After my last post, I got a number of questions from people centered around finding their ‘dream’ job; these are questions I am accustomed to getting first as a career person and most especially as an HR professional. A lot of the time, the preference for most is be handed a job offer which we all know is not realistic. However I believe a better approach is to share knowledge broadly and be transparent about areas where I can add value and help increase people’s capability to get their desired jobs.
There are some principles I have come to understand and appreciate over the years and I will be sharing these hoping it will help at least one person to approach future job searches differently. These principles are based on my individual experiences both as an HR professional and as a candidate. I also believe it speaks the mind of a lot of professionals who struggle to give feedback to the numerous job seekers that need their support to land a job. Getting a Job is a Job and it is important to be ready to put in the work.
Job adverts are not for decoration: For every job opening, there is a gap in the organization. The organization has a need and they require someone that meets the qualifications they are looking for to meet that need. One of the first things I dissuade young people from when I have interactions about jobs and career is the mentality that organizations only put out openings to fulfill moral and statutory obligations and they already know who they want to hire. Whilst that could be true in some organizations due to peculiarity of our clime, I would consider those as minority and that is far from the reality in the labour market. It takes a lot of effort for organizations to publicize openings and they are most of the time eager to find someone that matches what is needed in the shortest time possible.
So next time you see that job advert that looks like what you are looking for, don’t scroll past it thinking they already have a candidate, check if you have what it takes and do the job of applying! If you don’t have the requirements, this can be a pointer to what you need to do to be ready to take the next available opportunity. There are quite a number of job sites liked Indeed, Myjobmag, Jobberman etc. that you can sign up to for information on openings within your field of interest. Your linkedin is also a great tool if properly customized to suit your profile and need.
Have the required skills (or at the very least be working towards it): With the rate of unemployment in Nigeria , you will be surprised at the hassle organizations go through to fill openings. You would think talents will be swimming like bees but that is not the case; there are so many job seekers but not a lot of employable talents. Organizations sometimes have to test/screen hundreds of people to find one person. A lot of young job seekers don’t even have an idea what skills are required to do the job they seek. For example, I have a lot people come to me saying they want to do HR and when I ask why, I get funny answers like ‘I enjoy talking to people’ – lol. To be candid, I also didn’t start out with an exhaustive understanding of what HR entails, but I was privileged to have started with an internship and and was able to leverage the experience of senior colleagues and did a lot of learnings via professional courses (online/offline) etc. Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse in 2020, you have the internet, Use It!
Have a killer resume: A lot of the time, your resume is what introduces you to the organization you are applying to and you need to get it right. Your resume needs to be representative of your skills , experiences and aspiration in direct context of the role you are applying for. Putting together a great resume requires a lot of effort and grit. Your resume must represent you and should not just be copy and paste of someone else’s experience. By all means you can use templates, samples to guide your thoughts but the content should speak about you. If you can’t do it yourself, there is nothing wrong in paying professional CV writers to do it for you. This is 2020, there is absolutely no excuse to have a shitty resume. There are several sites e.g. Zety, Resume Now, Canva etc. that you can visit to get templates for building your resume.
The CV is not what ultimately gets you the job but at the very least it makes the organization interested in you for the next stage. Just be sure that whatever skills or expertise you have put in your resume, you have them and can defend them!
Prepare as hard as you can to ace the test / assessment: I was almost going to skip this step as I am a stage in my career where written tests are no longer a thing; however I know there may be entry level job seekers reading this post; so hear this guys – enough of the rants! Stop saying things like ” Why do they need me to do a GMAT test”; “Why am I doing a verbal reasoning assessment” ; “Am I applying to be a mathematics teacher” and those funny statements – Yes you are not applying to be a maths teacher and won’t do GMAT on the job, however like we all know, there are thousands of job seekers.
Organizations post out advert for positions and receive thousands of applicants within days and as such need to streamline and this GMAT you so loathe is one of the ways that is done. So yes, maybe you can ace the interview or you have fantastic experiences, if you don’t pass that test, you can’t get the first leg in. Personally, I wasn’t a mathematics guru , I mean I changed my course of study in the university from Geology to Geography (story for another day) but best believe when I applied for the internship at Procter &Gamble, a company I had dreamed of working in as a little girl, I put it in my 1000% to prepare for that GMAT test. Sleepless nights, multiple practices – everything I could do within my power I did. Could there be smarter people who didn’t pass the tests, yes sure, but the game is the game – so buckle up!
Don’t ‘wing’ your interviews: Never show up to an interview unprepared. Learn about the company, understand the job description, anticipate questions and have clarity on your answers, be prepared with relevant questions, dress the part and show up! In simpler words, Prepare! Prepare!! Prepare!!!
I am not talking about rehearsing lies but about having clarity on how your experiences are relevant to the job and being able to articulate them in a way that communicates the value the organization is looking out for.
Now you got the job- be superb at it: If you read my last blogpost, then you know what I mean. If you haven’t read it yet, it will be helpful to do so. Be so good they can’t ignore you!
Oh you didn’t get the job- start from step 1 like the champ you are: Not landing a desired job isn’t the end of the world and should not deter you from putting your best in the next application. Yes, it could be frustrating but giving up is never an option. Keep building yourself up, acquiring relevant skills and putting yourself out there for opportunities. It will happen.
As my way of paying it forward , I have gift for 5 people.
I would be helping 5 lucky people review their CVs within the month of June. Criteria is to be currently actively seeking for a job with 0-5 years experience. If interested, send your latest resume in word format to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be selecting the first 5 people – good luck.
Was this article helpful? What areas resonated the most with you? Got any questions? Let’s connect in the comment section. I look forward to hearing from you.