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How to Look Incredibly Professional at Work

How to Look Incredibly Professional at Work

How to Look Incredibly Professional at Work

How to Look Incredibly Professional at Work

by Talentese Team 28/11/2017

What does looking professional or behaving professionally at work mean? Isn’t it enough to dress the part and get to work on time? What else is there that’s needed to create a professional appearance?

Apart from the obvious answer which is to dress the part and live in your formal clothing, professional appearance is a myriad of behaviors and attributes that you need to have. Provided you do all this, professional behavior at work can help in gaining respect from colleagues and being promoted before them.

So, what is unprofessionalism? Unprofessionalism could be something as simple as not coming to work on time, submitting your report well beyond the deadline given, or not dressing according to office code/ policy. If you have any doubts about this, get career counseling for experienced professionals. Obtaining career guidance counseling can assist you in chalking out a proper plan for your professional conduct and simultaneously improve your employee branding.

Let’s look at ways in which you can overcome this ‘professionalism’ hurdle.

Dress the part.

Most offices have strict dress codes during work hours. Not coming to office in your surfer shorts, loose shirts and denim actually work in your favor! Opt for formal clothing with subtle but smart overtones. Light blues, beiges, creams, blacks, grays, butter-yellows, light pinks and so on are colours to choose from. The whole point of having a dress code is to avoid unnecessary attention to clothes by keeping it uniform throughout. Same goes for jewellery and makeup – avoid wearing studded bracelets, rings, earrings and heavy makeup to work. Dressing in formal clothes is great for your professional appearance and makes you confident while meeting people. Visit a career guidance counselor to assist you with the exact dos and don’ts required in formal dressing.

Work a little overtime.

Most people are in a hurry to leave at the designated time. However, leaving 30-45 minutes later can boost your employee branding by leaps and bounds. Colleagues and bosses start noticing how committed you are to your work and start respecting you more. This helps in building their confidence in your capabilities and shows your eagerness to improve your work. Career counseling for experienced professionals suggests that people who go the extra mile tend to get promotions and increments better than the rest.

Be prepared with information and data.

Nothing screams more ‘unprofessional’ than fumbling over data at meetings! Don’t get caught in this scenario. While you might dress the part, backing your style with facts and figures is always good. Err on the side of caution by reading through your notes and glancing at your presentation before you enter meetings. Almost all career guidance counselors will explain why assimilating data quickly is so important for your professional appearance. Not only does it work wonders for your employee branding, but also improves confidence in your daily composure at work. Also, in case you are meeting with clients, always have your business cards handy. Looking incredibly professional starts with flair!

Honesty and integrity.

Being honest and doing your work with integrity is key to building professional appearance and confidence. Remember, no one is perfect. Your confidence improves as you keep learning from your mistakes. Looking professional is just a part of the bigger picture – one that contributes to your personal employee branding and long lasting impression. Admitting to your faults and seeking help are considered excellent signs of improvement. Admitting to goof shows that you are reliable and can be banked upon to get the work done honestly.

Have clear speech and diction.

We cannot stress how important it is to think before your speak! Being up to date and using the latest language propels you to being a rising star in office. Work on perfecting your grammar and speech by attending regular sessions in grammar and diction with career counseling for experienced professionals – many career guidance counselors offer courses on language, accent, and speech improvement. Also, be careful about gossiping at work. While talking about anyone, always maintain neutral language to ensure you don’t get caught in the subsequent crossfire. One more thing about language – don’t swear in office! 

Maintain professional relations.

Not saying that you won’t meet the love of your life at the office, but maintaining a strictly professional conduct in office is extremely important. Professionalism at work helps in successfully eliminating you from the gossip mill that is prevalent in all offices. Never give anyone a chance to point fingers at you. Getting caught in the web of office politics because of rumor mongering is not only detrimental to your employee branding, but also to your appearance and impression at work. Maintaining professional conduct also improves productivity and efficiency.

Creating a professional appearance at work is an amalgamation of dressing right, speaking right and acting right. Another good method is to separate your personal and professional life when at work. Respond to emails in time and, have a set formal greeting while answering all official calls. Another tip is to keep your mobile phone silent during work hours – keep it on vibrate mode instead. Do your bit by maintaining a professional outlook at work, and you will surely climb the career ladder faster.

by Talentese Team 28/11/2017

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Best Questions to Ask a Recruiter at the End of the Interview

Best Questions to Ask a Recruiter at the End of the Interview

Best Questions to Ask a Recruiter at the End of the Interview

Best Questions to Ask a Recruiter at the End of the Interview

by Talentese Team 24/11/2017

Everyone always says you should ask questions at the end of the interview. What questions should you ask? How would your questions be perceived?

Asking questions at the end of an interview is always a good way to finish. In typical question and answer rounds, most recruiters ask if there is anything you would like to know. After you’re done with the most frequently asked interview questions, you should ideally ask 2 – 3 questions that you would want to know answers about. It’s important for recruiters / interviewers to know that you have an interest in the company and that you have conducted your research.

One of the many benefits of asking questions at the end of your typical interview questions and answers round is that you assess your employee branding and whether this company will add more value to you. Another advantage to this would be that you would have a fairer idea if your goals are aligned with the company you are interviewing for. Research carefully and ask intelligent, open-ended questions. Also, avoid asking yes or no type questions – these will not add information to what you already know.

Let’s look at typical interview questions and answers asked by candidates towards the end.


What are the challenges this position presents?

This is one of the most frequently asked interview questions. With this question, you force the recruiter to give you missing information that hasn’t been covered in the job description and the interview. You should pay close attention to any negative aspects of the response from the recruiter.


How does my role fit in the overall company structure?

This is a typical interview question and answer; be prepared for counter-questioning! This question justifies your claim in your resume of being a team player and wanting to contribute towards team building and team success. Always quantify your plan to contribute towards the company’s success in the long term.


How is the performance for this position measured and reviewed?

Back this question up with a smile! You don’t want to come across as someone who is only interested in the financial aspect. You could also add that you would like to work within measurable guidelines of the company – this shows you are willing to be proactive about your new role and care about your personal employee branding.


What training and skill development does this role offer?

This question will be on every recruiter’s radar. Companies want to know if you would like to develop your skills and training to contribute more effectively to their structure. This also shows your dedication to improve your employee branding. Ongoing skill development shows your willingness to improve and ask for additional help and assistance.


What soft skills are required for this position?

It’s always important to know which skills are not mentioned in the job description. All recruiters tell you what to do, but no one tells you what you will require. You will get answers for company culture and value by asking this typical interview question and answer.


Is there anything you feel I lack in my application?

A recruiter always asks about strengths and weaknesses as part of the most frequently asked interview questions. With this, you show that you are willing to admit and work on your weaknesses and turn them into strengths – you are asking the recruiter to assess your vulnerabilities on the spot.


What do you like best about working for this company?

This is an ideal question to show how meticulously you have worked on your employee branding. You are concerned about the recruiter’s views on the company! Not only are you trying to create a discussion instead of an interview, but also getting insight on the best parts in the company. This is not considered in typical interview questions and answers so should be used wisely at the appropriate time.


What is the biggest challenge the company is currently facing?

This question doesn’t come in the regular list of most frequently asked interview questions but should be asked by most candidates. Asking this question shows a willingness to make a positive contribution towards company success. This also helps in finding out what areas require priority upon joining.


What career development opportunities are available?

This is an ideal question if you are looking to fast track your career through the company. Ask this question to gauge if the job position is a dead end or if there are possibilities for promotions and shifts within the company. This also shows your willingness to work on your employee branding.


How can I work best with my manager?

You should be aware of whether the response from the recruiter is collaboration-friendly or not. This is will help you assess which of your strengths you will need to showcase first.


What is the next step in the process and when will I hear from you?

This question is a classic. It is another most frequently asked interview question at the end. Asking this, not only shows eagerness to start, but also provides the basis for your hiring timeline. Only ask this once you are sure your curiosity about the company is satisfied.

Use these questions to assess how you fit with the company culture and what skills you will have to bring to the table. Tailor each question to fit your job application, and don’t forget to do your research on the company. Remember not to discuss salary and benefits in the initial interview. Usually, remuneration discussions are conducted after 2 rounds of interviews. All the best for your interview!

by Talentese Team 24/11/2017

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How to Dress For a Job Interview

How to Dress For a Job Interview

How to Dress For a Job Interview

How to Dress For a Job Interview

by Karin Singh 21/11/2017

Hurray! You got the invitation to a job interview. Now you are wondering what you should wear on that occasion. Often it depends for what type of job and industry you are applying for. While certain companies (e.g. banks, legal companies, etc.) prefer a more conservative dress code, other companies (e.g. in the telecommunication, fashion, marketing industry) take a bit more casual approach when it comes to corporate attire.

Choosing the right attire for a job interview, seems to be a tricky task for some job candidates considering the continuous changing environments (e.g. with open space offices) and many upcoming start-up companies. When it comes to dress code there are five different styles: business formal, business professional, business casual, small business casual and creative.

Try to find out more about the corporate dress code prior to your job interview. You can:

# Call up the company directly and ask them,

# Look at corporate pictures on the internet, e.g. corporate website, facebook page etc.,

# Observe yourself how employees are turning up at the workplace (before or after work) and eventually check out the company’s reception area on a typical working day.

What is now considered appropriate and what should possibly be avoided when answering the question ‘How to dress for a job interview?’ As mentioned previously, it often depends on the industry and the type of job. I explain now in more detail the “business formal” attire.


  • Women:


# A pant suit (black, grey or navy blue).

# A skirt suit with a white or neutral blouse, jacket and skirt (not too short and not too long!). In most situations wearing a jacket is better than wearing a pullover).

# It would be advisable to wear stockings.

# Shoes should possibly always be dark (black, dark blue, dark grey or brown), low high heels, made of genuine leather and polished.


To avoid:

# Inappropriate and seductive clothes (cut out, transparent and too tight dresses). Initially you might get some attention with such an approach, but you will not increase your chances for the job!.

# Strong perfume and excessive make up.

# Striking jewellery.

# Leggins, jeans, t-shirts.

# Bare feet.

# Bringing along a handbag and briefcase (decide just for one item).


  • Men:


# A conservative plain men’s suit with (ironed!) shirt and a classic tie (patterned or striped). Your tie should suit your shirt and jacket and should fit properly.

# Your shoes should be dark (brown or black) and polished. Shoes made of genuine leather would be ideal.


To avoid:

# Knitted shirts with wild patterns.  

# Ties with cartoon characters.

# Wearing suspenders and belt at the same time.

# Boots, sandals or trainers with short, white socks. You should not wear any worn out shoes and instead have a pair that colour-wise matches nicely the suit, which means no brown shoes with a black or blue suit.


Make sure that your business attire is always clean, polished and presentable. Don’t forget that your clothes are an important part of your charisma. You rarely get a second chance to make a first impression. Wearing the right outfit at the job interview gives you a further opportunity to show your professionalism! You will realise that the more professionally you dress, the more competent and serious people will perceive you.

by Karin Singh 20/10/2017

Karin Schroeck-Singh’s passion lies in creating, translating and promoting content of high-quality in multiple languages (English, German, Italian). She holds an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and is the author of several ebooks. She gained more that 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Helping businesses to optimise their online presence is her priority, no client or project is too big or too small for her.

Stop worrying. Start outsourcing!

Karin Schroeck-Singh

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The ToDo List That Gets Things Done

The ToDo List That Gets Things Done

The ToDo List That Gets Things Done

The ToDo List That Gets Things Done

I check off an item, added two. I check off another one, added three more. Before I knew it, my todo list is one messy pile!

How many of you have experienced this too?

If you haven’t, I am extremely jealous… that you probably never kept a todo list. =)

A History of Failed ToDo lists

Before technology came into play, I was already a sucker for organizing my calendar and tasks, and started off with the filofax. Yup, most of you who are reading this will probably not have a clue what a filofax is. It’s basically simply a personal organizer and a basic self management tool.

I later on went to digital personal organizers, from those Palm products, to HP then Blackberry.

The Fun World of ToDo Apps

Finally, we get to the state of today’s todo lists. Back in 2006, Gina Trapani, founder of Lifehacker, wrote: “There are approximately 17 million software applications and web sites out there built to manage your to do list.

Here’s a snippet of what you will find on the App Store.

Personally, I have gone through tons of TODO lists, and other productivity tools at that.

Here’s some that I used (at least for some time) but eventually discarded to try something else. Check ‘em out and see if they will meet your needs.

Text Editor

To keep it simple, you can just use any basic text editor (Notepad, TextEdit, etc). The trick is to use codes that make it easy to search for open items, since it won’t automatically do it for you unlike apps.

Personally, I used these:

   Open Tasks: [ ]

   Closed Tasks: [X]

This worked for me for some time. However, when the items started piling up, it became hard for me to organize my tasks especially since it does not have any reminder and prioritization function.


I loved using Any.Do for a long time. It had that sleek UI, and that swiping to close the task felt “cool.” Yes, I’m a geek but, in my defense, they were probably one of the first few to implement this.

I cannot recall all the other reasons I moved away from them now but the major reasons were these:

   There was something wonky about the recurring items. I’m sure they’ve fixed this by now, but there was just no going back by then.

   They developed another app, Cal, to integrate my calendar with these tasks. I did not want another calendar app. If they had integrated it into Google Calendar back then, I would have stayed on.


After Any.Do, I switched to Swipes. They had a similarly sleek UI as Any.Do and had no problems with recurring tasks. I don’t remember them integrating with Google Calendar, but they did something that I loved. They integrated with Evernote, one of my favourite productivity apps.

Unfortunately, they decided to concentrate their efforts on developing their Enterprise version and I just felt that the personal version was being ignored so I decided to move away from it.

Some Notable Mentions


This was one of the best apps that I have used. Unfortunately, it was discontinued after it was bought by Yahoo!


Yes, I experimented with using Evernote as a ToDo list. Although it worked for awhile, I decided to discontinue this workflow. I am still a huge fan of Evernote, but mixing my web clips and notes with my tasks was simply too messy.   

As you can see, I have been a nut for productivity tools for quite some time now. In hindsight, this was probably (Excuse the StrengthsFinder references here) my #Maximizer and #Arranger in action, as I was always looking for that perfect configuration.

Unfortunately, it bordered on being a basement behaviour as I wasted a lot of time trying to be productive. Luckily, it looks like I have found the one for me.


A few months ago, a colleague suggested Nozbe and I have been hooked since. In fact, I am now testing it with my team and planning on getting the PRO version soon.

Why Nozbe?

Nozbe has all the basic features of other ToDo apps. However, its beauty lies in the integrations it has with other productivity tools. Beautiful for me because I happen to be an avid user of these tools too.

Cloud storage platforms

After losing some major files from a busted Hard Drive a few years ago, I have decided to sync all my important (work and personal) files to a cloud service. I am currently using Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box and iCloud.

And, guess what? Nozbe integrates with four out of five of these services.Can you guess which one is out? 🙂

These integrations make my experience smoother as I am able to go from my task to the file(s) I need to work on it with one click.


Yes, I have mentioned Evernote over and over again but, what can I do, I simply love it and it is a must-have integration for me. I just love how I can easily make notes as well as take web clips with it.

If you have not tried it, I encourage you to sign-up for the Evernote Basic first. It’s free after all.

Similar to the cloud storage platforms, this integration makes it easy for me to refer to my Evernote notes which help me complete a particular task.

Google Calendar

I mentioned this earlier as I am a heavy calendar user. I make sure I keep all my meetings and appointments on my Google Calendar.

Yes, that’s because I really have a poor memory.

This integration now enables me see all my Nozbe tasks on my calendar. That way, I can quickly see where I might have a conflict with appointments as well as see open slots where I might be able to squeeze in other tasks. Yes, other ToDo lists (Wunderlist) had something similar this but since their tasks did not have durations, it was not as precise as the Nozbe items.

Tips and Podcasts

This is not a feature but one thing I really liked about Nozbe were the constant emails with tips and podcasts on how to make the best use of it, and especially on implementing the GTD framework. I watched people’s best practices and adopted those that I felt were applicable to me.

Getting Things Done

There is no silver bullet for getting things done.

I simply wanted to show everyone all the tools that I had to go through to finally find one that really supported my workflow.

Yes, supported, because in the end the tools can only support you, YOU still have to do the work.

Ryan Salvanera is the co-founder and chief tech guy of Wissen Solomon, a consulting firm that aims to create abundance through the empowerment and growth of MSMEs. Ryan is also a personal coach at Coach Rye and specializes in coaching high-performing leaders and entrepreneurs.

Ryan Salvanera

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7 Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Build a Great Career

7 Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Build a Great Career

7 Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Build a Great Career 

What Are The (Common) Things That People Who Do a Good Career Have?

by Talentese Team 14/11/2018


You are great at your work. You’re hardworking, innovative and love a great challenge! But what happens in the long run? How do you avoid costly pitfalls in the career race? We all make mistakes, there’s no avoiding that! The trick is to learn from them.


1. Don’t stop challenging yourself:

Always stay updated with the latest innovations and ideas in your work sphere. Be aware of new technologies and software. This will help in keeping a pulse of the market. Also, this is a fantastic way to convert your current weaknesses into strengths. Simultaneously, you are working on your personal employee branding. In case you are ever in need of new concepts, you can always have a one up on your peers! To get more information, visit career counseling for experienced professionals.


2. Don’t stop updating your profile:

It is extremely important to keep your resume updated at all times. When you apply for a great new opportunity, the first thing any recruiter or interviewer wants is an updated resume. Don’t get so complacent in your current job that you forget to look for greener pastures. Employee branding only works, if you are able to take advantage of the job market. Link your professional media presence in your resume.


3. Don’t let go of Networking opportunities:

Many people make the costly mistake of networking only with colleagues in the office. They forget that the world is an endless networking space! Attend industry fairs, seminars and exhibitions to constantly meet new people. Remember to be sociable and keep in touch professionally (, 2015). Work on your employee branding! Career guidance counselors who provide career counseling for experienced professionals believe that your contacts can provide you with valuable feedback, market updates, and possible job opportunities. Interact with your peers as often as possible.


4. Don’t focus only on financial gain:

Always look for newer opportunities, but don’t worry too much about the salary. Career guidance counselors stress that, if the new job is with a bigger or better company, then you could consider it. Your focus should be on employee branding, gaining knowledge and learning, rather than just the salary or remuneration. Treat the new job with enthusiasm to learn new skills, get better responsibilities, and also manage a larger team. At the end of the day, your happiness and satisfaction matter! A new job, with better learning initiatives, is a great way to start.


5. Don’t say yes to everything:

It is difficult to say no. But it is physically and emotionally impossible to keep everyone happy. It is very important to respectfully decline certain situations and opportunities. Career counseling for experienced professionals believe that smart employees know which battles to choose. In order to improve effectiveness, you must be prepared to say no sometimes (Entrepreneur, 2015). Remember to be extremely respectful and humble while declining.


6. Don’t forget your budget:

Often times, people neglect to forecast their needs and wants. You should always maintain control on personal and professional expenses. Managing monthly expenses is important to space out spending capacity. This is a great way to attain self-discipline in monetary terms as you learn the importance of curbing expenses and building savings. This way, there are always contingencies to fall back on in case of a personal or professional emergency.


7. Don’t ignore feedback:

Be mindful of feedback from customers and colleagues. Improvements to your personal work and that of the company should always be a priority. No business can run successfully without satisfied customers. Employee branding will improve with better reviews from returning customers. Their word is usually treated as final (PsychologyToday, 2014). Career guidance counselors assist in improving your communication skills to deal with negative feedback. Always take improvements into consideration on the basis of feedback received from regular clients. Building a strong support system can reap awesome rewards in the end.

Follow these important tips of ‘what not to do’ to have successful careers. These are important cheat codes to further your growth and success. Avoid these major roadblocks and always keep an open mind about your career standing. Be quick to adapt and respond to change with enthusiasm. Remember to keep working on your employee branding and to visit a career guidance counselor regularly. Keep networking and stay one step ahead of your colleagues. Your stellar career path will start to brighten instantly!

by Talentese Team 01/12/2017

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