Thursday, June 4, 2009

Random Thoughts on Job Searching

The job market in most countries in West Africa is relatively weak. Once again, it is an employer's market. The employer can pick and choose, but a savvy job seeker with the required experience and skills set can still get what he or she wants. Few things that would help in a weak job market:

  • Don't beat yourself up if an interview doesn't go well, learn from it and start preparing for the next one. "Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today, and you make your tomorrow." - L Ron Hubbard
  • Keep a positive attitude at all times, a bad attitude will only make things worse. "The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes." - Charles Swindon
  • Try and connect with your interviewers. Look for common ground, things you may have in common with your interviewer. Chemistry is key. Great work experience or academic excellence alone will not get you your dream job. Your goal is to show your interviewers you have both the technical and soft skills needed to excel should they hire you

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Leveraging Your Professional Network

Job seekers have different perspectives on networking, in fact some doubt its effectiveness or usefulness. Networking is the art of building and maintaining mutually beneficial professional relationships. Like most things networking requires a lot of practice, but if done the right way, networking can be an invaluable part of your job search strategy especially in a tight job market like we are current experiencing.

Below are some thoughts on developing a professional network:

Be a Connector

Remember, the objective of networking is…you will not believe it…more networking. The goal is to be constantly adding people to your list of contacts. Always find more contacts to meet and, in turn, become a great connector yourself! Let people see you as a go-to person when it comes to finding contacts. Open up your network to others. Hopefully they’ll follow suit and do the same for you, keeping the cycle going. Think about those contacts who could help others in your network, then introduce them!

Be an Informer

Keep in mind that not everyone you meet will understand what networking is or how they can help you or how you can help them. Many people think that the best way they can help you as a job seeker is to take your CV and pass it along to their human resources department or HR manager. While their intentions are noble, their strategy won’t help you and could actually wind up costing you a great job.

HR managers, like recruiters, are sometimes only motivated to take action on your resume if there is a current job opening within the organization that matches your skills. If a position is not available, they have no incentive to contact you and the connection is lost.

Rather than giving your contacts a resume, ask them if they could introduce you to a member of their company so that you can learn more about their position, industry, and organization. This way, you’ll learn more about the company, share information about yourself, and begin to build a relationship rather than ending up as just another resume lost at the bottom of the pile.

Be Patient

Networking is not like “instant coffee”. While your contacts may want to assist you, they might not be able to do so immediately. Quite simply, you may not be the first item on their to-do list. So, if someone agrees to meet with you but can’t do so immediately, accept their offer graciously and patiently.

Be Genuine

When you do meet with someone, take a sincere interest in their professional career, not just the information they can offer you. Don’t push people for their knowledge or connections and then abandon the relationship. Networking means building relationships. This objective cannot be achieved by one person constantly receiving while the other constantly gives information or time.

Find ways to periodically reconnect with the contacts in your network to stay up to date on their lives, and let them know that you care about what is going on with them.

Be a Helper

Networking is all about reciprocity. No matter who you’re dealing with, you should always try to give more than you receive. For example, if you have information about a particular company, industry, or educational program that would be valuable to someone in your network, share it.

Whether you’re currently employed or job seeking at the moment is irrelevant - networking is a constant process. Obviously, you’ll be more on the receiving end of your contacts’ information when you’re on the look out for a new job. But that just means you need to work that much harder at giving information and sharing your network while happily employed.
If you’re constantly looking for ways to help people in your network achieve their goals, they’ll be much more likely to help you in return.

"You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy New Year

We are well into January now, so we hope everyone is back to work.. Well, the end of 2008 is sure worth celebrating - so if you are not back, we understand!

2008 was a challenging year on many fronts..hiring freeze, budget cuts etc. Despite the challenges, if we look hard enough once would see that we have all made some progress or significant progress depending on how we see things - the cup is either half-full or half empty!

Here at, we are optimistic about 2009 despite the global economic outlook, and we look forward to being part of your pursuit for career enhancement in 2009. Happy New Year.

"Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude." - Ralph Marston

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Talking CV

TalkingCV is another revolutionary 3 dimensional personal profile consisting of video, audio and the textual CV. This unique product assists both recruiters and candidates by replacing the traditional first round interview, streamlining the recruitment process.

Talking CV is similar to Visual CV, both have their strong and weak points. Either way, candidates can now market their skills to potential employers using a variety of methods.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How To Use Storytelling For Your Executive Resume

In today's competitive job market, the executive resumes with the most compelling, hard-hitting career stories will get the attention and much desired interviews.

When was the last time you took a close look at your executive resume? How do you know if it is telling the right story for your career?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you making potential employers figure out or guess your career/job target?
  • Is your executive resume too "me-oriented"?
  • Are you choking readers with pages and pages of resume content?
  • Are you only telling employers what you are paid to do?
  • Does your executive resume fail to tell employers what makes you stand out?
  • Is your executive resume missing the "beef" - no career achievements mentioned?
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, you are making your job search process much harder than it needs to be.

Your executive resume is a strategic marketing document and the product you are selling is YOU. At first glance, your executive resume must tell the reader - who you are, the unique value you bring to the table, and demonstrate through supporting achievement statements how well you performed in previous positions.

Don't make the mistake of creating a career obituary that is a laundry list of job responsibilities and task-driven statements. Make sure that your executive resume's story contains the following components:

What you can do for employers - qualifications, expertise, and personal brand

How many times you have done it before - length and breadth of career and experience

How well you have done it for other employers - bottom-line impact and quantifiable results

Check out this example of a manufacturing executive resume that tells a very strong career story.

Abby M. Locke, Executive Director of Premier Writing Solutions (, is a Nationally Certified Resume-Writer and Personal Brand Strategist who helps senior-level professionals and C-level executives achieve personal success with customized, branded executive resumes and career marketing documents.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quality of Nigerian Primary School Teachers

According to a recent report released by the World Bank, 57 out of every 100 primary school teachers in Nigeria are unqualified. Anyone that cares deeply about the future of Nigeria should be outraged. By jeopardizing the future of school children with unqualified teachers, Nigeria is jeopardizing its own future.

It is an open secret that the public school system in Nigeria is in shambles. Private schools have sprung up everywhere trying to fill the void. No nation can survive or will be able to compete in the 21st century without a strong public education system. Perhaps if public officials (Governors, Senators, House Members etc) are required by law to enroll their children in public schools, this issue will get the kind of attention it deserves.

Are the children in these schools being prepared for jobs that pay a living wage? Are they going to be prepared for the 21st century workplace? Will they be employable or would they become a menace to the society at large. Your guess is as good as mine.

I leave you with the famous saying - "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

VisualCV - Next generation CV at your finger tips

With the advent of VisualCV, CVs as we know them would never be the same again. Visual CV makes a traditional resume come alive with video, pictures and a portfolio of work samples etc.

VisualCV brings both the CV and the resume into the modern Web 2.0 world by transforming the way in which the CV data is presented, accessed and shared. Visit the visualcv website to learn more about this amazing tool.

Will leave you with a thought from Abraham Lincoln - "Things may come to those who wait... but only the things left by those who hustle"