Jobseeker’s Diaries: The Importance of Openness * Jobseekers' Diaries

Together Abroad19-02-2018 5:30 PM

The word ‘openness’ often carries with it a strong positive connotation. Being open is seen as a beneficial characteristic, especially in a societal context. Think about how often we encounter phrases such as: “open governments”, “open data”, “open societies”. Nonetheless, what exactly does the word “openness” entail? It can be defined as the attitude necessary to learn new things, to encounter new people, and to embark on new adventures. It is the ultimate attitude that gives all other attitudes a meaning.

Many people are afraid of being open and transparent. I used to be quick to think others will judge me and try to use this information against me. However, it turned out to be a really jaded approach to living. I decided to practice openness in all of my life’s adventures. I am studying and living abroad. Sometimes I take a spontaneous weekend trip across the country. I applied for an internship I would not have immediately thought about. I also did some volunteering and went on an exchange in a completely different country. At the end, all my journeys taught me that my ability to be open is everything.

Being open is definitely necessary for your growth and...
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Together Abroad12-01-2018 9:37 PM

If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Goal setting allows you to take control of your direction in life and it provides you with a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them in the first place. It is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between, there are some very well-defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to formulate achievable goals.

When I set goals for myself, it is necessary that they motivate me: this means making sure that they are relevant to me, and that there is value in achieving them. If I have little interest in the outcome, or they are irrelevant given the larger picture, then the chances of my putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is a key to achieving goals.

I set goals that relate to the high priorities in my life. Without this type of focus, I can end up with far too many goals,...
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Team17-11-2017 10:19 AM

My first job as a research assistant taught me many things, including that achieving quality time with the boss requires a lot of self-discipline. Self-discipline is a key aspect of effective management. In order to achieve it, I need to be clear about my boss’s priorities, have empathy for their challenges and, above all, know how to make myself easy to manage – this is where the self-discipline comes in.

If I want a happy boss, then I need a high level of self-awareness ¬– knowing my strengths and my potential blind spots. It is also helpful to be mindful of how the human brain works. Luckily, I am a bachelor student of psychology, so I know the main principle of neuroscience – we are primarily motivated by both the desire for safety and pleasure, and the avoidance of pain and loss of security. I may be more motivated by one or the other, and as long as I am consciously aware of which it is, I can adjust accordingly if I become blindly optimistic and complacent, or pessimistically skeptical and stressed. Armed with self-awareness and robust self-discipline, it is relatively simple to make my boss happy.

Yet, there is...
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Together Abroad21-09-2017 2:42 PM

Being a mind reader would certainly come in handy during a job interview and make the whole getting-a-job process a lot easier, right? It would take away all the pressure of saying the right thing and allow you to fix any verbal blunders. One can only wish...

Since I am not a mind reader and I doubt anyone is, I had to prepare for my first job interview. The job I wanted was in a famous Dutch research-training consultancy, so I made it my goal to predict the unpredictable and to be prepared in the best way possible. I started with a small research on the company’s background. I wrote down all key words and interesting facts I found about it, and I memorized it in the next couple of days. I also read about the job scope and the responsibilities I would have. I thought it would do no harm to learn those since they would come in handy when answering questions.

Then I moved on to reading articles about possible job interview questions and tips on how to handle the situation under pressure, or if something goes wrong. I found some of the questions particularly hard to answer,...
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Together Abroad24-08-2017 1:31 PM


First impressions are really important. When I started my first job, I was nervous because I felt that the first impression people would have of me may turn into long-term perceptions and opinions. I wanted them to have the ‘right’ impression.

My first task was to help in recruiting participants for a social research project. I learned how to organize my time in a fast and efficient way, so I could talk to as many people as possible within a short period of time. The experience made me more familiar and confident with learning new skills, being punctual and dressing appropriately according to the dress code. These early and basic skills have stuck with me into other jobs.

Another valuable aspect of a job is the people you communicate with, such as colleagues, superiors, or even the cleaning staff. Despite my best efforts, I caught myself judging others in one way or another. It might be over small things, for example, a co-worker who took too long of a lunch break. Or it might be over bigger issues, such as a colleague who behaves selfishly, or is rude and hurts the feelings of others at work. I once had to...
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Together Abroad01-08-2017 12:27 PM

 
The workplace culture sets the tone of the environment you will be working in, and it can be either easy or difficult. Coming from the UK, it was no surprise to discover the Dutch working culture functions on egalitarianism. However, in the Dutch workplace the communication style is rather informal. Whilst the job is to be taken seriously, it is the friendly atmosphere and the usually calm environment that enable high productivity. My manager’s enthusiasm was often so high that I became eager to match it. Her natural, friendly nature combined with strong leadership made her a great manager.

We thrived because of our teamwork, meeting the sales targets day in and day out. Most, if not all, of my previous jobs also had friendly work environments, which provide employees with an open space. There was freedom to express themselves, and kindness between colleagues that made it easier to get along and complete tasks. Yet none of those environments compare to my last experience. No matter how friendly, how fun or how dynamic the workplace was, there was always the issue of dealing with the boss. Many of the manager-employee relationships were lacking. It was always a ‘them’ and ‘us’...
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It has been a long journey since I arrived in The Netherlands, and I want to thank you for being available to receive me, believing in my profile and thank you for all your support, and I express my wish to keep our contact. I followed all your guidelines and recommendations, and I succeeded! Thank you for your best attention, let's keep in touch

Helder Costa

I would like to thank you for your great job to make my CV presentable and truly reflecting my knowledge and experience.
With your highly professional advices and support I felt more confident and eventually I got a job.


Tanya Pelser

Thank you to both yourself and Irina for a great workshop this morning, it was refreshing to hear some really basic ideas for the Dutch employment search which I'm sure will help start everyone off on a new career path! I will definitely be using the services of Together Abroad and one of my first actions is to revise my CV and submit this for a review.

James Stopford