Career, Self-Improvement

What Your Boss Wants You To Know – Vanessa Tai

How do you achieve career success? A successful career is not just about having smarts or even knowing the right people … many a time, what your boss thinks of you could make or break your career. In a 2012 JobsCentral Singapore survey on employer-employee work relationships, about 30 percent of respondents said they did not share a good working relationship with their bosses. Reasons cited ran the gamut from unrealistic work demands to a lack of advancement opportunities and autonomy at work.

material world singapore-boss employee comic strip

It stands to reason that if you have a good rapport with your boss, the channels of communication will be more open and you’ll enjoy greater job satisfaction.

So what are some ways to impress your boss? We speak to hiring managers and CEOs across different industries, and here’s what they have to say:

Q: What are the factors during an interview that will lead you to hire / NOT hire the candidate?

“We like it when the interview is more conversational, and the interviewee is sincere and engaging. Things that turn us off include candidates who arrive at the interview unprepared with questions to ask. This shows they haven’t given any thought about Zuji as a company, the position they are applying for, or the travel industry. Other deterrents include name dropping, and complaining about ex-employers or a poor existing work environment. Your talent should speak for itself – there’s no need to bring others into the picture.” – Chua Hui Wan, CEO, ZUJI Singapore

Q: Does the way an employee decorates his/her desk make a difference to you?

“As long as they get their work done and their stuff doesn’t encroach onto their colleagues’ desks, they can have their desk however they want.” – Selena Tan, Owner, Dream Academy

“Personally, I think soft toys are a bad idea as they make the employee look unprofessional. That said, other personal items like photos are fine as they remind the employee who he/she is working for.” – John Fearon, CEO, Dropmysite

Probably not the best way to create a good impression.

Probably not the best way to create a good impression.

Q: What’s the ONE thing that will make an employee stand out to you?  

Happy employees = productive employees

Happy employees = productive employees

“Someone who puts the company’s interests above her own. This shows that the person actually treats the company as his/her own [versus it being just a job.] For such an employee, I would take the time to groom him/her for greater career growth.” – Violet Lim, CEO, Lunch Actually

“Having a pleasant and welcoming disposition. To me, this is the mark of a person’s character and the relationship they have with themselves and others. A person can be the highest trained in their profession but if they’re unable to engage well with others, they don’t tend to produce and sustain as much.” – Jaynie Morris, Health & Wealth Director, Jaymor International 

Q: And your number one tip for employees is … 

“Do not be afraid to ask for help. It is better to ask several times and get it right than to try it out yourself and get it wrong.” Wong Hoong An, Co-founder, Hungrygowhere

“Always think three steps ahead of your boss. When you present a problem to him/her, be sure to have at least three solutions on hand.” – Lu Minru, Owner, 37 Communications

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. She truly believes in finding a job you enjoy (after all, that’s where you’ll be spending most of your time!) Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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Career, Infographics, Self-Improvement

[Infographic] How To Be Creative – Vanessa Tai

No matter what industry you’re in, it seems like everybody is on a rabid race to hit on The Next Big Idea. Bosses no longer want submissive subordinates; they’re looking for people who can come up with new ideas for old problems, to breathe new life into tired work processes, to dream up groundbreaking product lines.

According to Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen, this sort of creativity is known as “disruptive innovation.” It’s defined as an innovation that helps create a new market, and eventually disrupts the existing market through new technologies. Great examples would be Wikipedia (which shook up the traditional print encyclopedia market) or free online course providers like Khan Academy and Coursera (which changed how people traditionally got educated.)

Everyone knows we need to continuously bring fresh ideas to the table in order to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive job market but the question is, how? It’s hard enough juggling the many tasks on-hand without having to constantly come up with new ideas. Well, like everything else, creativity is a muscle – you need to constantly build it up, or it’ll waste away. Use it or lose it, so to speak. Here are six tried-and-tested ways to keep your creative juices flowing.

mojo

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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