By Elizabeth Benu
“I am confused on which CV format to use since different HR managers prefer different formats. Which is the best way to go about it?” asks Kate Atieno in an email.
Among the many questions that we receive from our readers is the right format to use in a CV. If you are seriously looking for a format that is easy to scan and easy to highlight important data Kenyan employers want to see, then read on
As Melody Mwendwa, a professional CV writer at Corporate Staffing Services confirms, there are three types of CV formats. The good news is that there is a format for everyone no matter your qualifications and experience.
List of Best CV formats preferred by Kenyan employers
The Chronological CV
This format highlights your work experience in the order of the most current experience listed at the top. It has the following sections: career objectives, professional experience and accomplishments, education and additional skills.
A chronological CV format is good for candidates who are experienced.
However, if you are switching careers or are an entry level candidate, do not use this format. Instead showcase your skills in the professional experience section.
The functional CV
This format on the other hand, lays more focus on your marketable or transferable skills. If you have less work experience i.e. a recent graduate or entry level job seekers or you are changing careers or have gaps in your employment history; this is the ideal CV for you.
It is written in the following order: objective, accomplishments, skills, employment history, education and referees.
A functional CV is useful to people with gaps in their employment history, are re-entering the work force, have frequently changed jobs and /or are looking to change careers.
The combination CV
It is a blend of the two above that focuses on your strongest skills and links those skills to your past job history. This is perfect for the recent graduates, career switchers and professionals with extensive experience.
It is divided in the following sections: objective, profile summary, accomplishments, experience, education and references.
Why the combination CV format is most preferred by Kenyan employers
“Kenyan employers prefer the combined format because it gives all details to your career and any skills that the employer might find impressive that would have otherwise been omitted in the other formats were used,” says Ms. Mwendwa.
The success of your job application boils down to how you package yourself: through your words and general appearance of your CV.
You can get away with a few mistakes on your CV or cover letter that the recruiter wouldn’t notice but making a blunder in a job interview will cost you the job and forever haunt you.
Mary Wandera, an Admin Assistant, landed a job this week with but she remembers a silly mistake that made her lose an opportunity in December.
“For the life of me I didn’t know what the company was all about. Not what they did or even who some of their clients were. It was my first interview and I didn’t think any of those things mattered.”
Speaking to Carol Mutuma, a HR practitioner with AA Lodges, she highlights 4 of the biggest mistakes job seekers should steer away from in 2015.
4 Mistakes to Avoid in a Job Interview
1. Not Carrying Relevant Documents.
Ms Mutuma shares that come what may, you should always have with you some vital documents.
“The most important is a fully updated CV, followed by copies of your certificates, any testimonials relevant to the job at hand and a recommendation letter.”
She adds that getting caught without these crucial items can throw off your confidence and make interviewers question your preparedness.
2. Being Desperate
The HR practitioner explains that there are certain phrases and language that are definitely off limits if you don’t want to look desperate
“I’ve seen people who say I will do anything to land a job. This in essence shows the employer that you no longer have credible skills or value yourself enough.”
She advises that, “You have to understand what your value is. At the end of the day the wants to hear, not sheer desperation but a clear sense of what your value is.”
3. Quoting Too High or Too Low is an Interview Mistake you Must Avoid
Speaking of value, how much are your skills worth? 15K, 50K, 1M?
Ms Mutuma feels that most job seekers attend interviews without the right figures at their finger tips.
“That’s why you find that most people end up being underpaid. For a job that’s worth say maybe Ksh50,000, they get paid half of that either because they do not value their skills much or they do not know the market rate for their job position.”
But then again there are those who go overboard with the quotation. “Some interviewees also quote a very high figure thinking that if they do so it shows that they value themselves and perhaps may impress the interviewer.”
4. Failing To Ask questions.
Ms Mutuma remarks that whichever industry you may fall under “What questions do you have for us,” is a must for most interviews.
“For most entry level job seekers, it’s the usual aaaaahs….and the head scratching that comes with it. Most job seekers think they are playing it safe for not having questions for the HR. On the contrary, that is not the case.”
For guidelines, she concludes that your questions to the interviewer should focus on the company, culture, success factors or chances to contribute.
Job Interview Tips on How To Stay Calm in a Job Interview
By Elizabeth Benu,
Your palms are sweaty, your voice is almost inaudible and you cannot seem to stop your heart from beating so fast. If this is what happens to you when you attend any job interview, then read on:
“Being unemployed or having little experience with interviews makes it hard for candidates to concentrate. There is usually a lot at stake. The candidate already analyses both outcomes of the interview. On one side there is the joy of finally having a job and on the other there is worries of bills to be paid and staying unemployed for longer. This usually causes the nervousness,” confirms Melody Mwendwa, an Interview Coach at Corporate Staffing Services.
Here are a few tips to help you out:
1. Be prepared
“Prepare for an interview well. Have your clothes and documents ready the previous day. Ensure that you have already done ample research about the company, its products, competitors or anything else,” Ms. Mwendwa adds.
You should also go through your CV just to be sure nothing is left out and have a good night’s sleep of between 6-8 hours
2. Arrive early and relax
Arrive 15 minutes early for the interview. This allows you to be familiar with the environment, breathe and reassure yourself that things will be fine
Relaxing will also allow you to listen better and stay focused on how to best respond to questions.
3. Be confident in yourself
If you have shaky hands, trembling voice or feel butterflies in your stomach, take long deep breaths. This eases up the anxiety.
Remember that being called for an interview is a huge step and it means that someone was impressed with your CV and they feel you would be a great candidate.Walk into the interview room feeling confident and it will naturally flush away any nervousness you may feel.
4. Avoid these foods
What you eat might have an impact on your performance. If you want to keep calm, avoid the following foods: Caffeine, Onions, Garlic, and Spicy Aromatic Foods (for their strong smell;) , Beans, Greasy and sugary foods, too much water and chewing gum.
5. Watch out for these signs
These are the visible signs that the employer sees in you when you are nervous:
- Touching your face and hair which can be remedied by taking control of your gestures and keeping your hands visible or placing them on your laps.
- Sweaty palms which can be remedied by having a wipe cloth to wipe off hands.
- Voice trembling which is easy to get rid off by taking a deep breath.
- Stumbling over words. Keep calm and answer the questions slowly. Take your time.
- Shyness and facing down. If you cannot keep eye contact, look at the interviewers forehead.
Remember that even if you fail to get the job, there are more job opportunities out there and successful or not an interview is a good experience.
Envy is something that we’ve probably all encountered at some point in either our professional or personal lives. Whether it’s someone getting paid more than us or earning the affection of our boss, there are plenty of times when the green eyed monster comes out to play.
It’s easy to believe, therefore, that envy is something that can only ever have negative consequences at work, and there is much to support that perspective.
One study found, for instance, that there are numerous destructive elements to envy in the workplace, with those among us with especially large egos particularly vulnerable.
“Suppose your supervisor gives your coworker a raise and not you, a raise you feel was given for an arbitrary reason,” the research says. “You would be more likely to undermine your co-worker as a means of expressing this hostility.”
The study found that there are generally three things that regularly make us jealous at work:
- Being outperformed by a colleague
- Does the area of this out performance matter to us?
- How near to us is the reference point to the person of which we’re jealous?
So, in other words, jealousy comes into play when a colleague does better than us in a field that is highly important to our self esteem. All of which seems reasonable enough, but what is the impact of this on the workplace?
A second study explored the impact of jealousy and found it significantly damaged trust levels at work. The impact was particularly strong in workplaces where the culture was more competitive than collaborative. Such a culture often sees employees comparing their own achievements with those of their peers.
The frequency of envy
Sadly, it seems that jealousy is frequently found in the modern workplace. A third study revealed that 58 percent of employees had experienced some circumstances that made them envious of colleagues at work. The authors suggest that this figure is so high because of the social comparison effect. We’re constantly looking for how we compare with our peers, with this status reflected in our pay, our treatment, and ultimately our success at the company.
What’s more, many organisations make a big deal of highlighting the successes enjoyed by people, which makes it incredibly clear who’s doing great things and who is not. This may be wonderful if the spotlight shines on you, but it may have unintended consequences for those who aren’t given a shout out.
The paper recommends that organisations create certain schemas, or rules of thumb if you will. These heuristics should be rules we can all abide by and are created from of our experiences. Thus, the more often certain events reoccur, the more likely they are to develop into schemas, and the harder it becomes for employees to look past this particular version of reality.
The paper concludes by warning how our typical response to such a schema is usually a negative one. We might curse under our breath for instance or spread a malignent rumour about a colleague.
It underlines how important it is that we promote people based upon their merits, and more importantly, that we ensure that all employees feel that such promotions are within their reach too.
Does your workplace suffer from a huge amount of envy or foster a culture of envy? What effect does this have on the staff? Your thoughts and comments below please..
Source : http://www.careeraddict.com
By Elizabeth Benu
“I was fired. I was not performing well at my previous job and the boss decided to discontinue my employment. What does a person do immediately they are fired? I am confused and helpless. Please help,” write Sylvester Mutiso in an email.
In the current job market, getting fired is every employee’s nightmare. Sometimes, like Sylvester’s case, it is inevitable. So what do you when you find yourself in this situation?
8Things to do when you get fired
1. Understand why you’ve been fired.
If you weren’t good in your job you were not a good fit. Take initiative and ask for an explanation on the areas you came up short in. Perhaps you did not enter data as fast as expected which affected the whole company.
Understand that it is something you did wrong and do not blame the boss for your inability to perform. Instead, use this to work on yourself.
Benson Ng’ang’a, a Human Resource Officer at Bata Foot Plus says that, “Depending on the reasons for your termination, the first thing is to accept the fact that you were fired. Stay positive about the issue.”
More tips on what to do immediately you are fired
3. Learn what you do best.
You have already figured out the reason you were fired so analyze your strengths. This will be important when you start looking for a new job and when you get invited fir interviews.
4. Update your CV
Once you deal with the frustration of losing your job, update your CV. Add any achievements you got from the job and target your CV to the industry you are eyeing.
An updated CV maximizes your potential as a candidate and also helps you get back on your feet.
5. Attend networking events.
Just because you feel ashamed that you lost a job, does not mean you should lock yourself up forever. Go out and network with friends, former colleagues and other professionals. They are good information about any available jobs and the latest industry trends.
6. Check your finances
Alison Green, a job search and career advice with HR experience says, “Assume that you might not find a new job for a few months. Review your budget and cut out any expenses you can.”
Getting fired is not the end of the world; be positive and follow these steps to get back on your feet.
By Elizabeth Benu,
You blame the job market and the Kenyan employers for being biased when in fact you might be the cause of your joblessness.
Janet Mueni confesses that she only job searches for 30 minutes every week while the rest of her time is spent hanging out with friends. Most times opportunities pass her and she has never updated her CV for three years yet she complains that employers are unfair.
Kenyan employers hate lazy job seekers. You might not be like Janet, but you should watch out for these deadly lazy-jobseeker signs:
Signs that you are a lazy job seeker
1. CC-ing all HR Managers in one job application:
You went through all company websites and gathered all email addresses on the website. Good research but the problem is that you send the same application to more than 20 email addresses. No employer will bother employing you as this is a sign of laziness and lack of enthusiasm.
2. You just want ANY job
While it is understandable to give in to the frustration of job search and need for money, wanting just any job does not cut it. After studying your course, you should make a list of job titles that align with it.
For example, applying for an IT Assistant job just because you have a computer package certification and the pay is good will only lead you into more frustration.
3. You do not prepare for the interview
“Interview preparation is important no matter your position or experience,” says Melody Mwendwa a Career Advisor at Corporate Staffing Services.
She also adds that attending an interview shabbily dressed, looking confused and failing to answer all questions asked is proof to an employer that you will not be dedicated to the job.
4. You request sample CVs so that you can copy paste.
How much effort have you taken to go through your CV and improve it? If none, you are probably the job seeker who always asks for a sample CV so that you can copy paste it and send it to an employer.
“Your CV is a great asset for career growth; do not mess up job opportunities by copy pasting things from the internet. Samples are only meant to guide you,” Ms. Mwendwa advises.
5. Your referees have no idea they are in your CV
When an employer settles on you, most times they call your referees for a background check. Many HR managers confirm that a large percentage of referees are unfortunately unaware of any skills a job candidate has.
Any time you add someone as your referee, inform them so that they can vouch for you in case an employer comes calling.
More signs that you are a lazy job seeker
6. Asking the wrong questions
“How do you apply for this job?” “When is the deadline?” are questions you should never ask. Read a job description to the end and get the answers to those questions.
7. Clumsy mistakes
You forgot the HR Managers name and title and also misspelled their name and the company name too. Before sending an application, proof read your documents to be sure that nothing is missing.
Attention to detail is something that the employer can see through your CV even before you start the job.
Make a decision to change your status to an energetic jobseeker. The effort is worthwhile.
Source: Job Search
Safaricom, Centum, PwC and Google are among the many dream companies for Kenyan job seekers. If these companies top your list, look at the following tips:
Keep tracking these companies even before you start the job application process. There are several benefits to “tracking” a company for a period of time before you apply.
How to get a job with your dream company
You’ll be able to speak with genuine interest and enthusiasm, and you’ll likely have a well-formed opinion and several compelling anecdotes to share when you’re asked something like, “What do you know about this company?” or “What do you see yourself doing in the first 30 days on the job?”
Here are some tips for tracking your dream company:
1. Follow the company on social media. Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. Chances are, the company or companies you’re after probably have accounts on at least a few of them. Connect with them all and pay attention to their updates.
2. Connect with the company on LinkedIn. Follow the company on LinkedIn, view who you’re connected with at the company and who you can connect with, and check the company LinkedIn page for the latest job postings.
3. Look for specific hiring-related accounts. Some larger companies have individual accounts for hiring purposes. Twitter can be a good way to get in touch with a company’s human resources department that might be hard to reach otherwise.
4. Clean up your act. If you’re going to be interacting with a company on social media, you need to make sure your online presence is professional. Review your social media profiles to make sure there’s nothing inappropriate or unbecoming, and check your privacy settings to see who can see what on your page.
5. Bookmark the job openings page. Most companies have a “Careers” section of their websites set aside just to post job openings. Bookmark these pages and make a habit of checking them periodically.
6. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the company. If you have a question – like if a job you’ve been eyeing has been filled, if the company is looking to fulfill a certain type of position – don’t be afraid to get in touch with the company. Just send a polite and professional email asking your question.
Not only will it get the organization’s human resources department familiar with your name, but, it’s a good illustration of your enthusiasm and interest.
Keep these tips in mind for a successful job search.
There is nothing more discouraging than realizing your colleague earns way much more than you especially if you are on the same level.
These reasons are enough to convince you why your colleague earns a fatter pay slip and what you can do about it.
5 Reasons Why Your Colleague Is Earning More at Work
Your colleague produces more result
Employees who bring in more results in terms of innovation and profit stands to be more rewarded than others. This is why your colleague’s efforts impress the boss and he will sure get a pay rise.
Your Colleague has got more skills
With increasing standards and new innovations coupled with stiff competition, companies are forced to improve their products and services and this requires more skills. The staff that showcases great skills are recognized and rewarded accordingly.
Special recognition is given to staff who can handle several responsibilities effectively. Those qualities make such an employee get a pay raise.
Your Colleague earns more than you if he or she is a new recruit
This may look untrue but it’s not unusual. In certain industries, the external market value can increase faster than company salary levels and this may cause employers to offer more to be able to recruit better candidates.
What actually causes this increase in market value is the possession of new skills by new candidates which current employees may not have and which the company desperately needs.
Your colleague is more experienced
The time an employee has spent with an organization is also one of those factors that determine the pay. You may be doing the same kind of work or the person may even be doing less but the company recognizes the commitment of that individual to the organization and that may be the reason the pay is more.
The person might have also gathered certain experiences before entering the job which is now useful on the job.
For whatever reason your case falls into, take a bold step by negotiating for a raise in your next review if you feel underpaid.
By Patrick Koranteng Antwi
Lording over a group of people is not an easy task; likewise succumbing to the heated behaviors of leaders at the work place is not a one plus one affair. At work places, the main aim is economical gain so services rendered to the people are necessary for the structural and economic expansion of the organization. As a vibrant employee, you are an important chemical in the success equation, so respect, honesty and trustworthiness are fundamental traits to display. What are some other behaviors employees’ exhibit at work places which are encouraging? What are some other traits to improve good work ethics? A lot of articles on the internet and books have explored this topic but this article is typically geared towards the African job market or setting.
Let procrastination be a foreign word which you do not understand
The idea of “I will do it later” is a canker imbedded at work places. Heaping files to work on later is now a fashion every employee craves to experience but its long term effect is ineffectiveness towards work and low productivity. The main cause of procrastination is over confidence. This employee foresees he has all the time the world gives to do a stipulated work, but unfortunately on his part he is not aware of tomorrow’s worries, something can happen which he has to postpone his procrastinated work to attend to. To improve our work ethics, when we set to execute a task we should salt our being with the idea “finish it now and do it right”. When we are tasked with a job or in the due process of fulfilling our responsibility doing it outright should be our hallmark. Procrastination is an enemy and a characteristic of failure which has no advantage at the work place. One best way of improving our good working habits, to increase productivity, is a stop to procrastinate!
Use time as you are told to and as required
Reporting time and closing time are norms of work places. Keeping taps on employee’s arrival and departure times are carefully supervised nowadays. When employees fail to arrive on time, salary deduction, allowance denial and suspension for some few days are used as punishment. How much is the salary! Displaying good character of punctuality can be a positive trait which can spray you with reliance and exclusive devotion towards work. Bosses and co-workers can rely on you and you will be a role-model to many. When you give time its place in your work, your performance is consistent and your dedication towards work will encourage others to follow suit. A reliable employee is always punctual and does work on time; lateness is a bad taste he despises. This helps to increase productivity.
Control our emotions
The importance of controlling our emotions is never exaggerated when talked about. There are some who lost hard fought prizes because at the end they were unable to control their emotions. Work place population entails persons from different background, raised by different parents, may have different preferences, varied ways of encouraging, advising, reproving, and judging. So it will be very profound to hide your personal sentiments towards your boss or co-workers at the work place because they have done something or said something against you. The best way to settle scores like this is by approaching the person privately and secretly and telling him what he has done wrong. If he accepts his mistakes then progress can be made but if he refuses then you can involve a third party who you trust can resolve the case. No matter what happens at the work place do not let your personal feelings against someone affect your attitude towards work. Showing love and concern are good emotions which do not need controlling but do not let anyone see or experience your anger. When you are angry you can leave the place or if it happens in front of your superiors you can politely ask to be excused for a while. Displaying good character is compulsory at work places. Negativity and dissent can spread like a disease and damage workplace morale and decrease productivity.
Your change must relatively be positive
If you cannot continue something, don’t start it at all. Man is relatively resistant to change, in a way which is opposite to what he already knows. To improve our work ethnic we should remember the enthusiasm we displayed from the beginning of our appointment: our punctuality, how fast we finish task and the best effort we inserted into our work. This initial zeal should never depart. A good employee is the one who has good permanent attitude towards work.
Be a good group player
Egotism is never healthy to practice. Keeping ideas, profitable knowledge and other industrious thoughts are selfish conclusions. An organization can be compared to the human body, all parts work for one benefit, no part is more important than the other because every part has its own function to play to cooperate the well being of the human. Likewise, in an organizational setting every employee is a vital contributor to the increasing relevance of the establishment, so idea sharing is the best meal for this body. Working with others should not be a problem. To be an effective group player, humbleness, accepting and correcting your mistakes, reproving friends discreetly are important characters to be cultivated. To be effective in a group also requires good communication skills. Strong interpersonal skills can help form cohesive teams among employees and make handling challenges easier. Criticisms never leave when two or more persons meet for a purpose but for problem-free groups; a good team player knows the difference between constructive criticism and destructive griping. Coming together is a beginning, staying together is a process, and working together is success. Working in a team yields high productivity.
Working towards a greater good is no crime, but the crimes are: when organizational rules are disrespected, personal sentiments are argued and fought over at work and the advent of other unprofessional behavior which floods workplaces at an uncontrollable rate. Good work ethics should never be undermined and improving on them is the best.
Mansah had her first child at the age of 17. Life became unbearable for her because that mistake was paid with her education. Hacking life would be a problem now but regardless of the harsh circumstances and troubling situations she faced, she rose to become a nurse.
Kwame’s relationship with his parents ended very early. They died when he was 20. At the funeral “promises bi what”, but all these promises were lies. He dropped out of school because his financial condition did not allow his peace of mind. Hunted by failure, he never gave up. He fought the battle of life with vigor, rose through the ranks to be a well established entrepreneur.
These and many sad situation rains through this crazy world we live. Some can be compared to none and others have no penetrable dent which suffers can escape through. We all struggle in this ailing world but as the saying goes “not all fingers are equal”. The subject of suffering is relative, all humans experience different plights, but the point is we all experience suffering at a point in our life, be it financial crises, sickness or any other.
How then did Mansah and Kwame hack life to be what they are now? Was it “juju”? Or a good luck charm? Good luck is the opposite of hard work, but enjoying the fruit of your labour is a blessing. Yes! We can blessedly say Mansah and Kwame after passing through the refurbishment stage of their lives came out successful and more attractive than anyone could ever imagine.
When Mansah was asked how she made it out of her mistake, she said smiling:
I was troubled very much by what happened to me but I encouraged myself with the idea that I will stop to think about problems I cannot solve. Whether what I had bought myself was a mistake or not, at least I was not dead, life had to move on. I managed through with my newly born baby: thus, the prize I had to pay. I was chocking with a lot of “you see what you have done” lectures from family and friends. I remember a friend encouraged me by saying, “I have lost the chance of becoming someone one day”. My point is, we make our future; the future does not make us. I am not proud of what I did but I am proud of how I managed my situation to become what I am now.
Troubling as trouble presents itself, many a people are deterred by their failures and the payment of their mistakes, but as Mansah managed through, so can anyone who is determined to be out of a situation can. As Mansah said, it is fruitless to think about problems we cannot solve. When a problems creeps out of nowhere into our lives, instead of thinking about the problems and probable causes, it would be best if probable solution swims in our heads; then when a sure solution is identified to rectify the problem (even if not permanent), after the cause of the problem can be reflected on. This is to prevent any future occurrence. Problems will never stop to hunt us but solutions should always be the shoulder we rely on.
Kwame scarcely had hope but he managed through. When he related his experience, his bitter face gave the impression he had wish there was yet another way. Although he is not what he wanted to be, he is now someone anyone would wish to become.
Our lives are not ruled by fate, it takes determination. Also, those who through unforeseen circumstances have permanent disability have hope: disability does not mean inability. We are a perfect version of ourselves. So make the life you want to live and live the life you make.
To come out of troubling situations needs quality traits like humbleness and determination. Every human has an innate pompous ability, but raising your shoulders above your head will not solve your problems. No human is an island. So when under trials humbleness and giving an attentive ear to our advisors is a good option to click. Do not be discouraged, but rather have a plan, dig a hole for its foundation and when any opportunity crops up, grab it to build your dream.
Patrick Koranteng Antwi