There has never been a greater emphasis on owner-enterpreneurship than now. Its as if the blind can now see. Do something. Earn an extra income. Stop relying on your very singular spine salary. This message is being preached everywhere. I support it ofcourse. But then there are those who have dreamed and salivated at wearing a white shirt and a tie, sitting in an air-conditioned office with people saluting and calling them , 'Yessah' wherever they go. This has been their dream since Uni days.
There are those who choose to wear skirt suits + platforms from Monday to Friday and sit comfortably in an office chair from 8-5. Its not everyone who desires to own their own business. They are just ok with their month paycheck coming in.
Then there are those who like me, would want to choose to work 8-5 and somewhere between 8 & 5 manage a side business. ;) So how do you snag that job you have dreaming of? Even if its just an entry job as a clerk or receptionist, how can you position yourself to improve your chances of gettting a job in this current listless economomy?
The reason I am writing this post is because i have noticed with bewildered alarm how young people coming fresh out of University are clueless and inexperienced about being a job seeker and / whatever goes into being a job applicant. I am sharing with you my experience with job applicants and for the benefit of future job applicants; how they can better improve upon their chances of getting a job. There are many blog posts which focus on developing your strengths and knowing your weaknesses etc which are all good but sometimes there are some things which many tend to overlook and do not regard as important which is what i want to highlight here. They are aren't sure banker but I believe they will increase your chances.
Update Your CV and Keep it Professional....
This shouldn't be so hard to do but many people forget to update their CV's with current information. Some time back when i worked as an assistant for an HR firm, i would come across CV's with career gaps and phone numbers that never seemed to go through. When i tried contacting the applicant via email to inform them of being selected for an interview, the email bounced back! It was so frustrating! Always keep your CV updated! It doesn't matter if its a one-pager, you will never know when you will be called. If you change your phone number (maybe to hide from your ex) please update the CV with the new one. Check the spelling of your email address as well. A simple typho will make you miss out on your dream job e.g Koffiowusu@yahooo.com will definitely bounce your mail back to the sender. Oops. Be PROFESSIONAL. I have lost count on the fantastically weird email addresses I have come across, which just gives the impression that you aren't a serious person. How do you have an email address.. firstname.lastname@example.org or swagPrince1@yahoo.com? Like seriously? But these are real email addresses which i have seen ‘filifili’ (with my own eyes!) No company would take you seriously with such an unprofessional email address. Unless of course maybe you are applying to the Pink Blossom Club ;). The least you can do is create a professional email address preferably Gmail and keep that separate from your private life activities. Oh and one last thing... check your mail frequently! I would send out mails to job applicants only for them to come back a week later to say, 'I am now seeing the mail oh!' Too late. Smartphones are almost everywhere and at least most graduates have a phone with Internet and email capabilities. Check your mail!
2. Social Media
Can social media help you to get a job? Yes it can. Tap into the power of #socialmedia by creating an account in LinkedIn and posting your CV, this social site has groups which you can join to get updates on the happenings in the industry you are interested in. Join associations like +BloggingGhana if you are a blogger where bloggers frequently share vacancies in various industries. Follow organisations like GT Bank, +TIGOGhana etc on their Twitter or Google+ accounts to get updates on available vacancies in the company. Ensure that your Facebook profile or Twitter account is updated with your interests and professional activities as well on your About page. Many businesses are checking out the profile of job applicants in order to know more about who they say they are or if they only post photos of wild parties and half-naked girls. Hmm....
3. Look & Dress Smart
Sometimes i see job applicants drop off CV's at my workplace and its almost like a fashion parade. Some of the young ladies wear color blocked jeans and blouses with sandals, some look as if they just came out of bed with their hair all over the place whilst some are dressed to the nines as if going to a nightclub with the tightest body con dresses ever! The guys do better in terms of appearance, shirts tucked into trousers etc. Why do i think appearance is important for a job seeker? You know what they say about 'first impressions' right? Well, the impression you create first-hand to the receiver of your CV,usually the receptionist (incase you don't know anyone at the organisation), is important. She is the gate-keeper of the company and from the minute she lays eyes on you, she can decide whether to hand your CV in to HR or dump it in some drawer somewhere, forgotten and lost forever. Be and look smart and professional whenever you are dropping your CV at companies. You will never know who you will meet at the reception, it could be your church Deacon or your senior in your alma mater. Don't take chances with your appearance. It matters!
4.Who You Know.
Everyone says that to get a job, its all about who you know. I agree with that 100% because I believe that network connections are very key in every area of life; whether at church, work, home or school. The world as they say is a global village where everyone is connected in one way or the other. Social media is also making it smaller by the day. This isnt the time to say, 'As for me i am shy' or 'I dont know anybody'. Are you going to sit down and wait for someone to bring a job to your doorstep? Get to know people. Be confident. Build your self-esteem. Attend seminars and get close to the 'need-to-knows'.
Dont stand back in a corner, envying those who hang around the main speaker for an event. Those people arent being 'too-known', they are being assertive. After church, dont go running off home to your Omo-Tuo and boys-boys. Hang around and get to know people and where they work. I have a friend in church who came to speak to me one day after church and told me he was an artist. My 'artsy' ears picked up! I passed on valuable tips on how he could build his Facebook Fan Page and upload his art work etc. He listened. Then one day, someone in my office asked me if i knew any artist for a corporate artwork that was urgently required. Guess who i called. He made some great sales afterwards. The same way someone would remember the young man who was asking about vacancies in a finance department.
5. Personal Branding
Why dont you create your own business card? So what if you don't have a job title? Brand yourself and get creating a personalized card like the ones you can get for cheap and great quality at MOO prints. It communicates to whoever about your determination to get to where you want to be. Just your name, email address, Twitter handle and contact number is enough.
6. Be Smart (really smart)
About 5 years ago, i walked into the headquarters of GT Bank to drop my CV not knowing anyone there of course but i walked in with a lot of confidence. The day before i had researched online who the HR Manager of the bank was and i had written it in bold on the front of the envelope.
I smiled confidently and asked to see Susan Okine. The receptionist asked if i knew her and i said yes! (God forgive me!) Although i never got to work at GT Bank as another job came my way, i realised that with confidence in your stride and knowledge in your pocket
one can get through some doors. If you have been addressing the back of envelopes; THE MANAGER..../ THE HR MANAGER.... i beg cease! Go online and find out who is currently holding that position and write it in bold. If your handwriting isn't good, get someone who has better.
And ask for them by name. Some receptionists will ask if you have an appointment, say no but then you can ask to be booked on the next available slot. Dont just walk away dejectedly!
Hopefully these tips on how to improve your chances of getting a job have been useful. There are more out there but sometimes its often the simple ones we ignore which actually can make/break your chance of getting a job.
If all else fails..you can start your own business! :)