Unemployment is a crisis that faces every economy globally. Closer home, latest statistics from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) show that seven million Kenyans are unemployed.
Out of these, 1.4 million have been desperately looking for jobs. The rest have given up on job hunting, either opting to pursue further studies or venture into entrepreneurship as a means of economic empowerment.
According to Michael Armstrong, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICEAW) regional director for Middle East, Africa and South Asia, one reason why jobseekers may have trouble finding a job is because the hiring firms are unaware of the specific skill sets that are available within the talent pool but this is changing today due to the establishment of numerous job sites which have made it easier to look for a job.
“Despite this, it is still hard to figure out which firms you are applying to work for as many agencies don’t include the name of the brand in the advert. How then do you know you are applying for a company you want to work for?” he poses.
However, all is not lost and you can still find your dream job, in your dream company. Here are some tips you can use to outshine your competitors in the job market:
Make your CV short
You cannot highlight every achievement of your life in your CV (or curriculum vitae). At least highlight the achievements and skills that you think your potential employer might need most.
Remember that you are competing against a big number of candidates, and the shortlisting officer(s) might not have time for each of you. They will pick the candidate with the outstanding skill or achievement. They will not see your most outstanding feature if your CV is congested.
Research about the firm you are interested in
Employers are most likely to pick candidates who are conversant about the environment they are going to work in. No employer is ready to invest resources and time to have an employer who does not show interest in their firm.
Armstrong says interviewers are always more impressed by those candidates who request information while genuinely wanting to develop their career.
However, he adds, they are less polite about those who simply show up for an interview with very little knowledge or interest in the position or organisation.
“With this in mind, it is very important that job seekers realise that there is always an opportunity for them to sell themselves better than any other candidate,” Armstrong says.
According to Armstrong, if you have a company in mind, think about who you know who works there. If you don’t know anyone personally, introduce yourself to a decision maker in an online community or through a direct approach at an industry event or similar. The key is not to ask for a job, but rather ask for help and advice on how to get work in that particular area or company.
Have a target
Most people look for jobs “anywhere”. This will never help you achieve your dream. Target certain companies that you want to work for even if they have not advertised for any vacancies. There is always a space for everybody, you just have to go for it.
“Advertised jobs don’t account for all of the jobs available. Just because a role is not advertised does not mean it does not exist. Similarly, some roles may be advertised but they don’t really exist. This happens when dishonest agencies create “fake” roles to broaden their candidate base. Despite this scenario, it is always advisable to have companies in mind that you would like to work for. Don’t just look at ones who are advertising,” adds Armstrong.