Career Advice & Tips in Ghana 2020
Interview Performance Tips
This interview performance tips on how ace your next interview is motivated by a discussion we had with a job seeker earlier today (30-06-2020). We noticed that these interview Performance tips might help job seekers to properly navigate their interviews. This is the conversation Issahaku had with the job seeker:
From Issahaku – Welcome to Saobiaonline, Please at what stage are you in your job search ?
Response from Job seeker: hahahaha… so far 3 interviews non was positive. its not a nice feeling at all
From Issahaku: Sorry to hear that. But that is progress anyway
From Issahaku: So in your perspective what caused your rejection?
From Job seeker: I was jittery… spoke too quickly …..
From Issahaku: Its ok to be nervous sometimes but with this tough competition at the moment, you would have to work on that so that it would not repeat itself and affect your future chances… Adam continued with some tips which is elaborated in this post.
From Site Job seeker: hmm..the recent one was via skype and i did not impress. anyway thanks for the tips i will look through the package and see what i can afford…i know its not the CV cause i get the call
We have provided you below some proven interview performance tips that can help you ace your interviews to get the job you want. Please read on:
You need to always prepare ahead of the interview and conduct research into the job and agency at hand. The more you are prepared the higher your confidence level. The first step to your preparation is conducting a detailed search into the company. To accomplish this, you can use social medial particularly Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
If the company has a corporate website you would get more details about the corporate objectives and values of the organisation in their “about” section. You then have to tie the loose ends by looking at the relationship between the broader corporate objectives and the job at hand.
Your research should be also able to identify the main problem the employer is trying to solve which calls for that job vacancy. Once you identify this, you would have to demonstrate how you are the perfect fit in solving that problem. In essence, this research will help you to clarify your selling points and the reason why you want that job and not any other job. If you are able to do all these things before the interview due date, trust me, you would command a lot of confidence which will aid you to perform well.
As part of your preparation, you would have to identify common interview questions related to the role and then rehearse your responses.
2.Avoid Talking Unnecessarily
All what you need to do as an interviewee is limit your responses to the questions posed by interviewers. If you try to talk too much there is high probability that you might ramble which may end up talking you out of the job. Similarly, be calm and speak gently with an even tone. When you are using examples always try to relate examples where there have been real accomplishments and examples that directly relate to the job.
3. Make use of the STAR interview Technique
Most recruiters now go in for smart, highly accomplished, and practical minded employees which has resulted in the usage of scenario models and behavioral questions to assess competency of candidates. Most candidates find it difficult to relate to these type of questions which often results in poor interview performance especially among international agencies.
The STAR interview technique allows candidates to provide concrete and concise proof that you have the right competencies to handle the job at hand. STAR stands for situation, task, action and result. Thus, for every question you are asked quickly think about:
A Situation: What was the context in which you performed a particular activity?
Task: What was your responsibility or what were you tasked to do?
Action: Demonstrate exactly what you did including measures you put in place to address the task assigned?
Result: What exactly did you achieve?
One secret about this technique is that, it works as you do not need to have the answers at your finger tips. You should be able to identify a situation and then the task that you were assigned and with that you will be able to address the interview question well.
4. Document Your Past Accomplishments
One of the challenging situations we encounter in designing peoples CVs is documentation. In Ghana, most employees do not document their past accomplishments which affects how they communicate their worth to prospective employers. If you happen to be in this category, you can retrieve your past accomplishments by reviewing your reports and as well your performance appraisals, and recommendations. Documenting your past accomplishments will enable you to provide compelling evidence of what you have accomplished in the past using numbers, percentages and qualitative variables.
5. Listen Before You Speak, Communicate Effectively
If you are going to give a good answer, you need to listen to the question being asked. Doing so will enable you to give a powerful and structured answer to the question. You also need to communicate clearly by using simple sentences and avoiding usage of non-industry jargon.
At Sobiaonline, we help job seekers to help themselves. We provide employment search services ranging from CV Upgrade, LinkedIn Upgrade and Job Search for Me. By leveraging any of our services, you are helping countless number of Ghanaian’s and people outside Ghana to benefit from our free content and career advisement. Click Here to learn more
Internship Cover Letter
In this post, we are sharing some useful insights into how you can craft an effective internship cover letter to ace your call to interviews and avoid red flags.
A well written Cover Letter should be context specific so as to present you as an asset. When a company is in need of an intern, they are basically looking out to fill a skill/s gap.
Your ability to demonstrate that your credentials makes you the best fit is what will get you the internship offer. Your CV is the best tool which systematically captures such credentials.
However, one weakness of a CV is that it is not quite flexible enough to containing unstructured and informal information as compared to a cover letter. When done well, your internship cover letter will not only boost your CV open rate but it will equally lure the reader to look at your CV.
Generally, an internship cover letter takes the structure below;
The first item on your cover letter is the date of your application. In Ghana the preferred method is Day/Month/Year
2. Information of Hiring Manager
You will have to provide the recipient address. It is ‘cool’ to use the Hiring Manager or Human Resource Manager. However, knowing the name of the hiring manager can further make your document standout. You may present your recipient address in the form:
Full name of Human Resource Manager
Human Resource Manager
Generally, you can use Dear sir or Dear Madam. As stated earlier, if you know the hiring manager name, you can use Dear followed by the first name of the Hiring Manager.
Your heading should reflect your career objective as an intern. What exactly are you looking for in the agency? Stating your heading in the form:
Application for Consideration as [ Internship name ] will not be a bad idea.
5. Opening Paragraph
Your opening paragraph should be able to re-emphasis your title and provide a value proposition. For instance:
Please accept my application for an Accounts Intern at Sobiaonline. You will benefit from [insert benefits the employer stand to gain by engaging you]
6. Main body
In the main body, showcase your academic qualifications, work experiences and personal traits relevant to the job at hand. You can also use the last paragraph of this section to demonstrate your knowledge about the challenges the company is facing and how your engagement will help in resolving the problem.
7. Closing paragraphs
Use the closing paragraph to discuss your availability for discussions and as well, your availability for engagement. You can also demonstrate what the job will mean to you. This aspect is very important for internship openings as employers always want to know whether you are committed or not.
Closure and Signature
The last part of your letter entails the closure of the letter and then adding your personal addresses. This can take the format below:
Mobile phone number
How to Write an Internship Cover Letter
How do you tell the employer that you are the best fit for the position? With these suggestions below, we believe that you would be able to highlight your relevant skills and experiences that make you the best fit for the role.
1. Be Specific About the Position You are applying for
Applying for an internship without a well defined role indicates poor preparedness. Starting your letter with a specific role will set a good context for your application and prove that you have taken time to learn what the position entails before applying.
2. Make Use of Good Keywords.
Identify what the job entails by reading the job description. Identify all the necessary keywords and make sure they are included in your CV.
3. Demonstrate that you are the right candidate
Utilise your hard skills, soft skills and work experience to demonstrate that you are the right fit for the role. If you a fresh graduate without much experience you can list your coursework that is relevant to the role. You can also highlight leadership roles you have occupied whilst at school.
4. Demonstrate Why You are Applying for an Internship and not a Paid Job
You need the right industry specific skills, experiences and networks to help you kick-start your career successfully. Employers would want to know if this is the case. You can use your cover letter to communicate exactly what your career objective is and how it will help you and the company you intend to intern for.
5. Proofreading and Peer Reviews
Our final advice is that, you would need to proofread your cover letter again and again to make sure that it is error-free. You can also encourage peer review from friends and loved one.
This article originally appeared on John Ababio College of Creative Education on June 15th 2020. We found it useful for our readers who are interested in fashion and design career pathways.
For the past 20 years, there have been some significant improvements in fashion design career pathways within Ghana’s fashion industry. Whether one has taken the liking to scroll down social media pages or reading fashion magazines it has become quite the norm to come across images of African models or young people dressed in garments made from African fabrics, a clear sign that African designs are being more embraced now than ever before.
Some of the key actors in the proliferation of African fashion have been the growing number of African designers who showcase their work within and outside Ghana including icon designers are Christi Brown, Pistis, Ophelia Crossland, etc.
The fashion industry in Ghana is proving itself attractive, fresh and highly profitable and the world is taking notice.
A lot of the credit and success of fashion designers can be linked with fashion schools and the quality of students they are producing.
Fashion schools in Ghana are playing key roles in the ever-growing industry. For individuals and students who want to take up a career in the fashion industry, the opportunities are enormous.
Students from fashion schools undergo a lot of training to help them develop a unique thought process. This enhances their creativity and helps them become experts in developing new ideas and concepts. Students are taken through illustration techniques, technical drawing, pattern drafting and draping techniques, tailoring, sewing and the use of digital technology in fashion among others.
They also gain an understanding of fashion trends, consumer behaviour, brand and market awareness, ethical and ecological issues facing the fashion industry. Again, they are guided to develop transferable skills including communication, presentation, problem-solving, critical thinking, research and teamwork.
Therefore, due to the unique nature of their training, students can be absorbed and function in many industries directly or indirectly related to their field. Let’s delve into some of the career opportunities one can pursue after fashion school.
FASHION DESIGNER CAREER PATHWAYS
The most popular career available to fashion students is to become a fashion designer. The fashion industry is booming as it’s an essential element of our identity and culture. Fashion designers create original clothing, footwear, jewellery, accessories etc. They develop sketches, select fabrics, make patterns, outfits among others. They visualise and produce designs by hand or using computer-aided design (CAD). The nature of their job keeps them up to date with emerging fashion trends in fabric, colours, cutting and shapes.
The work of fashion designers can be categorized into high street fashion, ready-to-wear, haute couture among others. Many fashion designers find themselves in the high street fashion where garments are mass manufactured.
Another category is the ready-to-wear. As the name sounds, established designers create ready-to-wear collections, produced in relatively small numbers.
there are also the haute couture designers who spend a lot of time on the production of one-off garments for shows, which is often impractical to wear. These designs usually endorse the brand and work of the designers.
FASHION RETAIL BUYER/MANAGER CAREER PATHWAYS
This is a career that is becoming more popular in the country. A career as a retail buyer or manager in a departmental store, fashion boutique or big brands can be highly satisfactory. Fashion retail buyers or managers are responsible for finding, negotiating, and purchasing fashion materials sold in stores.
It is a fast-paced job that requires knowledge of the fashion industry as well as the basics of business. As a fashion student, one gains a good insight as to what clothes will work with consumers and the market in general. The kinds of colours and designs which are trending, or which are predicted for the oncoming fashion season, are relevant pieces of information persons in fashion design are privy to.
STYLIST CAREER PATHWAYS
Stylists mostly work with briefs and use their knowledge in fashion design to produce visually appealing displays or outfits. This is a fast-changing role that would suit someone who loves to solve problems and collaborate with others using their creative flair.
Ones ability to collaborate and communicate event ideas is key as a stylist, as you’ll need to work with a variety of other professionals and agencies to finish a project. Stylists can pick the right pieces from anyone’s wardrobe or a designer’s collection and would suit the client’s character, body type and the kind of occasion the dress is getting selected for.
Stylists often suggest the kind of makeup, accessories, hairstyles for their clients. Big-time celebrities hire stylists regularly for red carpet events and parties. Stylists are also in demand for creating and organizing weddings, working with models, photographers, influencers, magazines etc.
TEXTILE DESIGNER CAREER PATHWAYS
As the name suggests, textile designers create 2D patterns, weave and printed fabrics among others. These fabrics may be used in interior designs or to make clothes. Textile designers work both independently or as part of a design team in both industrial and non-industrial settings. They use Fashion CAD (Computer Aided Designs) to develop patterns and textures. They are the masters when it comes to technological innovations in fabrics and materials.
The work settings for textile designers may differ and may include factories, backrooms or even working from home.
FASHION MAGAZINE/FASHION BLOGGER CAREER PATHWAYS
If you have amazing writing skills, you can pursue a career in writing for a fashion magazine or become an independent fashion blogger. Fashion magazines are always on the lookout for fresh new talent and you can be their newest find! Fashion editors and bloggers earn a lot of money for their generated content and invaluable fashion tips and hacks. You can also deliver your ideas in the form of videos, articles or stories on your social media. It is well documented that social media influencers on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube earn a lot based on comments, likes and subscribers.
As well as writing, you may also get involved in the production of the publication, taking on sub-editing and designing.
In conclusion, there are various career opportunities one can explore after fashion school. I hope this article serves as a good reference to select fashion design as a course of study. And most importantly stir and encourage you to pursue a sustainable career you will have better fulfillment in.
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Knowing how to properly format your CV will go a long way to increase your call to interviews and get you hired faster. In Ghana and most parts of Africa however, graduates are not taking through the process of formatting their CVs to make it standout. Even experienced job seekers with decades of work experience still face this challenge of presenting their extensive experience well.
This Sobiaonline series on CV and Cover Letters intends to unveil some common 5 CV mistakes you can avoid when you are writing your next CV.
CV mistakes #1: You Have Failed to Identify the Problem to be Addressed
Did you remember the problem statement struggles during your academic research in the University? The good news is that you can apply the same trick to your CV Upgrade. Every job description comes with a hidden problem the employer wishes you to solve as an employee. Without that problem your services should not be needed by the employer. For you to be able to present a winning CV, the first step is to identify the core issues are and then optimise your CV to address that.
CV mistakes #2: Avoid Very Personalized Information
Job seekers mostly assume that the more personal information they put in their CVs, the more recruiters will get to know more about them. This is true.
However, when it co mes to job search, your prospective employer need not to know everything about you. You must not include any subjective information such as age, sex, marital status, religion, ethnic background and related demographic variables.
These are very subjective variables which can affect your chances either positively or negatively. By going neutral you are helping to prevent biases and inconsistencies that might affect your chances.
CV mistakes #3: Poor Introduction
One of the most important sections of your CV is the introductory section. There are various names for the introductory section such as career summary, professional summary, background, career objective and related terms.
At Sobiaonline, we simply call it introduction as its primary purpose is to introduce the employer or recruiter to the main CV. We noticed from countless resumes how this section has been abused by job seekers.
This situation might be attributed to poor understanding of job seekers on the rational of this section, the nature of content that should be presented here and as well, the formatting style to use.
The objective of this section to lure the reader to go down to the other sections of your CV and not throwing your CV in the dustbin within 6 seconds! This underscore the need for this section to be brief and straight to the point such that readers will not be bored. The introductory section of your CV is aimed at revealing the following to the employer and should be formatted as such:
- A brief summary of your professional life
- Your personal qualities
- Your hard skills and core competencies
- Your value proposition
You could have the best photo in the world but if HR doesn’t like it you’re not getting a call. In fact, many HR departments will automatically trash resumes with photos in an effort to avoid any chance of discrimination. Additionally, images can actually “choke” the resume scanning software the companies use to receive and organize resumes. In other words, if you send in a resume with a picture they may not ever receive it because the system could not scan it.
Referees and References will always be needed to vouch for you whether you are searching for a job, furthering your education, growing your business and related career issues. In all these scenarios the recommendations that you receive from your referees can significantly influence your career success.
In this post, we are going to focus on how you can handle referees and references in your job search and as well, how to present references in your CV in the best possible way.
If you are a beginner, the usage of referees and references might appear confusing. Your reference was written by your referee and is thus a document. In the case of this article, your references is a section of your CV where you provide details about your referees who can vouch for you. A referee on the other hand is a person who can vouch for you professionally, academically or personally.
How to Manage Your References
References are usually requested in job descriptions where specific information could be needed. For instance, a job description could request for two referees whilst others could request for three. Whether a job description requests for a reference or not, it is important to still maintain a reference section in your CV. The following points should be taking into consideration when selecting referees:
Always make sure that the people you are using as your reference will be willing to vouch for you as soon as the need arises. Any undue delay on the part of your referee in vouching for you can spell doom for your search endeavors even if you perform well after an interview.
We at Sobiaonline always recommend that you have to discuss your search objectives with your referees. Keeping them in the dark will not help at all. If referees have adequate information about you it will help them to always give your prospective employers very powerful recommendations. One of the surest things that put’s employers and recruiters off is generic recommendation.
Depending on the degree of familiarity and rapport you have established with your referee, it is possible to always blind copy them when you are applying for jobs. This will help them to recommend you ton employers in the best possible way. We also advice people who serve as referees to always solicit the feedback of people they are recommending before submitting their recommendations.
How to Select Your Referees?
When selecting references, you would have to look out for people who should be able to vouch for your skills, abilities, and qualifications.
Selecting people who have good communication (written and oral) and writing skills is very desirable. These days, some companies prefers phone discussions with referees instead of written recommendations. The person recommending you should be able to defend your interest, qualifications and abilities in the best possible way whether in writing or via a phone conversation.
Secondly, it is important to select people you have worked with who preferably supervised your activities in the past.
There is no consensus regarding whether you can present your referees from your current place of work. Experts who advises against this opines that the last thing you want is for your boss to learn from one of their competitors that you have approached them regarding a new job. However, in the context of Ghana we deem it necessary that you should provide at least one referee from your current place of work. This should not necessarily be your “boss” but some one in a Senior position who can vouch for you. If you think that you do not want your current employer to be contacted you can state that in your application.
Before you use some one as a your referee, you need to make sure that you have discussed it with the person and then they have agreed to it. During the request, make sure you gauge the eagerness in their tone to make an informed decision. It is also important to verify that you have the correct contact information and discuss how they would want to be contacted. Generally, your referees should be willing to be contacted via skype, phone call or email. If after discussion with a potential referee you realized they are not interested in all these channels then, it would be advisable to get those who are comfortable with all these three channels.
How to Ask for References
You can ask for a reference via face to face discussion or email. It is advisable to start the process with a phone discussion and then meet the person later to discuss your search objectives with him/her. Always make sure you request for confidentiality if need be. Click here for a detail guide on how to ask for a reference
How to Present References in Your CV?
The reference section in your CV is usually the last item. It is acceptable to just write a section heading titled “References” and then comment ” available upon request” below.
In the context of Ghana, it is advisable to add at least two references to your application.
Do not number the references but rather present it in the format below:
Name of Referee
Name of Agency
Do you need to review your CV or professionally upgrade it? Click here to revise your CV with the help of Sobiaonline Careers.
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