Bookshelves in a Sharjah Public Library.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Human resource professionals, industry experts and trainers gathered on the opening day of the ‘Career Builder Forum’ in Sharjah (Dec. 8 — 9) to share insights, develop soft skills and competencies of undergraduates and young job seekers, and to offer invaluable tips and tools to secure the right job. Organised by Sharjah Public Libraries, speakers and panellists at the two-day forum discussed the importance of effective communication and smart time management, while also presenting step-by-step processes for creating a professional resume and preparing for interviews.
The opening day of the forum also explored practical ways to make job hunting more fruitful and helped hone the skills of job seekers to empower them in finding their desired jobs. In a session titled ‘Secrets of job hunting’, coach Rama Muhanna stressed the importance of professional networking as being vital for career growth. She pointed out that attending job fairs, for instance, is a great way to meet officials and recruiters. Muhanna also called on undergraduates to enrich their knowledge and experiences by attending various functions organised by their respective universities, in addition to enrolling in training courses and volunteering in activities to showcase their abilities and talents. They help job seekers establish connections or long-term relationships with business owners or heads of organisations. The trainer also cited the necessity of using social media platforms as tools to connect with prospective employers and head-hunters.
The importance of attending job interviews even for subpar positions to extend one’s social network, was also stressed. In the ‘Advancing communication skills’ session, trainer Karina Rawashdeh highlighted the importance of developing strong and concise communication skills to advance an individual’s personal and professional lives. She added that good communication skills were a desirable quality and signalled leadership potential, while being a good listener also had a significant role in the workplace.
The session on ‘Time management and decision making’ led by trainer Ezz Eldin Ahmad introduced ways to ‘declutter’ one’s life to raise awareness of managing time and limiting procrastination effectively. He also highlighted how proper planning and setting priorities were essential for good time management. The trainer explained ways of managing routine stress that negatively impact productivity and decision making Trainer Mohammed Mahmoud led the session on ‘Teamwork administration’ and discussed various strategies to inculcate team spirit to achieve success and excellence. He also explored ways to build efficient and collaborative work teams and discussed strategies on how to handle particular characteristics of members within a team.
In her second session titled ‘Charisma’, trainer Karina Rawashdeh discussed ways to utilise the art of charisma and persuasion to enjoy considerable advantages, both in securing a job and advancing in one’s personal and professional life. Lecturer Tahani Al Tara emphasised that a strong CV was essential to get ahead of the competition. In the session titled ‘Preparing a CV’, he offered practical tips to design and write a winning and impactful CV that effectively showcased the applicant’s unique skills, interests and experience. The ‘Successful interviews’ session was led by trainer Mohammed Mahmoud, who discussed the most frequently asked interview questions and presented ways to prepare for an interview. He elaborated on the appropriate responses essential to succeed at interviews and land a dream job.
The important thing to landing a job is to ensure that you are fully prepared for the interview, said Dr Reema Bourghol in a session titled ‘Interview Skills’. “In today’s world of advanced mass communication, there is no excuse for lack of research. Find out as much as you can on both the company and the position you have applied for,” she advised. Stating that the interview may be the clinching factor in landing a job, she urged participants to get into the right frame of mind, with mock interviews. Honesty and politeness, avoiding criticism of previous employers or companies, and refraining from making boastful statements, are other plus points, the trainer noted.
Trainer Shadiah Bataineh said that it was worth spending time and effort on the content and presentation of a CV, as it is the first chance an applicant gets to make a good impression on a potential employer. She was addressing a cross section of graduates, undergraduates and job seekers at a session titled ‘Writing a CV’. “Before you begin to craft the CV, it is important to decide on the format which should have standout features to grab the recruiter’s attention,” she said, adding that a professional CV uses an easy-to-read font, bold headings and basic colours, lists core skills in bullet points, and is simple and easy to navigate. The trainer advised participants to update their CV regularly.
The workshop on ‘Employment alternatives in the job market’ was led by Dr Omnia Salem, who discussed ways of preparing for the jobs of the future in a session titled ‘Effective communication skills’. Dr Amal Saad underlined the importance of learning to transfer information and ideas in an easy-to-comprehend manner. Dr Esmat Ghazal led the ‘Job Search Skills’ session to empower the youth create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound) goals to streamline their efforts, while looking for a job. In the session titled ‘Developing graduates’ skills’, Dr Ahmed El Sayed underlined the importance of time management, analytical and critical thinking skills and the benefits of working collaboratively with people from different disciplines and cultures.
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