Are internships worth the time?

Getting a full-time job in your industry is the joy of every person in their career journey.However, in the real world, internship opportunities are more common and available to students and recent graduates than permanent jobs.Is it worth the time to apply for that internship?

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The answer is yes, and here is why:

Internships provide a real-work place environment

Through an internship, one learns to apply the skills learnt in the classroom, to the workplace.There is a difference between learning the skills theoretically and applying them at work.The more internships you do, the easier it is to learn more about your most prefered industry.By having good knowledge of the organisations and the industry, you get an upper hand when it comes to being employable.

Internships help you analyse what job suits you best

By taking up an internship, you are in a better position to analyse and realize your passion.Most people are disappointed after getting a full-time job and realising that is not what they expected.Therefore, this is a good chance to realise your career path and the expectations of your employers.

Work ethics are portrayed more by internships compared to Good grades

When faced with a dilemma between choosing an employee with very high GPA and zero internships and one with a good GPA and many internships, an employer will go for the one with internship experiences.Having this experience shows that the candidate has a commitment to the industry and that one has the interpersonal skills and ethics required in a work environment.

Internships give a chance to make an input

Being an intern does not necessarily mean that your work is only to take instruction.As an intern, you have the chance to exercise your soft and hard skills as well as add value to the organisation.By asking the right questions and becoming a problem solver, you become an asset despite not being a full-time employer yet.

Unpaid internships are equally important

Everybody wants to be compensated for work done, but most internships end up being unpaid.As an intern, the burden would be high trying to cater for daily costs and at the same time delivering efficiently at the workplace.However, by turning down an unpaid position, you lose the chance of getting that experience.In addition, internships provide the referees who play a big role in recruitment for positions either in the host organisation or in the future.

In conclusion, no matter how tough it may be to do internships, search, apply and take up internship positions whether paid or unpaid.The experience and the connections made are worth it and very relevant to your CV.

SOFT SKILLS AND WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT

My CV and Cover letter are excellent, and I feel well prepared for the Interview, but what else will my potential employer be looking for?“You ask.
Soft skills!Yes, they are very important!”

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Soft skills can be defined as intangible personal attributes that help in efficiently carrying out tasks and dealing with people.Some of the most sought-after soft skills by employers are Excellent Communication skills, analytical/critical observation, teamwork, adaptability, problem solving and leadership.

 

Communication skills-Both written and oral skills are critical skills to have in this modern day.It’s often assumed that jobs such as journalism, marketing, Public relations, teaching or sales are the only ones that need good presentation skills, but that’s not true.

Picture a well-acquitted engineer, who can efficiently carry out his task, but cannot clearly explain the procedure taken and why.In the same way, an accountant should be in a position to elaborate on the figures and give adequate financial recommendations to the organisation.

Analytical/critical observation-One thing that is very important to all industries is being attentive to details.This skill comes in handy when it comes to analysing trends in reports-which is important for good decision making and suggesting solutions.Secondly, by being attentive to details, you will avoid making mistakes(wrong diagnosis, wrong analysis of figures, technical mistakes etc.) which can cost an institution and that is why employers are looking out for such people.

Teamwork-Every organisation operates as a team and that is why it’s important to get people on board who possess excellent interpersonal skills.These are people who are applying synergy and know how to coexist with fellow colleagues and achieve the objectives of the organisation.No matter how much of an expert you are, you need to know how to work efficiently as a team.

 

Adaptability- Changes happen every day both in an industry and within an organisation.An employer is searching for a person who is flexible enough in case of a big change such as the market trend, an organisational structure change or even daily changes such as impromptu meetings.Some people would rather complain about how they did not see it coming, but you need to learn to push yourself to easily adapt to changes in your daily life.

Problem-solving skills– Every employer is looking for an employee who is not part of the problem but part of the solution.By being a problem solver, you become a valuable employee as you are able to identify a problem, and instead of complaining, you take the action.

Leadership-As much as an employer is picking out an employee to be under him/her in terms of hierarchy, employers are looking out for leaders-People who have goals and can work with others to achieve it.Every organisation needs someone who is a good decision maker, takes initiative and most importantly believes that they are leaders.

Soft skills boost your hard skills and are not necessarily a replacement as the expertise in your field is equally important.However, without the necessary soft skills, it is impossible to excel in the workplace both through achieving tasks and coexisting with fellow workers.

The best thing about soft skills is that despite taking a lot of effort to master the skill, everyone has the potential to gain the skill through interest.You can acquire communication skills by practising your writing and public speaking.Interpersonal skills can be achieved by becoming keen on people’s behaviour and being more aware of your own personality.Finally, leadership can be attained through reading the right materials, attending personal development programmes and exercising your leadership skills by taking up challenges.

Do you have any Questions?

This is a very common interview question, and it is normal for many candidates to say NO.Did you know that by saying no, you lose out a chance to find out more about the company and the industry?So how do you answer this question in a wise manner?

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Never ask about Benefits

At this point of the interview, it would be considered both pre-mature and selfish to ask about benefits as an employee.Remember that no matter how much you are excited about the position, you should never portray the,” what is in for me?” attitude.

The best way to ask this question would be:“What training or support could I expect in the position?”

Use the interviewer’s questions to ask your own

During the interview, you may have gotten stuck on a particular question and are probably unsure of what the correct answer might have been.This is the right platform to bring up the questions.This would show interest to learn and gain more knowledge.The interviewer will also see that you are quite attentive to details and open to new perspectives.

You could begin your questions as,”You asked about ……………, I would assume…………, would you mind helping me understand more about …………………..?”

Ask more about the company and the industry challenges

Interviewers are really interested in critical thinkers and problem solvers.By showing an interest in knowing more about the company and the challenges facing the industry,  you show that you are ready to take up the role and handle the challenges.

Have a list of questions before the Interview

As part of your interview preparation plan, have a list of questions you could ask in case you are posed with,”Do you have any questions?“You cannot have a generic list of questions for every interview you attend as this varies with the position you are applying for and the interviewer.

Different questions are favourable if the interviewer is a hiring manager, Human Resource Manager or the management/partners.For the hiring manager, the questions should be about the job position, expectations and challenges.For the Human Resource Manager, the best questions to ask are about the organisation and the specific department.Finally, for the management/partnership interview levels, ask questions about the industry, the strategies and projections of the company.

In conclusion, when attending the next interview, look forward to asking questions to the interviewer and look at the interview as a two-way experience and an opportunity to learn.You can learn more about interview questions and preparation here.

WHY DO I KEEP GETTING REJECTED FOR JOBS?

We have all asked ourselves this question at one point or the other in our career journey.It feels so frustrating and overwhelming, and there’s nothing even more devastating than not knowing WHY.

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Sadly most employers will only send an email indicating the six words we dread most,“we regret to inform you that….” but never say why.Some will only contact the shortlisted candidates so for a long time you might never know what happened to your application.But why do you keep getting a regret?

Some of the major reasons would be;

Incomplete Applications
It is very important to ensure that you have completed the application process on time and submitted all the required documents.This is the very first step towards the right direction.

Poorly written Cover letters/Motivational letters
In the quest to finish up the application, we often rush up in writing the cover letter. It is important to remember that every job you apply for has a personalized cover letter.This depends on the qualifications needed and the Job description.Unlike the CV which you can do once and submit to different companies, the cover letter should be more customized to suit the position.It is called a cover letter because it speaks for you and creates the first impression.So be careful to ensure you use the right template and that it is well thought out and written.

Poor presentation of your worth in the Interview
So you made it through the online application and were called in for an interview.Some companies hold only one interview, while others, especially for Graduate trainee positions, have different levels of interviews.The most common mistakes made in interviews is lack of knowledge of the subject matter or portraying the wrong attitude.
Did you prepare well enough for the Interview? How positive were you during the Interview to take up the role?

In addition, despite being qualified, applicants often fail to prove to the employer that they are worth to bring value to the company or organization.Many people think that having the academic qualification is enough, but no, you need to prove that there is value addition if the company decides to hire you.
Yes, this is the scariest part of the Job search but sadly it’s the part you cannot avoid.It is therefore important to find the top interview tips that lead to job offers.

No matter how many rejection letters you have received so far, it’s not the end of it.Just look back and see where you may have messed up and corrected for your next one.Where have you gone wrong and what should you change?

Are personality tests important in your career choice?

notebook-person-man-laptopsAs kids, it was pretty easy to answer the question; “what do you want to be when you grow up? “However, the more we grow up, the more complicated this once very easy question becomes. Why is that? We realize that career choice isn’t just all about what sounds good or respectable, there’s so much more.

In order to determine this mystery, we need to ask ourselves a lot of questions, ask for advice from the people around us and put all the facts straight. Attending career fairs and online tests are some of the approaches that come in handy during such moments. The Internet is full of so many Personality, Psychometric and career tests and sometimes it can get confusing as to which one is the best to determine the career choice to make. We shall help you understand this better:

Psychometric tests are psychological measurements of knowledge, attitudes, abilities as well as personality traits.They are structured to measure a particular psychological construct like the personality or cognitive ability of the individual.

A Personality test helps you understand yourself and others better. This helps you to determine how to work better with others, with knowledge of how the different personality types impact the interaction. By understanding yourself and others, harmony and good teamwork are created. The approach to use with your boss may not be the same approach to use with your colleague. When you know yourself deeper, then it will also be easier to help others understand you. This makes it easy to avoid conflict and handle conflict when it arises.

The Personality tests also help you determine what concepts of work are ideal for you.Just like some people prefer different study methods-for one studying days before the exam is the best while for another studying the night before the exam is more ideal. The same applies to the workplace, the personality test can help you know how you handle pressure and deadlines and this will make you more effective.

Personality tests also help you discover your personal values, which is not necessarily linked to your career choice. What matters most for you is entirely different from what matters to the other person. This will determine what would be a priority when it comes to decision making and time management.

Career tests, on the other hand, are more helpful in determining what career suits you more than the personal interaction with others. Depending on your ability, skills, strengths, and weaknesses, career tests help to map out which career path to follow.

Does this mean that personality tests have no place in your career choices or development? They actually play a very big role.  Without a proper understanding of yourself, the best working environment and your personal values then it’s impossible to achieve the best at work. Did you know the interview actually tests these things? The questions in an interview are inclined towards a deeper knowledge of self and how this would affect your productivity in the workplace. Therefore if you have taken a personality test before it’s a plus to your career development.

Recours 4 Kenya Consultants Ltd offers a number of internationally accredited tests.