This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Interviews, CVs, and the World of Work

Raj and Eileen spoke to us about skills in the workplace as well as talking us through handling an interview and preparing CVs. Eileen handed round a packet that had a selection of skills on pieces of paper. We each had to pick one and spent some time thinking about whether we had that skill and why it was useful in the workplace. As a group we discussed each of these skills, such as leadership, management, political awareness, problem solving and action planning, and why it was important for every employee to develop these skills. She stressed that a positive attitude was vital in the workplace.

Raj focused on CVs and interviews. He talked us through some interview strategies, including having a checklist for the day of the interview and the importance of preparing ourselves. In his opinion, the start and the end of the interview are the most important as they will stick in the interviewer’s mind.

In the group we shared some of the questions we feel are most difficult to answer, for example, “what are your weaknesses?” Strategies for answering this question are to focus on weaknesses that can be corrected by education or experience, while showing that we have a commitment to self-development. An interviewer will direct questions that deal with core competencies, such us our ability to work in a team, our communication, and our time and stress management.Raj suggested in the run- up to the interview that we visualise ourselves coping competently in the situation and being able to deal with all the questions calmly and confidently. Several times a day for a few days before, and particularly on the day of, the interview, it is effective to talk positively to ourselves to help quell our fears. And finally, it’s important to recognise that it’s a stressful process and gives ourselves a treat once we’ve survived the process!

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