Let’s assume you’ve been in the same job for 2 years now and you are starting to look for “greener pastures” as we like to call them. Your next career goal is to get a promotion in the next performance review or move to a whole new department. OR there’s this new vacant position in a different company which you have set your eyes on.
Second scenario is, you’ve graduated, just like everybody else, you are looking for a job, just like everybody else, you’ve gotten your CV ready and curated, just like everybody else and one more thing; you have been trying to perfect your interviewing skills, just like everybody else!
Here is the thing…Everybody else is doing the same thing you are trying to do to level up with the current Kenyan job market. That said, how can you ensure you stand out in the midst of all the competitiveness?
Here are ways to position yourself as the best candidate in the current job market.
1. Work and develop on your soft skills
We all know what an asset it is in the job market to be proficient in excel skills or to be able to know JAVA or to code in C++ or being able to speak in fluent German or Italian.
But here is the thing, there’s something they do not tell you about the job market. Other than your academic qualifications, employers are always looking for candidates who can for example listen well or are awesome time managers or someone who can lead a team meeting and make an impact as a leader. You know, someone who can hold the glue together.
As of right now, you already what you are good at, maybe it’s something people have told you overtime, “You know what Kate, I really think you are a terrific listener,” and with time you’ve been able to harness that particular skills.
Here is the thing, being able to identify your soft skills and give examples of them is a critical part of any job interview. Here is what most people do ; by listing many people their soft skills on their CV.
E.g. Job Related Skills
• Enthusiastic and dependable
• Good communication skills, can conduct webinars, attend informal dinner meetings, or speak in front of a large group
• Team work ability and a capacity to work hard.
2. Make an investment on your CV, Cover Letter and Interviewing Skills
You’ve got all this amazing experience which you’ve garnered over the years, your skills have improved over time…but there’s something wrong, you do not know how to market yourself through writing.
Or you are a graduate with spectacular internship experience, great work ethic coupled with a not too shabby education background.
I will tell you what, if you don’t know this already, sometimes if not most times, landing a new job can be quite an uphill task. To make it easier, you’ve got to invest on the two most important documents, your CV and Covering Letter.
And this is where most people go wrong with the job hunt, say you are a Digital Marketing Degree, at the back of your head, you are thinking, “I’ve got my degree from ABC University. I don’t have to think through this CV and Cover Letter which everyone seems to be obsessed with …”
Instead of settling for a generic CV, either because you do not have the know-how of getting it down in paper, or you just don’t care so much about the application, news flash buddy, you may be the most qualified for the job but the casualness in which you present your details, this ends up messing up your chance of getting shortlisted.
3. Build a strong personal brand…through Certification Courses
Truth is, a lot of people do not put much thought into their personal brand. In the simplest format, the way you decide to market yourself has the potential to propel your career into new heights. And guess what, you’ve got to work on your personal brand whether you are a graduate right off campus or a seasoned employee hoping to get a promotion or a new job.
How can you do this?
By pursuing specific professional courses that are offered by professional bodies. I am talking about courses such as Practitioners Certificate/Diploma/Degree in marketing for sales professional or taking CISCO Networking Administration courses.
Why do HR practitioners advocate for this?
This is because such professional bodies enable you to upgrade your current understanding of the industry you are in.