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How to Decide Your Career Path?

by Jeremy | 18 Mar 2019

The framework consists of 3-step-process for you to follow: Create your hypothesis – develop a career hypothesis that you might be interested in testing. This could be an industry, job, or function that sounds interesting to you. Test your hypothesis – read articles, speak to people working in the space, join competitions or programmes, or even landing an internship. Evaluate your hypothesis – after you test, take a step back and reflect on it. Then it is your decision to refine and continue testing your hypothesis or pivot to a completely new hypothesis.   Creating your hypothesis In this first step, it is important that you come to the first interesting idea to get yourself started. Chances are you probably already have some workable interest. There are many ways you can arrive at your interests. This can come from classes, conversations, and readings. Some common example from our mentees expressing their interests: “I enjoy sciences but I don’t see myself working in research or a laboratory setting.” “I don’t have an interest in business school, but I love applying visual designs.” “I enjoy solving business problems for different companies with new technology.”   As you’ve noticed, your interest statements can be general or narrow. That depends on how much thought you’ve put into your career aspirations. But the most important part is translating them into “I think I want…” statements. “I think I will work in the business function of sciences” “I think I want to work in UI/UX design within a company” “I think I want to work in consulting”   Test your hypothesis With your career hypothesis in mind, it is now time to test whether it is something that you would want to pursue. It is important that you are able to quickly test your hypothesis and decide whether to refine or pivot your hypothesis. Here are some ways you can do to test your hypothesis, ranking from easiest to hardest: Reading online – this could come from online articles and forums, or even taking relevant classes. Joining a programme, competition, or event – competitions and programmes that specifically tailored to the industry or function that you’re interested could fast track your decision. Talk to people working in that particular industry – reaching out to people through your university alumni network, LinkedIn, or simply book a FutureLab mentor to know more about the industry you’re interested in. Intern in a company in that particular industry – basically mimics very closely to the day-to-day activities of the industry that you’re interested in.   For example, If you think you want to in consulting. It is important that you start by googling about the industry first. Highlighting the top companies within the industry and what kind of services do they offer. In the process, start refining your hypothesis as you look for information. After some research, you find that strategy consulting (Find out what’s the difference between Big 4 vs MBB) is particularly interesting to you. So your new hypothesis should be:  I want to work in technology consulting If you’re still interested, start pouring your efforts attending events, consulting programmes, or even competitions to validate your interest. Then taking a step further by reaching out to people who are already working in that industry. All in all, the goal is to constantly test and refine your hypothesis. Always remember to dig deep and focus on higher effort ways like networking, and internships. Evaluate your hypothesis So after putting in the time and effort, you actually went for a summer internship with a consulting firm. Then there are two possible outcomes:  You LOVED your internship experience You HATED your internship experience   You LOVED most of the internship experience This means that you can continue to build a specific hypothesis to explore the industry and truly understand where do you want to start off in the industry. So thinking about what you liked & disliked in-detail during the internship. Taking our consulting hypothesis as an example, you might be able to derive some interesting insights into technology consulting. You found that consulting is quite high paced and enjoyed the nature of it You enjoyed the high-level problem solving of consulting – working with directors You enjoyed solving business problems with cutting edge analytics for clients   Then, you should take a step back and evaluate your hypothesis. Your refined hypothesis could be:  “I think to want to work in technology consulting focusing on analytics”   You HATED most of the internship experience Though it is the opposite of the positive experience, you learn a great deal about what you clearly don’t want in your career. It is extremely crucial that you reflect WHY you didn’t enjoy your internship and start refining or pivoting your hypothesis to move forward. Taking our consulting hypothesis as an example again, you might arrive at the following insights after your internship in technology consulting: You didn’t enjoy the unstructured and face paced environment of consulting You found it quite hard and technical to keep up with technology   Then, you should take a step back and evaluate your hypothesis. Your new hypothesis could be:   “I think I want to work in a slower pace environment in a commercial firm”   Then you repeat the process over again, testing your newly refined hypothesis until you find you.   In Conclusion Throughout the process, it is beneficial for you because you are able to learn about yourself at a much greater rate. Furthermore, this also helps you to systematically maximise your potential through experimentation and filling up your resume with solid experiences. Source: 2by22

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Peak Performance – How To Become A Strong And Legendary Business Leader

by FutureLab | 12 Mar 2019

  ‘Leadership is a potent combination of Character and strategy’ – General Norman Schwarzkopf Leadership has long fallen into the category of the enigmatic. It is no longer the case considering the ‘deep dive’ neuroscientists, psychologists and industrial psychologists have taken into understanding the brain and human behaviour in general. For those that have a deep and driving desire to understand themselves better volumes of highly beneficial research are available to you. How willing you are to seek for and apply the infinite amount of knowledge out there is dependent upon your priorities, your ‘grit’ and your level of desire to personally transform and be impactful in this world. Most of all a strong belief in your own abilities to become a legendary business leader is a basic requirement for the alchemy from follower to a leader to take place.   The human nature guru Robert Greene describes a strong character as follows: “Strong character has a tensile quality like a good piece of metal – it can give and bend but still retains its overall shape and never breaks” A character is who you really are, not what you want others to think of you. Who you truly are is especially revealed under the most challenging circumstances. How your investors, co-founders, employees and clients view you is highly dependent upon your actions during times of business crisis, failure or when you as an entrepreneur are faced with turbulent personal circumstances. The ability to authentically and empathetically (towards yourself and others) take a stand for your beliefs, admit (to yourself most of all) to your mistakes, rectify them (the highest and truest form of an apology) within times of strife and difficulty leads to a strong and unbreakable character. Through this writing you are strongly urged to reflect on the fact that a strong character will not fall from the sky and simply be bestowed upon you, instead, a strong character, akin to steel, is moulded and shaped by fire meaning that your character is mostly shaped by challenging times.   As the late master poet Leonard Cohen said – ‘There is a crack in everything that is where the light seeps in’ Nothing is perfect and when you truly learn from failures and mistakes your wounds can become blessings, your tests can become testimonies and you can lead others to achieve the same. Those that have a slight and very determined smile on their face and maintain belief and even dramatically increase their levels of performance the moment they recognise that they have arrived within a highly challenging space are the ones that have trained for that exact moment.   The Navy Seals say: “You do not rise to the challenge you fall to your level of training” All external information gathered within each moment enters the brain and is processed through the Amygdala first – that part of the brain that provides housing for the ‘fight or flight’ response. Information is first filtered through your very own doubts, fears and insecurities. If you have not worked on your own fears diligently and instilled habitual mechanisms of effective action triggered by fear your re-actions of lack of action (procrastination) will not be optimal at all. ‘Grit’ is born at the intersection of passion and perseverance and can be trained. Bravery can be trained. Leadership can be trained. Character although influenced by genetics can be trained. All tools to succeed at the aforementioned subjects are within us all, in a lot of cases lying dormant and anxiously awaiting your increased levels of awareness which will empower you to use the tools required effectively. As a practical example I coach my ‘Peak Performance’ clients to train for Grit in the following way – Choose a day of the week when you are especially tired and not in the greatest of moods force yourself to the gym and train the toughest muscle group for you (usually legs) and where you normally do three sets of squats do seven and make those sets harder than before in every way. Or again choose a day of the week again where you are very tired and instead of taking a plunge onto the couch to watch ‘Game of Thrones’ or whatever it is, go and hike, a long tough hike that will really test you. It does sound harsh but you will thank yourself when the tough times occur and they will, that you have willingly trained yourself for grit. On to the subject of Strategy which forms a potent combination with character and results in Leadership. Dictionary.com defines strategy as: A plan, method, or series of manoeuvres or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result. For a strategy to be effective a basic requirement of many requirements is that a clear and highly specific end vision and/or goal, and/or result must be defined. Visions, goals or desired results are often vaguely defined because the often subconscious fear of clearly defining our failures by setting clear and measurable goals plagues us. The mind struggles with finding solutions, answers and strategies when vague goals are set. It is also very hard to retain focus on anything that is very vague. As the importance of an effective plan to achieve your well-defined Vision and goals cannot be overstated I strongly recommend getting expert help to facilitate a future session. Once the desired end result, goals and vision is crystal clear we can ‘reverse engineer’ an effective plan that can actualise our dreams. We need to create a metric system that constantly, consistently and visibly measures our progress and success of our plan. The metrics will notify us of challenges and will signal a need for adjustments within our strategy. The very good news emanating from this article is that anyone can be a legendary leader should they not only sincerely wish to be a leader but also take effective action on becoming one. The starting point is to consistently and constantly build and mould an unshakeable character and add a clear strategy for your personal life and your business.   Written by: Dirk Coetsee is an international Peak Performance coach, published business author, entrepreneur and FutureLab Mentor. He combines and creatively incorporates time tested Leadership and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques to coach his clients towards success and fulfilment. Dirk is a qualified Master life and NLP coach. Click here to book his time on FutureLab.

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How Can You Help Your Students Land Their First Job?  

by FutureLab | 26 Feb 2019

1. Networking opportunities While having the right connections for your students might, but it is also important to provide students with networking events to meet different people at once. Your events should also not only focus on the class year but by subject or topic. This allows students to meet people around a common topic outside of their class year! 2. Networking connections By setting up your alumni network, your students are able to connect and meet with alumni online. A strong alumni network provides your students with the connections to expand their job search and sources. In addition, your alumni are able to guide and advise your students to help land their first job. 3. Recruitment and job postings Having a platform for job postings would bridge the gap between your students and companies. This is not only limited to full-time employment, but also internship or job shadowing opportunities for students. 4. Job search training   Your students will be able to have access to training materials or sessions to help them with their job search. This includes workshops on writing a CV, cover letter, or even interview training. You can also bring relevant mentors to help provide some pointers for your students to land their first job. How can FutureLab help? FutureLab has a portal that will help your students land their first job through reengaging with alumni. We have features that revolve on community engagement, such as event management tool, mentorship platform, and recruitment tools for your alumni network. To find out more, click here!   Sources: Six Ways Your University Can Still Help You Get A Job – https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecenizalevine/2017/11/05/six-ways-your-university-can-still-help-you-get-a-job-whether-you-graduated-recently-or-years-ago/#d273155690cf 60 hiring Statistics You Need to Know – https://www.ebiinc.com/resources/blog/hiring-statistics  

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How to Land Your First Job

by FutureLab | 26 Feb 2019

1.  Build your skills! In your chosen profession, find out the important skill sets needed for you to succeed. It is important to develop those skills to create job opportunities for yourself. But more importantly, develop a habit of lifelong learning. How should you do this? Google! The internet has a plethora of information and knowledge for you to learn. Apart from this, you should line up an internship to learn a specific skill. You could even start your own mini-project to pick up the necessary skills for you to succeed. 2.  Refine your CV, but don’t rely on it! A good CV gives you a great impression and gets your foot through the door. As you become clear about your career goals, your CV should follow through as well. But don’t rely on it too much! Create a channel that represents who you are, these include LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Share your what you’re working on show your potential employers what you’re doing! 3.  Don’t focus primarily on the money! There is a chance, you may not land a lucrative position on your first job. It is important that you focus on being reflective of whether you would enjoy the nature of the work. You should also focus on the long-term value of the job. Would you be learning the skills that might be important in the future? Will you be working under a great boss? 4.  Network with people! You could network with people from different places. It could be at career fairs, attending an interesting talk, or even networking events themselves. You can also leverage on digital platforms such as LinkedIn or even (shameless self-plug) FutureLab to meet and connect with people. How does this help you? Well, you basically have access to opportunities or jobs that are not listed. Most of the really great jobs are filled before it reaches the company’s website or any job search platforms. Network and be genuinely interested in befriending with people from the companies that you are interested in! How can FutureLab help you in landing your first job? With over 300 mentors on our platform, you can easily speak to anyone from different industries to gain invaluable insights. It is also a great platform for you to start networking with professionals from the industry. Book a mentor now at FutureLab and be one step closer to landing your first job!Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkwilliams/2014/07/23/7-unconventional-ways-to-land-your-dream-job/#1301f4c41582  

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