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It’s another Monday morning. While a few people see it as a chance to start afresh or a new week to add more feathers to their crowns and take on new territories at work, others struggle with the blues. ‘Arrrghh! There we go again. Another crazy work week.’ Imagine having to grudgingly drag yourself to the bathroom while cursing under your breath and secretly wishing the weekend could be extended. If you dread Mondays and the mere thought of it sends chills down your spine, this is for you. These 5 powerful Monday morning hacks will give you an entirely different feeling.
- Clear your desk before the weekend:
Don’t leave behind a lot of work on a Friday all in a rush to get home, jump into the shower and change into your pajamas while slumming it out on the sofa trying to catch up on the new episode of your favorite soap opera. Whatever work you left behind will stare back into your face the following Monday morning. Endeavor to clear your table before calling it a wrap on Friday.
- Wake early; run a cold shower:
Set your alarm to wake you in time enough to put your mind in perspective. Waking up early gives you enough time to put on a work mindset and enjoy the process of preparing for work without rushing. Nobody enjoys being in unnecessary haste. In addition, a cold water shower will keep your nerves more alert than a hot one.
- Have a defined mission:
Yes, to-do lists are very helpful and we advocate using them to uplevel your productivity but you know what else gives a powerful motivation? Having a defined target every new day or week as you set to work. Don’t just create a long bland list of things to do. Make sure you have a defined target to accomplish every day or week then break it down into bits of activities which then makes up your to-do list. Having something to look forward to at work creates feelings of excitement that will make you jump out of bed to get to work.
- Eat proper breakfast:
Studies have shown that breakfast is the most important meal of the day hence it counts more than others. The good thing about waking early is that you get the chance to fix yourself a healthy meal for breakfast. Don’t start off on an empty stomach so you don’t spend the early hours of the morning struggling to focus while fighting off hunger.
- Plan your Mondays on Sundays:
Do not wait until Monday morning before figuring out what to do and how to do it. Self-evaluate your previous week’s activities and decide what areas you need to follow up on. This includes planning what to wear to work to avoid that morning confusion which further makes Mondays a day you passionately dislike. Having a plan in place gives you clarity and a boost of confidence.
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Some interview questions seem really tough and difficult to answer, but if you calm down and really look at them, you will find that it is actually not as hard as it seems. Employers use these questions to choose the best amongst equals.
The meaning behind this interview question:
When a hiring manager asks you – “Why do you think you are qualified for this position?” or “Do you feel your skills and experience match the job description?” or “Do you feel that you have the skills and experience required for this job?” He/she wants to know if you understand the requirements for the position and what makes you a must have.
You are not going to get away with a simple “I am qualified for this position because I have all the skills you need” answer. The hiring manager expects you to explain (with examples) precisely how your skills and experience match the job description. However, this doesn’t mean you should give him/her a long lecture, make it brief, concise and packed with evidence. This is why you should prepare thoroughly before the interview, it will give you the time to determine in advance what skills and experience you possess that the interviewer is going to be interested in.
How to prepare for this interview question:
- Make a list of requirements and criteria for the job criteria not only from the job description provided by the company but also from your knowledge of the industry and adverts for similar positions.
- Identify all skills and experience you have that match the criteria
- Give examples of your work, past projects, fieldwork, academic qualifications that demonstrate you have the said skills or experience.
- State additional skills that fit into the role and sets you apart from other candidates.
Sample answers for different roles
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- “I believe my skills and experience match the person specification. You’re looking for someone with high-level of experience in the oil and gas industry. I have 20 years’ experience in this sector, most recently as General Manager of an oil conglomerate in Lagos.”
- “You need someone with extensive skill in financial management, able to build turnover and, most importantly build turnover profitably. In my past role as a branch manager, I headed a team that realized an annual turnover of 50 million – 30% higher than when I took up the job two years ago.”
- “The role you are looking to fill demands an individual who is adept at managing and leading a large team. I am responsible for 50 sales staff at my current workplace. Together we drive profitable sales, build and maintain profitable long-term relationships with key, high-value clients.”
- “I have good administrative skills and I believe I will be an asset to your office. I have fast typing skills and proficient in Microsoft Office applications including programs such as Adobe Photoshop, QuickBooks.”
Landing a new job is a dream come true, but what happens when the salary doesn’t meet your expectations?
For some people, getting the offer is more than enough, especially if they have been searching for too long. For others, a low ball offer is a no-no, they strike a negotiation and get themselves a better deal. It is not wrong to negotiate an offer if you feel you deserve more.
However, salary negotiation is not an easy task, it is more like a ballroom dance. The potential employer starts the dance by making an offer, you take one step forward countering the offer, the potential employer takes one step backward, then you are both on the same pace and the next minute they are stepping backward again. Even if you are a pro, if you don’t have a strong stance, you can be thrown off balance. You must master the steps and the rhythm to be able to strike a final deal.
Here is how to get the ball rolling in your favor:
Do Your Research Properly
Do you know what people like you are earning?
Look up what people in your field/industry are currently making. Match the job title, description, and experience to salary benchmarks for that position in your industry. A tool like Payscale can help you find out. You can tailor the search to match the country you are in, years of experience, the job title, etc.
Is There Room For Negotiations?
Once you receive an offer, it is okay to find out from the potential employer if there is any room for negotiations. Put a call across to the hiring manager or send an email, stating how happy you are to receive the offer, but you have some questions/concerns about the salary.
Find out if there is any room for flexibility and adjustment. If there is, then the negotiation starts.
Negotiate Within a Range
Avoid giving out a specific number. Instead, state a salary range, this way you have a high and low end for the employer to work with. Providing a range shows that you are willing to compromise and discuss from there. You can also consider negotiating other things in the compensation package asides the salary. E.g. Flexible working arrangements, leave entitlement, allowances, etc.
Back Up Your Request with Proof
You can’t negotiate a better offer without justifying your request for an adjustment to the offer. Go into negotiations with a clear explanation of why you think you deserve more. Prove to the hiring manager that your skills and expertise is worth a million bucks. Demonstrate and give illustrations of what you achieved in the past and how you plan to do the same and even more if you are brought onboard.
Finally, remain firm with the salary that you want, but also display some flexibility. This will show the interviewer that you are a team player. Be civil and professional throughout the process. Remember, you are making an impression on the potential employer.
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Administrative positions are one of the most available jobs you can find.
Every organization no matter the industry needs an admin person working behind the scenes to ensure everything is in place. The support duties administrative staff performs, make them more or less the oil that steers the wheels of every organization. Failure to perform certain tasks like stocking up office supplies, managing and communicating information, completing paperwork in time, making travel arrangements, etc. usually slow down operations of units depending on them to function.
What makes a good administrative staff?
There will always be skills specific to this role. To nail that interview you must demonstrate that you have the said skills.
Gird up, let’s walk you through these skills.
- Good Organisational Skills:
To help your boss organise and keep track of his schedules, you must first be able to do so for yourself. You will be expected to handle many details and challenging situations all at once. Be on top of your game by learning the hack of planning your day and schedule using google productivity apps such as calendars programs, to-do list apps, google hangouts, messaging apps, etc. Develop a system to set aside completed and uncompleted tasks to prevent clutter, coordinate the flow of paperwork around the office, and manage your time properly, etc.
- Multitasking Ability:
Most part of your job as an administrative staff will require you efficiently juggle between many activities and still keep a cool head without crumbling under pressure. You don’t want to give your boss the impression that you can’t come up to speed with the needs of the office or you’re a sloth who can’t handle more than one simple task at a time.
- Basic Computer Skills:
Proficiency in basic computer programmes is a top requirement if you must shine as an administrative person. Employers want to see that you can type, edit and format documents, use Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel spreadsheet, Access, Outlook, Keynote, Numbers, etc. to process data, manage databases, prepare presentations, budgets or present financial information, etc. These tools drive business productivity, therefore, being able to use them increases your value to the organization.
- Stamina to Work Under Pressure:
You will be expected to deliver on strict deadlines and it is your duty to ensure whoever you are giving support duties does not miss any given deadline. You must be on your A-game at all times.
- Writing and Proofreading:
Learn to prepare documents to meet standards. Your reports must be excellently written without typos or grammatical errors. Know how to write cutting edge reports, minutes, memos, emails, newsletters, and how to use apps such as Grammarly, or Plagiarism Checker to proofread your write-ups for possible errors.
- Management and Problem-solving Skills:
If your job is to support a top executive, you must learn how to coordinate and manage the affairs of other clerical staff like the typists, receptionists & cleaners, handle their request on your boss’ behalf or delegate work to them. An effective assistant troubleshoots conflicts among other office personnel, works with vendors to keep office supplies in stock and changes the boss’ schedule when need be not forgetting to communicate same to him and the people concerned.
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After weeks of uncertainty and waiting, Alice was called for a job interview in a company she has been applying to. She covered her tracks well, read up all there was to know about the job and the company, and practiced her interview questions and answers. Although the role she interviewed for was a highly competitive role, she went prepared. She answered the questions thrown at her correctly. But what she didn’t know was that the interviewer had this to say on her performance report sheet.
“Alice has the paper qualifications for the role, but she left an impression that she does not have an open personality and may have a hard time relating with clients and vice versa considering this is a customer service role.”
The above is an illustration of how a jobseeker lost a job opportunity because of a negative body movement she probably didn’t even know she was exhibiting.
Your body language can knowingly or unknowingly affect your chances of getting hired. Considering there are tons of qualified candidates vying for the same job you are, it behooves you to leave no stone unturned as you step into that interview room.
Here are body language mistakes you may be making and should keep in check next time you attend an interview.
- Keeping an expressionless face – Don’t get the recruiter feeling uncomfortable with your aura as this may give them the impression that you may not be a trustworthy person. Let a little enthusiasm and excitement/passion be seen in you.
- Shifting or slouching in your seat – Even if you can’t wait to finish with the interview and skip over to the part where you know your fate. Do not give the interviewer the impression that you are bored or tired even if he goes on and on with several lines of questioning.
- Avoiding eye contact – This can make the interviewer think you are dishonest or nervous
- Biting your lips – Doing this can make you look anxious or nervous
- Scratching your head – If you do this anytime the interviewer asks you a question, he/she will take it that you are confused and don’t know what you are doing.
- Flaring nostrils – This will only make the interviewer think you are angry and frustrated with the whole process
- Folding your arms – Don’t do this at any interview, if you do not want to be perceived as being angry, defensive and negative
- Raising eyebrows – This will make the interviewer think you are unimpressed, surprised or unprepared
- Tapping feet – This will pass the message that you are impatient, bored, anxious or nervous
As you tell the recruiter how much of an asset you will be to them, do not let your body tell them something else.