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by Joel | 28 Mar 2017
At FutureLab we care about you and want you to move forward in your career and develop as a person and so we have compiled a list of 5 things that we feel will help to make you more employable 1: Build Digital Skills Technology is becoming more important in business. For you to be able to excel at work you need to be able to use technology effectively. 2: Effective Communication Talk in clear and simple terms to get your point across in the workplace. 3: Keep Learning Employers like to see that you value yourself and learn new things without having to be told. Take a few online courses to learn new skills 4: Think Critically This allows you to work through problems solve better. This makes you more valuable as an employee. 5: Build Interpersonal Skills Learning how to interact with the people around you is important as it allows you to participate more and work better in a team setting.
by Joel | 21 Mar 2017
At FutureLab, we want you to succeed in your workplace and continue to get better and so here are some strategies you can use to help you get your next promotion. 1: Get a mentor He/She can give you valuable insights and advice on how to get that promotion. 2: Take the First Step If you know something has to be done do it before your boss asks you to. It shows initiative. 3: Be adaptable When your boss gives you something new, do it. It shows you are willing to learn new things. 4: Confidence is key Stand strong in your decisions and show your boss you know what you are doing. 5: Know your weaknesses If you acknowledge them, you know how to improve to become a better candidate. 6: Get to know your boss Imagine your boss is the gatekeeper between you and your promotion. If he likes you he is more likely to open the gate and let you through. 7: Ask for the promotion If you don’t ask you don’t receive. Asking shows your boss you are interested in a promotion.
by Joel | 15 Mar 2017
Having a mentor can benefit you in many ways than you realise, as the advice they give can be influential and stick with you throughout your career.
by Neekita Patel | 11 Apr 2017
Your resume should be about the value you will offer to a company or organisation. This means and all FutureLab mentors agree that a resume should be treated like a marketing document. It should tell a compelling story that invites further inquiry. So before you start writing your resume, take up the challenge to figure out what is special about you and what your personal brand is. In the process remember that an average employer spends about 7 seconds to review it. They are not reading, but skimming. It is important you make it clear right off the bat how you add value. Now here are some tips from FutureLab mentors on what creates a great resume: 1. Keep your resume short and sweet A concise resume containing relevant content is crucial. There are few ways to do this. Firstly, remove generic self-descriptions. Everyone uses it but it does not show much value. If you would like to show you are a detailed oriented person, strive for an error free resume instead of listing ‘detail oriented’ as a characteristic and immediately proving against it. Secondly, delete irrelevant experience. As explained later in the article, tailoring your job to a desired position is important. Question every point by asking if the reader needs to know the information. Simple and common skills can also be omitted. It is very common to see skills such as MS Office in resumes. Instead, include vital skills from the job description or company website. Finally, consider 4 bullet points per work/voluntary experience. This is a good way to keep things concise and powerful. Speak with Mergers and Acquisition Manager at EY (Malaysia), Rishi Das ______ 2.Customise your resume for each opportunity There is a high possibility that if you blindly apply for a job, your resume won’t get noticed. Many large organisations filter resumes using tracking systems that scans it before forwarding the resumes on to hiring managers. The way the system scans and filters usually are through keywords. As unfair as this sounds, it is how companies efficiently use their time. Past the tracking system as well, it is a resume tailored to each employer and their goals that strengthens your chance of being noticed. So how do you effectively take into account and work on getting your resume past the tracking system and human readers? There are so many ways to find out about this now than just browsing through a company’s website and reading Glassdoor. Platforms such as FutureLab have been created to help anyone to better prepare for job applications, so utilise it. Remember, to always carefully consider the key words you are using and mirror their language and values. Speak with Marketing Content Manager at FutureLab.my (Malaysia), Neekita Patel ________ 3. Quantify your accomplishments On your resume, try to turn every work experience into measurable achievements. The aim through this is to provide evidence that emphasise the significance of your accomplishments. Solid numbers are the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule of writing a resume. For example, if you created performance reports and distributed them, how many did you distribute? If you exceed a sales target, then by how many percent did you exceed it? However, if you can’t quantify them, don’t despair. Subjective results are well accepted too if your achievements are hard to quantify. Employers merely want to know you can contribute to their organisational goals and objective. Speak with Software Engineer at Facebook (Malaysia), Aizat Faiz ________ 4. Show transferable skills It is common to always think about education and experience first when you are writing your resume. But the experiences you have gained outside of work could also be the key to getting a job interview. Demonstrating your transferable skills is one of the most important aspects of your resume too, in addition to all that has been mentioned. These have a big role to play in communicating the capacity of completing a task. Examples of transferable skills are desire to learn, resilience, taking up more responsibilities, navigation skills, embracing change and many more. A good way to demonstrate this is through having a skills sections and explaining where you developed each skill from. However, it is of utmost importance to remember that your resume should always be relevant to the job you are applying to. Therefore, if it does not support the work you want to do, leave it out. Speak to Former Strategy Advisor at Shell (Malaysia), Vijay Kumar ________ 5. Show Direction or Be Specific Your resume should always demonstrate you are the right person for this job. The two ways of doing this is, to either include only relevant work experience or when otherwise, to specifically include aspects of the job that will add value to the position. Alongside, show direction by demonstrating how you experience align with your aspiration and again should be in line with the role you are applying too. It is okay to have bits of experience, in fact, that is brilliant. But when you write your resume, pick and choose what to include in a way that will show a clear indication of your field of interests, where your skills lie and where you plan to head at that point in time. The aim is always to get the hiring manager to say, ‘yes he/she is the perfect fit for the job.’ Speak with Continuous Improvement Engineer at Morgan Advanced Material (United Kingdom), Thatchu Selvarajan ________ Need help to write an impactful resume that will land you an interview? Get in touch with FutureLab mentors who work in your field of interest and want to help here. It is that easy!
by Neekita Patel | 11 Apr 2017
Following are excerpts from an exclusive FutureLab interview with Byron Tan and Francesca Chia, CEO and Co-Founder of GoGet.my B: Tell us about yourself? F: My name is Francesca, I’m 28 years old and I run a platform called GoGet – a service platform for errands. We can do food delivery to document dispatch to even buying balloons and flyering for business. So our technology connects you to an individual that’s trusted, in the area, called a GoGetter, and they help you do the task for a fee. We are fundamentally anchored on this ability to grow the labour market in a flexible way where individuals don’t really need a 9 to 5 job but can grab jobs as and when they are available. So essentially what Uber does for rides, what AirBnB does for accommodation, GoGet does for labour. B: Why are you a mentor on FutureLab? F: Being a mentor to me is about trying to reach out to the community & being able to just connect more with people who want another person as a listening or a thought partner. I don’t think I have more knowledge or more advice about certain things, I think it’s just a great opportunity for us to be another thought partner to the mentee, and to be able to help them work through their problems because maybe we have tried to solve similar problems in the past. B: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to all the mentees out there? F: Get exposed to as many different things – do 10 different internships and make them extremely different. One thing that I did not do as much and learned really late was that there are loads of different professions and opportunities in the world. There’s a job for almost everything (sometimes ones that I didn’t even know existed!) To be able to see the wide variety of opportunities you can get is so important because you can probably make a better decision. So much of what we do stems from what we’re exposed to – so if you’re exposed to more things, it’s easier to find out what your passion is, what excites you the most B: Did you ever have a mentor? F: I do, I had loads of mentors all the time. I’ve always had mentors, even in high school and university, I had people I looked up to and asked for help. But even for GoGet, we have mentors, from business mentors, tech mentors to even just ‘people mentors’. We have Arzumy from KFit for example. I also have ‘softer’ mentors for things like improving my leadership skills. B: Name one of the major challenge you faced and how you overcame it? F: There are so many challenges! GoGet is definitely the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced, and it’s still a challenge – I have not overcome it yet, I’m still working on it! How I do get by day to day? I lean on my team, I have a really good team that helps me go through solving problems. The other aspect is having a good work-life balance because if you’re not healthy, you can’t make decisions as healthily as well. Also, ask as many questions as you can! To overcome a lot of problems we’ve had at GoGet, I’ve just picked up the phone and asked a friend, or anyone, “how do you do this?” And it really helps. B: What is one tip you’d give to those looking to increase productivity? F: Use GoGet! I changed my lifestyle because of GoGet- there are things that I know I want to spend my time on & things that I just decide a GoGetter will do for me. The other aspect is I calendarize everything – not just meetings but also personal things. So if I need to go to the gym, it’s in my calendar. This means that people who want to do a meeting with me, they’ll see the calendar is blocked out. It allows me to say no to things & keep my personal life. B: What do you do in your free time? F: I play with my dogs!!! I also bake, and watch sitcoms. Netflix is so bad for me! I recently just watched Designated Survivor, which is super cool! It’s a series about the POTUS. Capitol Hill gets bombed, there are no surviving Congressmen and the designated survivor is the one that if everyone dies, becomes President. I recommend it! B: If you could have any one superpower, what would it be? F: I’ve always wanted teleportation! I want to be in many places at the same time. I want to wake up and have breakfast in Paris, and then go to New York for lunch and work in Malaysia. For dinner, I’ll go to Japan! B: A motto you live by? F: Life can turn around by 180 degrees at any point of time. So make sure you live your life to the fullest & don’t regret things. Tomorrow may not be, or things can drastically change. You don’t want to take anything for granted. B: Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you like to have dinner with and why? F: That’s a tough one. I have a few. I’ve never met my grandparents because they passed away when I was really young so I’d love to meet at least one of them. I’d love to also have dinner with Jacqueline Novogratz, the author of the Blue Sweater – I really like that book. It’s about the social enterprise & how you can balance social impact with profitability at the same time. Another weird one, is to meet a 3 year old me! I really want to see how I was at 3 years old because I have a niece who’s 3 and she’s adorable, I always wonder what it would be like to play with a younger me! Inspired? Would like to speak with Francesca? Click here!
by Neekita Patel | 11 Apr 2017
You have likely heard this phrase numerous times, ‘It’s not how much you know, but the people you know.’ This is the right advice for professionals with years of working experience, but what if you’re a fresh graduate or a young professional? Building a network seems daunting, but is easier than you think. What you need is resourcefulness, the ability to conduct small talk and not be embarrassed to speak with strangers. It’s not too difficult, and here are some tips from FutureLab’s awesome mentors: 1. Be focused and start locally You don’t need to go far out of your way to build a network. Even from home, you can look up people in your interested industry on LinkedIn. By doing so, you can study their background, and request to connect with them. In the same way, FutureLab has a platform full of experienced professionals that may be in your targeted industry. The tougher part comes when you want to throw yourself out there. To get through this ordeal, have a script ready that includes your interests, targeted industry and be up to date with the latest news, not just within your sector, but all around. A cheat note here is, to also be aware if you have any relatives/parents of friends who are in and around your targeted industry. Don’t be scared to reach out to them and request for a chat. You will be surprised at how helpful people are. Lastly, always remind yourself that “every no, gets me closer to a yes”. Speak with Equities Manager, Securities Comission (Malaysia), Sahil Kamani 2. Network and munch At workplaces, most friendships happen organically, so there’s no reason to go out of your way to form new friendships. After all, you spend a ton of time with them, so it makes sense you’ll get to know each other. However, secluding yourself at your desk all day may not be the best idea. One easy way to make network is during lunch. Eat lunch with your colleagues. This can be an effective way to bond with them, get to know people from other departments and more importantly, tap into their knowledge in an informal setting. This will help you to expand your network as well as your presence in the company. It can get tempting every now and then to hide away to meet deadlines. But if this becomes a practice, you might eventually be overlooked personally and professionally too. Speak with Senior Executive Strategic Planning and Development, International Medical University (Malaysia), Tarminder Singh 3. Participate in online communities There are many forums and web-based communities that you can participate in when you’re free. Virtual communities are new, relatively unstructured and dynamic. It’s simple. You can easily catch up on forum posts and leave comment whenever you like or dress up for a fancy dinner, this way gives you more options. This also gives you the opportunity to be involved in a circle that meets your interests and passion better. The benefits of this goes beyond just an expansion of network. It also helps develop an independent online reputation and stronger personal marketability and branding. Speak to Senior Engineer at Petronas (Malaysia), Kuhan Pathy 4. Network with sincerity Through online channels, such as those mentioned above, it has become easier than ever to make professional networks. But now that networking is becoming easier, it is monumentally important to find ways to stand out, and being sincere definitely helps.Some ways of doing this are by determining your motives and goals ahead of time before speaking with someone. Whilst speaking, be genuine and show appreciation for the opposite person’s time. Take time to think about your conversation with them. And, also a good practice is to always send a thank you note or personalised email to follow up. Speak to Teacher at Keningau Vocational College (Malaysia), Sirhajwan Idek Building a professional network is not hard at all. When it comes down to it, it’s about making friends that have common interests. You are building a network in which everyone’s prepared to give and take, so relax and enjoy it! More than just making connections, you are making friends! Happy networking Futurists!
by Neekita Patel | 11 Apr 2017
The first question you are probably going to get in an interview is the much dreaded classic and universal, “Tell me about yourself.” A simple question that quickly turns daunting when asked in that setting. Most job seekers hate it because it is simply difficult to decipher what the interviewer is looking for. But, it does not have to be that hard. Infact, this is a great opportunity for you to take control of the interview and position yourself as the perfect candidate for the job.Your answer and how well you tell your story will drive the rest of the interview. In our opinion, the better you start, the better you finish. First, let’s understand a little bit about why do interviewers ask you this question. Do they really want to know you, that too on a personal level? Chances are, no. A FutureLab mentor summed it us up for us nicely, and said the reason for this question is: 1. To see how you respond to an unstructured question 2. To learn about what you deem important at that point in time Next, how do you prepare for it? To nail the question, think of it as a pitch. 1.Research and Practice: organise your information using a formula Research and practice key is but also remember to never memorise. An interview is a dialogue, not a monologue. When digging for information, use the widely famous interview question formula to organise and link it with the company and its job description: past-present-future. Naturally, anyone would be to talk about the past first then the present. The Muse suggests mixing it up: “So, first you start with the present—where you are right now. Then, segue into the past—a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future—why you are really excited for this particular opportunity.” 2. Show relevance and highlight your selling points; your key strengths as they relate to the position you’re interviewing for If you repeat details stated in your CV, cover letter and application, it is likely your interview will end prematurely. Instead, show the interviewer you understand the experiences, skills and abilities which are relevant to the position. Focus on things the company places value on. Highlight your unique skills, talents, leadership attributes and professional experiences which are most relevant to the position. Just like your cv and cover letter, tailor your answers to the company’s needs. But what if you don’t have any professional experience? For someone who’s more entry-level and doesn’t really have a career to describe yet, the answer would be more forward-looking. Think academic achievements, voluntary and charity world. 3. Tell them why you are here End by telling them why you are there and why you want the position. We advise you to think of yourself as a product that will be bought by a company. Ultimately, don’t be afraid to relax a little bit, tell stories and anecdotes—the interviewer already has your resume, so they also want to know a little more about you. At FutureLab, we have career mentors to support you for your job interview preparation. Sign up here to speak with them now! A special thanks to all the FutureLab mentors who contributed to this article: M&A Manager at Ernst & Young (Malaysia) – Rishi Das || Former Strategy Advisor at Shell (Malaysia) – Vijay Kumar || Continuous Improvement Engineer at Morgan Advanced Material (United Kingdom)- Thatchu Selvarajan ||Teacher at Keningau Vocational College (Malaysia) – Sirhajwan Idek || Global Value Change Manager at Petronas (Malaysia) – Soham Basu || Partner at Grant Thornton (Malaysia) – Kishan Jasani
by Joel | 23 Nov 2016
Tell us a bit about yourself! Hello there! My name is Cyril Dhenaut and I am 27 years old. I studied in France where I went to a Business School. I have recently launched Mataris a digital marketing agency based in Kuala Lumpur. Why are you a mentor on FutureLab? Being a Mentor on FutureLab means a lot to me. I do believe that everybody needs to be mentored at some point along a career. That can help you save a lot of time and avoid many mistakes. There is no better way to grow than to share knowledge – and mentorship is a nice way to do so. I hope I will be able to contribute to some people’s’ careers in a positive way. Last but not least, having the opportunity to be involved in a social project on a foreign country is very important for me. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to all the mentees out there? If I had only one piece of advice for all the mentees, it would be: Define your objectives and strive toward it. I have seen quite a lot of people chasing ‘false’ dreams and being unhappy. So try to be honest when you do the exercise, if it is money that you are after, then money it is and do what is necessary. If it is having time to spare with family then make sure you always keep that in mind and not being lured by some promotion that would drive you away from that privileged time. Did you ever have a mentor? I wouldn’t say that I had one mentor per se, but rather several mentors. Each one of them have helped me better define what really gives me professional satisfaction and also being more efficient and sharp at my job. Name one major challenge you faced & how you overcame it? I think creating Mataris in Malaysia was definitely a big one. Because not only creating a company in a foreign country is complicated but it was also for me a professional achievement to open something by my own. How I overcame it? I think at some point you have to stop questioning and just jump. Making mistakes and trying new things will eventually benefit you, always. What is one tip you’d give to those looking to improve their time management? Sleep. Easier to say than do though. But having a good night of sleep will help you throughout the whole day. If you are more sharp, then every decision will be easier and quicker to make. That alone should already save you plenty of time. What do you miss most about school? Undoubtedly sports. I had been doing a lot of different sports and I really miss that golden period. It is much more complicated today to find time to do as much sport as I would like to. What do you do in your free time? Sports, of course. I play in a football team and always enjoy hitting the ball on the tennis court. I have to say that the Malaysian heat gives me a hard time. I am also a big movies fan. Cinema, movies, series, you name it. If you could have any one superpower, what would it be? Since I was a child I always dreamt of controlling electricity. Don’t ask. Your favourite quote? That is a hard one. But I would say: “happiness is only real when shared”. Yes, Into The Wild is one of my favourite movies! Click below to book a session with Cyril.
by Neekita Patel | 20 Apr 2017
It is easy to think when it comes to success that those who are smart and have a clear sense of what they want will leave the rest behind. I was in the grip of these messages until I met Amir, a Googler from the Google for Education team. A conversation with Amir convinced me that success is less about intelligence and more about the attitude one has. That being said, I am not here to discourage you from gaining more knowledge but to tell you that there is more to success than just being smart. Here are Amir’s recommended strategies that will fine-tune your growth mindset to positively impact your work ethics and performance. 1. Be flexible: While being sure of yourself and what you want is good, Amir believes that we should not corral ourselves too rigidly into a narrow path. The road to success is not a linear one and what is necessary is a growth mindset instead of a fixed one. As we progress through our career, we have to constantly change our lenses which are different perspectives which provide different questions that help us arrive at a solution. A great example here is a scientist examining a microorganism at different magnifications to discover different things. When we have a growth mindset, we are more willing to look at a matter from different angles, embrace challenges, and treat every situation as an opportunity to learn something new. 2. Appreciate progress more than results: In this age of instant gratification, where pressing a button on a gadget provides an immediate response, we are losing the ability to wait for long-term rewards. In response, the marketplace has been geared to cater to our impulses, thus fuelling our greed and need for more, right now. Besides that, this generation appears to be losing a sense of adjustment and empathy which are important factors to progress and achieve success. We must not take for granted that many things that have become part of the fabric of life, like creating a Facebook live video or calling an Uber, are the result of many individuals’ years of hard work and effort. It is good to internalise the perspective that every individual will have to go through the grind of learning and growing to develop effectively. 3. Add value to every task: Amir asked “If I ask you to make a photocopy of the document, what will you do?” Often, new hires find tasks such as these to be beneath them. I am guilty as charged! However, what makes an employee stand out from the rest is the one who made the effort to add value by checking the formatting, proof-reading the document, checking if the pages are correctly numbered, etc. The foundation of this is a mindset to look at every opportunity – be it taking minutes or scheduling interviews – as a chance to be diligent and hone a skill. Convince your supervisors you can do a brilliant job with smalls tasks first, and the bigger responsibilities will come. 4. Invest in yourself: To prepare for the future, you must continuously invest in yourself to be at the cutting edge of your skills. Learn something new, take up a free course, meet new people or even take a break. It is through these ways and many others that an individual will advance while remaining relevant to the current trends and time. Inspired by the person that Dr. House’s television character is based on, Amir reads three randomly picked articles every day. While he does not necessarily fully understand the articles he reads – covering fields as varied as biology and geophysics – he is certain that in the future this patchwork of knowledge will come together to form a unified whole and benefit him. 5. Compare yourself only with your yester-self: While acknowledging someone is doing better than you is commendable, the problem begins when we do not want someone to do better than us. This behaviour is toxic as he believes that our journeys should be about investing in ourselves instead of looking better than someone; this only creates a barrier to success and achieving our full potential. Amir explained there was a time he was emotionally burnt out and slipped into depression because he was doggedly determined to be on top of the heap. It was through the process of learning to invest in himself, having gratitude, and, most importantly, patience that things turned around for him which resulted in him being where he is today. Would you like to learn more tricks to set your attitude for work? We have many mentors that can help! Here are a few awesome mentors to check out: Amir Amha – Former Program Coordinator at Google Malaysia |Ashley SueLyn – Corporate Development, Planning, and Strategy at UEM Edgenta Berhad | Daniel Phang – KYC Analyst at JP Morgan Chase Bank Berhad | AJ Minai – TEDx Speaker | Storyteller | Mentor | Digerati at TEDx Written by: Neekita Patel Content Creator At FutureLab Do you have any differing opinions on this article? Leave a comment below to let Neekita know!
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