Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Persuading Employers

I have just made an individual pledge to this wonderful private-sector initiative to beat the downturn. Add yours today!

In light of my own pledge, I have had applications from several highly qualified and talented candidates for some of the more recent roles made available here

They have not been able to secure jobs on the basis that they are "over-qualified".

What the employer really means is: "I want to give you this job but I am not convinced that you will remain with me as soon as the market turns for the better."

At the outset, candidates in such situations have an uphill task in persuading employers to take them onboard.

Most I meet haven't really thought about how to address this. Others see this as not their responsibilty to address.

As a result, they end up being invited for many interviews but not securing a position (until the market conditions improve).

Such candidates must take greater personal responsibility for their application. I encourage such candidates as follows:

1. Do not send in applications, unless you can see yourself in the job for at least 2-5 years and you accept that the role will actually help you develop as a person.

2. When you meet the employer, explain your commitment to the role as being part of your 5-year plan, and highlight how you see yourself adding value to the employer in the years to come.

3. Underscore to the employer that it should be a 'win-win' process. Acknowledge the limitations of the employer but impress upon the employer how they can still make a difference to your career. Usually, such employers cannot pay high salaries but they make up for it with training opportunities and less stressful working environments. Simply put, make the most of what is available to you.

If you have seriously thought about the role and addressed your "over-qualification" with the right level of humility, you will win over most employers and they will you make an offer of employment.

Dharmendra Yadav

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Friday, May 15, 2009

When You Apply For A Job

It may be useful to share three things I have learnt from job-seekers for this role:

1. Recognise the difference between a resume and a "CV". Keep your resume brief, that is not more than 3 pages. Two pages are ideal. The resume should give a snapshot of you and its primary purpose is to give the employer a relevant basis to invite you for an interview. Address the requirements of the role in both your resume and cover note. If you need help with your resume, you may wish to write to me for assistance or seek help from career coaches.

2. Please be accessible at your contact number if you apply for a job. If for any reason you become unavailable at that number, give callers the option of leaving you a message. Check back every 1 - 2 hours for messages that may have been left for you by potential employers. It does not create a good impression if a potential employer attempts to contact you and is unable to get you for hours. When you do get in touch with the employer, do apologise for not being available to take the call earlier and offer a reasonable explanation to justify your unavailability.

3. When you send in an application for a job and do not receive an acknowledgement after 2 days, get in touch with the employer to check that the resume has been received. You can use the opportunity to find out if and when they will be getting in touch with you for a possible interview. Ensure you have a polite disposition when you make that call. Leave a positive impression on the person you speak to. The person may well turn out to be a person who plays a key role in influencing the decision to employ you or may even be the person who makes the decision to employ you.

Dharmendra Yadav

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Help AWARE raise funds

I have been following developments in the AWARE saga from a distance, unlike other members of the legal fraternity. A non-exhaustive list of articles following this development is available here. Many, including the Honourable Nominated Member of Parliament Siew Kum Hong, have written about the lessons that we can draw out from this experience.

I have been particularly disturbed by the $90,000 spent by AWARE in the short period that its past executive committee was in power. I hope that this expenditure will be looked into by AWARE and more information will be shared about it with AWARE members. I also hope steps will be taken by the current executive committee to recover the money spent, either through legal action (if so advised by AWARE's lawyers) or other fund-raising activities.

In the same vein, I was particularly pleased to learn that a Singapore company, Archer Marketing & Development (S) Pte Ltd, has launched a special website,, to help AWARE raise some funds.

Initially, I was concerned about the credibility of the payment system on this website and whether the funds would eventually go to AWARE. I spoke to Dionis of today and sought to clarify these matters.

I have learnt that:
a. payments are being accepted by Paypal; and
b. buyers do not need to have or create an account to make purchases at; and
c. about 70% of profits from the sale of AWARESG t-shirts or $7 from the sale of each t-shirt will go to AWARE; and
d. will be providing a statement disclosing details of its donations to AWARE.

Having received this clarification, I feel assured enough to buy a t-shirt at I hope others will consider doing the same too.

Let's help AWARE to recoup its losses and raise some funds to continue its good work in the community.

Dharmendra Yadav

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