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