparation. If you practise answers to the most likely interview questions, gather examples to motivate your experience against the job requirements and research the company, your confidence increases and the interview becomes more of a fluid conversation than a question-andanswer session.

Prepare your own questions •   What are your strengths and weaknesses? •    What skills do you bring to the company? •    Why would you like to work for us? •    Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

Match your abilities with job description Make sure that you have the company’s job description at hand before the interview, so you are able to draw on your previous experience and use examples to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job. Almost half of all candidates make the mistake of having little or no knowledge about the company to which they have applied for a position. Don’t fall into that trap! 

Research the company This can often be done by visiting the company website, reading its annual report or conducting an internet search to find out about the company’s products and services, its employees and clients and, if possible its corporate vision and culture. This knowledge provides you with an opportunity to market relevant skills and attributes that would add value to the organisation. 

3. Effective communication Effective communicators pay attention to both their verbal and non-verbal communication. Nonverbal communication includes posture, gestures and the way you engage with the interviewer by making eye contact or shaking hands.

Be ready with two or three questions you have about the company and the position. This will help convince the interviewer that you are really interested in the position. Key questions include: •   Can you give me more details about the position? •    What is your main expectation of this position? •    Where do you see this position going in the next few years? •    How would my performance be evaluated, and at what frequency?

4. Final tips •   Research as much as you can about the organisation •    Role play interview question-and-answers with a friend or acquaintance who has experience in interviewing •    Always be on time •    Don’t share your sentiments on the interview via twitter or on Facebook – this could jeopardise your opportunity in landing that sought-after job!

Common errors to avoid include: Arriving late, fidgeting with a pen or hair, or slouching in your chair.

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CareerSeek 7th Edition  
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Your Guide to a Great Career! Inside this Issue: 10 Ways to Work Out at Work / The Real Secret to Career Success: Confidence / Self-E...