EXPERTS OPINION ON THE JOB MARKET

Evaline KibuchiEvaline Kibuchi is the current Country Coordinator at Stop TB Partnership Kenya. She is also the Africa TB Caucus Regional Director. She is an expert in Public Health, Advocacy and Health Financing with 20 years of Experience.

 

Evaline is a Sociology Graduate and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Nairobi.

She would like to give her views and opinions on what it takes to work in the Public Health and Advocacy space and what employers are looking for.

How does your typical day look like? 
“I am involved in ensuring there are adequate resources for TB control in Kenya and globally”
What do you like most about your job?
“Touching peoples lives. Seeing people who are previously in difficult circumstances regarding their health getting help through accessing health services and seeing their health and smiles back. I also get excited when am able to influence policy that improves health outcomes in Kenya and globally.”
What do you think is the biggest challenge for young people getting into the job market and how can they overcome them? 
“Lack of relevant skills, lack of relevant experience and poor networks. On the job seekers side, listening to stereotypes on lack of jobs, lack of professionalism when looking for jobs. lack of focus on what they want with their lives.”
Evaline’s definition of a successful career is one that involves your passion. She also adds that employers in the current job market are looking for candidates with the following qualities:
  • Relevant experience
  • Focus
  • Diligence
  • Creativity (Thinking outside of the box)
  • Visionary

Tips on writing a CV with No work experience

You just finished your undergraduate and you want to apply for that first job/internship. You have zero experience,  and you have always known a very important section in a CV is the work experience which you don’t have. You really don’t know what to do since a CV should be at least 2 pages long. You have even tried to add spaces in between the lines, use different fonts for the sub-headings or even include unnecessary information such as religion and marital status, but all this makes it even more frustrating. What should you do? All hope is not lost.

Photo credits:http://blackeuse.com

Photo credits:http://blackeuse.com

 

Have an eye-catching Career Objective

Just below your name and contact information, write a short paragraph which is a summary of who you are and your career objective. Talk about what you are passionate about, highlight your skills and what you would like to achieve in your career life. Make sure it fits the role you are applying for. Despite your lack of experience, this will demonstrate who you are and what you want to achieve.

Emphasize on other internships, industrial attachment or Voluntary experience

Do you have other internships or voluntary experience? Include this and highlight the responsibilities and skills you gained during the experience. The industrial internship despite being a requirement in school would also be good to include in the CV, even if you feel you were made to run errands instead of work. Internships are truly worth the time and experience.

Highlight your Education

The most important qualifications for a fresh graduate are the education and grades achieved. Make it clear that you have achieved that degree or diploma and also whether you achieved a Second Class Upper or First Class, which is what employers are interested in. If you got a Second Class Lower, you could omit it as it could make you miss out on an interview.

Include Relevant skills and competencies

What soft skills and competencies do the Job Description demand? Indicate the relevant skills that you feel you possess either from internship experience or leadership capacities. Managers and recruiters understand that you may not have a job experience but there are skills and competencies that you can offer.

For example, if you were a Student leader, Class rep or Club official, include this in the CV as this proves that you possess leadership skills. If you were an MC during an Event, this shows that you have amazing public speaking skills. If you were part of an organising committee for an event, this will prove that you have wonderful teamwork and organisation skills. In addition, you could include relevant leadership conferences or fellowships you have participated. In conclusion, take a look at what you have achieved in the past and what you enjoy doing and highlight it as a skill.

Having no experience does not mean you can’t have a good CV. The only difference is that you will have less content. Remember not to exaggerate or give unnecessary details. You can actually get a job with zero experience.

 

How to find a job with no experience

A common problem among undergraduates and recent graduates is lack of experience. However, most job opportunities even entry-level positions want at least one year or two years experience in a relevant position. How do you break through the job market with zero experience?

Photo credits:https://www.123rf.com/

Photo credits:https://www.123rf.com/

Do you really have no experience?

This is one fundamental question you really need to ask yourself. Just because you didn’t get paid for something or it’s not in your career line does not mean you never got any skills or learnt something.Its all about how you package the experience.

Emphasize on your soft skills

Experience is important,but soft skills are as important. Therefore in your job application, despite your lack of experience, you could talk about your leadership skills, level of interpersonal skills, presentation skills, team work, attention to details etc. Emphasize on these aspects that make you stand out. Some of these soft skills may not have necessarily been gained from a job,but they may land you your dream job.

Schedule informational interviews

In order to gain an understanding of a day in the position you are aiming at, you need to identify people in the same position and schedule informational interviews with them. This takes alot of courage, but in the current job market , you need to stand out from the crowd.Make sure the informational interview is as engaging and that you get to know everything you need to know about the position and the industry.

Go out and Volunteer

Finally, you need to find opportunities to volunteer or an unpaid internship in that organization you dream about,it is really worth it. Volunteering will not only equip you with hands on experience that you can include in your CV but will also create a networking avenue.

In conclusion, yes we are all complaining that companies are asking for experience and yet we have none. It’s all about how you package yourself and the soft skills you already have. It’s all about getting out there and volunteering in your dream organization.Remember to stay motivated in your job search, you will soon land your dream job.

 

Interview Tips for interviewers

You are having crazy deadlines to meet, a lot of reports to complete, meetings to schedule and the most stressful of all- recruitment to do! This can be a headache for managers especially for organizations without hiring managers or reliable recruitment consultants.

Preparation and professionalism are key to successful interviews. This will ensure that you don’t bow to the pressure of work-load and end up making bad hires in your organization. So as the manager, what are the fundamental interview tips you should adopt to make the interview process less overwhelming but successful?

Photo credits: https://daughtersofafrica.org

Photo credits: https://daughtersofafrica.org

Review the Candidates CV before the interview

Candidates are encouraged to have eye-catching CVs, but sometimes the hiring managers don’t take the time to keenly review the CV before the interview. This will help you in preparing the interview questions based on the candidate’s past experience and soft skills. It will also minimize on time wastage by having interviews with unqualified candidates.

Outline a clear interview structure

A good interview structure will minimize confusion and awkward moments in the interview room. A basic interview structure is giving a brief description of the organization, outlining the job roles and then asking the candidate questions. Finally, you need to give the candidate an opportunity to ask questions before wrapping up the interview session.

Have a list of questions that are directly related to the Job Description

To ensure a productive interview, you need to list the key responsibilities outlined in the job description and then retrieve questions from there. This will allow you to ask questions that will sift exceptional candidates from the ones in attendance.

Ask Behavioral Questions

In your list of questions, you need to ensure you have behavioral questions where you ask:

“Tell me about a time when……”

“Given a scenario that,…..how would you handle it?”

This will give you a clear understanding of the candidate’s personality and how they handle issues.

Be keen on non-verbal language

You need to avoid interrupting the candidates and give them sufficient time to answer the questions and express themselves. You also need to watch the candidate’s facial expressions and gestures as they speak. How are they dressed for the interview? How confident is the candidate? How much enthusiasm do they portray?

Remain polite and professional

Make sure you keep all your questions job related so that you don’t spend the interview time chatting away. As a way of extending the professionalism, make sure you give feedback to the candidate to make them know whether they got the job or not.

In conclusion, for successful job interviews, it’s not just the candidates to prepare. As the interviewer, you also need to know that you are a representative of the company-dress well, know as much as possible about the organization, have an interview sequence and remain professional. You could also consult experienced recruiters to make your interview processes seamless.

How to deal with Job Hunting Stress

The fear and uncertainty of not having a job is a crucial stress factor in most developing countries. Sadly, in some cases, it has even led to depression. How do you stay mentally healthy despite not having a job yet or even after losing your job?

Photo credits:www.capitalfm.co.ke

Photo credits:www.capitalfm.co.ke

Don’t compare yourself with others

Like we say, everyone has their own timeline in this life. This is easier said than done when you hear Jason is now working at PWC, Rita got a job at Unilever and Patrick is now at Deloitte. You wonder, “where did I go wrong? We were in the same class with these people, now look at them well settled in their jobs and earning well while I am here struggling”

This stress may easily make you feel like a failure and fall into depression. Its so hard to ignore the success of others, but the best thing is to realize that their success does not mean that you are a failure. Social media makes things even worse as we see people posting their job positions and trips, but rarely would one post about their struggles. At this point, you may find yourself trying to prove that you are also living a happy life but you don’t need to.

Think positively

Look at your CV and celebrate your achievements. Sometimes the delay in the present may make us forget about our past success and achievements. It’s good to look at your CV and pat yourself at the back for the success and steps you have made in the past. This will make you realize that indeed if you made it then, you have all it takes even now.

You can also make an analysis of your skills based on your past achievements and experiences. Did you manage to set up a new strategy and fulfill it in your past position? That is strategic management. Were you able to relate well with your colleagues and this was one of your highlights? Then you have excellent interpersonal skills. By doing this, you will know your strengths and this will boost your self-image.

Become more organized

You could use basic tools such as Microsoft EXCEL or other Online Organizers to help you plan and become more organized in your job search. You could make a table where you write the name of the company, contacts, documents needed, contact person(where needed) etc. This will help you keep track of your job search progress in a less stressful manner as well as help you stay motivated during the job search.

Distract yourself

Find something to do to keep your mind from being idle. You could exercise if this makes you feel better, get a place and volunteer or even start a side-hustle. What makes some people feel bad about themselves is not being employed but actually having nothing to do the whole day. The moment you keep busy and maybe even earn something from it, you will begin to appreciate yourself even more. In the process, you could identify a different path of your life apart from the stipulated profession.