Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How to prepare for a job interview

Considering the fact that myself and my peers are finally finishing off our four years of study, and are beginning our ventures in to the big scary world out there, it is important to know exactly what to do, and exactly what is expected of you, in terms of job interviews.

I usually get very nervous for interviews and spend hours before the time preparing: trying to answer questions I think they might ask me, deciding what to wear, and thinking up numerous scenarios in my head.  I am someone who hates to be unprepared for something and believe that practice makes perfect!

So before we start our journey's in to the world of dreaded job interviews, here are a couple of tips to remember:

Research the company's profile and background:

Start by looking into their future goals and plans; conducting the interview with this in mind will make you seem like a good long-term investment. You should also be ready to talk in depth about the industry, the organisation, their clients, and the position you are applying for. Use the company's website, their annual report, and newspaper/business magazine articles to gather as much information as possible.
Think of questions to ask your interviewer:

Participating actively during the interview gives a good impression of your level of interest in the job. It's a good idea to come prepared with at least three thought-provoking questions to ask your interviewer. (Avoid asking anything that could be easily answered through a quick internet search, or you will simply come across as lazy.)  Ask questions that reflect your interest in future prospects; ask questions to bond with the interviewer and project your enthusiasm; and ask questions about what is discussed during the interview itself.

Anticipate questions from the interviewer:

It’s best to prepare for a wide variety of questions by thinking about your own career goals, long-term plans, past successes, and work strengths, but you should also brace yourself for the deceptively simple questions that most employers like to throw at their interviewees.  These include:
"What is your biggest weakness?"
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"
"Why do you want this job?"
"Why did you leave your last job?"
Practice with a peer:

If you have a friend who is also preparing for an interview, consider preparing together. Not only will this give you a way to structure your preparation, but it will also help you get comfortable with giving answers, telling anecdotes, and using appropriate terminology. Practice giving concise, complete answers and maintaining eye contact with the interviewer(s) while you give them. Make sure you aren't speaking too slow or too fast and that your answers are stated with confidence.
Dress for the interview:
As a rule of thumb, you should dress for the interview the way you would for the job itself. (If the job is unusually casual, however, you might want to show up in business-casual clothes to be safe.) Choose subdued colors (blues, browns, grays, black) and make sure that your clothes are lint- and wrinkle-free. Avoid wearing perfume, after-shave, or scented lotion (but do wear deodorant).
Show up in the best possible shape:
Make sure you know exactly how to get there and just where to park so that you can arrive 15 to 20 minutes before the scheduled interview time. Go to bed early the day (or the days) before the interview so that you look rested and healthy on the big day. Bring an extra copy of your CV and/or references, in case your interviewer wants to go over any points with you or neglects to bring their own copy.
Lastly, be calm and think of it as a meeting or discussion.  Remember, if you got as far as getting the interview in the first place, they must see something in you that they really like.  The rest is up to the impression you make so always pay special attention to first impressions - they last!

How to apply makeup PROPERLY!

While searching the Internet recently, I came across an awesome article about how to apply makeup properly!

Often I see a large number of females wearing makeup that is not right for their skin tones or textures, and too often these ladies are wearing far too much makeup!  It is always good to go for a more natural look than to look to overdone or "fake."

For perfectly applied makeup every day, follow the easy 11 steps below for guaranteed beauty!

1. Start with sunscreen:

A fresh complexion is sexy and youthful. Starting with a clean face, apply sunscreen to your face and neck.  Rain or shine, you should get in the habit of applying sunscreen every day in order to protect your skin.  You can even apply moisturizer before applying your sunscreen. If you have oily skin, rinse face with warm water and pat dry before applying sunscreen.

2. Apply concealer:

Dot concealer with your ring finger to the spots that need it most (under the eye, along the nose, on the chin). Blend in by patting in, never rubbing, the concealer.

3. Apply foundation:

Apply a tinted moisturizer or foundation to your face, making sure to blend along the jawline so you don't have a tell-tale line.

4. Apply blush or bronzer:

Apply blush on the apples of your cheeks. If you want to appear sun-kissed, apply a bronzer as well. 

5. Apply eyeliner:

Now that your face is set, it's time to make up your eyes. Apply eyeliner to your eyelids. There are many different ways to apply eyeliner. You can go for the basic eye, a smokey eye, a cat eye and much more. For a basic eye, simply apply liner to the upper lashes and the lower lashes, smudging along the lower so it doesn't look drawn on.

6. Apply concealer:

If you wear eyeshadow, be sure to set the eye first with an eyeshadow primer, otherwise the shadow will melt into your eyelids.

7. Apply eyeshadow:

Just as there are many ways to apply eyeliner, there are many eyeshadow looks you can experiment with. For a basic eye, simply apply a base shade on the lid of the eye. Apply a darker contouring shadow in the crease. Make sure to blend it all in well.

8. Curl those lashes:

Curl your lashes with an eyelash curler. You can blast your curler for 3 seconds with a hairdryer to make the curl hold better, just be sure to test the metal to ensure it's not too hot first.

9. Apply your mascara:

Apply mascara by wiggling the wand from the roots of your lashes on through to the ends.

10. Leave your lips for last:

Once you have your face made up you can see exactly what type of lip treatment you need. You can either fill in lips with lip liner and apply lip balm or gloss over it, or you can line lips first then apply lipstick. Some women opt for just gloss or balm.

11. Set your makeup:

Set your face with loose powder or a spritz of Evian spray.

After following these easy steps, you're good to go for a relaxed day out, a hectic working day, or a fabulous night out on the town!

When is it time to stop calculating risk and reward, and just do what you know is right?

A really good question to ask yourself, but one that I really do not have an answer to.  Well, at least not yet that is...

It is always a good thing to cover your tracks and to calculate the risks and rewards of any decision you are about to make.  Part of being a good manager or an effective leader is to make calculated risks so that you do not end up worse off than you initially started.

We are always taught that every action has an equal and opposite re-action.  Therefore, if we just 'do what we know is right' without calculating the risks and rewards of that decision, the outcome may be one that is unfavourable or damaging.

Sometimes, however, it is good to just let go a little and to just do what you know is right.  Although the decision may not be calculated, one thing we should never ignore is our gut feeling.  Whenever your gut feeling is telling you to do something, you should just go with it - it is usually right!

The reason for this is that our gut feeling is not something that we can control, but rather something that is imbedded within us and can tell us whether something is good or bad.

My advice would be to always try and make calculated decisions and weigh up the risks versus rewards.  But when your gut feeling kicks in, don't ignore it, just do what you
know deep down is right and you will be A-Okay!

How to make awesome trifle for Christmas

In keeping with my excitement for the upcoming festive season, I have decided to share a recipe on how you can make a delicious, colourful trifle for your Christmas desert.  Having trifle on Christmas (made by my gran :) ) is a tradition in our family and Christmas just won't be the same without it!

  • 1 large jam Swiss Roll | trifle sponge cake (readily available at your local Pick n Pay)
  • 75ml sweet or medium sherry | rum | brandy | liquor
  • 2 sachets of different flavour jelly
  • Any type of fruit, peeled and sliced (my personal preference is canned peaches and strawberries)
  • Home-made custard (not Ultramel!)
  • Chopped nuts (preferably almonds)
  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh fruit for decoration
Make the jelly and allow to set. Make custard and allow to cool. Slice the Swiss Roll or sponge cake and place at the bottom of a glass bowl (round and deep is normally the best). Moisten with alcohol. Chop up the jelly and cover cake. Add fruit and then custard. Sprinkle nuts on top. Cover with whipped cream. Decorate with the flake, nuts or grated chocolate.
Refrigerate and serve cold.

Do you celebrate the things you have?

Often we take for granted the things that we have.  Every morning, say for instance, I wake up, shower, brush teeth, have breakfast, drive to work, eat lunch, come home, have dinner, watch TV, and go to sleep in a warm, comfortable bed.  Yet throughout the day, there are things I complain about:  being stuck in traffic, being late for work, eating a boring sandwich for lunch, or having nothing to watch on TV.

But I seldom stop to realise the magnitude of the things that I actually do have.  We do not appreciate the small things in life that make such a difference.  Instead, they are often taken for granted or not celebrated.

Thinking about it closely, I at least have a warm bed to sleep in at night, have running water, am able to afford food to eat, have a car to get around, and have a TV to watch for some recreation.  There are so many people in this world that do not even have a quarter of the things listed above.  Yet we always tend to focus on the negative things in life and never stop to actually appreciate the things that we do have and the ways that we have been blessed.

Consider family, friends, and education - all the things that some less fortunate individuals can only dream of having.  So from today onwards, whenever I feel like complaining about something insignificant, I should rather stop to realise the good things I have in life and should celebrate the things I have been blessed with.

New South African banknotes

Today marks a momentous day in South African history:  The day the new South African banknotes are release featuring the face of former-President and anti-Apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela.

Madiba is a truly inspirational South African icon who is admired all over the world.  Therefore, it is only fitting that our new banknotes are a testimonial to him and all that he has done for our country.

I have not seen a new banknote yet (student problems!) but cannot wait to be holding one in my hands.  I am very excited and proud to know that on the 22nd anniversary of Mandela's release from prison on Robben Island, after serving 27 years for his opposition to the Apartheid era, that he is being honoured for his brave deeds and that his legacy will live on in South Africa.

Christmas 2012!

As I sit writing this blog post, I cannot believe that we are already in November of 2012!  It feels like just the other day that I turned 21 and started out as a BTech student at CPUT.

Now, my 22nd birthday is slowly but surely making its way around, and I have less than one week left before I finish studying for good.  However, it must be said, the most exciting thing about all of this is that Christmas is 49 Days away!

I am one of those people who absolutely loves Christmas and everything about that festive time of year.  The Christmas tree, decorations, family reunions, presents, Christmas dinner and lunch, Christmas crackers, you name it!

It is such a happy, wonderful time of the year where we forget all of our troubles and focus on the important things in life.  It is a chance for us to reflect on the year that has just past and look forward to the year ahead.

49 days and counting... :)

Who knows, maybe one year it will snow on Christmas in South Africa?  That would be the cherry on the cake!