By Lilian Wamaitha

Are you looking for a new job or looking to change jobs and have no idea where to start?

Well, the first step is to make some major changes on your CV.

Your CV serves as your first contact with the employer and it therefore needs to showcase your experience, skills and qualifications in a clear manner.

So before you start your job search, revamp your CV and give it a whole new look.

Here are ways to refresh your CV in simple steps.

  1. Update your CV format

Hard to believe, but the way you format your CV has a big impact on whether you succeed in your job search or not.

A too complicated format shows that you are trying too hard while a not so done well one portrays you as careless and ignorant.

There are no set rules about how to format your CV but it makes a whole difference if you pay attention to what you want the employer to see first.

If you have a lot of relevant experience to the role you are applying for, let that be the first thing they see.

Avoid cluttering your CV with too much unnecessary information but rather include the most relevant and start with the most important.

If you are a recent graduate, you have not much in terms of experience and so in this case you can emphasize on your education qualifications instead.

  1. Rewrite your career objective

Your personal statement or career objective is a one paragraph statement that draws attention to the things that you want a potential employer to notice most about you.

Consider taking your time to getting it right as it sets the tone for the entire CV.

Try and include a few verifiable examples from your career and demonstrate the value and expertise that you are bringing with you.

 

  1. Refresh your work experience

You don’t have to include every position that you have ever held to have a great CV.

If you have got a lot of hands on experience or have held a lot of positions in different industries, include only those positions that are relevant to the job that you are applying to.

By fine-tuning your experience to the most relevant you will give yourself enough space to include the achievements from your previous positions.

  1. Add relevant industry keywords

Nothing makes for a good CV than demonstrating your knowledge of the industry you want to work in.

You can do this by adding relevant key words related to that industry.

However, avoid going overboard with this but just add a few words here and there to show the hiring manager that you have a grasp of what you are talking about.

Most hiring managers in Kenya will skim through a CV in a few seconds and so including the right phrases will grab their attention.

  1. Work on the CV design

You may have not updated your CV in a while and the design may be out of date. Update it to fit the current job market by giving it a fresh look.

And I’m not suggesting that you go for a really complicated design. Just ensure that it looks clean, up to date and professional.

Freshening up your design may entail simple things like adding a few spaces here and there or changing the font. A few small changes will really make a big difference.

  1. Keep the focus on your current job

Hiring managers in Kenya will be interested in knowing where you are currently working and the position you hold, so take your time to explain this in your CV.

Include any accomplishments you have made so far and try to tie them to the job you are applying to.

If you are just out of college, do the same with any attachments, internships or volunteer work you have done or include any achievements you made in your college years.

  1. Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!

I cannot stress enough the importance of going through your CV once you are done.

One single grammatical mistake may be enough to put off a recruiter, so double check your work before sending it.

 

As the old adage goes ‘you never get a second chance to make a good first impression’. This is the same case when it comes to job search.

And in most cases, your first impression on a hiring manager begins with your CV and cover letter.

If you don’t get the cover letter right, you may never get the opportunity to wow them with your new suit, confident eye contact, and compelling interview stories.

It is the first thing the hiring manager sees before he/she even looks at your CV. Therefore make it as compelling as possible, and impress the hiring manager.

How then do you cover all of your skills, experience and your personality in a few short paragraphs and in a way that convinces your dream company to potentially hire you?

Here are a 5 few things to consider when writing a cover letter that will get you shortlisted for an interview:

1. Address the Hiring Manager

When coming up with a cover letter a good number of people have no idea who to address it to.

When it comes to wowing the hiring manger with your cover letter, it is right to address it to the right person. In this case a cover letter should always be addressed to the hiring manager.

However in most cases you find that the contact has not been given in the job advert and it is therefore up to you to do your research and make phone calls to get the name of the person you should address it to.

This shows that you are truly interested in working for them.

2. Tailor it to Your Industry

A cover letter is your one chance to show the hiring manager that you are fit for this role before they even look at your CV.

You should therefore ensure that your cover letter is tailored to the position you are applying for. For instance a cover letter for an accountant shouldn’t look the same as that of a communication assistant.

This applies mostly when you are applying for a job in a specialized position where the details matter most. Think about this.

If you cant use the skills you have to write a good cover letter, why then should the employer consider your application for a job.

3. Show value to the Company

A cover letter is not just an application to get you that next job. In order to stand out you need to convince the hiring manger that you can really add value to the company.

You find that most people use the cover letter as an avenue to brag about their skills and expertise, forgetting that the hiring manager is looking for someone specific to fill a certain position.

Therefore instead of entirely focusing on yourself, try emphasizing how much value you can bring to the company.

4. Make It Short and Sweet

The best cover letters are concise, friendly and transparent.

They don’t have to be long; in fact, the best cover letters get right to the heart of why we are a great fit for them, and why they are a great fit for us.

Recruiters are reading hundreds of applications a day, so a well-written and concise letter makes our job a little easier which is definitely appreciated.

5. Be Passionate

This is your time to show off your knowledge of and a passion for the organization and the work.

Hiring managers, need to know why you are interested in working for that company.

Nobody wants to hire someone who had the qualifications for a job but demonstrated no passion or knowledge of what you do.

A cover letter is a great place to explain you are a good fit for the organization. Why should they hire you? Therefore take it upon yourself to explain why the organization needs you and not the other candidates.

By Selipha Kihagi

Today we continue on our series for short courses to pursue in various professions. In our first article on this subject we covered general courses that employers look for, while in our second one we went a little deeper into IT, Accounting, Procurement and Banking. You can read more on these here and here.

From the questions asked by job seekers through comments on the two prior articles, today’s write up continues to cover the most asked about professions in detail and the not so commonly asked as a mention. So read through this article to see where your profession is featured and use that as a guide. Short courses will help you stay ahead of other applicants where Kenyan employers are concerned, so here you go.

Short Courses To Pursue If You Are In These Professions

1. Human Resources Professionals
Most of you asked about the HR profession and what short courses are available in the field. To begin with, any HR professional is required by Kenyan law to take up a Certified Human Resource Professional (CHRP) certificate. The course takes 1 year and is administered by the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM).

Then there is the post graduate diploma in Human Resource Management required in most HR positions today. For the experienced professionals, you will also need the Certified Human Resource Director (CHRD) certificate. It might also help your chances if you are acquainted with Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) or Hiring Management systems (HMS) and other HR software.

2. Engineering Professionals
When it comes to Engineering, the courses you decide to pursue will depend on your area of specialization and the industry you are looking to venture into. For example if you want to go into banking and related, a financial engineering course or CFA might be required. In the energy industry, a Post graduate Diploma in Energy Management takes 1 year, while those in Automotive, there is Post graduate diploma in automotive engineering. Decide on your area of specialization first, and then research on the course.

Those looking to become systems engineers, technical support engineers, Systems or Network analyst may want to pursue MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) certification. Another thing to remember is as a graduate Engineer, you will want to register with the Engineers Registration Board of Kenya; helps in government, NGO and parastatal jobs.

3. Marketing Professionals
With marketers, the short courses to pursue may start with a certificate in professional marketing or post graduate diploma from CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing). You can also pursue the 6 months post-graduate diploma in Marketing offered by MSK (Marketing Society of Kenya) or the Professional Marketing certification also by MSK. As an addition, MSK offers several other short courses that take only 2 weeks for anyone looking to specialize in a specific area. Visit their website for more.

Communications and public Relations professionals looking to grow their career within a dynamic organization can also pursue the MSK short courses of their choice. There is a variety depending on specialization area.

4. Statistics Professionals
If your qualifications are in Statistics, then again, the short courses you pursue will be determined by the area you want to specialize. Common courses may include the usual Statistics packages that include SPSS (Statistical Packages for Social Sciences), SAS (Statistical Analysis System), etc or professional certification in Statistical Data analysis or Data Science, Social Science Statistics, Programming for data science, mathematical statistics, or even just applied statistics.

It will all depend on what industry and area you want to deal with. Today it could be in Big Data, Analytics, or Security and related. That’s why you will find various certifications offered by IBM for Statistics and Engineering professionals. Visit their website to learn more and keep up with the trends.

5. Project Management Professionals
For those who asked about Project Management, there is the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification, PMI certifications or Advanced Diploma in Project Management. You might also take up a short course in Monitoring & Evaluation, Advocacy related courses, Fundraising and Resource Mobilization courses or even practical project management and sustainability. These will increase your chances in getting jobs, especially with NGOs.

Whatever your profession, the short courses to pursue will depend on the area of specialization you are more inclined towards. Take time to consider your area then research on it. Make Google your friend and visit institutions if you must.

So you have written a beautiful Cover Letter and you cannot wait to send it to potential employers. Before you do there are a few things that you need to double check to ensure you got them right.

In this article see some of the things you need to double check before sending out your job application.

1. The Hiring Manager’s Name

Yes, before you send that beautifully written cover letter you need to double check that you have used the right name. You do not want to address your letter to the wrong person.

It is important to use the person’s name as opposed to writing Dear Sir/Madam or to whom it may concern. This will make the hiring manager know that you spent the time to research on the organisation.

It is equally important that you do not misspell the name of the person you are addressing the Cover Letter to. You also need to ensure that you use the right title. You do not want to call someone MS when she is a Mrs. If you are not sure about the correct title it is better to avoid using it all together.

2. The Organisation’s Name

The one thing you have to ensure you get right is the company name. Before you send out your application it is important that you check that the company name you have used is correct.

You need to ensure that the spelling is correct and that you have used the full name of the company. For example, if it has a Ltd at the end.

Otherwise, how can someone hire you when you cannot even spell their name correctly?

3. Your Contact Information

Surprisingly, most people get this wrong. If your contact details are not correct it will be very difficult for the hiring manager to get back to you when it comes to inviting you for an interview. This means they will move on to the next person.

You need to ensure that you have used the correct telephone number and email and that you have access to both. Your number needs to be working and your email should not be one you forgot the password to.

4. Dates

You might be wondering how one gets the date wrong but you would be surprised how many people send out applications with the wrong dates. This mostly happens when you have used the same Cover Letter for every job you apply for which is not a good thing.

Something that might seem small like having 3/6/2016 instead of 6/3/2016 can prevent you from getting the job. This shows the recruiter that you are careless and no one wants to hire a careless person.

5. Length

Most organisations have a limit as to how many words your letter can have and as such you should ensure that your Cover Letter is not too long.

You do not want to bore the hiring manager. Ideally, a cover letter is supposed to be short. Try and have only information that is relevant to the job in the cover letter you send.

6. Formatting

If your cover letter is illegible and looks terrible you should be very sure that the hiring manager will throw your application out.

This is because no one wants to struggle reading something that has been poorly formatted. Therefore, it is important that you keep you Cover Letter clean and simple to read.

7. Spelling and Grammar

This is a very important part of checking your Cover Letter. You should never send out an application with poor grammar and spelling mistakes. This will automatically disqualify you for the position.

Having spelling and grammar mistakes will show the hiring manager that you have a poor command of the language and that you are careless because you failed to rectify those mistakes.

Always proofread your Cover Letter before sending or better yet give it to someone else to double check.

Doing this might not guarantee you the position but it will ensure your application is at least considered which is what every job seeker wants. So the next time you send a cover letter to be sure to double check the following.

Team work is the process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal, teamwork is often crucial part of a business as it is often necessary for colleagues to work well together, trying their best in any circumstances. Teamwork means that people will try to cooperate, using their individual skills and providing constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between individuals.

“A strong team environment can act as a great support mechanism for staff members group members will help each other, rely on each other and build trust within the group” says Lucy Mutungi a professional career coach at Corporate Staffing Limited.

During challenging times, support is crucial for the success of the project, if a challenge is handled individually you are at risk of becoming overwhelmed and making irrational decisions miss Mutungi further says.

1. Work respectfully with people from diverse backgrounds

Working in a team involves dealing with people with different principles, in different age groups and even characters you should be able to accommodate these differences to avoid personal conflict with individuals in your team. This will make the whole process easier for everyone.

2. Define the roles and responsibilities of each member in the team

If you are the team leader, always make sure you clearly define the roles for each member to avoid clashing of roles which obviously results to conflict

3. Clearly express your ideas, listen and be heard

Team work consists of constant communication between members and therefore it is important to develop interpersonal skills, remember, people who feel that their ideas are not being accommodated in a team become less involved due to loss of morale. Be open, honest and receptive to others’ opinions, even if they differ from your own

4. Identify the strengths of all members of a team, including your own

It’s important to identify strengths of each individual so that they can focus on what they do best, this also sparks the morale of the team members and maximum results are achieved in a project, as a team leader identifying your strengths also improves your output in the team.

5. Be relied upon to complete your work independently

Team work is detested by most people because of people who are notoriously known for just riding on the backs of others and doing nothing, always remember that every individual effort determines the success of a team project and therefore your contribution is vital.

6. Be assertive if problems arise, and liaise considerately with others to resolve them

Conflict is normal in teams but how you resolve conflict determines the success of a team project, one of the reasons groups encounter difficulty in solving problems is that they fail to follow an organized procedure. For working groups to be effective, they should have an agreed upon procedure for problem solving.

Not all problems are equally important and their relative significance should be kept in perspective. Common sense about practicality and priorities are important ingredients in maximizing people’s time, energy, and commitment level to solving problems.

7. Celebrate and encourage the achievements of your team.

When an individual effort saves the day, always remember to recognize the individual, the same when the team achieves a major goal, this helps to strengthen the group since they realize how important they all are in the team. Give credit where it’s due!

“Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.” – Casey Stengel (baseball hall of famer)

By Lilian Wamaitha

Are you feeling underpaid? Have you been working for years without a salary increase? Are you working in a company that rarely conducts appraisals to ensure that salaries are increased? If your answer to these questions is yes, you are not alone.

Most professionals in Kenya are ether underpaid, have been working on the same salary for years or have bosses who never conduct year-end appraisals for their staff. Whatever you situation is, you just agree that having that salary talk with your boss is the most dreadful thing you can do.

You need to know how to request for salary increase because let’s face it, salary is a sensitive topic and one wrong move could mean you not getting what you are looking for or worse your boss firing you.

How To Request For Salary Increase

You should always request for salary increase in writing rather than just ranting about how you are underpaid with your colleagues during lunch break.

Just like other requests, making a formal request will go a long way and at the same time avoid putting your boss on the spot. It will also act as evidence in future that you made the request.

How To Request For Salary Increase – 4 Mistakes People Make

1. Making requests during budget cuts

Let’s face it, when the company is cutting down on costs, you will look like a fool approaching your boss for a salary increase.

You need to have empathy, put yourself in your boss’s shoes and think about how you would feel if it was you being approached for salary increase when you are barely managing to remain afloat.

2. Asking for salary increase when your performance is wanting

Common sense dictates that you should be worth what you want from the company.

If you know that you have not been performing at your best, and your supervisor is always complaining about you, underpaid or not, don’t bother asking for an increase.

This might just be the breaking point to you being shown the door.

Instead, improve your performance and then, only then can you request for a salary increase.

The truth is, if your performance is good, unless other circumstances come up, your boss will definitely consider adding something to your pay check.

3. Requesting for salary increase when your boss is on the edge

As humans we have our best and worst moments.

You don’t want to ask for salary increase when your boss has a lot on his/her plate.

Wait until things cool down and then have the talk.

4. Whining or complaining

Complaining about how long it has been since you were given a raise or how hard you work will not get you the raise you are asking for. Don’t make it personal.

Instead, do your research on what other people in your industry are being paid.

Make your argument about what you think you deserve based on your performance and what you have accomplished so far in your capacity.

How To Request For Salary Increase Sample Letter

Like I mentioned, if you are requesting for salary increase, always put it in writing. Here is a sample letter you can use to request for salary increase;

Lilian Wamaitha
P.O Box 90368- 00010 Nairobi
[email protected]
18th August 2017

Muchangi Peterson
Managing Director
BITS Group of Companies
P.O Box 900057-00010, Nairobi

Dear Mr. Muchangi,

I have greatly enjoyed working at BITS Group of Companies for the past two years. In those years, I have become an integral member of the sales team and have developed innovative ways to contribute to the company.

For example, in the past year alone, I have achieved the following goals:

1. Highest-ranking salesperson in customer satisfaction last quarter
2. Brought two new high-profile clients to the company, increasing total company sales revenue by 10%
3. Voluntarily trained incoming sales staff, totaling 80 hours of voluntary service

I believe I have gone above and beyond the benchmarks we set for my position when I arrived at the company two years ago. I would therefore appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss increasing my salary so that it is commensurate with my current performance. I request a pay raise of six percent, which I believe reflects both my current competencies and industry averages.

Once again, I am grateful to be a member of this organization, and I enjoy taking on assignments that allow me to contribute to the company.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Sincerely,
Lilian Wamaitha
(Signature.)

It’s your right as an employee to earn what you think you are worth. If you feel underpaid or want your boss to review your salary, now you know how to request for salary increase with a sample letter.

Just make sure that your performance is good and that the company is doing okay before making such a request.

By Lilian Wamaitha

Most people in Kenya are underpaid and earn much less than they are worth. Most jobs seekers will end up job hunting for so long and most of them will end up in jobs that are in no way related to what they did in school and if they are the salary package is not anything to be proud of.

But what can you do, right? We have bills to pay and goals to accomplish in life. We have to be content with what we have and thank the heavens that we have that job in the first place.

That said here are the seven types of salaries we have in Kenya.

1. The onion salary

With an onion salary, happiness is never your cup of tea. You get it, look at it and start crying. It’s not enough.

You have rent to pay, student loans to think about, shopping to do, debts to clear and you just can’t think of how to manage that salary to cover it all.

And the worse thing is that you have been working your ass off for so long now and yet your boss is not saying anything about a review.

2. The diet salary

It’s so small that with every paycheck, your food budget reduces and the food crisis doesn’t help the situation either.

If for instance last month you could afford meat, this month it’s just greens.

3. The magic salary

With this kind of salary, just like a magical act, you make a few moves and poof! It’s gone. It’s that kind of situation where you think that you have a lot of money in the account after running some errands and paying some bills only to finds a mere 200 and a few cents. And it’s just the first week of the month!

4. The impotent salary

Just like impotency, this kind of salary is never there when you need it. You have a lot of bills to pay and yet the bank account is still reading zero. Your employer doesn’t seem to have the slightest comprehension about how much you need this money.

You have a lot of debts but you are not sure when you will paid next if at all you will be paid but you still go to the same job everyday hoping for the best.

5. The PMS Salary

This kind of salary comes once a month and lasts for 3-5 days. There is no account for what you have done with the money.

You have even lost count of the last time you save a hundred shillings with Mshwari. And next month is still the same. And the cycle continues until you can’t take it anymore and need to do something better with your life.

6. The tornado salary

You cannot tell when it’s going to come and you certainly have no idea how long it’s going to last. From geography, we all know that a tornado appears anytime. There is no telling when it will strike and how much damage it will cause.

Well, a tornado salary is just like that. This is because unlike other employees who are paid on time, your boss doesn’t seem to understand that. He/she will pay you when they think it’s convenient and there is no telling if they will pay in full or just a portion of it.

7. The condom salary

You think you are going to enjoy it but nothing. It kills your inspiration and the will to live. It’s literary like someone put a gun to your head. You lose all hope and you start making plans of getting a new job, where you will be appreciated for who you are but the job market doesn’t work like that.

So on Monday, you wake up early and go to the same boring job, work for so many hours, go home dog tired and expect the same insult of a salary at the end of the month.

 

Over the years the number of public and private universities and even colleges have increasingly gone high, this is due to the fact that there is demand for higher education by scores of Kenyans, however the number of graduates has recently rose compared to the availability of jobs in the offing due to economic and other factors beyond a jobseekers control.

Most fresh graduates are excited by the idea of completing studies but they are not aware of what is required of them in the job market; however there is some information that should be on your fingertips as you prepare yourself for the job market.

1. Clean up your social media

At this age most employers want to know more about their candidates before hand, social media searches come in handy as they provide details on the exact character of an individual.

Employers are looking to hire candidates who not only fit certain skill sets, but also have an appropriate presence outside of work. Don’t let an angry tweet, inappropriate share on Facebook or crazy Instagram picture hurt your reputation!

2. Draft a CV

Every employer requires your curriculum Vitae and therefore you need to have an up to date CV that best highlights your capabilities, however it is best advised to seek professional CV writers so that your profile details impress a potential employer.

3. Join a recruitment agency

Recruitment agencies are links to employers since they pool for candidates and conduct interviews on behalf of the employers, therefore subscribing to a certified recruitment agency will put you in the frontline when a position that suits your skills you arises.

4. Professional networking

This is a vital initiative for any graduate who is looking forward to a job opportunity, networking helps you meet with people who have experience in the field you have specialized in.

The same people can also refer you to other employers in the industry who are recruiting. You can also join college alumni associations and meet with previous graduates who are already in the industry.

5. Make yourself more employable

As the number of people graduating keeps increasing everyday in Kenya, it’s not all just about getting papers anymore. Finding new ways to make yourself more employable is just as important, like volunteering and interning.

Most graduates are not willing to intern since they feel belittled however, an internship gets your foot in the door – and even if it doesn’t end in you getting a job at that specific company, it can connect you with other opportunities, as well as serving as a reference source in the future.

6. Keep your interests at heart

Good graduate jobs can feel like slim pickings at times, so you might be tempted to apply to as many opportunities as you can find just because they say ‘graduate’ in the requirements even if you’re not interested in the job.

This is never a good idea since most of your life’s time is at the workplace, so signing yourself up to something you know you won’t enjoy is just asking to be miserable.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be open to something different Just make sure it’s something you can see yourself doing and enjoying.

A job hunt is never a walk in the park but if you keep yourself abreast with the trends in various industries then you stand a chance to get hired. All the best!!

Life is a journey and your Career is also going to take a journey of ups, downs, achievements and failures all of which are part of a beautiful career journey.

When you get that first job, you might feel like the most talented and competent person in the whole office but as time goes by you will realize that there’s so much to learn.

As they say, no one has a monopoly of knowledge. There’s always something to learn every day.

Moving up the career ladder will come with so many lessons to learn. You will look back at the person you were when you joined the company as an intern and the person you have become and conclude that you have grown in many ways.

1. More responsibility is not a punishment but a promotion

Most certainly. As a child, more work almost meant that you were being punished by not so in the job world.

When more opportunities for you to do more at work come, it’s a sign that you are being trusted to do more tasks.

As an intern or an entry level employee, always be open to opportunities, extra work etc

Your employer will trust you and give you a bigger role, which will eventually come with a bigger salary.

2. During your first days at work, don’t take things personally

In your career journey , you will obviously meet many types of people, some of whom you might cross paths with.

Whatever the case is, don’t take things to heart. Go easy on your colleagues, your employer and supervisors.

Have an open mind and grow with the job.

Endeavor to learn instead.

3. Management Roles Are Not About You

When you get a promotion to manage a team, it’s no longer about you but about the team.

People are the most important asset you have. Listening to their needs and working together as a team will bring more success than the title you hold.

Management is a big role and with the right approach, a lot of success can be achieved.

4. Senior Management is an opportunity for you to climb up higher

At this point of your Career Ladder, you have managed to get into a very senior position.

You can now make great decisions for yourself and the people below you. Don’t fear asking your boss to change a few things here and there. You are next to your Boss in terms of management and your opinions do matter greatly.

If you have new ideas, present them and follow through with them

Your opinions and ideas are needed if the Company should grow upwards!

5. Being a CEO is all about the Businesss and the team

You are the driver of your Bus, and the captain of your ship.

Making the right decisions for your Company will be the most important thing you do for your business.

Have the right team, right systems, management, structures and environment for your people.

All the decisions you make will have a great effect on your business. Consulting your managers and gathering opinions and feedback from your team will steer your team in the right direction.

There’s no end to learning. Embrace all the lessons that come with climbing the Career Ladder.

Have you been writing cover letters but you do not seem to get shortlisted for any position? You definitely have a good introduction but is it powerful enough to make a lasting impression on the hiring manager?

“A cover letter introduction is meant to grab attention and make you stand out. This introduction can include your qualifications, background, where and how you got the job and how it goes hand in hand with the position advertised for.

For effectiveness it should be between 3-5 sentences; not too long nor too short,” says Ms. Lucy Mutungi, a career advisor at Corporate Staffing Services.

How you introduce yourself leaves a lasting impression. A cover letter is the first meeting with your hiring manager. Here are the tips you can utilize to create a powerful introduction:

1. Mention Your Contact For The Job

“If the job was advertised in a newspaper or online or a contact referred you to it mention it,” advices Ms. Mutungi.

Example: “I am writing to express my interest in the position of assistant manager as advertised in FGH magazine/ XYZ.com/ JKL newspaper.”

“I am writing to express my interest in the sales executive position that is open at ABC Company. My colleague/ one of your sales managers let me know about the open position and recommended that I contact you.”

2. Befit The Needs Of The Employer.

“Analyze the job description in detail. What skills do they require for the position? Use the details to tailor your introduction,” Ms. Mutungi says.

Example: “As a customer care representative, my good organization skills and attention to detail will maintain solid customer relationships by handling questions and concerns with speed and professionalism…”

3. Introduce Yourself

Ms. Mutungi states that when using this angle one can summarize themselves in terms of qualifications and experience.

Example: “I am a professional in administration with 2 years’ proven experience in providing administrative and personal assistant services to senior level staff in an international environment under minimal supervision with high attention to detail and accuracy.”

4. Utilize past major roles

“One can use their major roles in their years of experience and jobs to sell themselves to the hiring manager,” she adds.

Example: “My proven track record of successfully increasing the size of potential client database, preparing a sales plan and developing new ways of sourcing for clients makes me an ideal candidate for the business development officer position.”

5. Highlight the competencies gained

“You can speak of the experience you have and mention your key skills attained when you handled the positions,” advices Ms. Mutungi.

Example: “I possess excellent knowledge of business finance and processes, strong verbal and written communication skills and strong administration and organizational skills which will come in handy with the human resource intern position…”

“As an ICT officer with one and a half years experience I possess experience in deploying and maintaining a Wi-Fi network and ERP System, good analytic and management skills and proficiency in latest technology for IT systems.”

Add the perfection touch to your cover letter introduction and get shortlisted for that dream job.

Having the best salary negotiation tips at your fingertips is as important a preparation as any other things a job seeker should know when they are readying themselves for an interview. This is because not all employers reveal the salary offer when they go out seeking for individuals to fill a vacant position.

“In the interview room, any employer who knows about your previous salary always has a figure for you in their minds. Salary negotiation skills are a mind game that you as the job seeker should acquaint with if you really want to end up with a better offer in the job,” Carolyne Kariuki, Recruitment Manager at Corporate Staffing Services says.

According to Ms Kariuki, it is important for a job seeker to have a figure concerning their expected salary at the ready so as to know how to handle the salary negotiation in the event that it comes up during an interview.

This said, what are the salary negotiation tips when you are looking to get a new job?

Salary Negotiation Tips During the Interview

As you look to gain experience in your new job, remember that the salary you get at the end of the day determines your motivation to work hard and even grow in your career.

Possessing some of these salary negotiation tips therefore will go a long way to ensure that you start the job, satisfied with the package that you are offered, and in a way that does not make your employer feel wasted.

1. Match your salary to your skills

Best put, you need to match your negotiation to what you are able to offer to the organization.

“Ask yourself whether your level of experience is what your prospective employer would wag their tongues over. Consider if you have the right skills that are able to benefit the organization. This acts as a strong negotiating ground for you,” Ms Kariuki advises.

In short, don’t bargain if you have so little to offer that the recruiter won’t feel the pinch if they decide to let you go. In this case, you end up losing the job on offence of negotiating for a better pay.

2. Ask in terms of other benefits

Your salary may be meager as compared to the figure you had in your mind but if packaged with other benefits, you realize a good offer.

Ask whether you can get allowances including house allowances, travel and medical cover. Ms Kariuki finds fault in job seekers who downplay the magnitude of such benefits forgetting they could be the best salary negotiation tips to go by.

“Such benefits including allowances exist in most companies. Not many candidates ask for them however during the salary negotiation. If you do not ask for them, only a few recruiters will give them to you,” she says.

3. Wait until you are asked

Don’t make it the first thing that comes out of your mind when you are asked whether or not you have any questions to the recruiting panel. The worst thing is, you are not sure whether or not you will get the job.

The salary interview question may be phased in several ways for instance, ‘What are you looking for in terms of salary’ and so on. Wait until you are asked. Only then can you approach the topic according to the advice we gave you concerning salaries.

4. ‘I am open to negotiation’

It shows you are flexible and thus an answer that many job seekers looking to get favour of the recruiter will give. According to Ms Kariuki, you ought to choose such an answer with total caution.

“When you say that you are open to salary negotiation, you should already know where the recruiter should get and not cross the line. Any recruiter would be glad to get employees willing to get as little as possible to favour their own budget,” she says.

You should therefore be armed with information on what the job is bound to reward you in terms of salary. Know what you are moving from too so that you do not end up with an offer that is way below your previous salary.

As much as it is courteous to go slow with money matters in the interview room, always remember that you have a right to ensure you make the most of what the recruiter is willing to offer. With the above salary negotiation tips, know how to stand your ground when bargaining for a better pay.

All the best in your interview preparation.

All our lives we have been taught how to write a CV, from primary all through secondary and even in university. But all that advice will not work if you do not tailor your CV to fit the current job market. How do you write a CV in 2017 then? What should your CV contain? What makes for a good CV in 2017?

A CV can be one page and still sell you to a potential employer and it can be five pages and not work. The bottom line is that, if you put the relevant information in your CV, it will stand out. Here is how you write a standard CV in 2017.

Must Read: 4 Sections You Should Remove From Your CV To Start Getting Interviews

How To Write A CV That Stands Out

1. Contact details

At the very top should be your contact details. Some people will have a personal details section where they include things like name, mobile number, email address, marital status, gender, date of birth, nationality etc as they were taught in school.

However in a standard CV in 2017, you don’t need all that. Just have a contact section at the very top where you include your name, mobile number and email address.
For instance, it should look something like this;

“Lilian Wamaitha
0722000000
[email protected]

2. Profile summary or career objective

Placed right after the contacts, a career objective or profile summary is a detailed paragraph explaining who you are and why you are looking for that job as well as your future aspirations for your career. This section summaries your entire CV and gives the recruiter a sneak peek view on who you are as a person.

An example of a career objective is;

“A result oriented community development practitioner experienced in providing administrative support to complete projects. I am knowledgeable in: disseminating project information to project stakeholders, monitoring the progress of projects, developing and maintaining project deliverables and gathering and inputting data into databases. More so, I have been involved with HIV/Aids initiatives, community mobilization, monitoring and evaluation, field research, capacity building as well as planning and implementing community based projects. I am looking for a position in a challenging environment that strives for organizational and personal development.”

3. Educational Qualifications

In this section, you list all your academic qualifications beginning with the most recent. This section should look something lie;

“Bachelor of Arts in Community Development (Second Class Honours (Upper Division) – Egerton University; 2013-2016
Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (B plus) – Kaniana Secondary; 2009-2012”

4. Work Experience

List your work experience places you have worked and positions held starting with the most recent just like in the educational section.

One thing about this section is that you should ensure you list all the work experience that is related to the job you are applying for.

If you have held so many positions in the past that are all relevant to the job at hand, this section should come before the education section.

5. Trainings, Workshops Attended

If you have attended any relevant trainings or workshops in the past, this could be the section to show off. For instance. If you are a human resource manager, you may have attended several trainings to do with HR so you will add them in this section.

Just ensure that whatever you add in this section will serve to add to your experience in the job you are applying for.

6. Hobbies

The hobbies section is supposed to add flavor to what you have already stated in your work experience. The hobbies should therefore be related to you career or the job you are applying for. Watching movies and hanging out with friends are not good hobbies to have in your CV.

But if you are a communications practitioner for instance, who has already stated that they have worked in several places, you may add blogging as one of your hobbies because it is related to your career, that is if you have a blog.

7. Referees

Finally, the final piece of the puzzle. Choose referees that you have worked with in either supervisory or managerial level and people who can be in a position to speak on your behalf. Always have a maximum of three referees and it should be professional ones.

If you are a recent graduate, your dean of student or one of your lecturers could act as your referee.

By Mutuma Evans

“Why didn’t you shortlist me for that job and I applied? That’s unfair?”

This is a sad frequent question I usually receive from candidates. Why did the employer not shortlist or rather call you for the first interview when you had really thought it was your best shot to land yourself your first job or the job you wanted?

Honestly, there ought to be so many reasons why you were not shortlisted for that job you thought you met the minimum qualifications.

Job searching is not easy and it’s more like marketing which needs you to package yourself so as to stand out from the crowd(so many applicants in a single open job, I mean thousands).

Let’s explore together these simple reasons why you were not picked.

1. Your Qualifications

Employers fail to shortlist you if you don’t possess the required education qualifications that are key to that job and if you lack relevant experience within that role or industry.

For example, let’s say the position requires 3 years experience in FMCG sales and you have 4 years or more experience in sales but not in FMCG products. This means that you have experience in sales but not FMCG which further depicts the recruiter will pick those with relevant experience within that industry.

Another scenario is where your credentials are a good match but you fail to be shortlisted because there are stronger candidates. You have 3 years in accounting but you are applying for an accounts intern position.

This means you are out of place and over qualified which means you did not take the job description seriously which is the first step to tailoring your CV and applying for jobs that you qualify for.

2. Salary Expectation

Sometimes I wonder why a candidate would apply for a position paying much lower than his/her current salary, but maybe they did not look at the job description and just forwarded their CV.

Honestly speaking there is no employer who will pick a very expensive candidate beyond the company’s budget when they can get somebody equally qualified and pay them less.

Always apply for positions on your pay level or omit indicating your last/current salary if you are willing to take the pay the job is offering.

3. Making Late Applications

Why am I talking about late application? Very simple, you applied later than other well qualified candidates.

This simply means that the recruiter went through the first few CVs and successfully found well qualified candidates before he/she could open your CV and see how qualified you are.

Always apply as soon as possible, don’t wait.

4. The job location

Sometimes an employer may prefer local candidates which means that if you are not from the foresaid local area you will not be shortlisted for that position no matter your experience/qualification.

For instance, the employer may be looking to employ sales people from Kitui which means he /she needs candidates who are well versed with the area.

It’s very important to go through the job description before applying for that job you want so much.

5. Gender/Age

Sometimes employers will indicate on the job description the age and gender of the preferred candidates for the position.

Am sure you were not shortlisted because you applied a ladies job and you are a man or you are a lady and you thought there are no good enough men for the position.

Other times you are not shortlisted because you are either old or young for the job which will always be clearly indicated on the job description.

Many employers will take time to notify applicants that they were rejected. If you haven’t heard back, you may still have a shot at securing an interview and it will not cost you anything to call and let the employer know you applied and you are really interested in the same position, this will give you an extra advantage over other candidates.

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