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How to Write a Winning CV – Duties vs Accomplishments

Posted by | 02/12/2018 | Career Advice & Tips in Ghana 2020, Latest Blog Post

How to Write a Winning CV – Duties vs Accomplishments

In today’s highly competitive job market, it has become very challenging to secure a call to interviews even in situations where candidates appeared to be well prepared and well qualified for available positions.

If you have rolled out considerable number of applications without getting favorable responses then, this article is meant for you.

In this career advice session, I am providing you one of the proven and tested way by which you can spice up your CV to meet global and local recruiter standards and that is: optimizing your CV with compelling achievements presented as value propositions.

Soon you will learn how to not just transform your duties and responsibilities into achievements but also, identify those outstanding achievements you have glossed over. If you are a fresh graduate you would soon learn that there is no excuse for not having achievements!

What is the Differences between Responsibilities/Duties and Achievements?

Did you know that experienced recruiters in most instances already understand the tasks that are associated with your job titles straight away? Let’s consider the typical role of a teacher which entails teaching and marking of students scripts among others. What do you think will be a recruiter’s impression about these two duties in the CV of a hypothetical teacher?

Won’t these duties be far better presented should the focus of the teacher be on what he did differently that set him apart and yielded better results? The point I am making here is that every job seeker’s ultimate aim for taking time to write a CV is to unveil to the person reading your CV the best things about you in the best possible way.

The above therefore underscore the need for job seekers to clearly understand the differences between these three related terms and use it appropriately to benefit them in their job search. The excerpt below clearly illustrates the differences between duties/responsibilities and achievements:

  • Job Responsibility
    Led sales and marketing activities
  • CV Achievement
    spearhead KE mall’s sales and marketing initiative for newly developed smocks leading to turnaround of poor sales and increased sales from GHC 3 million to GHC 11 million in 12 months.

Deriving from these excerpt, responsibilities and duties does not fully communicate the value propositions of job seekers and this is best addressed using achievements. According to Live career, achievements showcases

How you contributed to your organization, how you show initiative, how you really add value. In other words, by performing your duties … you have made a positive impact”.  Achievements tells a compelling story of what you did or created that was above and beyond the scope of your duties and responsibilities and this is what will make your standout  

Read on and learn how to ditch the current duties in your CV and concisely make your new CV hymn the hallelujah for you!

Next I walk you Through How to Identify and List all your Achievements.

How to Write a Winning CV - Duties vs Accomplishments 1

At this stage my assumption is that you have clearly understood what a professional achievement is. Having gotten a clear idea of what an achievement statement is, it is timely to identify and concisely list down what you have achieved in your professional and personal life.

The mention of personal life achievements calls for further explanation. Achievements should not just be about your professional life but also it can encompass your contributions to friends, families, volunteering and society in general

 Thus, one important advantage of going in for an achiever optimized CV is that, job seekers have the chance to showcase their amazing achievements outside their domain of work.

If you are interested in nonprofits, charity based organizations and general volunteering, then usage of personal achievements is extra good for you.

To identify your achievements think of things you did in the past that simply set you apart. I have provided these questions to assist you unearth your achievements:

  1. Among other employees what made me standout?

  2. Did I win awards, nominations, accolades and certificates of recognition?

  3. What nagging problems did I solve where others failed?

  4. Did I improved the financial standing of the company or saved the company money?

  5. What did I do that was above and beyond my normal job duties?

  6. Was I ever recognized by a supervisor for a job well done? When and why?

  7. What new processes did I implement to improve things?

  8. Did I ever consistently meet or exceed goals or quotas?

  9. What made me really great at my job?

  10. What accomplishments were you praised for by your boss, colleagues or clients?

  11. Did you implement any new processes to improve things?

  12. Did you consistently meet or exceed goals or quotas?

  13. Did you do anything that improved your customer service and efficiency?

  14. Did you increase the company’s press coverage, reputation or brand awareness?

To put all these questions in one, I will use the words of Cotsis who advised: “Think of the mark you left on each company  … What specific, measurable results were accomplished because you were in that position and not somebody else (Source:www.glassdoor.com)

How to Put Identified Achievements into Your CV?

Identifying your achievements is not enough if you fail to adequately make it reflect in your new CV. Here my recommendation is that you would need to paint a very concise, juicy, and Irresistible value propositions as your achievements.

Perhaps, you were told you should have one value proposition right? It is not misplaced to have multiple value propositions. Each achievement adequately wrapped as a value proposition gets you closer to your next hire by increasing your value in the eyes of recruiters. 

To make such propositions factual, you would have to identify relevant keywords that are relevant to the job at hand and make sure that all achievements you are to put in your CV is reflective of these key words. For more details on how to make your CV responsive to job descriptions read our article on ATS tips for Ghanaian job seekers.

Do not forget to also make use of action words, absolute figures, percentages, location data, name specific  data, and time specific data in writing each achievement statement. To quote the muse careers your write-up must address:  

How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? Instead of saying you effectively managed a budget, list how much money you managed, and how much money you saved 

You can make your achievements impact more by concisely stating why you did the job better than others in the same or similar positions. In addition make sure there are clear statements of how your achievements could be of benefit to the prospective employer.

Finally lets Wrap Up With How to Properly Place your Achievements in Your CV

Decision of where to place a CV achievement/s depends on the skill of the writer, the strength of the achievement, the chosen CV style? and more importantly, it is a matter of choice.

Personally, I prefer presenting the achievements in the work experience section. I sometimes place very outstanding achievements at the very top immediately after the personal details. With experienced CV writers, the achievements can be dotted across all sections of the CV. 

How do you identify and present your achievements ?  Would be glad to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.

Search and apply for CURRENT JOBS IN GHANA TODAY & Funding Opportunities in Ghana on Sobiaonline. Do not pay any body any fees for our job search support and advisement unless it is for our Executive Job Search, CV Design or LinkedIn & Writing Services. Access funding news, career advise and our daily updates here. Don’t forget to subscribe to our updates. Call us or Whats App: 0245692357 or Email: info@sobiaonline.com

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ATS Advise for Ghanaian Job Seekers

Posted by | 16/11/2018 | Career Advice & Tips in Ghana 2020, Latest Blog Post

ATS Advise for Ghanaian Job Seekers

To begin with one may ask whether this topic is worth re-visiting giving the number of articles written on the subject within the last few years.

This is undeniably an important consideration. However, when it comes to developing countries such as Ghana, ATS has not received the desired attention.

This write-up is an experiential account of the free CV review offer that was put in place from July 1st to September 21 2018  by Sobiaonline. In all, 230 CVs were reviewed and this write-up is based on the outcomes of the reviews. 

The key finding from the reviews as well as through client engagements was that job seekers do not pay much attention when ATS is mentioned and job seekers are generally not ready to learn more about how they can navigate their ways through ATS.

This finding clearly answers the question posed at the beginning of this article and is the main motivator for me to come up with this article.

The First question to Ask:  What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) anyway?

There is a lot of talk about the future of the world of work this 2018 at the heart of which is how to utilize technology in recruitment and selection of candidates. 

When it comes to ATS one thing we are sure of is that we are already into the future of the world of work. ATS simply means Applicant Tracking Systems. It is a kind of robot or software that is used to pre-screen job applications before it reaches human hands.

According to the muse careers,

ATS works by scoring CVs for contextual key words and key phrases, mathematically scoring for relevance and sending only the most qualified ones through for humans to review.

Recently, it has been discovered that an estimated 95% of fortune 500 companies employ ATS in their recruitment. This makes it imperative for job seekers especially those targeting international companies of repute to master these latest ATS tricks detailed in the subsequent section. 

HOW THEN CAN JOB SEEKERS MAKE THEIR CVs ATS FRIENDLY OR RESPONSIVE?

There is no magic bullet theory regarding how CVs can be designed to beat ATS. However these points detailed below should help job seekers of all kinds to optimize their CVs in a manner that makes it ATS responsive.

Choose the CV Right  File Format

There is widespread disagreement among CV writers and career professionals regarding which file format is best suited for ATS. I aim not going to meddle in this debate but to simply provide a way forward.

When applying for jobs via jobs portals you would often see a list of preferred documents formats that can be uploaded.

I recommend that you should always make sure that your file format is in line with what the job portal has recommended. Generally documents in PDF, Word or Doc X format is good to go with ATS.

Use an ATS Responsive CV Layout & Design

The layout of every CV is as important as its content. To properly understand CV layout you have to think of these four considerations: outline, arrangement, design, and plan. 

According to our review statistics 93.5% of all CVs reviewed used at least one form of these formats in at least one sectional area of their CVs. Based on our CV reviews, we recommend that job seekers should avoid text boxes and graphics as much as possible as ATS find it difficult to read information in these formats.

The second tip on CV layout is that you should always put your name on top of the CV. Most ATS systems are automatically set to pick the top most word or phrase as the candidate name.

This days it is no longer necessary or essential to write boldly “Resume or Curriculum Vitae” at the topmost part of your CV. The tendency is that this can be picked as your name by some ATS bots and this can negatively affect all the efforts you have put into your CV preparation especially CV rejection!

In like manner, what is kept in the last part of your CV will equally be interpreted as references and hence it is important to always put your references in the last column.

I admit that the issue of references is more complicated then presented and from my point of view I recommend that you can avoid references unless it is expressly stated as a requirement. We recommend this because in most instances ATS fails to interpret references and this can significantly reduce your average score.

Lastly, we recommend that your CV should be properly aligned. Text alignment allows you to determine the flow and position of your text. The four primary types of text alignment include left aligned, right aligned, centered, and justified.

To use this feature highlight the text you want to align, go to home in your word editor and then click on the align type.  Also make sure you do not leave unnecessary columns.

ATS Advise for Ghanaian Job Seekers 2

OPTIMIZE FOR KEYWORDS In the Job Description

Some career experts has recently tagged ATS as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for CVs. Just as google rank pages on the basis of keywords it contains, so thus ATS rank CVs on the basis of keywords it contains.
To illustrate the powerful effects of keywords to ATS:

A job description in 2010 called for a programmer with 5 years of experience in Apple IOS operating system but the reality is that the app was introduced in 2007. As a result, all the candidates who applied were turned down. This was because they missed the “5 years working experience” mark!

In writing your CV, your key skills must be highlighted based on the job description. Again, If you are conversant with web SEO you would have treated your ATS like google and your key skills as your SEO keywords. It works in the same manner.

Core skills that are not in your job description of interest will seldom add any weight to your CV. One word of caution though is don’t overdo this or try to use all keywords in the job description even if you do not have such requisite skills. To properly present your core skills you would need to observe the following:

  1. Keywords that are often repeated 3x or more are highly desirable and is important they are captured in your CV and featured in like manner

  2. Differentiate between Hard Skills, Core Skills and other keywords. Hard skills are learned through specialized training and include specialized skills, knowledge of software and tools. Hard skills are the most sought after by recruiters and the more you match up the hard skills the better. Once again focus your attention to skills that appear most often in the job description which are mostly the hard skills.

    Soft skills are skills obtained without much specialized training such as attention to detail, team player. They are quite difficult to assess compared to the hard skills and are less prioritized by recruiters. As mentioned earlier your focus should be on the hard skills. Finally, the other skills are simply buzzwords, industry lingo or company specific jargon and are weighed less in the match rate.

  3. Once you identify these 3 skill sets it is important to prioritize which ones to emphasize. Typically hard skills comes first, followed by soft skills and then lastly other skills. 

Use ATS Responsive Dates and Job Titles

One important consideration which must be born in mind in making your CV ATS friendly is choosing the right job titles and using a responsive date format. Once there is a good fit between a candidate’s job title and that of a job description the CV will be scored higher by ATS.

Career experts often recommend that your job title can be slightly changed to meet a job description if you performed very similar roles as described in a particular job description.

For instance, Marketing Manager, Head of Marketing, and Senior Marketing Executive can all mean the same thing and may have similar job descriptions in some instances and each can be modified as and when necessary to suite a job description.

One note of caution though is that you would need to notify your referees of the change before it blows things out of proportion.

In writing ATS friendly dates, always make sure that you include the month and years of all events and ensure consistency. When it comes to the current position it becomes more tricky than the usual.

I recommend that you would need to put your current month or year instead of indicating present or till date as these phrases will not be read by most ATS.

Writing an ATS Responsive Profile Summary/Career Objective

There is an ongoing debate regarding whether a Career Objective is necessary or not. I seek to pry not in this debate but to offer the way out.

Based on the CVs reviewed recently by Sobiaonline,wide gaps were found in candidates profile summaries vis-a-vis the main body of their CVs. In like manner, Sobiaaonline also found out CVs whose content failed to match the job descriptions they are applying for in any way.

The problem in all these has to do with the inability of candidates to determine what to include and what not to include in their profile summaries. My recommendation is to present a concise profile summary using the keywords in the job description.

Another alternative is to avoid the profile summary altogether and rather place your core skills based on the job description.

Writing an ATS Responsive Work Experience

In this section, I will not touch on how to present your work experience but rather how to make your experience section ATS friendly. For detail information on how to present your work experience please watch out for our next article on how to write your next winning CV using achievements 

As a job seeker you would need to work on your greatest achievements and commit it to the job description. According to Victor Mc Lean, a certified advanced resume writer,

A good CV is all about highlighting and presentation of objective achievements alongside optimizing keywords. In senior level positions demonstrating potential, motivation and commitment is essential

One important point worth mentioning is the need to make sure you utilize the job description key words as much as possible in detailing your achievement. 

Qualifications

Make sure that you relate all your qualifications to the job description. State the full version of your qualification in sentence form. 

CV Formatting

There are various attractive CVs displayed out there in the name of helping candidates but how many of these CVs are actually ATS friendly? In formatting your CV observe the following:

  • Use simple bullet points and make sure each phrase or word makes meaning standing alone. 

  • Avoid graphs and symbols as ATS finds it hard to read them. Also avoid tables as much as possible

  • Most companies do not entertain candidate’s pictures as it is believed to have been causing discrimination.

  • Use similar key words in both your main CV and profile summary.

  • Use the right fonts. Arial, Times New Roman and Courier which are mostly recommended.

  • Use Traditional headings such as Education, Experience, Skills, among others. Avoid naming subsections with words that are less commonly used

  • Repeat important skills 2-3 times only.

Finally, be Conscious that  it takes a Thief to Catch a Thief

Once you observe all these we believe your CV should be ATS friendly. However we recommend that you utilize relevant software to scan your CV before forwarding your job applications. We have provided a list of popular of 18 popular ATS software you can use to scan your CV below:

    1. BambooHR

    2. Zoho Recruit

    3. ClearCompany

    4. iCIMS Talent Acquisition

    5. Oracle Taleo Cloud Service

    6. Jobvite

    7. SmartRecruiters

    8. Lever

    9. Recruiterbox

    10. Greenhouse

    11. Sage People

    12. Recruitee

    13. ApplicantStack

    14. Workable

    15. JazzHR

    16. Softgarden

    17. employAstar

    18. VidCruiter

      Search and apply for CURRENT JOBS IN GHANA TODAY & Funding Opportunities in Ghana on Sobiaonline. Do not pay any body any fees for our job search support and advisement unless it is for our Executive Job Search, CV Design or LinkedIn & Writing Services. Access funding news, career advise and our daily updates here. Don’t forget to subscribe to our updates. Call us or Whats App: 0245692357 or Email: info@sobiaonline.com

Have you at any point gone after a position that you thought you were ideal for, just to discover you’ve not been called to interview? Maybe you mistakenly assumed that the challenge was just excessively extraordinary, or you have already smouldered the business’ inability to perceive your abilities.

When I converse with people in this circumstance, I, as a rule, find that there are two different reasons which could potentially explain why their applications have not been shortlisted.

Either their applications basically failed to expose adequately why they were such an incredible up-and-comer. Or then again they misjudged the entire shortlisting process and did not adequately prepare to help them perform well.

Here are a few hints to help you identify what a business is truly searching for when they post that opening — and how to demonstrate you are their optimal up-and-comer.

Reviewing All the Requirements of the Job Description

To start with, print off the advert and utilize a highlighter pen to underline all the competitor choice criteria. This powers you to think about whether you meet each prerequisite as opposed to disregarding any holes.

When you are certain you meet the principle criteria, drill down into the detail of the activity. Most managers will supply an expected set of responsibilities and a rundown of basic abilities and capabilities for the job. Check every decision criteria to help you prepare adequately. For example, in the event that they are searching for somebody managerial and supervisory capabilities, you should have the option to show what number of staff you have line-oversaw in various jobs in the past, the various groups you have worked with, board management issues you have addressed amoung others.

Your application should detail not just that you did these things, but rather showcase to them that there were benefits for the association.

Conduct some research into the organisation.  Find out for instance, how the association talk about itself? Does it consider itself to be conventional, inventive, innovative, moral or as a focal point of greatness? Is the language it utilizes formal, loose or loaded with language?

Communicate in a convincing tone which will make you appear a good fit. Similarly, in the event that the association appears to be exceptionally powerful and quick-paced, at that point portraying accomplishments that discussion about performing multiple tasks against tight cutoff times or demonstrating your drive and vitality might be especially useful.

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Interview Preparation Guide for Job seekers in 2019

Posted by | 24/06/2018 | Career Advice & Tips in Ghana 2020, Latest Blog Post

Interview Preparation Guide for Job seekers in 2019

When called to interview, the primary task of the applicant is to convince the interviewer that she/he has what it takes to excel in the job. One of the ways by which you can do this is showing motivation and convincing the recruiter that you fit well into the organization’s culture.

 In a good number of instances candidates perform abysmally in this regard owing largely to inadequate planning before interviews take place. In this write-up, you will learn new tricks on how to adequately prepare when called to interview.

As you might be already aware,  the single most important strategy in interviewing, as in all phases of job search, is what career experts termed:

“The Greatest Executive Job Finding Secret.” And that is…  Finding out what your prospective employer or recruiter want, than show them how you can help them get it. 

To master this strategy, These steps detailed below will walk you through how to quickly plan and nail your next interview!

Clarify Interview Type, Objective, and Procedures

Interviews comes in different ways. For instance, it can be for the purpose of shortlisting from a group as a prerequisite for the final interview to take place. In some instances, interviews are arranged where you could be the only candidate.

Once you inquire from the organisation or recruiters, this information will be availed to you earlier which will enable you to adequately prepare as compared to other who did not.

Besides, it is important to know what the objective of the interview is and this can be gleaned from the job description used in the job advertisement. The interview procedures however spells out how the interview will be conducted.

This could entail aptitude test, one on one discussion, panel interviews, and scenario modelling among others. Once you are able to find out all these issues it puts you in a better position to adequately prepare for the upcoming interview.

For detail information on how to clarify interview type, objectives and procedures read a related post here.

Study the Prospective Organisation.

Knowing more about the organisation of interest does not only prove your genuine interest in working with the company, but it equally put’s you ahead of your competitors who are less prepared.

It is important for every candidate to at least do a little home work on the background information of  the prospective organisation.

By background information I mean organisation Vision  mission, core values, years of operation, its services, and partners among others. Background information is very invaluable in assisting candidates to identify well with the prospective organisation of interest.

Note that nothing is more boring to an interviewer or employer than candidates who come to interviews totally uninformed about the employer.

Researching into employer activities has become much easier owing to the rise in social media usage. Make good use of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter which contains very vital information on the operations of agencies globally.

There are other platforms such as  Vault, Career Search or The Riley Guide to get an overview of the organization and its industry profile especially if the organisation of interest is an international one.

One attribute of these sources is that as a job seeker you will be able to access agency campaigns, videos, fundraising among others through uploaded videos and this also offers you the opportunity to learn quickly about your prospective employer.

It is also critical to identify the current products and services of your desired employer and the company website will provide you with very detail information in that regard. The company website will equally assist you with adequate information to enable you review the company’s background, mission statements, and how that relate to the job at hand.

Other valuable sources you can obtain company information may include recent press releases about the agencies insights, projected growth, and stability. Trade and business publications equally comes in handy as it provides rich insights into the standing of agencies.

With all these information you should be able to generate a prospective question list based on existing information gaps you could not fill in relation to the company and its activities. The question list will assist you to ask about the organization or position based on your research after the interview.

Interview Preparation Guide for Job seekers in 2019 3

Re-Study Your CV

Once you are called to interview, your ability to prove that you own the CV is very essential. What I mean by owning your CV is that, you would be called upon to satisfactorily account for all what you claim to possess in terms of skills, experiences, achievements, awards, and qualifications.

There is therefore the need before you attend an interview to reexamine your CV and make sure you are well versed in all what is presented in it. One mistake many inexperienced  candidates often make is assuming that they know all what has been presented in their CV.

As part of the preparation, you need to remember the nitty-gritty’s of your employment profile and academic credentials backed by exact dates, numbers, locations, and partners among others. 

One way of mastering your CV is to clearly outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities required based on the job description.

Then examine the hierarchy by determining where the position fits within the organization. You then need to look side-by-side comparing what the employer is seeking to your qualifications presented in your CV.

A candidate who does this well is in a better position to predetermine questions he or she would be asked during the actual interview and appropriately rehearse her/his responses.

Rehearse Your Responses.

Most interviews involve a combination of resume-based, behavioral, and case questions.  You can also utilize software such as Winway Resume Delux and career advise channels such as Naukri, Muse, and the balance on YouTube to assist you in identifying tough questions and rehearsing how best to handle them.

Plan What to Wear

Before deciding what to wear for an interview, take a look at how staff of your prospective organisation dresses based on the information you obtained from their social media profiles, websites, and publications as mentioned earlier.

That aside, you may decide to go neutral. In such instances, conservative business attire, such as a neutral-colored suit and professional shoes, is best.

In situations where you are instructed to dress “business casual,” use good judgment. Plug in that iron and make sure your clothes are neat and wrinkle-free. Dress to impress but do not “over dress” and ensure that your overall appearance is neat and clean.

The first most important preparation for the interview candidate is to  be on time. Simply put avoid been late! Albert and Comfort Ocran explained this in the best possible way:

“Make sure to find out where the venue is, plan how to get there, and determine how long the trip will take? … The same rule applies if you are going by public transport. In locations and suburbs that are prone to sudden traffic jams, locate an alternative route you may fall on if the need arises”. 

Plan What to Bring to Interview

As part of the preparation process, there is need to contact the employer and recruiter and find out what you need to bring to interview if it has not been clearly stated in the invitation letter.

It is also recommended that the applicant jot down a list of all items required for the interview either from the employer side or items that will aid the applicant in during the interview.

Some of this items may include extra copies of your resume on quality paper, a notepad or professional binder and pen a list of references, identity cards and Information you might need to complete an application (Passport, Voter ID card, Birth Certificate, National Service Certificate, pen), and a  portfolio with samples of your work, if relevant

Prepare for Non-Verbal Communication.

Be mindful that nonverbal communication speaks volumes. Start ahead and remember that waiting room behaviors may be reported. Project confidence. Smile, establish eye contact, and use a firm handshake. Posture counts.

Sit up straight yet comfortably. Be aware of nervous gestures such as foot-tapping. Be attentive. Don’t stare, but maintain good eye contact, while addressing all aspects of an interviewer’s questions. Respect their space by not placing anything on their desk.

Manage reactions through facial expressions which provide clues to your feelings. Manage how you react to sensitive questions posed to you and project a positive image.

Plan for Follow up Questions

Many interviews end with “Do you have any questions?” In planning for this follow up stage. It is important to bring a list. You may say, “In preparing for today’s meeting, I took some time to jot down a few questions. Please allow me to review my notes.” Be strategic.

Cover information not discussed or clarify a previous topic — do not ask for information that can be found on the organization’s website.

Questions worth asking may include the following samples: In your opinion, what makes this organization a great place to work? ; What do you consider the most important criteria for success in this job? ; Tell me about the organization’s culture ; How will my performance be evaluated? ; What are the opportunities for advancement? ; What are the next steps in the hiring process?

If you have some comments on this blog kindly use the form below. We would like to learn how you also prepare for call to interviews. If you seek further clarifications kindly on some of the issues raised in this article leave your message in the comment box.

Search and apply for CURRENT JOBS IN GHANA TODAY & Funding Opportunities in Ghana on Sobiaonline. Do not pay any body any fees for our job search support and advisement unless it is for our Executive Job Search, CV Design or LinkedIn & Writing Services. Access funding news, career advise and our daily updates here. Don’t forget to subscribe to our updates. Call us or Whats App: 0245692357 or Email: info@sobiaonline.com

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Smart Job Search tips for Ghanaian job seekers in 2019

Posted by | 24/06/2018 | Career Advice & Tips in Ghana 2020, Latest Blog Post

Smart Job Search tips  for Ghanaian job seekers in 2019

Looking for a new job in Ghana is very stressful for both recent graduates and seasoned professionals despite the increase in career agencies in the last few years. This article is aimed at assisting job seekers to boosts their chances of landing their dream jobs in Ghana and beyond.

Below, I have detailed 10 career tips on how job seekers can easily land their dream jobs in 2019. This article is based on real life encounters of the writer and also experiences Sobiaonline have had with job seekers in the course of providing our relevant services.

Know Yourself

Knowing oneself is all about having a deep understanding of one’s interests, values, skills, limitations, feelings and motives. People with high sense of self-awareness knows how the their actions and inactions impacts on their chances of getting a job.

The most common mistakes job seekers often make is assuming that they are not employed and based on notions of this nature they waste a lot of priceless time often in unproductive ventures. 

Truth be told, we all have 24 hours and as jenifer365.com puts it: “It comes down to what’s important to you and it matters what you priorities”. My simple advice is that unemployed people in Ghana must reawaken themselves to the fact that they are not unemployed, their job description is simply trying to find a job from say 8AM to 5PM.

Interacting with clients on daily basis, one question I often ask clients is the number of applications job seekers are able to roll out on weekly and monthly basis. The answers to this all important question has been almost always below par!

Tip: As a job seeker, one important fact you must note is that you cannot get a new job without applying for jobs and the more jobs you adequately prepare and apply for, the better your chances!

A Well-Planned Niche Will Set You Apart From the Crowd

No matter your job search situation, there is no need to opt for a job that interest you not. In most instances, such jobs seldom match applicant’s skills leading to their rejection. Thus, unplanned throw out of applications is not advisable.

The general assumption among job seekers is that, settling for a particular niche as a job seeker,  slims down applicants chances of getting a job. This is far from the truth. Once you identify a specialized field you are well suited, it gives you the room to adequately prepare your job search tools and interviews.

Interacting with job seekers, I am often confronted with candidates who appeared to be unprepared for the question: “which job category, job title, industry are you interested in?’ The trick is to settle for a specific job title and industry and your dream job is closer to you than you can ever imagine.

Tip: It’s easier to stand out from the job seeking crowd when you have a unique combination of skills, experience or attributes. In an environment where “success is being redefined by expertise”, those lacking specialized skills find it harder to get work.

Identify and Hone Your Core Skills

A job listing in Ghana in most instances gets over 1,000 views and hundreds of applications. This is why there is need for every job seeker to identify skills sets and unique selling points (USPs). USPs are special skills that sets an applicant apart from other job seekers. A

ccording to jobs.ac.uk identifying your skills sets involves two main stages: Identifying your USPs and then communicating their relevancy during job application and interviews. In identifying your USPs the following steps come in handy:

Smart Job Search tips  for Ghanaian job seekers in 2019 4
Step 1-Evaluate: Based on your academic qualification, work experience, and your interests, identify the expertise you possess or things you can do well.
Step 2- Differentiate: Identify within the skills you possess, specific skills or personal traits that differentiates you from others and make you a valuable employee. In doing this, back up your list with evidence such as numbers, dates, and location to make it credible.
Step 3- Research: Examine the industry as well as companies in the industry and their skills requirement. You can get this information by researching company job description. Some companies also have their staff portfolio on their website and this can be valuable source of information. This research will reveal the strengths and skills that appeal most in your chosen field.

Step 4-Compare: Having identified your core skills and what your prospective employer want, it is time to blend the two. The overlap of what employers want and your skills set constitutes your USPs that sets you apart from other candidates.

If you did not find this overlap, then, it implies that you will have to repeat step one to four in a more thorough and detailed manner.

Step 5-Detail: The final step is to effectively communicate your USPs orally and in writing. Expand the details, and show in definite terms how your experience and skills match up to the person specification to create a Unique Selling Point.

 

Tip: Clearly communicate your value proposition in writing and during interviews. Do not forget to improve upon skills areas that still needed attention!

Identify Legitimate Job Listings, Unmask blind adverts

Not all job listings are genuine. In some instances even when the job posting is genuine it may still lack sufficient information to enable job seekers make informed decisions.

As a job seeker, you need to read in-between the lines when you find a job listing you are interested in.To ensure that a particular job is legitimate, follow all links provided in the job advert to confirm whether it is still active or not.

If some of the links are not functional, then note that the job listing might have expired.

Also, check the company website to confirm the company name and crosscheck their career page for more information on the offer. It is also important to check for grammatical and formatting errors, and how detailed the job advert is. All these are potential clues that will prevent you from throwing your application to a non existent agency.

In the context of Ghana, most adverts are what career experts termed “blind adverts”. A blind advert is one that does not reveal the name of the employer or the recruitment agency behind it.  Whenever you come across a blind advert, unmask it by observing the following:
• Check the organization website and social media profiles.
• Check for the organizational tagline. Once you see a tagline you can simply research online and you might come across the agency
• Check for clues in the email address provided in the job advert. For instance an email address such as info@sobiaonline.com tells you straight away that this email address belongs to sobiaonline.com.
• Check for industry information. If the organization is one of the leaders in its industry it means that you can narrow your search down to some few industries.
• If the location data is geolocated you can easily track the specific location of the agency.
• Check for the same job description in other job portals and you might be able to get additional information.

 

Tip: Unmasking blind adverts will gives you a competitive urge over other job seekers

Customize your resume and Cover Letter to suite each position of Interest

What a hiring manager look for in a candidate depends on the job. A sales recruiter looks out for best sellers whilst a teacher recruiter looks out for people who are simply awesome at teaching.

To effectively do this, recruiters have developed two main ways of eliminating bad eggs: using applicant tracking systems and quick scans. Both have one thing in common: keywords.

CVs and resumes must therefore be designed to meet specific key words. This is the best way of using your skills and achievements to persuading the hiring manager that you are best fit for the job. For differences between CVs and Resume please click here. 

The simple trick to customize your resume therefore is to identify the keywords as highlighted in the sample below:

Company Profile

(Organisation name ommitted) is a development organization serving more than 20 million people worldwide each year. The organization’s mission is to be a catalyst for long-lasting positive change in low- and moderate-income communities around the world, helping them improve their social, economic, and environmental conditions (Your objective or profile and this mission should be in harmony). 

Job Description

  • Location: Accra (10), Tema (5), Ashaiman (5), Takoradi (5), Kumasi (5)
  • Job Title: Field Agent
  • Reports To: Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist
  • Contract Duration: Upon Request 
BACKGROUND
(Organisation name omitted) is seeking Ghanaian nationals for the position of Field Agents for the YIEDIE program in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation. This program is designed to create jobs and business opportunities for disadvantaged urban youth in Ghana and will focus on capacity building/training for youth development in the construction sector in Ghana. 
The Field Agent will provide data support for the YIEDIE field activities in all 5 project cities. In this role, s/he will assist the YIEDIE team by visiting specified communities/areas in order to carry out the following tasks.  
KEY RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Screening applicants for entrepreneurship/technical training opportunities offered by the YIEDIE program 
  • Collecting and recording data on YIEDIE program applicants and sampled follow up youth.
  • Entering data (from YIEDIE program areas) in an electronic system
  • Liaising with the Monitoring and Evaluation team on the YIEDIE project to address any challenges in the applicants’ screening and data tracking processes
  • Make calls to locate sampled respondent in conducting Project Surveys
  • Protect the privacy of respondent and confidential information
  • Undergo two day training on how to use the ODK tool 
  • Undergo two day training on how to administer the follow up questionnaire
  • Pretest of the ODK tool on the field
  • Comply with the requirements necessary for conducting a successful interview
  • Turn over all literature and materials used in  Project Surveys to the Monitoring and Evaluation team
  • Other general administrative work that may be assigned.
TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE
  1. A Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics, Mathematics, Economics, Development Planning and Sociology 
  2. A minimum of one year experience working in a similar role, preferably with an INGO.  
COMPETENCIES
  • Strong IT and database software skills and possess the ability to master new technology tools, as required.
  • Have outstanding communications, writing, and research skills
  • Ability to operate office equipment such as photocopier, scanner, etc.

How To Apply

Applications should be sent to: contact@example.org  latest by 25th June 2018. Applications without the job title and location will not be considered.

Enhance your online presence using a portfolio

An online presence can make a big difference in your job search. If you want better career opportunities, utilizing online portfolio and resume sites will make you stand out among other job-seekers and offer unique networking opportunities.

Most recruiter’s use social media like LinkedIn and Facebook to look out for quality candidates and to inform their hiring decisions. LinkedIn tops the preferred social hiring tools list. Do you have a LinkedIn account? If yes when was the last time you updated it?

An obsolete social media profile does more harm than good. With an updated formal profile picture, some good recommendations, and value-added work experience you can get yourself a good social media profile. With an online portfolio, your online presence is enhanced in several ways:

• You are able to provide a link to your portfolio in your CV. This sends pointers to recruiters as to where they should search for your online information
• You are able to link your portfolio (website) to popular social media sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, google plus, twitter, and Pinterest).
• You are able to create and safely store different versions of your CV in your portfolio. This is a smart way of buying time in your job search and also, it guarantees safety as your documents are safer when uploaded onto your website.
• Your portfolio provides the room for you to provide practical examples of what you can do using audio, video, text and pictures as it enables you to showcase your

 

The smartest way to enhance your online presence this 2019 is to create a personal website and then link it to popular social media sites.

Be well prepared for your call to interview

Once you are called to interview you need to adequately prepare and give it your best. Consider our step by step  guide to planning for job interviews here

See yourself through other people’s lenses

Whether you like it or not someone must definitely help you in your job search. The question however is who should be in your help list, how do you seek for help, and in which areas of your job search do you need to ask for help? Your job search help list can include people such as friends, family, past lecturers and other contacts on your LinkedIn network. The best way to seek for help even if it is from friends is to make it formal by sending an email or letter. If it is an email you can attach a sample of your resume. A typical help email can be formatted like the one presented below:

Dear friends and family,

I hope all is well! Thank you so much for all the leads and advice you have sent me so far as I look for a new marketing job in Accra (specifically within the non-profit sector).

I just wanted to let you all know I am still looking for a job opportunity, so if you hear of any open positions, or can think of any contacts you might be able to put me in touch with, I’d greatly appreciate hearing about them.

I’ve attached my resume once more; I’d appreciate it if you could show it to any contacts you have in the industry.

Thank you again!

Best,

First name Last name
Email

 

It is also important to target the support you seek from others. Allow your friends, family and mentors to review your CV, Resume, and portfolio. This will enable you to correct avoidable mistakes and properly format your documents.

You can also rely on trained experts such as career counselors and resume writers to fine-tune what you already have.

Deal with rejections, be optimistic

Whether dating or job searching almost every individual has faced one form of rejection or the other. The good news however, is that, it takes less time to forget of a relationship failure than a failed interview. The following points can successfully help you to remain optimistic in the midst of job rejections:

Venting: According to Psychologist, the first step in dealing with rejection is called venting. It involves sharing the frustration, disappointment, and anger after your job rejection in a confidential setting.
Diversify: Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Plan B is important. Even if you nailed the job interview there is still that window that you might not be hired. You need not to lose momentum

Feedback: If you do not get the job always ask for constructive feedback. Probably, you were not the right fit for the job. A feedback will help you to identify the weaknesses in your CV and interview performance and appropriately address them to get better results in the future.

Smart Job Search tips  for Ghanaian job seekers in 2019 5

Optimism: Stay Positive: The best way to deal with rejections is to keep a smile on your face. Transform each job rejection you encounter into a learning opportunity and stay focused on your career objectives. In most instances, rejections prepares job seekers for more fulfilling and credible job opportunities in the future.

According to www.theballancecareers.com “sometimes it’s hard to know exactly why a candidate was rejected and it could be you were too qualified. If that’s the case, the employer may come back at a later date with a better job offer”.

Therefore it is advisable to avoid burning bridges. Leaving a positive impression with the employer is very desirable. Immediately after a job rejection notice it is important to send a reply. A typical job rejection email response looks like the sample below:

Hello [Name],

Thanks for letting me know about your decision.

While I’ll admit that I’m disappointed I won’t be able to work as part of the [organisation] team in Ghana, it truly was great to meet you and learn more about the great work that you’re doing.

I’m excited to keep following [organisation] activities in Ghana, and I’ll keep an especially close eye on [ Name of Project]

Thanks once again for the opportunity, [name of hiring manager], and I hope our paths cross again in the future. I’m wishing you and [organisation] all the best moving forward.

Best wishes,
Sobia Issahaku Adam

Go down a less traditional career path

Lauren Hargrave described a less traditional path as “bruising yet beautiful” She opined that

“Unlike the attorneys and accountants you know, your trajectory isn’t neatly outlined in an employee handbook. Instead, you’ll have to create your own road map. You’ll draw on all of your resources, employ a bit of trial and error, doubt yourself (then learn to trust yourself), and do it all while the people around you tell you, “you can’t.”

When you hear of titles like UX designer, Casino business executive and freelancer what comes to your mind? Have you bothered to find out what this less traditional career opportunities offers?

In some instances it does not demand much effort to easily adapt and take advantage of emerging career prospects especially in the field of information and communication technologies. Find out more about existing nontraditional career paths in Ghana this 2018.

What job search techniques are you using currently. Share your views or ask for more clarification on the issues raised in this article using the contact form below. 

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