Beating the Job Market
The session on Saturday May 17th begun when Sara, founder of I CANJOBS,asking us to introduce ourselves and set our expectations for this session. We then identified and defined 3 terms: career, career development and career management. We defined career as progress/action taken by a person throughout a lifetime. Career development is a continuous, lifelong process that focuses on seeking, obtaining, and processing information about oneself,occupational, and educational alternative lifestyles and role options. It is influenced by interests, abilities, personality, background, and circumstance.Career management means learning to flow with the changes that occur in your work/profession. Career management requires commitment to lifelong learning. In order to manage our careers, we need to understand our skills and interests, and identify our gap, and work towards improving it.
We then moved to discusshow we can search for jobs in Ethiopia. The major options are applying online, knowing your resource and networks, and using newspapers. Nowadays, most companies preferonline application due to the minimal or no cost it incurs on the company .Knowing your resources and networksand using them wisely is another way to search for jobs. Infact, a lot of employers find this method liable as the employee would be referred by someone they can rely on.For this reason, networking is really important. Lastly we can search for jobs on newspapers. However this is slowly dying out in Ethiopia. In order to apply for a job, we need a curriculum vitae/Resume.
Curriculum vitae and resume are words that are used interchangeably by mistake. In Ethiopia, most people, including some employers, don’t understand the difference. However, CV is very long, and it includes personal details, conferences attended etc..Resume on the other hand is short and brief. In Ethiopia, resume is preferred to CV. As matter of fact, When most employers ask for CV , they actually mean resume.
But what is Resume?
A resume is a marketing tool; it is a presentation of experience, skills, knowledge, and expertise. A resume is a demonstration of one’s ability to find results. Preparing and writing your resume is a key step to get an interview. The process of writing your resume is also important as it helps to assess one’s skills.
Researching on the organization is a very crucial step that should be taken before writing a resume. We first need to understand the organization’s values and align it with our values. Since values differ from one organization to another, we need to rewrite our resume for each organization. In other words, we should not send the send resumes to different organizations.
Many people ask “which is the correct format to write a resume?” In fact, there are many ways to write your resume. One way is to write it chronological order: one that leads from most recent position and goes back in time. This style is often used when the job seeker has a strong career history and wants to demonstrate how she/he progressed. It is not recommended to go from old to present because the employer might not have time to go through it all.
Another way to write is the functional resume style. Functional resume style highlights the job seekers skills and abilities. It is used for little work history, spotty work record, and/or career changers. This method is recommended for fresh graduates. It includes any volunteer work or job done and the skills gained from it.
The third way is a hybrid of chronological and functional methods. It leads with a strong summary section and highlights the person’s area of expertise and then follows a reverse chronological work history.
After identifying the ways/styles to write a resume, we went to discusswhat a resume includes.
A resume should include
- Contact info (email/phone number/LinkedIn info)
The email provided should be a professional one. For example,Fullname.email@example.com.
An unprofessional email might look like firstname.lastname@example.org
The email must also be one that is you often check
The phone number you provide should be a working one
- Summary statement: career summary profile/summary of qualifications.
- Work experience/ professional experience
While explaining your professional experience, use action words like ensured and developed. It is important to write it in past tense as it occurred in the past.You should refrain from writing your job descriptions because what you have done might be different from your job descriptions.
- Education/training (license and certifications. Affiliations, volunteer experience, community development , honors , awards, and recognition)
Some tips to write a better resume
- Spend time on your resume.
- Look through the requirements and make sure you resume says that you have fulfilled it
- Don’t show that you are desperate
- Make the first page impressive
- Make it visually appealing
- Use Accurate spelling and grammar
- Use consistent formatting, punctuation, spacing, capitalization, abbreviations etc..
If your resume interests your potential employers, the next logical step for the organization to take is to call you for an interview. Interviewing can be conducted in person, phone and online and may involve one interviewer or panel.
Tips to perform better on interviews.
- Have clean copies of your resume
- Bring a notebook/pen with you
- Have 3-5 references and let them know before
- Dress in business like conservative, Keep nails clean and hair neat, wear little or perfume/cologne and take breath mints
- Know the details of the position!
- Know the company’s mission , values and goals/
- Practice answers to difficult question
- Prepare examples
- Know your accomplishments
- Listen carefully to the question, if needed ask for clarifications. Do not rush to answer!
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer; always let them finish their statement.
- Think before you respond and respond clearly and concisely
- Ask questions.
- Thank the interviewer by name
- Email thank you note
- Go alone! If a parent or a friend drops you off, they shouldn’t go inside with you.
- Arrive early but not more than 15 minutes. Otherwise it would look like you are desperate or you don’t value time.
- If you don’t know the place, go a day before to see how many hours it would take you.
- Eye contact is important. Look the interviewer in the eye.
- Leave your cell phone away from you or at least, put it on silence. If you forgot that and it rings, do not answer it.
- Keep a positive attitude
- Never apologize for lack of experience
- Do not discuss about your current employer (You don’t know anything about the guy interviewing you).
- Treat everyone in the organization well.
By Meklit Mitiku
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