Tracking job applications for metrics

In a past iteration of tracking job applications, I kept an uber long note in Simplenote, with simple information like:

  1. Job title
  2. Company
  3. Link to job posting
  4. Date of application

In this iteration of applications, I decided something had to change and decided to spreadsheet the applications. Since the Internetz has probably done it, I decided to not start afresh.

Zen Ren, from Zapier, really knocked it out of the park with this fantastic article.

The biggest thing I changed this time was realizing that, much like a real job, I had to track my work and pin down what was efficient for me and what wasn’t, and keep re-adjusting my strategy. Reading a hundred guides on how to write a standout resume or kill it at an interview wasn’t going to help me if my application strategy was all wrong.

By focusing on the tactics I was using and tracking numbers, I could quickly fine-tune what was working and cut out tasks that were wasting time with no results.

As for me, I had a lot of soft skills across diverse industries, which can be tough. Because of this, I had three resumes that I had tailored for the three different kinds of jobs I was applying to: Sales Management, Business Operations Analyst, and Tier 1 Support.

Amen. I too was applying to different types of roles that suited different resumes, and yet it was getting really time consuming to tailor my resume to every single role.

Hope this helps someone and good luck to you too!

Not an animal person

My family never had a pet. Not counting the koi that we were gifted that quickly met their demise via the neighbourhood cat and an overflowing pond.

On the other hand, the Other Half always had many pet cats in his life.

I was uncomfortable with animals. Petting them on the heads or backs was fine. No belly rubs, scratches under chin and if the animal so as much playfully swiped at me, I was outta there.

In stark contrast, the Other Half would be merrily attempting to pet and carry every stray cat we saw.

When we got our own place, he hopefully mentioned that perhaps we could have pet cats in the future. I declined vehemently, saying that I didn’t think I would ever be ready for a pet.

For about a year plus after that, I got to know Flapper Choo and his brothers and sisters. Almost weekly, I met and played (swam) with Flapper and Frodo, both huge dogs weighing slightly over 30kg.

Due to their size and weight, they easily came up past my waist and could just as easily knock me down. What really helped to ease my discomfort was how well they had been trained. They were so well-behaved, quiet and listened to instructions.

Flapper was also an exceptionally clever dog which greatly impressed me.

Meeting them regularly helped me to understand their different personalities and quirks, endearing me to them.

However, that was insufficient for me agreeing to have a pet.

One day, Flapper’s and Frodo’s owner sent the Other Half a picture of a rescued cat.

She felt that the cat’s temperament would suit me, a first time pet owner.

We went to visit the cat and upon seeing the Other Half, he trotted over and plonked himself right into the Other Half’s lap. I smiled and patted the Other Half’s head, announcing that both boys were very happy.

It took us awhile before finally agreeing to adopt the cat, renamed, Tyrael1.

Footnotes

1. We used to play Diablo

Art: Surrealism

by Rui Qing

Photo was taken outdoors but edited to make it seem like it was taken indoors behind a window.

A bright cheery sunflower garden morphed into somewhat like a surrealist painting.

Tools:

  • Enlighets (iOS)
  • Prisma (iOS)
  • Tayasui Sketches (Mac OS)

Location: Sunflower Garden at Changi Airport Terminal 2 Transit, Singapore

3 Simple (NOT) Things to Remember in a Relationship

Being in a relationship for 12 years and counting didn’t seem big deal to me.

What led me to write this post was because friends, acquaintances and strangers started mentioning that we were such a sweet, strong and #couplegoals, type of couple.

Even a Grab driver started chatting with us and commented that we seemed to be on our honeymoon. At that time, we were 11 years together.

No expert, but I’ve been asked for relationship advice (Sidenote: /facepalm). Over the years, the advice has became simpler.

1. Commitment

Believing in the relationship and saying yes to it everyday, not just the wedding day. Saying yes, when the other party says no; saying yes, through all difficulties. That commitment will help both parties be open to the next points.

2. Communication

Such a cliche, but so true. Communicate as much as possible. We almost overshare. It has helped us to build processes, structures and trust with each other. From shared calendars (dutifully updated) to finances, goals, especially unhappiness with each other.

3. Acceptance

This has definitely been a struggle for me, maybe not so much that Other Half, due to our different personalities. When I catch myself saying or thinking “can’t you do xxx”, I try to take a step back and appreciate the other things that he does. Definitely a work in progress!

We work at this relationship every single day. We’re almost exact opposites, so disagreements are a given.

With practice, it gets easier, and what you see is the fruits of that labour!

PS: Lessons from our personal relationship has helped me to translate to making friend and work relationships work.

Couple documents building a house in Alaska

Ana and Jacob White live in rural Alaska. Ana moved from urban USA to rural Alaska for Jacob, so he promised that he would build her their forever home.

I love that they built it together, from foundations up. The whole process is documented on Youtube. Highly recommend.

They’re such a lovely, authentic and caring family. So much DIY and SketchUp on their channel! Can you sense my excitement?!

Also check out Ana’s site where she shares free woodworking plans.

2019 Spreadsheet for Savings Accounts + Rebate Credit Card Combo (Singapore)

v1.01. Updated 20 Jan 2019

Click to view spreadsheet

The Other Half did up a spreadsheet to estimate which savings account and rebate card combo best suits our spending pattern.

We prefer rebate and interest over points as we get our returns sooner, and have the freedom to swap to better plans as needed, without feeling tied down by points.

This spreadsheet was done after reading through extremely lengthy (and sometimes confusing) terms and conditions from various Singapore banks.

Hope this helps someone!

Comments activated for feedback.

8 questions to ask at job interviews

This post is for me to archive general interview questions that I tend to ask, and maybe someone will find them useful!

So I’ve been going to job interviews these past few years. Interviews give me such a bag of nerves that when it comes to “do you have any questions?”, I just remember 1 or 2 of the questions that I had prepared.

As I get more comfortable and confident going for interviews, now I have no qualms about fishing out my notebook or phone (depending on where the prepared questions were noted down), whilst saying, “give me a moment to check my questions”.

The questions are loosely organised in chronological order as the interview progresses. Meaning that questions that should be asked earlier are listed first.

1. What does your ideal candidate look like?

A job description has so many requirements. Generally, interviewers will list their key requirements in response to this question. Then you’ll be able to cite relevant experiences that directly fit the role.

2. What is the growth path of this role?

This shows that you’re keen on staying and growing with the company for awhile (which I sure hope you are!). Also it helps you figure out if the planned growth path suits your long-term goals. If not, there’s still time to communicate that to the interviewer and see if there could be an alternative growth path.

3. What are the short and long-term plans of the department/company?

This is different from question #2. This shows that you’re interested in the environment around you (you better be cos it definitely has an impact on you!). You can also see if the plans tie in with your growth. If it does, communicate it with the interviewer so this shows that you’re personally invested and motivated in being successful in this role.

4. What is your working style?

Being able to work well with your boss is so important! When you get to talk to your direct reporting manager, it’s good to find out what they’re like. If you’re similar, or appreciate their style, tell them! It builds rapport. Also, bosses, like anyone are just looking for people that they can work well with.

5. What is your managerial style?

This is different from question #4. If they have experience managing staff, it will be evident after this question. You’ll be able to tell how they care, how they lead and how they expect work to be done.

6. Could you share any concerns that you have about me regarding this role?

Such an important question! Ask this towards the end of the interview. Then you’ll be able to (hopefully) address any lingering doubts about you.

7. What are the next steps of the interview process and the expected timeline?

This will help you manage your expectations on how short or long the interview process will be. You’ll also know when to ask HR or the recruiter for updates without being pushy.

8. Do you have any feedback for me?

I asked this question on a whim when I felt a really good rapport with the interviewer. The answer was invaluable. Please ask this when possible!

Good luck!

PS: I can’t emphasise the usefulness of bringing a notebook/scribble pad to an interview. An interviewer suggested using “pieces of paper” to help with organising thoughts (after I asked “do you have any general feedback”), I acted on it in a subsequent interview, and used it to organise an answer to an on-the-spot scenario-based question. So good!

PPS: After writing this post, I realised that I could have done so much better at past interviews. Then again, that’s why I blog – to reflect, learn and grow.

Donations in Singapore

Updated 8 Jan 2019

Google “Singapore donations” and you’ll find MANY blog posts on lists of places to donate. But where are the donations going?

I reached out to friends, googled places and cross-checked with Journey to Zero Waste Life in Singapore Facebook group. Robin, the admin, seems to be quite an informed and logical person.

I’m personally okay if donated items do not go directly to beneficiaries, but be transparent about it. Then the donor can make an informed decision.

Swapping is an option, but my plan is to get rid of items.

1. Items to Directly Benefit Beneficiaries

2. Beneficiary Unknown

  • Clothes (unconfirmed)Holy Family Church Thrift Shop (East Coast)
    Not much useful information on the thrift shop could be found. Items could be sold to benefit the church

Please read this very informative post on places to donate clothes in Singapore. The list does not include any of the places listed above.