If you are one of the thousands out there that are still seeking employment, it’s not time to fold your arms and wallow about in self pity. Here’s how to get it right!
1. Smarter Job Search
When it comes to job search, I’ve discovered that the major challenge for most of us jobseekers is that we really do not know what we want. For some of us, we have taken the path of “I can do anything you are willing to give me” because we have this notion that there are no jobs out there and we should make ourselves available for everything and just take whatever we see. If this is your view to jobsearch, you are wrong! If you search for jobs with the belief that there are simply no jobs and you out to take whatever is available, you might be within close range of your ideal job (matches your interest, skills etc) but instead you settle something else just cos it’s what your eyes have seen first and you do not know what you want.
What is your focus? What is your interest? What can you do?
A lack of focus is very evident on your CV, your attitude to job interviews and also how you perform on your jobs when you get one.
Before you go ahead searching for job, determine your focus and an ideal career path.
Yesterday I received a CV for review and the message with it was “I studied economics so I can work in any industry or job”. How is that possible?
ii. Create your resume (paper & digital)
Haven discovered your focus, the task of creating your CV gets more meaningful and doable. A CV simply portrays your focus (interest, skills, abilities, aspirations). When preparing a CV, do not restrict yourself to the regular paper version. Create a profile for yourself on the career pages of companies, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter). I know people have gotten jobs just from how intelligent/smart they come across from their tweets. Recruiters these days headhunt and are no longer depending strictly on the job adverts they put out. Last week my colleague sent me a LinkedIn profile asking me to contact the lady to see if she was a right fit for a position we were trying to create and she has gotten the job just like that. Try different things and don’t restrict yourself to your paper resume and job adverts.
Also, ensure your digital/social resume speaks good about you. A lot of us carry on very recklessly online and unknown to us, recruiters do a background check of us online. The views and photos you share online, do they put you in a good light?
iii. Apply for Jobs
You might be wondering why I’ve included Apply for Jobs because it sounds like what all job seekers do right? Well not really! A lot of us do not apply for jobs, we simply send our CVs to recruiters without saying why we are doing so. I’ve placed several job ads on Nairaland and a couple of other websites/jobs boards and it is shocking what some of us send out in the name of applications. How do you expect to be taken seriously by a recruiter when your application is an email with no subject and no covering letter or message in the body of the email? Some of us even forward our previous applications and leave the FW:FW:FW” inscription and content of several forwarded mail.
Prepare a new application for every job you apply for. It sounds tedious but it is doable and an effective manner of applying for jobs. When I was searching for a job, the subject of my email was always in the format “Application: Finance Manager” or whatever the jobtitle of the advert. On the body of the email, I paste my covering letter which I always tailored to the job I was applying for. Do not be in such a hurry when applying for jobs, recruiters are looking for the best candidate NOT the first candidate.
2. Take Control and Ace The Interview
i. Preparation is key
The secret to having a successful job interview is preparation. That way, you reduce the probability of being taken unawares by questions you are asked during the interview. Some of us get so nervous at interviews (nothing wrong with this, you’re human!) but this is made worse when you have not prepared. If you are the type that forgets things when nervous, start preparing early, do a mock interview and get a friend to ask you random interview questions. Also, there are so many free resources online to guide you through interviews so it is quite disheartening to meet candidates who come in for interviews and give single sentence answers, look distracted and just act lost. Most of us lose job opportunities at the first question ‘introduce yourself or ‘tell me about yourself’.
I was at an interview recently, introduced myself and my colleague. Told the candidate what we do and how the interview was going to run. I asked her to tell me about herself and her response was something like this “My name is Jane, 26 years old, from a family of 4” (Then she looked back at me and smiled and went silent). I asked her to tell me more about herself and she smiled again but this time wider and said ‘I’m single’. She had not said anything relevant to being there for the interview and it was such a waste of my time. Looking at her CV and seeing how poorly prepared she was, I felt duped.
An interview is one more opportunity for you to sell yourself to a recruiter and the Introduce Yourself question is one of the most important questions during interviews. Don’t be so confident that you have such good grades from university and that you do not have to say much to get a job. The questions you are asked during interviews are not just an attempt to create conversation; it’s for you to convince the recruiter that you are the right fit for the job. Every single thing you say (or fail to say) has an effect of putting you closer or further away from that employment letter.
There are many free resources online and on this blog.
ii. Speak Appropriately
I had a candidate recently tell me she quit her last job after 1 week on the job. It was a business development role with Diamond Bank and in her words ‘the job required me to do things I am against’. This statement just made no sense to me and I tried to push it further for clarification and her response was ‘you know now’ and I just lost interest immediately. Why and also how you left your last job is so important to recruiters because it shows your attitude to work, work ethics and much more.
When you go for an interview prepared, you’d have an idea of how to tackle these questions appropriately, in a professional manner. Don’t blurt out words like you’re at a club having a drink with friends. Speak smartly.
Also, make sure you have researched the company and have an idea on how your role fits in to the core objectives of that company. This is so important as it gives you an opportunity to align yourself and your role to the success of the company.
iii. Appearance & composure matters
I won’t spend a lot of time/words on this one but if you are going for an interview, make sure you are dressed formally, very formally. Wear appropriate clothes (you can never go wrong with a suit) and appropriate shoes. For us ladies – the multicoloured nail trend does not quite cut it formally. It’s actually distracting (in a bad way) seeing your five fingers with different shades of paint – mix of blue, green and pink nails up in the air.
Also, sit up during the interview, don’t slouch your back or spin your chair around. Do not chew gum and also ensure you put your phone on silent during your interview.
Congratulations, you’you’ve applied for a job, aced the interview and accepted a job offer. How do you keep the job and most importantly grow your career? It’s simple! Ensure you’re working tirelessly to strenghteen your skills to ensure your foot is righly hinged in you chosen career path. Click here to read about skill development.